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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

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AS332L2 Ditching off Shetland: 23rd August 2013

Old 17th Nov 2013, 13:39
  #2241 (permalink)  
 
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DB - while you have a human in the cockpit who can choose to ignore procedures or forget checks or make cognitive errors, you will continue to have accidents.

Is it possible to select, train and ensure competency of pilots to the point where they don't make mistakes? Possibly, but how much will that cost and who will pay for it?

At the moment, just enough seems good enough for the employers, customers and regulators. As long as you have the perception of safety then people will keep getting on the aircraft and, after all, it is statistically much, much safer than riding a bicycle through London.

I am not saying we shouldn't keep on trying to minimise accidents since the same lessons need repeating constantly - like 'fly the aircraft' but if you don't accept the fundamental premise that the human in the cockpit will always be a weak link then you are likely to put all your effort into one direction. Concentrating on autopilot training for example, you might eradicate all bad practices in that area and then be horrified when someone manages to find a completely different way of crashing the aircraft.

The biggest error that keeps being made in flight safety is to identify a reason for the human error (in your example a tough session in the gym) and create a solution (no more pilots to use the gym before flying) to prevent that particular set of holes in the cheese lining up again (as they were never likely to do).

If you select your pilots well, train them well, motivate them well, vary their tasks to avoid the mundane and repetitive and ensure that they are not pressured to push on or take risks to get the job done - then you might have a chance of achieving aviation Nirvana but it will remain a Utopian dream because the realities of cost and competition will always drag everyone down to the lowest common denominator.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 14:41
  #2242 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
HC, get off your high horse,
Nay. Or should that be Neighayhayhay?

I suspect that in reality, military attitudes have moved on, although it is only fairly recently that the Mull of Kintyre accident was properly sorted. But within the context of this thread, I can only go by the views of TC and to a lesser extent you, who seem to be suggesting that there is no point in talking about it further, being all fluffy etc, because it was "pilot error" and therefore the conversation is at an end.
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 15:01
  #2243 (permalink)  
 
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Good post Crab. And DB , agree that the real issue is trying to understand and address why errors are made. But you can't quite say "Forget pilot error"! Where it exists - and that's in most accidents, let's face it - it should be identified as such, partly so we all have heightened awareness of our fallibility as pilots, the need to concentrate 100% and not to just buck-pass personal responsibility to corporate culture etc, and particularly to trigger the process of understanding and addressing of the cause(s) of the pilot error.

Starting at the beginning, what, if any, academic qualifications are required to become a commercial pilot today? How bright do you need to be?
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 18:27
  #2244 (permalink)  
 
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Starting at the beginning, what, if any, academic qualifications are required to become a commercial pilot today? How bright do you need to be?
They crashed because they weren't bright enough - oh please...if this was the case then we would never let the Army fly
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 22:09
  #2245 (permalink)  
 
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Errrrrrrr.....Pardon? You do mean the British Army I hope!
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 22:55
  #2246 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by cyclic View Post
They crashed because they weren't bright enough - oh please...if this was the case then we would never let the Army fly
Actually I think its an interesting point. Ab Initio pilots are these days "selected" on the basis of them (or their relatives or bank managers) being rich enough to afford the training. Or if it's a sponsored course, it's probably something about their general co-ordination and people skills.

Yes they have to pass some exams, but that seems to be as much about learning the answers to the questions as it is about actually understanding the subject. Yes they have to pass a test, but that is primarily all about manual flying.

We then maybe send them on a fixed duration type rating course, and hope that what comes out is a uniform level of understanding.

So then we put these guys into a modern sophisticated helicopter with very complex systems and software, these being the primary ways by which they interact with the aircraft, and expect them to fully grasp all the technical intricacies. How is that related to their selection and testing for a CPL(H)?
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Old 17th Nov 2013, 22:59
  #2247 (permalink)  
 
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We then maybe send them on a fixed duration type rating course, and hope that what comes out is a uniform level of understanding.
I submit we expect a "minimum standard" of understanding....and anything over that is pure gravy!
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 06:31
  #2248 (permalink)  
 
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I think understanding the dangers of the more difficult parts of the flight envelope is key here.

As a result of this accident, during EC225 simulator training, We now force this error on the crew during SEMA approaches (SEMA only provide 3 Axis mixed mode with the pilot responsible for the collective vertical channel). Simply asking them to reduce speed in this condition to 60 KIAS is usually enough to destabilise the approach and create confusion as the helicopter flight path slides back up the power/airspeed curve.

This exercise helps the crew to recognise the dangers of low speeds in mixed mode operations and emphasise to them to avoid this.

We also apply a similar philosophy to OEI landings, deliberately flying an LDP at 1/2 speed at MLW, resulting in a crash into the lead in lights.

Simulator training is ideal for demonstrating areas of the envelope that we should try to avoid. It needs to be briefed beforehand to avoid negative training but the effects on crews is dramatic. After one crash into the lights they monitor there speed at LDP like hawks.

