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FAA seeks to raise Airline Pilot Standards

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FAA seeks to raise Airline Pilot Standards

Old 5th Mar 2012, 16:18
  #61 (permalink)  
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Peteroja:
Coming right at 200 hours in an airliner will make you miss all the basic training you'd get as an instructor, then charter/GA... pilot. So your point is to take the least expereinced pilot and make him an Instructor so he can learn? is that not an OXMORON
I have never said such a thing. You have your own way to comment reality.
I was speaking about building experience. You very first job doesn't have to be PPL instructor if you decide not to, but an airline job with hundreds of pax as your first job?
Anyway, the instructor route at the begining of the pilot career path is not something I ve just invented and that doesn't make any sense, that's in fact how most of the north american aviation career path starts and works.


Denti:
Of course all AF guys had other flying experience than just airbus after 200 hours of cadet school, read the report. In fact only the two copilots were cadets, the captain never was.
I beleive I said: the 2 pilots on commands.
The captain was not at the controls, never was. In fact he came in the cokpit only when the situation was completely messed up already and already stalling like crazy when he came into the cokpit (he was outside the cokpit getting ready to sleep, maybe sleeping, when the 2 F/Os lost the control of the airplane).

I beleive the 2 pilots at the controls that day, 2 F/Os, were hired at 200 hours and never had anything else than Airbus experience. I could be wrong. Please quote the reference concerning the experience those 2 had.
It shows the system has failed.



All in all a very, well, light touch on reality in your post there. By the way, could you give us a complete list of qualifications that are absolutely necessary for airline flying that one aquires during those years as instructor, charter and GA pilot?
Fair enough.
Before entering the cockpit of an airliner, I would do as the canadian system works (and I beleive this is the best system and has to be taken as a model): some captain (turborprop would be the best) mutli-engine before being called by an airline using single aisle jets (Jazz, Air Canada, West Jet...). There is no rule about that, transport canada has not written anything mandatory, but the fact shows that this is mainly how it works with a few exceptions.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 16:22
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Exclamation Stall recovery

Denti:

Re: AF447: Sadly the SO was the one who stalled the aircraft whilst the Captain was in the back asleep. By the time the Capt was in the cockpit he had very little chance of discerning what inputs the SO was making on the side stick. However, he did suggest a corrective pitch change (to reduce AoA - sadly too late) which if it and idle thrust had been actioned by the SO or FO much sooner would have saved the aircraft from the stall.

There are so many stall accidents/incidents in recent years with poor to zero recovery technique:

Colgan Q400 - power on stall
Turkish B737 1951 - rad alt fault/autoland stall
AF447 A330 - power on stall
Manx2 7100 - go around/power on stall
Sol Líneas Aéreas Flight 5428 - ice induced stall
Thomsonfly B737 Bournemouth G-THOF 3/2007: autothrottle disconnect - power on stall
Helitrans Norway: Fairchild Merlin SA226 - power on stall

Good Training and suitable experience count.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 16:43
  #63 (permalink)  
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Angelorange: Exactly.

Those 2 F/Os had no professional and manual experience of the stall after their CPL and 200 hours! Not even in the Airbus sim! Sure enough: at the first instrument failure they had in their life (speed indicator?), entered because of their action in a stall, and stayed there because of their action until the crash.

The proof you don't start your career in an airliner (especially an Airbus) with no background experience.
The last pilot who landed an Airbus in the Hudson bay didn't learn how to fly on an Airbus. You have to get more than 200 hours and you have to get some multi captain IFR experience before starting on an airliner, as you won't learn to fly on it, you are supposed to be a pilot mastering the basics already, which asks a few thousands of GA/military experience. Cruise autopilot on Airbus (even a few thousands hours before your captain upgrade) won't teach you much when it comes to real flying.

The proof this systems doesn't work. It was a crash waiting to happen. In fact it did happen.

The FAA got it right. If you cannot get the airlines to hire using common sense (like in Canada), then you have to implement some rules.
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Old 5th Mar 2012, 22:06
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You have it right. Get the experience first then fly airliners. I cropdusted, flight instructed, flew charter in prop and later jets then corporate then with many thousands of hours flew with over 100 people in the back. That way you can learn in little steps, not quantum steps.

