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This is not about better stick and rudder skills.

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This is not about better stick and rudder skills.

Old 26th Apr 2012, 22:51
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Disconnect the AP/AT on departure/arrival... and no; not at 500ft. That will keep your stick 'n rudder skills reasonably sharp... regardless what your company's 'rulebook' says about the use of automation during flight. You have an obligation to yourself and to your pax to keep proficient.

I know... it's easier said than done... just do it.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 05:59
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When conditions are right hand fly using only standby instruments including wet compass to know you can if you ever get down to nothing but those to get the job done. If you don't practice doing that once in a while those last basic instruments aren't going to help you. Just ignore the magenta line stuff and see how you can fly like being in a J3 cub again. Remember the compass lead and lag stuff? It works in a 767 just like a J3 cub.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 07:23
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I think what started this discussion is the fact that what pilots lack today is neither the "basic stick and rudder" nor the "pitch and power" knowledge. What they totally lack is the ability to fully understand their automated machines and how they (if if the automation pretends to fail) still interfere with the pilot using basic flying skills. Flying an aicraft with failed or malfunctioning systems is different from flying a basic, fully mechanical aircraft.
Pilot training still includes the basic stick and rudder training (we may argue how much of that is required), probably most pilots still fly pitch and power during their basic training. What pilots are not trained for are all possible combination of automation failure (or worst: malfunction) they might have to cope with and tu fully understand how the machines systems will react to his attempt to "basically" fly the aircraft.

We need basic stick and rudder training AND full understanding of all aircraft automated systems and how they could fail and interfere with the pilot.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 09:42
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Volume,

I agree, but pilots also need to be able to tolerate and to be able to think clearly when resisting the disorientation that can accompany a loss of control. Even if you know how the automatics work, and how they do so in certain degraded states, it is stlll necessary to keep one's wits when one's world is turning upsidedown.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 10:28
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Originally Posted by tubby linton
Children of the magenta line:
Children of Magenta - YouTube
Very good video. Should be compulsory watch at the next LPC/OPC.
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Old 27th Apr 2012, 14:06
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Just to show there's nothing new under the sun, scroll down to the cartoon at the bottom of this:

flight director | selector knob | course indicator | 1956 | 0079 | Flight Archive
.... in 1956!
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Old 28th Apr 2012, 09:00
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Yes Children of Magenta is a good video and makes many valid points - great idea to take out the autothrottle if you fly Boeings but not such a good idea on the Airbus. Airbus teach autopilot off then flight directors off to get the autothrust into SPEED mode.

The point missing so far is not so much can pilots fly manually, but do they authorise themselves to do it.

The call should not be " what is it doing now?" but " I do not want that - Do this!

An hours aerobatics/upset recovery training should be part of the CPL/ATPL!
How many non aerobatic/military pilots understand "You cannot stall a wing at zero g"?
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Old 28th Apr 2012, 15:29
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An hours aerobatics/upset recovery training should be part of the CPL/ATPL!
How many non aerobatic/military pilots understand "You cannot stall a wing at zero g"?
Not to mention a wing can stall at any attitude and airspeed, however it may break first. Also pointing down may not unstall a wing however pointing the nose where the aircraft is actually going will work. But of course during a stall situation most of the time the aircraft is going down, but not necessarily all the time.

Last edited by before landing check list; 28th Apr 2012 at 16:47.
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Old 28th Apr 2012, 15:39
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An hours aerobatics/upset recovery training should be part of the CPL/ATPL!
That isn't standard? Thought it was, we had a couple hours of spin awareness and aerobatics training in our flight school as part of the mandatory syllabus. But then it was just a normal 200 hour wonder factory.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 04:51
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@Bergerie1

Agree 100%. What I meant was - commercial pilots need to learn the feeling of a spin, stall, unusual attitude, upset etc... Not that they need to learn full acrobatics.

It's like playing guitar, or piano... to be able to sing and not look at the instrument. To know where the keys/strings are innately... mind map the notes.

A lot of great comments coming regarding the necessity for pilots to accrue mandatory hours in a glider/acrobatic type... We live in hope that the safety people out-vote the bean counters and we get pilots into glider/acrobatic aircraft.

Oh well... we can dream eh?!?
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 07:57
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Only yesterday did I get myself into very strong and gusty winds on my 320. I decided I'd let the autothrust do the whole job on final. Just forget about it ! You just cannot trust this system in adverse weather. It simply doesn't work past a certain level of gust/wind/turbulence. I disconnected it and it all went so much smoother and quieter (and safer on the very last few feet).
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 08:46
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Yes Children of Magenta is a good video and makes many valid points - great idea to take out the autothrottle if you fly Boeings but not such a good idea on the Airbus. Airbus teach autopilot off then flight directors off to get the autothrust into SPEED mode.
Not true. Airbus golden rule number 6: When things don't go as expected - TAKE OVER.

