Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > PPRuNe Worldwide > The Pacific: General Aviation & Questions
Reload this Page >

Unbelievable that airline bans manual flying by copilots

The Pacific: General Aviation & Questions The place for students, instructors and charter guys in Oz, NZ and the rest of Oceania.

Unbelievable that airline bans manual flying by copilots

Old 21st Dec 2017, 11:43
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,866
Unbelievable that airline bans manual flying by copilots

Investigators have disclosed that Germania banned pilots' flying manual visual approaches under supervision, after an unstable descent by a relatively inexperienced first officer led an Airbus A321 to land hard at Fuerteventura.

The first officer had logged 96h on type before conducting the ILS approach to runway 01 using manual control of the thrust and attitude.

After the A321 was established on final the first officer disengaged the autothrust. On short final, however, the aircraft's airspeed declined and the jet dipped below the glideslope.

The captain pointed this out and the first officer increased thrust to compensate. But this was insufficient and the captain repeated the suggestion, before realising the aircraft was sinking rapidly while close to the ground.

Although the captain took control to execute a go-around, this was too late to avoid a hard 3.3g impact with the runway before the aircraft became airborne again. The first officer carried out the second approach, with automation, and the aircraft landed without further incident 9min later.
Spanish investigation authority CIAIAC says the carrier acknowledged that its Airbus crews were "not well trained" for manual approaches owing to a "routine practice" of using automatic systems.
The captain had believed that the first officer, despite having less than 100h on type, was sufficiently proficient to operate with fewer automated flight systems - a viewpoint supported by the pilot's training record.

He had informed the first officer that most pilots in training were reticent and hesitant to use manual thrust, and suggested flying the approach without autopilot or autothrust. Weather conditions were good and the crew had visual contact with the runway.

The first officer had prior experience and was confident, according to the captain's testimony to the inquiry, and appreciated the opportunity.

But CIAIAC says the decision not to use the automatic systems contributed to the hard landing and that the decision to execute a go-around was "late".

Germania subsequently prohibited flying manually, with manual thrust, during supervised visual approaches on 22 July last year, six days after the Fuerteventura event. CIAIAC adds that the carrier has also been redefining conditions and restrictions for manual flight.
Centaurus is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 11:58
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1998
Location: Mesopotamos
Posts: 1,246
Once upon a time airlines were run by pilots...

Landings like this one only serve to give the bean counters more justification for introducing even more automation for more efficiency gains. Shame really.
cattletruck is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 19:50
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Brisbane, Qld
Posts: 1,139
Oh, you're given the opportunity to practice something that might save your life and the life of all those on board one day and it didn't go great? Well, looks like you could use more practice, but instead we're just going to ban you all from doing that, then it won't happen again!

Air France 447? What's that?
Ixixly is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 20:03
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: nosar
Posts: 1,162
Paving the way forward to the pilot-less airliner ...
Aussie Bob is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 20:34
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Australia
Age: 53
Posts: 1,918
Do you have to wear a safety vest while conducting a visual approach as well?

