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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 3rd May 2012, 01:25
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AirRabbit, et al; for those who ‘have it’ what is ‘it’?
Is ‘it’ an understanding of the problems in modern aviation, and like Mr Voss “this is not about better stick and rudder skills”, can only relate to what it isn’t?
Or is ‘it’, having the knowledge and skills required in modern aviation; if so, then what are these and how might they be taught?

If the industry does not understand the problem, the contributors, or the interactions, then how can “new kinds of pilot training” help; what would we be training for?
Similarly if those who have the knowledge and skills cannot communicate what they are, or how they might be taught, then again industry will struggle to improve the situation?

IMHO the industry needs to look at everyday operations, at the many people who have got ‘it’ – the knowledge and skills of flight management. Compare these operations with what is expected of pilots, with what they (should) have been taught; consider the opportunities for pilots to gain experience and the situations which they might be exposed to, requiring ‘it’ for safe management.
There are good indications that a gap between training and operation exists, although the risk in this might not be very large (low incident/accident rates). However, the challenge is to close the gap, either through training or with experience – or both.
A significant aspect of the problem is that the required knowledge and know-how is tacit, self-evident, not easily described or taught; its inherent in operations, you have to do it before you have it.

Thus those who have ‘it’, might consider how they could help those without ‘it’. Captains mentoring, leading by example, briefing / debriefing, what-if discussions.
All pilots must practice what has been taught; learn what has not been taught, and fly cautiously while a gap between them exists – being professional.

Last edited by safetypee; 3rd May 2012 at 12:36.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 07:24
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Hello SevenStrokeRoll,

wingswinger...please remember that trying to top a CB in any standard transport is unlikely to work out. I too am shocked at the Air France stall/crash. I asked a friend who flys the same type (with different pitot tubes)
what the stall warning was for that type...its not much!!!!
I didn't write "top", I wrote "avoid". Clearly attempting to climb over a Cb has the potential to end in tears even if the aircraft in question has the performance to do so. It is not to be recommended. However, in northern Europe the Cbs are not often "as high as an elephant's eye" as they are in the States and the tropics and just occasionally there is an active area stretching for several hundred miles but with few tops above FL350. In these circumstances the occasional overflight of a Cb can be all but unavoidable.

Stall warning in FBW Airbuses (I fly the 320 series) isn't minimal. In Normal Law you cannot stall the aeroplane; it won't let you. The control protections stop the pilot going beyond the critical angle of attack and the autothrust system will trigger TOGA power at a preset angle of attack depending on the configuration. The stall warning would only be heard if there is a damaged AoA probe. Once there is a malfunction which drops the aircraft into Alternate Law the game changes; now you can stall it. There is a visual indication of the stall speed (actually it's an angle of attack) on the speed strip and a very loud aural warning "STALL, STALL". This is what happened in AF447. The stall warning sounded over SEVENTY TIMES before the aircraft struck the ocean.
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Old 3rd May 2012, 12:53
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Wingswinger, (thread drift) do not extrapolate stall protection to loss of control protection, particularly in highly dynamic situations – in or near Cbs.
Also, just because European ‘humbly’ Cbs could be flown over does not eliminate the risk of encountering very disturbed air, clear of cloud, above them – and some Cb tops climb faster than you can.
Judgement comes from a combination of knowledge, know-how, and know-when to do or not to do something - and that’s not about better stick and rudder skills.
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Old 4th May 2012, 07:06
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Hello PEI,

I did say "not to be recommended". I'm sorry, but sometimes in these international forums I forget that people don't grasp British understatement for that is what it was.

I am aware of the dangers of Cbs, even "humble" European ones. In my formative years in flying I had the educative experience of being inside one which was embedded in a front while flying a second-generation single-seat jet fighter (no weather radar; no attitude indicator). It wasn't much fun coming out of it upside down and having to do a limited panel recovery (Artificial Horizon toppled) while still in IMC. I learned about flying from that.

I'm not advocating overflying Cbs. I just said that sometimes, once in a while, it is unavoidable. You turn to miss one and there's another under your path..and so on.

