Australia, New Zealand & the Pacific Airline and RPT Rumours & News in Australia, enZed and the Pacific

Skippers incident.

Old 6th Dec 2013, 08:43
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Skippers incident.

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2013/12/06/atsb-skippers-aviation-flight-risked-crash-in-western-australia/
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 09:16
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Impressive ROD in the flare though....
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 09:27
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I'm surprised CASA allowed them to use 300' for stable approaches, considering industry best practice is 500'. I've flown turboprops for 3 different airlines and they all used 500' in VMC.
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 09:33
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Skippers incident.

Limited fault of the crew, are you serious?
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 10:01
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Slammer - that would be a good start.
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 10:53
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Skippers incident.

So Slam, you obviously are aware of problems at Skippers then, have you reported it?

No one pointed a gun at there heads and told them to be at 300ft in a 23 degree bank with a ridiculous sink rate.

That above scenario is beyond perceived problems at Skippers.
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 14:35
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For you experts out there (and the ATSB), the stabilised approach critieria of 300ft would probably be to facilitate Visual Circling at 400ft.

The root cause, revealed by the FO but not taken up in the investigation after that, was the base turn at 10-15 sec. That will never work, regardless of what height you're at.

Skippers seemed quite active after re education...

Last edited by Capn Bloggs; 6th Dec 2013 at 14:54. Reason: Read the full report and found the hole. Pity it wasn't mentioned in the executive summary!
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Old 6th Dec 2013, 18:15
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You're spot on with both points there Bloggs.

Last edited by Bladeangle; 6th Dec 2013 at 18:27.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 01:51
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Sometimes on occasions like this event, the captain should use his airmanship and conduct the approach personally. There is a tendency in Australian airlines for the captain, once having given "the leg" to the first officer, to show great reluctance to change his mind, no matter if the weather conditions have changed. Few captains will ever admit to this though. They feel it is wimpish to take back the leg.

They can rationalise as much as they want - but it often takes a bit of moral courage to say to the first officer "Sorry about this old chap, but I have control for the rest of this leg." There will always be sulky first officers who see this as a slight against their perceived "professionalism" and have no compunction in making their feelings known about the captain's decision. That shows poor discipline and that type of personality is usually a pain in the neck. Eventually, seniority means they become captains and heaven help their first officers after that happens. We have all seen this happen

In another era, the captain was expected to act as the captain. A first officer may be offered a take off or a landing - but the question of him flying "a leg" never arose. The game changed when someone invented the neutral terminology of PF and PNF or PM whichever. The word "captain" almost became a dirty word. Emasculated even.

Times have changed. And now, rightly or wrongly, depending on which side of the throttle quadrant you sit, we accept that it is a 50/50 split of 'legs` For all intents and purposes, the first officer, no matter his experience level, becomes the PF or captain and is encouraged to make all the command decisions while the real captain sits somewhat uneasily in his new role as PNF or co-pilot.

With the introduction of CRM, which, though designed as an a hint for captains to bring his crew into the decision making process, there were unintended consequences. Emboldened by enthusiastic non-pilot CRM authors and lecturers, a more aggressive attitude by first officers was encouraged. This may explain the reluctance by captains to assert their command authority and take over control of the aircraft from the first officer if circumstances warranted it

The cockpit is not a democracy. One man has the legal authority for the safety of the aircraft. If the captain is uneasy about conditions ahead and in his conscience feels he should take over, for whatever reason, (storms ahead, crosswind getting up, low vis, heavy rain over the airport, then he has a moral responsibility to act on that feeling and simply say "taking over". It really doesn't hurt at all.
If his first officer screams "FOUL" then stiff...

Last edited by Tee Emm; 7th Dec 2013 at 02:06.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 01:57
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Well said, Tee Emm.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 02:56
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Tee Emm and Capn Bloggs-

Or the Captain, as pilot monitoring could have said "GO AROUND" when they got the EGPWS.

or he could have said "I have CONTROL"

I don't know if the weather conditions were so bad to preclude he FO from flying the sector or if the company SOPS had any ruling on weather conditions precluding the FO from landing.

The fact that the captain wasn't the pilot flying should have given him the situational awareness to see when the approach was going pear shaped and called for the go around.

That would still be acting like a Captain would it not?
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 03:21
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Havoc,

or he could have said "I have CONTROL"
that's what Tee Emm was saying.

It is reasonable to assume that the captain was more-skilled, and therefore, had he been flying the approach, wouldn't have placed them in a position where the GPWS was going to go off in the first place. That's what Tee Emm's thrust is. While the option to Go Around is always there, one doesn't deliberately increase the chance of having to do one by letting the FO do a difficult approach.

Possibly, they decided that a right circle with the FO flying was a better option than a left circle with the captain flying. In that case, that was what they were stuck with...
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 04:24
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I wonder whether the circling approach off the DGA (a circling approach) was even briefed, or if they assumed they'd get to circling minima and continue straight in on 07 without any hassles.
 
Old 7th Dec 2013, 05:30
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I operate in an environment where, when possible, we conduct 50/50 operations (PF vs PM) - there is, however, no doubt as to who the captain is. Pre-briefing is a must - something along the lines of "The conditions are going to be a bit challenging - I'm sure you can handle it and I'd like to give you the chance to try, however if my comfort level is being stretched, I may take over - don't take this as a slight against your abilities, just understand that the responsibility is mine and I like to be conservative." This sort of "pre-brief" need probably only be given in such detail once with a new copilot - they understand the situation. Once the situation exceeds your comfort level, it can take more skill than one would desire to get it back on the rails. If you did end up having to take over, a post flight debrief would also be appropriate reinforcing the fact that you believe they could probably have handled it (if that's true!) but that your comfort levels were being stretched - if you didn't need to takeover, well, good job copilot!
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 05:58
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Totally agree Jo, your ship, your responsibility.