In a C150 I would sample a little icing and IFR to build confidence and experience. I always had a way out. Nobody should go from flight school to the right seat of an airliner. What if you have a weak captain? Maybe he is sleeping and you have another new FO in the other seat while he is taking his break. The FAA did a good thing changing the rules.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 01:33
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peteroja:
So your point is to take the least expereinced pilot and make him an Instructor so he can learn? is that not an OXMORON?
No, it's not an oxymoron. The best instructors I have known confess that they learned an awful lot about flying through teaching others! That's certainly the case for me - students ask the darndest questions, and you have to provide an answer that completes their knowledge; in so doing, you improve your own competence.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 02:59
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I certainly did not want to get into a US vs the rest of the world debate. It was simply a question as to why the negative view towards US trained/licensed pilots when the data suggests they are every bit as competent as as the best in the rest of the first world.

As for the AF447 accident: I am an instructor on the A320 and we are now doing high altitude stall demonstrations during recurrent training. When given similar circumstances as the AF447 guys, less than half of the pilots can successfully recover even when they know it is coming. It is not because the pilots do not know how to recover from a stall, it is because pilots at all levels have not been trained in the dynamics of high altitude stalls. High altitude stalls are very different animals. Recovery at high altitudes require significant nose low pitch, to be held for a very uncomfortably long time, and you have to accept a VERY high rate of descent (15,000fpm or higher). AFTER that you have to have a very slow pitch up because a secondary is very easy to occur. Historically when training stalls pilots are taught to lower the nose to the horizon and add full power and to minimize altitude loss. You cannot recover from a high altitude stall using that procedure. If you read what happened, and know how to correctly recover from a high altitude stall, it becomes clear that the AF447 guys were caught off guard because the aircraft did not recover in a way they were accustomed to when training lower altitude stalls.

I have a lot more sympathy for the actions of the AF447 guys having trained and demonstrated high altitude stalls in Airbus FBW aircraft.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 03:55
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NED dude...Train the high altitude stall with ADR 1-2 switched off, or better yet, put ice on the respective pitots and watch what happens......particularly watch the THS reactions.., you may find even full nose down commands, while causing the pitch to be reduced, does not reduce the AOA sufficiently to "break" the stall, large amounts of nose down trim wheel inputs may be needed....food for thought...

As for the main topic....I suspect more hours rest, rather than more hours in the logbook would be more on target...but that costs the industry money so not like to happen...as usual lay the problem at the feet of the pilots...
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 05:56
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@angelorange: fair enough, training is a key thing. However flying 1500 hours around a circuit is not training how fly airliners in a multi crew environment. But yes, some airlines apparently save quite some money by not training enough.

@KAG, both FO's were cadets or 200 hour wonders. However one of them was an active glider pilot (the one with least experience), the other one kept his SEP rating active which means he flew outside of his job as well. If you mean that both had no other professional experience you are right, but both had flying experience beside their airbus flying.

Curious that you mention the canadian system. We send about 50 of our pilots over there every winter to help during high season traffic with various 737 operators. Half of those pilots will fly as captains, the other ones as senior FO's. All of them are 200 hour wonders, some even MPL-graduates, every year a few more.

I could cite quite a few accidents with pilots which had thousands of hours upon hiring and extensive professional experience in different types and still managed to crash healthy planes. I wouldn't begin to blame it on them flying around a circuit for 1500 hours or more or even flying around battlefields without being able to transfer their skills to the airline world. And then there are a few accidents with cadet pilots as well. However, seen in the general number of things only a few.

It is about the right amount and quality of training and selection, not about hours. Something the military discovered long ago and which some airlines managed to adapt to their needs, and some didn't. Even the new american rules from what i read will give a huge hour discount to those doing an integrated training syllabus with a respected training organization like embry riddle for example.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 06:51
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NEDude:
That's interesting to have the insight from an Airbus instructor.
High altitude stalls are tricky indeed, I was too fast to condamn them probably. The best being not to enter a stall, and for that we need manual experience I beleive. Look what happened as soon as the autopilot went off...

Denti: the vast majority of the canadian pilots have a step by step and progressive career path during which they have to face a large variety of aviation and situation when they reach their airline job. And sure enough we never hear from canadians airline pilots stalling airplanes and crashing them...
I 'd rather trust their training and hiring standard.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 08:04
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No, just not being able to follow an approach and crashing into hillsides, First Air last year for example. Or within a month an Arctic Sunwest Charters twin otter.

