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

Pilots Losing Basic Flying Skills

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

Pilots Losing Basic Flying Skills

Old 25th May 2019, 23:21
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 7,257
Pilots Losing Basic Flying Skills

I never had them in the first place......

While advanced autopilots and computers are now considered an integral part of any modern jetliner, many pilots worry that the systems are detracting from developing and maintaining their own abilities.

"We’ve been talking about this in the industry for years. Pilots are losing their basic flying skills and there’s an overreliance on automation," said Les Westbrooks, an associate professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, after the latest 737 Max crash, an Ethiopian Airlines flight in March.


https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ty/1219147001/

I did learn to tap the ribbon gauges in the Tobago. Does that count?
Sunfish is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 03:27
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Here and there
Posts: 321
[color=left=#000000]many pilots worry that the systems are detracting from developing and maintaining their own abilities.
[/color]

I don't think it is the systems as such, that are detracting from developing and maintaining hands-on piloting skills, as much as the company managers and flight operations inspectors of the regulators. It also doesn't help when the legal fraternity are ready to swoop if there is a buck in it.
Finally, throw in the culture question where some operators have a punishment ethos to the slightest perceived infringement of a company SOP, then is it any wonder pilots steer clear of trying to keep up their handling skills and stick to the automatics from lift-off to touchdown.
Judd is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 04:29
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 448
Originally Posted by Judd View Post

I don't think it is the systems as such, that are detracting from developing and maintaining hands-on piloting skills, as much as the company managers and flight operations inspectors of the regulators. It also doesn't help when the legal fraternity are ready to swoop if there is a buck in it.
Finally, throw in the culture question where some operators have a punishment ethos to the slightest perceived infringement of a company SOP, then is it any wonder pilots steer clear of trying to keep up their handling skills and stick to the automatics from lift-off to touchdown.
'judd' that about sums it up perfectly! The so called feel good "Just Culture" the Airlines love to feel comfy about is just a smoke screen to screw the pilots!
I try to encourage my F/O's to hand fly in low workload conditions but am forever aware that it's my license on the line when they do! Anytime when any F/O is hand flying the skipper has to be even more alert & his/her workload can be much higher, hence hand flying isn't that common I reckon.
machtuk is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 06:04
  #4 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: various places .....
Posts: 6,499
... and, yet, 30 years and more ago, on the jets of the time, folks of such persuasion would hand fly the entire leg without letting the J-B stuff get a look-in. Anything under about 90 minutes sector time would be hand flown for this chap. If the meal were a good one, perhaps the autopilot might get a few minutes for the meal break.

No-one ever seemed to complain or be too concerned about the workload. Then again, the AN/TN philosophy of the day was to overtrain the flight crews so, perhaps, that may have had an influence on the level of relaxation with workload ? I recall one captain's comment on the subject of captain's observation capabilities - "I'm not allowed to make mistakes" and that pretty well summed up the AN attitude. Everyone set out to do a high bar routine each and every flight.

When the 733 came in at AN, the then Flight Captain (or was it Fleet Captain ? - too long ago, now) - TW - took the view that pilots could emphasise hand flying or the autos during line flight - providing that they maintained competence in both and could use either appropriately and adequately on checks.
john_tullamarine is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 06:36
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Bristol
Posts: 159
It is one thing to lose your flying skills through automation, but my concern is that when pilots start their airline careers these days do they have the basic skills. Historically an considerable number of pilots would have 1500 hrs gained through the military, instructing, air taxi work. etc.. We now have co pilots in airlines who are not even qualified to fly a Cessna 152 and not encouraged to learn to fly aerobatics or steep turns in their basic training.
anchorhold is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 10:32
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 448
Originally Posted by anchorhold View Post
It is one thing to lose your flying skills through automation, but my concern is that when pilots start their airline careers these days do they have the basic skills. Historically an considerable number of pilots would have 1500 hrs gained through the military, instructing, air taxi work. etc.. We now have co pilots in airlines who are not even qualified to fly a Cessna 152 and not encouraged to learn to fly aerobatics or steep turns in their basic training.

