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BA A321 tailstrike.

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BA A321 tailstrike.

Old 16th Jul 2016, 20:08
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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Another BA foible is PM calls the armed (blue) modes and the PF the active (green) ones.
There are also other procedures which do not conform with the manufacturer sop including flap retraction.
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Old 16th Jul 2016, 20:28
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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This is not a criticism, only an observation. I suspect many of us on here have flown for a few different operators; I suspect BA pilots are one horse jockeys. That gives a very different perspective. There are indeed other ways to skin the cat. Some of the more flexible/younger operators are not afraid of using a clean sheet of paper & listening to learned opinions, including the manufacturers.
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Old 16th Jul 2016, 20:31
  #123 (permalink)  
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Perhaps I am misperceiving the problem or the characterizations of "SOPs", but in a final analysis, aren't SOPs the purview of the airline?

By this I mean that the manufacturer will have a set of SOPs for their product based upon their obvious in-depth knowledge of their product but I've found at least with Boeing's products that SOPs and in particular, explanatory notes as to how or why something works the way it does, very sparse, and in the past have seen my own and other airlines modify SOPs to fit the culture they have built and consider 'normal'. Airbus on the other hand do seem to provide far greater details and prescriptions for SOPs and between what I had used on the Airbus prior to retirement was coincidental with what Airbus had issued.

This is more for a historical perspective for those who believe that SOPs are strict rules which must slavishly be adhered to in all circumstances rather than "formal guidance" for the knowledgable and experienced.

I have to say, 302hrs isn't nearly sufficient "time-in" to provide a basis for comprehending the nuances of transport work, let alone appreciating and placing the observations in the AAIB Report or even responding the verbal call, "pitch!" quickly enough. It IS indeed a factor in this incident and not discussing I think is a disservice to the maturing of the cadet process.
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Old 16th Jul 2016, 23:29
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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Hi PJ2,

I agree that the inexperience of the PF was more than worthy of discussion in the report. A dusk landing close to max landing weight on an a/c well-known for its susceptibility to tail-strike was a tough call considering it was his/her first A321 landing since completing line training six days previously.

Never flew the A321 but, FWIW, the landing technique that worked best for me on the A320 at higher weights included a momentary forward movement of the stick at or immediately before main-wheels touchdown. (Rather like the B707...) This anticipates the pitch-up effect of ground-spoiler deployment (the latter being particularly noticeable at higher pitch angles) and slightly reduces the normal acceleration on touchdown. When both pairs of main-wheels are on the ground, the de-rotation rate is obviously controlled with the stick to achieve a smooth nose-wheels touchdown. Perhaps experienced A321 pilots will comment.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 00:23
  #125 (permalink)  
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Hi Chris Scott;

As always, data for these events is happily sparse, but from flight data and discussions, a light, quartering tailwind, (~10kts), seems associated A321 tailstrikes, (I note that the wind was ~5kts, and a headwind). It makes sense particularly if the wind is slightly increasing in speed and other factors such as higher weights with that "transitional" lighting between day/dusk/night.

FWIW, I'm surprised that cadet-level experience appeared to be unrestricted. At 300hrs there just isn't enough experience even in the muscle-memory (autonomic) to handle some circumstances. I know well, the "how do you get experience except by experience?" argument, but I think handling these aircraft for a thousand hours or so within a reduced "bracket" of landing conditions will give the muscles and the hand-eye work time to cement, particularly if one has had some initial difficulty with the landing as has been commented here.

Like many who fly these aircraft, I've used the technique you mention on every aircraft I've flown and, judged well, it works. I do have experience proving the counter-example, especially on the B727. One can try it with the A330/A340 to beat the forward set of wheels to the pavement when the tilting mechanism "unlocks" the tilted bogies - they can slam the airplane down hard on the front set of wheels.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 05:11
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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One would've expected BA to at least take note of the bmi SOPs when bmi was taken over. Aren't some ex-bmi Airbus bods in pretty senior Airbus positions at BA?

