View Full Version : What I dont like of the Bus I.

17th Mar 2008, 23:46
Some of you want a constructive criticism thread. I going to submit this one to talk about some points of the Airbus that dont like me.
This is only my opinion, and Iīm writing from the knoledge and unknoledge that I have of the plane.
I will try to be serious and not throw bulls**t:=

1. Phylosophy.

First of all, I want to talk about the general phylosophy of this craft. There are some points that I want to emphasize.

First, Iīm going to try to explain what is the operational loop of an aircraft for me.
The operational loop, is the circle of data, inputs, feedback and reactions around the aircraft flight. Is the circle of information inside and around the aircraft, that set the parameters for a flight, make the systems function and set the pace of futher events or actions. In a conventional plane, the pilot is in the middle of this loop, and can modify the flow at his will in almost any point of the chain.
The pilot has control of all flight parameters, can modify the data of the MCDUs, the course, select with data want to see, and with this new inputs, the aircraft continue itīs flight normally, asimilating data in the loop naturally.
Well, some of you are wondering what this all is about. The Airbus do all this things.
Here is the first diference. In the bus, the pilot appears to be in the middle of it, but I think that this is no true. First of all were are going to remember which words Airbus uses.

Intervention. This is for example, when you put a speed in the FCU. This word means that you are interrupting the flow of the operational loop, setting a new parameter that disrupts it. Normally this is going to be temporally.

Constrain. Normally this is use to set the alttitude and speed limits. But when you are in cruise, and you want to set an exact Mach Number, you only can do it throught an intervention, or a speed Constrain. This is also expected to be temporally.

I think that this two words are important, because they tell us, that we, the pilots, are disrupting flow of the machine. Not just altering it.

Yes, we can set a Cost Index, but do you think that is normal to set the cruise speed related to an index that is a factor between time and fuel consuption. Yes, this is ideal in a free flight scenario where you can let the craft fly at itīs most efficent speed, but not in the long haul routes with clearances that includes fixed Mach Numbers.

Here is another two.

Managed. This mean that the aircraft is taking care of it. This word is a surprise to me, because is related to the business world. And I think that is used by Airbus, because when the aircraft manages something, it is doing it at the top of itīs parameters. Itīs the maximum efficiency.
This can be applyed to an speed, to a track, route and an approach (Vertical and laterally.)
Also when you are disrupting tha managing process, tha aircraft see it as an intervention, and it quits from it. I.E. Reverting modes.

Monitor. This is the primary function of the pilot. Monitor the flight. This last word is also important because, when in other aircrafts you are out of the loop an do monitoring of the flight, in the Airbus has another interpretation.

If you seek the loop process of the Bus, you will see that almost all pilot actions doesnt change the flow of the operational loop, you just cut it inserting something strange to the aircraft that he doesnt need or want to be efficient. I.E. The Mach Number Constrain. It also appear in very loud showy colours to catch your attention. MAGENTA.

Ending this first part.

I believe that in this plane the pilot is not in the center of the loop, he is another chain of it. Yes, he is a very important one, but when you touch something, the craft is telling you that dont want it, is telling that if you insert new data or new parameters, the operation is no going to be efficient because you are cutting it.

I think that this is important, because the same aircraft is advise or warning you for messing with itīs operational loop.

Another probe of this are the flight control location, shape and operation. As I said before, they are small, mislocated and no designed to be fully funtional for conventional flying. For emergencies or departures from the flight envelope there is not a FCA switch (Full Control Authority) like some fly by wire, no real feedback, fighter planes. Only an altered Alternate law.
Yes, probably you never would need it, but I appreciate if Iīam the last responsible of the flight and I have the switch in the cockpit.
That confirms me that Iīm not in the center of the operation, Iīm just another big chain.

I think that this is the main cause of the machine-human comunication errors, and this happen in this way, because the real boss of the plane is the company who owns it, and want money from it.
Thatīs who really is in the center of the loop if there is someone now. Call it the company ghost, or the money making ghost. Because thatīs the entity who really tell the aircraft how is going to do the flying.
The Bus is designed for them not for you, the pilot/operator. This is the origin of all bus "illness"

From my point of view, in other aircraft the pilot is the center of the operation, in this one you are probably the biggest part of it. No more.
Change of phylosophy: yes. Like it: No.

Now folks is you turn. I can see the fans of the bus sharpening their knifes. I promise that I will have more raw meat in the future.:*:mad::=

I wait your opinions of this physolophycal and metaphorical thread.

