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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Old 29th Mar 2015, 20:01
  #2561 (permalink)  
 
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Flight crew age

What chances of the flight crew upper age limits applications being increased after this terrible event ?
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 20:06
  #2562 (permalink)  
 
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Was me. With >500 Capts and >500 FOs on the fleet, and doing, say 100 "trips" a year (trip varies from 1 to 5 days), you might see the issue
Wondering if any airline ever came up with the idea of forming small teams within their crew pools who fly regularly together. Human beings work best in groups of up to 30 people - part of our evolutionary heritage.

Not knowing your colleagues in the cockpit may be seen as advantageous or at least convenient by the airlines, but I don't think it leads to a high level of well-being among the crews. You'll probably find that your conversations with your colleagues don't go much beyond the basic introductions, as does your familiarity with each other.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 20:13
  #2563 (permalink)  
 
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Airbus A320 crashed in Southern France

Centaurus
Your write-up on the above topic is not only educative but also beneficial, if all airlines of the world would adopt it in their Work Core Values, then we would have a more harmonious and relaxed Cockpits. As a matter of fact it should be applicable to other work sectors as well.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 20:18
  #2564 (permalink)  
 
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Too Early

Equally however, some crimes is so heinous [sic] that it is irresponsible and unreasonable to not release the information as soon as criminal investigators are clear what happened. They don't know all the fine details, and their investigation is ongoing. But they know the big picture. They wouldn't be releasing this information on the world stage if it was just one possible explanation - or even if it was just the most likely explanation. They are quite certain of the explanation.
I read the measured statement from IFALPA with a sense of relief and gratitude that the voice of reason is still to be heard above a cacophony of hysterical speculation, much of which, sadly, is to be found in these pages. However this appalling disaster occurred, the proven and highly-developed processes of accident investigation must still be conducted until all the information can be presented cogently, causes established, errors identified and recommendations and mandates issued to responsible parties. To think otherwise is to think along the lines of the poster I have quoted (and there are plenty to choose from). This is a juror who doesn’t need to sit through the entire hearing, who needs no evidence above the sly whisper heard outside the court-house to the effect that “’e done it, and no mistake”.

According to the original NY Times article on March 25 the initial source of the CVR leak was a “senior French military official” who “requested anonymity because the investigation was continuing”. The means by which the original information came into the public domain will, quite rightly, be the subject of its own enquiry in due course and one can only hope that, in turn, the relentless process of effective justice will grind out another truth there: establish the causes, identify the errors, &c, &c. Boring, slow, methodical? Yes – and unapologetically so. But these are the methods we must use.

Indirectly, this disclosure led to a press release in which the Marseille public prosecutor, Brice Robin, then elaborated on some of the contents of the CVR. M. Robin is not trained in air accident investigation – he is merely a prosecutor, a person whose speciality is to identify someone to accuse of a crime and then prosecute through the legal system. His premature public appearance has contributed nothing to the air accident investigation being conducted by BEA and has served only to feed the insatiable appetites of the global media monster that lives amongst us.

There are very few hard facts around which to formulate a working hypothesis – let alone a provable one – and yet the world has seemingly already made up its mind on the cause, basing this on a single un-attributed leak and the accusatorial conclusions of a man lacking any apparent aviation expertise. But before we completely re-design the world of air transportation, let’s take time out to review the evidence which has been presented so far to the court of public opinion. This might enable us to stay on track but, more importantly, create a platform for the defence to show why this case is far from proven.

Our first witness appears anonymously, but describes him/herself as a "senior French military official". Naturally this witness has refused to swear any form of oath. M. SFMO, what can you tell the court about this case?
“There was a very smooth, very cool conversation between the pilots. Then one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter. The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door, and there is no answer, and then he hits the door stronger, and no answer. There is never an answer. You can hear he is trying to smash the door down. We don’t know yet the reason why one of the guys went out. But what is sure is that at the very end of the flight, the other pilot is alone and does not open the door.”

