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Air India Express incident

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Air India Express incident

Old 9th Dec 2010, 14:36
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@Roger Greendeck:
Push forward trees get smaller, pull back trees get smaller, pull back more trees get bigger again
Oh dear! Fatally flawed thinking like that was probably the root cause of this incident, if the FO similarly believed that 'pushing forward would make any trees get smaller'...

It seems to me that 2 distinctly possible causes have so far not been mentioned:

1 Misreading the pitch indication on the AI. Though this really should not happen, it might explain why the FO felt the need to persist with his incorrect control input. After all, AIs have been misread before, especially when there has been exposure to Russian style AIs displaying in a different way.

2 Attempted suicide? After all, the 'accidental' upset seemed to occur immediately the Captain was out of the flightdeck, door locked, combined with the FO's 'inability' to open the door. Then the FO used a further MASSIVE incorrect control force. The reported 200lb force is more than the weight of an average man! That was ONE HELL OF A PUSH! The FO involved was clearly on some kind of a mission... Determining exactly WHAT mission is crucial, with the FO not being allowed anywhere near an aircraft flightdeck ever again.
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Old 9th Dec 2010, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Jabiman
I think what rabbit is referring to is the debate regarding cadet FO going directly into the RHS. Not sure what side of the debate rabbit is on but let us look at this particular FO’s hours:
Total flying experience 1310 hours
Experience on type: 968 hours

So he has less than 1500 hours and would definitely be classed as inexperienced. Further, his non-type hours are 342 which also indicates that he was a direct entry cadet and had little more than flight training experience. Certainly no GA type flying was done by this novice and he would have little or no real airmanship skill. If the PIC became incapacitated for any reason, it is probable that this plane would have become a wreck.
A strong case AGAINST direct entry cadets if I ever saw one.

And this is assuming that all his hours were real
I guess I’m not sure what it is you mean by “direct entry cadet.” I’m also not sure how many flight hours someone would have to have logged for you to believe he/she is “experienced.”

The dictionary defines experience as “direct observation of or participation in events as a basis of knowledge, or the fact or state of having been affected by or gained knowledge through direct observation or participation, practical knowledge, skill, or practice derived from direct observation of or participation in events or in a particular activity.” In fact, experience is a relative term, and, therefore, there simply isn’t a direct relationship to which anyone is able to reference. It is clearly evident that a pilot having flown for 1000 hours is less experienced than one who has flown 1200 hours and more experienced than one who has flown 800 hours – but there are very few who would recognize any significant difference in the competency levels of those three pilots. In my experience (note the use of the word), I have come across those with precious few hours with whom I would be most pleased to share my flight deck duties … and I have come across those with literally thousands of hours with whom I would prefer to NOT share my flight deck duties. It is also my experience that, when going strictly on the number of hours a pilot has flown (i.e., his/her flying “experience”), that experience becomes pertinent only when comparing “multiples” of 2 for approximately the first 500 hours and multiples of 5 thereafter. For example, a pilot with 75 hours of experience is likely to have approximately the same level of competency as a pilot with 80 - 90 hours, and that more experienced pilot probably wouldn’t be noticeably better until he/she had at least 150 hours (i.e., twice the 75 hours). After completing approximately 500 hours of experience, that pilot is likely not to be noticeably “more experienced” until he/she has logged something in the neighborhood of 2500 hours, or 5 times that amount.

What IS important, however, is HOW the pilot was screened initially; how he/she was trained; the competency of the instructor doing the training; the viability of the equipment used during the training; and the willingness of the pilot to assimilate what was being presented during the training program.

While we all recognize that in this particular case, apparently the FO screwed up … royally. But until we know more about what actually happened – speculating beyond that is fruitless. The fact that this FO had over 1300 hours of flight time, with almost 1000 hours on type, it should be clearly evident that this FO was not properly trained – regardless of what it was he did to initiate the problem. With the amount of time on type he reportedly had, one would think he would be able to recover from the dive that was apparently encountered. The point is, he very likely wasn’t trained properly – and even the almost 1000 hours of operating experience on type didn’t seem to make a lot of difference in his ability to avoid the mistake he made. There simply isn’t any logic in presuming that his having flown an additional 800 hours – perhaps in a Cessna 152 – prior to being hired and trained on this airplane would have made a significant difference. What WOULD have likely made a difference is the quality of the training he received prior to his being hired AND the quality of the training he received on this airplane type.

The Colgan accident statistics further demonstrate this issue. The captain of that flight had a total of almost 3500 hours, with 260 hours on type … 100 of which were as captain. Additionally, the FO on that Colgan flight had over 2000 hours of flight time with 750 on type. Both of them made mistakes. What would likely have made a difference there is exactly the same issue – the quality of the training they both received before being hired at Colgan, AND the quality of the training they received at Colgan.

