View Full Version : Re-training required!

12th Jun 2002, 13:51
UK news reporting that a crew from a UK major are being "sent home" for re-training following an incident where they landed in JNB with a warning light on.

Whilst I do not know anymore than this, what were they to do, perhaps hold until more lights came on, perhaps fuel press lp etc

Anybody elaborate on this "major" incident.

12th Jun 2002, 14:06

12th Jun 2002, 18:11

12th Jun 2002, 18:42
Quite staggering how stuff gets leaked to the press leading to some fact, some innuendo and a great deal of inaccuracy.

It is not my place to give chapter and verse of the incident nor is this the appropriate forum.

The crew did make a mistake, given the CAVOK conditions in which they were flying it was not dangerous. Because of the open safety culture policy within the company they filed the appropriate reports immediately after landing and in order to facilitate a rapid and full investigation were positioned back to LHR.

They co-operated fully with the investigation and after a simulator training detail were returned to line flying.

Lessons have been learnt and the facts have been promulgated to pilots within BA.

Endeavouring to learn from incidents and the promotion of an 'open' safety culture is not made easier by publication of incidents such as this in the news media. By the very nature of a news report the picture will never be completely accurate and more importantly will never convey the true situation and implications to a readership not able to understand the technicalities of operating a modern airliner.

The obsession with instant and sensational news coverage, the slow but relentless drive for CVR recordings to be made public, the desire to have 'blame' apportioned usually in order to try and extract compensation from somebody can only discourage a culture where pilots feel able to freely admit to a mistake in order that others may learn and avoid repeating that mistake with perhaps more serious consequences.

I believe that some things are best kept out of the public domain. This is but one.

I believe that BA should be praised for the swift and effective action taken.

Orca strait
12th Jun 2002, 19:19
With you 100% on that one...

Localiser Green
12th Jun 2002, 19:23
Agree with WWW on this one, the public cannot possibly make an informed decision or opinion based on the technicality of this event being (not unreasonably) beyond the knowledge of 99.9% of the population.

What we learn from incidents such as this will only have maximum benefit if they are not publicised in this manner.

12th Jun 2002, 19:27
Which warning light?

Did they forget to reset the altimeters passing through the transition level?

12th Jun 2002, 20:45
The Worlds Favorite Airline with 142 on board a 744? No wonder they are doing so well!!
Wouldn't it be a better world if the vultures and ghouls in the media took reporting of this type of incident seriously and invested the same effort in educating themselves on matters of aviation as they spend dreaming up these scaremongering headlines and pursuing the unfortunates.

Notso Fantastic
14th Jun 2002, 11:07
Loadshifta......<<The Worlds Favorite Airline with 142 on board a 744? No wonder they are doing so well!! >>.......you moved the discussion on from the relevant point! If you seem to think the above is of any importance, perhaps you need to be reminded that JNB is off-season at the moment- the weather is wet and cold. Is there any end result of useless & irrelevant points being raised, or are you just trying to get an anti-BA dig in? Bit sad if I may say!

Big Tudor
14th Jun 2002, 12:31
The fact that there was 142 on a B744 is the only part of the article that was worth commenting on IMHO. The rest of it was just scaremongering tosh.

14th Jun 2002, 15:44

Perhaps the handle's apt.

The comment on the number of pax was an observation, the point of my comment was directed against the media.
The comments from C Monty at this stage are only heresay and should be treated with the same scepticism.

14th Jun 2002, 15:46
Good grief, co-pilots...again. Wonder if they EVER look out the window?:rolleyes:

14th Jun 2002, 19:15
411A, Whether the co-pilot looked out the window is rather irrelevant isn't it? If the company has a rule which was being broken by the operating capt. then surely the co-pilot has an obligation to point this out.....at the very least!

Of course the capt. has the authority to change the operation as necessary. As the book says though, this authority obviously has accountability associated with it. The co-pilot would have been foolish not to speak up.

15th Jun 2002, 05:02
I don't know the details of this incident but, I'm a little surprised at the airline procedure which REQUIRES a missed approach from the GPWS warning even in good daylight VMC conditions which BOTH pilots have already agreed to and can reconfirm easily to their satisfaction. If they had done the missed approach and came back in for the next visual approach and the GPWS went off again what then would have been the correct procedure for them in that existing company procedure? There are enough GPWS warnings in good daylight VMC for the company policy and procedures to address this issue. The F/O did the right thing and the Capt. did the right thing, as long as he confirmed VMC,VFR for this approach. This airline's procedure for these circumstances are either poorly worded or should at least, now include that, if the missed appraoach is mandatory, the crew can disregard other GPWS warnings with the next VMC, VFR landing circuit as confirmed by the two pilots. The procedure is letting the crew down; not a need for re-training. My airline's procedure on this allows us both to confirm VMC, VFR in daylight hours. Because of the good VMC conditions, it allows you to keep the speed up,(keeping the airline happy and ATC as well!!) and this "sets you up" by putting you near the upper side of the GPWS warning envelope for Modes 2A and 4B. Nothing comes for "free" it seems!

fast cruiser
15th Jun 2002, 08:22
Totally agree with Diesel

If the Capt operates outside of company S.O.P's then the
co-pilot has a right to speak out. It sounds like the co-pilot on
this flight did nothing wrong and acted as he should do when
a breach of ops has occured.



Few Cloudy
15th Jun 2002, 09:31
Careful boys - this is Big B you are messing with...

15th Jun 2002, 11:18
B55 having had a GPWS alert at the end of a long flight, and LHR to NBO is a long flight you are tired and although you feel up to it reaction time is slower, a GPWS alert does just that and any pilot should follow procedures, on the second approach you are really awake and you brief that if the spurious GPWS comes on again you will continue that is good airmanship that is what we did the alert did not come back, what just what if it had been a light aircraft it happens. Stick to procedures they are there to help you in the times when your body most needs it. On the same or similar subject what would you do in VMC and TCAS tells you too climb, look out of the window before carrying out the action no way you pull up you dont look just do what you are trained to do. Believe me closing speeds of 1000 kts dont give you time to mess about it happens and yes that has happened to me as well, its even more scary when you look at the computer generation at the CAA, time in both of these circumstances you just don't have.
Rant over.

15th Jun 2002, 12:05
There have been numerous incidences of aircraft only just crashing ie crashing into a mountain just below the summit.

The purpose, as I understand it, is to make the reaction to ANY GPWS warning immediate and without hesitation. It might just save your life.

The distinction in response is delineated by whether one is above or below MSA.

But hey, feel free to criticise BA, co-pilots or anything else but please make sure that a) you are a pilot and know what you are talking about, b) have perfect procedures in your outfit and c) never make a mistake yourself.

I take it as read that 411A is OK on all three counts and will no doubt feel able to add some more constructive comment.

16th Jun 2002, 03:28
Common sense (what a novel idea) should dictate action.
For example, the only time I have had a GPWS alert was on approach to AUH, runway 13, VMC, daylight, at about 4000 feet.
For those unfamiliar, this is over the Arabian Gulf, not hills.
The First Officer (PF)...says "stupid box, no terrain here" and I concur, so we continue descent, land, and put it in the logbook.
Now, if at night, over land, IMC or VMC...different story.
But of course I can see where those at BA just might have different ideas. Wonder if there is any common sense resident there?

16th Jun 2002, 07:41

Hindsight is always great, particularly after an accident!

A rule that says below MSA, a GPWS warning = compulsory GPWS pull up mvre would have saved MANY lives since GPWS was introduced if it had always been adhered to.

It might be "common sense" to continue in VMC, 100% SA etc., but this requires a discussion between the 2 crew members after the GPWS to ensure this has been achieved. There may not be time to have this discussion...

