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Air Asia Indonesia Lost Contact from Surabaya to Singapore

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Air Asia Indonesia Lost Contact from Surabaya to Singapore

Old 27th Jan 2015, 15:02
  #2601 (permalink)  

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BBC Radio 4 Monday 26th January at 0900Z
BBC Radio 4 - Start the Week, Organising the Mind

An excellent listen
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 15:09
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Could 'auto rudder trim limiter flight control' problems be the key to this crash?
Never heard of such device on A320. Is it RTLU (Rudder Travel Limiting Unit)? Or rudder autotrim with AP?
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 16:03
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Originally Posted by BARKINGMAD
Perhaps if those in the industry might take some time out, particularly the designers of the kit which is confusing the operators so regularly (no particular type specific) to try reading "The Organized Mind" by Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin (as soon as it is published 2 days from now,if you want it Kindled).

If that task can be achieved, either before their next flight or before their next design, then we might be part-way down the road to reducing the rates of such tragic mishaps.

Listening to the author on BBC Radio 4 Monday 26th January at 0900Z (try pod-casting it?) it appeared that someone with knowledge of the brains of the species of advanced-level Bonobo Chimps, who design and operate the current airliner fleets, has cast light on the supreme arrogance of said Chimps and their (possibly) false confidence in their ability to multi-task and handle multiple information threads.

If I may quote: "The brain worked well enough for our Stone Age ancestors and has barely changed since then, during which it has been forced to absorb vastly more knowledge than ever before in human history. "

I await the incoming fire, yours truly, a retired Bonobo!
It is also an idea to look at the research on cognitive tunneling/cognitive narrowing/attentional tunneling and multiple cognitive resource theory. All of which, unfortunately, appear to have been disregarded in recent cockpit system integration.

Try reading the paragraph above and reciting a nursery rhyme - you can't do it - your brain only has one verbal analysis channel if someone speaks to you at the same time you may not even hear them - unless a trigger word like your name is part of what they say. If you are listening to an audible alert message with words in it - you will be unable to comprehend an ECAM alert saying something different or what the other crew member is saying. These are cognitive limitations to multitasking that all humans have.

This is the reason using cell phones while driving can be dangerous as if the caller starts describing the route to get somewhere and what to look out for... you start overloading the 'spatial analysis channel' in your brain and your brain start to imagine what is being described and stops seeing things in reality and following the road accurately and you may miss turnings and wander on the road.

In the cockpit if the system sensing a problem delivers a cacophony of alerts and messages plus the 'automation surprise' that something has stopped working properly 'that never fails', your brain will stop hearing things and/or stop being able to read and comprehend ECAM messages or what the other pilot is saying and will focus (cognitive tunnel) on one aspect of the environment and try to 'fix' that often to the exclusion of everything else.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 18:08
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"It is also an idea to look at the research on cognitive tunneling/cognitive narrowing/attentional tunneling and multiple cognitive resource theory. All of which, unfortunately, appear to have been disregarded in recent cockpit system integration."

At one time not too long ago inconveniences like AP malfunctions, UAS, stuck Loc or GS needles and instrument failures were not cause for alarm because we just flew the plane. A stall warning was an embarassment because you weren't paying attention and easy to remedy.

No accident should ever be blamed on any of these inconvenient failures because you as a pilot shoulld be able to fix it easily with a bit of airmanship.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 18:14
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bubbers, the industry seems to think that stick shakers are a handy way to provide tactile clues to an impending stall. They've been in use for some time.
Do you disagree with them in principle?

I think I understand that adapting that to sidesticks as Airbus use them in the control scheme, stick shaker is counterproductive to the desired control inputs being made by the pilot flying when controls to prevent a stall are the desired output (from him/her).

(If I misunderstand the reasoning, anyone with an understanding please correct me).
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 18:27
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Yes or no, cognitive

As more than one poster has pointed out, the continued emphatic Yes-they-do No-they-don't FMC arguments between people trained on and flying A320's IS having an effect on those not privy to front seat ops, to whit: increasing certainty that neither side has all the answers. However one side of that argument is saying that not all answers are known (and the search for additional details is at minimum prudent), and the other side seems to be saying that enough is known and the systems are presently predictable and sufficient for all flight regimes that a competent pilot would ensure.

