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Unnecessary first officer...

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Unnecessary first officer...

Old 28th Mar 2010, 22:15
  #241 (permalink)  
 
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I love that.

I think (hope) that CEOs will not see any bonus nor stock options for that radical, long term, world wide change.

So why bother?
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 22:56
  #242 (permalink)  
 
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Given they can't even make an autopilot these days that can handle all weather conditions and fly the aircraft to its limitations I highly doubt we will be going pilotless in the near future. I have had to disconnect the autopilot twice in the past year on approach because it wasn't able to handle the conditions.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 23:36
  #243 (permalink)  
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Given they can't even make an autopilot these days that can handle all weather conditions and fly the aircraft to its limitations I highly doubt we will be going pilotless in the near future. I have had to disconnect the autopilot twice in the past year on approach because it wasn't able to handle the conditions.
Witness the Turkish crash in Amsterdam last year....
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 00:23
  #244 (permalink)  
 
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Pilots won't do autolands most of the time because the airport won't protect the sterile arrival approach above 800 ft and 2 miles. If the pilots don't trust the system how could automation compensate for it? I have had full scale localizer deflections on ILS's with only a departing aircraft crossing the runway at 200 ft on a crossing runway. Some day they might have one pilot who can maybe fly a bit monitoring the automation but it won't happen in my lifetime.
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 01:00
  #245 (permalink)  
 
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Huck

I dont think the AMS accident is a good one to quote as a pro pilot poster.
The pilots actions on that day (or lack of them) didnt really provide a great reaction from a lot of pilots on here. Albeit aided with a malfunctioning piece in the automation puzzle, a few pilots made the observation of "they crashed a perfectly flyable aircraft into the ground with only a minor technical fault" or something along those lines.
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 01:05
  #246 (permalink)  
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No, the automation flew the aircraft into the ground, while they watched.

The crew looked bad ... but the automation looked worse.
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 01:39
  #247 (permalink)  
 
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But the automation equipment didn't die.
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 02:37
  #248 (permalink)  
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Huck;
No, the automation flew the aircraft into the ground, while they watched.

The crew looked bad ... but the automation looked worse.
What about this: - the "automation" isn't as involved or sophisticated as an A320 - (just a comment, not a comparison), and in this accident it is just a simple auto-throttle back-driving couple of moving levers.

We can imagine the scenario - upon failure of the #1 RA, both throttles would have come back to idle and they stayed there, (pushed up once, but returned again, if I recall), while the autopilot kept the airplane on the glideslope during which the speed bled off, for over a minute, by 40kts.

None of the three in the cockpit did anything until the stall warnings went off at around 400ft if I recall.

I don't think it's an autoflight accident. I would have to say that the automation did exactly as designed and certified. I think we can all agree that a radio altimeter failure is, or should be, a complete non-event. In fact, they would even have known about the RA from the previous log snags one expects.

Perpignan, Sao Paulo, Strasbourg, Madras, Sochi, (but not Bahrain) may have had elements of automation accidents but I don't think AMS was.

regards,
PJ2

Last edited by PJ2; 29th Mar 2010 at 05:19.
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 02:50
  #249 (permalink)  
 
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Perhaps a time clock linked to the cockpit door too, so when popping out to relieve oneself you could clock oneself off and on, no doubt saving even more money.

Think of the money he could save lopping the wings and tail and all that excess metal off, less to paint too, another advantage is you wouldn't then need an expensive pilot at all, simply a PSV licence holder..
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Old 29th Mar 2010, 08:04
  #250 (permalink)  
 
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Amsterdam is a perfect example of why hand flying skills should be kept sharp by practicing more often.
Automation does something wrong: if you hand fly often you detect it sooner than if you don't. Once detected you don't hesitate to take over manually if you hand fly regularly, while you can hesitate if you don't. Once you decide to take over you know what you have to do and just fly the airplane, if you hand fly usually. You can even worsen the situation if you don't.

Human pilots are needed...
Who know actually how to fly the airplane, of course!!
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 11:54
  #251 (permalink)  
 
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If you're looking for automation failures to cite as examples of when human flight crew, in the pointy end, become invaluable, surely the numerous A320 electrical failures which have disabled most of the flying displays and other electronics - including the radios and transponder, leaving the acft incommunicado with the outside world, would do? Remember that these were faults that "couldn't happen", with current generation technology.. It's no good having 1, 10 or 10,000 pilots trying to control an aeroplane from the ground if the computer in the air has shut up shop without warning and gone for lunch.