There would be an argument for not "pulling up" if GPWS false alerts were frequent , which I understand they were in the early days, but no longer. There are a number of false EGPWS alerts now, as we get familiar with the system, since it is less tolerant of "user error" (wrong altimeter setting, not overridden into QFE airfield / airfield not in database etc.).

At the end of a long night, if a piece of kit that your airline and regulatory authority have installed, says "pull up NOW", and it doesn't often cry foul, seems a good scheme to obey it. There are too many dead bodies from those who "thought they knew better"...


16th Jun 2002, 18:43

I wonder how many people have crashed despite being sure of where they were.

I would suggest that the luxury of assessing the validity of the warning should be carried out having reacted spontaneously to the warning.

16th Jun 2002, 21:50
Actually we had three to confirm...that all important Flight Engineer, certainly you must remember, the guy that just "sometimes" saves your behind.
Common sense must come into play at some stage...otherwise the flight would just circle, with GPWS alerts, until someone, usually the COMMANDER, says..."wait a minute, this is BS, we approach and land, NOW. It is a shame that First Officers can only (usually) look in the book...and NOT outside.
AND, I think that this is a DIRECT result of VERY poor training, IMHO.
Some will disagree of course, BUT us older guys know the score.
AND, do not forget, the older guys are in the Chief Pilots chair, nearly always. And always, DFO.:D

PS: IF this incident was at ALL related to the outdated idea of using QFE for landing...is it not about time that BA abandoned this rather backward idea?
Tin hat at the ready...standing by for incomming.....!;)

Captain Stable
16th Jun 2002, 23:16
411A, the day you leave handling events like a GPWS going off to "common sense" is the day you've lost all control of your aircrew and your airline.

Standard Operating Procedures are there for a reason. That reason is that every pilot, whether captain or FO, needs to know exactly what he may expect from the guy in the other seat, whether he's flown with him fifty times in the past two months, or never met him before a couple of hours ago. As soon as one guy decides he's not going to apply what the company teaches and trains its pilots to do, in that instant he has become a maverick; there is no team left, and the other guy is floundering, not knowing what to expect. That is an excellent basis for serious accidents to occur.

If during a flight something happens which is not covered by SOPs ("anytime we get near the ground the GPWS goes off") or you need to divert from SOPs, you stop reacting and surprising the other guy for a few minutes, you consult and brief on a course of action. That way everyone is in the loop, everyone knows what's happening, what's going to happen, and what to do.

An airline has to dictate how it wants its aircraft to be handled. So it dictates the SOPs. Now they may be good or bad. If you have a problem with any of them, you do not just forget it and go and do your own thing because you think you know better. The correct action is to raise it with the Training Committee, or the Fleet Manager, or whoever can address whatever you think is wrong.

In most airlines, you will get a sympathetic hearing, and perhaps you may be right, in which case, the SOPs will be changed, it will be promulgated around the fleet and everyone will do what you think they should. Alternatively, there may be good reasons for having the SOPs as they are, and I am sure the reasons will be clearly stated to you.

But insist on doing your own thing and you are a danger to everyone around you. In my book, that makes you prime candidate for being permanently grounded as being psychologically unfit to fly.

Sick Squid
16th Jun 2002, 23:55
411A, if a GPWS goes off any time below MSA, visual or not, CAVOK or not, runway in front or not then I am off like a scalded dog. Neither I, nor the FO is omnipotent, we do not know that we have overlooked something, we may even be in a visual trap for all we know (Mt Erebus-like) and this is not the time for the luxury of questions. Or the arrogance of certainty.

Once the GPWS go-around has been converted to a standard go-around, the aircraft is clean, and we have a few moments to review the scenario we can then work out a game-plan for the next approach. Possible reasons, such as incorrect altimeter seting, radalt ramping etc. will be reviewed, and a decision made accordingly.

Thus, if the next time round, when we are BOTH watching like hawks we get a warning we will have a plan of action. CAVOK, runway in front, everything in the groove and verified, this time we might elect to continue. But it varies on the day and by circumstance.

That is how a Captain plays it. Even one like me, nowhere near as venerable in age as you. This is not some great game in which you know all the answers, but one in which you try your damndest to make the cards run in your favour, and that includes using your co-pilot who may be more aware of a developing situation than you are. Maybe you were always more aware than your co-pilot of everything going on around you; in that case, sir, I take my hat off to you, for you are a greater man than many on this board.

BA do not use QFE by the way. Also, the training is immediate go-around for any hard GPWS below MSA (and in the event above it was an EGPWS warning... still a hard warning, so no excuses, but slightly different from the ones when you used to fly in terms of visuals/aurals.). That training is 100% correct, no matter how much of an ace crew are on board at any given time.

Wee Weasley Welshman
17th Jun 2002, 00:23
6£ is 200% correct - 411a you are wong.

Nuff said,


17th Jun 2002, 03:29
Sorry gentlemen, cannot agree.
If common sense does not enter into the picture, then pilots are not needed, and Curruthers will have his automated (no pilots needed) crew.
GPWS alert below MSA, yes indeed, action required. GPWS alert well above MSA, and all concerned can agree on the aircrafts position, then action as needed, which may indeed mean continued approach. To blindly say....the box is always right...is nonsense, IMHO. Now, IF one crew member says..."something not right here" then action is indeed necessary.
My opinion anyway. Others will more than likely disagree, but have found that many just will not accept reality. These boxes installed are AIDS to navigation, certainly not the last word. That position is reserved for the respective fleet manager.

17th Jun 2002, 05:07
Page One of our manual states something to the effect that not all operating contingencies are addressed... and that common sense and good judgement must not be constrained in any situation....Which is to say that if the GPWS goes off in VMC conditions in broad daylight with no obvious threat of terrain proximity, then the PF would not respond with avoidance action.

This is not about "individualizing" any procedure, it's about utilizing one's reasoning ability and one's eye balls to ascertain what's an obvious false warning.

Smoke does not always indicate a fire; it could be a smoke machine. Remember?

17th Jun 2002, 07:20

<<PS: IF this incident was at ALL related to the outdated idea of using QFE for landing...is it not about time that BA abandoned this rather backward idea?>>
Your "worldwide" experience is obviously not as great as you make out. Yes, BA do use QFE into certain airfields where it is state procedure... as do all other airlines (to my knowledge). QNH remains the standard at most airfields. The problem is that EGPWS relies on QNH being set to match aircraft altitude with terrain database...

There is always scope for common sense. My disagreement with your line of attack here is that a GPWS warning, if genuine, might require immediate action to avoid the terrain - there is not time to have a full 2 or 2 way CRM discussion in "what do you think chaps - shall we ignore it?". So a "Pull Up GA" should be flown, since all expect that...

Subsequent to this, we can now hold the CRM discussion, review the charts, position, and decide if it was genuine, a possible GPWS fault etc. Now common sense may dictate "ignoring" a further warning depending on the outcome of the above discussion.


Captain Stable
17th Jun 2002, 18:04
411A, what is your opinion on following SOPs?

Do you feel that they should be followed, or forgotten about if you think you know better?

If you are going to divert from SOPs, do you think the other pilot should be kept in the loop, and if so, will you brief him before or during an alarm going off on the flightdeck?

And if an alarm goes off, will you react to it as per the book, or just decide whether you think it is spurious or not?

What role do you think an FO has if he doesn't have the faintest idea what to expect from you?

17th Jun 2002, 18:05
For example, if you were in the hold at LAM (with other aircraft above and below) and you received that GPWS (EGPWS) alert, would you climb as necessary in response to that alert?
If so, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise.

Captain Stable--
See GlueBall's post above. To blindly follow SOP's in a situation where they do not fit, is not using what I would consider "common sense".
A tough decision to make? Yes...and that is why there is a Commander on the flight deck.