Perhaps they need a few sessions in the back seat of a Cub, a farmers paddock, not above 500ft agl, and a bit of hands on flying to sharpen up the skill levels!
Stationair8 is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 21:07
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 96
Germania subsequently prohibited flying manually, with manual thrust, during supervised visual approaches
Have they banned all manual flying or just manual flying with the auto thrust disengaged? In my experience the 321 handles very differently close to the ground at heavy landing weights. The maximum landing weight of a 321 is equal to the maximum take-off weight of a 320. What this brief snippet doesn't include is whether this was a training flight and what the F/O's background was. What was the windr at the time? In Jetstar cadets don't get endorsed on the 321 for 12 months after being cleared to line and even DEFO get a couple of months before they are endorsed. Manual flying skills need to be maintained but lets recognise that not everyone is capable of reverting to them under all circumstances. Lets also acknowledge that not all Captains are able to recognise at an appropriate time when they should be taking over particularly if they have never instructed through their career.
Lookleft is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 21:48
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Sydney
Posts: 1
even DEFO get a couple of months before they are endorsed.
Not anymore. Can be as little as a day.
das Uber Soldat is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 21:58
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Here and there
Posts: 326
Manual flying skills need to be maintained but lets recognise that not everyone is capable of reverting to them under all circumstances.
But, isn't that a serious indictment on those responsible for type rating training - especially on the proliferation of low hour "cadets" going directly into the second in command positions of responsibility? Any pilot, type rated and certified to command competency, (in other words completed a course of simulator instruction and has the type on his licence) should be capable of seamlessly reverting from automatics to manual flight regardless of aircraft type. These sort of incidents would suggest this is not a training imperative.
Judd is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 22:41
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Equatorial
Age: 46
Posts: 469
That’s becoming the norm in the airline world. I have mates in many airlines where manual flying is discouraged, even yes not allowed. Madness I say. So you fly the line, go to the sim are rusty as fook expected to perform yet you have not done any manual flying in 6 months. As mentioned above then there’s what if you actually need to utilise those skills due malfunctions? God help the dumbing down of the industry.

At least with corporate flying we can still have some erm fun.
Global Aviator is offline  
Old 21st Dec 2017, 22:52
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Seat 0A
Posts: 7,768
The captain pointed this out and the first officer increased thrust to compensate. But this was insufficient and the captain repeated the suggestion, before realising the aircraft was sinking rapidly while close to the ground.
If you go below the glideslope you pull the stick back then fix the speed. And what about that alfa floor thingamejigg that jet's got??
Capn Bloggs is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 00:10
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Darwin and PNG
Posts: 873
Originally Posted by Stationair8 View Post
Perhaps they need a few sessions in the back seat of a Cub, a farmers paddock, not above 500ft agl, and a bit of hands on flying to sharpen up the skill levels!
Finding a suitably qualified instructor to do this might be a bit of a challenge!

Initial FIR training must (in my opinion) include an aerobatic and a tail wheel design feature rating. Plenty of CPL and ATPL holders around who still struggle to keep the basics together on a good day.
Duck Pilot is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 01:50
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 96
Bloggsy that alpha floor thingamejigg is a line of last defense and if you have let it get to that point you have generally lost all SA. IMHO the F/O did not have the muscle memory of how much thrust to add to increase the speed and just moved the thrust levers "a bit". The other problem as I see it is that a lot of Airbus pilot's use the thrust levers as an arm rest when it is in auto mode or don't even bother to guard the thrust levers at all.

But, isn't that a serious indictment on those responsible for type rating training - especially on the proliferation of low hour "cadets" going directly into the second in command positions of responsibility?
Yes it is, from the manufacturer's to the flight ops departments of the world's airlines but unfortunately it is the aviation world we currently inhabit. Any manual skill will atrophy if not practised so when pracitising the skills after not using them for a while do one thing at a time. Start with a manual ILS but A/T on. When you are consistent with that then try it without the FDs. Then try it with manual thrust but F/D's on. Just because we once possessed those skills doesn't mean they will magically reappear if they haven't been used for a while.
Lookleft is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 04:55
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Here and there
Posts: 326

Lack of maintenance support to assess a hard landingprompted an Airbus A321 crew to return to Dusseldorf, after which the aircraftwas found to have sustained serious damage.
The Germania A321 with 215 passengers and seven crewmembers had sustained a 3.32g impact during the landing at Fuerteventura, inthe Canary Islands, on 16 July last year.
It had initially executed a go-around after bouncing ontouchdown following an ILS approach to runway 01. The aircraft subsequentlylanded on the second attempt some 9min later.
The crew carried out an external check on the aircraft,without discovering anything unusual, and the captain contacted the carrier'smaintenance control centre in Germany for assistance in interpreting anautomated report generated by the landing.
But Spanish investigation authority CIAIAC says that the"absence of criteria" regarding the meaning of the hard-landingreport, combined with the "lack of maintenance support" at theairport, led the crew to opt to return to Dusseldorf. Upon arriving at Dusseldorf inspectorsdetermined that the aircraft needed to be withdrawn from service. Components ofthe left-hand main landing-gear needed to be replaced before the A321 returnedto service.
CIAIAC says initial information on the event had beenreceived on 30 August last year, but confirmation about the extent of thedamage was not obtained until the first half of November.
The inquiry says the captain had accumulated 6,830h but thefirst officer had only 325h.
Judd is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 05:51
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Darwin and PNG
Posts: 873
When I had 325 hours, I found it a big struggle to fly a Cessna 206 and the training that I had received to get to that point in my career was second to none.