All aircraft have their cons, but we are talking now only and about the Bus. No comparations please, just opinions.

Visual Calls
18th Mar 2008, 13:42
It sounds like your training department is severely at fault. Didn't they teach you that no matter what Airbus or the aeroplane thinks, you're the boss?
You don't like what the aeroplane is doing, just go Selected. It doesn't matter if Airbus considers it a "temporary intervention" or whatever. If you want to fly selected, as you see fit, all day long, do it, you're in charge remember, the aeroplane isn't.
However, there is no need to do this, as an understanding of the aeroplane's "thought processes" will leave you fully equipped to fly the aeroplane as it's supposed to be flown, whilst leaving you in control.
Remember, the automation is a slave to you, not you to it.
I think a re-read of the books and new head of training is called for!

18th Mar 2008, 14:23
I agree with VC.
I used to be a staunch Pro-Boeing/Anti-Airbus guy, but late last year I started a job that had me having to learn the A330.

And I'm happy to say that now I know the real story (much bulldust out there) I reckon they're a pretty good thing. Very clever in the way they work but as has been said you have to lose the Boeing philosophy of doing things. And yes, they really can be flown just like any other aeroplane - albeit with the inherent normal law protections, and those are there for very good reasons.
The only thing I still do not like is the seperate joysticks. I still firmly believe that they should be mechanically connected.
(Hey, I got used to the non-moving throttles!)

My point is that the Boeing guys have often been fed a lot of mis-information about how the Airbus works. It's really worth the effort to find out how they tick, they're quite friendly once you get used to them.

18th Mar 2008, 14:41
Well, I'm a captain on A320. I used to fly B727 and B737 (jurassic and classic) before that.

What I do like less on the Airbus are the non-moving thrust levers (even if I got used to them) and non-connection of the sidesticks. I also think B737's are easier to handle in gusty crosswind conditions then the bus.

Having said that, the positive things I could say about the A320 compared to the others I flew, are far more numerous. I'll save you the long list!

The B727 and B737 are fantastic machines, but still I very much prefer the A320. (BTW: I fly 95% of the approaches with A/P, A/T and F/d's off)


18th Mar 2008, 16:46
But these are my opinions as pilot and TRI of the A320. I been only flying this thing two years, and I been always flying boeings and Mc Douglas.


Chris Scott, I appreciate your coments. You were right on the bullseye, my beloved B757 was pashed out, and I started as B727 driver, so you may imagine what are my throughts about the bus.

Also, Iīm a A320 TRI against my will, I resigned since my appointment, but in this part of the world things works this way, and I have not other choice than continue or go to the unemployment office.

More of it on DLH A346 heavy landing at KIAH thread. (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=318161)

18th Mar 2008, 17:15
What I dont like of the Bus I.

- It always overshoots the runway
- Sometimes it is unable to leave the holding
- The wing tips touch the concrete at touchdown very often
- You never know what the machine is actually doing
- The ECAM is a full colour **** house
- We all gone die if the hydraulics are gone

Is it that what you wanne hear?

18th Mar 2008, 19:23
It's too clever by half.

18th Mar 2008, 19:37
Get good training from people who understand Airbus Philosophy, ditch what you previously knew about Boeings/MD's etc and fly the aeroplane as you are taught.

In 6 months, re evaluate how you are now operating the aeroplane.

You should now know why Airbus operate the way they do.

The biggest problems arise from people who want to stick to old methods, people who are given short courses with improper training and companies who try to operate the aeroplane with SOP's that differ from the manufacturer.

7,000hrs plus on 320,321 and 330......... I would NOT now wish to go back to the old technology of any other aeroplane.

The Airbus is a beautiful tool, very flexible, fun to fly and not to be feared :ok:

sudden Winds
19th Mar 2008, 06:33
ok...the only thing I really dislike about the A340 is those 4 hair dryers itīs got underneath the wings that make me feel ****ty every time I takeoff.
I understand thatīs a personal thing, but from a performance standpoint I īd like to have some more margin in case of windshear, etc... Now I am conscious that the flight control laws make it a very safe plane against CFIT and windshear scnarios, but once u reach CL MAX (high drag too) if you canīt overcome the windshear youīre going down...ok, unstalled...but down.

