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Emirates A345 Tail Strike Captain breaks his silence

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Emirates A345 Tail Strike Captain breaks his silence

Old 17th Jul 2009, 14:50
  #81 (permalink)  
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We are in the era of the organizational responsibility now
Oh, are we?

A daft idea, in many ways, considering that the Captain in this particular case apparently hardly used the companies 'organizational responsibility' (IE, providing suitable hotac, for actual rest) to his best advantage.

He screwed up, case closed.
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Old 17th Jul 2009, 15:20
  #82 (permalink)  
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You don't think there can be organizational factors involved in a company that hands out prepared resignations to the involved crew members before the investigation has even started?

Sure the crew screwed up - The crew will always be the ones closest to the accident - but the key point is why did they screw up? - if this crew could make this mistake, it could happen to others too I am sure.

The only really dangerous types are those who believe that it could not happen to them.

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Old 17th Jul 2009, 15:22
  #83 (permalink)  
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Captseeareem - I don't see ANYTHING in my post that is defending EK old chum

Sadly neither Topbunk nor Dan (who also incorrectly stated that there were 3 crew) work for EK and are most unlikely to know;
a) our SOPS (how the loadsheet confirmation procedure works on our flightdecks - which is where the 'mistake' SHOULD and WOULD have been picked up if done correctly)
b) the guys concerned (having spoken to said captain I know his thoughts on the matter)
c) the flight pairings and rest patterns.

Sure they have knowledge of longhaul ops but they are different at different airlines - capisch?

Sorry you got those torpedo tubes Wiley - got to say the 345 bunk is a delight - except for it being at the back of the aeroplane
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Old 17th Jul 2009, 15:30
  #84 (permalink)  
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Sorry if I misunderstood you WhiteKnight.

I just get kind of peed off over simplistic Pilot Error conclusions - as they often leave many factors leading up to the mistake uncovered.
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Old 17th Jul 2009, 15:49
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Capt SEA, I agree with that.

A union official should have (If they have one) at EK?

Being contacted and Intervened before they were given their dismissals?

That alone is bad practice and maybe an illegal violation of the pilot's rights, By not giving them the chance to explain the reasons of the incident before any form of dismissals are made.

And the Aviation Inspectorate in the country of the incident consulted also on the decision.

If it was myself involved, I would have ran an experienced Solicitor/Lawyer against EK for a case of unfair dismissal, Regardless of money just for THE PRINCIPLE.

The pilot's are maybe going down that avenue?

And as Capt SEA said this has probably happened before on similar flights, But unfortunately this was an unlucky day.

I blame the Airline for this by 'Spinning their crews' round in a wheel as much as they can until they are so fatigued they are 'Talking, Walking & flying as zombies!!

But EK do not seem to have made any form of discussion on the issue of crew fatigue & adequate rest.

When the Joe public read this what ideas will they get about flying with EK??
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Old 17th Jul 2009, 18:52
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byalphaindia - NO union at EK! Those of us here knew that when we joined. It's the way the middle east is

Sadly the company employee manual is quite explicit about warnings and terminations - not fair but those of us here did sign the contracts. Maybe it could be fought in court but sometimes it's better to sign the resignation letter and go with your provident fund than get sacked and lose a large lump of it. (Not that they're worth much at the moment!!). It'll probably be easier to get another job following enforced resignation rather than a direct sacking - something else to think about.
It may not be right but that's the gamble you take working in the sandpit...
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Old 17th Jul 2009, 18:54
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When we first started flying FMC & PMS equipped aircraft it was SOP to cross check the wunderkind box numbers against dispatch data and QRH human generated results.

A recommendation I read long ago suggested two-pass entry for safety critical human-typed data into the management computers. The paper also included the idea of two-crew entry measures with separate source data streams. Each method could have caught some but not all slip of the finger/byte errors. The final suggestion was thrown out due to the numerous minor-difference tail chasing exercises the process would have required to stay legal.

