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View Full Version : Merged: To hand fly, or use the automatics?


Tee Emm
9th Jan 2010, 02:19
Once again Australian domestic airlines are recruiting and general aviation pilots are realising their dreams of being in a front seat of a 737 or A320. A user-pays type rating follows. Chances are the new hire will never have seen such wonderfully accurate automation which makes the type rating a breeze providing he or she studies hard at the books. Of the total simulator lessons covering the type rating it is estimated ninety percent of each lesson will involve automation in some form or another. Mostly the type rating will be on automatic pilot because that's the way things are taught nowadays.

Inevitably, the new and enthusiastic hands-on former Metro or Chieftain pilot will learn to fly the 737 or A320 on autopilot with incredible skill. He will become an expert at the knack of fast typing, picture building on MAP and listening to the radio simultaneously. Within a few weeks of completing line training he will be flying into familiar airports around Australia and will learn how to type his way into downwind and fly a visual circuit all on autopilot.

Exciting new navigation systems allow him to "build" a circuit like an artist paints a canvas. A dob of speed paint here, a light brush of altitude restriction there, a joining of waypoint dots at the beginning of the downwind leg leading to another waypoint three miles abeam the threshold and a further VOR distance and bearing waypoint just before base and a beautifully placed waypoint on long final completes the MAP picture. Picasso could never match this MAP as a thing of beauty. No need to look outside on a sunny day. Trust the MAP and TCAS says one experienced captain. . . With a quiet gasp of wonder the new pilot watches the aircraft symbol slow up quite safely as the flaps extend and in-built slow speed protection keeps disaster away - not like some macho bogans who to risk lives of passengers by stupid hand flying.

The picture continues as final flap is selected and now the new pilot gets as near to hand flying as he dares by twiddling the VS mode wheel to hold the PAPI and watches the beautiful smooth operation of the thrust levers. Regretfully he lifts his eyes from the MAP and it's beautiful colours and sadly accepts that like a lovingly fashioned sand castle on the beach his MAP picture will vanish disappear forever after the touch down. He knows the critical moment must arrive when he must disconnect the autopilot at 300 feet and actually fly his way to the threshold with nervous fingers on the controls. . Commonsense prevails so he leaves the flight director and automatic throttle engaged - just in case of a go-around caused by a straying donkey cocking a leg on a runway light at the 1000 ft marker. I kid you not. This happened at Apia in Samoa not too many years back and the landing 737 was a wipe out not to mention the poor bloody beast who was hit to leg in more ways than one. So a new pilot can't be too careful if forced to actually hand fly on short final. If not a stray donkey it could be a stray drunk weaving across the runway to his village on Nauru.

This then is your future as an airline pilot. Good pay, beautiful female flight attendants (male if that is your preference), the cockpit door securely locked against the great thonged black singlet hairy leg mob down the back who pay your wages. And best of all beautiful and awe inspiring automation to make flying safer.

But a hint for the new pilot once lined trained. Never ask the captain if he minds if you try your hand at hand flying unless it is the first few hundred feet after lift off and the last few hundred feet on final. Some captains are so terrified of rocking the airline boat by allowing hand flying that even a meek request to turn off the flight director CAVOK will surely bring down God's wrath and the risk of censure.

Eventually your enthusiasm for the wonders of automation will wane. You will soon bore of jetting between Adelaide and Perth, Melbourne to Canberra or Cairns to Townsville. In the cockpit talk turns to mates now flying for Cathay, Emirates, Dragonair and Singapore Airlines. Great destinations, long stop-overs, big bucks salaries and a never ending supply of exotic nubiles at the end of the day. A rugged life style of course - but bearable.

Fond memories of when you were a real pilot in GA flogging a radarless, buggered, and unreliable autopilot equipped Chieftain into Black Stump airport back of Bourke in a dust storm, will come back to haunt you like mirage of beautiful women of which 72 were virgins of your choice. Very rare back of Bourke - virgins that is. Alas you are hooked forever on automation and it is with sadness you think that never again will you be a real pilot with real handling skills. You are now a three bar rank systems status monitor. Don't tell women that of course - they think you are still a pilot..

Levity aside, a point needs to be made. There is no doubt that for the newly recruited airline pilot in Year 2010, like his compatriots in the years before, the total accent on automation in the cockpit means confidence in your own ability to pole a 737 or A320 by hand, will fade away.

The next step in this insidious process is you begin to believe what your check pilots and instructors will tell you - that your hand flying brings with it the risks of "overloading" the chap in the other seat. Think of the passengers down the back says the check captain. - would they appreciate your sad efforts at hand flying where your over-controlling on the wheel makes them airsick?

Soon you will find yourself knocking back the offer from another captain to hand fly a descent using the old fashioned DME versus descent profile. Rather than risk embarrassing yourself by admitting you haven't a clue how to fly a profile on basics (as against FMC derived), you will pretend that hand flying basics is for idiots or the overconfident.

By now the rot has set in. You have now lost confidence in yourself and you settle for the baby sitting comfort of the fabulous automatic pilot. Then one fine day you are at last promoted to captain. Small flecks of stiff white hair appear at your nostrils and your steely blue eyes take on the narrow killer look of the experienced autopilot monitor.

A young and new keen first officer just out of Alteon asks your permission to fly a visual approach into Hobart without FMC guidance. He was always a rebel at Alteon. In other words Mark 1 eyeball, DME versus height, eyes outside the cockpit looking for traffic and with flight director and autothrottle turned off. In the eyes of the new first officer you are Captain God and whatever you say must be the good gen. So he believes you when you say in that authoritive voice " Stick to the automatics son - its safer. Pure flying skills are for the birds".

The Green Goblin
9th Jan 2010, 02:45
Pure gold mate, pure gold!

Wiley
9th Jan 2010, 02:59
So now I know I'm not paranoid - some *** has placed a bug my living room and has been recording all my rantings.

Well written, and all so distressingly true, Tee Emm.

flamingmoe
9th Jan 2010, 03:18
Well written, and alarmingly accurate.

But it's saturday in the middle of summer mate, crack a beer and enjoy yourself for god's sake! :ok:

Lucius Vorenus
9th Jan 2010, 03:30
Tee Emm,

A well put argument! I concur that pure piloting skills have been eroded but what has replaced them?

Could it be improved management skills, situational awareness and extra layers of protection?

Yes, I have done all the things to which you allude. I have flown, (and stuffed up) raw DME arrivals, manual climbs departures etc etc. Yes, it is possible to still do them but to what point? Yes, if my poor neglected ego required boosting I would get great satisfaction out of doing without all of the modern aids; and perhaps my companions on the flight deck might be admiring perhaps not. But what would I be missing?

Would I, whilst hand-flying the ENTRA departure out of YSSY with NADP1 procedure, 5000' level off with multiple TCAS traffic and weather be in risk of flap overspeed or missing the 5000' level off? These have both happened.

Would I be in danger of missing visual traffic at Cambridge or missing the Company speed restrictions because I'm too busy mentally calculating my DME distance versus altitude or "eyeballing" my profile to the runway. Both of these have happened too.

The point is that the days of requiring sublime raw piloting skills are gone, sadly, and nothing can bring them back. The trainers (and I am not one) are correct. Use the automatics to their full extent and manage the situation.

Become an expert if you like at flying the aircraft on finals and managing it everywhere else, because that is what we are paid to do...to reduce risk. Everytime we hand-fly we significantly reduce the monitoring we are providing of the situation and this increases the risk. These are not the 60's or the 70's or even the 80's. Move on and accept the need for change.

With best wishes,

LV.

Jetsbest
9th Jan 2010, 04:04
Does anyone think automation would have helped Chesley Sullenberger?

Rare as "the Hudson" event was his book offers, I think, valuable and incisive observations about piloting skills and their erosion in modern airline aviation.

Tee Emm
9th Jan 2010, 04:52
Rare as "the Hudson" event was his book offers, I think, valuable and incisive observations about piloting skills and their erosion in modern airline aviation.The book "Highest Duty" by the captain of the Hudson River A320 ditching, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger is worth every cent of it's cost to buy in Australia. He covers not only the tale of his ditching, but brings a depth of flying wisdom that all pilots should aspire to. If "Handling the Big Jets" by D.P Davies the British test pilot, is still considered one of the best flying books written, then Sullenberger's book is well up there, too.

Forgive me if a quote a few extracts from "Sully's" book that I feel is pertinent to this thread on automation. In some instances they are edited for brevity and Pprune space but this does not dilute their valuable sentiments.
Here goes: Quote in part:

"I've come across a number of people over the years who think that modern airplanes, with all their technology and automation, can almost fly themselves. That's simply not true. Automation can lower the workload in some cases. But in other situations, using automation when it is not appropriate can increase one's workload. A pilot has to know how to use a level of automation that is appropriate.....one well known USAF pilot renowned for his work in helping us understand aviation safety made an appearance at a forum in which another speakers topic was "the role of the pilot in the automated cockpit". When it was Dr Wiener's turn to speak (he was the former USAF pilot), he noted, wryly but rightly, that the session should have been called "the role of automation in the piloted cockpit".

How many different levels of technology do you want to place between your brain and the control surfaces? The plane is never going somewhere on its own without you. It's always going where you tell it to go. A computer can only do what it is told what to do. The choice is: Do I tell it to do something by pushing on a control stick with my hand, or do I tell it to do something by using some intervening technology?

Take for instance a last minute runway change. In the old days you could easily tune your radio navigation receiver to the frequency for the approach to a different runway. Now it might take ten or twelve presses of buttons on the computer to arrange for a runway change. Automated airplanes with the highest technologies do not eliminate errors. They change the nature of the errors made. For example, in terms of navigational errors, automation enables pilots to make huge navigation errors very precisely. I am not not anti-technology. But technology is no substitute for experience, skill and judgement..".
............................................................ ....................................................

A37575
9th Jan 2010, 05:02
Yes, if my poor neglected ego required boosting

Some may say the issue of hand flying is about a pilot's personal ego trip. Horses for courses. Others may see it as the pursuit of excellence - surely a more worthy cause?

Metro man
9th Jan 2010, 05:19
So true what the man says, but airspace today is not designed around hand flying. Try a missed approach at some airports (Macau runway 34), it's a challenge simply reading it out let alone doing it manually even in an EFIS equipped aircraft. Analogue instruments ? Good luck:\

I have been picked up by Hong Kong ATC because our mode C altitude read out was ONE HUNDRED FEET off the assigned level. RVSM, RNP and saturated airspace around major airports all favour automatics.

Flying a B707 into New York Idlewild airport in the early 1960s was the time for manual flying. Complex arrival into Hong Kong, number nine in sequence ? I'd rather everyone was using their automatics to their full capability.

Aerozepplin
9th Jan 2010, 05:34
Train drivers in my city use lovely high(ish) tech semi-automatic brakes but are required to use the old style direct acting ones at least once a trip to ensure competency if they're required. Relevant?

PLovett
9th Jan 2010, 06:59
In one Australian capital city two very talented engineering graduates have built a B737 simulator. They used a cockpit salvaged from a yard in the US and hooked the computers up themselves. It is fixed but has a vision system and has a world wide data base.

Now to the point. It is interesting to note the number of pilots who while overnighting in said city avail themselves of this simulator, which is now on offer to the public, to have pure fun.

The skill level shown in hand flying circuits in such places as Queenstown, Kai Tak (yes its still got that one in it) is quite astonishing.

Mr.Buzzy
9th Jan 2010, 07:48
Now to the point. It is interesting to note the number of pilots who while overnighting in said city avail themselves of this simulator, which is now on offer to the public, to have pure fun.

Interesting indeed...... Beer and boobie bars are my idea of "pure fun" on overnights.

bbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbbzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

eocvictim
9th Jan 2010, 08:00
Hard to let go of the dream but too many guys tell me this story and for a little more than I'm on now its worth giving up on the airlines.

Cypher
9th Jan 2010, 08:15
So with all this reliance on automation in the piloted flight deck...

Why then is the Autopilot and the Autothrottle INCLUDED in the dispatch deviation guide. We are allowed to dispatch an aircraft (B737 NG), although with some limitations, without these systems which many, now days, find to be such critical systems. Maybe the way things are going, We won't be able to dispatch without these systems.

When the time comes when one has to dispatch without said systems, is that the time to be having to 'relearn' such skills again at such short notice. Or would it be better to keep honing such skills for when they are needed.

Nobody is saying hand fly the departure out of Sydney or the missed approach out of Macau. Yes, they are complicated procedures, and the use of automation is warranted.. Common sense one would hope would mean that one would pick the best time and place to practice such skills, not during the thick of it.

A captain once said to me "The public pays for LNAV/VNAV with an autocoupled ILS..."
My response to that is "That the public pays for a competent pilot"

And I think that one thing a competent pilot has is manual flying skills that can be called upon when required and bring them [the public] down safely when the worse case scenairo happens.

Van Gough
9th Jan 2010, 08:23
[QUOTE]Interesting indeed...... Beer and boobie bars are my idea of "pure fun" on overnights./QUOTE]


Couldn't agree more. And with regards to the automatics sentiments, whatever makes my job easier the better I say. If you want to hand fly all the time, take up gliding or something.:ok:

The Bunglerat
9th Jan 2010, 09:30
with regards to the automatics sentiments, whatever makes my job easier the better I say. If you want to hand fly all the time, take up gliding or something.

I'll second that! It's not that I can't hand-fly a jet (because I can), nevertheless after being up since 4AM and doing a 12-hr tour of duty with four to five sectors, or maybe the SYD-PER-MEL "redeye" to quote another example, quite frankly I'm too knackered.

That said, I agree that over-reliance on automatics can be fraught with danger. An example that comes to mind is on descent to the destination (whilst already hot and high), only to be given track shortening at the last moment. I've seen more than a few of my partners in crime work themselves into a frenzy, with fingers moving at light-speed across the myriad of buttons on the glareshield as they try to salvage the descent/approach profile. All of a sudden, an already high workload is pushed over the edge - and personally I find it much easier to just disconnect everything at that point and do it the old-fashioned way (although that typically means the other guy is working pretty hard to keep up with mode selections whilst you hand-fly, but such is life).

On the other hand, I'm only too happy to build a circuit in the "box" for a late arrival into Hobart, as my faith in LNAV/VNAV at that time of night is a lot stronger than faith in my own ability to fly a safe and tidy circuit when I'm struggling to keep my eyes open due to fatigue.

In the end, I believe good airmanship dictates that a pilot be able to utilise EVERY available resource to do his/her job to the highest possible standard - whether manual or automatic.

parabellum
9th Jan 2010, 10:29
In order to get yourself out of trouble, on a dirty wet night, on something like a B737-200 then Yes, a high degree of hand flying skills is necessary as the 'automatics' on a -200 are laughable.

The more sophisticated/automated the aircraft then the more knowledge and use of automatics is desirable as such an aircraft is designed to be flown automatically and recovery from abnormal ops. will be written around use of automatics, manual input could screw the whole thing up!

That said, most glass cockpits have the ability to show an HSI, DME and NDB and any pilot should maintain competency and be able to fly even the most complicated SID or approach and arrival, in IMC, by hand, provided they get the necessary support from the other seat, who must also be up to speed, unless, of course, a big heavy type note on the chart actually says word to the effect, "To be flown using only the automated systems" - Never seen such a note yet!.

ozbiggles
9th Jan 2010, 11:33
I agree with the ability to hand fly concept.
But when in a 30K endoresment from the lowest bidder, teach yourself, late at night sim course from the aircraft makers syllabus do you get to practice this art.
You don't.
Do you practice for the first time in the jet with 100 plus pax on board?
As it turns out you do, but often enough to keep current? And if it does go wrong what support will you get from the CEO?
As someone who has taught I thought the training I got in the sim was, well, to be nice could have been better......by a BIG margin

Keg
9th Jan 2010, 11:36
The over reliance on automatics that bungle rat talks about can often contribute to examples such as this:

Would I, whilst hand-flying the ENTRA departure out of YSSY with NADP1 procedure, 5000' level off with multiple TCAS traffic and weather be in risk of flap overspeed or missing the 5000' level off? These have both happened.

They've also happened because people have had it drummed into them that they need to have the automatics in for these types of departures and so they've gone for them and not been able to cope with the multiple mode changes and/or capture parameters. What drives me nuts is watching people play like liberace on the MCP when a disconnect and hand fly would deliver them a far better outcome much more quickly and with much less fuss.

So I've got no problems with people utilising the automatics to their fullest extent when appropriate but I also like people knowing how to fly the aeroplane and most importantly, knowing which of the options they should be going for given the circumstances they're faced with.

