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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 19th Mar 2010, 02:52
  #101 (permalink)  
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Last resort if everything fails point south and the compass will keep you level. Just make sure the ceiling is above the terrain. It works in the J3 Cub.
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Old 19th Mar 2010, 02:58
  #102 (permalink)  
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"the truth is never pure and rarely simple"

Oscar Wilde "The importance of being Earnest, Act I", Feb 1895 (1854 - 1900)

It may be well worthwhile awaiting the availability of the full report before renting clothing & gnashing teeth. The basic data provided does show significantly lower overall rates of accidents per aircraft (glass,2.3%, steam 5.0% of delivered aircraft suffered an accident) but a higher fatality rate per accident for glass, (31% accidents fatal, vs 16% for steam) The fatal accident rate for each aircraft fleet size, is actually lower on the glass aircraft, 0.71%, vs 0.81%, but the glass aircraft utilization is far lower so the per hour rate is higher so glass has recorded a 1.03/100,000FH, vs 0.43/100,000FH for steam. The Glass fleet total hrs are approximately 3,786,000, or 686 per delivered aircraft, vs 5,348,000/1,878 hrs for steam aircraft.

The aircraft have a statistically significant utilization rate, (686FH/AC vs 1,878/AC steam) and if the overall VFR/IFR mix is weighted towards the glass cockpit aircraft, then there is a much larger exposure of the glass aircraft to IFR use.

Due to inherent potential for any IFR accident to be fatal, the information provided doesn't give a balanced evaluation of relative risk until such time as the population data is normalised for IFR/VFR utilisation.

the comment by NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman highlighting the role that training plays in preventing accidents involving these airplanes:

"As we discussed today, training is clearly one of the key components to reducing the accident rate of light planes equipped with glass cockpits, and this study clearly demonstrates the life and death importance of appropriate training on these complex systems... We know that while many pilots have thousands of hours of experience with conventional flight instruments, that alone is just not enough to prepare them to safely operate airplanes equipped with these glass cockpit features."

Sounds reasonable, but is not necessarily supported by the data without deeper analysis, which one hopes NTSB has conducted and placed in the full report.

Airspace complexity and congestion have altered significantly over time, and the benefits of the nav display improvements are profound. If the latest "virtual world" attitude displays are confusing, then we are in the wrong business. While pilots have been denigrated in many ways to being bus drivers (or worse as one writer has commented), the job will always be high kinetic energy and dealing with multiple conflicting demands and variables. As noted by Dr Richard Feynman in Appendix F - Personal observations on the reliability of the Shuttle [dissenting opinion] to the Report of the Presidential Commission on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident, "The Rogers Commission":

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled."


Don't be too hasty discounting benefits of "glass" with proper training, safe/conservative flight decision making, and practice... nor assume that a slick expensive panel will make up for hazardous attitudes or a basic disregard for the art of flying.

"James Ross Clemens, a cousin of mine was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London is well now.
The report of my illness grew out of his illness, this report of my death was an exaggeration. Mark Twain"
Mark Twain, May 1897 (1835 - 1910)

fly safe,


Last edited by fdr; 19th Mar 2010 at 03:08.
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 21:12
  #103 (permalink)  
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"Oh no worries, PTH will tell you that's just normal in the USA..."

Is your problem with the USA or just USA pilots?
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Old 20th Mar 2010, 23:44
  #104 (permalink)  
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Neither actually. But do read through the posts here, and you will find some "bizarre" (other peoples choice of word) postings. End of discussion for me.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 01:35
  #105 (permalink)  
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Bizare posts...someone actually said this about a post on a 737-300 not having EFIS...well some don't , yet they do have FMC and IRS

and I'm not talking about the internal revenue service.

People can't imagine that, but it was done. And that's that.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 02:55
  #106 (permalink)  
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Air Cal got some of the earliest 737-300's. We were not very well trained in how it worked but got a 2 day course so since most of our ac were 200's we probably didn't fly the 300 for months so had to play catch up when we got assigned to one. They didn't have glass cockpit but had the FMC that we had never seen before. If we could have transitioned to the 300 it would have worked but we only had 7 so might fly one every two or three months.

Sometimes it was just easier to hand fly it than program a complex departure that would create major power changes multiple times to accomplish what we could do very gracefully using pilotage. The San Jose departure southbound to LAX was a good example. I got the airplane one day and was so frustrated with the way the automation would do it I hand flew half way to LAX because I would never fly the way the autopilot was going to do it. We know how to make a nice smooth departure planning crossing points etc. but the autopilot only knows how to technically make them with no thought to passenger comfort.

I always flew in a way that made everybody feel they were in their living room as a corporate pilot. I tried to carry it into airline flying.
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Old 21st Mar 2010, 13:17
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to accomplish what we could do very gracefully using pilotage.
Nicely worded..
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