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Sleepy pilot caused Indian passenger plane crash

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Sleepy pilot caused Indian passenger plane crash

Old 22nd Nov 2010, 19:26
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On the other hand, every normal citizen of our beautiful modern and capitalistic world will know that nothing will change, because it would have a direct impact on the mismanagers bonuses, the owners dividends and on the bribes to the regulators. As has been shown cynically here, not even a smoking hole wakes up. It is all back to the 'blame the pilot' game, a game that seems to work perfectly throughout all levels: Press, company, regulator, politicians and finally the general public.
OTOH, simply discussing it on a board like this brings it to the forefront for the wider aircrew public. If you adopt an optimistic, positive attitude then you may get things to change, even if only in a small way. If you're a cynical pessimist then you won't.

Shall we be rather than ?
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Old 25th Nov 2010, 23:46
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herein lies the problem, in India the co-pilot would have a hard time over ruling the capt.
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Old 29th Nov 2010, 08:06
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Doing some minimal reading on this forum and the press in India concentrates complete and utter blame on the expat pilot contingent in India. Mostly this comes form the unemployed CPL holder with a massive 175-200 hrs TT demanding their birth-right job from C152 into RHS of 777. In the case of Mangalore it came from the one of the most senior airline officials hours after the accident, without a minuscule amount of evidence to draw from.

The contagiously corrupt and putrid mess that is airlines like AI and the DGCA have created a SYSTEM whereby training is unstructured and fraught with incompetence and again, corruption. See the latest articles posted on this web site and press whereby kids forged entire log books (one kid with 20 hrs forged the other 180 hrs and was employed flying 737 NG. How did he pass sims, line checks, etc?) To be fair, there is also a section of expats who also have questionable credentials to occupy the seat they do.

So who do you blame? The expat Capt who slept for a large section of the flight (apparently??) and continued an unstable approach? The FO who called go around yet failed to assert any other form of CRM and potential life-saving action to take control of the aircraft? Or should we look at the SYSTEM that created, promotes and welcomes / exists on corruption and [criminally] negligent standards?

If you've ever been in an AI cockpit you may (more chance than not) witness a domineering, omniscient Cmdr with a self obtained God-like status belittling and demeaning a young FO too scared, too poorly trained and too sub-servant to dare question such behavior.

I know that some local Capts are fighting this culture. Hopefully this small change can lead to an epidemic where the good guys win. A generational shift in time and effort is probably required but it's got to start somewhere. (And nothing but praise for those who are trying).
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Old 30th Nov 2010, 03:30
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Arduous Duty

White Knight, You are obviously correct in stating that the Mangalore-Dubai-Mangalore flight, with a 2.5 hour turn around in Dubai, is a long day (or night). I assume, maybe incorrectly, that the crew were within permissable crew duty limitations. My comment regarding my flights BOM-DXB-BOM was made before the schedule flown by the accident crew was made known on this forum. My flights were also all night flying, however as part of a three man cockpit crew. The one hope I have is that the root cause of this accident is determined and lessons are learnt.
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Old 1st Dec 2010, 14:10
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Does powerdistance (Geert Hofstede - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) affect CRM and would you fly with airlines from countries with a high powerdistance? I prefer not to. Indian's won't speak up to their seniors or people from a higher caste. Scary when you think about it.
But then again, the Netherlands has not a high powerdistance score still the amount of people ranting about their arrogant cockpit culture makes you wonder.
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Old 5th Dec 2010, 19:45
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Re my previous post- is 3,700 hrs an experienced pilot? Subsequent posts have disturbing information on whether many of these pilots actually have had the training and experience as stated in their log books. Read the Air India Express incident post and others. It is possible that this FO did not have the experience stated. Apart from that a person with 3,700 hrs is only just beginning to learn about aviation. Somebody with 3,000 hrs might disagree with that but it would be a good idea to delay making an opinion until one has 20,000 hrs. Overconfidence in one's ability allied with ignorance has been the cause of many accidents. In addition, going straight from a Commercial Licence to the right seat of a sophisticated jet is not a good way to build up experience, from day 1 the FO will be overawed by his Captain's experience and position in the company and probably have stars in his eyes as to where he/she is without realising the seriousness or responsibility of his/her position. The gold bars on the epelettes are probably more important than anything else. No hard decisions have to be made or are always subject to veto by a far more experienced Captain.
Another aspect re the experience issue is to check how much experience the Captain had, was it real? Was it in a quality airline where standards are maintained? Was he appropriately screened and tested before hiring, probably not! The end result is that a Captain is always to blame for any accident/incident, but it is an airline's responsibility that a good standard of crew are on board any flight, and that if a Captain makes a mistake, the holes in the swiss cheese don't line up- ie FO is experienced and QUALIFIED enough to intervene and get a situation back on track.
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Old 5th Dec 2010, 19:57
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I disagree. As a captain I've flown with AB initio pilots. It really boils down to the level of training (by the school AND the airline).