And remember, although flying is much more important in canada than elsewhere, it is extremely thinly populated, in fact it has just above half the population of france, not to mention all of europe which is around 500 million against 34 million. In that light there is really no doubt that accidents per hour, airmiles, or population is not all that much different between them, and europe has used cadet pilots in their major airlines for the last 60+ years as the norm.

We had a few notable stalling accidents lately and yes, that is certainly a concern. Much of that is more a problem of training than anything else. I know of airlines that did the bare minimum of stall training and others that do it as integral part of their retraining every 6 months. Sure enough you do not hear any of the latter ones stalling either. Even if they employ MPL students as the norm and only take in outsiders after very thorough retraining in times of need.

As per the list above:

Colgan pilots stalled despite extensive instruction and GA time before flying an airliner. Three turkish airline pilots did the same despite very extensive military experience which is on this site usually seen as the possible training par none. Three AF pilots did the same, all of them with GA experience beside their main job. I can't comment on the other accidents as i haven't read their reports recently and do not remember how their pilot corps were set up, however flight time as sole quality measurement is rather doubtful if you see those three accidents alone. Thorough and indepth training however could have prevented all of those accidents and that is what we have to demand from regulators and airlines alike.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 09:44
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Recovery from a stall is much easier when the stall is anticipated...
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 11:31
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The employment history of the individuals involved in the various crashes described above has little bearing on the eventual outcome of the accidents. The training, the individuals had received, on the other hand, did have considerable bearing on the outcome. You can be taught to handle most scenarios in a sim, but the syllabus must be suited to the background and ability of the individual.

Stall recognition and recovery in an A330 is not something you get inherently better at because you have bored holes in the sky with a Baron or Metroliner for 2000 hrs (otherwise half of the incidents angelorange mentiones above should never have happened, including the Manx, Colgan and Helitrans ones) - but if you are unsuitable for operating any kind of aeroplane, chances are that you will be weeded out by the time you have hours enough to apply for the airlines - or you will have killed yourself, taking only a few pax with you.

Separating the wheat from the chaff (with minimum pax exposure) is what minimum airline entry standards ensure. The unsuitable ones will not get beyond the pistons or TPs while the good'uns get a seal of approval - you survived 2000 hrs in small aircraft with little or no support in the way of SOPs, operations or management support and still didn't kill yourself - so you're safe...

It is tough luck for the ones that can fine well manage on a cadet-direct-to-AB-course (because they do exist, and there are quite a few of them) - but until we get better at pre-screening suitable individuals, the darwinian process seems the safest approach.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 23:04
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Yes you can get an FAA ATP flying nothing bigger than a piper cub basically.
But, to fly for a -121 (airline) carrier, you need a Multiengine Land rating. And, with the new ATP requirements, you will need 50 hours of MEL time to get the ATP.

The US has never had a problem hiring qualified airline pilots.
In the summer of 2008, with HR depts at their most desperate (at the US regionals) Pinnacle and Mesa were hiring some pilots WITHOUT a Commercial License, and also some with less than 200 hours of Total Time.

Great: if you have flown 1500 hours in a crappy old Cessna and get one of those get a CPL in a week courses
The CPL won't help, as an ATP will be required, and the current requirements (other than Total Tiime) have been increased by Congress.

Someone who has built 1500 hours clearly wants to be in aviation and has probably learned a few things along the way, both about aviation and life. They will have a degree of maturity and won't need a silver spoonectomy.
That is what a lot of us were saying about the Colgan crash. Some pilots said they both had over 1500 hours (and the Capt had his ATP), so these changes wouldn't help at all. HOWEVER, if both of the two pilots had to get their ATP and all the hours required, BEFORE they joined an airline, they either would not have chosen to be pilots, OR, they would have been more motivated and would have built better professionalism along the way that would have prevented the crash...that is my opintion. The Colgan capt. actually started at Gulfstream Airlines, where you had to pay about $100,000 for your PPL/CPL/Instrument Airplane, and a certain number of hours of right seat experience as an FO flying a B-1900.

Could it be that a type rating is valid only for the airline you are flying for?
In the US a Type Rating is for a specific airplane certified type (as in DC-9 type in the US means DC-9, MD-80, MD-90 and B-717).
The ATP is for a Class: -MEL, -SEL, -Helicopter, etc.

