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Lionair plane down in Bali.

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Lionair plane down in Bali.

Old 17th Apr 2013, 02:33
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Rain......

It appears the aircraft was in rain...have a look at the windshield wiper positions from the photographs. They were in use.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 03:35
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ExSp33db1rd: Wrt "When in doubt look out of the window and fly the aeroplane."

Always & indeed!

Automation, when used correctly & appropriately, and when one understands it (though more especially when one understands its limitations) can be excellent at helping get the aircraft safely & smoothly down to a position where the remainder of the approach can be conducted 'visually' (i.e. without further reference to instruments,... aside from keeping an occasional eye upon ones ASI ).

I would add that, imho, the avionics in the B737 are actually quite slick, i.e. especially so when compared to, say, the B757/B767 (they being the only other Boeing types that I have flown), and certainly so in a B737-NG if it's been fitted with all the bells & whistles (ours even have a HUD/HGS). BUT, one still needs to keep on top of it and be able to recognise when the automation is going wrong... and then, it's click click (autopilot off) + click click (auto-throttle off).

And by way of examples, I'm sure we've all seen plenty of approaches wherein people get themselves 'high' as a result of failing to recognise that the VNAV PATH simply isn't working (regardless of what might programmed in the FMC)... and worse, get themselves 'low' when the aircraft silently drops out of VNAV PATH into VNAV SPD though, even on a VOR approach (in a B737NG, at least) you will then likely get a "GLIDESLOPE" aural alert (though for the life of me I can't see why Boeing didn't make that call-out say "GLIDEPATH", which would be a technically more accurate call-out based upon what one is following vertically).

Fwiw, amongst other places, we use the 'automatics' for non-precision approaches into Kathmandu (VOR R02) and also into Kabul (RNAV R29)... and both can give one a few uneasy moments and / or even royally f**k-you-up (especially due to 'operator' error!)... but it's how todays companies want it done!... the 'skill' is recognising (=experience) when it's going wrong and having a strategy & ability to deal with it (be that to either continue or to go-around)!

You might also consider that in todays litigious society and / or where the 'no-blame culture' is now very often highly punitive (it being a state of play which many companies impose, therein paying veritable 'lip service' to the true ethos of 'safety') which leads to pilots being somewhat opposed to actually 'flying the aeroplane' and therein becoming a slave to the automatics.

Fwiw, I (too) apologise to all for what might seem to be thread creep but, as a Captain on that type, I have a most definite interest in how / why this crash happened and, reading some of the previous posts, there seemed (to me) to be some 'confusion' out there about various aspects of the operation and abilities of the B737NG, both in terms of altimeter setting procedures and also wrt the modes (and limits therein) of how one might fly a non-precision approach, in this aircraft type.

For the benefit of all, this video presentation is legend:

Last edited by Old King Coal; 17th Apr 2013 at 03:58. Reason: typo
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 03:56
  #443 (permalink)  
 
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imho, the avionics in the B737 are actually quite slick
Have a go at an MD system (MD11/717). VNAV PATH?? VNAV SPD?? Pardon the French, but WTF??
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 03:58
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"I would add that, imho, the avionics in the B737 are actually quite slick, i.e. especially so when compared to, say, the B757/B767"

Wow.
I'm typed on the 73NG, 75 and 76.
Either I've misunderstood your remarks or you must be one of very few pilots on the planet who think the NG avionics are quite slick. But there we go.

The inability to disengage APPR mode without introducing a lot of drama at a rather inappropriate time is a bit ridiculous AND dangerous IMHO. Perhaps Mr. Learmount might look into that during his research into botched go-arounds. He might find a smoking gun.
The obvious lack of EICAS in the NGs despite their being marketed much later than the 57 and 67 is a bit of a miss on Boeing's part I'd say. And it isn't about to change on the MAX either. Could the NG be better? Hell yes!! Is the MAX going to be better? Hell no!! New engines. That's it?
That's it.

But to diminish the B757/767 this way ...really???

Otherwise, I enjoyed your post.

Last edited by Willie Everlearn; 17th Apr 2013 at 04:21.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 05:07
  #445 (permalink)  
 
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Capn Bloggs: I'd love to fly the MD11, and I nearly did, but it slipped through my aeroplane net... but never say never, eh?!

VNAV PATH = basically the vertical profile that is computed, by the FMC (prior to Top of Descent), as being the most efficient descent path, i.e. when passing over a projected set of waypoints (as defined within the FMC Legs page), whilst also making allowance for any altitude constraints, and using a range of speeds (programmable within the FMC and / or 'cost-index' derived).