Thought provoking post by Tee Emm. Not completely right but closer to that than completely wrong.

xxgoldxx
9th Jan 2010, 13:06
you handed in the fun chips when you signed up for your 1st sim supported aircraft...

If you want to be a hand flying legend spend some of that big paycheck on a ultralight, LSA, homebuilt, whatever machine and go mad to your hearts content....

Hand flying is an essential skill and those that have respect for it will always find a way to practice..
but flying a modern RPT machine designed with FMS etc probably aint the best time...

Captain Sully I think did so well not for what he did at work but what he did in aviation outside the jet world over the years...

waren9
9th Jan 2010, 13:43
Well, I gotta say I dont especially agree with the OP. Building up a circuit in the box is for wan*ers.

Either you've got some skill or you havent. Sure, if you go on leave or fly with an autopilot a bit more you might get a bit rusty, but it can be quickly polished off.

As Sully and a couple of other posters have said, whats important is getting the level of automation right for your circumstances. Trouble (for a F/O) is, one mans (Capts) opinion on that will be different to the next.

I did the ENTRA2 for the first time today. Big f. deal. I happened to use the A/P with selected speed to achieve noise abatement and vert/speed approaching 5000'. We climbed away at 320kts and the engine note didnt change once. Seamless.

P.S. Keg, the MCP has been renamed an FCU. I'll tell you more about it one day after the F/A has delivered your crew meal to your tray table.:ok:

Put me in the hand fly if you can camp. So long as it doesnt load up the other guy unnecessarily. And yes, I do fly gliders!

DutchRoll
9th Jan 2010, 17:19
Times are changin', whether anyone likes it or not. Look at the design trends in new airliners if you don't believe me.

Of the guys who pride themselves on disconnecting and hand-flying, and are vocal on maintaining manual flying skills, I've seen an interesting mix of outcomes! Ranging from really well hand-flown approaches, to a near go-round followed by a very long landing at 5am in LHR in a 747.

Included in that is the theory that an extra 5 minutes of hand-flying on a 12 hour sector once a month is somehow going to keep their manual skills up, which is complete crap (as they discover that they're still just as rusty at it as they were the last time).

There are times to do it, and times to not. But most of all, don't bite off more than you can chew, and don't force someone else into biting off more than they can chew.

Kick, stomp, sob into your beer as much as you like, but as previously mentioned on this thread, if you're deeply concerned about it, you can always buy yourself a lightie, or at least pick the right moment to do your once a month hand flown approach.

Tiger35
9th Jan 2010, 19:20
You need to check out the RNP-AR approaches that are the latest way to squeeze a jet down a narrow valley in IMC.

They can ONLY be flown by the "automatics". The tech crew cannot fly the aircraft accurately enough to have the ANP remain within the RNP and are just very attentive witnesses to the same ride that pax are getting down the back....until the decision to land or not to land....and if you don't land the "automatics" squeeze you through the valley back to MSA or whatever your country calls it.

If you do land then the next departure will be flown by the "automatics" and squeeze you through the valleys.

Pucker factor 10 I reckon....but its authorised.....at least until the first contact with the granite.

burty
9th Jan 2010, 19:28
On the other hand, I'm only too happy to build a circuit in the "box" for a late arrival into Hobart, as my faith in LNAV/VNAV at that time of night is a lot stronger than faith in my own ability to fly a safe and tidy circuit when I'm struggling to keep my eyes open due to fatigue.

Fair enough too, it's just a shame that operators finds it acceptable to roster you in such a way that crew end up having to rely on the automatics at the end of a shift (domestic?) because they're so tired. Still, nothing new.

Why then is the Autopilot and the Autothrottle INCLUDED in the dispatch deviation guide. We are allowed to dispatch an aircraft (B737 NG), although with some limitations, without these systems which many, now days, find to be such critical systems. Maybe the way things are going, We won't be able to dispatch without these systems.

It's assumed that you have the required skills to operate sans autopilot/autothrottle no?, that was part of your training and checking? How would your op's react should you decline to dispatch in a 737 with the autopilot written up?

Hand flying skills are an important part of any crew members repertoire, for a variety of reasons, and a deliberate attempt needs to be made to maintain them.

Edited for clarity

PBN
9th Jan 2010, 19:29
Tee Emm,
Classic, well written, and so so true.:ok:

ab33t
9th Jan 2010, 20:06
Good prose

mrdeux
9th Jan 2010, 20:32
I'd don't mind FOs hand flying the aircraft...in daylight and VMC.

Interestingly though, the more they 'want' to hand fly, the less impressive it generally is. And hand in hand with that, the ones who want to hand fly, and also aren't all that good at it, also tend to be less than impressive with their manipulation of the automatics. And as a last point, they also want to do it when the conditions aren't all that appropriate.

c100driver
9th Jan 2010, 22:52
You need to check out the RNP-AR approaches that are the latest way to squeeze a jet down a narrow valley in IMC.

They can ONLY be flown by the "automatics". The tech crew cannot fly the aircraft accurately enough to have the ANP remain within the RNP and are just very attentive witnesses to the same ride that pax are getting down the back....until the decision to land or not to land....and if you don't land the "automatics" squeeze you through the valley back to MSA or whatever your country calls it.



The ANP has nothing to do with flying the aircraft it is purely a measure of position confidence of the navigation solution in the FMC. Flight Technical Error FTE is the measure of being able to fly the FMC track

Pucker factor 10 I reckon....but its authorised.....at least until the first contact with the granite

RNP AR approaches are so easy to fly that you can hand fly them without the flight director just using the noodle and good pitch control. The biggest problem for hand flying them in big hill areas is that they take such long time as the approach IAF can be at 10,000 feet or higher. As for the pucker factor, it is a big fat zero with great training and a good understanding of how it all works.

The thing is that the closest anyone has come to granite at this airport was flying the VOR departure!

The actual wording on our chart is that AP and AT are recommended in mountainous terrain.

Artificial Horizon
9th Jan 2010, 22:53
I personally quite enjoy hand flying when the opportunity presents itself, I haven't yet had a Captain refuse to allow me to hand fly. I have though on several occassions flown with people who are perhaps to eager to switch off the automatics in conditions that are not really appropriate, usually these guys come from a GA background and can't get it through their heads that they are now flying an airliner and it is not always appropriate to fly this thing like the C206 they have been flying around the outback. I can assure you 99% of the times I have seen approaches or departures result in the writing of reports for exceedences, they are off the back of a badly flown manual procedure (myself included). Also when hand flying I couldn't agree more, you should be flying by looking out the window and not trying to construct some complicated circuit in the FMGC. The dangerous people in this game are not the ones who decide to rely on automatics they are the ones that have inappropriate use of the automatics and are quite happy to say 'watch this' as they disconnect everything with weather on minima in a busy airport environment.

Centaurus
10th Jan 2010, 04:01
As a short-arsed, gone bald, hairy ears and nostrilled, beer gut type, I don't attract many compliments. And I can't get no satisfaction out of a coupled ILS and autoland and no kudos from the other pilot, either. But it sure is a nice ending to a day when you do a manually flown sans FD and AT, well executed smoothly flown ILS and landing and the other bloke says "well done, that man". :ok:

NO LAND 3
10th Jan 2010, 04:59
It comes down to an equation of risk vs reward:
Is the risk of operating with reduced automation more than offset by the benefit of maintaining a high standard of instrument flying skills?
I like poling these things around as much as anyone but I have come to the conclusion that no, with the new generation of aircraft its not justified.
My experience is that a basic level of manual flying ability is retained and available in the highly unlikely freak occurrence of loss of all autopilots, after all, every take-off and most landings are still flown manually.
With manual flying and visual apps I think you either have do it alot,eg domestic flying or military, or you pretty much avoid it as on long haul you are never going to retain the level of proficiency to make it as safe as using the automation.
Maybe the answer is for airlines to keep a Machi or PC9 available for monthly line pilot CT!

Centaurus
10th Jan 2010, 10:42
My experience is that a basic level of manual flying ability is retained and available in the highly unlikely freak occurrence of loss of all autopilots,

I seem to recall the Egyptian 737 loss of control accident when the captain thought he had the autopilot engaged after take off but it wasn't so he quickly found himself in a fatal spiral in his attempts to hand fly on instruments. Result: Hit the sea at 406 knots.

Now, about that "basic level of manual flying ability is retained and available".....!?

SeldomFixit
10th Jan 2010, 11:20
Centaurus - you are assuming it was there to begin with

Chronic Snoozer
10th Jan 2010, 12:38
You are referring to 'Flash' airlines out of Sharm el Sheikh methinks.

Capn Bloggs
10th Jan 2010, 12:49
You are referring to 'Flash' airlines out of Sharm al Sheik methinks.
And an increasing number of other accidents and near accidents where the crew could not control or did not notice the automatics had gone bananas. LOC is now the greatest killer - because pilots can't fly.

Sure it has to be at an appropriate time, but get on those controls and get that scan going again before you (and the pax close behind) become a victim of automation-capture.

Gnadenburg
10th Jan 2010, 13:14
Once technique is taught and a pilot proficient. Raw data skills in an aircraft such as Airbus are not that perishable. I don't understand why many airlines have moved away from maintaining this elemental proficiency.

And on keeping with Airbus. An aeroplane plagued by mode confusion and CFIT, we have yet another OEB, in a string of many, addressing potential failure of the flight directors in delivering correct information.

Raw data proficiency provides the ability to see through erroneous automatics which seem to be a key factor in many accidents and incidents.

Cypher
10th Jan 2010, 17:22
It's assumed that you have the required skills to operate sans autopilot/autothrottle no?, that was part of your training and checking? How would your op's react should you decline to dispatch in a 737 with the autopilot written up?

And you know what. Come to think of it, I can't think of any time during my Alteon sim course on the NG where I was able to just fly the thing without the use of Autothrottle for an entire flight. Yet I am expected to operate the aircraft with an u/s Autothrottle as permitted by the DDG.

Another accident comes to mind of Turkish Airlines Flight 1951, where the RAD ALT failed during a autocoupled approach. A major factor in the accident being the flight crew being so disconnected from what the automatics were doing that they allowed the aircraft to crash.

I have experienced a RAD ALT failure on the NG after a successful ILS capture, the autopilot disconnects after 3 seconds of the RA flag. Not a great place to be dumped into a situation where you are called upon to hand fly when you were least expecting it. Especially when most of us are so used to poling the thing around only after we're fully configured.... You soon forget how much power you've gotta apply when you select Flaps 40 when your 'doing it old school'....

My arguement - maybe we're becoming so reliant on the automatics, that we're becoming disconnected from what the aircraft is actually doing or trying to do, and that by maintaining our manual flying skills, we would be in a better place to monitor the automatics and take over when the system fails us....

Lodown
10th Jan 2010, 18:25
Perhaps it won't be too much longer and ATC will digitally be in the cockpit. A text message on the screen: "Descend FL240, turn left HDG 150, reduce speed to 260...Confirm?" Pilot hits the "Accept" button and the rest is accomplished automatically. Boring...

FlightDetent
10th Jan 2010, 19:47
unless, of course, a big heavy type note on the chart actually says word to the effect, "To be flown using only the automated systems" - Never seen such a note yet!.
There possibly cannot be a place further away than Amsterdam / Netherlands, but watch out, it may be coming.

AIP Netherlands: EHAM AD 2.22 FLIGHT PROCEDURES
RNAV: the Netherlands highly recommends the use of pre-programmed (RNAV) routes on board of aircraft. Within the TMAs these RNAV routes shall be considered as overlays of conventional routes. ...
Furthermore:
* Connect FMS as early as possible.
* Turn anticipation is mandatory for all waypoints except those which are underlined. These waypoints shall be overflown.
* ...
FD (the un-real)

kookabat
10th Jan 2010, 19:59
They more or less already are - CPDLC...

mrdeux
11th Jan 2010, 02:09
That's curious. First item of the A380 FCOM for a TCAS RA is "Autopilot (if engaged)....OFF".

Possum 15
11th Jan 2010, 02:22
However, piloting and not prose is my profession and I put it to you that:

It is essential to maintain manual flying skills to a good level (well…sorta average for me – like most of us); but flying modern airliners in complex environments demands additional skills, especially if you want to look after yourself and thereby the customers. All of those skills have been mentioned in this thread. Manual flying skills can (should) be maintained in the simulator and down-route in appropriate circumstances. Time has taught me to be a little wary of those who need to augment their ego by demonstrating their superior manipulative skills.

Son, let me show you how I can torque turn this bird…SHEEIT!!...Holy Dooley that was close! Sorry, let me buy you a beer.

Son, let’s blast off and while we are turning and you are flying I’ll put us on the standbys and if you can’t handle that then you will have to learn how to fly.

Son, let me demonstrate how these birds can stall. Don’t worry about the edge of the sky being that close – I’ll pick it up.

Son, I have flown to Hagen a thousand times and I know that gap is just the other side of that piece of cloud. I’ll put her down just above the J and we’ll squeeze through – I can do it.

Son (in this case, maybe Yani), don’t worry about the AP and the published missed approach, I’ll just wheel it round and put us back on final.

...And the music goes on and on!

If you think you recognise any of the above situations and find my interpretations offensive, I apologise. Four of the above PICs are no longer with us; I regret deeply that they are not here to pass comment. Two were definitely superior “stick men” (I knew them well). The others thought they were better than your average bear; maybe they were, but they sure should have exercised some of those aforementioned other skills.

I believe the great majority of Captains, airline training departments and operational managements do encourage us to maintain our stick-and-rudder skills - IN THE APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Gligg
11th Jan 2010, 09:10
How about a work-from-home option? Monitor from your laptop on a beach somewhere - once she's settled in the cruise, off for a splash and a cocktail!

I jest of course, but it isnt too hard to imagine Ryanair running a UAV office one day. A screen, a joystick, a coffee machine, and a room full of FMS button pushers on $25 an hour.

Centaurus
11th Jan 2010, 11:31
Extract from the FCOM of Germania Airline circa 1991. "Only under exceptional circumstances shall hand flying be permitted". Presumably the standard of their pilots was so dodgy that the company was forced to take precautionary measures to keep the pilots away from the controls.:ok:

Centaurus
11th Jan 2010, 11:36
Raw data proficiency provides the ability to see through erroneous automatics which seem to be a key factor in many accidents and incidents.

Never a truer statement..

DutchRoll
11th Jan 2010, 15:44
Totally agreed, Possum.

I think we need to be careful to distinguish between those who are trying to prove something to the other guy by disconnecting & flying, and those who are picking an appropriate time to disconnect and fly in a genuine attempt to keep their skills up.

Note I said "attempt". There are 2 a/c types in QF where the rostering situation coupled with the nature of the flying makes it virtually impossible to maintain anything resembling a high level of manual flying skills on the line. Most, except the few pilots with the uncanny talent of having superior manual flying skills permanently etched into their motor-neuron system (as opposed to the ones who think they do), just stay "rusty".

Of course this is extremely unlikely to change, as it involves the expenditure of more money.

murdoch_disliker
11th Jan 2010, 17:47
Perhaps a look at the Flash Airlines CVR transcript is worth a look, very relevant to this topic. The Captain was pleading for the A/P to engage shortly after take off, when he couldn't engage it the B737 rolled into the sea with the loss of all on board; no aircraft malfunctions at all. Thus total lack of flying skills due to automation reliance directly causing this accident.

Zapatas Blood
11th Jan 2010, 19:04
Quoting Sully.

“Now it might take ten or twelve presses of buttons on the computer to arrange for a runway change.”

Not in the A320, which Sully has been flying for many years. A runway change if done smartly, can be achieved in the press of 3 MCDU buttons and is much easier than re tuning an ILS in a steam driven aircraft.

“An example that comes to mind is on descent to the destination (whilst already hot and high), only to be given track shortening at the last moment. I've seen more than a few of my partners in crime work themselves into a frenzy, with fingers moving at light-speed across the myriad of buttons on the glareshield as they try to salvage the descent/approach profile. All of a sudden, an already high workload is pushed over the edge - and personally I find it much easier to just disconnect everything at that point and do it the old-fashioned way”

Bunglerat, what exactly does hand flying the jet achieve that the autopilot can’t when left hot and high? Can your arms extract a little more speed brake deflection than George can?

A lot of the issues discussed here arise from poor training and lack of understanding how the automated systems work.

Artificial Horizon
11th Jan 2010, 19:55
Zapatas,

How about the fact that on the A320 you can only get 1/2 speedbrake deflection with the autopilot on. If you are hot and high a strategic disconnection of the autopilot to gain full speedbrake authority can be advantageous. How about you try and gain some understanding of how automation works on various aircraft before accussing others of being poorly trained.

