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Turkish airliner crashes at Schiphol

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Turkish airliner crashes at Schiphol

Old 7th Mar 2009, 09:55
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robdean

Simply annunciating 'RadAlt Mismatch' would have caught the error upstream both systems-wise and human cognition-wise.
Unfortunately most pilots do not have instant recall of the connection between complex systems. Especially during what seems to have been a somewhat stressed approach. Bringing attention to an apparently irrelevant fault (though we now know there is a connection) would only serve to add confusion to an already difficult situation.

I suggest that a radalt warning would not lead to the crew thinking "that's why we got the gear warning and we must be aware that the autothrottle might retard." More likely would be "what the **** is that about?" and distract them from the real danger.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 10:08
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BOAC wrote:

Bobcat's idea is good in my book.
Thanks. I do not agree with the other software engineers saying it is just a matter of some extra lines of code. I would rather remove some lines of code.

After all, we do not need auto retard, we can autoland without it and I can see no purpose in having it especially on single channel or manual flight.
Right! Although a dual channel autoland could justify auto-retard as it is all automation. If a autoland precedure is supposted to be automatic, the power idle, speedbrake, wheelbrake etc. should also be included if the autoland definition means getting the aircraft stationary on the runway. If the autoland definition ends at main gear touchdown, then there is no need for auto-retard. Anyway, setting power at idle after touchdown is as basic as applying takeoff power prior to takeoff. But if the pilots "forget" to apply power when lined up and cleared to takeoff, nothing happends. There will be no accident until crew and pax starved to death. That would take weeks...

Secondly, should we now be looking at imposing some further restriction on the amount an automatic system can trim nose up?
Restricting trim unconditionally would also restrict the center of gravity. I have absolutely no idea how the COG will "drift" from flight to flight in a large jet like the 738 but in smaller aircrafts it's important to calculate/predict.

In the case of a 737, stopping it earlier, at a point where we are still above Vss, and lighting the 'stab out of trim light' should give a tactile input that things are not right and require remedial action to continue stable flight.
Right! Couple it to Vs and Vne. Although that would of course introduce another dangerous scenario when the indicated air speed is wrong.

Bottom line: We still need pilots in the cockpit.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 10:10
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foresight

I think you've misread my post. My point is that on occasion a pilot may indeed not 'have instant recall of the connection between complex systems'. Thus the primary annunciation should ideally be of the primary problem.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 10:20
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deltayankee wrote:

Not if you average over a few successive readings.

In any case we are talking about the final approach. High buildings and ground features like the Yosemite half dome will not come as surprises.
Although I initially agreed to this I now have to drop it. Remember James Bond in GoldenEye from 1995? It opens with Bond breaking into a chemical weapons plant, then driving a motorcycle off a cliff and skydiving to catch a diving airplane.

Of course it's totally insane but the runway is not. Landing on this runway would make a perfectly working RA to read 1950 one moment and -2 the next moment, assuming the cliff is steep enough.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 10:32
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Thank you Right way up for the AB info.
2 things for 'leathertrousers'

"I am curious why the aircraft appears to have made such a shallow intercept of the localiser which led to a glide slope intercept closer in than ideal and from above the glide." - pretty common in AMS - I have oftern been keeping an eagle eye on predicted intercept v GS there with 'fine' intercept directions, and once backed it off 10 degrees to be b***d by the controller!

We do not know the 3rd guy was a safety pilot. One report was he was not type qual.

Bobcat - I cannot see such a trim restriction limiting the cg envelope - I reckon we should be nowhere that trim in normal flight, not even on an autoland flare?.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 10:42
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RadAlt Reliability