I'm not quite sure what you mean with your remark about extrapolating stall protection to loss of control protection. You'll have to explain. The low speed protections in Normal Law of the Airbus FBW types are clearly designed to prevent the pilot stalling the aircraft. If the wing generates lift you have control. An environmental upset may occur; the problem then is do you have enough control and enough altitude to recover without exceeding structural limits.
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Old 4th May 2012, 11:51
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Wingswinger
My comments were generalities – the problems of language/communicating!
We have had similar experiences, except that my Cb encounters, although planned, were not in such a robust machine.
The loss of control difficulties I was envisaging were like effects of roll coupling, and inertia. Although I have no knowledge of such problems in commercial aircraft, several early military FBW aircraft could exceed their stall protection systems in highly dynamic manoeuvres, or possibly in Cb type turbulence.
My caution is that the industry should not take ‘stall protected’ as being ‘fool proof’; there are enough of us fools out there to find any weakness.
The industry has to be careful in describing systems (problems of language/communicating), and operators need to think about a wide range of unusual consequences - and that’s not about better stick and rudder skills.
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Old 4th May 2012, 20:21
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Actually, Mr. safetypee you ask a VERY important and very “ON-TARGET” questions:
“...for those who ‘have it,’ what is ‘it’?.. Is ‘it’ having the knowledge and skills required in modern aviation; if so, then what are these and how might they be taught?”
If the industry does not understand the problem, the contributors, or the interactions, then how can “new kinds of pilot training” help; what would we be training for? Similarly if those who have the knowledge and skills cannot communicate what they are, or how they might be taught, then again industry will struggle to improve the situation...
My compliments, sir. You’ve nailed the obvious questions – obvious perhaps only to those who care about their profession, but obvious nonetheless – and in respect of your question, let me offer the following ...

The “it” described absolutely is (are?) the knowledge and skills required to function adequately and safely in modern aviation ... but the “on target” portion of your question/statement is ... “what is this knowledge and what are these skills and how might they be taught?” At the risk of sounding like I’m setting myself up as THE person who has the definitive answer ... and while that is certainly not my intent ... I think I can describe an appropriate answer. Let me address the “skills” and I’ll get to the “knowledge” portion in a moment...

The individual “skills” are the sets of eye-hand coordination actions that achieve the various airplane flight paths that are selected based on the existing airplane position, orientation, direction, configuration, and airspeed at any given moment, with respect to the desired airplane position, orientation, direction, configuration, and airspeed at the next moment. This is an iterative process, conducted over and over again. While I use the term “flight path,” the concept certainly goes beyond the physical “path” through 3-dimensional space, and includes these other elements. Of course the clear understanding of what is desired for this “flight path” (including ALL of the factors indicated) is necessary to achieve the satisfactory accomplishment of any identified flight task ... such as takeoff, climb-out, descent, instrument approach, landing , and, of course, you know the full compliment of such a list. The educational process to determine what kind of “training” may be needed is to first accomplish an analysis of what specific “tasks” are involved in the accomplishment of that particular job. So ... what are the tasks necessary to perform the job of pilot? You know those answers as well ... but it makes sense to write down a description of those tasks ... followed immediately by determining how to best “train” a person to be able to accomplish each of those tasks. Most often, that effort is taken “bit by bit” – identifying stepping-stones, or building-blocks of lesser or more generic skills and skill-sets addressing the accomplishment of a similarly structured stepping-stone approach to task identification, where each such stepping-stone level is combined to build a more sophisticated set of skills, to be able to accomplish a more completely identified task – all aimed toward eventually achieving a broad skill set applied in such a manner that flying the airplane is achieved in accordance with the design specifications of the airplane, the regulatory requirements, the goals of the company, the goals of the passengers (or those who contracted the shipment of cargo) – and most importantly ... in accordance with all safety designs and desires. I should take a moment and recommend that you acquire a copy of ICAO Document 9625 and read, carefully, the task analysis aspects of that publication.