The next witness is Remi Jouty from the Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses pour la sécurité de l'aviation civile. M. Jouty, what do you know of this incident?
“er we just succeeded in getting er an audio file which contains er useable er sounds and voices er we have not yet er fully er understood and worked on it to be able to say ok this is starting at this precise point in flight this is ending at this precise point in flight and er we hear such persons saying that etcetera this is an ongoing work which for which we will we hope to have a first rough ideas in mmm matter of days and having a full understanding of it in conjunction with other information er coming in particular from other recorded parameters er will take weeks and even months”

Finally, the court calls Marseilles public prosecutor Brice Robin. What can you tell the court, M. Robin?
"We could hear human breathing inside the cabin and that sound of breathing can be heard until the impact. That means that the co-pilot was alive. You then hear contacts from the Marseilles control tower on several occasions, but no answer from the co-pilot. The air traffic controllers then asked for the transponder code - 7700 - and there was no response, which means that this plane had now become a priority over all other planes for a potential emergency landing. The control tower even asked other planes to contact this Airbus by radio, and there was also no response. The alarms were activated to alert the aircraft of its proximity to the ground. At this moment we hear strong, violent knocks, almost as if to force the door open. I remind you that this is an armoured door, according to international norms, to protect against potential terrorist actions. These alarms, meant to alert the aircraft, were activated. Just until the final impact, we could hear the noise of a first impact on a slope. I remind you that the plane glided over a slope before it crashed at 700 km/hr on the mountain. I also remind you that there was no distress or emergency message - like a "mayday, mayday, mayday" - received by the air traffic controllers. The most plausible and probable interpretation for us is that the co-pilot, by a voluntary abstention, by voluntary abstention, refused to open the door to the cockpit to the flight captain and activated the button to start descent. So he activated this button to initiate loss of altitude for a reason that we are completely unaware of today but that can be analyzed as an intention to destroy the aircraft."

That is the entire case for the prosecution.

For the sake of argument now imagine that an event occurred during this flight, an unusual event certainly, but one that still has to be trained for by all commercial pilots and one for which specialised equipment has been installed at great cost on all aircraft. It is an event which will lead to death of all on board an aircraft at high altitude unless it is identified promptly by the pilots who must then deal with it quickly and professionally by the execution of a precise drill - the steps of which cannot be varied. Done by two pilots this drill is complex and demanding – done by an experienced pilot acting alone it becomes even harder. But when it must be executed by a single pilot who has no practical experience of it, minimal practise of it in a simulated environment and no experience whatsoever of having to do any form of non-normal or emergency procedure on his or her own in a real aircraft, it could lead to certain disaster. Miss any step in this drill, reverse or confuse the order of the first few steps and it is an assured fact that all on board the affected aircraft will perish. This event has killed before and it is one of the greatest certainties of flying commercial jets that it will kill again.

Nothing in the evidence from France can rule out the fact that this event occurred on board the Germanwings A320 on March 24th 2015. My learned colleagues will appreciate why the evidence of breathing noises being heard on the CVR right up to the moment of impact actually makes it more, not less, likely that this event occurred on this flight.

It’s time to back off and wait for the French investigative authorities do their job. There is nothing like enough evidence to predict the outcome of this enquiry, despite what the French public prosecutor would like to believe.

Just saying.

Last edited by eezeegeebee; 29th Mar 2015 at 23:03.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 20:56
  #2565 (permalink)  
 
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Given what has been released about this incident, I thought this thread would have concluded 24 hours ago...
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:02
  #2566 (permalink)  
 
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There is a lot of stupidity on this thread.

I've been flying for over 35 years, I have over 25,000 hours. In the last 22 years I've spent 16 years as an Airbus captain with over 600 different F/Os to fly with. There is no issue flying with someone you don't know. We are all trained and checked to the same standards. We fly under the same procedures, SOPs, and we are checked to see that we stay standardized.

