View Full Version : RAeS article about the need for more hand flying

18th Feb 2023, 09:13
The Royal Aeronautical Society has published an article pointing out the necessity for airline managements to positively encourage more handflying during normal operations. It refers to the recent FAA Advisary Circular on the subject.
https://www.aerosociety.com/news/faa-shifts-focus-to-pilot-manual-handling-skills/?utm_campaign=2496638_FAA%20shifts%20focus%20to%20pilot%20ma nual%20handling%20skills&utm_medium=email&utm_source=2496638_FAA%20shifts%20focus%20to%20pilot%20manua l%20handling%20skills&dm_i=4OGU,1HIF2,47XU5S,6W3FY,1

I quote below the first few paragraphs of the article:-
After increasing evidence of a decline in manual handling skills in airline pilots, the US FAA has now recommended that airlines should allow pilots to hand-fly during normal operations whenever possible. Captains JOHN LEAHY FRAeS and ALEX FISHER provide the background to this ground-breaking shift.

It may not come too soon. Coincidentally, as this piece was being put together, there have been at least two reported (and yet to be fully investigated) major near-misses recorded in commercial aviation in the space of the past few weeks.

In two alleged separate incidents in December and January large widebody aircraft from United Airlines and Qatar Airlines are reported to have come within 800ft of crashing into the water following take-off. Each had the potential for the loss of hundreds of lives.

These incidents may or may not result in public reports but given the publicity surrounding them, it seems a good time to review the whole area of human factors and accident reporting. We make no judgement on those particular cases. However, there was already a concern among many in the aviation industry that the ‘holes’ in the ‘Swiss Cheese’ (James Reason) model are coming into alignment too often – and only this week the FAA launched a safety review (https://www.flightglobal.com/safety/faa-chief-launches-safety-review-following-several-recent-close-calls/152077.article) in response to recent ‘close calls’ in commercial aviation.

Can some of these incidents be linked to a much-discussed decline in manual handling skills among pilots?

And here is a link to the FAA's Advisory Circular:-

18th Feb 2023, 12:06
I remember when I first started flying at my airline, how intimidated and overwhelmed I was hand flying. Tightness up in my chest, zero attention available for anything other than the basic instruments (not to the radio, not to the other pilot talking to me, not to situational awareness, not anything), jerky stressed control inputs as I shift from one parameter to another noticing it was running away from me (of course dropping the first one, and then the same thing happening again when I return to it, etc. )

All just the same as when I first started learning instrument flight, and the same as when I first started learning to fly before that.

I was blown away (and still am) when I learned that it is expected and normal, that airline pilots stay this way throughout their career!