Zapatas Blood
11th Jan 2010, 20:26
AH,

Very true. But I don't think thats what Brat is getting at. His argument appears to be one of workload. And the 320 is the only jet I know of like that. Does Brat fly one?

The Bunglerat
11th Jan 2010, 22:31
Bunglerat, what exactly does hand flying the jet achieve that the autopilot can’t when left hot and high? Can your arms extract a little more speed brake deflection than George can?

Zapatas, if you're a jet driver and you need to even ask such a question, the answer would probably be lost on you. If you don't fly jets, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Nevertheless, without the benefit of simple diagrams and pictures, let me give you an answer to the best of my ability...

Modern jets utilise multiple levels of automation, and a desired outcome can be achieved using more than just one mode available to the pilot. For example (and apologies for stating the obvious to the professionals who may be reading this), a descent on autopilot can be initiated using one of a number of options available for Boeing types - VNAV Path, VNAV Speed, Level Change, or Vertical Speed. Then there's Control Wheel Steering (another mode option again, but I digress). In the case of Airbus types - Managed Descent, Open Descent, Vertical Speed, or Flight Path Angle. Each mode is capable of achieving the same outcome (i.e. descending the aeroplane), but they do so in different ways - and the pilot needs to ascertain which mode is best suited to the situation at hand. In the case of the Boeing, VNAV Path (as the title suggests) places an emphasis on maintaining a descent path rather than speed. If, for example, the aeroplane is descending with a strong tailwind and starting to get too high on its descent profile, VNAV Path commands the nose to pitch further down in order to regain the profile. Seeing as there is no speed protection in this mode, the result can be an overspeed if the pilot does not intervene with manual control inputs or switch to a different mode. I could cite various examples of the idiosyncrasies of every mode available, but frankly I can't be bothered. In short, the pilot needs to be aware that each mode has strengths and limitations for a given situation.

So back to your question: What does hand-flying achieve that an autopilot can't? Let me put it this way: When you run down a flight of stairs, does your brain process every muscle movement and count each individual stair and where to place your feet on them? No. If you were to consciously think about each and every step and where you were placing your feet, you would trip over in a matter of seconds. Such a task is achievable only because we are able to quickly and naturally perform such a task without consciously processing each aspect of it. The same is true in the cockpit. In the example I gave in my earlier post, if I find myself hot and high on descent with track shortening thrown in for good measure, I can do it all on automatics - but then I have to consciously think about every aspect of the process, which mode to use, whether it is best suited to the task at hand, and subsequently perform numerous keystrokes on the FMC or button pressing on the Mode Control Panel (glareshield) to achieve the desired outcome. In the process I'm having to work harder, because whatever my desired intentions may be for the aeroplane to do next, there is the issue of it taking just that little bit longer to achieve - because I'm directing a third party (i.e. the autopilot) to do it all. On the other hand, when I disconnect and hand-fly, there's nothing more immediate, direct, and fluid in execution than one hand on the control column and the other on the thrust levers.

I hope that answers your question. And in spite of what I've just said, I am still very much in favour of using automatics - but under the appropriate circumstances, as has only been reinforced by others on this thread. And in answer to your other question: I currently fly 737's, but am also A330 type-rated.

Zapatas Blood
12th Jan 2010, 00:04
Bungle,

Ahhh, most of my career has been spent in jet aircraft and a good proportion of that in modern glass jets. Currently in Airbus FBW. Retirement very soon. So thanks for the arrogant lesson in how to operate an autopilot. It seems to me it would be much simpler if you just picked a mode and stuck with it.

Mate, real simple. ATC leave us high, open des. Pull the boards if necessary. Wind up the speed bug if need be. Ask the PNF to hit the mcdu 3 little presses and bingo, new runway is ready to roll.
It’s not that difficult.

It sounds like the automated systems on your jet are much more labor intensive than mine.

The Bunglerat
12th Jan 2010, 00:12
It sounds like the automated systems on your jet are much more labor intensive than mine.

They most definitely are. If this makes me sound lazy, so be it, but I much preferred the A330 to what I'm flying now - however I much prefer the company I'm working for now, otherwise I'd go back to the Airbus in a heartbeat. The days are very long, but at least I stay relatively close to home - which in the end is what it's all about for me in terms of lifestyle.

And if my reply was arrogant, I apologise, but to be honest, yours was a question that I wouldn't think necessary for any seasoned jet operator to need asking. As I said before, I am very much in favour of automatics, but in a time-critical situation indicative of the example I gave in my first post, the rate of response between a decision made by the human brain through to actual manipulation of the aircraft's controls, will always be faster through hand-flying than via an autopilot. Instructions to expect track shortening whilst still 30+ miles out from the field can usually be handled by the automatics without any problem. I'm talking about being downwind, abeam the runway threshold at 6000ft AGL, only to be instructed all of a sudden to take up a heading for base leg - when you were expecting another 20 track miles.

Zapatas Blood
12th Jan 2010, 00:22
"yours was a question that I wouldn't think necessary for any seasoned jet operator to need asking."

Your attitude: When it all gets too hard and busy I DISCONNECT THE AUTOPILOT because then I don't "have to consciously think about every aspect of the process".

There is no right or wrong answer, can we agree to disagree.

But please tell me you only do this in good weather.

The Bunglerat
12th Jan 2010, 00:32
But please tell me you only do this in good weather.

Absolutely. However, in IMC I wouldn't expect to be given the kind of track shortnening I was talking about, as we'd all be flying the STAR as per normal. Finally, I'll state for the record that I don't accept track shortening requests when within 30 miles of the field anyway - unless there is a compelling operational requirement from ATC for me to do so. In reality, it might save 30 seconds to 1 minute on total trip time, and for what?!? It's simply not worth messing up the game plan just for the sake of a 1 minute saving, but unfortunately a lot of my flying companions seem to be hard-wired into accepting track shortening no matter what.

Apologies to one and all for the thread drift, by the way.

Gnadenburg
12th Jan 2010, 03:34
Bunglerat, what exactly does hand flying the jet achieve that the autopilot can’t when left hot and high? Can your arms extract a little more speed brake deflection than George can?

A lot of the issues discussed here arise from poor training and lack of understanding how the automated systems work.

Actually Zapata, I strongly disagree.

The Airbus flight directors are 1.1G limited and in a hot n' high scenario are very limiting. Having flown Airbus domestically in Australia with Ansett we were expected to smoothly but firmly put the aircraft where we wanted it to be after taking out the automatics. When the aircraft back in the slot automatics re-instated.

Moving on to today as I respect the fact that the old TAA/AN domestic operations no longer the norm.

In today's operations of STARs & SIDS the limitations of the Airbus automatics can still arise- poor vectoring, G/S intercepts from above etc.

Gnadenburg
12th Jan 2010, 04:09
Flicking through the legacy A320 QRH I am going to list current QRH procedures where good raw data skills necessary. It is not just the basic skill of flying raw data, it is the ability to fly raw data and manage your flight deck in a failure scenario. Practice and proficiency important. It is debatable how perishable these skills are but many pilots I have flown with don't have them to start with or to a good standard.

1) Emergency Electrical Configuration. From simulator experience, this is a critical area as I have seen pilots who struggle with their raw data flying invariably are task saturated in this demanding scenario.

2) Windshear. Mentions a pitch attitude if FD's not available. Sounds easy but lets not forget that disorientation in Airbus on GA has caused accidents.

3) Display Unit Failure. Take a few screens away and you're on that teeny-weeny back-up AH.

4) Unreliable Airspeed. "FD's off". Also, possibility of FPA errors so could be back to Navajo days. A pilot with strong raw data skills will be better prepared for this procedure than one who is not.

5) ADR 1+2+3 Fault. No FPA. Navajo days.

6) Volcanic Ash. Possible unreliable airspeed scenario.

7) Loss of FMS Data In Descent/Approach ( severe reset ). Saw this prior to it being a QRH procedure. Hard tuned ILS and VOR DME on approach to PEK. Raw data approach. Often misidentified with 8).

8) 2 x FMGC failure. Raw data.

I haven't the time to look through Vol 3 and come up with scenarios such as double FCU faults.

You can debate how often would you see these scenarios on the line? I would suggest from simulator experience, those crews who deal with the scenarios best have good core raw data flying skills and technique.

Ever since I have been on Airbus there has always been a tombstone approach to deficiencies in the automatics with either CPIP ( software updates ) or OEB's addressing failings. On a good day the aeroplane covers up areas of weakness in pilots through technology. But when that technology is at fault or limited, we have had some tragic accidents from mode confusion and disorientation. And in every Airbus airline I have worked with there have been spectacular incidents where erroneous information presented by FD's followed on GA or approach.

Raw data skills are a long way off from being replaced by fail safe technology. Cynically, I believe the loss of these skills is a cost factor. It is cheaper to have a lower standard of pilot available for recruiting purposes- addressing supply & demand issues.

Shot Nancy
12th Jan 2010, 09:45
I recall that if the AP is ON and speed brake in use then the AP uses more than 1.1 G, 1.15 I think. Just as the best button in the aircraft, the EXP PB, allows the AP to use more G. Some anorak can look it up.

One must have a raw data flying proficiency due to the reasons Gnads provides. Unfortunately if you do not have these skills when you join an airline I doubt that you going to develop them to a high degree whilst airline flying. :hmm:

Centaurus
12th Jan 2010, 10:57
ATC leave us high, open des. Pull the boards if necessary. Wind up the speed bug if need be

Interesting energy concept. "Wind up the speed bug if need be" So you lose height real quick but are hoisted on your own petard with all that extra speed (energy) to dissipate at the other end. Good recipe for eventual unstable approach perhaps?

Shot Nancy
12th Jan 2010, 12:43
Well Cento I feel it does come down to a A or B discussion.
If you want to get a Boeing down, slow down and put out some flap or use the speed brake.
On the Airbus the speed brake is not as effective as the Boeing's at say less than 300kts so it is often prudent to increase speed to get down to your approach commencement altitude then decelerate whilst level using drag devices A/R.
A320s with the CFM56 will fly down an ILS and maintain speed with Flap 1. An A320 with V2500s will accelerate down an ILS due to the higher idle.
Of course at some stage you will have to slow down to configure. Easier in the B than the A I feel due to higher Vfe amongst other things.
Then there is the A330. :{
What was this thread about again?

Spendid Cruiser
12th Jan 2010, 13:12
Interesting energy concept. "Wind up the speed bug if need be" So you lose height real quick but are hoisted on your own petard with all that extra speed (energy) to dissipate at the other end. Good recipe for eventual unstable approach perhaps?
"Dialling in the Drag" works very well on the 737. Bring it up to about 310-320 knots, allow 10nm and 1,000' for still wind deceleration and then V/S -500fpm to clean speed. The amount of drag at higher speeds is evident by rate of deceleration.

34R
12th Jan 2010, 21:36
Interesting energy concept. "Wind up the speed bug if need be" So you lose height real quick but are hoisted on your own petard with all that extra speed (energy) to dissipate at the other end. Good recipe for eventual unstable approach perhaps?


Not really. This manouvre would more than likely be expected on your downwind leg. Not only assists you in losing height expeditiously but also increases your distance from the landing threshold. Combined with the energy you will naturally lose in a couple of turns to eventually intercept final and a nice little level segment and the end result should be quite pleasing to the eye. That is if you are expecting it and are prepared for it. There are heaps of ways to skin a cat, none more right or wrong than the other, as long as the operator is aware of each ones limitations.

Back to the original topic, I feel sorry for any pilot that feels they are unable or incapable of turning the motion on at any stage during the descent/approach. It has nothing to do with proving a point and everything to do with enjoying the job that I do. Of course you pick your moments:ok:

acementhead
13th Jan 2010, 03:41
<i>"Son, let’s blast off and while we are turning and you are flying I’ll put us on the standbys and if you can’t handle that then you will have to learn how to fly."</i>

Possum don't you know that you aren't allowed to criticise Pel-Air pilots in PPRuNe posts?

teresa green
13th Jan 2010, 11:19
Sigh, don't get me started. Airmanship, yes A-I-R-M-A-N-S-H-I-P, remember that, when pilots were allowed to think for themselves. One of my great memories was when one of the very senior TAA captains threw a manual at me (and I mean threw) and stated, find out what sh&t they have in their jesus book about this problem, ( a nose wheel problem) because regardless of what freckin crap they have written anybody with half a brain could sort it out themselves! Yes times have changed, aircraft have changed, but I look back at the times when pilots like him were frustrated at the slow but insidious march to death by manual. It had to happen of course, the aircraft are far more complicated, and pilots of my era would be bamboozled by all the computers, but for us old blokes who flew a magic aircraft like the DC9, a complicated little bastard, that you could not trust for five minutes, a pocket rocket that really made you work, and made you think, but you loved unconditionally, I am glad I flew when I did, we were pilots not systems managers, I think they call it progress!:sad:

COP
13th Jan 2010, 12:50
If pilots can not manually work out a profile while retracting flap and maintaining speed, without busting a limit then they should not be in the seat. Simple. Automation makes it easier yes, however it is there as an aid not to rely on. LV says he has made mistakes as we all have while climbing out of Syd. Seriously if you cannot do this then time to look for a new job.
Over

Walter E Kurtz
13th Jan 2010, 20:52
A balanced pilot is equally competent with automation and manual flight. And he possesses judgement to know when manual flight is appropriate.

Some crew seem equally lost autopilot on or off :\

max1
13th Jan 2010, 23:16
Fron an ATC point of view when we went from paper strips,chinagraphs,pens, etc, to computers the problem we found was getting the older controller to use and trust the automation (computers) and the younger ones not to 'trust' the automation.
That is, for the older ones to use the new tools and the younger ones not to have blind faith in them.
Automation is an aid to doing our job, ultimately it is the humans responsibility to make sure the the computer is being used appropriately and intervene when it is not. The computer is only as good as the information in it.
As regards to UAV type operations, personally, I wouldn't get on an aircraft where the people flying don't have as much at stake as getting it back on the ground safely as I do.

A37575
14th Jan 2010, 00:52
The business in which I am involved sees a more or less constant stream of well qualified pilots be called up for airline interviews which include a short flight in a simulator involving raw data manoeuvres. It is not a tough test but actually very good for observing the candidates potential as first officer in terms of manual flying skill.

In earlier times I was given a similar short test in a 737-400 simulator in Europe by the chief pilot of a well known German airline as part of a PARC contract application. That particular test consisted, among other manoeuvres like a raw data ILS, climbing and descending turns at set rates but with landing flap down and flying right on Vref. Interestingly a similar series of manoeuvers used to be conducted in the old link trainers decades ago and were called Pattern A and B. It was aimed at assessing accuracy of instrument scan and how quickly the inevitable errors that occured, were rectified.

A number of experienced pilots who had been captains on glass cockpit wide-bodies, failed the assessment because they had lost all touch with manual raw data skills.

The sad part was these highly experienced captains would have made safe and reliable pilots in their new job regardless of their assessment short-comings, if only the their previous airline concerned had included a steady diet of manual non-automatics during cyclic simulator sessions. And not just an occasional hand flown ILS either.

The chief pilot of the German airline who had the job of assessing these applications could only judge the candidates on what he saw on the day. When it was clear the candidates instrument flying ability was woeful on raw data, he had little choice but to say thanks but no thanks. I mean, what else could he have done? Maybe allow them to use the autopilot and other automatics for the whole simulator assessment and say well done that man - you flew beautifully (or the autopilot did, anyway!).

We all know there are rare occasions when it is vital to switch off the automatics goodies and manually correct some severe out of trim situation like wake turbulence encounter in IMC or anything else too horrible to contemplate. For that a pilot needs basic pure flying ability. And that is what an assessing authority is looking for during a candidates flight simulator test.

With the major part of a type rating on say the A320 or B737NG being on the automatics systems operation, and the line flying being the same, operations management of an airline should not ignore that pure flying skills are equally important as automatics monitoring. How those manual flying skills are kept current is clearly a matter of personal choice.

It is when an airline pays lip service to this but then makes no regular and effective provision for this during simulator cyclic training, is where pilots are let down by their management.

A37575
14th Jan 2010, 02:23
Just after the previous post the latest issue (12-18 January) of Flight International arrived in my letter box. The annual airline flight safety review listed all the latest accidents and comment was made about the Flight International Crew Management Conference held in London in early December last year. It noted that loss of control (known as LOC) has been proportionally increasing as a serious accident cause. Here are some selected edited extracts:

"In the absence of appropriate change in statutory recurrent training requirements, there is no reason to believe this (LOC) is going to change. A vital component in an airline pilot's recurrent training has gone missing with the advent of high levels of automation, and at present this training has not been replaced.

