PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Automation versus "Mandraulics"
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Old 1st Mar 2009, 07:48
  #17 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Nigeria
Posts: 74
It is still a helicopter

flyer, as SAS says it depends on the reliability of the systems. On the 225 we have a 4-channel autopilot, a 3 channel AHRS, 3 channel air data system, and each control axis has 2 actuators (one electric, one hydraulic). So with any single failure, nothing adverse happens. Even with some double failures nothing much happens.

There comes a point when the danger of routine manual flying in bad weather exceeds the training benefit for being able to cope when the automation goes wrong.

The important thing to remember is that if it does start to malfunction, you go-around, discontinue the tricky flying bit etc and head for home

If you look at the fixed-wing world, who are 20 years ahead of us on this, many airlines prohibit manual flight below 10,000'

We will agree with them fairly soon, once the attitude adjustment has kicked in!

I quoted this as a typical post on this subject. While there is a lot we can learn from the fixed-wing operators, and by this I mean the scheduled airlines flying large aircraft because that is what people are referring to, they don't operate in the same environment as we do. Their runway stays in one place, both pilots can see it during the landing, and it doesn't have variable slopes, obstacles, and altitudes.

Apples to apples, oranges to oranges. Enough of the bananas to potatoes.

There are 2 arguments going on here:
1. How much automation should we be using?
2. What effect will that have on our skill sets?

1. We should use all the automation that can help us operate more safely and not use any automation that interferes with the safe operation of the aircraft. Our SOP's, checklists, manuals, and everything else we use to get the job done should give us guidance on how to judge which category each system falls into at any one time.

2. The more automation we use the rustier our hands and feet will get. Of course. This will also be affected by how much experience we had, and our level of skill, before we were introduced to the automation. For most of our operations this will have negligable (sp?) effects but I firmly believe that we are a long way off from Cat III approaches to a floating platform in the middle of the ocean, the side of a mountain at 9500', or a road intersection in downtown metropolis. For that reason we must continue to be highly skilled at the manual flying of the aircraft.


In the training role I have been involved in the last few years, I have observed that pilots coming from a VFR, single, unautomated background bring with them a soft skillset in basic aircraft handling that allows them to spend very little time manipulating the controls and still get the job done when needed. Pilots who have gone from flight school to an automated, IFR twin very quickly lose those same skills and need regular practice to build it back up. This must be recognized as we assess our training needs and write our procedures.

Very few helicopters are operating in a sched airline role and taking all the SOP's from that industry is, in my opinion, inappropriate. We have different needs and only but addressing our own environment will we find an appropriate solution.
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