That includes the ATHR. "Children of the Magenta" is a good video and it is even more valid today, for both Boeings and Airbuses, than it was in 1996 when it was recorded. Today we have a vast army of new entrants to the profession who have NO IDEA how to fly a swept wing jet transport aeroplane without AP/FD and ATHR because they have little or no bank of experience to fall back on when it doesn't go as expected. Too many are even scared to fly manually.

This stuff is BASIC, folks. A basic understanding of power and attitude = performance and a basic ability to fly an aircraft manually is still essential. That is why manual raw data flying exercises are an integral part of every check at the company where I work.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 09:03
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FRying

Do you really "know" your aircraft, which is what this thread is really all about. What were these conditions, were you in managed or selected speed, did you "bug up", when it was
so much smoother and quieter
did you just go to idle, any sinking shear? A much too simplistic comment by you about a complicated system.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 11:41
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Cool If only the bean-counters would...

...If only the bean-counters would allocate a measly few quid to putting pilots into single-engined, basic machines or gliders once every few months.

Like many here (I presume), I used PPL instructing to supplement funds on the route to commercial. Unlike many (I suspect), I started to do it again a few years back and still do it now. There is nothing like teaching someone with ten hours to recover from a spin or stall to refresh some basic skills .

It's not, of course, all transferable but much is.

Like it or not, our basic skills do deteriorate if they aren't used. I didn't do any glider or single-engine stuff for a good few years and the first day I took one up again was a real shock in terms of how much my fundamental 'feel' for things had diminished. I thoroughly recommend it to all here. As much as anything, it's FUN. Remember fun?

As for the basic premise, I thoroughly disagree. It is certainly true that we need to understand how the automation works (and I mean REALLY understand it) and work with it, but we are not a bolt-on accessory. Automation is not at the level where it can be in charge, and the other 'bus drivers out there know as well as I do that it has its limitations. It's good, damned good, but perfect? Oh no sir. Not by a very long way.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 13:23
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For many new pilots, the children of the magenta line syndrome starts right from the first simulator session on a jet transport and goes downhill from there.

Instead of the first two or three sessions being used for basic jet handling without the automatics and FD and AT etc, the usual syllabus get stuck into automatics from the very first take off. The profile descent (idle thrust and DME v altitude) needs to have the new pilot flying the profile by hand raw data in IMC with the instructor coaching him. And I mean coaching - not shouting as often is the case. Skill at hand flying a profile descent with its variation of wind and airspeed changes is essential knowledge in preparation for later monitoring an automatics descent. Learning to crawl before learning to walk?

The effect of engine power up and down on the pitching moment while maintaining level flight - basic single engine handling (forget checklists at this stage) by hand sans FD -basic ILS in crosswinds raw data - unusual attitude recoveries, stall recoveries at high level (37,000 ft) and low altitude on approach (500 feet). Conventional circuits and crosswind landings are ideal for sharpening hand flying skills. Hand flying raw data before the introduction of automation goodies, gives a new student a sound grasp of the essentials of jet transport handling before he is introduced to the intricacies of serious automation.

Then if something goes wrong or ATC throw a curve-ball, the student will be confident of going click-click-click to reduce the level of automation to something more manageable (hand flying) because by now he knows how to hand fly a jet with confidence. It is a good bet that 95 percent of the world's airline pilots have never seen the video Children of the Magenta Line - which is a great pity for its value to the new generation of airline pilots is inestimable

The mistake in simulator training is to throw a new student into a type rating without first allowing sufficient time to consolidate the basics of jet transport handling. And that means no automatics until competent at basic handling. The hand-wringing hue and cry about loss of pure flying skills in airline pilots has been going for years - yet politically correct management speakers at international flight safety forums seem to avoid the obvious - and that is lack of interest by managements to tackle the problem because it might cost more money in simulator training. Funny how the big fatal accidents always happen to some other foreign airline - never your own. Thus no incentive to change the status quo.

Last edited by A37575; 29th Apr 2012 at 13:37.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 13:49
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Absolutely.

Further, it's not just the basics of jet flying, it's the basics of any flying.

Automation is currently an amazing assistant. One day it might be capable of dealing with anything and everything, but at the moment it isn't. And to assume it is, is a disaster in the making. More to the point, with the current level of automation, to subsume pilots to the electronics is insane.

Sure, 90% of the time the 'bus flies itself. However, as most of us know, the 10% is the difference between a landing where a few tonics get spilled and a landing where dental records are essential.
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Old 29th Apr 2012, 23:07
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Hi Wingswinger,

I absolutely agree with you that when everything else has gone horribly wrong having everything manual is a good idea.

However, look at Golden Rule 7 " Use the proper level of automation for the task". We are not a single seat operation and the aircraft has been designed to be flown by a team.

Teaching people to leap straight from full FMS guidance to full manual contol every time they have minor concerns has major drawbacks and can lead to more serious problems as you have just trebled the other pilot's workload and drastically reduced the ability to cross monitor each other, you are also out of the loop. Having the PF take out the AP and Autothrust just to follow the cross like a single seat pilot is a real pain as PNF as you have to do his job as well as your own.