I said I’d get back to the knowledge issues... There are very few (if any) educational professionals who would not agree with the premise that acceptance of how and why a particular physical movement of controls is the best choice of a pilot is based on an academically and intellectually understood concept of the issues involved. Knowing what happens to an airplane – or a portion of an airplane – at certain points in the profile of an airplane flight – or certain points in the accomplishment of a flight task – usually goes a very long way in understanding the “what” of the task, which invariably assists in the “acceptance” of that “what” and makes the “why” more easily seen and accepted. Understanding of what happens to ... say the effectiveness of an aileron control, as the airflow over the wing and subsequently over the aileron, is decreased is, or certainly should be, of interest to a pilot. He/she needs to know that at slower airspeeds, an aileron must be displaced further to achieve essentially the same airplane response. He/she needs to know that even though the lift characteristics of that wing may be enhanced by extending flaps, he/she needs to know that the enhancement will only occur if the airflow over that wing remains constant – and that to achieve that, he/she may have to do something else to achieve what is desired. These are understandings that can (and I believe should be) accomplished in an academic environment ... and then reinforced in a flight, or today, more than likely, in a simulated flight, situation.

Along with that identification of the stepping-stones or building-blocks, the kind of equipment that would be best utilized is also identified. This used to be some sort of trainer, historically built to look like an airplane cockpit ... but the end point equipment was always the airplane itself. Now, however, we have rather sophisticated simulation equipment – equipment that runs the gamut of capability, functionality, and ... of course ... cost. In some cases of the “higher-end” simulation, used in the training of relatively experienced persons – the concept of using the airplane to conclude the training or conduct the check is no longer the “given” ... in fact, more and more, we find complete training and evaluation programs conducted exclusively in a flight simulator – and the first time the pilot actually “sees” the real airplane ... he or she will have 200 passengers sitting in the cabin – awaiting their professional flight crew to take them to their chosen destination. This cannot occur by some slap-stick guess or by some throw-it-together-to-see-how-it-works process. To complicate the issue, we have seen pilots with little experience moving into positions of significant responsibility. We see pilots with questionable backgrounds through training, but having passed their last check, get assignments with similar significant responsibilities.

Once these aspects have been considered, developed, analyzed, and applied ... it then becomes a matter of how much training is necessary/appropriate. The answer to that question is, at the same time, both easy to answer and difficult to answer. Certainly the easy answer is to require the amount of training necessary to become proficient and competent on the specific task. In addition, the training that is completed would have to ensure that the subject pilot would be able to pull out of his/her “bag of tricks” and acceptable performance on any task asked of him/her during the final training session and for the proficiency evaluation. The difficult part of that answer gets wrapped into the issue of whether that task will be learned to an acceptable level – a proficient level – in one, two, four, twelve, or ?? attempts on that particular task? The answer here, most usually, is dependent on the individual pilot. Simply, some require less ... some require more.

What I can say is that the substantially best way to train a task is to do it over, and over, and over ... and continue that process until the instructor is convinced that the student is performing it successfully based on a legitimate analysis of the student’s performance. I seriously believe that the very best way to instruct is to find a way to describe to the student how to accomplish the task by using that student’s own preferences for measurement or gauging. As many of you know, some instructors teach exactly the way they, themselves, were taught. That is sometimes an “OK” thing ... but more often, it is not the very best way to teach an individual student.

I have not one, but two, “asides:”
1. A simple one to discuss – and not to suggest anyone going off on their own tangent without proper consideration and discussion with appropriate training and management personnel ... I think it entirely appropriate to teach all one can about how to control an airplane – and that would include non-traditional uses of traditional flight controls, power, flaps, speed brakes, etc. (Recall the United landing at Sioux City, Iowa – some call this “crew resource management” – that’s certainly OK, but I prefer to think of it as “alternative airplane control”). A simple example might include an experience with a nose up pitch attitude that is difficult to control, while the airplane seems to be reluctant to respond to direct forward or downward elevator control. An instructor might suggest rolling the airplane to move the upward lift vector off to the side, into a turning vector ... perhaps use of the autopilot will by-pass the non-autopilot control application ... perhaps partial extension of wing-mounted speed-brakes ... perhaps consider the reduction of power if the engines are located under-wing.