The missing component is on-the-job mental and physical interactivity with the aircraft and its navigation systems that pilots used to get in "round dial" classic cockpits that lacked integrated navigation displays and highly capable digital flight management systems. All pilots learn the basic "raw data" capability during their ab initio training, but if they go straight on to highly automated aircraft they may never use it again.

That is not a problem until an electrical anomaly leaves them with nothing but standby instruments, or a reduced panel at night or in IMC. Training solutions to enable pilots to cope with this loss of line-flying practice might include the introduction of compulsory upset recovery training, and /or mandatory simulator time using raw data only during bi-annual recurrent training sessions.

But there is no sign yet that any aviation authorities are preparing to address this issue. ..... But with the reduction of pilot supply from the military, combined with the withdrawal of airlines from pilot training sponsorship, means that carriers are more likely to have to recruit self-selected, self-funded pilots who can only afford to train to the legal minima".
............................................................ ....

Of course, all this applies only to foreign pilots, doesn't it? After all, the big accidents only happen overseas - never Australia:ok:.

Capn Bloggs
14th Jan 2010, 03:45
Of course, all this applies only to foreign pilots, doesn't it? After all, the big accidents only happen overseas - never Australia
(I realise you're talking tongue-in-cheek) Maybe not at the moment, due to the relatively extensive hands-on experience of our ex-GA pilots. But the time will come, sooner rather than later, when jet companies (especially the low-pay ones) will have FOs who have little or no practical hands-on IF skills. Then we will be in the same boat as the rest of the world. Despite the message being screamed from the rooftops, we still have the "Shiny New Toy" pilots in control, with little or no interest in encouraging their troops to practice basic operation of the aircraft. :=

Wiley
14th Jan 2010, 21:07
however it is there as an aid not to rely onIncreasingly, this has ceased to be the case. Today, the automatics are relied upon, all too often, blindly.

Firstly, a 'war-ie', which I've probably told before here on Pprune.

Some years ago, I was doing my annual line check (in a B777), Dubai to Jeddah, (a nice day sector without any real traps for young players). It was my leg outbound and the FO, an Australian, who was ex-GA, was also doing his line check and would fly the return sector.

The aircraft had been written up repeatedly for double FMS failures, and sure enough, we had one in the cruise. For those not familiar with the triple 7, a dual FMS failure, except perhaps during a complicated SID or STAR, is a relatively no sweat problem. Even with both systems failed, you're still left with the three most important pages of the FMS immediately available to you, if with slightly reduced user friendliness. (For instance, you – [gasp!] have to actually tune the navaid!)

Recovering the system to full operational capacity is also usually a relatively simple procedure, so it wasn't as if we felt we were suddenly doing a sim. ride. Following the recovery procedure, we got both systems back on line, so we proceeded normally to destination. I briefed for the approach, but since I knew there was a chance the FMSs might spit the dummy again, and since I knew my FO would be comfortable with flying basic instruments, I went to some lengths to include in my briefing that if the FMSs failed again below 15,000’, we would not try to recover them, but switch the nav display to the old fashioned CDI display and follow the VOR radial in until we were put on radar vectors. Part of this ‘belts and braces’ approach to our approach included manually tuning both the ILS and the VOR and both of us pre-setting the required VOR radial on our individual FMSs. This meant, if the FMSs failed again, all we had to do was simply rotate one switch each to give us the displays we would require.

Halas! Problem solved! We could get on with flying the aeroplane.

Are you finding this long-winded? I’m spelling it all out like this because I went into similar detail in briefing my FO (who I knew quite well and who I knew to be more than capable of handling any such downgrade) and the check captain.

You guessed it. I forget exactly when, but below 15,000’ on descent, both FMSs went west again. The FO and I did as briefed, switched to VOR display and went on with the descent, both quite comfortable with a CDI nav display both of us would once have thought as pure loooxury.

However, the check captain, who had sat through my detailed briefing without comment, was horrified. He had gone straight from his basic training into the right seat of a jet in his national flag carrier airline, (the national airline of the country that’s currently playing cricket against Ricky P. and his lads), and even in day and VMC, was not at all comfortable with the unfamiliar display.

“You can’t do an approach with a magenta line!” he cried, and proceeded to lean over the centre console and fiddle with the FMS until, at around 7,000’, (by which time we were on radar vectors and didn’t need it), he recovered that oh so necessary magenta line.

The check captain was (and remains) an above average captain. (He must be; he’s part of the check and training staff.) But he’s like an increasingly large proportion of airline pilots today. He has come to rely upon aids that, when push comes to shove, we all should be able to do without.

Too many of us today cannot.

---

Secondly, I watched ‘Air Crash Investigation’ recently, the episode about the Adam Air B737-400 that was lost when the crew switched their malfunctioning IRSs to ‘ATT’ mode after the NAV mode went off the rails. (A recurring problem on that particular aircraft, which was fixed – repeatedly – with a re-racking of the IRS and a squirt of WD40.)

Making this switching requires that the aircraft be flown straight and level for 30 seconds while the ATT mode sorts itself out. In IMC, at night and in stormy conditions, the captain was unable to do so. 30 seconds on the standby instruments, which includes a perfectly serviceable attitude indicator. That’s all it took – (that’s if he even looked at them!) – for a trained airline captain to put an aircraft full of people into a spiral dive.

The accountants will tell you – in their eyes, quite correctly – that the statistical chances of a double IRS failure occurring (or being induced by crew action) again (or in the first place!) during a period of extreme weather that would lead to the crew losing control during the switchover to ATT mode are so slim that the costs of training and maintaining the crews at a sufficient level of manipulative skills would far outweigh the loss of an airframe every ‘n’ thousand cycles.

Try telling that to the families, both of the crew and of the passengers on that Adam Air flight.

john_tullamarine
15th Jan 2010, 02:10
For instance, you – [gasp!] have to actually tune the navaid!

Time for the prayer beads ! I get less and less interested in doing any more flying - I can press buttons to my heart's content on various electronic gadgets at work (should I really want to) without having to do 0-dark-30 sim sessions for licence renewals.

Try telling that to the families, both of the crew and of the passengers on that Adam Air flight.

The pragmatic reality is that "affordable safety" (as our former Regulatory Leader used to say) IS the reality. Folks like A37575 (whom I have known for 30-40 years) can do both the stick and rudder AND the nickelodeon thing with equal dexterity and style. The problem arises with pilots who can do one but not the other and/or inappropriately use one when the other is blindingly obviously the more appropriate (and safer) option.

Is there a simple solution ? Of course not .. and the pragmatic one just costs money.

Walter E Kurtz
15th Jan 2010, 20:56
the relatively extensive hands-on experience of our ex-GA pilots

Naivety and arrogance seem to be an Australian GA passion Bloggs.

Cockpit incompetence knows no borders; in fact Australian pilots are far more lazy on average.

captaintunedog777
15th Jan 2010, 21:10
Interesting energy concept. "Wind up the speed bug if need be" So you lose height real quick but are hoisted on your own petard with all that extra speed (energy) to dissipate at the other end. Good recipe for eventual unstable approach perhaps?

Um this is one of the very very basics of flying a jet. Combined with the speed brake if needed is a basic tool for getting back on profile. Of course you can combine this with slowing a/c down then winding speed up to regain profile. With these tools I have never not back on profile even when ATC still has me at 20000 feet 40 mile out.

Walter E Kurtz
16th Jan 2010, 20:42
I think you need to edit again Dogtunecaptain777. Your contradiction will further confuse the GA cadets.

mustafagander
17th Jan 2010, 08:46
My take on being caught high and fast is that is a matter of too much energy, potential and kinetic.

My solution is to slow down to min speed quickly, then hang out flaps, boards and gear. Then see where the flight path is projecting you, if it is short of the runway you're OK, you'll get in but watch stable approach criteria at 500ft. If you project into the runway you're buggered, you will not satisfy the stable approach criteria. If you're IMC you need to be a lot more conservative, if for no other reason that stable approach criteria are based on 1000ft and also you can't see where the hell your flight path is projecting.

If in doubt request more track miles. Slowing down rapidly gives you more time to descend and get stable. Time is the key.

As soon as you're sure it won't work, DO SOMETHING like go around, NEVER just hang in there and hope it gets better.

kangaroota
17th Jan 2010, 09:00
Why do we need airmanship and flying skills anymore when we have hi-vis vests to keep us safe?:hmm:

ozaggie
17th Jan 2010, 21:22
Well said that man!

Sunfish
18th Jan 2010, 04:43
Permit me to be the devils advocate here...

From the bean counting angle, the problem is slightly different.

You are told that the shiny new aircraft you are being sold have all this wonderful automatic stuff in it that does wonders.

Fine say the bean counters, since the aircraft will virtually fly and maintain itself, that means we can start hiring monkeys for pilots and engineers and cut down on training and employment costs, right?

Try explaining that in addition to more training on automatic systems, you still require your crew to demonstrate competency on steam gauges. Can you see where some of the pressure is coming from? "Why isn't this new technology lowering our cost base faster?"

RedTBar
18th Jan 2010, 22:01
It looks like the old joke of the new flight deck crew of a dog and a pilot is getting closer to reality.

It wouldn't have been too long ago and if you told navigators and engineers that they would be replaced by something the size of a shoe box or smaller they would have laughed at you.

The US military is already using pilotless aircraft so it's only a matter of time before it creeps into civilian aircraft.

Guys and girls ,make hay while the sun shines.

GaryGnu
19th Jan 2010, 00:22
There was really no need to bring what is an excelent thread down to that level Red. However, since you raised it, here's my reply.


The day a machine can smell fumes/smoke and know how to deal with it you might have a point. Until then......

RedTBar
19th Jan 2010, 00:54
I wasn't trying to lower anything Gary.
I was just pointing out the difference in technology in say the last 50 years.

Imagine then what will be around 50 years from now.
This thread is about exactly that with pilots becoming more systems analysts than they are pilots at least compared to pilots of 50 years ago.
How much hands on flying do pilots do on modern commercial aircraft today compared to the aircraft of the day 50 years ago.Isn't that what this thread is about?
Technology is driven simply by money or more accurately the need to save money.
The day a machine can smell fumes/smoke and know how to deal with it you might have a point. Until then......
I bet pilots were saying something very similar back in the 50's and 60's so I'm afraid you won't have to wait long Gary:oh:

patienceboy
19th Jan 2010, 02:38
Sunfish,
Savings can be made by using automation to accurately fly optimum altitudes/profiles/speeds/tracks - NOT by putting monkeys up front or on the spanners.
A popular saying comes to mind - “You think safety is expensive, try having an accident”.
Just have a look at many third world airline accidents and incidents. They simply would not have happened with a competent well trained crew.
There are some areas where you can only save so much!

Zoomy
19th Jan 2010, 02:49
RED,

I think you will find that with the way TCAS/ADSB/RNP and all other technology is going, that air traffic controllers will go before pilots.

All that needs to happen is for a requirement of all aircraft to have a serviceable appropriate transponder and gnss, plus redundency.

New technology will develop that will sequence aircraft on an appropriate RNP and give time/speed information without human intervention.

DutchRoll
19th Jan 2010, 03:23
The US military is already using pilotless aircraft so it's only a matter of time before it creeps into civilian aircraft.
The fundamental problem with that argument, is that there is no indication that the general lay-public will have the slightest inclination whatsoever to even set foot in an aircraft not crewed by a pilot.

There is a massive difference between using a pilotless aircraft to do surveillance and launch precision strikes against targets, and asking Aunty Dot, Uncle Elmer, and their 6 kids to spend 12 hours in a plane at 35,000 ft which is being flown by remote-control, by someone sitting in an armchair in the basement of a building in Oonawhoopwhoop.

The funniest thing I ever heard on this topic was a certain navigator (nice bloke actually, but delusional and fuelled by Bundy, which makes people say stupid things) about 20 years ago say to me "you know, technology will get rid of pilots before it gets rid of navs".

teresa green
19th Jan 2010, 04:12
Well you won't get me on one, I would rather go by camel. It was bad enough when the took away the Flight Engineer (another set of eyes, another set of hands, another set of experience) to give the drivers away and leave a "systems operator" (and dog) is too much for me!:{:{

framer
19th Jan 2010, 05:01
It's an interesting problem....how would a remote controlled a/c deal with things like this; you're cleared to line up, the wind changes and there are 40 birds sitting on the strip 200 meters in front of you, the cabin crew ding dong to say that the guy in row 23 won't stow his bags and is walking about the aisle. I'm not saying it can't be done I'm just wondering how it would be done, would the wind change be adjusted for by the remote pilot who has the info on the screen in front of him/her? would the birds be detected by a runway radar and the info passed onto the remote controller? Would the cabin crew ding dong the remote controller rather than the tech crew? If that is the case and the remote controller leaves the a/c sitting on the threshold for an extra 2 mins while this stuff is being sorted then who tells the remote controller of the a/c on a 6nm final that he needs to go-around and what happens if there is any sort of comms failure?
There may be good/easy answers to these questions but I think they will cost a lot of money....eg this poor chap getting bombarded with info in his bunker by radio might as well be sitting in the flight deck. There would be little cost savings in salary as pilots are already approaching salaries that are near national averages in many countries. Framer

lowerlobe
19th Jan 2010, 05:28
There would be little cost savings in salary as pilots are already approaching salaries that are near national averages in many countries.
I could be wrong but I doubt that even with LCC's but show me some figures.

I don't think anyone is saying that you would get rid of pilots completely but it is not beyond suggestion that they could have just one pilot there as Tbar said a systems analysts for those odd and rare occasions.

I doubt framer is right and the savings including super,hols,accommodation,sick leave amount to a considerable amount.....

I don't remember the exact amount but we were told that to reduce the crew by one flight attendant saved the company millions across the fleet.So you can imagine how much they would save by reducing the tech crew ranks by one per aircraft...

framer
19th Jan 2010, 06:19
I doubt framer is right and the savings including super,hols,accommodation,sick leave amount to a considerable amount.....i may well be wrong, I'm just trying to feel this out.....wouldn't the "remote controller" in the bunker still have to be paid super, hols, sick leave etc?"
If that is the case you end up with a small savings in salary assuming he is cheaper than a pilot in the flight deck. Surely this is off-set by the costs of things like (in my scenario) the ground radar for birds, the comms set up to provide acceptable redundancy, the cost of whatever magical system tells the a/c on finals that he needs to go-around and then determines his intentions and conveys that to the other a/c etc etc.
As for the salaries, I was talking yesterday to a chap who is stumping up $10k USD as a training bond to fly right seat on a B737 on $1700USD a month......which is to be taxed. That is not a training wage....that is it. I kid you not.
A while ago I talked to a B737 Captain who was earning the same gross salary in 2009 as he was in 1981 doing the same job on the same a/c type.
I can't remember what the Colgen F/O was earning but I'm pretty sure it was around or below the national average.
In a developed western country I recently worked in the Flag Carriers turbo prop link operation (considered a prestigious job)had pilots flying for about 10k more than the national average wage......
I did say "approaching" .
I think that is the trend. All four of those examples are from different countries. I stand by the statement at this stage.
Framer

breakfastburrito
19th Jan 2010, 06:31
I could be wrong but I doubt that even with LCC's but show me some figures.
You are wrong.

Manassas-based Colgan Air today struggled to defend itself as details emerged about the low pay of its pilots, their long commutes and the need of some to hold second jobs to make ends meet.

Colgan faced a number of questions from the National Transportation Safety Board about its pilots in the second day of public hearings that cover the crash of Continental Connections Flight 3047 that killed 50 people near Buffalo on Feb. 12 this year. The NTSB is in its second day of public hearings into the crash, which was the deadliest U.S. transportation accident in seven years.

Under questioning from the board, Mary Finnigan, Colgan's vice president for administration, reported that Rebecca Shaw, co-pilot of the crash plane, drew an annual salary of $16,200 a year. The board also said that Shaw once held a second job in coffee shop while working as a pilot for the airline in Norfolk, Va.
Asked by a board if the Colgan expected Shaw to reside in the New York area, near her base in Newark, Finnegan responded: "Pilots are told what the pay scales are. Our pay scales are within the industry standard."

Later on, asked if Colgan made cost-of-living adjustments to assist employees who reside in expensive areas such as New York, Harry Mitchel, Colgan's vice president of flight operations, said no program existed for pilots. But, he added that Colgan had such a policy for managers.

The testimony offers a rare, behind-the-scenes look into regional airline world that has grown significantly over the years as major airlines contract out air service to regional airlines that serve small cities. Colgan was operating the Buffalo flight as regional airline partner of Continental Airlines. Regional carriers often fly jets that seat 78 passengers or less and turboprops, like the Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 involved in the crash.