With the IAG group as a whole growing, I'd like to think there'd be some knowledge sharing between Vueling, IB, Aer Lingus and BA flight ops departments on how best to operate the aircraft. These are all big Airbus operators!

Champ
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 08:55
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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Nilfurther:

I had heard somewhere the Airbus refused to sign off on BA method of operating the 380 , is it true that there are still aspects of the way that BA operate the aircraft that Airbus aren't happy with ?
To be fair, the 380 top brass tried hard to keep the SOPs as close to Airbus as possible. And my feeling is a majority of BA pilots would agree that having the PM select reverse does not make a lot of sense nowadays. However you must consider the substantial threat that would be introduced by such a critical change in SOPs. And besides the potential for mishaps on the line once the new SOP is in place, there is there is the very difficult problem of how to introduce it and train for it. You can't really use the normal sim cycle to introduce it two pilots at a time and I would be surprised if the CAA were happy for BA to make it law without a sim sign off. I have a feeling this SOP is there to stay on the existing fleets and will only be changed with the introduction of new aircraft. I'm sure the 350 launch team will carefully review the safety data from the 380 to determine whether this change of SOP caused an unacceptable level of delayed reverse selection (I don't believe that's the case).

Regarding your question about Airbus still being unhappy about some A380 SOPs, I have not heard it from the horse's mouth. I could see why they might not like the speed selection below green dot, but that's pretty much it. The unusual announcement of FMA changes by both pilots (depending on colour) takes a while to get used to for DEPs, but I doubt Airbus would be that bothered about it. Other than that, it's pretty much Airbus SOPs.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 09:12
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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The Classic 747 was originally operated as a Boeing... PF handled reverse on landing and RTO.+ no monitored approach.

The -400 was always operated the "BEA" way, eventually the Classic fleet fell in to line and had to operate the same SOP's.

So now there is back to Boeing :-) ... well all except the monitored approach and reversers.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 09:20
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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Capt Ecureuil, how was the change to -400 SOPs introduced on the Classic?
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 09:33
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Capt Ecureuil

The -400 was always operated the "BEA" way, eventually the Classic fleet fell in to line and had to operate the same SOP's.

So now there is back to Boeing :-) ... well all except the monitored approach and reversers.
I thought in the early days of the 744 (I moved to it from the Classic in 91) we were on something akin to Boeing Sops ( we certainly flew our own coupled or visuals to land, the "monitored approach" was used for non-precision stuff) but the head shed decided that was a bad thing and it morphed into the BEA way by, I am guessing, the mid nineties.... If I am wrong I stand corrected..and anyway all this is a bit of a tangent given the context of the thread, but nevertheless an example of how BA works, or not.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 09:33
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Permafrost_ATPL
Capt Ecureuil, how was the change to -400 SOPs introduced on the Classic?
It was nearly 25 years ago so happy to be corrected....

A notice that it was going to happen.
A practice in the sim.
A manual amendment.
Then one day it came in to force.

Much the same as (nearly) Back to Boeing

Wiggy....Sorry, always thought that -400 came in with "BEA" way, it was the mid 90's that I transferred from the Classic

Last edited by Capt Ecureuil; 17th Jul 2016 at 09:40. Reason: Answer to Wiggy
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 10:59
  #132 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Permafrost_ATPL
However you must consider the substantial threat that would be introduced by such a critical change in SOPs. And besides the potential for mishaps on the line once the new SOP is in place, there is there is the very difficult problem of how to introduce it and train for it.
You need to be trained to select reverse if you're a BA pilot?
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 11:43
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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Are you really saying it's so hard to fathom a situation where no one selects reverse, in the heat of the moment, if you have a PF who reacts according to the old SOP and a PNF who reacts according to the new SOP?
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 11:51
  #134 (permalink)  
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What?! The cream of UK aviation forgetting to select reverse, surely not. But what has happened to communication? A simple call of "no reverse", or similar, will rectify the situation. In fact I'd hazard a guess that BA already has a similar call out. I presume one of you will be monitoring?
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 12:08
  #135 (permalink)  

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Do we have any feedback as to how the transition onto the A380 went with regard to REVERSE selection?
Not that difficult I suspect...!
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 12:34
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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However you must consider the substantial threat that would be introduced by such a critical change in SOPs.

