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Merged: To hand fly, or use the automatics?

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Merged: To hand fly, or use the automatics?

Old 28th Jan 2010, 06:16
  #121 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
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Interesting (or rather, sad) to see an intelligent debate degenerate into schoolyard bickering.
Grow up!
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 09:55
  #122 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Red O Red

"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.
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 02:15
  #123 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 02:33
  #124 (permalink)  
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Red face

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.
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 03:19
  #125 (permalink)  
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'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.
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 03:42
  #126 (permalink)  

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Even after a few years on the aeroplane the ''single pilot'' trait still stands out
And what might that be?
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 04:07
  #127 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 04:42
  #128 (permalink)  
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Now this thread is back on track, how about RNP approache & departures procedures, are these a game changer in terms of automation?
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 06:10
  #129 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 29th Jan 2010, 09:06
  #130 (permalink)  
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RNP and Automation

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.

Last edited by GaryGnu; 29th Jan 2010 at 09:09. Reason: Punctuation. Too many commas - some don't like it.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 00:39
  #131 (permalink)  
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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.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 01:02
  #132 (permalink)  
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That sums it up nicely, Rojer. Well said.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 01:43
  #133 (permalink)  
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"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.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 02:52
  #134 (permalink)  
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Hand flying

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
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 04:11
  #135 (permalink)  
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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)

Last edited by frigatebird; 30th Jan 2010 at 08:35.
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 04:58
  #136 (permalink)  
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While I agree the second last post is grammatically abhorrent, should one start a sentence with "And"?
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 05:13
  #137 (permalink)  
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I think Roger has hit the nail on the head
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 06:15
  #138 (permalink)  
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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..
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 08:42
  #139 (permalink)  
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Pilot disorientation accidents have become a phenomenon
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Old 30th Jan 2010, 09:47
  #140 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Roger Greendeck
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?
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