According to the Regional Airline Association, 74 percent of the nation's 640 airports with scheduled airline service are only served by regional airlines. There are 70 regional airlines in the United States. Pilot jobs at the airlines are often considered entry-level jobs in the industry. Mitchel acknowledged that Colgan jobs were a "stepping stone" to higher-paying jobs at bigger airlines.
Pilots who work for major carriers flying large jet planes typically earn about $125,000 per year, on average.

Colgan has about 430 pilots and experiences an annual attrition rate as high as 30 percent, according to the safety board. Captains at Colgan Air typically earn between $50,000 and $53,000 per year.

The safety board also delved into the long commute for regional airline pilots. According to the NTSB, 93 of the Colgan's 137 Newark-based pilots identified themselves as commuters, including 49 of them who commute greater than 400 miles and 29 who live more than 1,000 miles away.

Both pilots were based at Colgan's Newark, N.J., office but lived in other cities and commuted to work by catching planes. Oftentimes, pilots commute to work by using privileges afforded to them by informal agreements among airlines that allow non-working pilots to sit in the jumpseat, or an open seat, when available and at little to no cost.

Shaw had an especially long, cross-country commute. On the day before the accident, Shaw left Seattle on an overnight FedEx flight to the East Coast. She arrived in Newark at 6:30 a.m. after a changeover in Memphis.

The board has said Shaw sent numerous text messages throughout the day, an indication that she wasn't getting adequate rest. Although Renslow arrived in Newark three days before the flight from Tampa, Fla., he was observed sleeping in the airline's crew lounge, a practice forbidden by the airline, according to the NTSB. The board has said it has found no evidence that either had accommodations in Newark.

Kitty Higgins, an NTSB board member, called the long-distance commuting and crew-room sleeping an other fatigue-related factors "a recipe for an accident and that's what we have here."
She continued, "Where does that all come together for somebody to say, 'Wait a minute. What is going on here?"
Colgan officials said the airline has made a number of policy improvements, including strengthening a policy that limits the pairing of inexperienced pilots in the cockpit. Colgan is currently in discussion with its pilots' union on flight and duty time rules and commuting policies.

The scheduling practices at Colgan are already under federal scrutiny. The Federal Aviation Administration has sent 16 letters of investigation probing whether Colgan was over-scheduling pilots between November 2008 and March 2009.

An FAA spokeswoman said the investigation was part of a routine review of the airline compliance with scheduling rules, which seek to ensure that pilots are getting sufficient rest. The spokeswoman said the current investigation was not triggered by the Buffalo crash.


Source: Colgan Air Pilots Faced Long Commutes, Low Pay, Second Jobs (http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latest-news/colgan-air-pilots-faced-long-commutes-low-pay-second-jobs)

lowerlobe
19th Jan 2010, 20:25
breakfastburrito....You are wrong.

No I'm not.....

Google is a wonderful tool isn't it?

Colgan.....WTF....Try looking at the bigger picture and not some small commuter airline.....why not use GA as well....:ugh::ugh:

I said LCC's as well as inferring legacy airlines not some regional airline that you managed to pick from the internet world of obscurity....

Would you like to publish QF pay scales for their mainline pilots or even J*...

Even your own post shows the truth....
Mitchel acknowledged that Colgan jobs were a "stepping stone" to higher-paying jobs at bigger airlines.

Pilots who work for major carriers flying large jet planes typically earn about $125,000 per year, on average.

Are you telling me that $125,000 is an average wage around the world?

breakfastburrito
19th Jan 2010, 21:24
lowerlobe, we could sit here all day & argue the toss on this one. Please start a new thread if you wish to discuss it further.

I posted my reply as being off-topic, this thread is actually about automation.

lowerlobe
20th Jan 2010, 01:48
this thread is actually about automation.
My point is that automation is a direct result of a business looking at ways of reducing costs.....and therefore is not thread drift.

From the start of the industrial revolution employers have sought ways to reduce the number of people needed to achieve a task by way of automation...

Someone else pointed out that perhaps like some other occupations, a job on the flight deck is headed the same way as has been the case for the last number of years.This is shown by the loss of a job for flight engineers and navigators as well as a reduction in flight crew numbers since the advent of glass cockpits and other technological advancements...

Then someone posted the comment that reducing the number of pilots by automation would not save the airlines money....which is the issue you took up.

I was simply pointing out the folly of that statement....

breakfastburrito
20th Jan 2010, 05:13
Oh god, back to the pilot & dog / pilot-less aircraft pipe dream.

Where do I start? Just a few random thoughts, but not limited too:

Lawyers
No manufacturer's lawyer is ever going to sign-off on the pilot-less aircraft, the reason for the simple reason of responsibility. It would all fall on the manufacturer. There would be no dead pilot to blame.

Engineers
The pilot-less aircraft is the engineering wet dream, engineering out the pilot is all about ego, not cost saving. Can it be done with the 99.999+% reliability that we have today at an acceptable cost?

Infrastructure
Think about the infrastructure that needs to be installed in just terms of communications. An ultra high reliability two-way data link with a robust signalling protocol & guaranteed message delivery. There would also have to be a continuously revised failsafe flightplan/groundplan on the assumption that the data link could fail at any point in the flight.
The sheer cost & time to develop this would be enormous. It however, can be done.

Every single major aerodrome would need to be fitted out with every component of such a system before it could be used as a "automated destination". So what would operators do in the transition period? They would still have to have crew aircraft fitted with a conventional flight deck AND the fully autonomous equipment for city pairs that weren't "fully automated". Increase costs for long term gain, this is not how capitalism works.

There would only ever be one smoking hole in the ground from pilot-less RPT aircraft, public confidence would be shattered by a single fatal accident.

Dog & Pilot show
There is a very good reason why all FMC entries are cross checked by a second crew member. I have lost count of the number of incorrect entries that have made & been picked up the other crew member PRIOR to execution.
Once again, the first fatal "single pilot" accident would put an end to such a practice.

Pilots & ATC provide a very flexible adaptable system. Automation, being rule based is the opposite of adaptable. Bean counters focus on costs incurred, rather than costs saved through this system adaptability. A less adaptable system would in all likelihood increase costs that dwarves those of having two pilots at the controls.

In short we won't have a dog & pilot show or a pilot-less RPT aircraft any time soon. There is not even the faintest mention from the industry for the next generation A350/B737 replacement. With the current development cycle a timeline in excess of 30 years would be the earliest before such a technology could be deployed, notwithstanding my reasoning.

lowerlobe
22nd Jan 2010, 00:01
Where do I start? Just a few random thoughts,
breakfastburrito....

I agree,very random actually....but if it helps make you feel better keep telling yourself that....

I imagine flight engineers,navigators and blacksmiths not that long ago said exactly the same thing....:E

Interestingly,on another thread a question was asked about QF 737 pay scales.Remembering what you said about pilot pay scales being close to national wage average I thought I would read it....
Year 1 F/O currently $148.52/ hour. I'm not sure how many hours the 737 drivers are doing these days but 900 plus or minus a bit would be in the ball park. As you can see, 900 hours per annum is going to give you $134K. EPs, sims, etc extra. Year 4 F/O is on $156. A 6% bonus is payable if the execs give themselves 100% of their bonus. 3% bonus if they give themselves 50% of their bonus, etc. 3% pay rises due in Sep 2010 and Sep 2011.

Year 1 Captain rate is currently $232. Same deal for the rest of it above.

Not sure how their super works or what it is based upon but it's in addition to the above numbers. Obviously DTA and allowances are on top also.
Now breakfastburrito....The average wage in Australia..depending on who you talk to is between $57,000 and $63,000......somewhat less than a first year 737 F/O in fact less than half.

When considering automated flight decks we are not talking about small regional commuter airlines as you were mentioning we are talking about legacy and LCC airlines.

So breakfastburrito, if you think that airline execs are not thinking and asking Boeing and Airbus of ways to lower that cost by way of automation you are dreaming.

Keg
22nd Jan 2010, 00:05
With respect, he was talking about LCCs around the world, not just in Australia.

Further, I've summarised a 50 page document into two paragraphs. Quoting completely out of context means that you don't get the full picture.

Ken Borough
22nd Jan 2010, 00:27
Stick to flying Keg! You have quoted Year 1 basic hourly rates for Capt and F/O and added that there are other matters to be added. In summary, the pay rates and 'bottom lines' go only one way: UP. Do you mean to say that some active drivers, other than PUIT, get less than the year 1 level?

Keg
22nd Jan 2010, 00:40
Ken, this discussion is nothing to do with legacy airline rates.

The pay rate I quoted is accurate and will go up. The hours however can decrease significantly if the flying program changes. As I said before, I've paraphrased a big document into two paragraphs and so there are many nuances (such as the potential reduction to income of up to 30% from the maximum permissible) that I haven't mentioned. Therefore anyone using those numbers on their own is quoting them out of context.

Now, back to the discussion about automation. :ugh:

Ken Borough
22nd Jan 2010, 00:43
Keg - cool :ok:. (Where I'm currently, sitting a cool one would be noice!!)

lowerlobe
22nd Jan 2010, 01:33
There would be little cost savings in salary as pilots are already approaching salaries that are near national averages in many countries
With respect, he was talking about LCCs around the world, not just in Australia.
I don't see any reference to LCC's Keg.....

My point is that with the cost of flight crew, airlines will continue to lower cost through automation....They have already done so with navigators,flight engineers and even by setting up LCC's.

To refer to pay scales made by crew flying regional/commuter airlines is more than a little disingenuous.You can point out pay earned by apprentices everywhere which is basically what pilots working for regional/commuter/GA airlines are doing...but it is not relevant to what legacy and LCC carriers are paying compared to national average wages.

This is all about automation..do you think that the aero industry generally is spending a lot of money on automation just to make your life easier or is it something else....They may say that their efforts are designed to making aviation safer but it is also and mainly about money.

Automation is all about money.We are all aware of what business execs are about and that is cutting costs while loading their own pockets and guess how they are trying to do that.....

framer
22nd Jan 2010, 02:09
I agree that it is all about money. I just think that its cheaper to reduce the salaries of the tech crew than to attack the nightmare of pilotless airliners.
The trend is down. Salaries are decreasing. Companies like QF that pay high salaries are already well on the way to ensuring that the old folk flying now are the last generation to get paid very well for what they do.
Jetstar isn't just an LCC, its a vehicle for the group to achieve certain goals. Fair enough too from a business perspective. From my point of view there are problems that managers just don't get.....but thats off topic.
In twenty years when four or five big airlines own all the smaller ones but let them keep their livery, the real worth of a pilot will become apparent. Wages will dip to a level where they can't recruit enough pilots and then stabilize at the true market rate......somewhere in between the high and low and full automation will still look too expensive.

breakfastburrito
22nd Jan 2010, 02:10
Ah lobe, I see you've taken a shine to me :):)
Please please please start a new thread to discuss pilot T&C's. I am not trying to squib an argument, just avoid severe thread drift on such a good discussion between professional pilots regarding a crucial element of the operation.
For the record, I didn't make the original assertion regarding, framer (http://www.pprune.org/dg-p-reporting-points/401388-stick-automatics-son-pure-flying-skills-birds-5.html#post5454171) did. I just provided some numbers (as requested) to back his argument.

I sleep very well at night knowing TWO pilots will still be at the controls of every 36 seat+ commercial passenger aircraft long after I retire, & hopefully until I've gone to that great simulator session in the sky (flight attendant hell, as the joke goes).

I believe the great Donald Rumsfeld (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_unknown) summed it up nicely:
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know."
I would fit your airline exec's into this category. If they believe that automation is going to save them a significant amount of money at no-risk they would fit into the unconscious incompetence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence) region of the airline business.

I'm not sure of your level of flying expertise, however if you can't see the non-trivial engineering issues involved, you best keep your thoughts to yourself and allow other to speculate on your knowledge of this subject, rather than prove it.

I suspect you already think that automation makes flying a trivial exercise that any fool can do with a few sim sessions. Do you believe that automation turns flying into an unskilled occupation? Yes or no.?

lowerlobe
22nd Jan 2010, 02:39
Firstly....
Jetstar isn't just an LCC, its a vehicle for the group to achieve certain goals.
I agree 100%.....People who think J* was started just to provide cheap airfares are deluding themselves.I think it was GD himself who said he was keeping impulse and it's crews for a rainy day...by the way as has been said a number of times the fares with VB and JQ are not that cheap if you have to fly with little notice.So much for the advert on the side of the aircraft..

Secondly..
I didn't make the original assertion regarding, framer did. I just provided some numbers (as requested) to back his argument.
Yes....But the problem was you didn't...

By the way,I think that quote from Rumsfeld is one of the best even compared to some of Bush's however even I would not suggest that airline execs are that deliberately obtuse.Although come to think of it some of MJ's statements were close...:E
I suspect you already think that automation makes flying a trivial exercise that any fool can do with a few sim sessions. Do you believe that automation turns flying into an unskilled occupation? Yes or no.?
Hell No....I never said that....you must try and do better with your level of comprehension.

I said that the people who run airlines only understand the bottom line and as has been shown have no understanding of the possible financial ramifications of saving money in the wrong areas.

I said that airlines have already saved a considerable amount by reducing flight crew numbers by automation....that is incontrovertible.

If you think that your profession is safe from any further reduction by way of automation then you should spend some more time out of the flight deck...

breakfastburrito
22nd Jan 2010, 03:08
If you think that your profession is safe from any further reduction by way of automation
We will have to agree to disagree.

Here's a quote to back my assertion.
Our post last week about the possibility of pilotless commercial airplanes produced a vigorous, fascinating, and civil discussion in the comments. Here’s a bit of followup for those of you who are still interested.

My brother the pilot, a.k.a. Joe Dubner, wrote to tell me that “about 80% of commercial airliner takeoffs and landings are already remote-controlled” is not quite a true statement: they’re autopilot (and auto-throttle) controlled, but not without a pilot (or two) right there (not remote). And that 80% figure may be somewhat high; there are different degrees of “auto” approaches and I’m pretty sure most regional jets and turboprops don’t do a full one to touchdown. Then again, I’m just one guy and could be wrong.

I also solicited some feedback on the subject from Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot who writes the “Ask the Pilot” column for Salon.com and has written a book of the same name. Here is Patrick’s response:

This conversation, while provocative and a good exercise for the imagination, is for all intents and purposes ridiculous. There are not going to be any pilotless commercial aircraft at any time in the foreseeable future, end of story. The following is a Q&A excerpt from my book “Ask the Pilot: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”

Q: In a computer class in college, a professor smugly told us, “airplanes are capable of flying themselves,” and maintains the pilots are merely “overpaid failsafe devices.” Is the concept of pilotless planes really viable?

A: Right around the corner, along with doctorless hospitals and lawyerless courtrooms. We already have machines that help with certain operations, so how far can we be from having a computer perform a heart valve replacement? And if a machine can beat a Russian master at chess, surely one could have found OJ guilty. That’s a flip retort, but the professor is doing the same thing. He is being disingenuous (and he hasn’t seen the paychecks of many pilots). In keeping with the habit of those ensconced in technology, he speaks to idealistic devotion to his silicon wafers while more or less oblivious to the boundless contingencies of flight — things that that no electric box can be wired to appraise.

Chatting gate-side with a frequent flyer, a pilot hears, “But do you really do anything? Doesn’t the autopilot do all the flying?” Next time a person lays out an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner, try this: “But did you really do anything? Doesn’t the oven do all the cooking?” An automated flight deck makes a pilot’s job easier the way high-tech medical equipment helps a surgeon at his job. That’s not very provocative, and so we’re treated to cracks like the ones above, which speak nothing to the knowledge, training and experience required to master the console of an Airbus or Boeing. Some will argue that much of the idea is already within the realm of existing technology, and that’s true. But much is not nearly enough. As it stands today, planes can and do perform autoland procedures, and have for 30 years. Impressive, but if I went on to describe the knowledge and expertise needed for coordinating and monitoring this “fully automatic” landing, I would write for ten pages.

The military uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) all the time. These small, remote controlled planes engage in reconnaissance, scouting, and even combat missions. For now their accident rate is about 50 times that of a piloted fighter. The feasibility challenges are awesome. For pilotless flying to become day-to-day would be a huge — and hugely expensive — undertaking with many years of research and immense infrastructure replacement. If you’ll allow me to get juvenile for a minute: it’s hard enough to get the little trams that take you around DFW or Atlanta to work right, and they’re on tracks.

End of segment.

