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Airbus takes pilots back to basics with the A350

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Airbus takes pilots back to basics with the A350

Old 29th Sep 2012, 14:33
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only the ignorant can't fly an automated flight control system.
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 15:50
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Opinion that matters is the one of the certifying authorities.
Don't count on that. Back in my days at Boeing, we managed the FAA's expectations very carefully. We were the authorities on the right way to do things and any opinions to the contrary were pushed back aggressively. The FAA was there to bless the design certification (which our DERs approved) and as long as we checked off the applicable regulatory requirements by test or analysis, that was the end of it.

If you expect the FAA, EASA or whoever to step up and recommend one approach over another, its going to be a long search for an official with a political death wish.

While they do work with test pilots to achieve optimal compromise in cockpit design and can occasionally even lend an ear to pilots' associations, they never, ever take into consideration posts made on anonymous forums.
I would hope the ear would be lent more than occasionally. I would expect that FAA officials lurking on this (and other) boards probably take away little more than entertainment value. But many of the people here have more than a passing interest in aviation issues and probably participate in professional organizations alongside the regulators.

But here again, Boeing (and I expect Airbus) actively participate as well. They recruit allies to their views of the way things should be done. And they identify opponents. So if you are a vocal side stick or yoke proponent, you can count on support from your manufacturer. But if you are in a position where the opposite camp can call their legislator, you'd be better off smiling and listening.
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 16:40
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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ACBUS is exactly right; why does not everyone see this?
Looking at the other side stick to see what the other pilot is doing does not work; I was told the side stick does not actually move? How then would you see what is being done?
I did one of the first Boeing 757 type ratings in Seattle and the program was for about 26 hours sim, including 2 hours at the end for pure manual flying. Practically nobody was up to speed on the automatic operation of the airplane by then and most never got to see the sim flown manually. Probably most never flew it manually ever during their career and I suspect many pilots are afraid to do so. In one airline I flew with the pilots preferred automatics (and this is in Boeing airplanes) because they reasoned that if there was a problem such as an altitude bust they could claim that "the autopilot did it".
I fly small airplanes now (from ultra light through floats/skis and King Air) and would not be capable if I had not maintained my manual flying skills while in the airlines.
You don't use it, you lose it.
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 16:52
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Originally Posted by Alpagueur320 View Post
Considering D Davies's background as a test pilot, I can imagine his views were shared by many of his colleagues, and it makes me wonder where those guys were when Airbus decided to remove what they might have thought was the 'best line of defense'....????
On the board of pilot engineers who assisted with, assessed and signed off the design. Look up Gordon Corps (who was Davies' successor at the ARB, then later went to work for Airbus).

Davies was coming from a postwar to early '70s perspective. A lot changed between then and the advent of the A320.

Last edited by DozyWannabe; 29th Sep 2012 at 17:39.
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 21:07
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Agreed entirely. Point made. Even better if the pilots had a military background and had practiced recovery from unusual attitudes in a fast jet.

Rgds old fuddy duddy.
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 21:11
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Originally Posted by acbus 1
AF447 with yokes would still be in one piece and the passengers would be moaning about nothing more than a bumpy flight. Try arguing otherwise
Any jet transport held at 10 degrees nose up at 37,000' will stall. Yokes or not. The sad truth is the lack of experience in the flight-deck. As a several thousand hour Airbus pilot (heavies) I know EXACTLY what is happening with control inputs and thrust...

If you really want to talk A v B, how about the two 737s lost in the last couple of years out of Douala and Beirut? Lack of SA as to what the aeroplane was doing. And the one at AMS...

I rest my case!
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 21:33
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"Any jet transport held at 10 degrees nose up at 37,000' will stall. Yokes or not. The sad truth is the lack of experience in the flight-deck. As a several thousand hour Airbus pilot (heavies) I know EXACTLY what is happening with control inputs and thrust... "


So ... if the captain had felt his yoke being pulled back.... he wouldn't of corrected?

447 was in part caused by the co-pilot pulling back on the sidestick.... something the captain (acting captain) could not feel from the cr*ppy bit of plastic in his hand.
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Old 29th Sep 2012, 22:05
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Originally Posted by Alex757 View Post
So ... if the captain had felt his yoke being pulled back.... he wouldn't of corrected?
The Captain came back from rest partway through the sequence and sat on the third seat in the centre. He did not have a set of controls.