2. A more complex instructional technique is one where I seriously believe that the very best way to instruct is to find a way to describe to the student how to accomplish the task by using that student’s own preferences for measurement or gauging. As many of you know, some instructors teach exactly the way they, themselves, were taught. That is sometimes an “OK” thing ... but more often, it is not the very best way to teach an individual student. For example, if you wanted to teach a student how to acquire a “level flight attitude” achieved at the termination of a landing flare prior to touching down on the runway ... how would you describe what you wanted the student to do? Perhaps you would say, “at the conclusion of the landing flare the airplane should be placed in the level flight attitude,” and then explain that this is the best attitude from which a landing touchdown should be made. Would you consider telling that student, “at the conclusion of the landing flare, the airplane should be between 3 and 5 feet above the runway surface; do not allow the airplane to climb; do not allow the airplane to descend; do not allow the airplane to accelerate: do not allow the airplane to decelerate. Once at this point do not let the nose of the airplane increase or decrease from that position.’’ It may be my simplistic way of thinking, but I believe the first choice would result in the student asking what I would recommend for determining “level flight” attitude – and my goal is to avoid answering the “how” question – my goal is to have the student determine “how” they are going meet my demands. The second choice would provide substantial instruction to the student, including specific values to achieve. Of course the issue of power reduction will have to be included in the discussion ... and my favorite way around that issue is to tell the student that the latest point at which power reduction may be initiated is upon reaching the end of the flare (the earliest would be runway threshold crossing) ... and once power reduction is started, any adding of power MUST result in a rejected landing and a go-around – and the latest time that the power MUST be in “flight idle” would be at main gear touch-down.. My only reason for going into this level of detail is (hopefully) to demonstrate that in neither case have I told the student how to land the airplane. If he does OK with the first method ... (presuming I didn’t get or didn’t respond to any “how” questions) I’d leave it alone for awhile to see if the landings get better or worse. If they get better – I’d leave good enough alone. If it gets worse, I’d move on to the 2nd method and go from there. If he/she doesn’t do OK with the first method, or if I have described only the second method, that student will, necessarily get the airplane into a level flight attitude (as that is the definitional result of zero climb, zero descent, zero acceleration, and zero deceleration). As the airplane begins to decelerate (and it will, as we’ve changed attitude without adding power – and at the end of the flare we’ve begun reducing the power) the only thing the student can do to prevent further deceleration (since he/she cannot add power unless choosing to reject the landing and Go Around) is to release back pressure on the elevator control. However, we’ve already said that we don’t want to see the nose moving above or below the position achieved at the end of the flare, so there will only be a limited amount of elevator back-pressure that can be released. We’ve already stopped the student from continuing to pull back on the controls that might increase the nose position – we’ve discussed not moving the nose above or below the position achieved at the end of the flare – which would prevent the airplane from climbing and prevent the airplane’s tail from contacting the runway. If indeed the flare attitude was completed at 3 to 5 feet above the runway – the amount of time the student will be wrestling with him/her-self about releasing elevator back-pressure should be exquisitely short. If the initial flare is “completed” at a height of 20-30 feet above the runway ... I’d ask the pilot to go around and try that “height evaluation” again – and I’d continue to do that until the maximum height above the runway at the end of the flare is 10 feet or less.

OK ... “asides” over.
We were talking doing the task over and over and over and .... until that student is performing the task successfully ... based on a legitimate analysis of the student’s performance. Is it done now? NO. There has to be a revisiting of everything the student learns later in the syllabus – to facilitate the building block process. Some instructors are surprised to learn that a student will take something learned in performing one task, and apply that understanding, control “tweak,” sequencing, timing, speed of application ... whatever ... directly to another task that will make his/her accomplishment of that task easier, better, smoother, something. Good. Instructors should let that happen – fully grasping what that student is doing and why he or she is doing it. I do not advocate the student’s learning to do something in a way or in a sequence that is not recognized by the instructor. What the student is doing certainly “can” be due to an undiscovered process or technique that the instructor can then capitalize upon ... but usually that is not the case. If the student suddenly begins to appear to do something a lot better than before, and you cannot determine what or why – the chances are that student has talked with some of his/her buddies and have developed a temporary cheat-sheet methodology to “get through the check.” That is not acceptable in my book. We are not, or we should not be, teaching how to pass the test. We should be teaching how to fly the airplane. Cheat-sheet approaches usually wind up failing ... and doing so, miserably, at the most inopportune times! I believe instructors should, at all times, know exactly what his/her students are doing and why they are doing it the way they are doing it. If there are exceptions to this ... I haven’t yet come across one that I consider to be legitimate.

