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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 2nd Feb 2015, 08:22
  #2901 (permalink)  
 
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Your beleif in computers is just not mached by reality. I fly a fleet of modern and very well maintained airbuses. I am constantly resetting computers that malfunction. Almost every flight I get one or two spurious ecams. Worst offenders is the datalink and the fuel pumps at the top of descent. The QRH has at least 8 OEBs where the system response has to be modified because it has been found not to be appropriate. Watching the flight director and the autopilot go their separate ways in pitch is quite common. The approach speed calculated by the FMGC and the one calculated by the FAC is more often that not up to 5 kts slower. The list goes on. Computers are just not there and is notthing to do with the processing power.

This is no different to your printer at home, fantastic piece of kit saves me lots of time. Would I trust my life to it though, no. Why? Because every so often it chews up the paper or comes up with error E something. The airbus is no different, great piece of kit but every so often it spits the dummy. I have yet to find a piece of software that has no bugs and the airbus certainly has plenty.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 09:14
  #2902 (permalink)  
 
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It appears some pilots instinctively do the exact opposite! They start to climb. Why is that?
Seems to be an obsession of all people operating powered aircraft. When converting from glider to SEP I was shouted at by my flight instructor when trying to recover a stall by releasing the stick and let the aircraft pick up speed again, just like I always did with gliders. The correct procedure was to hang on to the stick (or yoke), apply full power and gently release the stick pressure while watching the v/s and altitude to make sure I do not sink. Found that very disturbing, but it was in fact what the inspector wanted to see during my practical exam and it is exactly what is written in the official training requirements. For pilots of powered aircraft altitude always seems to be the most valuable thing you can have. What I can understand to be priority in controlled and crowded airspace (just to avoid a near miss with somebody at lower altitude) is the worst habit you can have if things go really wrong.

If I understood correctly, FAA removed the altitude aspect from the flight training requirements for stall recovery a few years ago, most others still have it.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:06
  #2903 (permalink)  
 
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@ Elephant and Castle…

My reference to “what’s the big deal” was about the abnormal check list and the procedure relating to a single or dual FAC failure

To me it was straight forward and not complicated to do and easy to implement. I don’t see how this could be an Airbus problem.

Furthermore as can be seen below, the check list first tells you about the rudder (in big letters), the ALTN LAW and DIRECT LAW several times some even in big bold letters. What is it these Airbus pilots don’t understand?

If I were an Airbus pilot I would make sure I knew off hand which failures would have the aircraft revert to ALTN LAW where some of the protections are lost (MAX SPEED 320 + F/CTL PROT). It even tells you separately which systems are lost (AP 1 + 2, A/THR, and you can't do a CAT II approach).



All this means is you are now flying an Airbus that is more like a conventional aircraft (protection wise) albeit with no AP and A/THR.

WOW! This now means the pilot is going to have to fly the aircraft, something he is paid to do.

This of course seems to be a major problem these days and is another subject but it's not an Airbus or Boeing problem but an airline problem!

I won't even open that can of worms but suffice to say the airlines will most likely pay dearly in the future because more and more of these crashes are going to happen.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:08
  #2904 (permalink)  
 
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jcjeant
Thank you for posting that excellent article. It is amazing how information gets distorted in the telling - especially when translating from foreign languages and when technicalities are discussed by laymen.
That article is a really good dose of reality.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:23
  #2905 (permalink)  
 
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It appears some pilots instinctively do the exact opposite! They start to climb. Why is that?
What command was the flight director giving?

The flight director is almost exclusively in use for all operations these days therefore pilots are less aware of raw data attitudes.

Slightly off thread but on AF447 the thing that should have been shouting at them before actual stall was the (unusual for cruise) pitch attitude.

Last edited by fireflybob; 2nd Feb 2015 at 11:14.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:36
  #2906 (permalink)  
 
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WOW! This now means the pilot is going to have to fly the aircraft, something he is paid to do.
Exactly!

It is certainly not something he was hired on his ability to do, has been extensively trained to do or is encouraged to practice. Above FL 295 it is fact not allowed to even try.

Even at the line training stage all efforts are directed to teach people to fly the automatics. Manual flight is something to do "on top" if there is time and the weather/route allows. Even then it would most likely be perfect weather and just one approach from the base turn and with A/THRUST and bird on.

The world upside down but there it is.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:38
  #2907 (permalink)  
 
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Quite simply automation is deskilling us.

Read "The Glass Cage" by Nicholas Carr.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:39
  #2908 (permalink)  
 
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Thousands of hours sitting watching the machine look after itself can condition the pilot to revert back to that assumption when all the automatics are off. Specially if distracted by other factors (weather, troubleshooting, etc).