Also, lately Iīve discovered that the A/THR system sometimes takes a while to respond to wind gusts...come on now...donīt think I am forgetting this Ground speed mini thing....but sometimes the hw component is insignificant to generate a GS mini intervention, or sometimes u receive tail gusts...the non-moving thrust levers are uncomfortable to override, especially because if you do it at or below 100 feet A/THR disconnection will occur just at the same time as you enter the flare (direct) law portion of the flight..which means the a/c will pitch in response to power (close to the ground, large a/c...see where I am getting?). For that reason Iīve started to disconnect A/THR if by 500 ft wind gusts justify it, according to the judgement Iīve just explained.

The other thing I really hate is that stupid "retard" call out at 20 feet (10 ft for autoland)...Mr John Airbus, we know we have to retard the thrust levers, thank u..we ainīt that stoopid. It just bothers me because I like to hear the RA call outs as I look at the middle of the rwy to achieve a smooth centered landing.

Now besides these 3 things the rest is pure gold. The FCU, MCDU, ECAM, and flight control laws are excellent.

Now Hetfield...youīre kidding right?....


PS: OHH and the sliding TABLE !!!!!!!
PS2: Very good post Javelin
PS3: I didnīt really understand that Loop thing Strongresolve talks about. If u wanna fly constant mach u just do so by flying selected...Boeing lets u do it on the FMC too, Airbus doesnīt (CI isnīt exactly that) so what?? u just fly selected. Stong resolve, read Javelin post. He īs got a point. I am not discrediting your post. I appreciate your contribution, but I strongly agree with Javelin in that this machine is different. Rgds...

19th Mar 2008, 07:30
@sudden Winds (http://www.pprune.org/forums/member.php?u=42643)

Me kidding?


Dream Land
19th Mar 2008, 20:25
Deleted, due to too many beers before posting. :(

Pugilistic Animus
19th Mar 2008, 20:43
What about the lack artificial feel; how did that grab you all at first ?

and I was once told [in another thread] that the stick is a 'g' and 'roll rate selector' :confused: does that explain all of those twisty low level GA's that the type is famous for?

Pugilistic Animus
19th Mar 2008, 20:47
I said before:ouch: http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?p=3203540#post3203540

19th Mar 2008, 21:20
It always overshoots the runway


Sometimes it is unable to leave the holding

nope..... That old chesnut about the two french pilots being stuck in the hold doesn't wash, IMM exit or delete the hold. simple

The wing tips touch the concrete at touchdown very often

???? :confused::confused::confused: ... not true

You never know what the machine is actually doing

yes you do, read the FMA's on the PFD, and the FCOMs for a broad overview of what each FMA means.

The ECAM is a full colour **** house

Ok fair point I'll agree with you there, not as user friendly as it would initally seem.

We all gone die if the hydraulics are gone,

Am sure that is not a type specific fault, wasn't the crash at sioux city all those years ago attributable to that cause? The airbus can still be controlled using stab trim and rudder inputs unless i'm very much mistaken. Ok it will probably be as controllable as the wright flyer, but hey! triple redundancy? what are you worried about?

I find the main resentment to the airbus comes from those who used to fly the boeings. The airbus still has little red button that turns it into a conventional aeroplane.

The protection envelope is designed to make the flight safer, read the QRH actions for GPWS alert..... pretty much full backstick, removes the temptation to pull that little bit harder to gain altitude, its false economy, similar to trying to stretch a glide.



CONF iture
19th Mar 2008, 21:45
Obviously not everyone was willing to get your sarcasm hetfield ... I think it was fine though.

19th Mar 2008, 21:45
Sorry guys/gals to be sarcastic.

This discussion I guess, is one of the most frequent in pprune and therefore it's hard to be serious.

Luke SkyToddler
19th Mar 2008, 21:50
1. The layout of airbus documentation is a bloody rat's nest. You are never truly confident that you've found the answer to your question / fully completed a procedure on this aircraft, until you've completed the ECAM, cross checked with the QRH (which is twice the size of most other aircraft QRHs and it's in a totally frustrating random order in any case), then fire up the laptop to check the current OEBs, check the FCOM, and then the company ops manual. Why can't everything be in one place? Wasn't the original concept that everything would be built into ECAM and there would be no QRH? What happened?

2. The windscreen wipers are junk, I had better ones on my 40-year old Ford Cortina.

3. The managed descent profile - who the hell programmed that thing and if you get an early step descent (say from 390 to 310 when you're still 200 miles away from destination), why is the pink donut so bloody determined that it has to maintain target of 500 fpm and 250 kts the entire rest of the way to the threshold?