And this is not a hypothetical failure situation. It has happened. It will happen again. It's one thing playing this game with spy planes over unpopulated areas, quite another with fare paying pax over a population.

I suspect, though, that pilotless airliners will happen, sooner or later. And we'll learn the hard way.
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 12:03
  #252 (permalink)  
 
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I suspect, though, that pilotless airliners will happen, sooner or later. And we'll learn the hard way
Yes! Lets go through a trial by error learning curve and tally the lives lost at the end...

...I'm converting my license to seaboat captain.
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 12:18
  #253 (permalink)  
 
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Not so hasty to seaboat captain. I heard recently from a law enforcement source that 200 vessels disappear each year, and the insurers don't even question, let alone search. Piracy is alive and well in areas of multiple small islands.

Indeed, the insurers hardly seem interested in reducing aviation losses; they just adjust the premiums to the losses, plus profit, of course.

When the additional cost of insurance for single pilot is reduced enough, the F/O is in trouble.

GB
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 12:27
  #254 (permalink)  
 
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So what do we have left?

get the blackwater licence to become security pesonnel in ships? I think they pay well.

or

What the hell... we can become pirats (licence not required). If they catch us then our mates can hijack another ship and ask for our liberation or will kill the crew. Its like a loss of licence insurance. Where do I have to send the resumee?
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 12:46
  #255 (permalink)  
 
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Question UAV comfort...

Hi all,

It's "been a while since I posted" so here goes...

I'm not a commercial pilot, so please be gentle with me...

I have read this thread with much interest and I notice that a lot of comments have been made with regard to UAV type flying of commercial airliners.

I don't want to get involved with discussing the safety aspects (I think this is going to be done to death without my help) but what about passenger comfort in this scenario?

With the crew up front inevitably in control of the aircraft, they can "feel" what's going on. They can feel the effects of banking, turbulence etc. and rather like a motorcycle rider, have a much better understanding of the limits of his/her machine than the pillion passenger. Also, the pillion passenger feels the effects of cornering, acceleration much more than the rider because the pillion doesn't know exactly when or how the machine will be handled.

In an aircraft, I would assume that, although it is usually flown well within structural limits, the pilots would control the aircraft in such a way that would render the journey comfortable for the passengers, rather like our thoughtful motorcyclist. (Seemingly if structural limits of the aircraft were even close to reached in flight, most people would feel rather unwell...)

A UAV pilot, would be completely detached from the situation and would have no sense of the real movement of the aircraft. The only indications that peoples inner ears / stomach would start to bother them would be fluctuations of instrument readouts, sensor readings etc.

Unless the UAV pilot was full time in a full motion SIM type UAV controller monitoring all the sensors / instruments, I doubt that passengers would appreciate this kind of travel...

Does anyone see what I mean? Does passenger comfort even matter under normal circumstances from a flight trajectory / aircraft handling perspective?

Cheers
Rich
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 14:17
  #256 (permalink)  
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Excellent point.

Many's a time I've deviated a half a mile or so off course to miss a dark puffy cloud, even though it wasn't painting on the radar....
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 14:18
  #257 (permalink)  
 
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There you go...the best answer for the question.
Kudos for the one answer which many couldn't figure.
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 15:08
  #258 (permalink)  
 
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fly_antonov

Yes, pilots make errors. Do these stats also say, why the pilots made those errors? Was it a lack of training, lack of recruitment, insufficient sop's, mistake in the manuals, lack in aircraft/cockpit design, fatigued pilots, weather...? Be careful with stats. (Was it Churchill who once said he would only believe in stats made by himself?)

Your attitude reflects precisely the Airbus philosophy. Mind if i ask whether you're involved in one or other way for an Airbus project? At least you seem familiar with Airbus. Soon after the A320 was introduced 20 years ago, Airbus did some - for an engineer minor, for an aviator major - modifications regarding automatics on 320. Do you remember what and why?

Can you distinguish between what is technically possible and what makes sense? When you design an aircraft/cockpit, do you ask pilots on the line for feedback?