If controlled manual flight is a challenge for some pilots recovery from a departure from controlled flight at altitude is an almost impossible task for all but the luckiest, the very experienced in aerobatics or the superbly talented ( we don't hire them anymore though )


Unfortunately we are in an era where technology is taking over more and more. Even the Governor of Bank of England said that after university he joined Goldman Sachs and left because his job had become so boring as technology had taken it over. There was whole discussion in English DT last weekend about this change in life.
We see active cruise control in cars. Speed and distance control is automatic. We see automatic parking systems. Just look how lousy people are at parking, via reverse, especially tight spaces: as useless at any newbies and visual approaches. Rather than improve training the designers add new toys to mask the inadequacies of the driver. Technology is taking over so many aspects of our lives. That's OK sometimes as long as it is monitored correctly and we know what to do when it goes AWOL.
One other consequence of technology discussed was that older experienced people are being made redundant and then can not find work because they are over qualified or too expensive. Jobs are being dumbed down and so are the associated wages. If the qualifications and skills are reduced so can be the rewards. Sound familiar? The roll/skill of the airline pilot has slowly been diluted and so the T's & C's have been eaten away. And it will get worse. It used to be the national legacy carriers wanted university graduates from maths & science backgrounds. Now, that is way over qualified for the job of the future. I'm sure there will need to be a better matching of qualifications and capabilities to the job at hand. It will inevitably lead to lower T's & C's. Share holders will ensure that.
In the meantime I think we all agree the depth of training & understanding of systems has fallen too much. That needs to be addressed soonest. If all the crashes of serviceable a/c over the past few years have not alerted the 'powers that be' of this then they will be exhibiting a negligent oversight of their domain.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:40
  #2909 (permalink)  
 
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From reading most of the posts it seems we in aviation have many problems.
We need more training in basic flying skills.These like all skills degrade if not used frequently.
The autopilots/computer flight controls on modern aircraft are very complicated.With many obscure modes.We need a lot more training on the use of these systems possibly a part task trainer.This would not involve the use of expensive simulator time.
Training in the correct use of Radar is very important.It is not common in airlines to have a course in the use of radar.Yet in airliners its the only way to avoid CBs in IMC.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:40
  #2910 (permalink)  
 
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Flying Airbus for a European carrier.
We changed the stall training a few years ago, unless ground contact is imminent we now drop the nose and wait with the power as to not to induce a secondary stall.
Agree with poster above about the many computer resets on a daily basis.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 10:56
  #2911 (permalink)  
 
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In the meantime I think we all agree the depth of training & understanding of systems has fallen too much. That needs to be addressed soonest. If all the crashes of serviceable a/c over the past few years have not alerted the 'powers that be' of this then they will be exhibiting a negligent oversight of their domain.
RAT 5, Am with you there.

As one who has recently retired from the airline profession and now doing some part time basic instruction I witness a considerable drop in training standards at this level, apart from the odd notable exception.

Years ago nearly all basic training a/c were aerobatic and the instructors were usually ex RAF vintage instructors who were well honed in the basic skills.

If you exceed 30 degrees of bank in a basic training a/c with the new generation of instructors you are entering a part of the envelope which they have hardly ever explored. At a CFIs conference last year one speaker was berating the fact that instructors who applied for a job had only ever done two fully developed spins in their whole flying careers so far.

But I also see a lack of discipline and no longer a strive for excellence. They seem to think that flying is just a set of procedures with out really having depth of understanding as to what it is about and why you operate in a particular manner. This leads to lack of original thought - something which is necessary when things are no longer standard.

In the olden days during down time (yes I am showing my age here!) you would see instructors discussing flying matters in the briefing room and/or with the books out having a spirited debate about stalling etc and how it should be taught. I rarely see such things these days.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 11:21
  #2912 (permalink)  
 
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Arrow

Fireflybob, you are absolutely right. I never see airline pilots starting a technical discussion about flying topics - which can be explained as a lack of interest towards a job which either has not been really chosen for what it is - to fly aircraft - or which is inherently boring, or more likely as a lack of backgroud - as what I hear is often childish at best.
Everybody here and elsewhere does seem to acknowledge the lack of basic flying skills of modern airline pilots, the gradual erosion of those skills... by the way, did they really exist one day ?

There is one solution, and as long as it will not be implemented, stupid crashes like those one will continue to occur, with dummy pilots stuck to their seats and looking helplessly at the horizon - visual or instrumental - spiralling in front of them : put priority in recruiting ex-fighter pilots, all over the world, which means consider that 2000 hrs of combat jets in 10 years have the value of 15000 spent in airliners, doing only God knows what - like reading the news, chatting in the galley with the CC, sleeping on controlled rest, sleeping in the CRC, or doing navigator but not pilot job as PNF, logging all the hours as "pilot"hours.

I know it might be tough for some.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:03
  #2913 (permalink)  

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The real issue is that the aircraft manufacturers have divorced the pilots from the flying controls. I flew the 732 where the tailplane was controlled by a trim wheel that revolved and clanked when the tailplane trimmed, on the 752 that was changed to a little indicator outside the field of view. On the 732 the first indication of speed change was an on both the ASI and the clanking of the wheel. Likewise the control column moved when the flight controls moved.

I haven't flown the Airbus by my understanding is that both side sticks don't move together and the pilot is in the dark about movement of all the flying controls and probably in the dark about the actions of the other pilot.