19th Mar 2008, 23:27
After flying several years on an Airbus and now going "back" to a conventional jet, I must say that I don't get used to moving throttles and yokes! :eek: I'm not joking.

I agree that moving throttles give you a tactile feedback, but somehow this moving throttles are not reacting timely, sometimes the thrust is one click away from the desired position, and I basically have to override the thing (which most people do). So for me an autothrottle is not auto but rather a support - throttlesupport. Only Airbus has Autotrust, i.e. it's automatic.

Same valid for the sidestick. It's by far the most adequate way for pilots input. Ever seen a fighter jet or a glider plane with a yoke?? :hmm:

Finally I set up a theory that it's not the Airbus way that gives pilots a problem, it's the habit of pilots, because they learned it the other way. If every aircraft would be like an Airbus, nobody would have a problem.


Dream Land
20th Mar 2008, 02:44
It was obviously a sarcastic post but completely missed it last night, apologies. :\

20th Mar 2008, 15:12
Strongresolve, you have done this kind of bitching and whining on some other thread. It is getting boring. If you hate it that much being an instructor on the Airbus, and with you showing that you obviously have not understood what the machine is about, maybe you should take it to the unemployment office afterall. Right now there are millions of jobs everywhere.


20th Mar 2008, 15:32
One of the early adopters of the first free range A-320s, via a now very defunct outfit, I only had 100 hrs on early type before the outfit went zot, so it's barely acceptable for me to scribble a by-line here.

However . .

All my flying career I hand flew to TOC, inserted to cruise micro-trimmed, and plugged in George for the rest of the way, with 20 minute re-trims. This kept me in tune with the overall envelope of every type.

But when trying this (then) on the early A320, I discovered that there was a steady pitch-up of approx 1 degree/min, which was neutralized with approx 10g fwd pressure on the stick. Little finger, holding light fwd pressure: measured later on scales at home. This was 'standard' on 9 of out of our 12 ships, i.e., all those I got flew.

It was my suspicion that this was a deliberate program branch to cause old fogies like me to cease & desist messing with the programme-meister's concepts of how an aircraft should be flown.

Is this pitch-up effect still observable in the current Airbus operating systems?

Some of their thoughts I seconded - amazingly, it suddenly became OK to accept a V overshoot, say on climb/descent, instead of having to slam the pax between floor and roof as some old ex-Spitfire types used to do, chasing +/- 5 kts.

Other observations - I >loved, loved, loved< the side-stick, having flown-up on the Victa Airtourer in Oz, with it's single sentral (sic) s'equally super sensitive 'side' stick. The only logical place to have one, I reckon. The table? Dreams-ville. The early programming? It must have been improved by now. Surely? Trust it? No. But then I didn't trust Boeing motorcycle rated 20 minute batteries either, or F-108 and later flight instruments to tell me they'd failed: or DC-9 auto-coupled approaches: etc, etc. I won't go on, it would be boring. But everyone surely seeks the possible flaws in their current mount, and plans defenses as best as they can.

When Airbus A-3xx is good, she seems to be very, >very< good, but I suspect when she is bad she may well be horrid, given the complexity of software and the almost infinitude of possible permutations and possibilities in the multiplicity of networked boxes. Thus the monster QRH, most likely. Ever tried to write a software manual? It's hard not to finish up gross trying to cover all possibilities. Keep an aviator's overview might cover most possiblilities, hopefully.

20th Mar 2008, 18:23
The pitch-up is on every Airbus with FBW. Since they are trying to keep 1 g (earth accelleration), they always want to give you some extra g. On bigger altitudes, g is lower as it is in other parts of the world.

As an airline pilot I have to give you the advise: Hand flying is a good thing, but not until cruise altitude. Apart from being illegal concerning RVSM, you are moving much too close to the cuffin corner. It's good airmanship to let him fly from around Mach transition.

While in my company it is 100 ft... :oh:


20th Mar 2008, 20:41
"(BTW: I fly 95% of the approaches with A/P, A/T and F/d's off)"


In the congested airport environment, you are keeping your F/O's work load very high making radio calls, resetting altitudes and airspeeds, and running the checklist. I am sure if your company is like mine you back up every approach with the available ILS. So who is looking out the windshield? Not you, you're looking at the screens. Not your F/O because he is because he is too busy with the above.

I can see hand flying some of the time but 95%?