17th Jun 2002, 18:29
MSA in the LAM hold is around 3000'. Above MSA an immediate manouevre is not called for according to the SOPs I adhere too.

I am suprised that by reading other replies that you had not understood that there is a difference in response depending on whether one is above or below MSA.

I hope, should you be unfortunate enough to have a GPWS warning, that your lightening fast 'common sense' thought processes will be enough to save your life should the warning be real.

17th Jun 2002, 18:38
Don't worry, M.Mouse, they will be.

Captain Stable
17th Jun 2002, 18:43
And your answers to my other questions, 411A?

17th Jun 2002, 20:44
411A - Well you seem to have opened Pandora's Box with what may have been a less than well thought out comment. You keep coming back to "common sense"...many of the replies have shown plenty of that in commenting that having completed the GPWS go-around once they would then take time to review and replan. Indeed many have commented that on the second approach they may feel more inclined to disregard the warning. This is all emminently good sense. You however show remarkable confidence, verging on arrogance. We can ALL be wrong. Even you. By definition a GPWS warning, were it genuine, would require a very prompt response. I would respectfully suggest that even you would have insufficient time to consider whether the warning was valid. That's why we have an SOP. No-one is suggesting flying round in circles executing countless go-arounds.

I really wish you would reconsider your position. Your comments sound frankly arrogant and when coupled with the wrong character in the right hand seat, dangerous.

17th Jun 2002, 20:49
Captain Stable--
As I mentioned before, the only GPWS alert that I have received was reviewed at the time by me, the First Officer and the Flight Engineer...and it was decided that the warning was false, so we carried on with the approach.
Seems like a reasonable action to me, ie: everyone agreed.
The action was reported (Captains Report) to the Chief Pilot (ex-BA, by the way)...who agreed also.
Works good, lasts a long time.
Do you have a particular problem with this?

It is certainly not necessary to re-invent the wheel.

Fat Boy Sim
17th Jun 2002, 21:07
From our SOP top paragraph on QRH, which is also Airbus

During night or IMC conditions, apply the procedure immediately. Do not delay action for diagnosis.
During daylight VMC conditions, with terrain and obstacles clearly in sight, the alert may be considered cautuionary. Take positive corrective until the alert ceases or a safe trajectory is assured.

All seems common sense to me

17th Jun 2002, 21:21
Me too.

At nearly every company where I have worked, when ex-BA guys were hired, their opinion usually was...."well at BA, we didn't do things that way".
It was promptly pointed out that ..."BA is NOT paying your salary, so do it OUR way, or say goodbye."

They always stayed.
Not really surprised.

17th Jun 2002, 21:41
Rumours abound of a simply staggering 757 incident at Oslo some
months ago involving a Scandinavian carrier - any ideas ?

17th Jun 2002, 21:53

Can't quite make up my mind whether you have a hatred of all things BA or are just plain provocative.

Nobody in BA would claim to have the ideal method of operating an aeroplane. I do know that if I have concerns about an SOP I will be listened to and things can and do get changed.

However with reference to GPWS it would seem that you are in the minority. I hope it doesn't kill you as it has others with the same attitude and approach.

You also make arrogant statements about being the commander that frankly went out with the ark.

Something I have noticed about CRM issues is that those most in need of examining their own attitude and behaviour are usually those that believe that the rest of the world is out of step with them.

I do know that the last thing most in BA have is a closed mind.

Oh, and before you get on your other hobby horse of how experienced you are I am no spring chicken either.

17th Jun 2002, 22:08
Well beamer, as this is the Rumour Network, what's the gin?


Suspect that it is more of a USA vs UK idea.

Nothing wrong with the way BA plan their operations, just that some do not agree. Simple as that.

17th Jun 2002, 23:18
"Do it my way or be fired" is not what I would call the best CRM in practice. There are always other, sometimes better, ways of doing things. It pays always to listen.

411A, I'm disappointed to learn that you wish to evaluate every warning you get and decide first whether you think it's genuine and then act on it rather than follow published SOPs in the first place, get away from the possible danger, then evaluate and consult and plan a course of action between you.

But considering your opinion of FOs, perhaps it's not surprising that you want it all your own way and nobody ever else gets a look in.

In the first place, your attitude has been described as arrogant. That may have something in it. Probably wouldn't make you a nice person to fly with, if true. Secondly, your insistence that you want to filter every warning and then act as you see fit must leave your FO's very confused. If true, that would make you a very frustrating and confusing person to fly with. And finally, if you want to pause and think when descending into possible danger with warnings blaring at you, that would make you a very dangerous person to fly with.

Since I now know who you are, I am, thankfully, not likely ever to have to fly with you. It's well past time you retired. I wouldn't mind you writing yourself off when solo in your own machine, but you are in severe danger of writing lots of other people off as well.

18th Jun 2002, 01:13
For Fergineer,
No one has said that this happened at night and whether this was a GPWS or an EGPWS warning. Big differences!! Yes, the pilots are still the most dangerous part of the safety puzzle.

18th Jun 2002, 01:30
B55, neither did I, I said at the end of a long flight, mine was in daylight, the procedure was the same, go round, just said tired at the end of a long flight. Wether GPWS or EGPWS it has got people thinking which is good.

18th Jun 2002, 01:38
For fergineer,
Pilots making choices will always be the big danger area.

18th Jun 2002, 01:46
I've put my trust in them for the last 20 odd years, not had many wrong decisions. Hope that they that have flown with me say the same as well.

18th Jun 2002, 02:43

Nowhere have I mentioned that I wished to "filter every warning and act as I see fit". There are indeed some warnings in aircraft operations that require immediate actions, unless a greater emergency exists. Engine fire warnings would be a good example.
However, when SOP's clearly do not fit the profile, other avenues should be tried, in agreement with the other crew members.
All companies that I have worked for have agreed, so I can see no difficulity with that way of thinking.
And, in those companies where I have worked, it was the company management (not me) that had some difficulities with ex-BA crew. As they (management) were paying the salaries, it is perfectably reasonable to expect that these ex-BA crews comply with their new companies' method of operations.
And further, you state that it is well past the time that I retire.
Why? Just because you do not agree with my opinions?
I am certainly entitled to mine, just as you are to yours.;)

Burger Thing
18th Jun 2002, 04:55
I have to stand with 411a. I couldn't open the BBC link on page one, but I would like to make some general comments regarding this topic. Yes, SOP should be the Bible for every Crew, but as we all now, sometimes it is possible that we are caught in situations, which are not covered by SOP. What are we doing then? We use experience and common sense . If it was possible, that the SOP and technical systems can cover and cope with every situation, then Pilots are probably no longer needed?! Why? Because if everything is covered, Computer Algorithms can be used instead! A nightmare? Yes, indeed, because we all know, that we shouldn't always blindly follow the box, because technical systems DO fail. That's is why we should be always alert and monitor the flight, and use next to the rules of the SOP, EXPERIENCE, TRAINING BUT ALSO COMMON SENSE .

Like I said, I wasn't able to read the BBC link, but in general, if you are decending and you are CAVOK with a visibility of 30nm or greater and the GPWS comes on and the terrain flat as a pancake and the airport in sight, you PULL UP immediately, WITHOUT assesing the situation first? What kind of airmanship is that?

Some of you guys were talking about complecency and arrogance, but in my humble opinion to always follow blindly the box is complecent as well. One day we might be caught in a situation were the box is u/s and our brains as well, because of idling too long time the last couple of 'EFIS'-years. That wouldn't be in interest of any SOP on this world.

