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Flight - Should airline pilots have more/better/different upset recovery training?

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Flight - Should airline pilots have more/better/different upset recovery training?

Old 20th Nov 2012, 17:45
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Flight - Should airline pilots have more/better/different upset recovery training?

Fascinating article in this week's Flight International; "BACK IN CONTROL: The life-or-death importance of mastering upset recovery.”

It leads with a statement that the "Global airline industry faces a decision: whether to take radical and expensive action as a result of lessons learned; or accept crashes such as AF447 happen but are sufficiently rare that a cost-benefit analysis of the investment in further safety improvements does not stack up. If the latter view prevails, it is much the same as saying that another widebody crash with similar causes is acceptable". (my emphasis)

The thought provoking article looks at the "overwhelming evidence that the AF447 crash is only the latest manifestation of a developing phenomenon the industry has watched helplessly for 20 years and done almost nothing about: loss of control in flight (LOC-I)."

The article looks at the recommendations made by the French Accident Investigator, the BEA, as well as considering a variety of factors such as the challenges around the man-machine interface, confusion arising from airspeed readings, and a little on what we refer to as the 'startle factor'. It then goes on to look at the substantial value that can be derived from upset training on aerobatic aircraft like the Extra 300.

It concludes: "There is a general consensus that honing pilot knowledge and skills should best concentrate on 'staying in control', as EASA puts it, rather than recovering when the aircraft has already adapted an extreme attitude. Others demand both. The industry knows pilots are not getting the training they need for flying aircraft in a fast-developing, increasingly intense environment, so the question is: should they train more, or train differently? They cannot stay the same."

What is the most suitable approach, given real world commercial limitations? Is the current training sufficient at your company?
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 18:27
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I can only mention again Davis' plea in one of his later editions. I had, still have, the first edition, but in about 2000 one of my FOs showed me his. It really spelled out the need for airlines to go that extra mile and give real handling training.

I was lucky, I did what I wanted to satisfy myself I had a good feel for the aircraft, but I gather I wouldn't get away with it these days.

What is very noteworthy, is that it usually took 500-ish hours of short haul - with numerous empty legs - to really feel at one with the new kit. I can see that could never be paid for in the real world.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 18:40
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Quote...What is the most suitable approach, given real world commercial limitations? Is the current training sufficient at your company?

Airlines need to cough up the money and spend it on training.....going into a sim session prepared and ready to go,and expected to be at the top of your game,is sometimes not enough.We have debated this before...Airlines have,over the years,cut training times,ventured into areas(current flavour of the month) that really dont need a lot of training,and neglected the issues that are now surfacing,real issues(not that you should dismiss any/all).Two sim sessions/annum(some airlines one)is not enough.

A/C redundancy has created mores issues,than it has sometimes resolved.The pressures of passing sim checks,rather than training in lieu of,I believe has cost us dearly......I believe the way to solve some of these issues is the way in which we instigate and approach sim training sessions,and a "bust" or "Pass" mentality needs to be removed,
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 20:20
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Google on 'ICATEE' which is the International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes. Its all there and will be an ICAO requirement eventually.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 20:50
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The current JAA syllabus has only incipient spinning in the zero to hero course.

I think flying schools got scared in the nineties when there was a few unrecoverable spin incidents. It is a real shame that current new F/O's do not experience aeros or fully developed spins.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 21:13
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When I was a 509 instructor the studes got full blown aeros instruction, indeed a 509 instructor had to have the aeros instructor rating. As with all areas of life these days a dumbing down has occured, JAR no longer requiring aeros is a missed opportunity but perhaps things will go full circle and it will be reinstated in due course. However the article in flight regards airline pilots flying an hour or so in an extra is all rather pointless I feel.

Last edited by Meeb; 20th Nov 2012 at 21:23.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 21:16
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As a passenger this gets a little scarier each time there is new thread on ‘skills’. Are new generation flight crew really 'pilots' or aircraft systems monitors is one question that comes to my mind. I know that all newer recruits are not the same but that holds good for any profession-difference being most people’s mistakes do not end in death. Looked at a different way there are many careers where skill or touch of people like skilled toolmakers or machinists have seen the skill factor eroded as they monitor computer controlled devices. They still need some of their traditional skills to assess quality and consistency but after a few eyars often could no longer use their precsion skills to replicate the part. Unless allowed to ‘keep their hand ‘ in pilots must lose handflying skills because that si the way we humans are made-use it or lose it.
I am not seeking to be deliberately provocative because I still sort of have faith but wonder what will happen as the older pilots with more rounded experience retire in greater numbers -again I know this group can sometimes be accused of having insufficient skills in other ways as well.
It seems to me though that all airline pilots at some stage of their career should get some experience of unusual attitudes but is a sudden stall in an Extra really much good if your triple 7 300 suddenly throws a hissy fit at 35000 ft .
It is not easy I know but perhaps a way could be found for people to safely ( I am old enough to remember reading about training accidents as people shut down engines etc) experience the scary combination of unusual attitude and huge mass/momentum.
I had a couple of school friends who went on to become flight crew and one I kept in touch with for some years to the point where he was a 757 Captain but as he put it he had learned a huge amount in his early years hand flying 707s round the Bovingdon hold and similar manoeuvres which gave his generation an experience denied to his successors.
I know money is an issue but perhaps a little pressure needs to be put on managements about how safety first really works. A mischievous friend of mine recently wrote to Easy Jet about their attitude to flight safety and got the usual -safety is our first priority response and the most important issue to our management. He didn’t get any response at all to his follow up which said he appreciated the assurance but if they really meant it why was the board composed solely of accountants and marketing people and none of them had any responsibility for flight operations or safety.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 21:30
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I got spin training at 4 hrs so when I soloed shortly after it I was more aware of what could happen at any time while flying no matter how much time you had.