An explanation delivered with great emphasis and and certainty does not guarantee accuracy. All the people lower in piloting stature and experience than current A320 pilots have a valid interest about what happened and why. Virtually all those people either maintain or very much want to maintain great confidence in the front seat pilots. I am finding that the most emphatic, contentious, and posts filled with certitude are the ones in which I have the least confidence, and I do not like having that reaction.

This current argument may appear unjustified following a clean accident rate five years from now, but will be viewed as prescient and proper if additional accidents continue.

Blake777 FWIW there were earlier but subsequently unconfirmed reports that the captain's body had been recovered. Given the local currents and sectioned fuselage, the expectation that all bodies will be recovered is unreasonable. An unseen blossoming of neutral or lower buoyancy fuselage contents that must have occurred just from additional damage during the raising attempts must be presumed.

RE Bonobo's: One can simultaneously and successfully task multiple inputs if those specific interactions have been repeated until they become familiar lower brain categories. We have all kinds of such examples. But ask someone to juggle multiple simultaneous questions which are all unfamiliar, or which were repeated during “education” a few times far in the past, or for which subsequent training or subsequently discovered details demand different actions (or even opposite actions) from that previously learned, all of which in the present demand high level brain function, and the thought process then goes sequential and the required time expands.

IanW is right: cognitive functions of different categories can't co-exist and, unfortunately, that varies to some degree between people. Demonstrations of quick “answers” to complex questions fall into either the lengthy rote category, or in a few individuals, intuition which is outside the scope of direct teaching and still involves luck. I disagree with Ian to the small extent that multiple aural alarms made familiar by virtue of “rote” repetitions do not need to continually demand attention, but rather a signal filed in short term memory requiring only that its cessation be noted. But an aural alarm is an on-off decision, not one (by itself) of conflicting information simultaneous with multi-relational possibilities that, perhaps just this once, is outside of all rote memory.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 19:32
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It ain't an idea, it is a necessity for recovery from nose high unusual attitudes to "unload the wings", if all else fails. It is practiced every 6 months where I and every other non computer pilot, carried out recurrent training at any reputable ATO. If you are in a "deep stall" and unable to get the nose down, that is your only hope, apart from a recovery parachute attached to the tail. I ask the question again, has A/B carried out a fully developed/deep stall at altitude in their "un-crashable aircraft"? If not, then why not and why was it certified in the first place? Tell me please.

Yes pilots shouldn't be getting themselves into a stalled situation in the first instance but it is happening, mainly due to overall inexperience.

Computers are very good. I am the first to admit, are better at flying normal procedures than any human will ever be and in addition frees up the handling pilot for extra monitoring etc.. However if a human is allowed to get the a/c into a scenario due to human error, the computers are not so good at recovery action. Remember AF.

I have never flown an Airbus and never will. So I am both.

Last edited by Sop_Monkey; 27th Jan 2015 at 19:49.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 19:41
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Contact Approach,

I refer you to my post above (2624 ) which quotes a current Airbus pilot. . . . I am happy you are happy, but less happy that you don't see beyond the superficial "joy", which may cloud some less savoury "truths" in your machines "mindset" .
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 19:44
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I refer you to an article on the Flight Global website regarding the real problem on the matter, and note its not all airbus!

AirAsia QZ8501 accident may reflect a trend - 1/22/2015 - Flight Global

Accidents involving aircraft cruising through tropical or sub-tropical zones – like AirAsia flight QZ8501 in December – are happening often enough now for the industry to have cause to refresh pilots on the risks. Therehave been three accidents in similar circumstances over the last 10 years.

When the Air France flight 447 accident report was published in 2012, French accident investigator BEA warned of the need to prepare pilots for high altitude aircraft handling – and comparisons with the AirAsia Airbus A320 accident in December have highlighted this apparent area of operational weakness.

But now that Indonesian accident investigators have formally stated they will not publish a preliminary factual report about flight QZ8501, it could be up to two years before operators know whether BEA's concerns are reflected in this case.

There have been three other accidents in the last 10 years that merit comparison with the flight QZ8501 incident over the Java Sea. These four accidents all took place during cruise in tropical/subtropical zones, and in all cases the crews were manoeuvring to avoid bad weather. In all four cases control was lost, and none of the crews made an emergency call.

