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Thai Air B777 Melbourne NDB approach

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Thai Air B777 Melbourne NDB approach

Old 16th Feb 2008, 13:30
  #81 (permalink)  
 
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Yeah, but Capn Bloggs, many, many non-precision approach charts don't have all (or any) check altitudes. This is not a major factor, just something that needs careful consideration and thorough briefing. Like I said before, write them on a bit of paper and get the other guy to cross-check them for accuracy, or better still, get them to work out the altitudes independently and then compare your results.

PP
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Old 16th Feb 2008, 21:53
  #82 (permalink)  
 
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I've been doing that for over 25 years, PP. The point is, these "automatic monkeys" as TeeEmm calls them probably have never even heard of the concept. Whose fault is that? Certainly not there's. They cannot reasonably be expected to invent a system that they may well have not even heard about, let alone perfected and practiced often. The system sucks, but who cares, only a couple of hundred lives are at stake, just because an ILS is off...
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Old 17th Feb 2008, 10:04
  #83 (permalink)  
 
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But surely the point is that if the pilots aren't up to the concept of working out their descent path and then managing the flight profile then there is something wrong with the system of pilot selection/ company training and oversight? Surely we can't just say that because two dme check altitudes were omitted from a chart is a defence for what happened? I wouldn't consider having these two checks as being something that would have saved this approach or even something that would have 'given them a fighting chance'.

The point is, these "automatic monkeys" as TeeEmm calls them probably have never even heard of the concept.
If they are not capable of flying an non-precision approach then they shouldn't have flown one. Fact is, I bet they have been trained how to fly them and they do during recurrent training and checking, just like we all do. If they don't fly them very often then all the more reason to think clearly about it and revise required actions and brief thoroughly. Perhaps their training department could teach it more thoroughly, but this is pure speculation that their training wasn't up to the required (regulatory authority) standard.
They cannot reasonably be expected to invent a system that they may well have not even heard about
Nobody is saying they have to invent a system, just fly a non-precision approach the way their books say to. Everything offered on here has been how some of us do it to ensure least risk of a vertical profile cock-up. They WILL have been trained in the use of VNAV final approach descent (or if not they were breaking the rules). Problem is they didn't do it properly. There are sure to be many factors, but in my opinion they didn't minimise the risks before starting the approach and then didn't execute the briefed approach that well.

There is no perfect system and ILSs have to be taken off for maintenance every once in a while. If all that is left is a non-precision approach, so be it. Remember, they had plenty of clues that their approach was unstable and a Go Around could have (should have) been flown well before the EGPWS saved them (easy to say with hindsight, I know).

What we should all try to learn from such an event is

1. Non-precision approaches are inherently less safe that precision approaches.

2. They therefore require careful consideration before being flown and a clear plan of how you are going to fly them.

3. All FMC entries, but espcially manually entered ones need thorough cross-checking before entrusting the safety of the aircraft to them.

4. Flight procedures MUST be learn and understood and reviewed (even more regularly for infrequently used ones).

5. Fly within the SOPs. Follow the charts precisely.

6. Monitor closely the flight path during all approaches. PM call deviations and support PF fully.

7. Never be afraid to admit defeat and GO AROUND.

PP
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Old 17th Feb 2008, 17:41
  #84 (permalink)  
 
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PP;

Once again, you have hit the nail precisely on the head. Trouble is, I wonder how many people are actually reading and digesting your posts, because we seem to be going around in circles here, reinventing the same old wheel.

For example,our colleague Centaurus states;

The PF should already have the chart in front of him and he should be referring to it. The support call by the PNF is a back-up to what the PF should already know. To rely on just one pilot calling the chart details is poor airmanship as PNF's have been known to call erroneous heights versus DME distances. The PIA A310 crash at Kathmandu, the Air Manila (?) 707 crash 20 miles from Manila and many other similar CFIT accidents attest to that.

Who on earth has suggested otherwise? Basic airmanship (or whatever they call it these days) has always called for this, which is why the wise PF must monitor whatever the PM is calling out. Both you and I have mentioned the good habit of writing down the profile checks (in large font in my case) as an independent crosscheck. My reference (post #64) to the PIA accident in KTM was intended to illustrate that very point of how easy it is to get out of step with callouts;fatal in hilly terrain. The PF had better be in the loop, or else!

One of my favourite quotations has always been-"Man has oft more need to be reminded than informed." (Samuel Johnson?). In our business, we know that complacency is the biggest killer,but it seems we sometimes forget easily.