Inevitably there will be someone you don't care for that you are paired with. It doesn't matter, you just fly the trip and go on with your life. No one at this level of flying will be allowed to go beyond the limit that their personal beliefs or quirks will affect safety. If there is such a breach of protocol either pilot can call the chief pilots office and get themselves or the other crew member removed. The union professional standards committee will also be involved.

In the USA we don't have cadets flying large transport catagory aircraft. You spend some years working your way up the aviation ladder. If you have a questionable reputation you will not make it to a major airline. Even in the US aviation is still a small world. Your bad reputation will make itself known. I am not saying that this F/O would have been caught out earlier butI think this is where the cadet system breaks down. Issues in the US are usually caught long before they rise to the major airline level.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:08
  #2567 (permalink)  
 
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Having read ezgb' s, how do we KNOW the captain left the flight deck?

How do we know it was the captain hammering on the door?

Apparently the passengers remained calm, it it possible they were hypoxic until at lower levels?
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:11
  #2568 (permalink)  
 
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Indirectly, this disclosure led to a press release in which the Marseille public prosecutor, Brice Robin, then elaborated on some of the contents of the CVR. M. Robin is not trained in air accident investigation – he is merely a prosecutor, a person whose speciality is to identify someone to accuse of a crime and then prosecute through the legal system. His premature public appearance has contributed nothing to the air accident investigation being conducted by BEA and has served only to feed the insatiable appetites of the global media monster that lives amongst us.
You display total ignorance of French legal procedure.

Monsieur Robin is indeed not an air accident investigator.

He is a "Procureur de la République".

Contrary to your inflammatory remark, totally unfounded, especially the use of "merely" as follows:

he is merely a prosecutor, a person whose speciality is to identify someone to accuse of a crime and then prosecute through the legal system.
you are completely and utterly wrong.

The Code Penal and the Code Civil in France requires that a procedure be opened when a loss of life occurs. It is called "instruction judiciaire".

The BEA carry out their investigations entirely independently.

If a plane went down with only the pilot on board,, no damage or loss of life on the ground, BEA would investigate on the one hand and an "instruction" would be opened at the same time. It has happened countless times. The purpose is to establish the cause of the death(s).

Under some different systems, a coroner would carry out the same function

A Procureur has a duty like any public servant, to be open and inform the public of what is known.

Do not be confused into thinking that the intervention of a Procureur means that criminal actions are considered or envisaged or even contemplated. It is simply a matter of procedure according to the laws of France. When you are better informed about the "speciality" of the role of a Procureur we could hold a further conversation.

There is nothing like enough evidence to predict the outcome of this enquiry, despite what the French public prosecutor would like to believe.

He has opened an "instruction" and has reserved his right to amend the heading of the enquiry.

He has performed his public duty correctly and, contrary to your ill-informed prejudice, appears to hold no beliefs.

The Pontoise trial concerning Concorde revealed a staggering lack of awareness of French procedure from many contributors. Go and take a look. You might emerge more aware.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:25
  #2569 (permalink)  
 
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eezeegeebee,

You seem to have conveniently left out a few details in presenting your case - important details. Such as the (independently confirmed) act of deliberately selecting 100ft on the MCP and commencing a descent.

What we have are a series of confirmed (to beyond reasonable doubt) events, for which there is only one plausible explanation - Which is why the conclusions already reached hold up, and have been made public. I appreciate this is slightly different to concrete proof, but air accident investigations quite frequently fall short of the 'concrete proof' standard and settle in the realms of 'no other plausible explanation' or 'most likely explanation'.

There persists a lot of unreasonable (IMHO) doubts being raised here.

Hypoxia has been ruled out (beyond reasonable doubt).

Incapacitation has been ruled out (beyond reasonable doubt).

Who was were and who took which actions have been established (beyond reasonable doubt).

...all from combinations of CVR and Mode-S ES data.

I don't believe the FDR will add much, if anything, to these conclusions.