Yes you are adding another dimension to the already deteriorating hand manipulation skills, the lack of same in the first place!
Future pilots will be retagged " systems managers" there will be no need for any manual handling besides the very basics, welcome to what is fast becoming an industry where the skill set will shift entirely for good or bad!
machtuk is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 11:32
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 1998
Location: Mesopotamos
Posts: 1,222
But alas the modern flying contraption is no longer what it used to be.
Gone are the cables and connecting rods mated directly to a control surface and replaced with a stick that sends an electronic request to a computer which needs to be convinced to move a control surface or two.
Just like a modern car with its computers for traction, stability, emergency stopping, lane changing, parking, etc, these cars are brainless to drive with the intention of taking the driver out of the control equation completely.
A computer brings more efficiencies, especially so when a certain critical mass is reached and levels of optimisation beyond human capability become possible.

Reminds me of a story recently relayed to me about a HR system wrongfully terminating an employee. It was much easier for the company to have the employee terminated and re-employed than stop the HR software doing its thing.

I did learn to tap the ribbon gauges in the Tobago. Does that count?
I learnt something similar on a Chieftain at age 15 watching someone more experienced than I start it up.
cattletruck is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 21:12
  #8 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 7,257
We have a saying in yachting: “if you can sail a little boat, you can sail a big one”. Meaning you develop instinctive understanding of what the boat is telling you. In practice, I’ve seen many big boat skippers who despite intellect and all the bells and whistles are always half a second or more behind the boat.
Sunfish is offline  
Old 26th May 2019, 21:54
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Equatorial
Age: 46
Posts: 384
It’s also if one wants to keep ones hand in. Some of us are aviation tragics and enjoy it outside of the job. I love to jump in a lightly every now and then, love heading to Oshkosh (will again).

In the Sim if time on a recurrent love having a crack at something to the limits that don’t see often, even a max crosswind landing.

To a degree it’s up the individual.....

Some will say what’s flying a lighty got to do with a bus, boring or new corporate? As sunny said, if ya can drive a little one then when shite hits the fan in the big one.....
Global Aviator is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 00:20
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: N/A
Posts: 2,744
I did learn to tap the ribbon gauges in the Tobago. Does that count?
Two high time aviators in the sim with round gauges. One needle doesn't move and the instructor asks "What's the problem?". Two crew scratch their heads reviewing systems, possible failure paths etc and unable to come up with an answer. "What would you do on the line?" instructor asks. Still no answer. "Tap the dial, it's a stuck needle" says he. A lesson in not over thinking.
megan is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 03:09
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Here and there
Posts: 321
quote] To a degree it’s up the individual [/quote]
Too true. I was cruising in a 737 Classic at 31,000 ft somewhere Germany and Greece. It was a beautiful day and I decided to practice tracking the VOR on flight plan route instead of VNAV and LNAV. Told the young 250 hour German first officer that was I disconnecting the autothrottle, autopilot and flight director and keep my hand in tracking the VOR's.
He looked at me completely disbelievingly and announced "In that case I will don my shoulder harness." Words failed me.
Judd is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 04:55
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Australia
Posts: 4,840
Originally Posted by Judd View Post
quote] To a degree it’s up the individual
Too true. I was cruising in a 737 Classic at 31,000 ft somewhere Germany and Greece. It was a beautiful day and I decided to practice tracking the VOR on flight plan route instead of VNAV and LNAV. Told the young 250 hour German first officer that was I disconnecting the autothrottle, autopilot and flight director and keep my hand in tracking the VOR's.
He looked at me completely disbelievingly and announced "In that case I will don my shoulder harness." Words failed me.
Judd,
Does not surprise me in the least.
Some time ago, old mate (AU) working for a subsidiary of Lufthansa, not only did as above, but, horror of horrors, flew a dreaded "Visual Approach", on a gin clear day down in the Med.
Result, dobbed in by the F/O, and "tea and biccies" with the fleet manager ---- and the very clear message that such free wheeling "Australian" behavior would not be tolterrated.
This from the airline that (long time ago) went off the end of 07 in YSSY, doing a couple approach and autoland in a DC-10 ---- and it was an inaugural, the publicity on the evening news was extensive, but not quite what Lufthansa had hoped for.
Tootle pip!!
LeadSled is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 06:17
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 448
Originally Posted by Judd View Post
quote] To a degree it’s up the individual
Too true. I was cruising in a 737 Classic at 31,000 ft somewhere Germany and Greece. It was a beautiful day and I decided to practice tracking the VOR on flight plan route instead of VNAV and LNAV. Told the young 250 hour German first officer that was I disconnecting the autothrottle, autopilot and flight director and keep my hand in tracking the VOR's.
He looked at me completely disbelievingly and announced "In that case I will don my shoulder harness." Words failed me.[/QUOTE]