Obviously our training is far more advanced these days due to more very experienced instructors getting into the flying schools, staying around to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to enable 325 hour pilots into the right seat of a 180 seat jet with fare paying passengers in the back.

How far the industry has come since 1993!!!

Last edited by Duck Pilot; 17th Feb 2018 at 21:46.
Duck Pilot is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 08:08
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Enzed
Posts: 2,208
Originally Posted by Duck Pilot View Post
When I had 325 hours, I found it a big struggle to fly a Cessna 206 and the training that I had received to get to that point in my career was second to none.

Obviously our training is far more advanced these days due to more very experienced instructors getting into the flying schools, staying around to pass on their knowledge and wisdom to enable 325 hour pilots into the right seat of a 180 seat jet with fare paying passengers in the back.

How far the industry has come since 1993!!!

Craig Ingles
Indeed.

Reminds me of this;

Six munths ago I culdnt spel pylit now i are won
27/09 is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 08:21
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: australia
Posts: 356
More than 20 years ago, when flying for a prominent Malaysian carrier, I hand flew a B732 from KL to Penang. After shut-down in PEN, the (cadet) co-pilot very politely said "Captain, I notice you didn't use the auto pilot at all on that flight - why?".
My response: "Son, if you have to ask that question, you'll never understand ............"

And that was the end of the conversation - no attempt to explore my comment or what I was trying to say, nothing. It's not just today's "Magenta Children" with issues.
witwiw is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 09:04
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Ex-pat Aussie in the UK
Posts: 4,538
When I had 325 hours, I found it a big struggle to fly a Cessna 206
I actually doubt that you were having "a big struggle". 325 hours is getting along in experience.

The thing is that pilots progress in training at roughly the same pace regardless if that training is on a fighter jet, large airliner or small piston. Small pistons are used because they are cheap - not because humans have any innate need to gradually progress from smaller to heavier/faster types.

So - if your training is airliner focussed, as it is in the MPL, you are as good at flying an airliner at 200 hours as a GA pilot is at flying a Piper Warrior at 200 hours. (And you have the added benefit of an experienced pilot next to you, and better SOP discipline.)
Checkboard is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 09:27
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The wrong time zone...
Posts: 646
"Son, if you have to ask that question, you'll never understand ............"
That's the spirit, shut him down quick smart!
And you wonder why he didn't "explore your comment" further??
Is that really what you said?
josephfeatherweight is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 10:10
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Darwin and PNG
Posts: 873
I would really like to see how a 325 hour FO can manage a diversion with an incapacitated Captain to an alternate single pilot into an unfamiliar aerodrome in a big aeroplane at night in bad weather......

Last edited by Duck Pilot; 22nd Dec 2017 at 20:53.
Duck Pilot is offline  
Old 22nd Dec 2017, 10:21
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1998
Location: Ex-pat Aussie in the UK
Posts: 4,538
Quite well - and you shouldn't be surprised. These guys aren't passengers - they have completed a couple of years of high quality training.

I fly regularly with low hour MPLs and they are very good, their experience only shows up at the very limits of the operation (very high winds, highly contaminated runways) - and our airline had a Captain incapacitation with a new MPL on board a couple of months ago. The FO diverted to an unfamiliar airfield in Italy in strong winds and landed without problems. As he was trained to. That was in an A320 - if you call that a "big aeroplane".
Checkboard is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.