I have tried to make the point on this forum that the military services, at least in the US, and probably around the world, have done a very satisfactory job of taking “no-nothing” persons and creating competent pilots out of them. How is this done? It is done through careful screening and even more carefully designed and conducted training … using competent instructors … using viable training equipment … and, ultimately, encouraging the individuals to assimilate what was being presented during that training. I believe that THIS is where the focus needs to be addressed – not on the total number of flight hours someone has logged prior to being hired … if, for no other reason than, as you correctly point out, “ assuming all his (logged) hours are real.”
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 10:48
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What IS important, however, is HOW the pilot was screened initially; how he/she was trained;
Good point. In fact it may surprise you to know that in that part of the aviation world there are first officers that do not want to be pilots at all. They are coerced into the job by parents and relatives who see them as cash cows for the extended family. Astrologers are consulted. I well recall from some years ago talking to some Chinese students we trained in NZ. They had been in a Chinese university studying various subjects when the military walked into the class-room and said you are all to undergo aircrew medicals. Those that pass will be split into military pilots and others into airline pilots. One of my students was studying opthamology at the university when it all happened.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 12:29
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In fact it may surprise you to know that in that part of the aviation world there are first officers that do not want to be pilots at all.
They are coerced into the job by parents and relatives who see them as cash cows for the extended family. Astrologers are consulted.
I well recall from some years ago talking to some Chinese students we trained in NZ. They had been in a Chinese university studying various subjects when the military walked into the class-room and said you are all to undergo aircrew medicals.
Those that pass will be split into military pilots and others into airline pilots. One of my students was studying opthamology at the university when it all happened
That blows my mind.
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 14:20
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Unfortunately, that does not surprise me – when I sincerely wish that it did.

In the US, we have seen an unfortunate increase in the numbers of college graduates who choose major areas of study based exclusively on what kind of salary structure they can achieve. What happens is that we wind up with an increasing number of persons who are performing job functions – some of which directly affect the health, livelihood, and even in some cases, the lives of other persons – when they, themselves, are hard-hearted, mean, and somewhere between relatively and completely disinterested in the outcome of their work effort as long as they can afford the big house, flashy car, and membership in the fashionably exclusive country club. While a position as an airline pilot may not be nearly as lucrative as it once was financially, there are still those who believe that the “romance” of the uniform and the imaginative travel opportunities are sufficient motivators to pursue this profession when they would more likely be suited to other, less critically knowledge-dependent and skill-dependent jobs.

However, this fact must not interfere with the responsible decision makers from ensuring that those who DO choose piloting as a career are properly trained and evaluated to ensure they possess the skill sets that are necessary … and, in case there may be some who are not aware … this goes well beyond observing that an individual is able to “slop” his or her way through a course of training and blindly meet (or mostly meet) the generalized meaning of the “standards” that have been set out as a “passing score.” This means that if the salary structure offered attracts only those who may be considered marginally acceptable, it MUST become the responsibility of those who develop, manage, and actually conduct the training and evaluation to make absolutely SURE that those who are deemed “satisfactory” to ANY degree are, INDEED, satisfactory for all areas – without question … OR … they must be turned down! Once it is understood by airline managers that substandard applicants and even applicants that may, with one eye closed, be considered minimally acceptable, are only going to increase the training costs and endanger the overall satisfactory operation of the business, perhaps it will be easier for them to understand that increasing the starting and eventual salary structure will do wonders for turning this aspect of the industry back to the levels that must exist! Of course, marketing and sales, frills and extras, infrastructures and equipment, salaries and benefits are always going to have an impact on the successful operation of any business … we have to recognize that the training department, i.e., those who develop, manage, and conduct the training and evaluation can, and should be, one of the most important, perhaps the most important, department of every company that does business in THIS industry!
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Old 10th Dec 2010, 16:08
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Autopilot, GPS430, fuel computers etc is not necessary if you are in touch with what your flying.
I don't mean to be impolite, but it sounds to me like young and proud talk.
Even as part of a CPL/ATPL training they are absolutely necessary in the way that you have to know how to use them and when not to use them since every modern aircraft is equipped with them.
Being familiar with your duty implies understanding and knowing the tools at your disposal, and how some of them could mislead you. Plus in emergency they can come in pretty handy (to be able to know the remaining fuel, the autonomy/distance available, nearest suitable airfields and associated freq. and facilities in one click while you can still fly the plane is no small deed).
Though VFR initial training should remain dead reckoning and look outside (can't agree more) modern commercial aviation is a bit more than that, thanks.

Its a motor action - trees getting bigger so pull stick back!
In this case maybe, but I hope for you you don't fly by motor actions...
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Old 11th Dec 2010, 07:32
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Spent a few years flying there. Never locked the cockpit door behind me while leaving for washroom. Survival instinct and common sense wouldn't let me do the opposite.

Last edited by express315; 11th Dec 2010 at 07:41. Reason: correction
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Old 11th Dec 2010, 16:58
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" couldn't find the right end of the runway, couldn't operate the self serve fuel pump and had no clue what he was doing while taxiing."
First question....why did his instructor sign him off for solo?

When my wife was doing her multiengine training some 35 years ago, at Vero Beach (FlightSafety), they had a Middle Eastern student who took off on a cross-country solo in a Seneca, or whatever they were using then, and stopped for lunch at his first waypoint. Left the airplane well-chocked but engines running, since he later admitted he had no idea how to restart them.

Unfortunately, he parked right outside the VEB FSS.

Somebody apparently signed -him- off for XC solo...
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Old 12th Dec 2010, 05:31
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after CDLS installed, company SOP to have one of the cabin staff in
the cockpit if one of the pilot needs to go. But if they are busy, I disarm the lock just before go out.
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