To that end, I found it worthwhile reading the comments of betterave (post # 71);sound operational technique for flying NPA's in todays glass cockpits. I believe the vast majority of professional pilots do maintain the highest standards. One would hope that what happened in MEL was an isolated aberration.

p.s. ending on a slightly more controversial note, I know we all love to show what aces we are at manually poling the big jet around, and yes, we do need to keep our "rusty" handling skills in shape; (another favourite saying-"The older I get, the better I was"), but dare I suggest that, in todays automated, high density aviation environment, there is a time and place for such things (e.g the simulator?).Apart from anything else, it sure gives the PM a hard time as you decide to manually fly a typical SID! Our SOP says don't do it,but some guys have mental lapses. Like it or not, automation is the way of the future,and getting to proper grips with it is not always easy or pleasurable, yet it has to be done, and that can be a sobering experience. Which is why, in daily operations, I often encounter my third favourite quote-"Experience is something you think you have, until you get a little bit more!"
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Old 17th Feb 2008, 18:39
  #85 (permalink)  
 
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Airmanship and experience.

PP and Phantom,

Well said! Let's hope you are preaching to the converted and others will learn from this incident to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.

NPAs flown as CDAP are supposed to be safer than the old "dive and drive" method. Either way the pilots should be staying ahead of the aircraft to make the approach and landing a routine event. I guess the question is how do we teach "airmanship" to the new pilots who have never flown "steam gauges" and rely mostly on the glass technology for their situation awareness?

As for the topic of using AP for most of the flying. IMHO, it should be a matter of airmanship/common sense again. If the SID/STAR involve many altitude constraints and ATC is very busy, of course the AP should be used even in VFR conditions. Personally I like to hand fly the departure and arrival as often as I can to maintain the "handling skills" but in a busy environment it would take the PM away from his/her duty of monitoring when lots of MCP manipulation is required.

Let's hope I never resemble the debrief I once heard a military instructor said about another student: "he was so far behind the aircraft that had he crashed he wouldn't be hurt..."

Happy Landings!
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Old 17th Feb 2008, 21:25
  #86 (permalink)  
 
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These days, Airmanship is not taught and "the good habit of writing down the profile checks" is not something that comes naturally to a lot of new pilots, especially if they have little time doing it themselves SP IFR.

Strong, detailed SOPs that cover the above points raised by you all are what is required, so that a totally inexperienced, junior crewmember can usefully and safely participate in keeping the pax alive. This I suspect will be a factor in this incident. Will it be fixed? Probably not. Will the Chief Pilot frown on his boys wanting to practice "out of the square" operations? Probably yes. So what hope have these crews got?

I contend that doing an practicing NPAs only in the sim is not frequent enough. They must be practiced regularly on the line as well (quite apart from the recency requirements) but then even the manufacturers frown on that!
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Old 17th Feb 2008, 23:05
  #87 (permalink)  
 
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Nobody is saying they have to invent a system, just fly a non-precision approach the way their books say to. Everything offered on here has been how some of us do it to ensure least risk of a vertical profile cock-up. They WILL have been trained in the use of VNAV final approach descent (or if not they were breaking the rules). Problem is they didn't do it properly. There are sure to be many factors, but in my opinion they didn't minimise the risks before starting the approach and then didn't execute the briefed approach that well.
I agree with the above statement, however if they had been trained in the use of vnav final approach descent then they cocked up because it cannot be used for an approach not encoded in the fms data base.As such they are prohibited from using vnav and should have been vs or fpa.
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Old 19th Feb 2008, 09:22
  #88 (permalink)  
 
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Can we please get back to basics.
Absolutely NO aircraft should be doing 1800'/min on approach - period.
Common sense will tell you that it should be around 800 - 900'/min.
Any so called captain that lets his aircraft do that rate of descent at that phase of flight should never be allowed near an aircraft.
An aircraft with that rate of descent and (as reported by the ATSB) with ALL flightdeck members looking outside simply reinforces to me (from past experience) that pilots from that region haven't the faintest idea how to fly non ILS approaches.
They had no idea what they were doing and were desperate to get visual.
Lets forget political correctness and tell it as it is.
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Old 19th Feb 2008, 09:49
  #89 (permalink)  
 
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Sub Orbital

pilots from that region haven't the faintest idea how to fly non ILS approaches.
I think you are making far too general a statement there mate. We all know of the short-comings of certain cultural backgrounds with regards to flying aircraft, but you cannot tar everyone with the same brush. I bet there are pilots from that region who fly non-precision approaches perfectly acceptably, just as there are Western pilots who cock them up, and I speak from experience with regards that point. So let's not get into that kind of bigoted debate.
They had no idea what they were doing and were desperate to get visual
I think that is wild speculation. Indeed they got the approach all wrong and unstable, but how can you speculate that they did it in a desperate attempt to get visual? They lost situational awareness with a high rate of descent on, I can't see that it was a planned attempt to dive below cloud to get visual.....