According to Dutch television (NOSJOURNAAL - Logboek Boeing klopte niet) it appears that the 2 previous malfuntions (if that is the proper term) of the radalt were not reported.
First, I'm an old fart and have never flown a 737 or any modern airliner. Primarily I used the RadAlt to verify the reading of the pressure altimeter(s) as I dropped down through the maximum altitude in its range. My experience with RadAlts has been that they occasionally drop out and come back, depending on several factors including terrain. A RadAlt dropping out and coming back would hardly be worth noting, except that in this type of plane where it is an integral part of the equipment used automated precision approaches. Since the problem here seems to be a discrepancy not recognized by the RadAlt's internal logic, it may well not have even been noticed at all on previous filghts. If they didn't notice it, they couldn't very well write it up. The previous discrepancies were only uncovered by reading the flight recorder.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:24
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It is a reasonable assumption that the trainee must have been at a reasonably early stage in his training otherwise he would not have needed a safety FO.
As a fare paying passenger surely I would be entitled to expect a fully trained competent first officer to be flying a passenger jet. In addition I thought the whole idea of very sophisticated and hugely expensive flight simulators was to train pilots to the required standard before they are licenced to fly as second in command of passenger jets.

Given that expectation, how come airlines are using revenue flights for trainee airline pilots to practice on. The obvious answer it saves money. Isn't it about time that airlines come clean on this "training" of new pilots with passengers, and dedicate a real aircraft to undertake non-revenue practice for trainee airline pilots until these "trainees" reach the same handling skill standard expected of captains - particularly as they are theoretically licenced to take over control as Second in Command in the event not only of the captain becoming incapacitated medically but, according to airline SOP, to take over control from the captain in the event the captain is intent on pressing on with an unstable approach. (the mind boggles over the brawl in the cockpit as the captain is "pursuaded" to meekly relinquish control to a frightened second in command who is only trying to follow his company SOP's)

Either these trainee airline pilots are receiving less than adequate instruction and hands on practice in the flight simulator - or they are being pushed into revenue flying with a low standard of flying skill. Both examples are close to the truth in some airlines.

Judging from the initial reports on the Turkish Airlines crash, the glaring gap between automatic pilot push button monitoring skills and hands-on flying skills is getting ever wider. It seems inevitable in the future, that accidents involving poor flying skills coupled with blind use of automatics from take off to landing, will continue to increase.

Trainee first officers (or should they be called trainee captains in view of their grand appointment of Second in Command) - who are graduates of the Multi-Crew Pilots Licence - and whose flying experience in even a light single engine aircraft is less than minimal - are in the invidious position where they proudly display the three stripes of second in command, but in reality are quite out of their depth in terms of real flying experience, when the out-of-the ordinary event suddenly occurs (737 stalls at 2000 ft IMC and with closed thrust levers descends out of control).

Last edited by Tee Emm; 7th Mar 2009 at 11:49.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:28
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Better On A Camel thanks for your points. It does look like the vectoring was a bit sharp. But with the GPS supported map display on the NG the crew should pick this up and react accordingly. Whatever it reinforces the loss of situational awareness suspicions.

As far as who was in which seat, I agree it is still unclear. However did not the report refer to the trainee flying? In my company we avoid having jumpseaters during training, unless specifically required e.g. during the first few sectors, so as to avoid distraction. Is it not the most likely scenario that the third man was a safety FO?

We tried the deselect speed mode leaving the autothrottle in for a while. But it seems to have its own problems and we have gone back to autothrottle and autopilot off. My preference is latest at 1000' unless the weather is extremely marginal in which case it might be worth staying on autopilot longer.

Some sort of aural warning approaching alpha floor would certainly do no harm.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:37
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You can have all the aural and visual warnings you want but it will not help. The first thing is to have skilled pilots flying the bloody airplane while they are awake.

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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:40
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I see now that stall recovery was impossible.This aircraft wasnt at the approach to stall(like we do in the sim-we recover at stick-shaker onset);the stall was fully developed and so it had to be unstalled first before recovery procedure.To fly the recovery procedure(20 deg) with the speed that low and with that ROD needs a rocket.WE dont have the data in front of us,I dont think we can really appreciate just how much altitude loss was necessary to first "unstall"(speed trend out of red band) it before the recovery procedure was flown.We dont do this in the simulator because the assumption is no pilot would let such a situation develop at altitude never mind 500'.To go from -4000fpm with Vref-40 straight into the stall recovery procedure needs a rocket.I see that now.