Making pilots gain 1500 hours before such a task
It won't matter if they have 1500 hours or not. What matters is if they have the ATP. If they get 1500 hours of crappy experience, and they are not ready, they will not pass the ATP checkride. It is NOT easy, especially with the bare minimum experience required to sit for the practical exam.

The actual training is also identical, it does not matter if you fly an RJ or a B777 and the training requirements are absolutely the same. There are some few exceptions.
This is not true AT ALL, and this is an area where the ATP requirement WILL help. The training at Northwest and Delta, for example, is much, much better than the training at Trans States Airlines, USA Jet Airlines, or Atlas Air. They are ALL -121 carriers, and the training is quite different at each. When I trained at TSA they were NOT AQP, and USAJet/Atlas are not now on AQP either.

The FAA is 100% right. Wrong, This was pushed through by the pilot union, decrease supply and increase pay.
ALPA has been around a long time, and there had been no improvements in Flight/Duty/Rest or Airline Pilot Minimum Qualifications in decades.
This was pushed through by the families of the dead passengers on the Colgan flight, the Media that helped them, and the Congressmen/women when they listened to the CVR, and did some research on the sorry state of affairs at a crappy regional airlines in the US.

FAA faild to adress the dutytime and work rules,
The Flight/Duty/Rest Rules (for -121 passenger airlines) just changed DRAMATICALLY....and it was the first change since the 1950s or '60s.

I hope this helps the US a lot....it WILL help the non-American pilots, as there will be less US pilots going abroad for work.
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Old 6th Mar 2012, 23:31
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Everyone talks about 737 and A340 pilots with regards to this topic, but this really doesn't affect the major carriers in the US. I'd be hard pressed to think of any Us carrier operating large jet aircraft that hire anyone with less than 1500 TT anyway. What this really affects are the small operators. Is 500 hours really that bad for the SIC on your Beech 1900D? How about the DHC-6 operation providing services to small Alaskan towns? Was 500 hours that unheard of to fly a fixed-gear aircraft that can hardly make 170 KIAS?

While I realize in other parts of the world these 19-seat operators are handled differently, in the US they are considered under FAR Part 121 if they want to fly more than four weekly round-trips. these "ma and pa" airlines have been painted with the broad FAA brush and have to meet all the same requirements as United and Southwest. Often these airlines are well-run and well maintained, with excellent safety records and acceptable pay, but also had thin profit margins due to low passenger loads. This was where young pilots went to learn. This rule makes it very difficult for these small, necessary airlines to continuing providing their services and in the end only the entrepreneurs and people of the small communities that need this air service are hurt.

It's easy to talk extremes, but realistically the small airlines pilots would have once gone to build their hours will shrivel up and you'll either fly on heavy iron or you'll be driving.

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Old 7th Mar 2012, 02:14
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We all know Colgan had two pilots hired with minimum time so why do you try to say they weren't. Neither one was qualified when they got hired. Neither could handle a simple stall. You see the results of marginal pilots with marginal experienece. 1500 hrs isn't a lot so the pilot mills will probably suffer but it should be a minimum.. We all did it. It isn't that hard.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 05:08
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At the time of the accident the Colgan captain had 3300 hours and had been a captain at Colgan for two years. The FO had 2200 hours and was hired at about 1500 hours. How would hiring them to the Saab at 1500 hours instead of 800 have averted this accident? They were both experienced enough to work at the airline according to this new rule.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 05:28
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Where did the CA work before?

He paid for a 121 job, for which he would not have been qualified under this new rule, not sure about the FO though.

A large contributor to the lack of experience/decision making and overall capabilities in the current generation of pilots is they are rarely given opportunities by which to "cut their teeth". Instead going from a 172 straight into a jet or large turboprop and being unable/unwilling to fly near or (if necessary) past the limit. Then, when someday, the limit is quickly passed they have no idea of how to deal with it and end up a smoking hole in the ground.
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 05:46
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You'll have to excuse me if I'm missing you logical connection here.

The captain had 3300 hours, mostly in large transport and commuter category aircraft. You feel that since this was in larger aircraft he lacked sufficient experience.

You feel if the captain had rented a Cessna 172 and flown for 1500 hours prior to flying at an airline he would be better experienced?

My point is that this new rule pretty much forces people to go from a Cessna 172 to a large transport category aircraft now that smaller air carriers that operate "intermediate" aircraft will start falling by the wayside to to increasing pressure from the FAA.