By the way, in this region here (Southeast Asia) there are airports (especially Indonesia) where visual approaches are conducted and on some of these approaches it's unfortunately almost impossible to fly in and land without a GPWS alert. :(

18th Jun 2002, 12:25
It is now pretty obvious that this topic is like the parable of the 12 blind men all describing the elephant from a different perspective. There are long haul crew here with numerous Human Factors issues in their workplace; 15hrs flights, all night, tired, never flown with the other pilots, etc., etc, and short haul crew and also regional crew with 4 hour flying, mostly in the daylight, in and out of the carpark in less than 8 hours. A long haul crew should be locked into a mandatory go-around with the discussion later of what to do with the next landing. They are in no position to be making choices at an airport they haven't seen for at least a month or even more. Regional crew are at the other end, with the same day, confirmed and called VMC approach into an airport they are always SA current on, with a GPWS warning that goes off because you just touched the corner of the warning envelope(usually due to higher speeds in the good VMC) and you both confirm VMC-terrain clearance okay. Both crew faced with the same choice, one crew can only do it safely one way, the other crew can do it another way, safely too. Everyone's choices are different for them and cannot be used by others here.

18th Jun 2002, 20:44
I must say that I agree with 411a on this. There are some warnings that you do not hesitate to react to and SOPs that specify what the company wants you to do in a given situation.

In the company that I fly for the SOP states that if a GPWS alert is triggered in DAY VMC and the Captain can exactly ascertain his position then a go-around is not required even when below MSA.

I believe this to be sensible and practiable. However if one does elect to miss an approach for one for whatever the reason there should be no critisim.

18th Jun 2002, 21:26
So if in day VMC the captain pauses to ascertain his position it is possible he will crash should he make a mistake.

If he flys an unnecessary go-around what danger is there?

18th Jun 2002, 22:36

As a few events during the last few years have shown us a go-around is not always safe and simple!

I have no argument against pursuing the safest course of action, adhereing to SOPs and practising good airmanship.

However, that said, there are times when events arise that are not covered by SOPs or manuals and then the crew have to make a decision based on their knowledge.

I can illustrate such and occurence by an experience of mine. One night in cruise at FL350 while reading a flight manual;) my attention was rudely summoned by a GPWS; WHOOP WHOOP PULL UP & TO LOW TERRAIN!! After swallowing my heart I did nothing although my SOPs tell me that I should have applied full power and climbed like hell! ( In a A320 I ask you, you can't out climb a moth up there!!!:D )

In the same vein 'were I to get one on an ILS in DAY VMC with the runway and terrain insight I would most likely continue to land.

Captain Stable
18th Jun 2002, 22:44
Let's assume for one moment that it's okay to carry on in day VMC, good vis., i.e. CAVOK.

Assume also that it is not okay to continue at night, in cloud etc.

If it is marginal (by which I mean, anywhere in between), where does the line lie? Let's face it - we've already by the assumptions above said there is a line.

If he has ground contact 50% of the time, does he need to go around? How about if he's "VMC on top" of a thin layer? How deep does the layer have to be?

In the mean time, the alarms start sounding. There's a pause while he evaluates the conditions, deciding whether or not to continue. That pause could be fatal in just the wrong situation.

Far better, in my book, to play it safe every time. Train in an instantaneous response. Don't program into a pilot's mind a delay in reacting to what could be a life-or-death, urgent situation. If it proves to be a spurious warning, then agree amongst yourselves that that's what you've got, and what you're going to do with it.

Two aphorisms that we've all said at one time or another. Firstly, nobody ever collided with the sky. And secondly, trust your instruments. If playing safe and taking a possibly unnecessary go-around is not butch enough for some people, then so be it. If going by the book insults your intelligence, then save it for working out why you got the problem in the first place.

18th Jun 2002, 22:45
It seems that there is an erroneous assumption that above MSA there is (in my company) an SOP to apply full power and climb in reaction to a GPWS. There is not.

One of the reasons that passing MSA is acknowledged by both pilots is to reinforce the awareness of the company SOP regarding GPWS warnings, which is different depending on whether one is above or below MSA.

I am calling it a day on this one.

I can say that my company's GPWS SOPs are intrinsically safe.

I can also say that other SOPs that have been mentioned here will be safe most of the time.

Burger Thing
19th Jun 2002, 07:18
Captain Stable, I do get your point, but the fact is, that there never won't be a determined thin line. If there were one, then EVERY decision could be devided dowm into a YES/NO one. YES/NO is in Computer Algebra 1/0, which comes back to what I said before. If we had that situation, then Pilots could be replaced by computers, also taking out of the decision making process. But unfortunately (or fortunately) it is not as simple as that:

I had the opportunity to fly into some airport in Indonesia last year. I give you the following scenario, where a immediate Pull Up and go around is not the safest solution:

VMC, Visual Approach, Leaving 1500ft AGL in a 737 turining left base, over hilly terrain, the GPWS comes on, because at the extended base line are more hills. A DC 10 is overhead the airport at 2500 ft about to enter right downwind, a Skyhawk A-4 of the Indonesian Air force is cleared for take off, and a F-28 is approaching the airfield from the north, another B737 from the south. ATC is overloaded.

So in this case, we assest the situation and we found it is safer to land, then to go around and follow the GPWS, because we were VMC and our flightpath lead us around the hills.This particular airfiled requires a left turn towards the airfield on Missed Approach (towards then the other traffic, Right Turn and straight out definately not an option because of Terrain), I think that is when Knowledge, Experience, Training and Common Sense comes into play.

But coming back to what you said, we shouldn't talk about IMC or VMC over the top. Discussion here is out of the question. A GPWS should be followed then immediately when descending into unknown terrain below MSA.

19th Jun 2002, 07:28
I have to agree with Burger Thing here. In a textbook scenario there would be no variables, but in real life there are many. However most of these are already absorbed by the crew before the warning is presented. So a qualified assesment can be made if to go-around or not..

19th Jun 2002, 10:52
Burger Thing

How many airfields in the world is the situation you describe normal?

In the instance you describe should the wheels not have lowered correctly you could not have gone around then?

19th Jun 2002, 11:45
Why does the scenario conditions keep changing from the original agreed upon ?!
On an ILS at 1,000 feet agl, the crew call "visual". At 200 feet agl the GPWS calls "minimums, minimums". Does the crew go through a new process of decision making to get another answer or does the crew acknowledge the existing and still current decision of the "visual" call at 1,000 feet?

19th Jun 2002, 11:52
The mindset instilled by going around with a GPWS alert should avoid hesitation when the alert is genuine.

The hesitation to consider whether the alert is genuine or not could kill you.

'Minimums' Minimums' is not quite the same as 'Whoop!, Whoop!. Pull Up!, Pull Up!'

19th Jun 2002, 12:10
very good! but, the pilot's situation is the same. If its VMC, VFR called "visual" and the situation is unchanged, as in the initial scenario. Let me climb over the fence here... at 1,000 feet agl on the ILS the crew call "visual" and at 200 feet agl, with conditions unchanged and even on the visual glide slope for the runway, the GPWS warning calls "WHOOP, WHOOP, Pull UP"? What do you do then?

Captain Stable
19th Jun 2002, 15:57
To my mind, most people here are simply arguing for SOPs to be changed.

If the rules say you go around, then you go around. If you disagree with this and can provide good reasons, then argue for a change to the SOPs.

But we do not have the freedom to pick and choose which we comply with and which we don't.

I can see the point of those who say "If I'm good VMC, can see for miles, got the ground, got the airfield, then why go around?". Yes, on the surface of it, having a brief think, applying "common sense" and continuing may appear to be be logical.

However, as has been said many times, the action on the part of the pilot needs to be instantaneous in many GPWS situations. There should be no "Errr - can I see enough? Am I where I think I am? Is that alti set correctly? What does his say over there?" because most of the time by then you'd be dead.