[And incidentally, in the Birgenair 301 crash (a B757), the PNF (in this case the F/O) had a yoke in front of him which would have indicated that the PF (Captain) was pulling back into the stall - he either did not see or feel it, or saw it and felt unable to challenge the Captain for control.]

447 was in part caused by the co-pilot pulling back on the sidestick.... something the captain (acting captain) could not feel from the cr*ppy bit of plastic in his hand.
Firstly, the Airbus sidesticks are actually very chunky pieces of metal - Airbus do not source parts from arcade manufacturers.

Secondly, the PNF (who was in the LHS) was *well* aware that the PF had been pulling up, but seems to have been overwhelmed by the mounting problem before the Captain arrived.

Last edited by DozyWannabe; 29th Sep 2012 at 22:12.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 01:19
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Whatever Airbus says their product is simply not 'just another Aircraft'


They can try to pretend that it is with inane statements like that but the layers of complexity in the automation and lack of feedback in the flight controls and autothrust just don't back up that statement.


They had to be different than Boeing, and just for the sake of a 'more advanced' cockpit they designed and built a non intuitive, un -user friendly machine that in normal operations takes the Pilots so far out of the loop that when something seriously goes wrong like AF447 they are faced with handling a machine with totally different properties than they are accustomed to.


An Aircraft that literally has several different handling 'personalities'



Airbus got it all wrong.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 02:11
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Stilton, that is presumably based on your extensive experience in operating Airbus aircraft? Out of curiosity, just how many thousand hours do you have in command of an Airbus such that you can make such wild, and seemingly ignorant/baseless accusations?
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 05:47
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Excuse me for askig but is there a command in use for FBW aircraft, something like, "Taking over - Hands Off."
It's called saying "My airplane."
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 05:57
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Good question Squawk, I have a little over 20,000 hours in Boeing and Douglas Aircraft.


Not one in an Airbus, my opinion is just that.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 06:27
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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Airbus got it all wrong.
Not one in an Airbus, my opinion is just that.
I'm just trying to tie these two statements together. Given that you have precisely zero experience with Airbus, don't you think it would be somewhat prudent to keep an open mind before making it up?
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 06:44
  #54 (permalink)  
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Airbus got it all wrong.
and
Not one in an Airbus, my opinion is just that.
So typical!

Last edited by Dream Land; 30th Sep 2012 at 06:46.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 06:54
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@ White Knight
Any jet transport held at 10 degrees nose up at 37,000' will stall. Yokes or not.
Agree. But in the aftermath of AF447 we tried to duplicate the event in a T7 sim. -- We were simply not capable of upholding a full back-pull for more than 20"! The forces were too big. How about that as protection? So basically, blending out the apparent loss of SA, the provocative author was right, a prolonged pull-back that led to this stall is almost impossible on the FBW T7.

As a several thousand hour Airbus pilot (heavies) I know EXACTLY what is happening with control inputs and thrust...
As I mentioned above, I have quite some experience in the sim of different FBW aircraft. Reading your statement, I must admit, you must be extremely proficient. In my experience most even very good pilots are a bit confused at some time in a modern cockpit, even the very good Airbus pilots.

If you really want to talk A v B, how about the two 737s lost in the last couple of years out of Douala and Beirut? Lack of SA as to what the aeroplane was doing. And the one at AMS...
Tit for tat again, the omnipresent "... but some morons even crashed a Boeing! Gotcha ...." it's so tiring.
SA loss is possible in any flying device. What people say here,is merely that if you bundle information through one channel only, leaving a very old, instinctive other one deliberately out, you might just increase the chance of loss a bit more. Anyone denying this simple fact has never really studied human behaviour and capabilities.

@ stilton
Airbus got it all wrong.
Now this is simply not true. Too many daily flights that work just fine.
They got two things different to other FBW aircraft and there is the debate (or at least for those who can see through the rose tinted AB glasses).
1. The absence of tactile feedback
2. The difficulty of direct intervention beyond protections


@ Squawk 7600
Given that you have precisely zero experience with Airbus, don't you think it would be somewhat prudent to keep an open mind before making it up?
You are basically right. But I would like to know how many of the Airbus defenders have experience on other big FBW aircraft and still they post uncriticised.
Anyway, I have flown 3 big FBW birds and think I am entitled to a unbiased point of view. But just look at the flak I get from people who don't even fly!!!!
We should be careful.