When I became an instructor I taught spin recovery to my students even though it wasn't required until you went for your flight instructors rating.

Being in command of an airliner and never exceeding a 60 degree bank or less and no spin recovery doesn't make sense to me.

I taught an aerobatics course for quite a while and believe it really helps a pilot feel confident in his ability to handle most anything that can upset his aircraft no matter how large it is. Airplanes basically all fly the same whether a biplane or 747. The biplane just does it quicker.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 21:36
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I fear that greeners first post - his statement in italics will be the way of the future.

In a leading Far Eastern company new cadets with just a few hundred hours total time, doing their B777 conversion are encouraged, if not taught, to engage the ap from sim session one. !!! Autopilot out when on final full flap and nice and stable.

I fear the autopilot is now the master with the "pilots" telling it what to do - which is the normal thing to do - BUT it is becoming our crutch when things are not so normal. Strong crosswind - do an autoland - rainy day, vis down to 1500m do and autoland ( that is even recommended by management) regardless of the state of the ILS! - one engine inop - do an autoland. Loss of control whilst in manual flight - engage the autopilot!

It's a big big problem but it does seem that high profile individuals and organizations recognise this - its just going to take years and years ( if it gets done at all) to move towards getting BACK IN ONTROL
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 22:08
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Scarey isn't it but it doesn't have to be that way. Basic flying skills should still be the norm and automation should be a way to make flying easier. It is all about money and airline management wants it this way.

In the US the FAA can fix this with mandatory hand flying skills. If you don't have them you can't fly no matter how fast you can type. Do you think the FAA will do it? No. Money runs how the FAA rules.
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Old 20th Nov 2012, 23:31
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our airline introduced unusual attitude recovery quite awhile ago...after one of our planes had a rudder hardover and killed everyone

and when we started unusual attidue recovery training, with the exception of turning off the hydraulics to the rudder, it was just like being in a light GA aircraft like when I was a flight instructor.

there are some good words of wisdom from WEBB in "FLY THE WING" and DAvies in "handling the big jets".

we also instituted feet on rudders and hand near yoke below FL180.

and the best way is to avoid gtting upside down in the first place!~
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 00:32
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the industry has watched helplessly for 20 years and done almost nothing about: loss of control in flight (LOC-I)."
Helplessly? The leaders of industry (pilots and beancounters alike) have actively pursued this policy of automation, actively encouraged of course by certain designers of "aeroplanes"...or is it the other way round? Whatever, there's no helplessness about it.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 01:22
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Add to the AF447 A330, the Colgan Air crash at Buffalo, NY and the XL A320 at Perpignan. You don't have to look too far to find evidence that automation is relied on far too much. It's not only about the of erosion of manual flying skills but also recognising and diagnosing the situation the aircraft is in. If pilots were exposed to situations in aerobatic aircraft where they could experience the symptoms of stall, spin and UPs and then execute correct recovery techniques, IMHO they would be able to bring this experience to the fore when confronted with the seemingly incredible circumstance of loss of control in a complex modern airliner. In the cases of the AF447 A330 and the XL A320 , these types have protections to prevent the stall:WHEN THEY ARE FULLY FUNCTIONING. When all the holes line up in James Reason's Swiss cheese accident model (Wikipedia if you haven't heard of it), it is then down to the pilot to prevent the accident. Sadly, these accidents are showing that the pilots are not doing so.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 01:24
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I have no doubt that some kind of upset training would be extremely beneficial but I repeat what I said in another thread. This is not recommended to be done in a simulator because no data was gathered during test flights to program the simulator to replicate the the aircraft reaction to pilots inputs during major upsets. Hence what happens in the simulator may bear no resemblance to what the actual aircraft does and could lead pilots into learning techniques that do not work in real life.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 02:41
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Handling the big jets is my favorite. It explains a lot.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 02:52
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The 737 hardover crash with the rudder problem hasn't happened in decades so is probably no longer a threat. I always loved the 737.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 07:42
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Noone has responded to my post on ICATEE. Please do, as I need some input.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 08:16
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the problem with current upset recovery training is the "startle factor" is missing...also the simulator,s inability to produce the negative g- forces that may be encountered
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 10:49
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No doubt in my mind that aerobatics should be a compulsory part of commercial pilot training and recovery from unusual positions should be practised from time to time in the sim.
The MPL includes aerobatics as part of the course. ( in the UK, dont know about elsewhere )

Last edited by rogerg; 21st Nov 2012 at 10:50.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 11:14
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the problem with current upset recovery training is the "startle factor" is missing
True, but good exposure to canned UAs will go a long way to reducing reaction time when really startled, as well as greatly assisting the correctness of the subsequent response.

Last edited by Capn Bloggs; 21st Nov 2012 at 11:15.
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