Before the AirAsia loss in December, there was the Swiftair/Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas MD-80 loss over Mali last July, Air France Airbus A330 flight AF447 over the South Atlantic in June 2009, and West Caribbean Airways’s loss of an MD-80 series aircraft over the Caribbean Sea in August 2005.

Looking back further in the archives, jet accidents with this combination of circumstances did not happen – although flights in those days were just as likely to have to fly through the tropics as they are now. Tropical weather seems to be a “modern” accident trigger, in the same way that loss of control in flight (LOC-I) is now accepted by ICAO as the greatest aviation risk to life, when before the 1990s it was not.

There is an uncanny similarity between the onset of problems in the AirAsia and Air France cases. Both pilots suddenly selected a nose-up attitude that gave them a rapid rate of climb – estimated to be 6,000ft/min in the AirAsia case, and known to be 7,000ft/min for AF447 – at an altitude where demanding such performance from the aircraft is unrealistic. In the Air France case the aircraft was in a full stall within 46s, and the crew did not apply stall recovery procedures.

When it published pilot training recommendations in the AF447 official accident report,BEA called for a list of actions to be implemented. These including training in stall recovery at high altitudes as well as low, practicing flying in alternate and direct control law as well as normal law close to the edges of the flight envelope, carrying out flying exercises to test whether pilots understand aerodynamics in practice, as well as in theory, and introducing more surprise events into recurrent training scenarios to prepare pilots – individually and as a crew – to react calmly to the unexpected.

Pilots are instructed not to disconnect the autopilot at high altitudes for good reason: with reduced vertical separation minima applying above 29,000ft in most parts of the world now – and handling being a delicate matter at high altitude – manual flying is banned there. BEA points out, however, that if the automatics trip out – as they did in the case of AF447 – the pilots have no choice, so they should be reminded in the simulator of what handling is like up there.

Pilots talk glibly on Internet forums about “Coffin Corner” – as applied to the aircraft’s narrowing flight envelope when it approaches the high altitude edges of its performance capabilities – but according to BEA they need to be reminded of what to do if the edges are actively breached, because recovery is almost always possible if the correct procedures are applied.
Yes I agree, Airbus needs to take the above into consideration... nothing a bit of training and/or a big red disconnect button couldn't solve.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 20:03
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Airspeed determination by gas turbine engine

Failures in airspeed measurements are increasingly implicated in aircraft upsets.

Am I right that it would be feasible to obtain a reliable (if not extremely accurate) airspeed measurement from a gas turbine engine, derived from some of its existing pressure and rotational speed sensors, under the assumption that the blades did not suddenly break?

[edit: since there are at least two such engines on commercial airliners, we have some built-in redundancy; the idea is is of course to feed this to HAL as a substitute for iced pitots]

Last edited by fgrieu; 27th Jan 2015 at 21:05. Reason: add meterial
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 20:17
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Correct and the power parameters apply to all a/c. If a/s is lost refer to a known power setting and attitude.

This should be second nature to an overall experienced pilot who has come up through the ranks. What the sausage factories are churning out now one can only guess.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 22:35
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This is a very difficult argument, all of the Airbus protections built into the system architecture, how many lives has that saved over the years? Not quantifiable, none of those 'saves' ever get reported. Who wants to do paperwork? GroundSpeed Mini for example, these airplanes are well protected from wind shear events.

As an Airbus driver though, I am increasingly concerned at the growing number of OEB's in our QRH; if this happens, ignore what the airplane is telling you, do this instead. Counterintuitive in many ways, some of us have developed nervous ticks in one body part or another.

I think most will agree though, a combination of thorough system knowledge and simulator training make us at least as statistically safe as the Boeing folks, although I'm sure the Seattle boys have their dark places too.

Needle, ball, and airspeed, if I could voice one criticism of the AB design, in abnormal and emergency modes, it tends to work against the natural instincts of a well rounded and experienced pilot.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 22:44
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How many years since AF 447 & simulators STILL do not represent correct handling at high altitude. It's criminal if you ask me.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 22:47
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Correct and the power parameters apply to all a/c. If a/s is lost refer to a known power setting and attitude.
Yes, but this may not work immediately in an aircraft with hard envelope protection which is suffering from erroneous inputs. It may be trying to follow a trajectory that is completely wrong for the situation and making it harder to recover by doing things like trimming the stabiliser in the opposite direction needed.