Anyone can inform himself to a degree of being able to make a statement.
Sometimes it would be helpful if they'd stated their hands on experience as well....

Last edited by Gretchenfrage; 30th Sep 2012 at 06:56.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 07:24
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The lack of tactile feedback is a flaw.

The question is: what is the benefit of it with respect to conventional systems? (other than less weight?)

I don't have statistics. How many accidents have happened due to a malfunction of the AT servos or interlinking mechanisms of the yokes?

I have flown 5,000 on airbus fbw, and I like it and understand it very well, but a pilot must know the weaknesses of its airplane very intimately. Sidestick malfunctions are tricky and very dangerous in the most exposed situations (take off and flare). The ATHR interface is cool, but it takes time and many sims to make it part of your instinct. They should include a separate section for ATHR use in thr FCTM. I have seen many times in the sim pilots confused by the thrust lock cautions every second, and the thrust levers unattended for too long. It is not enough to say aviate, navigate and communicate. Thrust handling is part of aviate, and so understands it airbus, since you have THR LK amber in the PFD. it should be stressed that the ECAM caution has less priority than many other failures, and so you hear the master caution but you cant read the ECAM. But the PFD is there.

I also would like airbus to give more guidelines regarding the "automation level appropriate for the task" thing, because airlines interpret that as full automation unless there is malfunction, and that makes not sense
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 07:31
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Gretchenfrage has got it spot on, and as a A/B (got my first command on a 320) and Boeing experienced driver, I agree entirely.
In day to day Ops the Airbus is a delight to fly, it's easy, relatively carefree and it's comfortable, however, throw in a few non normals, and the the thing is a handful at best.
The philosophy is utterly un-user friendly and requires an cognitive shift to allow yourself to accept certain Airbusisms. A great example of this is the utterly inane use of complex and complicated terminology when far more simple and understood terms of reference already exist...example AOTILS, Approach Other Than I L S, which for everyone else in avaition land is a non precision approach but no, Airbus have to be different. This added layer of complexity is carried through all the layers up to and including the pilot machine interface, and is manifestly ignorant of the way we all react to stimulus when flying ie. tactile feedback.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 10:27
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Biggles??

White Knight Quote:-"As a several thousand hour Airbus pilot (heavies) I know EXACTLY what is happening with control inputs and thrust..."

I would hope so - this is what the paying passenger expects.

However, I am always a bit wary of pilots who blow their own trumpets. The most capable pilots that I flew with were also the most modest.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 12:22
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The first three days in the A350 simulator will be about letting the pilots find out that it is "just another aeroplane". Without using any of the sophisticated flight guidance systems they will be able to find out how it flies and what that feels like. These pilots may not have done that for years on the aircraft they fly now, so they might find out a few things about themselves as well as the A350.
This is pretty much how our first simulator conversion flight was conducted in the A340 with Airbus Training in the mid-1990s. Fly the machine, have some fun, do some circuits and we will teach you about the esoterics later on...it's just another aircraft.

It seems that when the customer Airlines subsequently get involved with any conversion training, they ride roughshod over niceties that get in the way of finding shortcuts that impinge upon meeting only the minimum legal qualifications and resultant profits. Sadly, I report that my own Airline was a case in point.

There is nothing wrong with any of the airliners or manufacturers, just the training provided by the crumby two-bit customers who buy the machines and this includes most of the Major Airlines of the World...I kid you not.
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Old 30th Sep 2012, 15:20
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Originally Posted by FlexibleResponse View Post
It seems that when the customer Airlines subsequently get involved with any conversion training, they ride roughshod over niceties that get in the way of finding shortcuts that impinge upon meeting only the minimum legal qualifications and resultant profits. Sadly, I report that my own Airline was a case in point.
Reading between the lines of a lot of conversations I've had on here over the years, I've long suspected that this was the case to a greater or lesser extent. Thanks for that - hope you'll stick around!

Originally Posted by Monarch Man View Post
...requires an cognitive shift to allow yourself to accept certain Airbusisms.
With all due respect, some people refer to such a "cognitive shift" as "learning". If you're genuinely worried about how the aircraft handles in abnormal situations, then your employers have not trained you properly.

Last edited by DozyWannabe; 30th Sep 2012 at 15:23.
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