10yr 320 CA

21st Mar 2008, 01:20

Finally I set up a theory that it's not the Airbus way that gives pilots a problem, it's the habit of pilots, because they learned it the other way. If every aircraft would be like an Airbus, nobody would have a problem.

So who really has created the problem?
Pilots were here before Airbus.
May be that mean that Airbus doesnt want normal pilots to fly their planes? Want they a new kind of operator/Manager?
Dont know, but some of you have points.

Probably you have to study and play a lot to love the plane, and change your training or operating phylosophy.
Probably, sooner or later, you will like or fall in love with the plane.
And probably a very few of you will end with your heart broken, because is some conditions this machine is not a fair lover. I have seen it betraying some of itīs uncoditional supporters.
But let it go, is a ramdom thing.
I have my opinion, hope I can change my mind in the future, but I will continue with my criticism. Itīs an escape valve.

21st Mar 2008, 09:33
Some like this


others like that


21st Mar 2008, 12:37
excerpts from a paper by someone who left his prejudices behind :
..." Historically in commercial aviation, differing design philosophies were usually successful in practice, without one being "better" or "worse" than the other. One manufacturer's hype against the design philosophies of the other has usually served the industry poorly, leading to mis-informed public and industry opinion...

...Designing for the past or the future? Designing an aircraft with the objective of the highest levels of efficiency can mean that differences in operational techniques are inevitable. To design the private car of today so that it handles like a model T Ford or a Morris Oxford could be considered to be inappropriate and ridiculous. New operational techniques had to be learnt in the past, when straight wings became swept, and jets replaced piston engines. In all of these cases, sometimes traumatic adjustments had to be made...

... In recent years, manufacturers have indeed involved pilots in design, but "which pilots?" Flight crew are conservative by nature, a healthy trait in normal flight operations, but the employment of senior pilots to recommend future design solutions is likely to result in more of the same. Manufacturers should be careful to select experienced pilots who can abandon "mind sets", and visualise the best solutions in new arenas with open minds. These pilots may not always be younger, but should certainly be pilots who are experienced enough to understand the practical issues, with a blend of the qualities necessary to contribute effectively to design teams...

...The contemporary aircraft designer has deliberately severed a number of traditional man-machine connections in areas where computers can manage systems more efficiently than people. The first of these was the FMS (Flight Management System), which forced the pilot to "work through a keyboard". The increased "space" that this automation gives the crew to manage the operation is now well known and welcomed. Pilots have been "unloaded" to allow them to monitor the "big picture" more effectively. The intent has been to reduce human error in systems management, and although there have been some negative outcomes of these developments, effective training has generally been able to neutralise these effects, and support the intended gains.

... An example of a what could be described as a designer-severed interface can be found in the "normal lawote functions of Airbus A319/A320/A321/A330/A340 flight control system. This was designed for simplification of control, to improve efficiency, and to protect the airframe. (This philosophy is hardly new in earlier military aircraft design. Neither, when applied to other systems on airliners. Remember that the first anti-skid systems stopped the brakes operating against the order of the pilot. Who would like to return to the days of skidding on wet runways? Remember the early jet engines without acceleration control units. Who would like to return to the " flame-out on thrust application" of days gone by? Must we be allowed to overstress or stall our aircraft?).

...In "normal law" on the Airbus fly-by-wire types the pilot cannot stall, overstress, overbank, or overspeed the aircraft. Is this, as industry commentators have said, such a bad thing for pilots? The pilot flying an "envelope-protected" aircraft can suddenly apply maximum control at any speed, calling upon the lightning response of computers to fly his machine precisely around the edge of the flight envelope. The pilot can instantly place the aircraft in the optimum and most efficient avoidance maneuver possible. His or her chances of avoiding collision with terrain or other aircraft are far higher than is possible through human manipulative skill alone. The pilot still chooses to act, applies control input; and IS in control. He or she simply utilises the most precise tool available - the computer. A simple collision avoidance maneuver in the Airbus simulator, flown by a non-type qualified pilot, or even a non-pilot, convincingly demonstrates the skill level required: NIL!..