Finally, once all the tasks have been discussed academically and are understood intellectually ... once all the tasks have been tried, modified, tried again, and are regularly being accomplished, and accomplished satisfactorily, under the full and direct understanding of the person doing the task – now is the time that individual tasks may be incorporated into more traditional line operations. Some instructors believe that “situational scenarios” are the only way airline pilot training should be accomplished. I don’t believe that. While I think that these “situational scenarios” have significant benefit, I seriously believe that such exposures should be withheld until the student has demonstrated a rather good understanding and an relative ease in accomplishing the flight tasks presented. Intermixing these common or irregular tasks into a normal “line” sequence, does have value as regarding the other things that necessarily must be included in the periphery of any pilot’s daily operational thought-physical response event sequencing. Additionally, Crew Resource Management (CRM) has been talked about for over 30 years. And CRM has become a normally expected inclusion in the airline pilot training exposures. Make no mistake ... that is a good thing. However, as important as CRM can become, spending an inordinate amount of time briefing what you’re going to do to be sure the other pilot is fully aware of what you’re planning is, or at least could be, in my not-so-humble-opinion, a gargantuan misappropriation of time. If the two pilots in virtually any airplane operation are thoroughly trained and operate in accordance with the expected duties, tasks, and expectations ... a complete sequence of line operations can be conducted quite adequately – on time – and quite safely ... without either pilot uttering the first syllable to the other pilot. No, I don’t recommend this practice! No I wouldn’t expect such a thing to be seen ... even irregularly. The point is that well trained crews know what the other pilot is doing and knows what they, themselves are doing – and the critical issue is that each such pilot SHOULD recognize when he or the other pilot is NOT doing what is expected – what is right – what has been trained ... and any such “light bulb” recognition should be addressed – quickly – directly – and if necessary, forcefully.

So ... does that answer your question?
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Old 4th May 2012, 21:19
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What a detailed description of few examples of well done instructing. Thank you Sir, you describe instructing not only with knowledge and expierience, but also with lots of dedication.

safetypee
---then how can “new kinds of pilot training” help; what would we be training for? Similarly if those who have the knowledge and skills cannot communicate what they are, or how they might be taught, then again industry will struggle to improve the situation...
Unfortunately such kind of transfer of skills and knowledge -- and let me add "dedication to being or becoming a pilot" takes time and money. With the normal self financed approach into the cockpit the cheapest training approach is the most often used one. This system produces an output of pilots able to manage flights, but with a different understanding of points like AirRabbit mentioned in his excellent post. Afew years later those pilots seek an upgrade to the right seat (wheras the generation of pilots before was glad to have FO time with excellent captains) and train and observe the next generation of FO´s. Where will it end?

Last edited by RetiredF4; 5th May 2012 at 09:00.
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Old 5th May 2012, 12:35
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However, as important as CRM can become, spending an inordinate amount of time briefing what you’re going to do to be sure the other pilot is fully aware of what you’re planning is, or at least could be, in my not-so-humble-opinion, a gargantuan misappropriation of time. If the two pilots in virtually any airplane operation are thoroughly trained and operate in accordance with the expected duties, tasks, and expectations ... a complete sequence of line operations can be conducted quite adequately – on time – and quite safely ... without either pilot uttering the first syllable to the other pilot.
I am sure the majority would agree with you wholeheartedly - politically incorrect as you may be perceived