Not surprising, bet there are a lot of stories like that! Some years ago as an F/O on the 'bus' I wanted to do a full App flying manually in clear skies, turned it all off, the Capt sat bolt upright, looked absolutely mortified....I loved it watching the idiot squirm in his seat:-)
machtuk is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 07:40
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 483
I loved it watching the idiot squirm
Sounds like you’d be a hoot to fly with!
wishiwasupthere is online now  
Old 27th May 2019, 10:59
  #15 (permalink)  

Avoid imitations
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Wandering the FIR and cyberspace often at highly unsociable times
Posts: 12,163
I was waiting to take off at Kai Tak when an airline pilot about to fly the IGS approach to R13 suddenly announced "I'm not declaring an emergency just yet, but we cannot get the autopilot to couple". He sounded very scared that he might have to fly the approach himself, rather than the autopilot doing it.

That was a few years ago, but I thought it was a one off. These days - possibly not!
ShyTorque is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 11:47
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Melbourne
Posts: 448
Originally Posted by wishiwasupthere View Post


Sounds like you’d be a hoot to fly with!
you missed the point!
machtuk is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 17:42
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: sierra village
Posts: 136
Modern autopilots are very smooth. While you may think you’re doing a great job keeping the needles centred, the passengers in the back won’t thank you. Admittedly, FBW does help disguise coarse inputs - which begs the question .. are you really hand flying?. And definitely, if the AT is engaged, then you’re not really hand flying.

Hand flying smoothly with precision for more than a few minutes in the higher flight levels is all but impossible.

Every design iteration brings us ever closer to being mere safety observers in a UAV, with the only physical pilot input being the taxing of the aircraft. Thus, stick and rudder skills are becoming less relevant with each “Next Gen” aircraft.This is not a career I’d want to be in if I was a 20 year old today. Probably have to wear a high vis jacket in the cockpit in 30 years time.
lucille is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 18:35
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: HKG
Posts: 1,392
I'd love to know which A/C can fly the IGS in HKG with an A/P.!!!!!!!
BusyB is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 22:09
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: The wrong time zone...
Posts: 635
Crikey, there's some impressive willies being waved about 'round 'ere!
josephfeatherweight is offline  
Old 27th May 2019, 22:51
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: The World
Posts: 414
Originally Posted by machtuk View Post
you missed the point!
No I don’t think he did. Regardless if you are a Captain or an F/O getting enjoyment from deliberately making the other pilot uncomfortable is a horrible character trait.

For every story of “I made another pilot uncomfortable by hand flying a visual approach on a CAVOK day” I’ve heard a story of “one pilot wanted to hand fly in poor weather in a high traffic environment and overloaded the support pilot in return”.

Originally Posted by josephfeatherweight View Post
Crikey, there's some impressive willies being waved about 'round 'ere!
Indeed. And some wonder why Australians overseas have earned the nickname “Austro-nauts”. Some European airlines operate far more aircraft to far more ports in a higher traffic density environment and have to contend with a real winter with snow and ice. Ryanair operates in this environment with more aircraft than all Australian airlines have combined and put 200hr pilots in the RHS, and upgrade them to Captain after 4/5 years. They’ve never lost a jet to pilot error. You’d think they know something about operating airliners without the “Austro-nauts” needing to teach them how to fly.
dr dre 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.