Waste of time for the statistical results was the final verdict. The possibility of bad numbers shared upstream fouling the entire system was one of the key arguments against the proposed two-stream procedures.
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Old 17th Jul 2009, 23:11
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I'd like to add that I was once in a similar situation... multiple layovers of between 18 and 30 hours rest periods. I approached my doctor, who appreciated my situation and gave me two weeks leave of absence. My company insisted upon a 'second oppinion' and made an appointment, on my behalf, to see the senior medical officer of the HKG (CAD). He subsequently reccommended 'six months' leave of absence! My company's response was not helpful; they insisted that I couldn't leave the country because I was on sick leave! A phonecall to the senior medical officer with my company response resulted in my company releasing me to travel wherever I wanted to go to!

The truth of the matter is that my 'company' were implicit in breaking my FTL recommendations, but that they would never admit to doing so. Three months later, having regained my medical category from a HKG approved AME, my company accepted my (early) return to duty. The whole process started again; I stated that I would resign if the situation didn't comply with the HKG (CAD) FTL rules. The situation didn't improve... it got worse... I submitted my resignation... it was accepted! So... if you want to keep your job with your company... you have to comply! So much for FTL rules!

The continuance of an 18 to 30 hour rest period policy, by my company, resulted in a realistic cumulative fatigue issue. Did anyone care? NO! I stood my ground in the belief that the regulatory authority would support me... bullshit! My whole personality changed... I was becoming a different person... my company didn't support me. I sold my assets and departed the country... a very 'pissed-off' individual. So... some of you cease to acknowledge that fatigue is a serious issue? I can tell you different. If you haven't been there... you don't understand 'Jack Shit'!

Your airline will want to bleed you of every flying-hour that they possibly can; even to the point of breaking the rules. That's called efficient crew rostering! I challenged the system... I failed! Therefore, why should anyone even think about being loyal to their organisation?

Given the repetitave nature of a cumulative 24 hour layover, the perception that this guy made a serious error of judgement is incomprehensible.

From a technical viewpoint, it's my understanding that the captain entered the wrong 'derate' into the FMC, which resulted in a longer 'take-off run' than the available field length? It was all too late and that it was only picked-up when the 'field remaining' was somewhat too short! Well, bugger me, why didn't the F/O question the data that was being entered (during the pre-flight prep?).

The 'airline' was resonsible for repetitative (wrong) scheduling of 'circadian low' schedules. The F/O was also responsible for not picking up on the wrong data entered by the captain. The 'relief crew' were also responsible for not being more pro-active in monitoring the departure.

It's called 'CRM'... how many of you guys would have picked-up on the error made by the skipper? How many of you would have recognised the fact that he was tired? From a management point of view... why haven't you recognised the ridiculous schedules that are being asked of your crew?

I'm now retired, but I do still recognise the failings that an airline is blinded by.

Don't shoot the guy who's trying to deliver the company product; especially when the product is wrong!

Who will listen? No-one apparently!

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Old 17th Jul 2009, 23:40
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Wt Summary Section on the upper right hand part of the CFP shows TOW and again the same numbers shown in loadsheet, so there's a min of 2 flt docs showing this, and as there are 4 crew, which means a total of 8 docs or more in FD with T.O.W

I've heard ground staff in other airlines are the ones setting and entering this, not sure with FMC, but trim settings in other pax ac are setup by ground crew themselves.

The proposed two-stream procedures is indeed useless as the entering of data is irrelevant, the doublchecking of data entered is.

Last edited by C-N; 17th Jul 2009 at 23:59. Reason: spacing
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 05:22
  #90 (permalink)  
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Chit / Dan,

Here is why it is a decent layover and why guys like to do it:

1010 Local - Leave Dubai
1600 Dubai in bunk for 6 hours watch a movie or 2 and chill (Yep there are 500 channels of TV available)
Arrive Melbourne, go to hotel and have breakfast
0000 Dubai (7am Mel) into bed and sleep for 7hrs, wake on alarm
Get up go and do something (my choice is play or watch sport, tucker and wine)
2100 Dubai (4am Mel) Back to bed and sleep
0600 Dubai (1pm) get up golf, run, cycle.
1500 Dubai (10 pm local) get on jet and take-off.
In the Bunk at 10pm Dubai, wake up 61/2hrs later, spot of brekky, land the jet and have a full day back at the ranch.