VNAV SPeedD = the vertical mode that the aircraft reverts to when it decides that it is unable (for any number of reasons) to follow the idealised VNAV PATH. With suitable pilot input it might be possible to recapture the original VNAV PATH, albeit that this might require more robust inputs, such as 'Speed Intervene', or 'Level Change', or 'Vertical Speed', or even manual flying by way of actually moving the thrust levers & flight controls oneself, forsooth !

Willie Everlearn: In the B757-200's & B767-300's that I flew it was not possible to fly a VOR coupled to an autopilot, i.e. one could couple the autopilot to the 'LOC' (and indeed at glideslope capture it would automatically engage all 3 autopilots, whether you wanted it to or not) but there was no facility for 'VOR/LOC', i.e. to make the autopilot capture and maintain VOR radial (unlike the B737) and thus use of the HDG knob was required in order to keep the VOR course bar in the centre.

The B737 Classic & NG does a nice job (inside the 'glass') of automatically (i.e. no pilot input required) making localiser sensing 'reverse sense' when one does a back-course localiser approach (or maybe when doing a circle-to-land from the front course of an ILS approach), though I'd equally contest that one can't couple a back-course localiser to the autopilot in a B737, though I seem to recall that in the B757/B767 one could do that (i.e. if you pressed the BCRS button on the MCP... it being a button which the B737 does not have?).

Furthermore, in the B757/B767 (that I flew) there was no GPS fitted and therein one was reliant upon the 3 IRS's and, good as they were, they are not even close when compared to position keeping available via the GPS fitted as standard in a B737NG... and which no doubt accounts for why the B757/B767 suffer somewhat wrt being able to comply with RNP required of most RNAV departures and arrivals ?!

As for exiting out of an approach mode being a 'drama'... all of the aforementioned aircraft types have their idiosyncrasies in this respect.

E.g. For getting out of an ILS APP mode on a B737, my preferred technique is to reach down and de-tune/re-tune the ILS frequency (it's just a simple button press) wherein, if the autopilot happens to be connected and flying the ILS for you, it will then revert in to Control Wheel Steering (CWS) and maintain which ever amount of pitch & roll it was doing when the tuning button was first pressed (and it will not re-engage in APP mode, i.e. when you press the tuning button a 2nd time, to re-tune / re-select the ILS. To capture back on to the ILS you'd need to re-select the APP button on the MCP).
One can than select any other mode (even APP) on the MCP and the autopilot will comply (as it's still engaged, albeit in CWS until you select another MCP mode), therein this is a natty method of breaking out of an ILS approach, e.g. perhaps into a circling manoeuvre (especially when one considers how it then subsequently manages the 'glass' / LOC guidance when one approaches the runway from the other end), and doing so with the autopilot always engaged.

To do the same thing on a B757/B767 (and it's been a few years since I last flew them), I seem to recall that if one was coupled up to an ILS with autopilots engaged, to break-out of the ILS, e.g. into a circle-to-land, all one had to do was press the Go-Around switch, then immediately press ALT HOLD, and then select a different pitch & roll mode on the MCP. We used to use this method when circling to land our B757's at Chambéry Airport (IATA: CMF / ICAO: LFLB) though one needed to remember to press the BCRS button on the MCP (when on the downwind leg), if one wished for correct LOC sensing as one approached the runway from the other end.

The point here, for either B737/B757/B767, being to use the most accurate method to get aircraft down to circling minima, then breaking off into Circling, all whilst keeping the autopilot engaged to 'reduce workload'.

Wrt to the Cat IIIB capabilities of the B757/B767, you might be interested to know that the B737 can now do that too... indeed we use our HGS/HUD for that very purpose, and therein whilst we are currently only Cat IIIA, we are rapidly heading towards approval for single-engine landings, in 75m RVR, manually flown!

I totally agree with you about the lack of EICAS in the B737 and, fwiw, the B757 remains my favourite aeroplane !

Last edited by Old King Coal; 17th Apr 2013 at 06:04.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 06:32
  #446 (permalink)  
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Philipat;
PJ2. Based on my observations of the weather in Bali at the time of the accident, I have always thought that your conjecture may be correct.
For one thing we know that the windshield wipers were likely operating just prior to impact.

In my experience, the windshield wipers are used very rarely. The slipstream blows most water from the windshield. It takes a lot of rain to obscure forward visibility and what's more, the wipers usually struggle keeping up.

My thought is, if the wipers were being used, (and they're not in the 'parked' position), then, however briefly, (and I agree with the poster who said you can't forecast these things), the rain had to be heavy.

