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NTSB Report: Glass cockpits have not led to expected safety improvements

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NTSB Report: Glass cockpits have not led to expected safety improvements

Old 10th Mar 2010, 13:54
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A good memory

White Knight:

I liked your Post No:15.

It brought back memories of my Tiger Moth Days, taught to us by instructors during circuit training, was the ditty " If you want to Stall, Spin, Crash and Burn, hold off bank in a gliding turn."

Thanks

Tmb
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 14:04
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I spent 25 years flying 737-200s, right up to the time they were disappearing off the register. By then just about everything else was glass cockpit.
It was noticable that the more capable F/Os said that they were glad to get the chance to fly the old technology, as they felt it improved their basic skills. The less capable couldn't wait to get on an aeroplane where all they had to do was press buttons and act as system managers.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 15:44
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Chaps

Please take note of what Permafrost ATPL has said.
The report is about GA single engine aircraft and is based on researched facts and figures not gut feelings and impressions.

Maybe wait for the report about glass cockpits and automation in a 2 crew commercially operated aircraft before diverging from the subject.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 17:24
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Was there ever an expectation that they would?
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 18:19
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Cats Five

Are you referring to posters keeping to the subject more closely or the NTSB bringing out a report?

My answers would be "probably not" and "eventually yes, in some shape or form". Its up to you to decide which answer is for which question
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 18:46
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No, I mean that a glass cockpit would reduce accidents. It might just be the wording where this was started but it left me with the impression that someone, somewhere thought they would be safer.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 19:41
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Only way GA with glass cockpits would be safer would be if Apple designed the interface.

Too many knobs and gizmos to distract low-hour PPLs with death-zone experience sub 200hrs at the moment. Totally detracts from stick and rudder skills in my opinion. Very few have strong enough tuition and inclination to use gizmos as support of basic skills rather than to supplement them.

Pity. In commercial aviation, they demonstrably raise situational awareness, and so too should they at the GA level of aviation.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 20:10
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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How could NTSB expect an improvement to GA safety through glass cockpits in light aircraft when such systems remain doubtful as to their value for safety in commercial aviation.
In 1996 two B757 s went into the sea, Birgenair 301 and Aeroperu 603. Both attributable to blocked pitot-static systems driving air-data computers projected digitaly onto glass screens.
Whilst the loss of AF 447 remains unresolved it is speculated that a similar pitot-static problem may have been a factor.
The THY Schipol B737 crash is an another example of the interface between sophisticated automation and human factors.
Such accidents are mainly due to inefficient processing of time-critical information by the pilots whose environmental awareness and cognitive capabilities are reduced by an information overload.
The advanced colour screens of the glass cockpit may have impressive displays but no mechanisms to test or improve upon the data provided by the older pitot-static system. The glass cockpit represents an inverted pyramid syndrome added by technology to and built upon unchanged and limited foundation.
Perhaps they are a forerunner to complete automation and robotics, where the need of a human systems monitor will be sitting stationary in front of a monitor on the ground. This ofcourse already exists for military use in UAV `s. The only up side to this is that at least pilot error will no longer be a cause.
Anyway the glass cockpit is a misnomer, the more apt term is the digital cockpit.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 20:45
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In 1996 two B757 s went into the sea, Birgenair 301 and Aeroperu 603. Both attributable to blocked pitot-static systems driving air-data computers projected digitaly onto glass screens.
You can add the Fedex MD11 in Subic Bay to that list, in 1999.
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 21:42
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Protectthehornet:

I agree. A couple of years ago I bought a book on cokcpit displays (I forget the title), written about 1980. They showed a picture of the B747-200 flight deck as the example of the latest and a picture of the B-757/767 as the wave of the future. My reaction -- from a pilot's perspective was that the new glass hasn't really improved things for the pilot. There are clearly advantages in terms of reliability, reduced spares, and, probably, cost. But pilot workload and ease of flying -- no.

Glass navigation displays. Now that's a different story. Moving maps have been a real boon.


Goldfish
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Old 10th Mar 2010, 22:42
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goldfish85

do you remember the mechanical moving map display? you put a paper map into the gadget, wound it up and it moved along at your estimated ground speed.

I remember our fleet manager saying how expensive it was to maintain the steam gauges.

But I do think that the steam gauges somehow brought you into the "aviate" part of flying. somehow closer to that which keeps us up in the sky.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 01:50
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In 1996 two B757 s went into the sea, Birgenair 301 and Aeroperu 603. Both attributable to blocked pitot-static systems driving air-data computers projected digitaly onto glass screens.
Yes, but there are countless examples of steam-driven gauges being misread and producing erroneous data as well. Rubbish in - rubbish out never changed with glass cockpits. Besides, informational advantages outweigh other factors in complex, electric, modern aircraft. The 787 simply could not fly with steam gauges. We have moved on past this argument...