As shocking / unbelievable / unpalatable these conclusions may be, they are supported by the evidence, with no other plausible or likely explanation. It's time to move the discussion on.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:28
  #2570 (permalink)  
 
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you are completely and utterly wrong.

The Code Penal and the Code Civil in France requires that a procedure be opened when a loss of life occurs. It is called "instruction judiciaire".

The BEA carry out their investigations entirely independently.

If a plane went down with only the pilot on board,, no damage or loss of life on the ground, BEA would investigate on the one hand and an "instruction" would be opened at the same time. It has happened countless times. The purpose is to establish the cause of the death(s).

Under some different systems, a coroner would carry out the same function

A Procureur has a duty like any public servant, to be open and inform the public of what is known.

Do not be confused into thinking that the intervention of a Procureur means that criminal actions are considered or envisaged or even contemplated. It is simply a matter of procedure according to the laws of France. When you are better informed about the "speciality" of the role of a Procureur we could hold a further conversation.
The most plausible and probable interpretation for us is that the co-pilot, by a voluntary abstention, by voluntary abstention, refused to open the door to the cockpit to the flight captain and activated the button to start descent. So he activated this button to initiate loss of altitude for a reason that we are completely unaware of today but that can be analyzed as an intention to destroy the aircraft.

The niceties of the french legal system notwithstanding, this chap looks like he's already made his mind up about the incident. You can appreciate why one might be confused, n'est-ce que pas?
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:38
  #2571 (permalink)  
 
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The most plausible and probable interpretation for us is that the co-pilot, by a voluntary abstention, by voluntary abstention, refused to open the door to the cockpit to the flight captain and activated the button to start descent. So he activated this button to initiate loss of altitude for a reason that we are completely unaware of today but that can be analyzed as an intention to destroy the aircraft
M. Robin may well have a public duty to report the facts but the above is subjective speculation on his part. It is not for him to comment on what may or may not be the "most plausible" explanation - at this stage this can only be based on what little evidence he knows now. He says the action of reducing the altitude can be "analysed" as an intention to destroy the aircraft - but it could equally well be "analysed" as an intention to get the aircraft down quickly (e.g. cockpit fire and many other scenarios that could leave no CVR trace). It's possible he wound the altitude down to 100 ft (the lowest it will go) initially when initiating an emergency descent thinking he would adjust it later, and for whatever reason he got distracted or was unable to adjust it because of subsequent events such as choking on smoke/heart attack/stroke.

The point is that there is no such thing as "reasonable doubt" when you are talking about a one in several million flights possibility. If he did indeed kill 149 people deliberately, then that would be an incredibly rare event in aviation history. If you are considering it as such, then you have to consider other very unlikely scenarios as possibilities if you are doing your job properly as an investigator, otherwise there can be no credibility to the process.

Last edited by Rushed Approach; 29th Mar 2015 at 22:15.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:40
  #2572 (permalink)  
 
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Unfortunately , the media does influence the politics of the decision makers .
The medias are - as their name suggests - a link between politicians and citizens who, fortunately, can and may influence the decisions in a democracy.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:44
  #2573 (permalink)  
 
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Reading post by Centaurus and Pace highlights a few misunderstandings and generalisations about lo co world of flying the airbus.

I also believe some of the recent posts seem to be going towards the bashing of cadet FO's where really I think in this tragic german wings event 'the holes in the Swiss cheese' lined up in a very individual case.

Firstly to Pace, The A320 is an automated aircraft but shockingly can be flown manually without an AP FD and A/THR and I think you will be surprised at how often that does happen. Obviously there is a time and a place so a remote greek island ndb approach with strong gusts might be one of those times to leave it all in. I did a raw data approach manually done 20 miles out autothrust out and on the next homeward leg the FO turned round and asked if he do the same as me. Looking at this 22year old 1 direction lookalike who must definatley did not look very piloty to me with 400hrs TT I thought to myself will if he mucks it up at least it will give me more practice. He then preceded to do the most accurate and precisely flown manual raw data approach I have ever seen. Few months later let a very experienced FO fly a raw data approach fully manually. He had not taken into account the extent of the tailwind ( which on the airliners can be a big problem as there is a lot of energy to slow down something the GA guys and small biz jet superpilots probably won't know much about). If it wasn't for some prompting for the gear from me I we would have flown the ILS twice.