However, one only has to read numerous incident and accident reports where investigators (and the lawyers hungry to lay blame anywhere they scent a quick buck or ten), rip into the hapless crew member concerned for not having stuck to company SOP and briefed everything in the manual; even if, as you rightly point out, the manual contains an over-kill of numerous superfluous items. It was never really a flight safety issue but a liability arse-covering (aircrew or company) issue.
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Old 7th May 2012, 18:57
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Originally Posted by sheppey
I am sure the majority would agree with you wholeheartedly - politically incorrect as you may be perceived
Perhaps I need to make myself a bit more clear ... (I certainly don’t want to be perceived incorrectly ...) I am not at all being critical of CRM or of the necessities to ensure that all appropriate checklists are completed and that proper “crew coordination” is accomplished. I am simply pointing out that well trained crew members who understand what they are all taught and are aware of what the other pilot in the cockpit is supposed to be doing, to the extent that both pilots are comfortably aware that all that needs to be done, is, in fact, done, and done the correct way – isn’t necessarily dependent on one crew member briefing the other. Of course, conducting that briefing, in addition to the probability of its being superfluous, is also a requirement in most airline cockpits, and I’m never against doing what is required.
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Old 7th May 2012, 19:26
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Originally Posted by RetiredF4
What a detailed description of few examples of well done instructing. Thank you Sir, you describe instructing not only with knowledge and expierience, but also with lots of dedication.
Unfortunately such kind of transfer of skills and knowledge -- and let me add "dedication to being or becoming a pilot" takes time and money. With the normal self financed approach into the cockpit the cheapest training approach is the most often used one. This system produces an output of pilots able to manage flights, but with a different understanding of points like AirRabbit mentioned in his excellent post. Afew years later those pilots seek an upgrade to the right seat (wheras the generation of pilots before was glad to have FO time with excellent captains) and train and observe the next generation of FO´s. Where will it end?
First, sir, many thanks for the very kind remarks ... I’m just pointing out what these years of practicing “the art and science of aviation,” and the training that necessarily precedes that activity, has become so evident that you almost trip over it.

My concern is that the “traditional” path that eager young would-be pilots have used in their journey into the airline cockpit – although those sources have not gone away – are, I believe, going to be inundated to the extent that they will become unable to keep up with the demand. Also, I have it on reasonably good authority that if the recently mandated regulation changes that have been discussed (i.e., having pilots have a minimum of 1500 hours of flight time – even if that number is allowed to be reduced by some factor in light of having some sort of specialized training) is going to be a very difficult nut to crack, no matter how it’s struck. And then there’s the cost of that additional flight time ... unless all these folks can find “jobs” that will allow them to log flying time. I think we’re going to need an alternative way to meet those demands ... and, the bigger the demand ... the bigger the nut to crack!
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Old 8th May 2012, 13:49
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AirRabbit, thanks; you provide an example of excellence in training #89. However, I would add ‘thinking’ as an essential skill – thinking can be taught, it is necessary to ‘know’ when to use the other skills.
…”does this answer my question” … it might be unwise to conclude that we have an answer; yes the reply is sufficient, but we should not exclude other views and developments.

Your views on training represent an ideal, perhaps more suited to initial training. An alternative, with emphasis on experience could be an apprenticeship model; training on-the-job particularly for know-how / know-when skills, but this too is an ideal.
Unfortunately we are constrained by the reality of the world today, socially, commercially, and culturally, thus a solution has to be realistic and probably involves compromise. The industry requires more pilots, regulators suggest more training hours, and safety requires appropriately experienced pilots.
A flying licence is no longer a ‘license to learn’, where ability had to be demonstrated before advancement, it’s now a Captain’s ticket by right, thus training must match that and other expectations of industry.

Accidents and incidents involve all crew members; this suggests that existing Capts have already slipped through a poor system – your fear for the future. However, statistically this is not necessarily so; it may be just as likely that the tasks (in situational context) which the crew were asked to undertake were unrealistic, e.g. an aircraft can be flown without airspeed, but not by an inexperienced crew at night in turbulence; or a crew can detect a Rad Alt malfunction, but not under training in a time pressured low altitude approach scenario.
Thus shortfalls in training to meet the perceived automation task may not be the prime contributor to the problems. Safety could be maintained by adjusting tasks, exposure to situations, reduced time/workload pressures, or training.
We probably need to address all aspects, but which will be quicker, cheaper, or more effective?
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Old 8th May 2012, 14:15
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We probably need to address all aspects, but which will be quicker, cheaper, or more effective?
The answer has been in front of our eyes for years. Before type rating candidates in the simulator get heavily involved with the intricacy of sophisticated automation, the accent in the first few sessions should be on basic jet transport handling skills. That means flight directors off and automatics off.