Rule 6 of the Golden Rules does say "Take Over" - but there are 2 levels of control between FMS guidance and fully manual which may be a safer option. Lets say the aircraft is not following the noise abatement properly, you have "taken over" by pulling heading and still kept the PNF in the loop - going fully manual at that point is not the best option, and even if you have to tighten the turn you are better of with the speed being controlled while you overbank. This is what Airbus teaches.

My point was that people do not cascade down from full FMS guidance early enough. Yes it may need to go straight to fully manual ( inadvertent selection of Go Around or stalling for example), but the Airblue 321 would not have crashed if he had just checked it had gone into heading mode on the FMA.
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Old 30th Apr 2012, 09:49
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Hello PH,

However, look at Golden Rule 7 " Use the proper level of automation for the task". We are not a single seat operation and the aircraft has been designed to be flown by a team.
Indeed. That may be no automation at all depending on the circumstances. In a rapidly changing situation the AP does not react quickly enough to FCU inputs. This does not imply single-crew operation nor did I mention it.

Teaching people to leap straight from full FMS guidance to full manual contol every time they have minor concerns has major drawbacks and can lead to more serious problems as you have just trebled the other pilot's workload and drastically reduced the ability to cross monitor each other, you are also out of the loop. Having the PF take out the AP and Autothrust just to follow the cross like a single seat pilot is a real pain as PNF as you have to do his job as well as your own.
Hmm. Moot points here. Like a lot of flying it's a judgment. Rules cannot be written to cover every eventuality and they sometimes get in the way of effective operating. I seriously doubt if going fully manual trebles anyone's workload. It can actually REDUCE the workload. I recently had to retrain in the simulator a crew who had messed up a visual switch to another runway because one of them was heads down in the MCDU, typing, instead of just looking out of the window. THAT took him out of the loop. As a good crew -member one should ALWAYS be mentally doing one's colleagues job to effectively monitor him/her.

Rule 6 of the Golden Rules does say "Take Over" - but there are 2 levels of control between FMS guidance and fully manual which may be a safer option. Lets say the aircraft is not following the noise abatement properly, you have "taken over" by pulling heading and still kept the PNF in the loop - going fully manual at that point is not the best option, and even if you have to tighten the turn you are better of with the speed being controlled while you overbank. This is what Airbus teaches.
Generally agreed. I prefer to think of it as fully automatic (flown through the MCDU), partial automatic (Selected modes) and manual (AP/FD off, ATHR optional) so that's three levels. It's a simpler concept for the inexperienced to grasp. It helps people gain the experience and therefore the judgement to be able to decide when to drop down a level of automation or indeed when to drop directly to manual.

Last edited by Wingswinger; 30th Apr 2012 at 10:03. Reason: spelling
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Old 30th Apr 2012, 12:19
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Hi Wingswinger,

I teach 4 levels of control-cascade (as taught to me in Toulouse in 1989) as level 3 is what is required when doing a TCAS or after breaking cloud on a non-precision approach. "Autopilot off, call for FDs off, leave the A'thrust engaged". Taking out the autothrust on the TCAS often leads to speed problems and another set up!

Taking the autothrottle out in the Boeings is SO much easier than on the Airbus as the power has to disengage at the correct setting, whereas you have to guess or look away from the PFD to set it accurately on the Airbus - but we do have the speed-trend arrow right in front of our face to tell us what is happening, if pilots bother to look at it.

In 1990 we had to fill in a questionaire about what we thought about the Airbus systems and I put in that I wanted the levers to follow the thrust set up to the climb gate then become switches above that - I believe that mod was offered initially but no one paid for it.

I am glad this thread has drifted back to the title: Good flying skills and alpha awareness have been eroded for sure, but most problems I see in the sim are caused by lack of FMA awareness - followed by a desire not to take control from the computer.
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Old 30th Apr 2012, 12:50
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"
He who does not truly master hand flying skills cannot truly master automated flying skills"

Do you guys agree or disagree with the above statement?
Hi!

I do agree with the statement.

The reason is that if you haven't hand flown enough (so that you haven't had time to master hand flying) it is easy for you to think of flight as a relation between APFD and ATHR modes on the one hand and performance on the other, while totally forgetting about pitch and thrust.

Even the relation with performance is not well understood by many. I have seen low houred pilots and not so low houred getting confused because the airplane refused to meet a performance which was physically impossible to attain no matter what targets you may introduce in FCU, MCDU.

When you master hand flying you will spot malfunctions or (more usually an more importantly) own mistakes quickly when using automation. For the fully automated pilot that is more difficult because he tends to skip the relation between control and performance instruments.

In some circunstances, when complexity of a system plus subtle failures lead to a confusing and dangerous situation, the hand flyer has considerably more chances to get out of danger.

Last edited by Microburst2002; 30th Apr 2012 at 14:16.
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