We used to talk about keeping in the loop, the manufacturers seem to be intent on keeping the pilots out of the loop.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:18
  #2914 (permalink)  
 
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In the olden days during down time (yes I am showing my age here!) you would see instructors discussing flying matters in the briefing room and/or with the books out having a spirited debate about stalling etc and how it should be taught. I rarely see such things these days.
Nowadays instructors are strictly banned from discussing, how things should be taught. It is set in stone in the regulatory documents what should be taught and how. This is called standardisation... Instructors are not paid for improving flight instruction, even they are paid for following standard procedures. Years ago standards were defining the absolute baseline, and everybody tried to be better. Nowadays standards are exactly what you should do, "be better" means "not following the standards"... And you are replaced with a cheaper model which does exactly follow it. Excellence is not existing any more.
Probably that way it will become self fulfilling prophecy, that pilotless aircraft are safer than piloted ones...
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:28
  #2915 (permalink)  
 
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But I also see a lack of discipline and no longer a strive for excellence. They seem to think that flying is just a set of procedures with out really having depth of understanding as to what it is about and why you operate in a particular manner. This leads to lack of original thought - something which is necessary when things are no longer standard.

Spot on. Some airlines have such stringent SOP's that it is a contest about "our trained monkeys are better than your trained monkeys". I pick up cadets on a TQ course who have been trained by quite short time SFI's. They do a great job but are limited by their experience. The students know the SOP's, because they have studied well and been taught strictly. Their eyes open when I explain why the SOP is such. They then understand and it helps remember what to do because you now know why. That's the good guys. There are the others who are satisfied with being a trained monkey. Do the job, take the money and go home; day in day out. They are the ones who look to the end of their nose; who are reactive and use SOP's rather than be proactive and use nouse. They fly around without an escape route incase it is necessary. They only search for one when it becomes required, and that takes precious time which you may not have. They only do what the SOP says; no more no less. How can one survive 40 years with that attitude? That's how long it is now. Cadet at 25 and pension, if you're lucky, at 65. Ouch.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:30
  #2916 (permalink)  
 
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Elephant and Castle

It is certainly not something he was hired on his ability to do, has been extensively trained to do, or is encouraged to practice. (In fact) above FL 295 he is not allowed to even try.
Quite.

Had a f/o lose control of the aircraft completely last year. Not entirely sure, but I think he was trying to do a barrel roll. But the odd thing is that having sent a thorough report to the relevant authorities, they did not even have the common decency to reply and say 'thank you'. For all I know, they have waste-bins full of these reports, waiting for their turn in the incinerator.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:36
  #2917 (permalink)  
 
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All of the discussion about changing training practices still begs the question as to why on this particular flight an apparently experienced fighter jet background pilot could not recover from a stall? Whether all that has been leaked is accurate or not, it seems he was for the most part of the descent trying to recover the aircraft and could not. Obviously we need more information however in terms of ideal background and having learnt to hand fly, it seems AAI had an ideal candidate for captain on this flight and yet on this occasion it made no difference.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:36
  #2918 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Reinhardt View Post

put priority in recruiting ex-fighter pilots, all over the world, which means consider that 2000 hrs of combat jets in 10 years have the value of 15000 spent in airliners


Chaps like Cptn Irianto who "had been a Indonesian Air Force pilot for a decade"?
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 12:42
  #2919 (permalink)  
 
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I totally agree with the comments with regards to loss or never had basic flying skills.

Apart from employing ex military pilots, does anyone have any suggestions how this problem can be addressed as it seems to me the authorities don't seem to be addressing this very serious issue. How many more of these types of accidents do we have to endure before something is done? My money is on, a lot more.

Flame me if you wish but at least I am trying to put forward suggestions for a possible solution. There are obviously much smarter people than I who must have the answers.

Why are pilots getting into these situations in the first instance, that require superior flying skills to recover??

- How about 10% to 25% recurrent training be added for basic handling, more unusual attitude recovery, stalling and recovery practice, both VMC and IMC at altitude. More S & L in varying degrees of turbulence.You know all stuff we cant practice on the line. I just bet the accounts would love that.

- What about training before a computer licence is issued, on a "high performance" , tail wheel, aerobatic or semi aerobatic aircraft. 20 hours? Why a tail wheel. Well it would teach students to have some idea what to do with their feet when approaching the ground. Hours of xwind training thrown in. Basically give pilots the skills the older generation were given.

"Oh but we gonna' fly jets". BS same principals apply. A jet is the name of a type of power plant IIRC.
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Old 2nd Feb 2015, 13:19
  #2920 (permalink)  
 
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RAT

Some airlines have such stringent SOP's that it is a contest about "our trained monkeys are better than your trained monkeys".
I'm inclined to agree. Increasingly the term "good operator" seems to attached to anyone who has an almost unnatural level of recollection of all the FCOMs and Bulletins and is also "Johnny on the spot" with standard calls.......regardless of the stick and rudder skills or more worrying the lack thereof.
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