737AvEng,
AT computer is fed by RA#1 or both RA#1 and RA#2 depending on software update.There are diagrams in the AMM showing this.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:46
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BOAC,

Bobcat - I cannot see such a trim restriction limiting the cg envelope - I reckon we should be nowhere that trim in normal flight, not even on an autoland flare?.
One can always argue that a CoG set way outside (forward) the envelope will not be dangerous because it's possible to back-trim the way it is on this aircraft. When just considering trim (CoG outside the envelope is always dangerous).

As always, we need to ask: "When do we need full back-trim?" If the answer is "NEVER", then restrict it. Just like "When do you need auto-retrard on a single channel approach?".

-Bob-
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:49
  #1732 (permalink)  
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Rananim - thanks for the glimpse at the AMM! NB At the point of stickshake (ie when recovery from the NEAR stall should commence, the RoD would be around 750fpm, not 4000.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:53
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Tee Emm

Unfortunately I have to disagree with your post.

As a fare paying passenger surely I would be entitled to expect a fully trained competent first officer to be flying a passenger jet. In addition I thought the whole idea of very sophisticated and hugely expensive flight simulators was to train pilots to the required standard before they are licenced to fly as second in command of passenger jets.
People new to type will have completed a comprehensive ground and simulator course, and if applicable 6 circuits in an empty aircraft. They are fully licensed, and fully qualified to be at the controls with passengers.

The safety pilot is generally there for the first 9-12 sectors when a person is new on type. This is an extra added safety buffer that you get with an extra set of eyes an ears. I've done it a couple of times and you are also sometimes asked to do paperwork etc. in the cruise to give some more time to actual line training. When the trainer is satisfied that the trainee has reached a level where he no longer needs that extra buffer of a safety pilot, then the go back to 2 crew operation.

a real aircraft and instructor to undertake non-revenue practice for trainee airline pilots on air routes until these "trainees" reach the same standard skill standard expected of captains
Are you actually serious? A captain may have 5,000 hours on type. Are you expected to chug down to Malaga and back hundreds of times in an empty aircraft costing millions of pounds?

Broadly speaking, an FO is going to have less experience than the Captain. The FO is there to build his experience and learn so that one day he might get the chance to be in the LHS. In the event that the captain is incapacitated then the FO will be able to safely handle the a/c and divert, whilst declaring a Mayday.

Having FOs ready for command before they are allowed to take passengers is completely impractical.

Would a doctor be expected to be ready for a consultant's position before he was allowed to go near a patient?
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 11:56
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Please forgive this as a crass and uninformed comment from SLF

But should it not be that the stick shaker kick in at a much earlier stage as in pre-empting the unrecoverable stall to give a chance of recovery.

From what I understand (I am gladly corrected) there is no alpha floor protection on the B73NG but if a skilled pilot can recognise the situation could not the B73NG be aware of this also? From my observations stall recovery requires altitude and if altitude is not available then erring on the side of caution can be a good thing.

I do however appreciate when so close to destination it can be hard to tell what is pilot induced decisions and loss of controls - just a thought tho
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:00
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BOAC,
At the point of stickshake (ie when recovery from the NEAR stall should commence, the RoD would be around 750fpm, not 4000.
Why it wasnt recovered earlier(when it was a recoverable situation) is what we're discussing...your guess is as good as mine.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:11
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Inexperienced pilots on commercial jets

Tee Emm raises a valid point that I have raised in the past, although was shouted down: why is it acceptable to have someone so junior and with so little experience flying a passenger jet for a major carrier with 100+ passengers? I know you will just reply that "it's economical" and I have read this thread so I also appreciate there must be another factor for all three to have screwed up so badly, but I think this issue should still be raised.

This accident demonstrates that a training captain and a safety F/O (if that was indeed the correct configuration - we still do not know for certain who was sitting where) is not a fool-proof mechanism for preventing a serious and fatal accident occurring during line training. You cannot put so much responsibility on the training captain! He needs a competent F/O. No one is suggesting that he needs to be ready for command! Just competent.