So if you are sensible for the lay-over and stay on Dubai time it is a breeze. A lot of guys do the trip to get some rest, get to do something in the afternoon and generally have a very pleasant lay-over. When I have done the trip I have ended up with as much sleep as at home (no kids). Now if you arrived at the hotel and went straight off ballooning or surfing you are asking for trouble.

Colo, The augment crew slip for 24hrs onto the Auckland sector and will move off Dubai time. On arrival in Mel they try to stay awake as long as possible and fortunately move into a daylight flight but that pattern is by far the most demanding which is why they do not operate the return from Mel.

So White Knight has made the point about facts in his last 2 posts:

Fatigue and rostering could have been a factor but shouldn't have. The ATSB didn't think so.
He made the point about the difference between a mistake and a violation of SOPs.

Whilst Dan made some valid points about fatigue and there has been lots of good background information, some of it is out of context. Its important to look in the mirror before pulling off but not if you are in a moon rocket. I dislike all sorts of practices but most have no bearing on the incident being discussed. No discussion of fatigue in the Air France thread because technical speculation makes people more comfortable. Best will in the world this thread will just be fluff from people with no actual insight, different axes to grind etc until the final report comes out. Then we will know!
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 06:22
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"He said he had been in Melbourne for 24 hours before his flight.''

"When I did that take-off in Melbourne I had slept 3 1/2 hours in 24 hours".

Armed only with only the information from the article, I had assumed it was a 24 hour layover.
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 06:35
  #92 (permalink)  
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his YMML blocks-on and blocks-off times are not mentioned anywhere
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 07:41
  #93 (permalink)  
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Good Lord, I find this all very disturbing.

Firstly what sort of a crappy airline is Emirates?

Do they think that by sacking the pilots their inadequate fatigue management will be improved? Discipline them perhaps in some sort of 21st Century way, but to sack them and thus sweep the whole thing under the carpet? So I gather as far as EK are concerned there is no longer a problem?

Profoundly stupid. What a rotten airline and rock-ape management style.

Secondly, it is distressing how certain individuals on this forum (like galdion) are so vitriolic towards fellow(?) aviators. Of course there will always be retired old fools like 411A sitting in the desert trying to get a rise out of younger peers but the depth of anonymous venom from so many computer-warriors is disappointing. I suspect few of the really vitriolic posters have ever been in charge of a long-haul airliner so essentially their posts are nothing more than uneducated drivvel. Everyone has an opinion but those posts are a waste of bandwidth on a forum such as this.

Operationally I always live by the idiom "There by the grace of god go I". I also try to double and triple-check anything that will kill me/my passengers. However I have been rostered on some stupid patterns and have even found myself falling asleep on descent, try as hard as I may not to. Pilots are homo-sapiens and we get tired, no matter how hard we try to prepare for back-of-the-clock ops or fight fatigue when airborne. No 9-5 manager ever seems to comprehend that. How much money you get paid has no relationship to your physiological ability to fight waves of tiredness.

Bottom line is that yes these pilots screwed-up and they did a good job afterwards. Whether they screwed-up because of fatigue, systematic weaknesses, complacency, laziness or stupidity needs to be thoroughly assessed (and should have been BEFORE taking action against the crew).

There needed to be a measured and methodical analysis of the accident and I haven't seen much in the way of measured and calm anything so far.

The way Emirates handled the matter and the way some ill-informed, uneducated, jealous or ignorant PPRuNe posters comment leaves me saddened about the apparent lack of intellect in our industry nowadays.

The combination of primitive airline management and Big-Brotheresque finger-pointing colleagues is not a step forward for the industy.
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 07:44
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FD crew who do NOT avail themselves of the hotac provided to actually rest/sleep, are just asking for trouble.
Apparently true in this case.

IE: NO fault but their own.