...Feedback in autothrust - a "designer-severed interface"? As a result of the reliable mechanically linked autothrust systems of the last generation of airliners, pilots have become used to getting a sense of performance trend through throttle/thrust lever movement (in autothrust). For many pilots, this has become, almost indiscernibly, primary performance feedback. "Moving lever" autothrust systems have therefore encouraged pilots to look at the throttles/thrust levers for feedback, rather than the airspeed indicator and trend arrows. This imperceptible, but progressively learnt, behavior has lead to some strong pilot paradigms on this subject. The designers of the A319,320,321,330,340 airliners have eliminated the need to sense performance from throttle/thrust lever movement. Pilots on these types must now look directly, without distraction, at the most accurate source of feedback; aircraft performance. (We should be reminded that in one of the most critical events where feedback is essential to a pilot, engine failure just above V1, a conventional thrust lever tells a pilot that the engine is still running!)...

...Mind sets must be changed (paradigms must be shifted). An early entry to the aviation paradigm line book, from a senior military officer in the twenties: -"Monoplanes will never take over from biplanes; less that two wings will not be acceptable to us." It is often difficult to understand and accept new concepts in design, especially without practical experience of the concept in action...

...A new man-machine relationship. It is most important for transitioning pilots to understand the fundamental conceptual changes. The traditional decision-making loop from stored mental systems knowledge - to pilot action, is now replaced by a code of conduct between man and machine. The designed protocols for ECAM/EFIS interaction are dominant features to understand, and these new behavioral codes for new generation pilots must be understood far more thoroughly than the internal workings of the systems which these protocols are designed to manage. The key to the effective handling of complex systems failures is to have an overall understanding of system architecture, dominated by a thorough understanding of the designed management disciplines required to handle the abnormality effectively. The latter part of this equation has a great deal more to do with task sharing, communication, and the effective use of resources, by two pilot crews (CRM), than technical expertise...

...Technical knowledge. If during training, pilots insist on a depth of technical knowledge which is traditional for conventional types, they will require training programmes extending to multiples of current transition course lengths. If pilots perceive that they still need to know the systems in traditional detail, they run the risks generated by changes to software (altering system function), and saturation during the management of complex abnormalities. Results from surveys indicate that some pilots feel that the operation of a high technology aircraft reduces systems knowledge. This is in fact true, but on the more advanced aircraft it is the designers intent! It must be stressed that the "high tech pilot" must now have a firm grasp of design concepts and protocols rather than detail which cannot be influenced..."

The author is John Bent, ex CPA Flight Training Manager, Founder of GeCAT HKG and promoter of another TWO TRTOs for China.
The whole article, "Training for New Technology" can be found here (http://www.crm-devel.org/resources/paper/bent.htm)

Chris Scott
21st Mar 2008, 13:07
Quote from sudden Winds [Mar19/05:33, #9]:
The other thing I really hate is that stupid "retard" call out at 20 feet (10 ft for autoland)...Mr John Airbus, we know we have to retard the thrust levers, thank u..we ainīt that stoopid. It just bothers me because I like to hear the RA call outs as I look at the middle of the rwy to achieve a smooth centered landing.

It’s not a question of being stupid. Pilots are human and, sooner or later, even the near-perfect among us will neglect to do something fundamentally important.

And, let’s face it, remembering to close the throttles/thrust levers on touchdown is very important on the Airbus, with its non-driven throttle levers, when you are using A/Thr. [For the uninitiated, they are both in the CLB-thrust detent throughout the approach in A/Thr.] The A/Thr will, of course, select idle for you, which gives an aural signal that all is normal; so no warning there.

What happens next will depend partly on your airline’s SOP for selection of reverse thrust. If the latter is to be performed by the PNF, it will be natural for the PF to remove his/her hand from the throttles on touchdown. If the throttles are still in the CLB detent, the PNF’s hand may arrive at the throttles in a manner unsuited to the necessity to CLOSE them first, then select reverse. In a dimly-lit cockpit on a dark, foggy night, there is a high risk of throttle mis-selection by the PNF in the event that they have been left in the CLB detent, particularly on a rough runway.

My preference is for the PF to select ‘his’ own reverse, which ameliorates the above scenario. Unfortunately, my own airline went down the road of delegating the task to the PNF; in the interests of cross-type standardisation. Some airlines even give the PNF autonomy to decide WHEN reverse is selected; thus presenting the PF with a fait-accompli (i.e., denying the PF the possibility of a go-around) once he/she has first removed hand from the throttles.

The “Retard” auto-callout has to cover the range of A/Thr landings from manual/calm/CAVOK to Autoland/Cat3B. In fog, when landing is more or less assured, as in the case of “NO” Decision Height, there may be time to remind yourself, just before the flare, that you must not forget to close the throttles on touchdown. In marginal Cat3A conditions, with a DH of (say) 50ft, there is even more scope for it to be forgotten.