There are many problems working into the experience issue. I agree with your general premise that more experience is needed for this new generation of pilots, but I think this rule is counterproductive to that goal. What aircraft and type of operation do you feel is the proper step between flying a Cessna 172 and flying a Beech 1900D (which is where that captain "cut his teeth")?
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Old 7th Mar 2012, 06:37
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There's nothing wrong with being "hired" into a B-1900 (I hold a different view for PFT) at the 250 hour level, albeit this should be "135 flying". The fact that he failed multiple checks and had to pay to get into a job speaks volumes of how incapable he was then. Though, I wouldn't want anybody to be a captain of a B1900 unless they first had significant PIC time in any small aircraft.

Cessna, Piper or whatever any other small A/C you choose the fact of the matter is that PIC time is PIC time. When you've got nobody to count on but yourself to handle the aircraft, manage your operation and keep yourself prepared you will not only build character but learn volumes about what it takes to fly any aircraft. Having significant "stick" time in aircraft which are operating at the limit and developing keen situational awareness in that environment is, to me, several fold more important than programming an FMS and flying a computer for the same amount of time. This sort of experience also develops a strong foundation for the learning of any new aircraft the pilot may find themselves in down the road.

The learning process for any aircraft should not be a matter of osmosis, as is often the case, but of applying insights developed in previous flying to the new aircraft under the watchful eye of instructors and check airmen, strong and experienced pilots will pass this process with ease while weaker ones will take a bit more time and eventually be signed off as "warm bodies" to learn on the line. The latter should not be happening, but often does.

To me, the "hours" of experience matter less than the "type" of experience (albeit a rule has to be made based on some sort of finite criteria). Furthermore, you can't get that varied type of experience necessary in aviation without having a good amount of hours, and 250 is not a "good amount".

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Old 7th Mar 2012, 17:37
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Norms, hours pre hire and Stall recovery techniques

Denti:

"europe has used cadet pilots in their major airlines for the last 60+ years as the norm."

This is not true. It has never been the "norm". The norm (as in the USA) was ex military pilots, regional Turbo prop upgrades and in the case of KLM Cityhopper/Air UK and Flybe - flight instructors.

Yes BA, KLM, Lufthansa all had their cadet schemes but these were (and in the case of KLM & Lufty still are) very well managed with no up front costs from the cadet.

The quality of their training far exceeded the current JAR/EASA Integrated and MPL cadet schemes that are sold through certain flight schools alongside selling Type Ratings and even Time on Type!

Sadly the latter is now the "norm" for the LoCo Jet airlines such as EZY and RYR.

Pay lots and enter a contractor holding pool:

https://pilot.cae.com/Programs/Ryanair.aspx

Pay £84k to join BA:
British Airways Future Pilot Programme | Oxford Aviation Academy - OAA.com

Pay lots to join EZY:
easyJet MPL First Officer Programme | Oxford Aviation Academy - OAA.com


Re: Stalls: Turkish was an automation fault with the Capt's Rad Alt that cut power and rounded out the B737-800 at a much higher altitude than 50 feet (but insufficient for any kind of stall recovery). The least experienced crew member was at the controls and no one mentioned the low airspeed due to a very late and high rate of decent - they thot the a/c throttled back to achieve late decent.

It's not about boring holes in the sky - it is about knowing aerodynamics and your aeroplane and practicing recovery in a real aircraft - not just a procedurally SIM which cannot give accurate representation. That aircraft might be an Extra 300 or a Citation (like Lufthansa Cadets use).


Island Flyer:

The issue was not how many hours the Colgan crew had at impact - it was their low experience at the recruitment stage:

Captain had just over 600h and had failed many exams including IR

FO had flown Single engine aircraft in Arizona (no bad weather experience) and had only 6h of actual IFR time before joining Colgan!

Those are very low hours overall.

As for the time on type - most of the Q400 time was on autopilot and with a serious lack of airspeed monitoring in the event and a stall made worse by undemanded flap retraction by the FO.

NEDude:

Glad to hear you are practicing high altitude stall recovery techniques. Hope it's not just in a SIM. Most pilots forget that FAR 25/JAR 25 test pilots always reduce AoA and allow speed to rise to around 20% above config stall speed BEFORE applying power. My comments on the stalling accidents mentioned "power on stall" because those pilots added power - that made things worse. In the case of AF447 adding power with full aft stick was more of a Terrain/Wind Shear Airbus technique not a stall recovery method.
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