PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Automation versus "Mandraulics"
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Old 28th Feb 2009, 20:29
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: the top of the flag pole
Posts: 78
I am no longer curent on the old 76A+ as of midnight tonight. Phew...

I have flown the 76 for the last 10 years and for the past two years been dual rated flying it alongside the AB139. Two ends of the spectrum you might say.

I am a huge and commited fan of the coupler/higher functions of the autopilot.

But as I wave good bye to the old mandraulics I bear one thing in mind. The ability to fly accurately on instruments without leaning too heavily on the automatics is a skill I wish to preserve. I will endevour to use the appropriate method at the appropriate time.

HC said

But I say "So What if they can't maintain altitude within 100'!". That is a redundant skill. They fly using automation, which has considerable redundancy. If the automation completely fails once in a blue moon and they can't maintain alt within 100' does it matter? For en-route flying, normally separation is 1000' so if they go up or down a few hundred, so what? It only perhaps matters for MDA.
The last sentence is the key. On the day I have an AFCS degrade, with no coupled functions available and the weather down to minima, the ability to fly accurately is vital. With a totally "automatics" environment how quickly do those perishable skills shrival? Suprisingly quickly is my bet.

I guess some might shoot me down saying "well how often do the automatics fail". My answer... "Computers and a moist salt laden environment, watch this space". I guess we have more avionic failures than say engine failures.

My point is broaden your skills of course, by honeing best pracitce with the coupler. But don't be to hasty to de-skill. You might be bitten in the a**e by just as big a beast, maybe just a little closer to home.

I seem to remember a fixed wing well below the glide path, passed about 120 feet, IMC, from the blocks of flats on the aproach to 16 in ABZ just a few years ago. Clearly that wasn't coupled. But was it being flown manually by choice or because the coupler went inop? Or was it being flown by a little practiced pilot being monitored by another human being? Maybe someone will remember.

Fly safe. Or monitor safe. Either way say safe.
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