Common sense, for me, says react instantaneously, and go around. When you're safely out of the way of whatever bit of ground might have been wanting to share the same bit of physical space as you, consult with the other guy. Check your position with ATC if you want. Check the map hasn't shifted. Check your altis. "Blimey, mate, we've checked everything, so the machine must be wrong. We were exactly where I thought we were. OK, let's do it again, and if it goes off again I'll disregard and we can snag it when on the ground. OK?"

Training in a delay in a reaction to GPWS is about as dangerous as you can get.

19th Jun 2002, 16:35
My outfit, a well known 'High Cost Operator' ;) requires that except in clear daylight VMC, when the flight crew can unequivocally confirm that an impact will not occur, they must react immediately to a GPWS warning.

However, they do go on to point out that crews should beware of being slow to react on the basis of previous suspect performance,and that investigation of the reason for the alert or warning must take second place.

All seems reasonable and sensible to me !!

bugg smasher
19th Jun 2002, 22:00
Aviation, unfortunately, has significant gray areas not covered by SOPs, in which decisions must be made based on an evaluation of the situation as it presents itself. This decision process is necessarily filtered by the pilot’s experience and training, and does not always result in the desired outcome, as statistics clearly show.

Herein lies the difference, in my opinion, between the ‘old pro’ and the neophyte pilot; the ability, acquired through experience, to operate safely and efficiently in those gray areas where SOPs are either irrelevant, questionable, or in Burger Thing’s case, clearly dangerous.

SOPs cannot address every possible permutation, and that is why the insurance companies insist that a captain is a captain, and an F/O is not. Regardless of experience levels, I would never criticize any pilot for adhering to SOP, for that in almost every case is the safest course of action.

In some scenarios, however, 411A is entirely correct in his approach to the problem. The ability to think ‘outside the box’ is an absolutely crucial component in every successful pilot’s bag of tricks.

(ref; Air Transat, Azores; UAL, Sioux City)

Few Cloudy
19th Jun 2002, 22:21
I used to fly for a carrier (yes - a major) where the SOP was always to obey the GPWS "unless completely sure of position and height".

I never liked that - it was mostly the guys who thought they were sure where they were who crashed. Let's face it, the warning is not one which "goes off" all the time - and when it does it can save lives.

19th Jun 2002, 23:52
bugg smasher is "there" with that comment.
For Captain Stable, you said, "OK, let's do it again, and if it goes off again, I'll DISREGARD..." What if that next time it actually was a correct GPWS warning? You've just broken another rule, NEVER DISREGARD a GPWS warning. Each is a separate and unique occurence. Assumptions are now coming in here. Just as Deadly.
"... and we can snag it when on the ground,OK?" That sounds just like the last words from a CVR.
A safety system based 100% on only the pilot is unsafe. So too, a safety system based 100% only on SOP's is unsafe. It gets back to who is making those safety choices that don't fit neatly into a SOP, or your experience base. A safe choice for an airline pilot may not be a safe choice for a new CPL. If you train your new pilots to only find a SOP answer, it will eventually happen where they won't be able to know how to make a safe choice when it is demanded of them. Alot of those examples in the airline accident history.

Burger Thing
20th Jun 2002, 04:27
Bugg smasher is correct. Let's face it, that is the reason, why a senior Captain of a 747 is paid the big bucks. Not because knows the SOP inside out or is able to press the Auto-Approach-Button more gently than the Junior F/O, but he has a bucket full of experience.

Train in an instantaneous reaction? Honestly, I have a problem with that idea. I prefer to be trained to instantaneous assessment. This assessment can be as quick as a friction of a second and doesn't mean hestitation: Night, IMC -> GPWS warning, you pull up, of course

But I believe we can get caught in situations where it is safer, to think first, then (re)act.

Captain Stable, if you were right, then Boeing or Airbus would have probably build the aircraft in a differnt way. A GPWS alert would be followed by instantaneous Auotopilot pitch up or switching into the Go-Around mode, flying the programmed missed approach procedure. We could take then the pilot out of the decision making process. Acording to your philosophy, that would be safer. We wouldn't have then this weak link (Pilot) in the chain and the aircraft wouldn't lose precious time descending into terrain. Thank goodness, they are not built this way! At least not aircraft... ;)

In the scenario i described earlier, it would have been possible to go around, but in our opinion it was much safer to continue and land. Even when I am sitting here in my appartment and think back about that particular day and have the comfort of having time , I still believe, we did the right decision that day. And we all know, when you are up there, we don't have this comfort of having much time to decide. And in our case, following the SOP wouldn't have given us much safety comfort either...

Granted, this scenario is not 'a normal one'. But which one is? Is there such thing like 'a normal' scenario? Techman has the point. There are so many variables out there, which can't be covered or foreseen.

Burger Thing
20th Jun 2002, 04:30
Uuups, one word is missing. I wanted to say, that at least the aircraft of our company, are not built this way... :o


20th Jun 2002, 07:23
BT, you raise very valid points.
I have flown for several companies in the middle/far east that had a rather large variety of nationalities as pilots, both Captains, First Officers and Flight Engineers.
In EVERY one of these companies, the over-riding principle of standard operating procedures is...to follow them as best you can, and that is indeed what the company management expects.
However, each of these companies also insisted that, in the event that the SOP's or abnormal checklists do not address the "situation at hand" then crew are to use their best judgement under the circumstances.
In the case of ex-British Airways crew that had retired and joined where I worked, most just got on with the job, the company way.
There was a small number however, who seemed to delight in "making waves", always finding fault, and declaring that, the BA way was the only way.
These particular crew members did not last very long at all. They were sent packing because...they were a pain (as in, don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up) and management simply had NO time for them.
Some of these attitudes are demonstrated here, as you have no doubt noticed, i'm sure.;)

Notso Fantastic
21st Jun 2002, 10:43
Anyone else remember the South American 747 (I think) crew at MAD whose last words on the CVR were 'Shut up Gringo!' (in Spanish) to the GPWS insisting on 'Pull Up!'? Presumably they 'evaluated the situation and used their best judgement'.

21st Jun 2002, 15:00
Notso Fantastic--
Living up to your handle again, I see.
If you had been reading the various comments here, you would have realisied that the general discussion was...daylight, VMC,CAVOK, not in the clouds or nighttime.
You have clearly demonstrated the superior BA attitude that has gotten some of your retirees booted out of other carriers.
Better stick to BA, as you will indeed find the "outside world" not all that friendly.

Burger Thing
21st Jun 2002, 18:59
Notso Fantastic, I think your company spent a lot of money to select you over hundreds of other guys, who also applied for that job, in order to 'evaluate situations and use your best judgement'.

If they wanted only some trained robots, they could have chosen some monkeys in order to press some buttons. The only problem would be the RT though... ;)

But that is maybe what you want, Autopilot on, brain off. Not me. :p

I just hope that when you fly VMC and decent on a STAR through the MSA with the airfield in sight (I hope you have it in sight and don't have your eyeballs glued to the instruments), terrain as flat as a football field (Am I touching a sensitive area here ? :D Samba... ) and with a false GPWS warning, that I won't be the one who flies 1000 feet above you, when you pull up instantly. I would find that notso fantastic. :eek:


Yes, 411A, I noticed... :(

Notso Fantastic
21st Jun 2002, 20:00
It's funny how the cloak of anonymity seems to allow people to get so abusive and personal. Instant 'experts' who seem to know so much and yet in life 'do' so little! Regs make no allowance for pilots to take decisions on whether they 'think' it safe to continue. The whole point of technical development has been to make the system so reliable that when it goes off, you go 'off' UNLESS you are clearly above minimum safety altitude! It's a philosophy I trust, but the legions of 'shoot from the hip' experts that inhabit PPRUNE with an opinion about everything think otherwise! Keep your abuse to yourselves you fools

bugg smasher
21st Jun 2002, 21:53

I gather the above post is an example of what happens when you 'go off'.

