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BA A321 tailstrike.

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BA A321 tailstrike.

Old 15th Jul 2016, 08:56
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
The restriction referred to in the AAIB report was that co-pilots flying the A321 would not be allowed to perform landings until they had sufficient experience on type.

So not the same thing at all, unless you're suggesting the AAIB have got the wrong end of the stick.
I guess a total 'ban' until 6/12 of line flying may be an effect of trying to make rostering more straightforward, even though the AAIB report only refers to landing.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 09:19
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I guess a total 'ban' until 6/12 of line flying may be an effect of trying to make rostering more straightforward, even though the AAIB report only refers to landing.
I'm a bit out of the loop at the moment and have no "special " insight into this but knowing how fluid the operation at BA can be I would have thought a total ban on operating the A321 with < 6/12 would make rostering a nightmare. Day to day ops, most especially anything requiring a last minute equipment change would be a minefield, given the number of down route crew changes you have around the network.......

"Oooooh look blogs, they've sent us a 321......."

A landing restriction makes more practical and operational sense to my tiny mind but those on the fleet in question I'm sure have chapter and verse.

Last edited by wiggy; 15th Jul 2016 at 09:57.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 09:31
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Pilot incap? It's all very well having these new recruits under operational limitations (no landings of the A321/crosswind limitations etc) but it's naff all use if the Captain is incapacitated. It does happen, an easyJet cadet F/O under line training was on her own just last year when the trainer became incapacitated.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 09:45
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There seems to be a lot of focus on the pilots hours, naturally.
But may I ask, has an 'experienced' pilot ever scraped the tail of a 321?
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 09:59
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But may I ask, has an 'experienced' pilot ever scraped the tail of a 321?
Airtours, Funchal, to name one.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 10:05
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Originally Posted by wiggy
I'm a bit out of the loop at the moment and have no "special " insight into this but knowing how fluid the operation at BA can be I would have thought a total ban on operating the A321 with < 6/12 would make rostering a nightmare. Day to day ops, most especially anything requiring a last minute equipment change would be a minefield, given the number of down route crew changes you have around the network.......

"Oooooh look blogs, they've sent us a 321......."

A landing restriction makes more practical and operational sense to my tiny mind but those on the fleet in question I'm sure have chapter and verse.
Yes you're right, that seems like a logistical nightmare... 😂
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 11:01
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Not a pilot so flame me if needed, (though I did once have a 'flying lesson' but are the A321 landing characteristics so different from the A320? The reason I ask is that the first couple of sectors were on an A320. I would have thought that if they were significantly different then going from A320 to A321 on the same duty could be tricky if you haven't had enough time on type to develop the 'habit' of landing the thing, and if they are subtly different then it would be even more tricky?
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 12:11
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I've had the pleasure of operating the A321 recently after about 2000 hours A319/320 at other airlines. I have to say I prefer the 321, certainly to the 319 and possibly even the A320 in terms of being able to grease it on. It is subtly different, the approach speed is slightly higher and that results in being able to drive it on that much more. I've not been close at all to smacking the tail yet, whether that's because of experience or not I don't really know. I think a competent pilot just instinctively knows when the nose attitude is looking a bit high and knows not to go any further. This is something the cadets possibly haven't had time to develop and their landings in the Warrior and Seneca may still be fresh in the memory hence the temptation to pull full back stick.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 12:15
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The restriction referred to in the AAIB report was that co-pilots flying the A321 would not be allowed to perform landings until they had sufficient experience on type.

Is this indeed correct? If so, could someone with inside knowledge of the training philosophy at BA give us an explanation as to why it is a good idea. You perform base training to gain landing experience in the real a/c and achieve the final link in gaining the type rating, but you are then not allowed to consolidate that skill for another 6 months, after which you have forgotten the nuances you developed during the base training? Curious.
How does 6 months line flying in LNAV/VNAV & auto-throttle, twiddling knobs and FMC inputs to 'operate' the a/c, help you in becoming competent to fly a stable approach to a manual tail-scrape free flare and touchdown? Does not sound good for confidence building. You pass the base training and are then told you are not yet good enough to do the same with pax on board. Does this apply only to cadets or type conversions from other types? What about DEP's?
The PM activating thrust reversers sounds another BA quirk from yester-year. Was that not an FE function on old oil burners? What if it is a slippery X-wind runway and reverse is giving control difficulties and needs to be modified? If ailerons need to be kept into wind on landing in severe winds it is no problem on an AB. If I needed to do so on a Boeing I briefed it that the PM would ensure the ailerons would be held into wind on touchdown. It seems another quirk where the risk might be greater than the benefit.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 12:26
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But may I ask, has an 'experienced' pilot ever scraped the tail of a 321?
Sure, airbus test pilots on their A321NEO during landing...
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 12:27
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RAT 5, the point is that the FPP's are not doing their base training in the A321. They have plenty of sectors to fly and land in the A320/319 in the meantime to consolidate their experience before moving on to the larger aircraft. I'm a DEP and have no restrictions on operating the A321 which I thought I had made clear in my above post.