For those who don't fly these aircraft and may be curious about the go-around manoeuvre, with minor variations, standard go-around procedure is simultaneous setting of pitch (15deg minimum) & power, (TOGA: Take Off / Go Around thrust), while pushing the TOGA buttons to set the FDs and any other auto-items to the go-around mode, (or, in the Airbus, setting thrust levers in the TOGA detent), retracting the flaps (usually one step) and getting the gear up.

The PNF monitors pitch & power to make sure the aircraft is climbing and if pitch-power-thrust aren't what they should be, is required to call out the parameters, (speed, altitude, vertical speed, pitch). It's a busy time and demanding of cockpit procedures and crew discipline. The main problem in go-arounds is not getting the pitch right up to the required attitude. Another item is forgetting to raise the gear, (no one says, "positive rate", which is the cue). But in sims, on the line or in flight data, I've never seen anyone leave the power where it was for the approach - it's always 'in the kitchen'.

PJ2

Last edited by PJ2; 17th Apr 2013 at 06:53.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 06:46
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I've been following this with interest and after travelling for a day, another three pages to digest!

OKC,
Thanks for your description of the 737 NG approach modes, particularly the IAN mode. You have answered a question I was going to ask before posting the following observation.

The 09 VOR plate posted early on in this thread shows a 2.38 degree descent path from from the FAF with crossing altitudes at various DME distances, including the MAPt. This is the first time I have seen an NPA plate with an approach slope. Out of curiosity, I checked the various altitudes with the 2.38 degree angle and they all agree. I then extrapolated the descent path and discovered that it reaches sea level exactly at the runway threshold. I find this surprising. I would have thought the TDZ would have been a better design criterion.

This seems to be a potential trap if a crew continued to use the IAN mode when continuing the approach after the MAPt.

Last edited by India Four Two; 17th Apr 2013 at 06:47.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 06:53
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As I suggested in post 362 not setting go-around thrust is at least a conceivable scenario. The good news is that no one was killed and with the plane easily accessible we should know relatively quickly what really happened.

The very good news is that if (so far we are all speculating) this really was operator error, then here is clear proof that pay to fly / erosion of conditions / call it what you will, is financially a questionable idea.

It is unlikely that the authorities are going to act as quickly as we would all like (at least those of us at the sharp end) to legislate worlwide against P2F. But if you write off brand new Boeings as a result then the insurance and leasing companies will start to take notice. So far management have told us everyone is doing it and there is no issue. Events are starting to suggest otherwise.

Insurance for eighteen year olds in high performance cars is logically hard to get. Once the insurance and leasing companies recognise pay to fly is very similar they will understand what a spectacularly bad idea it is financially and do something about it.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 06:59
  #449 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by India Four Two
This seems to be a potential trap if a crew continued to use the IAN mode when continuing the approach after the MAPt.
Well, it shouldn't be a trap for anyone who can fly a visual approach in a transport, and see/use the PAPI, which is set at 3deg. After all, a non-precision approach is essentially just a cloud-breaking procedure that keeps you vertically away and safe from obstacles until you can see the runway.

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Old 17th Apr 2013, 07:04
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PJ2,

I agree with you, but there is a lot of discussion these days about automation dependency and the Children of the Magenta. It just seemed odd to me that someone would design an approach where continuing below the MDA, using the same descent rate, would cause you to arrive at a concrete breakwater, rather than the TDZ.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 07:21
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India Four Two - thanks for the reply. I was kind of thinking that that design may have more to do with how it is required to be constructed, as the expectation is you'd be visual to continue the approach and the descent procedure isn't intended as precision guidance. I see your point but by the time the design has done its job, you should be flying visually and where it "ends up" is not vital.

I certainly understand the remarks regarding, and the problems concerning automation dependency and have even written about it in the past. That "generation of children" is just starting out, (it's about fifteen years old now) and it's going to take some time and some accidents to take the industry back to actually teaching and knowing how to fly vice "managing" the airplane.

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Old 17th Apr 2013, 07:32
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MDA +50FT

Just a thought, although it could be moot if TOGA thrust was not applied in a GA.
Doesn't the Boeing FCTM "recommend" adding 50ft to all MDAs to allow for undershoot in the GA?
This would then make the MDA 520ft and not the charted 470ft, with the MCP set for the nearest '00 feet (should be 600ft but who knows until the DFDR/CVRs are analysed.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 07:51
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Metar

This picture shows at the upper right a dark raining cloud:



Copyright and Photograph: AFP/Getty/Indonesian SAR
Link: Downdraft theory in Lion Air crash | World news | guardian.co.uk

And the Guardian reported:

"According to the Flight Safety Foundation, bulletins for pilots at around that time indicated a few storm clouds at 518 metres (1,700ft) and a wind blowing moderately but varying in its direction from east-south-east to the west. "