So for those of you looking forward to a pilotless future, Patrick’s answer is discouraging. But it’s great news for those of you who were petrified by the same thought.

Thanks to Patrick and Joe for their feedback.
Source: Freakonomics (http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/12/11/freakquel-pilotless-airplanes/)

Just look at the billions Airbus spent on the A380 program, they may never break-even on it. Boeing would be in serious financial trouble if the B787 program tanks. These programs cost $5+ billion each. They would pale into insignificance with the development costs of such a automated system. The cost saving simply cannot justify the expense of removing the two in the pointy end.

It still doesn't prevent airline exec dreaming...


Hell No....I never said that....you must try and do better with your level of comprehension.
Good to hear

lowerlobe
22nd Jan 2010, 12:35
I understand that we disagree but I have a question.....
I'll just paraphrase various parts of your post
My brother the pilot, a.k.a. Joe Dubner.....I also solicited some feedback on the subject from Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot who writes the “Ask the Pilot” column for Salon.com and has written a book of the same name........The following is a Q&A excerpt from my book “Ask the Pilot: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”........Thanks to Patrick and Joe for their feedback.
breakfastburrito.....Where did you find this?.....It sounds like something right out of Jerry Springer or Oprah.....and do you really think it gives you any credbility?

The problem with your argument is that you are dealing in extremes...

You are saying that there are either flight decks as we know them now or pilot less ones.....

Obviously the concept of a single pilot op because of automation has eluded you?

Before you tell me this will never happen.I bet you and others would have said the same back in the 70's about 2 pilot ops with wide body aircraft....but here we are.

breakfastburrito
22nd Jan 2010, 18:30
lowerlobe, you complain about my lack of comprehension.
Obviously the concept of a single pilot op because of automation has eluded you?

I have indeed considered the "single pilot" case
Dog & Pilot show
There is a very good reason why all FMC entries are cross checked by a second crew member. I have lost count of the number of incorrect entries that have made & been picked up the other crew member PRIOR to execution.
Once again, the first fatal "single pilot" accident would put an end to such a practice.



breakfastburrito.....Where did you find this?.....It sounds like something right out of Jerry Springer or Oprah.....and do you really think it gives you any credbility?

Source: Freakonomics (New York Times)

Please stop digging.

RedTBar
22nd Jan 2010, 21:56
Give up Lobey, you are wasting your time.
brekkyburrito is one of the dinosaurs.
"What meteorite,I didn't see a meteorite,no one told me about a meteorite"
You are wrong about Oprah and Jerry Springer because I think brekkyburrito gets his stuff from Dr Phil.
Thats why he wants you to stop digging and asking questions about the average wage compared to pilots.

OhSpareMe
23rd Jan 2010, 00:45
He ought to give it up, not as he is wasting time, but rather because he is talking crap.

Want to save money through automation? Perhaps we should start by installing vending machines in the cabin with a subsequent reduction in staff therein. 'Pilotless' or 'single pilot' commercial aircraft ain't gonna happen this century.

The flight deck has not been automated to save money nor "make the job easier". It has been done to enhance safety.

Will the mods please do the honourable thing and take this thread out behind the barn and shoot it.

RedTBar
23rd Jan 2010, 11:53
Perhaps we should start by installing vending machines in the cabin with a subsequent reduction in staff therein.
The airlines would have done that years ago but for one small but significant fault in your argument.

Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up.
It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
On the other hand the more passengers the more cabin crew.
The flight deck has not been automated to save money nor "make the job easier". It has been done to enhance safety.
Nice idea Oh Spare me,so what you are saying is that they automated the flight deck to get rid of navigators, flight engineers as well as some S/O's on some flights to enhance safety.
If you are it means that pilots are on the endangered species list because the majority of accidents are caused by pilot error.
'single pilot' commercial aircraft ain't gonna happen this century.
Sure,Sure they won't

RedTBar
23rd Jan 2010, 22:37
Want to save money through automation? Perhaps we should start by installing vending machines in the cabin with a subsequent reduction in staff therein.
The airlines have already reduced cabin crew to one per main exit door and less with overwing exits so I doubt they will get rid of anymore even though they would love to.
The flight deck has not been automated to save money nor "make the job easier". It has been done to enhance safety.
The pilot workload on the 747-400 was reduced by some 17% compared to the 747 classic.In the process of this automation they got rid of a flight engineer and reduced the need for S/O's.

Now Oh Spare Me,can you tell me that a 17 % reduction in your workload is not making things easier?

The funny thing was that although the workload was reduced by 17% the 747 - 400 crew's pay increased and you wonder why the airlines want to reduce the number of pilots they hire.

lowerlobe
24th Jan 2010, 01:13
It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
Ouch Tbar....:ouch:

Harsh but hard to argue with on that basis....:oh:
Automation is here to stay so you better get used to it, I suspect one day the yoke and side stick will disappear!
I agree Wildpilot but more than a few pilots here would love to think of themselves as Capt Kirk sitting in a seat like that.:E

OhSpareMe
25th Jan 2010, 00:41
Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up.

Did they teach you that on the first day of your B.C.F course?

Sometime next century when they automate the tech crew out of the aircraft feel free to dig me up and lecture me on 'I told ya so!'

In the interim I think I shall start investing in vending machines.

mrdeux
25th Jan 2010, 02:42
The pilot workload on the 747-400 was reduced by some 17% compared to the 747 classic.In the process of this automation they got rid of a flight engineer and reduced the need for S/O's.I wonder where that 17% number came from? Basically we had three blokes doing their job in the Classic, and then in the 744 the work previously done by the engineer was given to the pilots. I flew both, and I didn't notice that I had less to do, but rather I had to concern myself with systems that were once looked after by a specialist. So perhaps the flying side got 17% easier, but they balanced that out by giving both of us 50% (each) of what the engineer did.

And then you have the Airbus, in which the flying is harder, and the engineering work is 150% of what it was in the Classic.

Cypher
25th Jan 2010, 04:00
It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.

No.. they'll automate the flight decks, then they'll call it "Programmer's Error" and then you'll want to automate the programmers out of the programming.. where will it end?

Thanks RedTBar for turning a perfectly good discussion and reducing it to your level of ignorance..... :rolleyes:

mrdeux
25th Jan 2010, 05:32
It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.And I suspect that 100% of the saves are made by pilots. Of course a save isn't an accident, so it doesn't make the reports.

Whilst I'm too old for any of this to affect my career, I'll be a passenger for a while yet, and my choice of carrier is based on what I know of the pilots. I don't care how new the aircraft, or how pretty the cabin crew, as they won't save me when shit happens....which it invariably does.

RedTBar
25th Jan 2010, 06:12
Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up.
Did they teach you that on the first day of your B.C.F course?
OhSpareMe,Do you mean EP's?
If you think airlines pay money to have cabin crew for any other reason you don't understand economics.They would have replaced us with a cafe bar years ago but every now and again when a pilot mess things up it's the cabin crew who is there to carry out the evac.

framer
25th Jan 2010, 11:02
:D:D:D lol RedTbar you're awesome:D:D:D...I wish I could look at the world so simply. Keep it up, you're doing a good job :ok:

NO LAND 3
26th Jan 2010, 14:53
No matter how good technology is or will get, large passenger aircraft will probably still need a crew on board to manage passengers and contingencies. Two of them will probably be designated tech crew. As long as the industry survives in its current form it would probably be more cost effective to retain the traditional crew model rather than develop a "pilotless" model with the associated costs of developing and maintaining it.
However I can imagine required skills dropping dramatically and remuneration falling accordingly. In fact I believe within a hundred years no traditional flying skills will be practiced in commercial aviation.
In the unlikely event pilotless airliners did become a reality, the public would have had decades to get used to the idea as military aircraft and freighters would likely precede them. If you don't believe people would accept them then, in my opinion you don't understand future generations acceptance of technology and the power of a low cost ticket!

mrdeux
26th Jan 2010, 23:59
The makers have a way to go yet before they do away with pilots. Nothing quite like your shiny Airbus taking itself to alternate law #2 to remind you that bean counters aren't worth anything.

Jet_A_Knight
28th Jan 2010, 02:22
Red T-Bar :

It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.

That is such a simplistic view on the reality of 'pilot error' I am inclined to call such a statement 'STOOPID'.:ugh::ugh:

I'm gonna hedge my bets.... if you are taking the pi$$ and I missed the sublety of your humour, I apologise for the rest of my post.:)

However.... I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not a troll, but are truly ignorant of the reality of human beings (with all their vulnerabilities and foibles) operating complex equipment in a complex and dynamic environment - so I provide for you (and others interested) in a hyperlink to site that has researched articles for download about Human Factors, and what leads pilots to make errors.

Flight Cognition Laboratory (http://human-factors.arc.nasa.gov/ihs/flightcognition/index.html)

ErrorManagement (http://www.errormanagement.eu/)

In the meanwhile, next time you go barging in to the flight deck during a turnaround and interrupt those button-pushing-toffs in the middle of their departure safety briefing, in order to tell them that the passenger in 23B gave you a dirty look, stop and consider for a moment that you are in fact making yourself one of those things that can lead your flight crew into 'pilot error'.:=

Oh, and if they do end up screwing it up and crashing, there's usually 50 or more exits to 'evacuate' out of.:eek:

Captain Sand Dune
28th Jan 2010, 06:16
Interesting (or rather, sad) to see an intelligent debate degenerate into schoolyard bickering.
Grow up!:yuk::yuk:

Zoomy
28th Jan 2010, 09:55
"Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up."

I think you mean pick up a coffee for the captain cause he has just been screwed by the company doing sector after sector and been called in on his day off.

There's a chap now fix me a coffee cabin boy.

Have some respect for your elders that went before us and risked their lives experimenting/testing and creating the very job you wouldn't have without pilots.

abc1
29th Jan 2010, 02:15
The newbie in question would have barely scratched the surface during the endorsement training let alone learning how to operate the automatics confidently and competently. That aspect will come on the line after a couple of thousand hours, and even then the automatics can lead you a stray, as they have done so on numerous occasions and with disastrous consequences.
More emphasis has to be put into initial jet endorsement training instead of the filling of seats premise that''today's''managers have so comfortably implemented.

So on a night approach into Hobart from a GPS arrival to a visual circuit, yes I would encourage the newbie in question to stick the automatics in as that will give him, and from his side of the seat a better overall view and free him up to get on with managing the aeroplane and its profile.
A day visual circuit on the other hand I would encourage it strongly to grab the bull by the horns.

As for chieftain flying, as some have mentioned,forget the whole concept as it is not applicable when flying transport sized aeroplanes. Even after a few years on the aeroplane the ''single pilot'' trait still stands out.

Tidbinbilla
29th Jan 2010, 02:33
This thread is about AUTOMATION - not airline wages, or pilots vs cabin crew.

Let's get this thread back on track, shall we?

N.B. Any more trollish behaviour will result in a visit to the naughty corner.:ugh:

Mach E Avelli
29th Jan 2010, 03:19
'Tain't that hard to foster a culture of competence within the cockpit. As simple as using the automatics to the full when appropriate, such as crap weather or busy airspace or at the end of a long day.
For raw flying skills, it's a case of 'use it or lose it'. Most weeks (in Australia at least) the environment will present opportunities to TURN IT ALL OFF and hand fly up to 10,000ft and the last 10,000ft to landing. That means the autothrottle, flight directors and autopilot. Do the occasional raw data ILS. If the MEL permits the system to be off, it's all right, it won't bite.
Simply brief your intentions so that your co-pilot does not become terrified at the loss of all the magic. Most co-pilots will look on for a while, realise how simple it is without all the 'fruit' and want to have a go.
And if he doesn't - come next sim check, who am I gonna give the total electrical failure to? Followed by an NDB approach to circle, at night. Or an ILS on the 'peanut gage' as the Yanks call it. By such devious means does one make automatons into pilots.

Jet_A_Knight
29th Jan 2010, 03:42
Even after a few years on the aeroplane the ''single pilot'' trait still stands out

And what might that be?

Gnadenburg
29th Jan 2010, 04:07
As for chieftain flying, as some have mentioned,forget the whole concept as it is not applicable when flying transport sized aeroplanes. Even after a few years on the aeroplane the ''single pilot'' trait still stands out.

The Chieftain/Navajo point I made was in reference to raw data flying. Dozens of failures in Airbus put you back at a degraded level of automation and elemental raw data skills imperative. Of course a modern airliner is conceptually different in these potential abnormal scenarios compared to GA light twin, single pilot IFR.

Yet by practicing raw data flying , you are not only maintaining your original flying skills, you are still managing a multi-crew cockpit which is a little more capacity sapping than flying an approach with two auto pilots engaged. This raw data and basic cockpit management exercise a skills set you use in a multi failure case.

This thread is about AUTOMATION - not airline wages

I agree but again the simple point I was making was the cost of investing in the rounded pilot a deterrent to many carriers. And also, imagine the pilot shortage and consequential driving of wages if pilots had to maintain the skills past and competency in automation.

The pilot shortage and avoidance of increasing wages has in no doubt been countered by making available many people who probably shouldn't be in a airline flight deck. Or those that require a lot more investment in training from an airline to bring them up to speed.

breakfastburrito
29th Jan 2010, 04:42
Now this thread is back on track, how about RNP approache & departures procedures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Required_Navigation_Performance), are these a game changer in terms of automation?

Mach E Avelli
29th Jan 2010, 06:10
RNAV procedures are a game-changer because they really require proper use of automatics in order to be flown to the required tolerances. Drift one mile off on some procedures and you will generate a nasty-gram from ATC. Half a mile off on some approaches will set off the EGPWS. Either way, details could be in the Chief Pilot's office before you land. Some approaches also require VNAV coupling.
However, good airmanship: suggest that all possible ground-based navaids are on display as a back-up and to assist in orientation.

GaryGnu
29th Jan 2010, 09:06
RNP approaches still require a manual landing. In fact RNP approaches can, and have, been used to make aerodromes with lesser ground infrastructure more accessible. Scenarios that require a higher than average level of manipulative skill could arise just as easily, if not more often, than approaches using conventional aids.

Depending on the aircraft avionics RNP approaches still require manual control to initiate the missed approach.

RNP contingency procedures (eg an Engine Out Dpearture) still require a human to make inputs to the FMS and Autopilot use may not be recommended, once again depending on type.

I don't have the figures anymore but on one particular RNP capable type I have flown the difference in Demonstrated Navigation Perfomance between Autopilot ON and OFF was not that great (in the order of 0.05nm).

I would argue based on the above that RNP approaches are not too much of a game changer in terms of a pilots role in the aircraft. All that is new about these approaches/departures is the source of navigation information used for guidance and the potential non-linear shape of the flight path.

Roger Greendeck
30th Jan 2010, 00:39
A wise instructor once explained to me that modern cockpits turned the high workload phases of flight into even higher ones and the low workload phases into lower ones. Neither situation is ideal.

I have an ongoing concern that automation is usually seen inside and outside the profession as making things easier. And as a consequence automation is seen as a means to reduce training and standards. The reality is automation is a highly complex part of aviation operations which is just as hard to master as traditional skills such as hand flying. There is perhaps an argument though that it is easier to mask poor knowledge or procedures.

Pilots need to be masters of all the capabilities of their aircraft. If it has automation it is not acceptable to ignore it nor is it acceptable to ignore the manual modes or raw flying. Professional organisations must ensure that they support the pilots gaining and maintaining the skills and we as professional pilots must ensure that we take every opportunity to be the best pilots we can be.

Capn Bloggs
30th Jan 2010, 01:02
That sums it up nicely, Rojer. Well said. :ok:

Mr. Hat
30th Jan 2010, 01:43
"just leave it to the automatics". (VMC day smooth conditions FD on)

I only got that once from a guy that was well and truly past his prime and now out of his depth. I felt like saying - "just retire before you kill us all..".

Stick and rudder is very very important. But CRM and knowing ones own limits is equally important. Now when anyone that quotes their hours to me it makes me instantly think to myself "what wonders am I about to witness?".

The brilliant guys never mentioned their experience or past.

saeedkhan
30th Jan 2010, 02:52
Very well said to the new generation kids i remember back in 85 when the boeing told us very soon you will become the cockpit managers and how very true it more demanding today in high density areas and very precise procedures this is the need of the day practice in sim no question of embarrasment as the sim is the recurrent for the procedures

frigatebird
30th Jan 2010, 04:11
A comma is to written expression, as a pause is to oratory. A full stop allows a new thought to make sense.