Notso Fantastic
21st Jun 2002, 22:15
Yes- it's a shame isn't it? You try to gently explain to some very self opinionated people how the airlines (that I know of) treat GPWS and the philosophy behind it, and they resort to personal insults and abuse under the guise of anonymity. It's the major failing of this forum that there are so many self appointed 'experts' like certain members here whose way is the only way!

Beta Target
21st Jun 2002, 23:04
It troubles me to see so many in this thread that are keen to have the discretion to disregard the GPWS. Whilst I agree that experience helps a pilot make sound judgments it certainly doesn't necessarily guarantee the best result.

If experience were adequate to ensure the correct outcome in these situations then why are the hillsides of the world littered with the remains of experienced crew and their aircraft? (Some of them even died in daytime VMC!)

I expect that if you could ask the crews of those aircraft which flew into terrain whether they thought that they knew where they were and what they were doing prior to impact, then some of them would say that they did. CVR analysis shows that on most of them at least one crew member was uneasy (often the subordinate).

Experience unquestionably helps a pilot to make good judgments, but a little humility goes a long way to helping you stay alive.

GPWS came in to help pilots that think they know what they are doing realise that they don't!

Nobody is THAT good a pilot.

21st Jun 2002, 23:41
A GPWS warning should not happen, unless a mistake has been made (in this case a wrong altimeter setting), or the machine has a problem eg map shift. What could possibly be safer than going around up to MSA or SSA and sorting the problem, then having a chat about it?
Most of them seem to happen to "maxed out" crews, who have lost each others mental model. For example, Cali- if only they'd retracted the speedbrakes they would have got away with it- it was that close, but they climbed away with speedbrakes deployed. Wonder why? Because they were confused. Dan Air in Tennerife, I believe, tried to enter an incorrect holding pattern at 320 kts. If only he hadn't banked they would have got away with it, but he did bank, and did he have the rest of his flight crew with him? Doubt it.
The "Pavlovian reaction" thing may sound silly, but you just may have made a real cock-up (apart from, you of course 411a), which no one has picked up. As, I say, what can be safer than going aoround?
I'm happy with my company SOPs (although, 411a that doesn't count because I'm a first-officer-robo-pilot), and am a) happy for skipper to adjust them if needs dictate (not hard GPWS warnings below MSA), and b) will talk to management if I think they're wrong ("the sheer arrogance of the young whippersnapper," says 411a)
Finally, I'm really happy I'll never have to fly with 411a, and his cargo plane full of rubber dog**** out of Hong Kong!;)

bugg smasher
22nd Jun 2002, 00:00
A well considered post Beta, it is with certainty that more people are alive today who reacted instantly to a GPWS warning, as opposed to those who didn’t. Perhaps this in itself is sufficient justification for current BA thinking (as I understand it) on the subject.

I believe, though, this thread has evolved beyond the mere question of GPWS, to a wider approach in solving cockpit problems in general. SOP will never address, nor can it be expected to, all of the various creeks which most pilots at one point or another in their careers have found (or will find) themselves up without the means to paddle.

SOP is without question an efficient tool to instill pilots with good operating habits, the need to standardize a crucial safety issue. In some cases, however, it has forced us to over-ride the common sense approach of evaluating the why and where of things before reacting blindly to drills. As someone wisely pointed out above, if it were all so simple, Carruthers would be in charge.

Burger Thing
22nd Jun 2002, 05:28
Notso fantastic, I start to believe that your chosen name suits your comments very well. I don't claim to be an expert nor I'm the most experienced pilot. Neither are you, your comments clearly show that. .Regs make no allowance for pilots to take decisions on whether they 'think' it safe to continue. The whole point of technical development has been to make the system so reliable that when it goes off, you go 'off' UNLESS you are clearly above minimum safety altitude! It's a philosophy I trust, but the legions of 'shoot from the hip'

I am not a cowboy, so usually i don't shoot from the hip. Yes, technical development has been great lately. But if you think they never fail and give you absolute security, then you are fool. I just hope for you and your passengers, that you never get caught in situations, when you have a technical problem or similar and can't find an answer in your SOP. And trust me, (computer) systems can fail. Unoticeable. :( I learned that yhe hard way during my Masters course in Information Technology... :o

I am not questioning safety procedures or regulations. But I strongly believe that not every situation can be forseen or covered by regulations or SOP as bugg smasher or 411A pointed out correctly already.

Slickster, read again my example given on the previous page and tell me, do you honestly think a go around would have been the safest solution? And, no, the altimeters were setting correctly, it is just that some airports out there in Indonesia don't have instrument approaches to all runways and windconditions on some runways are a bit tricky, so you better chose a visual approach. Believe it or not, but on some you have a 'real' GPWS warning and when you forget to turn into final from base, you will be very close to the mountain indeed. I have to explain that, because I also found it hard to believe the first time I landed there: Some of the airports were built by the Japanese at war time and they built the airports in a way to be hard to attack, usually built very close to mountainous area.

So, slickster or notso fantastic, what would you do, lets say after diversion on minumum fuel? Indonesia consits of many islands and the next suitable airport could be too far away. Fly an instrument approach with no GPWS warning but a tailwind exceeding your SOP- and airplane limitations or fly a visual approach with a GPWS warning and pull up everytime and run out of fuel? Decissions, decissions...

Capt Pit Bull
22nd Jun 2002, 08:15
As far as I'm concerned, SOPs are our servants, not our masters.

People also seem to think that safety is an absolute - i.e. that as flight (or an SOP) is either safe or it isn't, when in fact we are operating down at the end of the bell curve of unlikely events.

Our procedures just shift things slightly towards more safety (if they are well designed and implemented), without unduly compromising expediency.

No SOP can cover every situation. GPWS is just like every other warning system - a trade of between being sensitive enough to generate warnings when you need them versus not being over sensitive to the extent of providing too many false warnings.

I've had several GPWS warnings in my career, coincidentally they have all been in VMC. Solid VMC - i.e. 30 miles vis, rather than marginal, and not once have they been necessary. Fortunately, my employers at the time had SOP that allowed you to not pull up if you were in VMC and certain of position.

The fact is that there are many airfields where GPWS alerts are a fact of life. If you know the field you can turn to your colleague and say - 'The GPWS will probably go off right...now'.

Now don't get me wrong - if in anything less than solid VMC I'd be working on the automatic assumption that we had screwed up, and pull up / go around.

My new employers have the mandatory Pull up when below MSA. So next time I'm flying down to Jersey, and its a nice summers day without a cloud in the sky, and I join right base for 27 and the GPWS goes off as we fly over the cliffs, I'll be monstering back up to 3,000'. Will that be safer? - not one jot.


Sick Squid
22nd Jun 2002, 11:06
....and the non-transponder light a/c below you that triggered the warning continues safely through the zone.... albeit mighty shaken up at the close-up view they've just had of a very large aircraft!

Airfields that have a GPWS problem have ALWAYS in my experience had a warning either on the plates, or in the route brief (usually, with an A/V as well) with a strategy to mitigate it. Glasgow 05, Geneva and Zurich come to mind as 3 where procedurally a GPWS is possible under certain circumstances.