I've flown with lousy 5000 hr Effohs and I've flown with excellent 300 hr Effohs, and vice versa. From experience, the low hour guys are more likely to challenge me than the experienced ones.
There is a big BUT here, and that's the cultural bit. Then again, I've flown with Indian Effohs, and I have never seen them as submissive or scared to speak up if necessary.
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Old 5th Dec 2010, 20:16
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I think there will come a time when the family of dead passengers, will finally put the blame where the blame should be directed...on the chief pilot....

Plenty of idiots out there, plenty of high time pilots out there....the chief pilot hires who he wants...that's where the blame should be put.....
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Old 9th Dec 2010, 20:10
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There are multiple factors at play here.
The Captain had been sleeping during the initial part of the flight and the Cockpit Voice recorded revealed that he had been snoring-he is in the correct age group for Sleep apnoea.
Also at what point did he wake up?Was he in the Sleep inertia phase?
Also there is the Cross culture differential which is well recognised.
All these factors are well known.
Also who likes to work at night?
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 04:31
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Also who likes to work at night?
police men and women
some pilots
all owls
all the foxes
and many crooks
Old 10th Dec 2010, 10:56
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Indian Roster

Roster for one Indian airline; short haul operation:-
Day one: 03.30 local transport – 4 sector day – back to accommodation 13.30
Day two: 04.00 local transport - 4 sector day – back to accommodation 14.30
Day three: 11.00 local transport – 3 sector day – back to accommodation 19.00
Day four: 14.00 local transport – 2 sector day – back to accommodation 22.30
Day five: 15.00 local transport – 4 sector day – back to accommodation midnight 15.
Day six: Having got to bed by 01.00 if not delayed – OFF. (Not in most parts of the world)
Day seven: OFF – but you get up at 3am the next day. (Not OFF in most parts of the world)
Repeat very similar roster, times 4, for 28 hours per week; 120 in a month; 1,200hrs/year flight hours. No ‘local night’ rest rules (24hours free of duty = day off). Head of Flight Deck rosters knows nothing at all about aviation – a HR business manager, on a bonus to squeeze the pilots?
Transport 2 hours before departure but, ‘on duty’ 45mins before. Back to accommodation an hour and a half after landing, but ‘off duty on chocks’. All hours will be ’fiddled’ by company if required.
For some, every flight a training flight with a 250 hour FO (or as the 250hr FO) in the monsoon season, and fatigue is a given. A TRE/TRI was overheard saying he had to take control on one out of three landings below 100 ft in the previous month. Not on base training but line training flights, with passengers. Pilots with 200/300hrs, maybe having done initial training in Florida/Philippines and a type rating from a European training centre with no standards, give cause for concern.
From what I have seen over the last few years: Yes, some of the contract pilots operating in India have dubious backgrounds and more than a few should not be on a flight deck in the left seat, or the right for that matter. Others are excellent and so, just like the Indian captains, you have the full range. As far as first officers go, the very best low hour FO I have flown with was Indian, a bit older than some, who had paid for professional training at a good school. However, many are barely adequate and a few have no handling skill whatsoever. Very poorly trained and no ability means they do not even realize just how bad they are. With less than 2,000 hours, and probably less than 100 jet landings, they may start a command course. (1,500 hours an FO may apply for command.) ‘Monkey see monkey do. ’ (The saying refers to the learning of a process without an understanding of why it works: Mimicry, usually with limited knowledge of the consequences) and rote learning may see even the least able FO pass for command, particularly if ‘connected’? These new captains will have had some time watching experienced captains do the job well: The next generation 250 hour FO is going to be watching them! A total experience of 3,700+hrs on an Indian flight deck will soon be an exception at some airlines! The fault lies with the regulators, those inadequate self serving individuals who seem to man every authority; and until that is sorted out flying as a passenger will become ever more of a gamble: India first, but most certainly not just in India.
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Old 12th Dec 2010, 19:32
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Thumbs down