Only when the candidate is confident and demonstrably competent at raw data instrument flying, unusual attitude recovery and landing in strong crosswinds, should the first stage of automation be introduced. This would go a long way to preventing automation addiction.
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Old 8th May 2012, 17:25
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Originally Posted by safetypee
I would add ‘thinking’ as an essential skill – thinking can be taught, it is necessary to ‘know’ when to use the other skills.
…”does this answer my question” … it might be unwise to conclude that we have an answer; yes the reply is sufficient, but we should not exclude other views and developments.
Two things … first, my rhetorical question of “…does this answer your question…” was meant to be somewhat humorous … in that I tend to (…heck … I don’t tend … I DO…) typically respond to what I call a “water cooler question” with what I call a “fire-hose answer.”

Second, I agree with you completely that there are all kinds of “skills” that need to be brought to any circumstance – and clearly “thinking” and “understanding” are part of those basic skill sets that are required.

The post by Tee Emm where he said:
Before type rating candidates in the simulator get heavily involved with the intricacy of sophisticated automation, the accent in the first few sessions should be on basic jet transport handling skills. That means flight directors off and automatics off.
Only when the candidate is confident and demonstrably competent at raw data instrument flying, unusual attitude recovery and landing in strong crosswinds, should the first stage of automation be introduced. This would go a long way to preventing automation addiction.
…this is exactly what I meant when, in my earlier post, I inserted the first of my 2 “asides” …
... I think it entirely appropriate to teach all one can about how to control an airplane – and that would include non-traditional uses of traditional flight controls, power, flaps, speed brakes, etc. (Recall the United landing at Sioux City, Iowa – some call this “crew resource management” – that’s certainly OK, but I prefer to think of it as “alternative airplane control”). A simple example might include an experience with a nose up pitch attitude that is difficult to control, while the airplane seems to be reluctant to respond to direct forward or downward elevator control. An instructor might suggest rolling the airplane to move the upward lift vector off to the side, into a turning vector ... perhaps use of the autopilot will by-pass the non-autopilot control application ... perhaps partial extension of wing-mounted speed-brakes ... perhaps consider the reduction of power if the engines are located under-wing.
…perhaps I didn’t make myself clear enough (…and I do that often, I guess) what I was referring to was getting the pilot to know and understand his/her airplane … as much of it as we can get across in a not-terribly-extended training profile. Nothing will replace being knowledgeable about how YOUR airplane behaves – and the more you know … the broader your familiarity about how YOUR airplane responds to differing situations, the better you will be able to respond to bring that airplane back to where you want it – or, better yet – not let it get away from where you wanted it in the first place.

But, when we want to turn out pilots in the cheapest, quickest, cookie-cutter time frame … there is likely to be at least something (more likely a lot of “somethings”) that aren’t presented, played with, become comfortable with, understand, know, and ultimately “own” as the person in charge of that airplane (from brake release to resetting those brakes) … and that (those) thing(s) may (it’s not a sure thing … but may…) be important at some time in the future.

This is my concern with going completely to a "scenairo based" training process. While I have NO problem with incorporating such "scenairo based" exposures into a training program - I think it is important to note that when one decides to include each and every task as part of a "line-based" flight profile, the time involved becomes obstructive to the intent of the training we set out to provide. What we need initially is good, precise, repetitive, corrected-when-necessary, training ... task by task ... over and over - and in this I include the necessity to become familiar with YOUR airplane. For example, how long has it been since you've taken YOUR airplane and flown it - turned it - climbed 500 feet - descended 500 feet, while right at the initiation of the stall warning? We can intellectually understand that the flight controls are not as "effective" at those airspeeds - slower airflow means more deflection decessary for the same response. The airplane is the airplane - when it moves it has the same inertia - so stopping the airplane once it starts to move, again requires more control deflection to get stopped what you got started initially. But "intellectually understanding" and "physically experiencing" are two different things - and the more "things" you can experience about any particular aspect of YOUR airplane, the BETTER and more completely you learn YOUR airplane.