In the context of the original post, what is amiss is excess reliance in GA on fancy gauges by those who don't have any basic flying skill.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 04:39
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Basic flying skills are becoming a problem with the airlines now too. Too many airlines promote automation as the only way to operate since flying skills are being lost with the new aircraft. Airbus made an issue of the loss of flying skills of the new pilots. The Sully's in aviation are going away fast and are being replaced by systems operators. Unfortunately the airlines find this more cost effective so will continue to let it happen.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 05:03
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"The study, which looked at the accident rates of over 8,000
small piston-powered airplanes manufactured between 2002 and
2006, found that those equipped with glass cockpits had a
higher fatal accident rate then similar aircraft with
conventional instruments."


It's not about jets gentleman, its about small piston powered airplanes, where I would suspect the amount of training dedicated to operating the "glass" features is not quite emphasized enough...
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 06:30
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Red face What the .... are you guys on about?

I simply cannot believe the conclusions some of you are associating with this report! Are you guys sure the Tenerife disaster should not be linked to a glass cockpit somewhere

Perhaps you could be bothered to read the report first before jumping onto conclusions

The report can be found at http://www.avweb.com/pdf/ntsb_glass-...lsa_report.pdf

The findings and recommendations: http://www.avweb.com/pdf/ntsb_glass-...mendations.pdf

The closing comments: http://www.avweb.com/pdf/ntsb_glass-...g-comments.pdf

Last edited by KiloMikePapa; 11th Mar 2010 at 07:06.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 08:05
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p51guy wrote
When I went to all manual 737's and 727's to the 757/767 I had to bail out the check airmen a couple of times to finish my check out. One time going into Dulles he took the leg and didn't select approach until we had blown through the glide slope. I told him to disconnect everything, push over and regain the glide slope late at night and we landed. Next it was an international check and we left San Jose Costa Rica with the turn over the volcano from the vor he totally screwed up programming. I just turned and flew out the radial disregarding everything he programmed in and stayed on course while letting him catch up. I had been flying as a captain for 5 years before these events so knew when to take over a situation going bad. The new generation pilots scare me, especially international countries. They do not want anybody to hand fly. Everybody is trained for monitoring automation flying, not hand flying. Let's see how long it takes for another Buffalo incident.
What exactly do you mean?
"regain the glide slope late at night" Yes waiting for night time always improves glide slope interception.
"international check" Only the Americans would come up with something like that.
"The new generation pilots scare me, especially international countries".
Which countries are "international countries"??? This could only come from an "American" (probably from the Homeland).
Perhaps you should stick to flying in the "heartland"???
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 08:06
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Huck - so what? I can think of lots of crashes that happened on aircraft with electro-mechanical instruments. How about the Northwest Airlines 727 where they forgot to turn on the probe heat and had misreading ASIs?
The accidents still happened - they were just for different reasons.

This thread should be entitled "IN my day...."
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 08:22
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Glass screens and basic handling skills

Can we combine the Airbus warning about the loss of basic pilot handling skills with this report?
To my mind, those of us who experienced the old Tiger Moth/Chipmunk or similar tailwheel type route to learning to fly probably have better basic handling skills than those trained on more modern and much easier nosewheel types. It was of necessity that we learned to handle those aircraft with careful and co-ordinated use of all three controls or we would have failed at the first hurdle. Similarily when learning to fly on instruments to pass an IR flight test using steam driven round dials (preferably without the luxury of an HSI) means you can interpret the raw data and have instinctive situational awareness and understanding that just doesn’t come from staring at a glass screen and believing the picture all the time.
By all means make things easier using modern technology but as many contributors have noted when it all goes pear-shaped all aeroplanes rely on basic pilot inputs to stay under control and high ground won’t move out of the way just because your fancy glass screen has died, and you don’t instantly know where you are.
So let’s bring back proper aircraft for basic flying training, round dials for IF training and rewrite the training syllabus to incorporate learning these basic skills before doing specific glass cockpit training at a later stage. It might even make flying training a bit cheaper and more selective….or is that politically incorrect nowadays?
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 08:41
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oceancrosser

we are seperated by a common language...I understood and appreciated everything P51 guy wrote.

he wrote like someone who's been ''there''. you write like someone who went to public school and has a nice necktie.
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Old 11th Mar 2010, 08:59
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Thanks protectthehornet. I will try to stay in my place as a pilot from "an international country".
Public School, sure. Not sure where my tie is (my uniform tie is not really nice).
But I know the type p51guy is, one that flew "all manual 737s and 727" and had a hard time adjusting to later models. Apparently had an issue with check airmen as well. I used to fly with guys of his kind (even Americans).
But after almost 30 years in, 15K+ hrs, and yes I even started on round dial airplanes and the "all manual DC-8" was my workplace for a while, so I feel qualified to comment. And I have been one of those "check airmen" on a glass cockpit airplane for a fairly long time.
Even did a considerable part of my training in the US, and still fly there a few times a month (rarely by choice though).
I understood p51guy´s rant pretty well (apart from the textual issues). I just don't agree with his views.
And remember, the Buffalo accident happened in the US.
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