Let's consider another threat. It s a common held idea that the landing is committed to once TR's have been unlocked. Many over-run's have occurred when the smart move would have been to make a GA from the runway after touchdown. Who makes that decision? Certainly the captain and hopefully the PF. If they are one & the same it can be easier. Now, as the Capt/PF is just about to abort the landing and go off again, the PM selected TR's. Ouch. Never say never.
Back to the SOP. I've heard the defenders say "it is no problem, even RTO's." I've not heard a solid reason persuading us it is a better idea than the more common alternative. Until then I think we shall all agree to disagree.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 14:23
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Surely a manual ammendment including the risks of regression for seasoned pilots in readiness for a go live date would suffice? This is not a technical thing.....it's more HF.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 14:38
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''It s a common held idea that the landing is committed to once TR's have been unlocked.''

It's actually a known fact that you have landed, with weigh on wheels and other parameters when the T/Revs unlock.
Just saying.
And before anyone comments about Lauda Air, that is why the third/tertiay lock was installed in modern systems.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 15:06
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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Easy boys and girls, this threat has been mentioned to me by people pretty high up the food chain. Yes of course there is a call of No Reverse. But if I had a dollar for every time I had to issue it to my sim partner (decades on Jumbos) during the 380 conversion course... To discard this major change to two pretty crucial stages of flight as trivial is not wise.
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Old 17th Jul 2016, 15:06
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Cross-fleet commonality

Some in this discussion may not be aware that the BA Airbus operation had its roots in BCAL, which ordered the first ten (CFM-powered) A320s as joint launch-customer with Air France. BA had always demurred from acquiring Airbus types.

The first BCAL pilots' course started at Blagnac a few days after the sudden announcement of the BA takeover, and we fully expected it and the aircraft order to be cancelled by Boeing (sorry, British) Airways once the penny had dropped at Heathrow. In fact, following delays due to the necessity to reconfigure the type's electrical system prior to certification, the first a/c was delivered to LGW on the day that the BA AOC supplanted BCAL's (1/4/88).

The BCAL SOPs for the A320, as had been the case on our short-lived A310 operation, were in line with Airbus's as far as a/c handling was concerned, so the PF handled reverse for landings and rejected take-offs. With notable exceptions, very few BA pilots joined the fleet in the first year, although we successfully standardised a modernised version of the monitored-approach procedure.

The practice of the PNF selecting the reverse came, IIRC, sometime in the 1990s, in the interests of cross-fleet commonality. The throttles and thrust-reverse levers on the A320 are possibly the easiest to use of any jet - particularly nice compared with older, 4-engined types like the B707, on which the Boeing SOP was for the PF to select his own spoilers and reverse (the latter consecutively in symmetric pairs). No doubt BOAC had a different policy.

But, to pick up the point made by RAT 5 above, the worst aspect of the new SOP was that the PNF selected reverse at his/her discretion, without any command from the PF. This was a policy discredited - to cite an example close to my own experience - by the accident to G-ARTA at LGW in 1972. The a/c had been completing an empty ferry from LHR in the early hours of the morning with a very aft CG in a gusty crosswind. In compliance with the current BCAL VC10 SOP, the PNF had selected reverse as the a/c touched down - albeit heavily - and bounced. This presented the PF-captain with a fait-accompli, and the a/c broke its back during the series of bounces that followed.

Assuming that most landings in limiting, gusty crosswinds on short runways are performed by captains, can an inexperienced co-pilot be trusted instantly to remove his/her hand from the throttles in the event of a G/A call at or immediately after touchdown?

Long in retirement, I'd nevertheless be interested to hear the story of the evolution of A380 SOPs in BA, and to what extent they may be non-common with its other fleets, including the B787.
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