I know I'm a training guy ... and therefore I look at everything through that end of the pipe ... but I also am aware that we cannot train 364 days a year and fly for the company (to make a profit) on that one remaining day each year (be still my beating heart!). What I would like to see is our collective provision for each pilot to get the most we can provide out of what we are allowed/required to do ... A dream? Perhaps ... but is MY dream none-the-less.

Last edited by AirRabbit; 8th May 2012 at 20:14.
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Old 9th May 2012, 00:30
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maybe the problems is hiring low time pilots? I got on with a ''big'' airline with over 5000 hours. Virtually none of it was autopilot time !

hiring someone with even 1500 hours isn't a whole lot of time.
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Old 9th May 2012, 02:04
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ssr, it just beats 350 hrs but just barely. 5,000 hrs was our minimum but it doesn't seem to be the standard any more. I guess we need a few AF447 incidents to understand the importance of experience and not just computer monitors flying your airplane. I wonder how many actual hours the 2900 hr pilot had flying and not monitoring an autopilot. Very few is my guess. Maybe 200 a long time ago? Kind of scary, isn't it?
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Old 9th May 2012, 04:07
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Yes scary, two computer programmers does not equal one pilot!
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Old 9th May 2012, 06:40
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Before type rating candidates in the simulator get heavily involved with the intricacy of sophisticated automation, the accent in the first few sessions should be on basic jet transport handling skills. That means flight directors off and automatics off.

Only when the candidate is confident and demonstrably competent at raw data instrument flying, unusual attitude recovery and landing in strong crosswinds, should the first stage of automation be introduced. This would go a long way to preventing automation addiction.
That is the answer right there.
If they can´t get through that phase then they shouldn´t be up the front.
I don´t care if they were born with the skill or developed it by flying light twins for three years in the bush, as long as they have it then proceed to the next phase of type rating.
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Old 9th May 2012, 09:45
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Warning or Instruction

Approaching a stall a warning is announced: stall, stall. Would it not be better if an instruction were given: stick forward, nose down.

Also, had the AoA been prominently displayed, the PIC of AF447 would have surely seen the problem immediately he returned.

I know nothing about flying an airliner, but I would expect the PIC to take control of any aircraft that was out of control. He knew the engines were operating and the aircraft was sinking at 10,000ft/min. Did he not think he could do better?

No doubt plenty could be said about training and recruitment but this much seems obvious to me.
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Old 9th May 2012, 11:13
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More time in the flare ?

There are an increasing number of very well known airlines today who put 200 hour ab initio pilots straight into 747/A340/777 long haul operations.

If you consider the usual SOPs regarding the use of autopilot and that many would be very lucky to get 20 sectors per year (post cruise pilot years) I would guess that the average amount of hands on per year would be in the order of 100 minutes. Of course, the hands on would mainly come after the aircraft has been configured and stabilized 4-6 miles out by the autopilot.

So some 10-15 years down the road when command comes around they would have, post initial training, about 16 to 25 hours of handling, in 2-3 minute bursts, under their belt.

To quote the old joke, I think I've got more time in the flare

Just a thought
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Old 9th May 2012, 17:02
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He's an idiot. Plane and simple. He's trying to set the tone, direction, value and purpose so to speak of the pilots and he has it wrong.

His attitude is one that perpetrates the concept that eventually automation will be so good, that a pilot is just there to monitor and fix problems that arise.

When the SOPS, Checklist Guys, Avionics manufacturers can determine how much ice is too much, just how much airspeed loss is too much, then make a decision to head into that airport with an NDB approach barely at minimums that another guy just missed at vs trying to continue the climb to get over the hills, to the other airport, then I might start listening to guys like this. I can cook up a thousand scenarios that can prove him wrong.

This is way more then having pilots that can fly without the autopilot or not, this is about trusting mechanical systems that are known to break, and training pilots to lean on gear so heavily that today, the reason they crash, in simple terms, they can't fly without the gear to do the flying for them.
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