But what if the shoe was on the other foot, and it was the skipper driving at the time, and this skipper was getting on in age a bit, but with prevailing weather conditions he found himself a little out of his depth, warnings going off, SOP's not being complied with, how should an FO respond to this scenario?

Last edited by Bladeangle; 7th Dec 2013 at 06:29.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 08:30
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Tee Emm and Capn Bloggs-

Or the Captain, as pilot monitoring could have said "GO AROUND" when they got the EGPWS.

or he could have said "I have CONTROL"

I don't know if the weather conditions were so bad to preclude he FO from flying the sector or if the company SOPS had any ruling on weather conditions precluding the FO from landing.

The fact that the captain wasn't the pilot flying should have given him the situational awareness to see when the approach was going pear shaped and called for the go around.

That would still be acting like a Captain would it not?
Quite succinct and accurate, moreover that would be as I expect it to be done.

Reading between the lines, it would appear that the approach, or more to the point the type of approach it turned into was inappropriate for the conditions (essentially benign with a bit of patchy cloud/fog about) e.g. bloody near a split arse turn!
Quite frankly I'm astounded that this type of maneuver was even contemplated..and speaks volumes about the company culture and the commanders mindset/comfort level in allowing it to continue.
The report reads like the two individuals concerned were PERFECTLY happy to pole the a/c about in this fashion....and only when the EGPWS started chirping was anything said, again for me..volumes being spoken right there.
I don't think this is an issue regarding PM v PF or PIC v 2IC, this has far more to do with a mindset and potentially a flight Ops culture, the reason I say potentially about the fly Ops culture is that the two individuals chose not to report the incident...
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 09:48
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Flight ops culture?


You mean, too scared to report because of fear of the repercussions to the individual? or, no need to report because flight ops like you to "get the job done"?


On second thoughts, it doesn't matter, it's all bad either way.


Both have left, probably flying jets full of blissfully unaware people thinking they're in safe hands.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 10:11
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Metrodash....exactly, I have no idea what the Flt Ops culture is/was, but actions or inaction speaks louder than words.
It is very telling that they chose not to report the incident.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 11:01
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Bloggs- Not quite the same. I was referring to taking over when the approach became unstable. Tee Emm was inferring to not giving the FO the leg from the outset. Now I was not sure about the forecast or actual weather conditions, and I am not saying that a Captain shouldn't take the leg when he/she feels it is appropriate, but in this case I didn't see anything that would have warranted the Captain taking over the leg from the outset. (Unless the SOPS preclude an FO from doing a Non precision approach).
TM said
Sometimes on occasions like this event, the captain should use his airmanship and conduct the approach personally.
I don't agree that this was such an occasion.
Where the captain Did not use his airmanship or show command, was in not either calling for the go around, or taking control.
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Old 7th Dec 2013, 11:11
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From the report-
At 0751:36, at 730 ft, the peak rate of descent derived from the recorded data was about 2,500 ft/min. At 0751:48, while passing 300 ft the derived rate of descent was still about 1,800 ft/min, the speed was 11 kt above the reference approach speed (Vref) and the aircraft was banked 23 to the left as the runway centreline was intercepted. At 0751:55, at 100 ft, the derived rate of descent was about 1,200 ft/min as the landing flare was commenced and a small amount of power reintroduced. The touchdown on the 1,800 m paved runway was normal at 0752:12.

A circling approach in IMC requires a normal RoD and normal manoeuvres for the type for a landing within the runway touchdown zone in order to descend below MDA along with the required viz and clear of cloud etc.

Everything stated is obviously grossly in excess of that requirement. According to the above report they went from 730' to touchdown including a power on flare in 36sec total!!

This extreme dive for the runway is beyond exceptional in any circumstance. A jet commencing a 3 degree descent from altitude at a 500KTAS / GS would be using a 2500fpm descent rate. This rate was achieved at some point above 1000 ft and was still maintained passing 730!

Everyone above has made comments on the Capt and FO roles and behaviour etc and I certainly agree with most of those comments.

The point I want to make, and not just in this particular incident and for every pilot is that these type of extreme manouvres suggest a get in at all costs mentality in order to save potentially nothing more than a few minutes of time.
A few lousy minutes at what cost?
In this case a potentially crashed large aeroplane and 53 lives lost! Seriously?

Surely even before commencing descent from MDA if it is apparent the cloud, viz or aircraft positioning is not going to enable a safe normal, stabilized appch and landing then flying another low level circuit to better position oneself will take at most another what, 0.1 hr, ie 6 odd minutes.
If the cloud , viz doesnt allow this then the conditions are obviously below circling mins in which case a MAppch is required and maybe another approach and circling attempt , another 10-20 odd min max or at most a diversion to altn or a brief holding period before a reattempt depending on conditions, fuel etc.

In NO CIRCUMSTANCE does the saving of a few minutes of time and thus a relatively few associated dollars justify any attempt to do so at the risk of an accident and loss of any number of lives.
How would any of us be able to live with ourselves afterward if we did so and survived a disaster when others did not??

If we were running late for work, how many of us would drive 30kmh plus or more over the speed limit and run every red light in order to make up the 5-15min we might be late??

Our lifelong training to operate efficiently and thus save time and money even if only a few minutes sets up a sub conscious mentality to do the type of things Ive described above that only clear rational thought and consideration of the consequences can override.

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