Thrust lever handling is another matter entirely and I agree with you totally. The PM setting reverse is a relic of a bygone age and not at all appropriate any more. There is talk of this SOP changing in the near future but nothing changes quickly in BA.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 12:52
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"At 50 ft agl the flare was initiated, using a progressive aft sidestick input, and at 25 ft agl the thrust levers were closed".
A quote from the AAB report I think this is where the problem started,followed by a firm landing,with a bounce then the incorrect technic used to arrest the rate of descent.
Having flown many hours on most Airbuses 50 ft is far to high to initiate a flare.
Pilots these days with low hours are taught to fly by numbers which this incident shows.

Last edited by 6f1; 15th Jul 2016 at 13:04.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 12:53
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Surely the best thing to do is to train the FPPs to land the A321 properly, rather than some blanket ban which only covers the problem rather than fixing it. Why don't they spend a little money and take them out base training in the 321 for a second day? As for the reverse handling, that has to be one of the most ridiculous SOPs I've ever heard.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 13:05
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In my outfit with no ban on landing for cadets the FOQA data show that the tailstrike risk is highest on the A320 variant. Apparently everyone is extra careful on the A321 (not to mention that it is the easiest to fly and land) and somewhat too relaxed on the A320. However, cadets do receive thorough linetraining on all three variants we use and have to demonstrate of course that they can land them. No limit on crosswind either apart from the official max demonstrated (which is treated as a limit).

Pilots these days with low hours are taught to fly by numbers which this incident shows.
If that is the case with BA and their cadet provider they should change it to a company that conducts meaningful training. If the problem is inhouse training, it might be indicative of problems in their own training department.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 13:34
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Am I reading it right that there's no FO x wind limit at BA? Pretty good if so.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 13:47
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Incorrect, 2/3rds of the airframe limit.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 13:48
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the point is that the FPP's are not doing their base training in the A321. They have plenty of sectors to fly and land in the A320/319 in the meantime to consolidate their experience before moving on to the larger aircraft.

Thank you Rex for the informative response. Good to know.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 15:00
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Originally Posted by DaveReidUK
The restriction referred to in the AAIB report was that co-pilots flying the A321 would not be allowed to perform landings until they had sufficient experience on type.

So not the same thing at all, unless you're suggesting the AAIB have got the wrong end of the stick.
Absolutely correct and my mistake - the limitation is on the landing of the A321 and not on the flying of it. Apologies for the confusion.
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Old 15th Jul 2016, 17:15
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"At 50 ft agl the flare was initiated, using a progressive aft sidestick input, and at 25 ft agl the thrust levers were closed".
A quote from the AAB report I think this is where the problem started,followed by a firm landing,with a bounce then the incorrect technic used to arrest the rate of descent.
Having flown many hours on most Airbuses 50 ft is far to high to initiate a flare.
Pilots these days with low hours are taught to fly by numbers which this incident shows
It's not so much flying by numbers as teaching people new to the type, some sort of datums to hang their hat on. "Just judge it by Mk1 Eyeball" isn't exactly brilliant advice to someone inexperienced is it? A heavy 321, with a hefty ROD, perhaps it is suitable to start a flare about 50ft? I don't know, I haven't flown one for a long time. Doesn't Airbus even suggest a flare height in it's FCOM? The report also states "However, in practice it is not necessarily apparent to flight crew when an aircraft has bounced and neither crew member perceived the bounce" so criticism about the flare technique after a bounce is perhaps a little unfair.

If that is the case with BA and their cadet provider they should change it to a company that conducts meaningful training. If the problem is inhouse training, it might be indicative of problems in their own training department.
BA use several different companies to train their cadets, all pretty well established and with proven records. Even so, I'm still not convinced what the 'problem' is. Many many cadets managed to land 321s adequately in the almost two years that the FPPs had been flying before this incident. Hardly indicative of a history of poor training is it?

Surely the best thing to do is to train the FPPs to land the A321 properly, rather than some blanket ban which only covers the problem rather than fixing it. Why don't they spend a little money and take them out base training in the 321 for a second day? As for the reverse handling, that has to be one of the most ridiculous SOPs I've ever heard.
The restriction is until completion of LCT, in which training is given on Flap 3 and A321 landings. A second days base training is not deemed necessary. I'm sure you have SOP's that would seem alien and 'ridiculous' to us as well.
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Old 16th Jul 2016, 05:14
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The aircraft touched down with a nose-up pitch attitude of 7.4°, just less than the 7.5° threshold at which the PM is required announce ‘pitch’.
Who dreamed up this call? Is it an Airbus thing or a BA thing?
Is the idea that the PM should be looking inside at the PFD monitoring pitch angles during the flare? If not, is there an HGS to provide the PM with an indication of when to make the call " pitch" ?
I would have thought it better to be looking down the runway judging sink rate and pitch visually.
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