Centaurus

I have done a Boeing type rating and Airbus type rating in the last 10 years. Both included a fair bit of manual flying but most focus is on the failure of aircraft systems. Also both times I did line training (they were both as an FO and when I got cmd on the Airbus) you had to do raw data manual thrust no AP. Manual handling is becoming an increasing part of the recurrent sims.

Every pilot is an individual and needs to treated that way. You get FO's flown for mutiple airlnes in their 40's but will definitely get the hump if you point something out or guys with plenty of life experience before they got into flying who won't take banter its not just young cadets who fall to those faults.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 21:47
  #2574 (permalink)  
 
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Beyond reasonable doubt

You seem to have conveniently left out a few details in presenting your case - important details. Such as the (independently confirmed) act of deliberately selecting 100ft on the MCP and commencing a descent.

What we have are a series of confirmed (to beyond reasonable doubt) events, for which there is only one plausible explanation - Which is why the conclusions already reached hold up, and have been made public. I appreciate this is slightly different to concrete proof, but air accident investigations quite frequently fall short of the 'concrete proof' standard and settle in the realms of 'no other plausible explanation' or 'most likely explanation'.

There persists a lot of unreasonable (IMHO) doubts being raised here.

Hypoxia has been ruled out (beyond reasonable doubt).

Incapacitation has been ruled out (beyond reasonable doubt).

Who was were and who took which actions have been established (beyond reasonable doubt).

...all from combinations of CVR and Mode-S ES data.

I don't believe the FDR will add much, if anything, to these conclusions.
I haven't challenged the evidence that Mode S data recorded 100 ft from the MCP. But when QRH says ALT KNOB - TURN/PULL it doesn't say what altitude to select, does it? If I was stressed and kept winding it all the way, it would eventually read 100, even if the 100/1000 ring wasn't moved.

Before writing my post I carefully scoured NYT and other sources to find out what hard evidence is out there. Unless I missed something, no other assertions are possible exept what the three witnesses have said.

Before you can add anything, you've got to say what your source is, just like I have done. So...

How, precisely, has hypoxia been ruled out?
How, precisely, has incapacitation been ruled out?
Precisely which actions have been established?
Who took them?

FDR may or may not add anything. We must wait and see.

Last edited by eezeegeebee; 29th Mar 2015 at 21:47. Reason: quote mark bracket
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 22:07
  #2575 (permalink)  
 
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M. Brice Robin conclusion

First wings folded makes a nice summation Here

The two cents I would like to add is that the remit of the public prosecutor is to conduct a criminal investigation concerning an aircraft accident, period. He is to determine if a criminal act has been committed that caused the accident, he is not tasked with determining any other possible causes such as may be related to spontaneous equipment / software failures or deficiencies which may have caused the accident -that falls under the provenance of the BEA. Thus M. Robin is only looking for evidence of a crime. If he discovers enough the evidence to reasonably conclude that a crime has likely been committed then he will report such; he tells he has and he did. While there may be other possible reasons for this accident such as an unrecoverable equipment or software failure either due to the nature of that failure or due to pilot error in response due to inexperience it is not M. Robin's issue to address, that is BEA's issue. To sum up M. Robin was tasked to determine if enough evidence existed to indicate that a crime had likely been committed, he believes he has done so.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 22:08
  #2576 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Denti View Post
Vertical mode can also be derived from other available parameters.
How exactly would you do that without the FDR? One can only make some assumptions, but don't know for sure which mode was used.
There are indeed flags (in the same transmission as the Selected Altitude) that indicate the status of VNAV, Alt Hold and Approach modes.