From a passenger's point of view, it is quite disturbing to read on this forum quite how much training for inexperienced F/Os is being carried out on the flight deck of a commercial jet.

Now you can get all cross with me, but I think many passengers would concur.

Last edited by John R; 7th Mar 2009 at 15:47.
 
Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:17
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bobcat4:
getting rid of auto-retard in a single channel approach is IMHO the best solution (unless someone gives me a good reason to keep it).
I already gave you a reason on #1690: If you want alpha floor protection during a "speed deselect" single channel approach then it is wise that those throttles retard during the flare in case you forgot to retard manually as not retarding also has its consequences.

BOAC: please forgive me for that answer . BTW #1715 was not the post I was talking about. Another one got deleted by the allmighty, dunno why because later someone reproduced the MMEL extensively but as we all know the allmighty has its ways. I'll try to put a link instead and will send you a private ASAP. BTW they wouldn't have needed to have advanced the thrust levers manually for a GA if the A/T were armed, right? ... and then they would not have retarded on them, so that seems to indicate they moved the levers forward manually without pushing TOGA (caution: speculative).

Jumbo Driver

Surely, we should be looking at increasing the ability of the "100's" you mention, so they can either keep up with what the automatics are doing or, alternatively, manage to properly deal with the consequences?
Still missing part of the picture, we should be looking at all aspects including automation design.

Swedish Steve

If you were flying an auto approach to a manual landing, when is the latest that you take over?
Personally, when becoming visual, taking full advantage of automation as per Boeing's. I'm on the camp of those who think AMS is not the right place to develop your manual skills.

rodbean

Simply annunciating 'RadAlt Mismatch'
I think that wouldn't have cut it here, apparently they missed a lot of cues. Better disable RETARD in case of mismatch (IMHO). I also like no RETARD at all but instead an aural warning (I like aural warnings )

Jofm5

From what I understand (I am gladly corrected) there is no alpha floor protection on the B73NG
Welcome back from outer space. BOAC & I still have to agree on that one
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:20
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Originally Posted by JohnR
how much line training for inexperienced F/Os is being carried out on the flight deck of a commercial jet.
- errm, actually ALL of it, John. That is what 'Line Training' means. Sometimes up to 50 sectors or more.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:21
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before I get the ridicule of everyone...but in the 737/300/400/500 level D sims I used to do the controls software on, the pilots recognised the onset of stall by the buffet quite a bit before...so the stick shaker was never an issue. Is it different for a 'dirty' stall or are the sims incorrect?...or the the pilots more aware in the sim?
In my job we teach stall recovery (clean of course) at max cruise altitude and again at very low altitude (500 feet agl) in the full landing configuration and approach power (nominally 55 percent N1).

At high altitude there is quite violent buffet before stick shaker actuation and this buffet is entirely different to flying in turbulence. Recovery is initiated at buffet in the first place. We then demonstrate recovery at stick shaker to show the loss in height needed to accelerate back to Vref 40 plus 100 knots. At 50 tonnes in the 737-300 this equates to 230 knots IAS - enough to prevent further low speed buffet. A height loss of 2000 to 3000 feet can be expected.

The landing configuration stall recovery with approach power is an entirely different beast. There is no discernable buffet and things go real quiet until the very sudden and might I say, startling onset of stick shaker. It takes careful pitch control handling to keep out of the stick shaker and an initial body angle of around ten degrees gives a compromise between safe rate of climb and low airspeed - keeping in mind the stick shaker operates in that configuration about 25 knots below Vref. The stick shaker is the life-saver in a landing configuration stall recovery

Last edited by Tee Emm; 7th Mar 2009 at 12:33.
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Old 7th Mar 2009, 12:28
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Are you actually serious? A captain may have 5,000 hours on type. Are you expected to chug down to Malaga and back hundreds of times in an empty aircraft costing millions of pounds
My goodness, you were quick off the mark on that reply!. You are quite right of course. I had already dragged it back to re-edit the post to delete "air routes" when you got in before me. Local area flying was what I meant to say. Just testing your reactions, of course
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