WADD 130730Z 15006KT 110V270 9999 FEW017CB SCT017 30/25 Q1007 NOSIG
WADD 130700Z 09006KT 9999 BKN017 30/26 Q1007 NOSIG
WADD 130630Z 16003KT 090V190 9999 BKN017 30/25 Q1007 NOSIG
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 08:04
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The reason you add 50ft is due to the aircraft descending below MDA on the go around when conducting a CDA to minimums. So you wouldn't have the MDA+50ft set in the MCP, you would have the go around alt set.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 08:04
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Originally Posted by India Four Two
The 09 VOR plate posted early on in this thread shows a 2.38 degree
- I do not draw the same conclusions. If you refer to post #244, I see a nominal 2.8 degrees to the VOR position which is not far off the TDZ? I cannot see any problem with the chart. As WG says, DA should (normally) be 520' for a charted MDA approach, but Lion may not have implemented that - some carriers apparently do not.

If we therefore assume that the charted approach would 'aim' at the VOR, and that we appear to be surmising loss of visual BELOW MDA, the actual slopes etc are not particularly relevant, and would have been 'aiming' roughly at the TDZ anyway. We must look elsewhere. If, and NB IF, we are looking at an 'approach power g/a', then no amount of chart wizardry would have helped.

I think we also need to drop this 'P2F' thing on this accident. I have seen either 10,000 or 15,000 hrs quoted for the Captain, and if those hrs are genuine and he was still 'paying' for his flying.......................? Also P2's (?2000?) hrs are less relevant even if he was P2F since it has been said that the Captain 'took over'.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 08:16
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WHO will be examining the FDR and CVR and is there any chance of shenanigans if they don't like what comes up?
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 08:34
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The 09 VOR plate posted early on in this thread shows a 2.38 degree descent path from from the FAF with crossing altitudes at various DME distances, including the MAPt. This is the first time I have seen an NPA plate with an approach slope.
You need to hop onto your authority and get it to include the approach angle on the charts. We've had them here for years. Depending on your company's SOP approaching the MDA, it is essential because it tells you what FPA angle to set approaching the MDA/DDA. If the chart says 3.46°, no point in setting 3° if you really want to get in. Similarly in this case, if you set 3°, you'll end up low as the approach angle is 2.8°.

We have also had an Altitude/Distance table for every mile in from the FAF for many years. Good for SA or when the database approach is not available.

In practice, these database approaches take to us 50ft-ish AGL over the threshold and I would be surprised if this one did otherwise. So they "aim" at short final using the VOR for tracking reference, and the DME distance (adjusted for distance to the threshold) for slope reference.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 09:13
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Photo of the weather at the time of the accident

Folks,

Both Transition Layer and myself in posts 255 and 260 on the 14th mentioned there was weather on final at the time of the accident and the Virgin Australia aircraft went around due to this weather.

Well today I was sent the following link to this website containing a photo of heavy shower on the final approach path, taken from the terminal at time of the accident.

WWW.CRASH-AERIEN.AERO ? Un avion de Lion Air tombe en mer à l'atterrissage à Bali

This photo (if true) matches the information about the Virgin Australia go-around due weather, the Lion Air passenger report about heavy rain just before they hit the water and the photos of the 737 showing the wipers not parked. I think this photo puts to bed people saying there was no weather on final at the time of the accident.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 09:15
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Who will be examining the FDR and CVR?

"Who will be examining the FDR and CVR and is there any chance of shenanigans?"

Boeing will be one of the first to get a copy of the FDR data. Probably they already have it.
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Old 17th Apr 2013, 09:16
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Depending on your company's SOP approaching the MDA, it is essential because it tells you what FPA angle to set approaching the MDA/DDA. If the chart says 3.46°, no point in setting 3° if you really want to get in. Similarly in this case, if you set 3°, you'll end up low as the approach angle is 2.8°.
Er, please tell me you're not serious. How/where would you "set" FPA approaching MDA? At MDA you're either visual or you go-around. If you've flown the approach as a CDFA (Continuous Descent Final Approach) - as jets are - as opposed to "dive'n'drive" then you're already on the FPA you should be - there is nothing to "set". Leave the autos in to acquire the visual picture, disconnect and then FLY THE AIRCRAFT VISUALLY TO THE TOUCHDOWN POINT. Don't chase the PAPI's aim to touchdown abeam them on the runway.

The notion of fiddling with MCP/FCU selections when visual <400' AGL is foolish. If you've flown the approach correctly then at MDA/DA you're in exactly the correct spot, on "FPA", to complete the manoeuvre visually.

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