In 14 years on type, the ‘Retard’ auto-callout never annoyed me; but it certainly seemed a very perceptive description of some of the guys I flew with! ;) If you want an occasional break from the ‘Gringo’, of course, you can use manual thrust − weather and SOPs permitting. Manual Thrust is one of the best features of the Airbus.

Doug the Head
21st Mar 2008, 13:27
The Autothrust is the only thing I don't like on the Scarebus.

It's slow, it's behind, it chases speed at times (like just before the flare) when you least want it and because of the idea behind those non-moving thrust levers, it makes it hard to take over.

They make great tables though! :)

21st Mar 2008, 15:48
What dont I like of the Bus?

Dont even bloodey THINK about gettin ME started!! :*

(railroaded) A320 Capt :ugh:

Tommy Tipee
21st Mar 2008, 21:16
The only thing wrong with the Airbus is that it can fly at night!

22nd Mar 2008, 19:49
The Bus is great machine :ok:
But could be soooo much better :D

Chris Scott to close the throttles/thrust levers on touchdown is very important on the Airbus...
Yeah, it sure is important... the only thing is that you don't have to accomplish the task of disconnecting A/THR or whatever it's called on other aircraft = most of them do this automatically upon touchdown.
Take your typical other of a kind modern aircraft, advance the throttle levers at takeoff, and, in ideal conditions, next time you will move them is after landing. No semi automatic gimmicks like climb and retard...
Personal note: F4F bears no relation to any military craft, thank God :rolleyes:

Dani While in my company it is 100 ft......
Well, enjoy 2L :E
The positive is that you're flying an aircraft that, in my humble view, made the best of man-machine integration. Enjoy being in the loop and working as a pilot again :D

live 2 fly 2 live

22nd Mar 2008, 20:35
..........F4F bears no relation to any military craft, thank God........

A little OFF Topic, just for me, why that expression above? Any experience at F4F is obviously denied. So how you know? Or against all military flying? Than you missed something (not the military part necessarily but the type of flying!)

Back to the AIRBUS ( myself more than 5.000 hours in command)
Itīs a great airplane, if you accept the philosophy and the operational procedures!
Yes, the autothrust with the CFM engines is not that wonderful. From my memory and personal observation the autothrust at the IAE engine worked more precise.

AIRBUS, an airplane for a new generation of pilot and his job to be done! :D

22nd Mar 2008, 22:45

Kraut, I flew also both CFM and IAE versions. I prefer the CFM any time. OK, the engine is old and drinks oil like some of their pilots the beer after check-out :uhoh:

CFM are spooling up much earlier. I was really frightened sometimes when IAE undershoot minimum speeds sometimes. The motoring time of the old IAE's is also tremendously slow. When I moved back to F100, I couldn't believe how fast an engine can be started.

F4F, military flying gives you some of the nicest aviation background you can get - I would never want to miss it. Yes, I enjoy the F100, is much better than Airbus, just getting a bit old and cockpit space not better than a Boeing :E


23rd Mar 2008, 22:22
"(BTW: I fly 95% of the approaches with A/P, A/T and F/d's off)"


In the congested airport environment, you are keeping your F/O's work load very high making radio calls, resetting altitudes and airspeeds, and running the checklist. I am sure if your company is like mine you back up every approach with the available ILS. So who is looking out the windshield? Not you, you're looking at the screens. Not your F/O because he is because he is too busy with the above.

I can see hand flying some of the time but 95%?

10yr 320 CA

Well, I fly to the European holiday destinations. It's not really very busy at those airports and very often the weather is nice. My home base is Brussels, and we land outside peak hours most of the times.

95 % will not be far off and... you know what. I'm not the only one in the company doing that. Most cpt's and F/O's are doing exactly the same!
Personal minima: Cloudbase reported below 500 ft> I'll leave the A/P (not A/T) in until visual and keep the F/D on. And on the few occasions we fly to busy airports like Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London or similar I'll probably leave everything on until established on the ILS.

I do realise I'm lucky to fly in a company that still encourages handflying a lot.
I can assure you the routine sim JAR OPC with handflown engine-out app's is a piece of cake for most of us.
Regards, Sabenaboy

Dan Winterland
24th Mar 2008, 01:41
Oh good. Just what pprune needs. Another Airbus vs Boeing thread!