Too many people have died for hesitating at the Red Light.... I'd go around from the scenario above then take the breathing space to figure out why, and fly the next approach ultra-catiously with everyone on the flight deck at 110% awareness in-case it happened again... with that heightened state of continual evaluation in place THEN if it went off again I'd probably continue through it, but by that time we'd have made certain that the terrain coupled with the aircraft envelope was a definite non-player. After all , in the scenario you describe above any warning could equally have been caused by some element of mis-handling on my part that infinged the trigger envelope some way; given the way I fly, a definite probability! :)

Remember, we are talking going-around for a HARD GPWS or EGPWS warning, and not a soft. I've had soft warnings below MSA a couple of times (usually in the Highlands and Islands on visuals), evaluated and continued. Above relevant MSA, agree for sure, there's a breathing space for evaluation. And the one pull up I've ever heard has been transatlantic on RVSM shortly after implementation, watching the other guy on TCAS as the rad-alt ramped violently. Who would go for that? Absolutely no-one.

This is actually a good debate, save the odd cup of vitriol from those who should know better, and a wee bit of stirring. There are no right answers... but people are thinking and talking it through.

Personally, I think the remit for this one has moved more to suit Tech Log, but I'll leave that to Danny to decide....

22nd Jun 2002, 12:19
Burger Thing you are being mischievous. Nobody said that one continually goes around. After evaluation following a go around from a GPWS a second warning could probably be SAFELY considered false.

I also think you are being unfair to in your comments to Notso. He has an interesting way of expressing himself but I can assure you, having flown with him, that he is as safety conscious and competent as I am sure you are.

Many contributors are accusing others of blindly following SOPs in ALL circumstances. It is my understanding that we are talking about GPWS SOPs.

22nd Jun 2002, 14:53
Burger, given that a company's SOPs state that, below MSA if you get an unexpected and unexplained hard GPWS warning you go around, do you still maintain that it can be ignored?

On the next approach, as Sick Squid says, you are all at a higher level of awareness, you have discussed and checked out all possible contributing factors, and eliminated them, if it triggers again it is probably spurious and you can (by agreement in the interim briefing) ignore it.

All the above course of action is what I would have described as using common sense. Deciding on the spur of the moment without evaluating anything except the view, without consulting with the other crew member(s), without checking your instruments' integrity and continued functioning, ignoring SOPs and the Ops Manual is NOT what I would call common sense.

22nd Jun 2002, 18:56
RIGHT NOW! FORM UP IN TWO TEAMS! Supermarket trollies on the right, Nigels on the left.

This should get the keyboards clacking!

Recent BA Shorthaul 'incident', from BASIS:

Position: around 50' over the threshold of the intended runway of landing at xxx, good VMC

Cockpit situation: Handling pilot - both hands on control column to flare and land, iaw BA sops. Non handling pilot - hands on lap (or somewhere)

Event: EGPWS Hard terrain warning, due to totally erroneous 'map shift'


Crew reaction: SOP

I almost hesitate to say this, but I'm tending to agree a bit with 411A (damn, I said it).

Supermarket trollies - your challenge - a PA to explain to the pax how you saved their lives by avoiding hitting the hill on the runway at xxx

Nigels - ????

It would be NICE if repliers could announce which team they are playing for!


Burger Thing
23rd Jun 2002, 12:31
M.Mouse and also notso fantastic. I didn't want to be mischievous but I wanted to provoke a bit, granted. I felt that notso fantastic's point of view is a bit too simple by giving the impression that the whole problematic (or number of pilots) can be devided into to parties. Those who follow always under every circumstances the SOP, because the SOP covers EVERY situation sufficently, and the other party who have a slightly different opinion about it and are potential dangerous fools.

Believe me guys, I wish we could cover all situations and have for every problems a written SOP solution. But I wholeheartly believe, that is not the case. How much easier (and safer) our job would be.

Sick Squid, I agree, it it a good discussion.

Notso Fantastic
23rd Jun 2002, 13:09
Burger- that's fine and a very valid opinion, but just remember, you step outside SOPs and you lay yourself open to immediate dismissal, prosecution by your licensing authority, and yourself and the employer open to open-ended legal action by passengers and anyone affected on the ground. People have one thing in mind these days: 'how can I get lots of money out of someone.....anyone?'. So take that decision not to follow procedures VERY carefully, and don't rush it!

23rd Jun 2002, 13:53
Slightly, no very much 'off topic' but, Fl_lt_wlt_mitty you cannot be serious?

One hand on the control column and one on the throttles to either vary the thrust or execute the GA, especially at 50' surely?:confused:

Burger Thing
23rd Jun 2002, 15:47
Ya, notso fantastic, good point.

Captain Stable
23rd Jun 2002, 16:00
To follow on from Notso's point, I haven't seen anyone here say you must ALWAYS follow SOPs. If I were on final approach after everything had gone wrong, one engine out, no hydraulics, no electrics, fuel down to 100 kgs, rubber jungle hanging out down the back and my wife going into labour, I don't think an EGPWS warning in VMC would make ME go around...

But if you do, you'd better be darned sure you're right, and it had better be a provable life-saver to do so. The Emerald HS748 @ STN was a case in point. The skipper went against all training there - and he was right to do so.

Max Continuous
23rd Jun 2002, 16:56
Quite agree, Captain Stable, but didn't he lose his job?

23rd Jun 2002, 20:40
So if I understand it correctly, crews at BA are allowed to make the instantanious decision that they are inside the MSA-sector AND above the MSA, allowing them to disregard GPWS warnings (even in IMC), but when they are on the ILS over flat terrain with the RWY CLEARLY in sight and more then 10 km visibility they have to go around when there is a GPWS warning!!! :rolleyes:

This doesn't make sense to me, so I'm with 411A on this one!

Perhaps BA should have a second look at this particular SOP!:cool:

Sabenaboy (flying for a new employer)

23rd Jun 2002, 21:48
Seems contributers cannot stay on the point of the original post. If the aircraft is good VMC with the runway and all terrain in sight why not continue for a landing (my company SOP). If the situation is in any doubt whatsoever then head for the Moon as soon as possible. Could it be that many of the contributers are so conditioned to "heads down" approaches, even in VMC that they are no longer bothering to clear the approach area visually? (I see many examples of this).
If the approach is IFR or marginal VFR then 90 percent of my scan is inside the cockpit, if the approach is VFR 90 percent of my scan is outside the cockpit precisely so that I can look out for terrain and other aircraft. Do we not teach this as the safest mode of flight anymore? (rhetorical question, I know we do not).
If I have been monitoring the flight path of the aircraft visually for 5 miles with the terrain and runway in sight and a GPWS warning takes place I am in a simple position to assess its relevance. If it is dark and stormy then the GPWS gets instant response. It is quite simple really if you use common-sense (My God, I am agreeing with 411A).
By the way, if GPWS is needed by long-range crews as a crutch because they are tired at the end of a long leg should we not be discussing duty regulations? What are these "tired" crew members going to do if a real emergency, with no "talking prompts" occurs?

bugg smasher
23rd Jun 2002, 22:11
If my wife was going into labour with triplets, Captain Stable, I would consider it.

Captain Stable
23rd Jun 2002, 22:49
Max Cont - I'm not sure, but I don't think so - I stand to be corrected on that by anyone who knows better.

Sabenaboy - I have not at any point quoted BA SOPs as I don't know them (I don't work for BA). But as I have said time and again, if an SOP is wrong, any pilot is free to challenge it and ask for it to be changed. What you are not free to do is just ignore it because you happen to disagree with it. If it is wrong, or could be better, then why not have it be changed, and your opinion vindicated? That way, everyone in the fleet will be doing it your way instead of you confusing the pilot you're with at the time. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?

PS bugg smasher - I can entirely empathise with your point :D

Dropp the Pilot
23rd Jun 2002, 23:57
Just to add a slight wrinkle, EGPWS procedures as originally drafted by Boeing do not permit terrain warnings to be ignored when in day VMC, they must always be responded to by immediately executing the escape maneuver.