Apologies for not mentioning those.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 22:17
  #2577 (permalink)  
 
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How, precisely, has hypoxia been ruled out?
Noises of shouting, banging on the door, screaming from pax, clearly audible captain's voice from outside the FD - multiple sources show, IMHO, that Hypoxia can be ruled out BRD.

How, precisely, has incapacitation been ruled out?
Deliberate selection of an ALT below MSA and deliberate actions required by the F/O to keep the FD door locked out after the 5 mins are up - rules out his incapacitation BRD.

Precisely which actions have been established?
Who took them?
As described above - identifiable voice of the Captain on CVR outside the FD, examination of what sounds picked up by individual mikes allows for placement of those sounds.

You are right that little has been precisely determined - but little rarely is. Many facts have simply been determined to be the only plausible conclusions.

Many are understandably unwilling to accept this at face value. Many are also crying foul that info has been released this early in an accident investigation - a very unusual step.

But remember - this accident clearly seems not to have been an accident at all, and those conclusions have been able to be drawn pretty quickly and conclusively - which to my mind means different rules apply.

As for sources - all of this comes from what the French authorities have reported to be on the CVR, and I have no reason to doubt that.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 22:18
  #2578 (permalink)  
 
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NigelOnDraft said:
Quote:
Was me. With >500 Capts and >500 FOs on the fleet, and doing, say 100 "trips" a year (trip varies from 1 to 5 days), you might see the issue
Wondering if any airline ever came up with the idea of forming small teams within their crew pools who fly regularly together. Human beings work best in groups of up to 30 people - part of our evolutionary heritage.

Not knowing your colleagues in the cockpit may be seen as advantageous or at least convenient by the airlines, but I don't think it leads to a high level of well-being among the crews. You'll probably find that your conversations with your colleagues don't go much beyond the basic introductions, as does your familiarity with each other.
Nice idea, and has always been a debate with airlines not doing "constituted crews", and the military tending to.

Leave aside the technical merits, would prove unworkable with any sort of bidding system e.g. our Bidline Mix in Part Time options, Union work, differing leave etc. and it would not work IMO. Some of our Cabin Crew contracts try it from time to time - not for safety but "customer service", but I think it tends to fail for the same rostering reasons?

Personally, I do not see it as an issue - we are all trained to the same SOPs, and if anything, at the end of a long tour, things might "relax" a little more than the author of the SOPs intended
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 22:25
  #2579 (permalink)  
 
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I refer to the 'swiss cheese effect' as its a good example of how many individual events or factors unfortunately tie up to this one tragic event. Obviously I can only go by the media reports but to me Andreas major issues were:

1)His personality to be very detailed and controlling

2) Strong love for flying throughout most of his life. Was into glider flying (what real pilots do) and was even cabin crew so flying a major part of his life.

3) Depression/ untaken medication?

4)Relationship issues

5) Big possiblity of losing Class 1 due to eye sight and his whole career.

6) Reports of not getting on or gelling with the Captain

7) Reports of being bullied.

8) Now this last one is beyond my knowledge of the human brain but ability to act and do something morally horrific.

To me tragically that day these holes all lined up and he was presented with an opportunity and took it. Maybe he was taking medication which dulled his senses and sense of morality or conversely not taken his medication and he acted erratically. Maybe the chances of all these lining up was that chance in a billion.

A lot of pilots (sorry should really say system programmers) will have point no 2, and definitely some captains I used to fly with had 1 as well ( can be a very good thing). I am sure a lot of us have had or are having 4 and definitely in a flying career will have 6. So each individual item except number 8 is something that can happen or is a perfectly normal trait or event.

Its this number 8 which we need to figure out if its in our button pushing pilot society and how to find it which is the next big issue.
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Old 29th Mar 2015, 22:27
  #2580 (permalink)  
 
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Wonder how long it will be before an airline issues a directive that the pilots can only go on a "comfort" break if it doesn't disrupt the cabin service.
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