By the time this has been diagnosed by the crew, probably during a time of very high workload in the middle of an upset, it leaves little time for remedial action. “Known power setting and attitude” will not recover the aircraft from a stalled condition. Much more aggressive inputs are required.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 22:49
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How many years since AF 447 & simulators STILL do not represent correct handling at high altitude. It's criminal if you ask me.
Take that issue up with the airframe manufacturers. Simulators are only as good as the data available. If the aircraft manufacturer can't provide stall data (for example), because stalls aren't included in the data package, how can the sim manufacturer model the behavior? Certain extrapolations and modeling data may be valid, but remember simulators aren't magic - the underlying model can only be as good as the data provided.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 22:49
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The A-320 family is a great aircraft to fly. The automation does so much for you.

But it can surprise you with anomalies, especially in the first year you fly it when you forget to activate the approach, fail to reach planned cruise altitude and don't re-cruise, don't know the implications of alt star and vertical speed, et al.

If you're like me, you learn by being surprised, then learn to avoid the surprises. For example, I know that when the magenta diamond is below the horizon line, it's bad.



Then figure out what is going on and fix it.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 23:04
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Well put and totally agree on the surprise memory items.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 23:23
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1/ if you forget to activate approach it will do it anyway

2/ in cruise where most of these unreliable airspeed incidents have occurred you don't set 90% N1. You adopt the normal attitude and thrust your Aircraft uses for cruise.

The memory items in the QRH are for initial actions after takeoff, they then say ABOVE MSA CIRCUIT ALTITUDE LEVEL OFF FOR TROUBLESHOOTING.....

If you are in Cruise you would compete the memory items ( A/T F/D A/P off ) then skip to the last step in the table giving you the pitch attitude and thrust setting for level flight.....something you should already know anyway because you've just be looking at it for a long time....

For the A330 it's 2.5 deg and 78% N1 for most conditions.
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Old 27th Jan 2015, 23:38
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If you haven't activated the approach, it won't always, or even most of the time, activate itself. You might find yourself accelerating, fully configured, at TOGA thrust.

90% N1, on the A320, will assure a safe airspeed (assuming you're not approaching a stall). While the appropriate power setting, based on configuration, weight, etc., will likely be a bit lower, 90% will keep you flying and avoid a stall until you stabilize the aircraft and adjust power to the appropriate setting. Figure that out later, when you have the time. If you don't know your airspeed, and your protections are suspect, erring on the high side, I think, is wise.
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Old 28th Jan 2015, 00:23
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Contact Approach
I'm sure there have been more accidents due to your '90 degree bank' idea.
I'm a 320 driver and can only say that the aircraft is a joy to fly, those slamming it on here are either misinformed or have never flown her.
Funny you have a problem with the 90 degree bank. I was a test subject in the creation of an jet upset training program being put together. At the time I was a current MD11 Captain with a 40 year airline career with an all civil background. My fellow test subjects had varied backgrounds. One was a 757 Captain, ck Airman former USAF/ANG A7 pilot. One a 777 F/O Major US airline. One flew the A320 for a low cost airline, unknown background. I believe there were two others that I don't recall their background. I recall one of the first things we did was to go to the trainer which was set up like a B757, but single pilot. A big link trainer on a small centrifuge. The pilot sat in the seat and the computer flew the device to the desired position and then the pilot received the command Recover. I recall one of the events was around 80 degrees nose up wings level. How would you recover? Another was about the same, but inverted! How would you recover? The most challenging was simulated wake turbulance at I recall 6000 feet. After all the bumps the simulator had a bank of 120 degrees to the right, aircraft nose down of 20 degrees, airspeed had increased from 250K passing 340k increasing when the machine says "Recover". Only two of us managed not to hit the ground the first try. The trainer had a visual and conditions were CAVOK. I stood at the operator panel an watched the A320 guy hit the ground 6 times in a row. He never had a successful recovery.
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