I was a Boeing to Airbus convert and I went to the 'bus with an open mind. Much of this topic concentrates on the non moving thrust levers. What pilots need to remember is that they do move - if you move them! One of the things Airbus tell you when you start the course is that the aircraft can be flown like any other. Disengage the A/T, you have conventional thrust levers! And if the A/T is in, you have enough information from the FMAs and the Engine Display to know what is going on. I did miss the thrust levers moving underneath my hand at first, but not for long.

What I did have to do to understand what was happeing was re-educate myself on what the thrust levers were with the A/T in. They are effectively thrust mode switches, much in the same way that THR switch is on the Boeing MCP, except they work in the same way thrust levers usually do and are therefore much more intuitive.

A convert - and happy!

BTW, I never did find anyone who could really explain that Boeing THR button.

26th Mar 2008, 17:01
For many pilots, this has become, almost indiscernibly, primary performance feedback. "Moving lever" autothrust systems have therefore encouraged pilots to look at the throttles/thrust levers for feedback, rather than the airspeed indicator and trend arrows. This imperceptible, but progressively learnt, behavior has lead to some strong pilot paradigms on this subject. The designers of the A319,320,321,330,340 airliners have eliminated the need to sense performance from throttle/thrust lever movement. Pilots on these types must now look directly, without distraction, at the most accurate source of feedback; aircraft performance. (We should be reminded that in one of the most critical events where feedback is essential to a pilot, engine failure just above V1, a conventional thrust lever tells a pilot that the engine is still running!)...

Thatīs really true?
I think he wanted to say just the opposite.
In this Aircraft pilots using A/THR doesnt look or look very little at the speed indicator on final approach, and I can say more, usually they look only few times at the speed tape during all the approach, and only when they select another speed in the FCU. I watch this tedency every time in the sim. They have to force to keep looking, and they are not new in the aircraft, some of them have been flying the A320 for 8 years.
In final approach they just look at the runway, because they suppose that the A/THR system is going to keep their speed within limits.
In other aircraft I didnt see this thing. Pilot looked at the speed indicators and tendency vectors, and made corrections with the throttle levers if the autothrottle was disengaged. But in this plane a lot of people have this problem or tendency.
I must recognize, when acting as PF, I have to force myself to look at the speed tape very often, because the aircraft feedback doesnt invite me to do so.

This aircraft also makes me to look very little at the engine indicators, because when in other aircraft you got a clear reference of the N1 or EPR for final approach with gear down and flaps full, and itīs normally the same, or around the same value, in this A/C the engine N1 indicators are moving everytime, because they are trying to adjusto to the speed, if not the changing Gs mini, that is very dificult to follow for the A/THR system it self. So when a look at the EICAS on a windy or turbulent day I get lost, because I only se the N1 going up and down. (I talking about standar convective turbulence, the usual that we have here in spain, when I find authentic turbulence I fly with the A/THR off because it becomes crazy)

Airbus and EADS phylosophers can present this as pure gold and the most advance system, and say and repeat time after time that you need to switch your mind to operate this aircraft, but the true is that this is not the best system for a human, or a standar trained pilot. Yes this is very advanced, probably I dont need the feedback the 80% of the time, but I need it for the other 20%, when the weather is not good or I must face strong crosswinds.

Ok. You can disconnect the throttles, but I face another problem, my company SOPīs doesnt promote the use of manual Throttles, arging that is safer to keep it automatic, because they have detected deficiencies in some approaches using manual throttles.

My company fly to dificult places, like Pamplona, La Coruņa, Bilbao, Tenerife North and La Palma. Some with short runways, in places with not so good weather, and some of them within mountains. I feeled more confortable going this places with the B757 that with the A320, but this is only my opinion.

More, the other big spanish company, Iberia, is also having problems with their big A340. They also are promoting to have the A/THR always connected, because some some of their pilots produced hard landings operating with the thrust manually, although they also had hard landings with the A/THR connected, like the one in Quito that ended with a written off aircraft. (In the Quito accident the A/THR was connected during all the approach.)

Going back to the beginning of this reply, dont tell me that the A/THR of this plane is going to solve man machine comunication problems, It has solve nothing and probalby created problems to people like me while I struggle to change my mind.:ugh: Itīs the same but different, but personally, I prefer the moving ones.

26th Mar 2008, 17:38
Very good observation strongresolve, interesting post. I too must admit, on the 737 my eyes were on the speed all the time, the changes in thrustlever motion prompt you to do so. Less so on the bus, I admit in shame.