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Pilot's artificial arm 'became detached while landing plane'

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Pilot's artificial arm 'became detached while landing plane'

Old 19th Aug 2014, 20:56
  #201 (permalink)  
 
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All I can say is that people with a better understanding of the prosthetic/clamp involved and of the individual case deem this pilot safe to fly.

There are people on both sides of this camp that think they are right (as I am not discussing this with my wife I stand a chance of being right on this occasion!), myself included, but really all we can do is hypothesise because at the end of the day experts, I say again experts, have deemed the pilot involved safe to fly.

Another way I would like to describe risk assessment. Hands up anyone here who has flown with an ADD........yep me too. Who agrees that flying would be safer if we refused to fly with ADDs.........yep me too. Yet we sometimes might operate with one pack U/S (slightly mitigated by limiting our cruising FL), no APU, no autothrust, one generator inop........need I go on. We trust in the experts/manufacturers to come up with an MMEL and we then fly with the MEL. Every defect has been assessed for risk and as such has a 1 in .... number of becoming more than just a risk/threat. The point I am trying to make is that the risks associated with a pilot flying with a prosthetic arm have been assessed and found to be acceptable. If the paying public don't like it then that is fine, take a cab to Manchester or wherever it is you need to go but be warned, we all know about the statistics of deaths on the roads V dying in an aircraft accident!

I am too lazy and drunk right now to research what assessment takes place with regards to prosthetics, I would be interested to hear from someone who has overcome their disability to fly with a prosthetic, even if posted through a third party to ensure annonimity. I bet we would be surprised.
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 21:02
  #202 (permalink)  
 
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One fine day I was in the back seat of an L-19 on a glider tow. After release I was flying it back. All went perfectly fine until turning final with flaps down:

the stick came out

the nose promptly dropped and the pilot in front exclaimed and took over.

With things mechanical failure does occasionally happen, whether controls, seatback or prosthesis.

In many tandem taildraggers, a stick is removable. Of course that exposes the danger of the stick coming out at inopportune times. Following the preferences expressed by some here, the stick should be welded in to preclude that failure.

However seatbacks break. If one falls on the rear stick and there's no rear seat occupant, the usual result is a crash with serious injuries or death.

Thoughtful risk management requires consideration of all factors.
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 23:02
  #203 (permalink)  
 
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Mechanical inspection?

With all the political correctness flying around, I feel some unease at this incident. And I think I've narrowed it down to a simple question:

- Is a complex prosthetic inspected like the rest of the flight controls by a (prosthetic) type-certified orthopedist or mechanic, at regular intervals? If not, why not?

Last edited by edmundronald; 19th Aug 2014 at 23:17.
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Old 19th Aug 2014, 23:32
  #204 (permalink)  
 
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@edmundronald: I feel unease any time an "able bodied" person crashes an aircraft, but curiously in those cases, it's always "let's wait for the facts before blaming the pilots", aka, "human error".

Don't make me sit here and dig up every report for a heavy landing in turbulence (resulting in structural damage/death), or videos on YouTube of pilots landing when a go-around would have been prudent, or the very recent event of an aircraft taking off with funnel cloud activity in the immediate vicinity of the airport no less. Micro-burst anyone? They got lucky.

In light of the comments in this thread, those above situations have ZERO EXCUSE for occurring, but I don't see anyone making the kinds of criticism seen here.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 00:17
  #205 (permalink)  
 
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As many folks have pointed out, the standard for medical clearance can't be zero risk -- or we'd have no pilots. Because older people have more health issues than young ones, tightening the standards would tend to force out experienced pilots. Of course, not every medical issue is age-related, not every experienced pilot would be replaced by an inexperienced one, and not every experienced pilot is safer than every (relatively) inexperienced one. Nonetheless, any proposal to tighten the standards would need to consider the offsetting safety effect of reducing the overall experience level of the profession.

The risk exposed by this incident is the risk of adding a couple of mechanical joints to an aircraft that already has thousands of them. Perhaps there should have been better oversight and mitigation of this risk, but that doesn't seem to be a reason to have denied clearance to this pilot.