(thank you - we all slip up sometime when in a hurry, am prepared to amend)

FourBalls
30th Jan 2010, 04:58
While I agree the second last post is grammatically abhorrent, should one start a sentence with "And"?:E

patienceboy
30th Jan 2010, 05:13
I think Roger has hit the nail on the head :ok:

Centaurus
30th Jan 2010, 06:15
Just Ask Anya.

T'was a long time ago over Europe. You could see the lights of the various countries from 35,000 ft. Not a cloud in the night sky. A magic moment indeed. I turned to the young lady German first officer and suggested perhaps she would like to hand fly from top of descent using DME versus height into Hamburg - where our track from 100 miles out was, by coincidence, lined up with the duty runway.

Her reply: "Your request is non-standard and in any case I have never flown such a profile - this airline uses VNAV."

Self: "Come off it, Anya - have a go - and in any case, if you have never used DME versus height, how are you supposed to monitor VNAV for reasonableness (look the up word in the dictionary)"

Anya: "It's still non standard - and hush" (points to CVR thingie in the overhead panel) "the CVR is listening"

Self: "Anya - your captain here will help and guide you all the way to the outer-marker. You have to be in it, to win it"

Anya: "In what, to win what? Please explain the last few words of that sentence?"

Self: "Forget it - three times the height plus ten is the key and I will hold your hand all the way."

Anya: "Are you making a pass at me captain - because I warn you its all on the CVR". (Germans have no sense of humour)

Self: (thinks - how dumb can some women be?) "Forget it Anya - here comes top of descent, anyway"

Well, Anya got real daring and flew the hand flown DME versus height thing AND raw data AND no autothrottle, which worked out perfectly. The thrust levers were closed from top of descent to spool up at 1000 ft and a beautiful touchdown was the result.

After we had taxied clear of the Hamburg runway, Anya turned around to me and said "That was REAL flying and thank you - but please promise don't tell anybody - because we were non-standard".

I have just broken my promise because despite what the modern generation of flight crews may think, it really is quite easy for a competent pilot to keep in practice at pure flying skills. Just ask Anya..

Cypher
30th Jan 2010, 08:42
Pilot disorientation accidents have become a phenomenon (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/01/29/337743/pilot-disorientation-accidents-have-become-a-phenomenon.html)

DutchRoll
30th Jan 2010, 09:47
A wise instructor once explained to me that modern cockpits turned the high workload phases of flight into even higher ones and the low workload phases into lower ones. Neither situation is ideal.
I personally think the "wise instructor" is not so wise after all.

This is a classic case of a blanket statement which has a "sounds good, feels good" ring to it, but isn't really true.

High workload phases of flight include things like penetrating severe weather, and letting the aeroplane do the flying while you concentrate on what the weather is doing and spinning a heading bug around accordingly, and is substantially lower workload (and risk) than pushing and pulling the be-jeezus out of the thing on the clocks while being thrown all over the sky. That's from first hand experience - numerous times over (and I don't need it beaten into my head yet again).

Also heavy ATC environments, where the barely-able-to-speak-english guy rattles off five instructions in 10 seconds, and while concentrating on turning onto the correct heading you go "and what was the altitude again?". "And what ROD did he say?" "And what speed did he say?"

How many pages of this topic do we need to go through to make it clear that there are times to hand fly, and times to plug the automatics in?

Graybeard
30th Jan 2010, 17:28
After posting a reply on the Erebus thread, it occurred to me the relationship of this thread to what happened back then.


Jafa: Quote:
Didn't do a track check out of the last waypoint (Mt Hallet?)

Relied on the INS which they knew at that stage could have been 15 miles out.

What was the weather radar picture?


---------


It's been a long, long time since I looked at this. Isn't Hallet some 200 miles back? A 10 mile or whatever difference in next wpt would be on the order of 3 degrees. Is that enough to trigger concern? There might be that much error reading the HSI.

The AINS-70 did triple inertial mix before the term was invented by Litton in their later LTN-72. From the 5 hours or so since last AINS position update near Christchurch, the position error was about 1.5 miles. ANZ and other KSSU configuration DC-10 operators had always seen that kind of accuracy. The crew had little reason to question the Nav system, and they obviously never checked the lat/long in their flight release against a good chart. In fact, it was the over-reliance on the AINS by the pilots and the company that resulted in complacency.

Whose responsibility was it for the pilots to have good charts appropriate for the route? The QF 747s flying Antarctica at that time didn't have AINS-70, just triple INS. What charts did they have as backup?

The RDR-1F Wx radar in the ANZ DC-10 fleet would paint only a thin line when presented with a steep mountain from 1500 feet altitude. It would have been useful before they descended, however.
GB

Pinky the pilot
31st Jan 2010, 02:55
From the point of view of someone who has never flown anything bigger than a Chieftain (and never will) I have found this thread fascinating.:ok: Pardon my lack of knowlege on the subject but I would have thought that it would be good practice to 'hand fly' the big stuff without all the auto bits on occasion.

Also wondering why Chuckles hasn't commented as of yet.:confused:

Centaurus; Come clean now. Didja get to hold her hand later?:E

Centaurus
31st Jan 2010, 03:23
The RDR-1F Wx radar in the ANZ DC-10 fleet would paint only a thin line when presented with a steep mountain from 1500 feet altitude. It would have been useful before they descended, however.
GB

I believe that ice absorbs radar waves and that ice covered mountains would not show on older airborne weather radars. I vaguely recall this point was made during the original investigation. If correct, it would suggest that relying on weather radar for terrain clearance in the Antartic is risky.

Gnadenburg
31st Jan 2010, 05:33
A wise instructor once explained to me that modern cockpits turned the high workload phases of flight into even higher ones and the low workload phases into lower ones. Neither situation is ideal.

Dutch Roll.

I find this an apt description of legacy Airbus technology. Day to day, on a green line from ILS to ILS, very easy, mind numbing flying.

When things go wrong, and you need to understand the language of the redundant systems and their limitations, workload is far higher than day to day op's.

Graybeard
31st Jan 2010, 05:57
Centaurus: I believe that ice absorbs radar waves and that ice covered mountains would not show on older airborne weather radars. I vaguely recall this point was made during the original investigation. If correct, it would suggest that relying on weather radar for terrain clearance in the Antartic is risky.
http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/statusicon/user_offline.gif http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/buttons/report.gif (http://www.pprune.org/report.php?p=5481304)

True, but within the ice of Erebus is a volcano, and while there will be some absorption, much of the signal will pass as if through air, and reflect off the rock.

GB

psycho joe
3rd Feb 2010, 12:02
It's been interesting on a sociological level.

Every time the basic premise of this thread is trotted out, a cast of thousands flock to the site to extol the virtues of hand flying with a nationalistic style ferver akin to Americans draping their cars & houses in flags in an effort to be seen as the greater patriot, which itself is born out of a fear of being judged a lesser patriot than their fellow countrymen. (i.e. if I extol the virtues of hand flying then I must be considered a great and worthy pilot; Alternatively if I don't then by extrapolation i am neither worthy nor great ).

The Captain of an airliner is a lot like the captain of an ocean going ship. A ships captain doesn't sail the high seas for weeks or months on end clutching desperately at the wheel. In fact a ships captain may never touch the steering controls during a voyage. Yet there is no doubt about ability or who (or what) is in command.

i.e. the steering isn't the hard part, so the captain doesn't feel threatened by automation. The hard(er) part is being the commander which no computer, acountant or manager has been able to replicate. ;)

...And when the machines do become self aware, I wish to be the first to side with our new computer overlords, that I may ...:oh: Ive said too much.

Capn Bloggs
3rd Feb 2010, 12:46
Codswallop. Got a problem, Captain? Drop anchor and we'll sort it out. :=

OhSpareMe
3rd Feb 2010, 19:49
Echo sounder reading 900 fathoms with 9 shackles of cable available.

You can't always 'just drop the pick'

PLovett
4th Feb 2010, 02:21
I have followed this thread with interest and thought to add some observations based on recent experience. Over the last few weeks I have been having a lot of fun in an uncertified simulator. ;)

No its not MFS, its way more sophisticated than that. Its a fully modelled 738 sim with most of the bells and whistles that are available on such an aircraft including all of the automatics. :cool:

http://simsation.com.au/website/images/customer001.jpg

Because I am having to come up to speed on something that I have never experienced before I am doing a lot of hand flying, especially the approaches, both visual and instrument, including such gems as Kai Tak 13, which is still in the data base FUN! :ok:

I have found that I use a lot of skills learnt during the days in GA, such things as comparison of height to distance to run, especially as the vision system isn't crash hot and you don't get a good visual appreciation of the runway until fairly close. :\

My experience in GA has given me the grounding to be able do a lot more hand flying on raw data (although I love the autothrottle :D), whereas I suspect that those who have trained under the fast track system to an airline seat just don't have the experience to be able to do this. :=

My view is that it is the training system that will decide whether pilots have complete reliance on automatics or can raw data hand fly in the future. My opinion is that complete reliance on automatics is dangerous. The sim I have been using still has a couple of quirks in it and one of them is an autopilot failure at embarrassing times. :{ Something that could always happen for real. :mad:

framer
4th Feb 2010, 02:37
Something that could always happen for real. http://images.ibsrv.net/ibsrv/res/src:www.pprune.org/get/images/smilies/censored.gif
Not just failures. If you fly in windy places it's pretty common for the auto-pilot to hand things back to you when it gets rough. If you then muck around trying to get it back in the best you can hope for is a missed approach....time to hand fly.
Every time the basic premise of this thread is trotted out, a cast of thousands flock to the site to extol the virtues of hand flying with a nationalistic style ferver akin to Americans draping their cars & houses in flags in an effort to be seen as the greater patriot, which itself is born out of a fear of being judged a lesser patriot than their fellow countrymen.
There may be a bit of this going on but in my opinion it doesn't stop this from being a valuable thread. I have thought more about it and assessed my own skills as a result of following the thread and I'm sure many others have as well.
A worthy topic for debate.

Weapons_Hot
8th Feb 2010, 07:14
Being a not so ancient mariner, it is nice to know that some things don't change - 100 fathoms (200m by today's measuring stick) per shackle. I only run 50m per "shackle" but then again, I am the one with the cheque book.
Now to confuse the land-lubbers with the length of a "cable", "heaving to", "clapped in irons", and a few more.

"Bosun, pipe "All hands to Prayers" and first mate, read the "Articles"" ;)

Now THAT is a serious thread drift :ooh:

BombsGone
8th Feb 2010, 08:58
Cyphers link is a good read. I would love to see the training history of the crews involved in all the disorientation accidents. How much hands on IF flying in high performance aircraft had they actually done? It takes time Hand flying in IMC to appreciate and overcome the various illusions.

A37575
11th Feb 2010, 11:03
The second part of the title of the original post is "pure flying skills are for the birds."

Back in 1999, Flight Safety Australia magazine awarded a $500 prize to a pilot who offered his story for a "What went Wrong" competition. I am sure FSA and the pilot concerned (an old airline mate of mine) won't mind if I reproduce edited extracts from his story. It demonstrates pure flying skills are not only for the birds. And one wonders how today's wizards of the automatics would cope if something like this happened to them should they hire a Cessna or other lightie for a circuit or two.

"In July 1951, when a DC3 first officer based in Melbourne, I went to Mackay, Queensland, to ferry a Tiger Moth back to Melbourne.. The airline's chief inspector was to be on the ferry for technical support.

Rebuild of the aircraft had just been completed following damage sustained when a hangar collapsed during a cyclone. The owner carried out the first flight which I watched: everything was OK except the elevator control was a bit "offish". As I had not flown a Tiger for nine months a short flight would serve the purpose of providing familiarisation and giving a very helpful Mackay resident a joy ride. Checks were carried out in the usual DH 82 fashion while taxiing. Flying controls were checked and found to be "full, free and correct" as expected.

On take off the machine waddled down the runway then leapt into the air of its own accord. I was suddenly aware of climbing with 38 knots on the clock. Normal climb in the Tiger was 58 knots. The auto-slats were standing open like the legendary clutching claws of fate, and the aircraft's nose was still rising despite the fact the stick was full forward. Not a pretty picture.

To gain airspeed the machine was stood on it's port wingtips using rudder: the nose dropped, speed increased and problem number one was solved. Problem number two soon emerged - the aircraft insisted upon a tight left hand turn which couldn't be controlled with rudder - not really disturbing as a turn was necessary to return for landing. However, the left turn took us straight toward about six HF radio masts complete with aerials and guy wires.

Reduced bank produced a hop over that obstacle and a slipping descending turn was made to line up with the runway. Beaut! Except for problem number three, which became evident as the wings were levelled for landing; the nose popped up and we were climbing again. The second circuit was like the first although the speed was reduced to allow the wings to be levelled for landing; the reduction was insufficient and once again we were climbing.

Third time around proved lucky, the machine made quite a respectable landing by stalling completely as the wings came level. Almost a three-pointer, not bad after nine months. Had anyone been interested, three circuits with the stick full forward in less than two minutes would have been some sort of record. I apologised to the local passenger for the scary ride, disgustedly kicked one tyre hard, and returned to Melbourne. Later the aircraft flew normally after correction.

So, what went wrong? The control box was incorrectly assembled and at some stage the down-elevator cables became slack. Elevator control on the Tiger Moth is achieved by fore and aft rocking of a lever which is about 12 inches long pivoted at its centre; up-and-down elevator cables are attached to the ends of the lever.

Midway between the lever's pivot and it's lower end is a hole by which the control stick is attached. All of this is below and slightly behind the rear seat. No inspection doors are provided and the whole is concealed by the fabric cover of the aft fuselage. Cables cross inside the fuselage and exit the side covers about half-way between the rear cockpit and the leading edge of the tailplane. The rod from from the stick assembly was incorrectly attached to the lower extremity of the pivoted lever.

Back stick gave up-elevator correctly. As the stick was moved forward, slackness in the down-elevator cables allowed the elevators to fall down under their own weight. On take off, as the stick was moved forward to raise the tail, the elevator took up the streamlined position behind the tailplane as slipstream and airspeed increased. Unknown to me, was the fact that in straight and level flight of the Tiger Moth, the elevators are depressed by about 15 to 20 degrees. With the elevators streamlined behind the tailplane, a strong nose-up pitch force is experienced by the aircraft. Hence the aircraft left the ground in a tail-down attitude.

Fine tuning of cable tensions was done by the Mackay LAME, my company chief inspector, and the most senior Queensland Department of Civil Aviation aircraft surveyor. Obviously they believed the aircraft to be airworthy.

Fortunately I had received good training with the RAAF on Wirraways, Miles Masters, Spitfires and Typhoons, in authorised low flying, stalls, spins, aerobatics and recovery from unusual attitudes. All proved valuable".

An analysis of the incident by an FSA writer stated: The gratifying aspect of this tale is the skill and presence of mind that the writer displayed to land his aircraft given the significant control problems that were encountered. So, although the system let the pilot down, the basic skills which were developed during his initial pilot training and his subsequent experience, provided him with the depth of knowledge necessary to save this unusual situation.
............................................................ ...................................

A37575 comment: An hour of dual in an aerobatic aircraft might be a worthwhile long term investment for airline pilots. Probably claimable on tax, too. Or have a simulator instructor teach you unusual attitude recoveries.

Centaurus
11th Feb 2010, 11:36
It seems overseas pilots also share concerns about degradation of manual flying skills. This letter to Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine February 1, 2010.

"Since the advent of automated aircraft, airlines have enforced policies that require pilots to fly almost completely on autopilot. Those policies have severely reduced or eliminated opportunities for pilots to develop and maintain basic instrument flying and hand-flying skills that can enable them to fly safely under all conditions. We now have an industry populated with pilots who cannot effectively fly without the autopilot, even when conditions require it to be disengaged.

Hand-flying instrument skills require practice, without which it is unlikely that the pilot will be able to fly safely. Qualification on automated aircraft does not provide enough training time to both learn the automation and hand-fly the aircraft. It should not be one or the other, it should be both".

CASA, Qantas, Jetstar, Rex and Virgin Blue and their associates should ponder that good advice...

Luke SkyToddler
12th Feb 2010, 06:27
1 - you're not allowed to hand fly in RVSM airspace which is where we spend 90% of our lives

2 - hand flying a big jet when it's a beautiful, low workload, CAVOK day = a lot of fun, but it's a completely different skill to hand flying it when it's sh!t weather IMC to minimas and you're dealing with multiple failures and associated checklists - which is the most likely scenario as to when you'll actually "need" to do it.