Harry Truman said it best...'can't stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen.'
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 08:21
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I haven't had the time to read through this thread, so if the point has been made forgive me. Those of you jumping on the criticise the crew bandwagon should be mindful of the fact that there were 4 in the cockpit, and still the error was missed.
Something missing from their 'robust' procedures methınks.
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 10:05
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Please allow this glider pilot, occasional SLF, with an interest in all things aviation a question. Be gentle.

Near the beginning of this thread there have been a number of suggestions on how to add an automatic cross-check for an error like this. Most quite complicated. But I have been thinking from the start that there is a very simple way. There very propably is a big error in my thinking, please point it out.

As flight crew you give the aircraft systems a set of data as data entry or via sensors. Mass, runway you are going to use, propably wind, temperature etc..

From that data you use a mix of aircraft computers, separate computers (laptops) and pilot decisions and finally arrive at a thrust setting and V-speeds to use for the takeoff. These are calculated so that you make good use of the available runway, save your engines, the company some money and still make a safe departure.

Now. Amongst all of these numbers shouldn't there be an expected acceleration somewhere? You plan to reach a certain speed covering a given distance, and that works out to some Xm/s^2 in the end. Averaged across the distance and lots of details I don't exactly understand of course. But some number will pop up.

I understand that in normal day to day operation you will expect widely varying values for that accelaration X because of wide variation in the input data making it impossible to judge by feel whether it's about right or not and will take you airborne in the available space.

So why not have the aircraft systems calculate that X, compare to what you actually get when you start your takeoff roll and warn of any large discrepancy here?

Measuring acceleration is certainly already done by inertial systems aboard and if the data is not available GPS would propably be good enough for that. The rate of change of distance covered over time. Not a critical system, a simple add-on, collateral use of available data.

Now when that warning pops up you would of course not know what the problem actually is. A 100t error in mass? Engines not producing the thrust expected? Aircraft stuck in mud? Whatever.

But you would be informed of a problem that you can't feel in your bum (because you don't know what to feel for) right at the start of your roll instead of halfway down the runway. And that is bound to be a good thing with little downside, or not?

For a mass-error like in this case it also does not matter at all at what point in the chain that produces that figure the error is actually made. And there seems to be plenty of opportunity for that from what I read.
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 10:25
  #97 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by MarianA
Be gentle.
- well, you could read the thread before posting!
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 10:33
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What's next?

I have some questions. What exactly are the 4 checks that should have been done to stop this incident.

Posters like Al E. Vator go on (maybe rightly so), but are short on what to do about it. What is a 21st. Century admonishment? Is the crew given a desk job? Will pax fly with them again after the facts are known.? (If ever.) What new hours are suggested, and if crews get say a week of in MEL (or whatever) what guarentee they will even then get enough sleep?
Too tired to know how tired they are? Been there done that. . . But they apparently functiond well enough after T.O.

The F.O. apparently made the error initially. How much sleep did he get?
Are the voice recorders going during the pre flight when the error sans xchecks were going on?
Did the 2nd crew have any roll to play, or were they perhaps a major disruption with non-op comments etc. (Or vica versa even).

Poor confused me. One top pilot on A.net tells me he has no idea of what runway length is left, (or gone), yet one on AvHerald who abandoned TO at well after Vr and stopped in time, tells that he knew exactly what runway he had left.

So what does Al E. Vator suggest with EM. Pilot boycott? Pax boycott?
Why complain about other Pilot's criticizing the crews here? It's only a chat forum not a court. Why say EM is sweeping it under the carpet, when the sacked pilots are now free to say what they like?
(To be seen to be doing something more like.)

Me? I don't know, but depending too much on computers? Almost like having a God like chief pilot on board running things. What could go wrong?
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 10:39
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still at it

good lord, are you lot still at it...unbelievable
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Old 18th Jul 2009, 10:52
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The vast majority of changes in aircraft design and operating techniques over the years have resulted in lower costs while still at least maintaining the same level of safety. The use of flexible power take-offs is the only one that I can think of that has actually reduced the level of safety, including the margin for error.
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