If there'd been an incident resulting from a need for the pilot to have two fully functional hands, that would have been more disturbing. Perhaps there is a risk along those lines, but if so, this incident didn't expose it.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 00:39
  #206 (permalink)  
 
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Exam, all those things you mention are pilot induced or involve pilot decisions. Those issues will always be present. None of the them involve mechanical failure of components.

Adding a pile of mechanical parts of unknown quality in the form of a prosthetic bolted to the yoke adds a whole new layer of failure possibilities on top of the pilot induced issues you mentioned. Especially mechanical failures during the landing flare, when there's only a few seconds available and when most of the yoke inputs occur. How often do FO's practice recovering the aircraft and finishing the flare from prosthetic arm failure 2 to 3 seconds before touchdown.

( I admire this pilot and his flying skills, he deserves his medical. I'd fly with him every day as long as the mechanical arm they give him is reliable and airworthy. His arm needs a separate "medical", only from engineers and not doctors.)

Last edited by toaddy; 20th Aug 2014 at 01:06.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 08:28
  #207 (permalink)  
 
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Regardless of the percieved rights and wrongs of his medical certification, I don't think anybody who knows the pilot in question is questioning his professionalism, diligence or standard of operation.

The incident was, I believe, a first and very unfortunate. No doubt lessons will be learnt by the pilot himself, the operator and the CAA.

What really frustrates me is the 'clowns' that do things like the below and never get a mention on here with regards comprimising flight safety. How many times...

Titan B752 at Freetown on Dec 13th 2013, continued approach despite "PULL UP" EGPWS warning | AeroInside
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 09:16
  #208 (permalink)  

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- Is a complex prosthetic inspected like the rest of the flight controls by a (prosthetic) type-certified orthopedist or mechanic, at regular intervals? If not, why not?
Edmundronald,

I understand your question, others have missed the point. See my post #169.

A pilot is regularly "inspected" and signed off as fit to fly by a qualified person.
The aircraft is regularly inspected and signed off as fit to fly by qualified persons.

In the case of the aircraft, removal and refitting of any part of the flying controls requires a second person to oversee and sign off the job. Essential mechanical parts fitted to aircraft are required to have documented wear limits. Any worn component or incorrectly fitted part would be rectified to alleviate risk of failure.

Is there a similar system in place for prosthetic limbs required by pilots? If not, surely there ought to be because they are, in practical terms, part of the flight controls.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 10:22
  #209 (permalink)  
 
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I repeat, The streets are not littered with bits of broken prosthetics.

They are , apart from the artificially.skinned, pneumatic/hydraulic, nerve-sensing servo-controlled masterpieces of engineering and cosmetics.

extraordinarily well-built, designed and engineered. Unlike a lot of industries, there is a strong element of moral and ethical responsibility within the broad medical industry.
I'd suggest, without any factual evidence, Prosthetics are less failure-prone than aircraft! (aside from having a few thousand less components)

Has it occurred to anybody that the Pilot maybe just didn't fully latch the "hand" to the Yoke? _incidentally....a balljoint,installed so that gravity holds the ball in the socket, will not separate ,if within it's articulation limits
the harder it's loaded, the tighter the two parts engage.

A gloved or sweaty hand can slip off a control. I defy anyone to deny driving off with a car-door on "first-latch" (if you haven't, you will!) this wasthe same situation,except the hand was mechanical.

This incident has been blown out of all proportion,here and a lot of people are surmisimg the bounce was due to the PF not having his hand on the throttles.

The supposition is flawed...by the time throttle- closure had any effect, the bounce would already have happened.......but the witch-hunters on their hobby horse are ignoring this possibility.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 10:48
  #210 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by cockney steve
A gloved or sweaty hand can slip off a control.
- absolutely. The subtle fact you have 'overlooked' is that a gloved or sweaty hand can normally quickly re-establish the necesary grip, or at least that is my experience. In addition the gloved or sweaty hand is capable of quickly being re-directed to another control or selector if need be. Therein lies a significant difference.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 11:03
  #211 (permalink)  

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Has it occurred to anybody that the Pilot maybe just didn't fully latch the "hand" to the Yoke?
Yes, again, see my post #169 of 17th August and the second to last paragraph of my post immediately above yours.