The worst thing about this lack of training and quality sleep is that the regulating authorities do not seem to care.
Also the Flight duty hours are the same whether you fly during the day or night-this is totally illogical.
Most bodies prefer to be in bed rather than staring out of a Flight deck!!!!!
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 10:32
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Angel Experienced FO s

I agree 100% with you. Infact some Airlines have been hiring Ex military aviators. Some of these guys put in the required effort and become an asset in the cockpit.There are others who are not willing to put in the requisite hard work and have an attitude or mind set "his brain is like concrete..all mixed up and set !"
The same goes for the 250 hours FOs.There are guys who are real keen to learn and soon enough become assets while there are others who have flown 22 hours and shown 250 in the logbooks or have a DGCA connection/political influence.These guys are just out to have fun and party during layovers.
The good guys are in both the sets so I don't think its fair to generalise.
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Old 15th Dec 2010, 10:39
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A very BALANCED view in a long time..
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Old 21st Apr 2011, 15:29
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Mangalore crash report out: Sleepy captain was just one of the reasons
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 06:38
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This article offers a different characterization of the report... Cockpit cold war led to Mangalore plane crash - India - DNA I couldn't find the actual report on-line, unfortunately.
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 06:51
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First Officer had 3650hrs TT and 3350hrs on Type
Therefore he had only 300 flying hours (part of which may have been flight simulator time?) before being second in command of a big twin jet airliner. Not much background experience to fall back on there...
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 07:06
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or poor technique(pilot not trained how to recover from a hot/high approach).
Surely this is a basic flying skill taught during ab-initio and before first solo? Remember the advice of your instructor before doing your first solo: He would have said "If you come in too fast or too high do not hesitate to go-around."

During simulator training there would have been countless go-arounds either in IMC or visual - the type rating is the "special training", here. It is not good enough to continually blame perceived poor training for accidents. It is the pilots responsibility to ensure he is confident in any manoeuvre pertaining to the operation and if he is underconfident then all he has to do is rectify the situation by requesting further flying training.

While it may be an admirable sentiment to deflect blame away from the crew and the captain, especially if along with their unfortunate passengers they are are now dead, it is evident that hiding the truth that the pilot(s) badly stuffed up, will never reduce the appalling record of crashes in some airlines.
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 07:37
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This is one of those rare cases in which a FO has to take over, with or without the consent of the captain.

It is difficult to assess when such case arises. My rule is that if I am afraid to lose my life and leave my children without a father and my wife without a husband, then I don't give a sh1t for culture shock, procedures, or go around occurrence reports. If that happens and the captain ignores me I will take over. And I will announce "go around" in the frequency, too.

But I think the ideal situation is that such bad captains should never be flying.

Oh, mate I will not fly in any indian carrier if I can help it.
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Old 22nd Apr 2011, 15:44
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Seems to be something missing here.
CVR recorded 2hrs and 5 mins. Captain was sleeping for the first 1hr and 40 mins, according to the report. That leaves 25 minutes during which the captain was at least not heard snoring. We have been given three seconds of recorded conversation. The last three.
Now, one would assume that there was some discussion about the approach prior to commencing descent, (normal SOPs)
This would reveal who was flying the aircraft at that time. All we have been told is that there was an "unstable approach". How did it come to be unstable?
Did the "experienced " First Officer initiate the descent by himself, leaving the Captain out of the loop? Did he wake the captain up only after getting the approach profile wrong, and then asking for help from a poor guy struggling to wake up and discover where he was?
An old saying, very hard to do a good landing from a bad approach.
Please don't pass any judgements until some of these questions are answered.
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