3 - it would be extremely prejudicial to safety to do hand flying on the line for the sake of realistic "practice" when it's sh!t weather and high workload, let alone with real live failures

4 - I don't know about boeings, but any failure mode in an airbus that knocks out both autopilots, also puts you in alternate or direct law, which is a very different flying "feel" to normal law, and certainly something you couldn't and wouldn't want to practice on the line if you valued your job

5 - I'm all in favour of more, non-assessable sim sessions, to relax and practice keeping the instrument scan current and the hand flying skills we DO need to keep the blue side up in non normal high workload situations, but lets keep it in the sim. Truth is that total autopilot failure in a big jet is a very very remote possibility and a pretty serious situation (because it's 99.99% of the time associated with failure of multiple other systems) and should be treated with the respect it deserves like any other emergency.

6. I don't see people on here agitating to practice, in the aircraft, any of the other handling related skills that we all wish we were more current on - like emergency decompressions or GPWS climbs - but the probability of encountering one of those is actually much much more likely than spending an extended period hand flying due to total automatics failure. I can't see what the big deal is myself.

mrdeux
12th Feb 2010, 10:47
It's amazing how one man's remote possibility seems to be another's day to day life. Total loss of autopilots, and decompression are both in my recent resume.

Nevertheless, I'm not a fan of people hand flying large jets, willy nilly. That's what the sims are for. Perhaps the real problem is that the sim exercises are a case of them vs us, and most of us want to get out of the box as soon as we've picked up enough ticks to do so.

flyingfox
12th Feb 2010, 12:10
Thid thread started as pompous and continues in that vein. Start a new one without the overtones; ..... "sons"!

Gnadenburg
12th Feb 2010, 12:58
4 - I don't know about boeings, but any failure mode in an airbus that knocks out both autopilots, also puts you in alternate or direct law, which is a very different flying "feel" to normal law, and certainly something you couldn't and wouldn't want to practice on the line if you valued your job

I've had a bottle of good French village red, but in a euphoric vinous fog, I recollect the not uncommon 2 x FMGC failure placing you in normal law and without autopilot reliance.

A37575
19th Feb 2010, 12:26
At last commonsense is beginning to prevail. An article in the latest Flight International reports that one of the world's largest airline operators - United Airlines -actively encourages pilots to hand-fly whenever possible and lays this down via the company FCOM.

Another paragraph in the same article reveals the United States pilot union ALPA echoes the view of the US FAA Administrator that airline pilots may need to spend more time hand-flying aircraft to stave off the impacts of automation.

So, the Revolution has started at long last and well overdue at that. And it is all about Loss of Control now going to the top of causes of aircraft crashes.

So, come on CASA, and pilot unions of Australia - how about some action on this subject which has been tip-toe'd around for years while our airlines hammer the fantastic advantages of automation from lift off to touch down - even on bloody Saab 340's and Dash Eights! :ok:

Nadzab
19th Feb 2010, 13:29
There's at least one Australian airline.... probably more.... where hand flying (on Long Haul aircraft at least) forms a significant part of climb and descent. Cruise is usually limited by RVSM requirements and there are state noise abatement requirements eg: Departure from London Heathrow that limit hand flying. But all in all there's a lot more hand flying going on than you might think.

positivegee
19th Feb 2010, 13:52
The manual I am familiar with tells me that I should use automation whenever it is available to improve safety...! So what are you trying to say?

Don't tell me that hand flying is now safer?:bored:

This management logic is confusing...:confused:

trimotor
19th Feb 2010, 15:16
Nadzab: interested to know why you think hand-flying increases noise footprint? I refer to your comment regarding noise abatement departures, citing LHR as an example.

As a regular operator in/out of LHR, I'd have thought that, provided you followed the departure track (i.e the FD in LNAV), you'd fly over the monitoring points? How can they tell from the ground (well, based on noise anyway) that you are hand-flying?

There are other good reasons for not hand-flying in busy environments, but that's not the topic.

TM

Nadzab
19th Feb 2010, 21:21
tri-motor: you are correct in that I shouldn't have said autopilot use was a state requirement for noise abatement, rather a company recommended procedure. The company recommends it for a reason and its probably got to do with "excessive noise violation penalties". You could probably hand fly the aircraft well within the limits of the noise footprint but why risk it when the book recommends using the autopilot?

Capn Bloggs
20th Feb 2010, 01:02
Positive G,The manual I am familiar with tells me that I should use automation whenever it is available to improve safety...! So what are you trying to say?

Don't tell me that hand flying is now safer?
I hope you are not "in command" of a jet as you appear to have a poor understanding of an issue about which you should be very much aware. It's called automation dependency.

I suggest you have a good read about almost every jet accident in the last few years. There is a common thread, and that is loss of aircraft control by the crew because allegedly they couldn't fly the aeroplane when the automatics played up or had given up.

While your "manual" is correct when it says "use automation whenever it is available to improve safety", that is merely a motherhood and brotherhood statement. If the automation is working correctly, it is the safest option. But when it is not, you must be able to fly with your bare hands...safely. That is what this topic is all about.

captaintunedog777
20th Feb 2010, 05:08
With an airbus even if you turn off the a/p your still using one. The only time time you would truly hand fly one would be in an abnormal config which never happens and only happens in the sim every 6 months.::confused:

Back Seat Driver
20th Feb 2010, 06:26
What a load of rubbish. Started drinking early today 777?

chainsaw
20th Feb 2010, 07:22
With an airbus even if you turn off the a/p your still using one.

Do you want to have a bit of a rethink on that one tunedog? :ooh:

BSD..............a bit harsh! := But, then again, maybe you're right! :}

Mr. Hat
20th Feb 2010, 07:40
A37 there are way too many people that occupy a control seat that are scared/terrified of flying/aeroplanes in general for this to happen.

schlong hauler
20th Feb 2010, 10:13
Any pilot flying Boeing short haul a/c get enough hands on flying. Turn off the F/D and fly an ILS to the minima will pick up the scan rate. Don't peek outside and cheat though. I am talking about real aeroplanes that you can disconnect the autopilot and fly with manual thrust and control not the scarbus.

High 6
20th Feb 2010, 10:35
These days in fly by wire aircraft there is no such thing as manual flying. The computer flies the aircraft at all times and "manual" flight is still via the flight control computers, aka control wheel steering. The only time when you have to revert to real manual flying per se would be when a series of failures takes out all your flight computers.

Having said that, there is still a valid argument that pilots should master the skills of flying without the autopilot so to be ready for the occasion when the autopilot is not available.

aveng
20th Feb 2010, 11:22
I am talking about real aeroplanes that you can disconnect the autopilot and fly with manual thrust and control not the scarbus.

It is possible to control the thrust manually on the Airbus too - just not sure how often its is tried.

By the the way, as an engineer, it is interesting to see the general reactions of different fleet crews when you tell them the autothrottle doesn't work. 767 drivers seem to be concerned, but 737 drivers generally couldn't give a rats! Any idea why this might be? Not trying to stir - just wondering?

captaintunedog777
20th Feb 2010, 21:01
Listen clowns. I'm sorry if you don't like what I posted but really you are just driving around an autopilot in normal law when hand flying a bus. You don't trim you just point and rest your hands on the thrust levers and she'll go where you need. Oh and if flying a visual circuit make sure you select TFPA and flight directors off.

Capn Bloggs
20th Feb 2010, 23:04
you are just driving around an autopilot in normal law when hand flying a bus.
And that's exactly the law that was in use when two crews crashed airbuses during go-arounds. Exactly what makes the control surfaces move is irrelevant. Take out the AP (and more importantly the ATS) occasionally and practice your IF.:ok:

The Bunglerat
21st Feb 2010, 02:03
You may not always agree with what Captaintunedog777 says (including myself), but in this instance he's pretty much hit the nail on the head: the only time you will ever truly hand-fly a FBW Airbus is when the system has degraded to the point of operating in Direct Law. Otherwise you're just twiddling with a $50 Tandy joystick while the computers trim out the aeroplane and point it in the direction you want to go.

Back Seat Driver
21st Feb 2010, 03:24
If your (777 et al) argument is, that if you don't have to TRIM the stab, then it's not hand flying. Then Boo Hoo, someone's feeling less than adequate. The Airbus difference is in not understanding the mode you are in. In designing the 777, Boeing canvassed whether pilots would prefer a control column or a sidestick. Either system could be used. The control Column won, because more pilots said they would feel more comfortable with the traditional 'two fisted' grip.
Bungle, with the autopilot off the computers will not point it in any direction that you didn't leave it in, (except for Y* law on Take-off) and you've got to love that one.

DutchRoll
21st Feb 2010, 04:52
Don't mind me butting in on what seems to occasionally resemble a pi$$ing competition.......

There are merits and flaws in both automatics and hand flying. For an example of each - hand flying is a higher brain processing and physical workload (simply because of the continuous motor inputs & corrections required in addition to everything else happening) which might not be wise in very brain-busy or physically demanding environments, so it's nice to be able to enlist a robot's help somtimes. Automatics is dependent on fully and accurately understanding the nuances of what you are asking the machine to do, so if it's not doing what you want, you need to know how to sack the robot and man-draulically force it to do what you want. Ultimately, neither way has prevented accidents all together. And both ways are a backup to the other.

Anyway, kinda funny about the 777 control column thing. I would've thought a joystick is essentially a "two fisted" approach too. It's just that your fist is over on the side panel rather than your knee. In both cases your other one is on the thrust levers. What a strange reason for wanting one over the other! I'm wondering if that survey wasn't slightly biased by our inherent resistance to change. Most convertees between Boeing/Airbus I know get quite use to the other system pretty quickly, in any case.

captaintunedog777
21st Feb 2010, 06:31
A380-800 driver

Do you fly one as your name suggests. I have no issue with the autothrust system and find it remarkably easy. There are plenty of cues as to loss of speed which include speed reduction, attitude increase, noise reduction, a supporting pilot call etc What do you do? Give it a squirt and it sorts it out. I find the system if you are hand flying you use manual thrust quite interesting.

Jet_A_Knight
21st Feb 2010, 06:32
I suppose F16 pilots fly an autopilot too.:rolleyes:

FBW and Autopilot/Autoflight = two different things.

Jabawocky
21st Feb 2010, 07:41
and I will extend that to include Unusual attitude recovery training.

May have helped save the AF A330..........perhaps!

chainsaw
21st Feb 2010, 07:49
Summary of the state of play so far:

captaintunedog777 (post #167):
With an airbus even if you turn off the a/p your still using one.

Back Seat Driver (post #168):
What a load of rubbish.

Me (post # 169):
Do you want to have a bit of a rethink on that one tunedog?


captaintunedog777 (post #174):
Listen clowns. I'm sorry if you don't like what I posted but really you are just driving around an autopilot in normal law when hand flying a bus.


Oh dear! :ugh: Looks like more clowns didn't like what you said tunedog, because...

Jet A Knight (post #181):
FBW and Autopilot/Autoflight = two different things. :D

A380-800 driver (post 182):
Autopilot off and Fly by wire are two completely different things. Not the same as you are alluding to at all. :D

I guess it's over to you again tunedog for your next attempt at explaning to us how the 'bus actually DOES work. Remember though, it's better to offer no excuse rather than a bad one (George Washington). ;)

John Citizen
21st Feb 2010, 11:04
4 - I don't know about boeings, but any failure mode in an airbus that knocks out both autopilots, also puts you in alternate or direct law, which is a very different flying "feel" to normal law, and certainly something you couldn't and wouldn't want to practice on the line if you valued your job



The aircraft might "feel" and behave differently in alternate law/direct law, however the instrument scan is exactly the scan.

A good instrument scan is very important when hand flying no matter what control law.

A good scan developed and practiced in normal law will help you fly better when in alternate law/direct law.

Gnadenburg
21st Feb 2010, 22:48
Exactly John. It is a basic flight discipline.

If you are current and can fly an Airbus solidly on raw data whilst managing your flight deck. You are in a good position to do the same in alternate and direct law. Flying raw data in normal law is more demanding than flying in alternate or direct law with the benefit of Flight Directors. Flying raw data in alternate and direct law is only modestly more difficult than normal law.

And as Capt Bloggs mentioned and has been pointed out earlier in the thread, GA in Airbus has had two hull losses due disorientation- with countless close calls affecting most Airbus operators. The reasons are many but if a crew can look through the FD's and correlate simple raw data into a scan, you are not likely to hit the water nose low in TOGA!

Someone mentioned unusual attitudes. Did some very good Airbus-Boeing upset recovery training in Ansett. I have not seen it since ( though heard of plenty of incidents ). It was brought into the program due concerns civilian pilots may not have had any such training. And also due concerns that military pilots of high performance aircraft may be too aggressive on the rudders.

John Citizen
22nd Feb 2010, 10:18
So an autopilot is there to increase safety (amongst other reasons) ?

But don't you think it is also compromising safety if basic flying skills are starting to deteriorate, if an aircraft is mostly flown on autopilot ? :eek:

If autopilots / aircraft systems never failed, then sure, you would never need basic flying skills. However, that is not the case yet.

Refer to these document from flightglobal.com

US regulators to probe industry on automation (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2010/01/13/337099/us-regulators-to-probe-industry-on-automation.html)

AA09: Pilot handling skills under threat, says Airbus (http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/09/09/331991/aa09-pilot-handling-skills-under-threat-says-airbus.html)


US regulators to probe industry on automation
By John Croft

US FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt says he will bring together airlines and human factors experts in April or possibly sooner to discuss the consequences of advanced automation as it applies to pilots, controllers and mechanics.

The basic question that will be addressed at the meeting, says Babbitt, is: "Have we automated to the point where the human is out of the loop?" The FAA chief was speaking to ATI and Flightglobal in Houston on 12 January after a kick-off event for initial operations of the FAA's automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast services (ADS-B) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Babbitt, a former airline pilot and instructor who continues to fly light aircraft on occasion after becoming FAA Administrator in June 2009, says he initiated the effort in part after hearing from "several airlines" that they were changing operational procedures to call for "a little more hand flying".

Pilots typically engage an aircraft's autopilot shortly after takeoff, returning to hand-flying mode shortly before landing. FAA rules require that all aircraft flying above 29,000ft (8,845m) in reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM) airspace be operated on autopilot for safety reasons due to the limited vertical separation between aircraft, but carriers have more leeway at lower altitudes.

Autopilot use is largely determined by efficiency measures in those areas, a reality that would tend to signal increased automation and autopilot use as the FAA moves toward 4d navigation, where an aircraft must pass certain waypoints at a relatively precise time.

The role of automation and training has been in the safety spotlight after several recent high profile accidents in 2009, including the stall-related crash of a Colgan Airways Q400 in Buffalo in February, the crash of a FedEx MD-11F during an otherwise normal landing at Tokyo Narita in March and the unexplained loss of an Air France A330 over the Atlantic in June.

Flightglobal recently reported that during its Crew Management Conference in early December that experts are debating whether a seeming deterioration of pilot skills is the symptom of long term effects of operating highly automated aircraft.

Babbitt says the impact of increased automation could also affect air traffic controllers and maintenance workers. "I've asked FAA's human factors experts to look at it," he says. "We have to make sure a human is the ultimate decision maker."

A key goal of the upcoming meeting, he notes, is to get carriers to share what they've learned on the topic. "If a carrier has developed a good procedure, I want to tell others about it," says Babbitt.





AA09: Pilot handling skills under threat, says Airbus
By Andrew Doyle

Airbus is urging the aviation industry to confront the issue of how to ensure long-haul airline pilots maintain basic flying skills in the face of ever-increasing aircraft reliability and cockpit automation.

"We need to refocus on basic handling," Capt Jacques Drappier, Airbus vice-president training, told the APATS training conference at the show yesterday during a presentation on the manufacturer's training philosophy for its latest widebody programme, the A350 XWB.

"I think that at a certain point in time we need to bring back a little bit of handling," said Drappier, adding that he advocates more simulator time for pilots to hone their basic skills. Meanwhile, he says, there are some elements of training that could be moved from the simulator to the classroom.

According to Drappier, long-haul pilots typically log 800-900 flying hours a year, although this could include "less than 3h of stick time", the majority of which is accumulated on final approach and flare.

"We put people into our training today who have forgotten how to fly, basically," he says. "This is an issue that needs to be addressed by the industry."

Pilot training for the A350 will be broadly similar to that for the A380, despite the technical advances being incorporated into the new twinjet, according to Drappier.

"It's all new technology, but it's new technology in the structure, engines and systems. Most of it is transparent to the pilots. The training experience from the A380 is fully applicable."

Airbus expects pilot type conversion training to take five days between the A380 and the A350, compared with 10 days from the A330/A340 family to the A350 and 11 days from the A320.


There is also a very long discussion going on elsewhere in pprune regarding the same topic

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/388573-pilot-handling-skills-under-threat-says-airbus.html