It is implicit that they trust the new level of technology more than the rapid subjective judgements of the crew.

23rd Jun 2002, 23:59
Stable, it would be nice if it was so simple to change an SOP. Unfortunately, this usually involves changing the ideas of a training organisation which is not easy because of all the vested interests involved. Then, if you succeed with the training organisation they normally need to get changes in SOP's approved by their government regulatory organisation. All in all, this is not as simple a matter as you suggest. I can vouch for this from personal experience.

SOPs have become the academic substitute for what used to be called AIRMANSHIP. Do you remember that subject? Unfortunately, airmanship is very difficult to teach because it usually involves on the job training from an experienced instructor. The substitute for airmanship is SOPs because these can be printed in a book and taught by any "know-nothing" ground school instructor. The theory is that if you provide enough conservative SOPs and make people obey them all the time then people will never get themselves into trouble. Therefore you do not need to teach them how to get out of trouble. This simplifies training and saves money.

As we well know, as soon as a pilot leaves the gate he is operating in a dynamic area where the SOPs often times do not fit perfectly. At that point it is the pilot's experience that resolves the discrepencies to ensure the safest and most cost effective operation. Most of the time these slight deviations from SOP never even get noticed because both pilots agree that what is being done is sensible under the circumstances. Surely, you don't really think that the incident under discussion is the only time an event of this type has taken place over the last year!

The SOP is the skeleton to which experience and knowledge adds the flesh. Both are necessary for a properly functioning body. The final comment might be the old saying "Rules are for the guidance of wise men and the blind obedience of fools".

bugg smasher
24th Jun 2002, 00:42
Well spoken Boing. In support of your argument, I would offer as evidence the airlines ‘over there’ that train politically-correct individuals up to command at little more than post-infancy stage. SOPs are an absolute necessity in these operations, an essential crutch if you will, and at first blush appear to be doing a most effective job.

But as we have all too often seen, when events transpire to place these pilots outside the four carefully-defined corners of the Good Book of Rules, something which Murphy will always do at one point or another, things tend to get very nasty indeed.

24th Jun 2002, 14:41
Max Cont:

Quite agree, Captain Stable, but didn't he lose his job?

No - he has not long ago retired at retirement age after a most successful career.

I THINK it was worked out that had he followed 'SOPs' his burning wing would have separated on the downwing leg, with probable total loss of life.

24th Jun 2002, 15:02
Both hands on the column at 50'?!

Slightly, no very much 'off topic' but, Fl_lt_wlt_mitty you cannot be serious?

One hand on the control column and one on the throttles to either vary the thrust or execute the GA, especially at 50' surely?

Hope it doesn't cause you any loss of sleep, Blue Eagle, but an (overpaid) BA captain once explained to me (at great length) over a few beers in SFO that only BA knew how to land, and that there ain't no hands near the throttles during the landing! Something to do with not being allowed, as captain, to apply your own reverse, I think. Should make the odd bounced landing a bit of a scramble, what!

Perhaps the Nigels could comment - or they may choose to stay silent!

Anyway - where are the teams?

24th Jun 2002, 16:23

Did you make that up? Whether you did or not I am afraid your recollections are flawed regarding throttle handling.

Sounds like the chap you spoke to was a bit of a plonker, they are easily recognised because most companies have a few. :D :D

24th Jun 2002, 17:22
Thank you for that re-assurance, M Mouse. I presume from that that you are BA?

I have to say that your company does seem to have more than the average:cool:

It wasn't, by any chance, you in that go-round I mentioned?

24th Jun 2002, 22:05
As the Captain of the Emerald 748 at STN. I was unable to comment during the long AAIB enquiry which endorsed my decision to land back on the runway. First of all in the company flying manual it stated that if it was at the captains discretion to land back on if this was the safer option and therefore no SOP's were countermanded. There was no fire warning either audible or visual yet the engine had exploded the number one turbine disc had exited the cowling,the engine was in two halves, the wing and undercarriage was on fire. The sensible and safe option was to re-land on the long runway at STN, as confirmed by the AAIB, bearing in mind it was a small HS748 and not a large heavy aircraft. On the roll out, the fire warning bell sounded. The 90 page report makes more of the uncontained engine failure and recomendations regarding modifications to the Dart engine.
There have been similar incidents to mine, in particular the F27 of Quebec Air. The crew decided to take the problem into the air and crashed in flames one minute forty two seconds later. I on the other hand decided to land back on in accordance with the flying manual and no one was injured. The credit must go to my crew who all acted impeccably and professionally in the most frightening of circumstances. At the scene of the accident, the AAIB inspectors and my Chief Pilot said " we have no argument with your decision" I was flying again three days later.

bugg smasher
25th Jun 2002, 03:05
Captain Fangio, I salute you Sir.

Burger Thing
25th Jun 2002, 05:05
Yes, Fangio, all thumbs up! Well done! :)

Sick Squid
25th Jun 2002, 05:33
I think your call was one of the best I've ever seen in this big game we play, mate, and I've certainly learned from it. Kudos! You worked outside the book: those who want to nail people by it, or those who think they should only ever fly it, should watch and learn.

Those who wish to make their point by splitting the hairs right down to the flare should also watch and learn....... even in the airlines you seek to smear it is a question of interpretation.: some of us will not commit to print what we might actually do in real life. However, some of us then have no fear to pick the phone up and call our fleet office and explain what happened.. as was the case in the example misquoted earlier. It was a friend of mine in command, they watched the mapshift happen at 500 radio, discussed what might happen with regard to GPWS warnings, and when the warning occured, landed off it. Then, the skipper called the fleet office, talked it through, and everyone lived happily ever after.

If you must pursue an anti-BA agenda, then please get your facts straight first.


As to the rest..

It is not BA policy to have both hands on the column at 50' radio... only in the flare. Even then, it is merely a "recommendation" due to the SOP on thrust lever handling and not something hard and fast.. to this day, I do not do it.

All the SOP's discussed above are still subject to the FCO that states unequiovacolay that the Captain has the power to over-ride any SOP in the event that he considers the circumstances require it...

Airmanship hasn't gone away... it's merely changed beyond the closed definition given above that only ONE person has the required knowledge and awareness to complete the flight safely, to take in the fact that someone else may be right when you are wrong.

Sometimes it takes a big person to admit that fact.....

25th Jun 2002, 07:00
NigelOn Draft-

With your comment about the early GPWS systems, I thought you'd enjoy this story.

Early on when we first got the GPWS, it was sounding off (falsely) on many flights. The crews just kept flipping the switch to the "Off" position to keep it silent. Then management put a guard on the switch and safety wired it "On".

Probably the funniest MX log writeup I've ever seen read, "GPWS safety wire failed in flight". :)

27th Jun 2002, 11:41
Just in from Stateside, folks, and about to climb between the sheets, but before they are both ready(!)

Disappointed to see that we have NO teams forming up yet - com'on Nigels - do not be so shy!

M Mouse - I HAVE to assume you are BA in view of your silence(?)

Sick Squid - I bow to your supreme knowledge of the event I only read about. (Funny, because I'm sure I read they did a go-round). Non-adherance to SOPs would please about 50% here, I guess. Does the company know you do not follow their procedures? Brave stuff, I hear. Guess you find yourself holding hands with your co's occasionally? :eek: Each to his/her own.

For the further amusement of the supermarket trollies, I believe that BA have some VERY WISE(!) advise that if you bounce badly, you MAY need to put your hands back on the throttles to apply power.

Lordy Lordy- we thought George W was bad!

Listening out.


PS Fangio - Reespect