Consider the good pilot. You sit behind him and he meets all profile parameters accurately and appropriately. You tick all the little boxes on his form! However, does he really understand the dangers of the bits of the envelope you have not seen him explore??

Introducing "Exercises to Failure" into initial and recurrent training is a good step in the right direction. In fact some of the posters on this thread who feel that manual flying skills and intelligence will save them from these errors would probably fit in my "Above Average" category and paradoxically benefit from this type of training.

For the record, the Commander of the accident aircraft is a qualified Civil Engineer. I suspect had someone shown him the dangers of mixed mode flight in the Simulator one week before this accident it would never have happened. This is an opportunity for real change in the methods and content of initial and recurrent training. I have some good ideas but I am just one man.

Somehow we need a forum and opportunity to collate, evaluate and conclude better. More effective and more beneficial ways to train. The CAA I believe recognise this themselves but it is we, the industry SMEs that must stand up and lead the way.

ZDB
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 07:43
  #2249 (permalink)  
 
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Consider the good pilot. You sit behind him and he meets all profile parameters accurately and appropriately. You tick all the little boxes on his form! However, does he really understand the dangers of the bits of the envelope you have not seen him explore??
Spot on DB. How many times have I heard, "when I flew with him, he did nothing wrong". Yes, all the boxes were ticked and the exercises completed satisfactorily but how useful was the training? A little imaginative thinking in the sim, which appears you are doing, would definitely be the way ahead. I hate to say this (sorry HC), but my experience of the military sim always included a little of this. Perhaps that was because there wasn't a huge time or commercial constraint and generally the instructors had a huge amount of experience on the type. I for one would really value the opportunity to do this as opposed to the constant OEI scenarios, which I might add, are relatively straight forward.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 08:08
  #2250 (permalink)  
 
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DB - I think you're absolutely right that training involving things going wrong - and I mean divergence from normal flight profiles rather than failures - is likely to be more valuable than just monitoring lots of properly done approaches. In fact I'm surprised this is isn't done more, by the sound of it. People can look very competent when they do things by rote, (eg accurately following a prescribed approach) but it's only when you hit them with something abnormal that you can see how much awareness they really have of all the crucial parameters, and skills to get them back on course if they are not right.

With regard to pilot competence, there have been a vast number of posts on this thread about training, quite reasonably, but virtually none about basic aptitude.

I do wonder whether the industry has sufficiently realised that, particularly with such increasing sophistication of aircraft and systems, a pretty high level of intelligence is necessary to be a good safe pilot. When everything is hunky dory yes, flying is not too challenging and a lot of people, trained, could do it. But when things get challenging, intelligence is required to make sensible rapid judgements and decisions.

It really worries me when I read of the occasional story of some kid being picked to have a free full CPL/ATPL training course, with no apparent selection process to ensure they are bright enough. You wouldn't want a surgeon operating on your kids, or a lawyer acting for you, who had only got 5 poor GSCEs! I'm not saying all pilots similarly need 3 or 4 Grade A A levels, but flying modern IFR twins well is a challenging job and I do think consideration should be given to ensuring commercial pilots are selected on some sort criteria to ensure they are sufficiently bright and quick thinking to be able to deal safely with the dramas they will inevitably encounter from time to time.

Can anyone shed any light on what academic qualifications are required by any commercial and military organisations to qualify for CPL/ATPL training?

Finally I must make it clear I am not suggesting this point applies to this Sumburgh accident - it is a general comment.

Last edited by rotorspeed; 18th Nov 2013 at 09:56.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 09:36
  #2251 (permalink)  
 
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Rotorspeed -

Commercial - zero if self funded. I believe the Bristow/Air League sponsorship from earlier this year specified at least an A/1 in GCSE/Standard Grade maths, which was the cause of some consternation at the time!

RAF - "2 A-levels (at grade A-C) or 3 Highers or equivalent, plus 5 GCSE/SCEs at Grade C/2 minimum or equivalent including English language and grade B/1 in maths."
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 11:54
  #2252 (permalink)  
 
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Lots of good ideas and valuable discussion here but the "how" word is still eluding us it seems. I don't have an easy solution.

Being mildly old, I was line trained on the S-61 which was not endowed with power although magnificent. "Never get below Vtoss (67kts if I remember) except when taking off or landing" said my LTC. In later years, shuttling S-61s on the SNS as a Captain at night in haze and still conditions, I never forgot his wise words.

We have had 332Ls, L2s and 225s now for 30+ years. Have we bred a generation of pilots not used to low power aircraft in the real working environment? Was the old "Command Course" using a Bell 206 a good thing and should we reconsider its merits?

Being below Vtoss in any helicopter without it being a deliberate action is not a good place to be. Are we preaching automation without reinforcing the basics?
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 12:06
  #2253 (permalink)  
 
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DB,

Sounds like a perfectly good approach to learning.

I used to do something similar in the Bell 412 and S-76 Sim.

My favorite scenario was set up by the Students themselves.