Airlines are organised in lobbies, like eg. in Brussels. They lobby against relaxing flight time and duty limitations (and basically anything which reduces the risk of pilot error), they reduce days off and leave --> more fatigued (and p1ssed off) crew --> increased risk of pilot error --> higher ranks for pilot error in stats --> argument for airlines to remove the pilots from the cockpit.

Military flying is a different world. Who cares, when a fighter jet or a UAV falls from the skies. What counts is only the pilot's life and mission accomplishment. How about commercial aviation? Passengers used to pay to travel from a to b with highest safety standards. The thick safety margin worked out by the industry in the past century is progressively reduced. Whenever I fly an ETOPS segment over a sea, honestly I don't feel comfortable I must say.

What about non-commercial flights? Would general aviation then disappear? What about biz-jets? Since these "private" non-commercial flights share the same airspace, would they also be fully automated? Or would it be a mixed airspace of fully, semi and non-automated commercial and non-commercial flights? How would they interact with each other?

At present, the pilot group is the only one in the world seriously concerned about safety of a flight. 2027 is the year, when flight safety will definitively be thrown over board, sacrificed for the profits of airline managers. Well paid pilots of an airline make up around 5% of the total costs. Get rid of those 5%, add a couple of pax seats more and forget about safety! Welcome to the world of capitalizm. If it's cheaper to kill people than to save their lives, it should be done, the risk will be taken because it's economically correct.

I hope I'll be able to see the first fully automated pilotless airliner accident (I 'm very sorry for the people on board). I wonder how the public's response will be. And in the future stats, there will be no more "70% pilot error", but "95% automatics error". What would the next step be?

Would Warren Buff*t, Ben B*rnanke, Daniel Vas*lla, Michail Chod0rkowski and other bank and industry boss, oligarchs and sheikhs love to be flown in a pilotless aircraft? Air Force One? I would trust the fully automated aircraft after all and every presidential flights are flown pilotless - maybe. Though, their safety measures will still be different, ie. much higher.


Blue Skies
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 15:21
  #259 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Roller Merlin
AirRabbit your view that the "F22 as a last manned platform" and "UAVs may inevitably lead to automated civil transport" does not stand up.

This is not an argument for automation at all but one of risk. The purpose of the military aircraft is to achieve a military mission, where the risk of failure is weighed against the gains sought. The machine is simply a platform to achieve that. Replacing humans here is to reduce the risks.

The the civil airline seeks to attract the customer, get them on and off safely, fed, watered, saved significant time (otherwise they would take alternative means), and moreover to keep them happy, confident and assured they are safe in an environment they would otherwise avoid. This assurance of their safety extends to their loved ones, the community, shareholders in the airline etc. Retaining humans in the aircraft is to also reduce the risks.

I for one would never put my family on an aircraft without trusted people up front. Automation applied to reduce risks is great, provided there is an off switch.
Well, you may believe that my view does not stand up … would that you are correct. Should operations personnel resume the responsibilities of operating airlines, your position would be bolstered quite a bit. However, should the current trend – bean counters running the airlines – continue, I wonder whether your view or mine (and mine isn’t optimistic or desired, I assure you!) would prevail.

The airlines are faced with a limited capability of managing costs … and you know them as well as I. You are also aware of the costs over which management has virtually no control. I leave it to you … what is the largest and what is the smallest outlay of corporate funds? Capital expenditures (airplanes, buildings, computers, etc.)? Facilities leasing (buildings, aircraft, computer systems)? Direct operating costs (fuel, landing fees, electricity)? Personnel salaries and benefits? What would be the most logical of these areas to dramatically cut – presuming that dramatic cuts would ever be required?

As for your comments regarding “attracting the customer, getting them on and off safely, fed, watered, saved time, and keeping them happy…” - when applying those same intents to the customers of Federal Express, UPS, Airborne Express, DHL, and the dozens of other similarly placed operations, the meaning becomes altered quite a bit. What does it mean? I submit that it depends on what decisions are being made in the board rooms of those operators.
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Old 30th Mar 2010, 16:23
  #260 (permalink)  
 
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Just to inject a fun bit of philosophy...

Automation/robotics have been used a few times to remove the human element from various dangerous situations - bomb bots, some mining applications, some dangerous manufacturing applications.

But there is no shortage of us "meat robots" and the fact is that the population is increasing rather than decreasing, and things go much happier for everyone when more have paying jobs...

Is it even right to continue automating humans out of their careers?

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