_incidentally....a balljoint,installed so that gravity holds the ball in the socket, will not separate ,if within it's articulation limits
the harder it's loaded, the tighter the two parts engage.
Aircraft are sometimes subjected to zero and negative 'G', which rather negates that point.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 14:00
  #212 (permalink)  
 
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If an able-bodied pilot had found himself in the same situation because he'd got cramp in the hand that was holding the control column would everyone be calling for his licence to be revoked too?
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 14:07
  #213 (permalink)  

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I haven't actually seen any evidence that "everyone" is calling for this pilot's licence to be revoked.....
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 15:58
  #214 (permalink)  
 
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OK, ShyTorque - If an able-bodied pilot had found himself in the same situation because he'd got cramp in the hand that was holding the control column would the same people be calling for his licence to be revoked too?
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 16:22
  #215 (permalink)  
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SP - most of us here recognise that cramp is a temporary affliction unlike amputation or other loss of limb etc. What is your point?
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 16:23
  #216 (permalink)  
 
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If an able-bodied pilot had found himself in the same situation because he'd got cramp in the hand that was holding the control column would the same people be calling for his licence to be revoked too?
Would cramp affect the pilot instantaneously, rendering him suddenly unable to control the aircraft? This risk has been discussed amongst private pilots flying light aircraft solo, with sidesticks, on long flights, but the effect will build over time and the availability of an autopilot is one mitigation response.

The problem in the Flybe incident was that an unforeseen and catastrophic failure mode occurred (catastrophic in the sense that the prosthesis detached suddenly and could not be reattached in time to complete the landing.)

Now the failure mode has occurred, I am sure that lessons have been learned and response plans put into place, including briefing etc.

I am not calling for the pilot's medical to be pulled.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 16:32
  #217 (permalink)  

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OK, ShyTorque - If an able-bodied pilot had found himself in the same situation because he'd got cramp in the hand that was holding the control column would the same people be calling for his licence to be revoked too?
I'm not personally asking for anyone's licence to be revoked.

However, wrt to your question, your guess would be as good as mine. Either would be supposition.
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 17:40
  #218 (permalink)  
 
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The problem in the Flybe incident was that an unforeseen and catastrophic failure mode occurred (catastrophic in the sense that the prosthesis detached suddenly and could not be reattached in time to complete the landing.
Three Thousand

This is the bit where I think he made an incorrect judgement! He should have gone around or instigated a command to his FO to take control and go around.
Here able bodied or not there should not be any allowances at any phase of the landing the commander should be in a position to go around even with a bad touchdown probably even more so with a bad landing.

Having gone back to a safe altitude probably in a holding pattern the Commander should have fixed the problem and landed or if not in a position to do so got the FO to land under his supervision.

Probably never expecting the arm to detach the commander never briefed the FO in that likelihood or their roles in that situation which I am sure now he will do.
Continuing a landing where the commander is not in full control is inexcusable and that is a lesson to be learnt.

As for removing him ? That is a ridiculous suggestion but lessons learnt to insure it never happens again through special procedural training and CRM is not.
That should never be that a pilot who is not in full control should continue with landing
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 17:51
  #219 (permalink)  
 
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Was anyone harmed during this incident?
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Old 20th Aug 2014, 18:04
  #220 (permalink)  
 
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Luckily no but there must be communication where a pilot in full control can take over.
I had a situation where my FO was landing in a business jet and somehow got his size 12 foot jammed in the rudder/brake pedal.
with the command I have control I took over and stopped the jet departing the runway.
Had I sat there and let him get on with it or had we not briefed for such an occurrence the chances are we would have departed the runway into the grass.

As stated I am sure one result of this will be an awareness of the incident and a briefing on how each pilot should react if it happens again which it probably will not.
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