If they failed to brief the Missed Approach when doing an ILS....I "disappeared" the airport so they would not see a thing when arriving at DH.

Immediately....confusion set in.

Almost invariably....they hit "Go Around" but did not think to raise the Collective (three Axis system only). Shortly, we saw the equivalent of what happened off Shetland.

Taking the video tape down to the classroom, grabbing a cup of coffee while they watched themselves on TV....usually got the point across they needed to listen and learn from the Instructor and Course of Instruction.

There were other ways as well.....set up the situation...get them "busy" and watch them make a mistake that resulted in a crash....and they started listening to what was being said.

Key point....once they "SAW" it could happen to them....there was a much better attitude shown re understanding how easy it is to be the cause of one's own demise.

If time was available I liked to take the crew out to the Aircraft Carrier....make it a very dark, very hazy night....no reference but the lights and wake of the carrier. Then ask them to perform an EOL to the Carrier from 5,000 feet MSL.

The teaching point was to get them to thinking about the "Basics" of helicopter flying....in this case....did the intended point of landing move up or down on the point of the windscreen....meaning are you going to make the spot or not. It was not about landing on the Carrier....but forcing them to revert to one of the first things we learn in flying helicopters after all the sophisticated and complex topics and maneuvers they had been dealing with for up to a week.

That was my way of ending the sim session reminding them that remembering the basics is something we need to do all the time we are flying the helicopter for at some point it might make the difference between going home to the Wife and Kids or not.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 13:35
  #2254 (permalink)  
 
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I I, bizarrely, I find myself having to teach pilots to be comfortable in the low speed environment and how to handle the aircraft to maintain ETL when manoeuvring, especially with limited power - this as a result of exactly that type of thinking eg speed makes you safe.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 13:44
  #2255 (permalink)  
 
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But Crab.....your most important work is in that flight regime....so it is exactly right you would do so.

Offshore Oil Flying....other than SAR or Winching, some kinds of Shuttling and perhaps the extremely remote chance of some underslung work does not require Crews to operate in that flight regime so it is commonsense they would see things differently than you.

That is why the Cook Book method of flight training, the one size fits all concept, just doesn't work.

Box Ticking is just another way of describing that mindset that rejects the notion that training should impart or refresh some wisdom about our craft and trade.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 16:22
  #2256 (permalink)  
 
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It appears Helicomparator doesn't rate the current level of training for either CPL or IR, claiming it's all down to whether you have the money or not, rather than the aptitude.

Quote:

"No, by no means everyone. It is amazing how many candidates pitching up for a job, with fresh flight school CPL/IR, are unemployable either for personal reasons or because they demonstrate an inability to actually fly. Having the licence can simply mean you had the money but nothing else."


I take it he's including the students fresh out of Bristow Academy?
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 16:24
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Has anyone ever thought of the completely unpredictable failure scenario?? A failure that is common, but may not be a major or complete failure of a system is introduced during the sim session at a time that is not known to the instructor - heck, the instructor won't even know what the failure is...
That's the way it is in real life.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 17:15
  #2258 (permalink)  
 
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Shawn, there was one of those not long ago in the Sea King sim when the instructor (on the console) suffered a TIA - one of the pilots noted the instructor had gone very quiet and stopped the sim in order to give first aid and call qualified help. Try finding that one in the FRCs!

Sasless - perhaps it is because people have stopped thinking about aviation as a craft or trade, instead thinking of it as just another job that can be deconstructed to its component parts and made cheaper by leaving stuff out.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 20:50
  #2259 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Uneasy Rider View Post
It appears Helicomparator doesn't rate the current level of training for either CPL or IR, claiming it's all down to whether you have the money or not, rather than the aptitude.

Quote:

"No, by no means everyone. It is amazing how many candidates pitching up for a job, with fresh flight school CPL/IR, are unemployable either for personal reasons or because they demonstrate an inability to actually fly. Having the licence can simply mean you had the money but nothing else."


I take it he's including the students fresh out of Bristow Academy?
Yes, most definitely. Lots of money and time will get you a license regardless of your aptitude, intelligence or interpersonal skills. BA is no different - its a commercial enterprise to take people, their money, and turn that into a person with a license. It does seem to have a good reputation but I have never been there so I have no idea what it's like.
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Old 18th Nov 2013, 21:15
  #2260 (permalink)  
 
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Crab,

I have posted this before and yet again state categorically that to be an Aviator....one must know Gann!


The emergencies you train for almost never happen. It's the ones that you can't train for that kill you.

Ernest Gann


There are airmen and there are pilots: the first being part bird whose view from aloft is normal and comfortable, a creature whose brain and muscles frequently originate movements which suggest flight; and then there are pilots who regardless of their airborne time remain earth-loving bipeds forever. When these latter unfortunates, because of one urge or another, actually make an ascension, they neither anticipate nor relish the event and they drive their machines with the same graceless labor they inflict upon the family vehicle.

ERNEST K. GANN, Ernest K. Gann's Flying Circus
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