PP

There but for the grace of......
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Old 19th Feb 2008, 10:59
  #90 (permalink)  
 
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Why is an aircraft like a 777 even doing an NDB approach? A VOR is bad enough but an NDB with paying passengers?

Yes we're all heroes and could do these blindfolded when we were in our twentiesin Barons in Africa but in this age of triple IRS's and GPS's there is no place for pre-WW2 nonsense like NDB's.

The sooner such passenger-threatening rubbish is banned the better.
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Old 19th Feb 2008, 11:10
  #91 (permalink)  
 
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Yeah and just ban flying as it is so dangerous, take a boat instead.

PP
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Old 19th Feb 2008, 12:32
  #92 (permalink)  
 
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It is my understanding that unless the NPA is already in the data-base, then VNAV is not recommended and V/S preferred. Since MEL rwy16 does not have an NDB approach in the data-base, then VNAV should not be used and FL-CH definitely not to be used. Regarding the F/o's low hours -welcome to Asian airline experience! At least they got away with it and hopefully learned from it.
By the way, what is CASA's aversion to ILS runways, especially CAT 2/3????
Stuck in the 20th century - or is it not deemed "a requirement"????!!!!
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Old 19th Feb 2008, 13:31
  #93 (permalink)  
 
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I believe that,

"Non-precision approaches are inherently dangerous".

You may wish to disagree, but you have that privilege and also you are alive to exercise it.

I think that the spirited discussion from such obviously highly qualified and experienced aircrew over the last few pages tends to back me up.

I do not disagree that NPAs can be executed safely and with a high level of skill.

I also agree that any International ATPL licence holder should be able to execute any approach that he is qualified to carry out.

I suspect that given a sample of said International ATPL holders that there will be a much wider scatter in the results of conducting an NPA as opposed to the results of conducting a precision approach.

That is the long and short of it.

Last edited by FlexibleResponse; 19th Feb 2008 at 23:04.
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Old 20th Feb 2008, 12:24
  #94 (permalink)  
 
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One critical issue is that MDA is not a safe altitude; it’s only a minimum altitude during the latter part of a correctly executed procedure
Pardon? Do you mean to say for the past umpteen years I have trusted the chart designers with my life to give me a published MDA and now you say it isn't safe...
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Old 20th Feb 2008, 13:24
  #95 (permalink)  
 
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Tee Emm

I think what they mean is you can't 'dive and drive' down at MDA. If you fly the profile correctly and end up at MDA then it is safe to the missed approach point. What many operators do now is fly a non-precision approach as a CDA, adding 50' to the MDA to in effect make it the same as a DA; the point at which you initiate a missed approach if you don't have the visual reference, thus no level segment at MDA and then a dirty dive as you see the runway at the last minute.

Another point worth considering is what you will see at the published minima on a non-precision approach. For instance, many non-precision approaches have an MDH of say 700', with a required visibility of something like 2000m. If you are going to adopt the aforementioned procedure of not flying level, destabilising the approach and then diving for the runway, then you are not going to see the required visual references if the vis is on the minimum of 2k. At 700'AGL you will be somewhere like 2.1nm from touchdown on a nominal 3 degree descent. 2.1nm is approximately 3300-3400 metres. Another point to consider. Just because you have the legal minimum visibility, is it worth making an approach like that?

PP
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Old 20th Feb 2008, 16:29
  #96 (permalink)  
 
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RNAV/VNA approaches

For what it is worth, Boeing/Alteon does not teach the drive and dive method unless an operator specifically asks for it based upon their respective ops specs. All "Non ILS" approaches are built using VNAV.
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Old 26th Feb 2008, 23:19
  #97 (permalink)  
 
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TM, MDA is only ‘safe’ after the FAF and up to MAP (plus a small distance for climb entry).
One of the points to be made was that crews should not consider MDA as a safe altitude as in same level of safety associated with MSA.
With an EGPWS warning, a climb to or maintaining MDA is not an acceptable solution, the climb should be made to the area / sector safe altitude (SSA). One of the reasons for a warning could be due to a navigation error, such that the aircraft is not within the area covered by MDA, thus the only safe manoeuvre is to climb to the higher SSA.
I guess that you understand this, but many pilots do not. The problem is aggravated by the differing uses of ‘safe’ without specifying the situation – my mistake in #77.
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Old 27th Feb 2008, 01:59
  #98 (permalink)  
 
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All "Non ILS" approaches are built using VNAV.
I think that is a bit broad as a statement. Not all operators use/ authorise VNAV approaches. Many use traditional descent path methods such as V/S, with a rate worked out by the crew for the profile in question.

PP
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