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Germanwings crash: Have cockpit doors changed?

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Germanwings crash: Have cockpit doors changed?

Old 23rd Apr 2016, 07:56
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Originally Posted by itsnotthatbloodyhard
In the months after the introduction of the 2-person rule, my outfit had:

F/As attempting to occupy the LHS as the captain departed on toilet breaks;

A F/A asking the F/O "Are you sure you should be touching that?" as the F/O made an adjustment to the MCP/FCU to avoid wx or comply with ATC; and

A large male F/A telling an S/O (and not joking) "Don't touch anything!" (Or else what? )

While this points to either inadequate education or an unusual level of stupidity in the individuals concerned, it hasn't made me feel any safer.
Never had FAs do or say anything like that. They come in, stand there and chat if I want, then when I let the other guy in they go back out. Me thinks your FAs haven't been told what they're there for.
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Old 23rd Apr 2016, 09:46
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My personal experience is the same as yours. Hopefully it was just a few people getting overexcited post-Germanwings.
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Old 24th Apr 2016, 12:20
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Blimey! What an honour! A whole four-page thread starting with a quote from moi. Thanks fmgc. Bit of a shame I was being thoroughly ****bagged in the process, but you can’t have everything, I suppose.

Sorry to have been so late in coming to the party, btw - have been away, and only espied the thread today.

Anyway, a bit of background, if I may. I’m a broadcast journo, and I rarely do written stuff. I was asked to do this by the BBC online magazine - and ended up being quoted out of context. If you can be arsed, here are the exact words I sent to the reporter Harry Low.

There are always unintended consequences. The secure flight deck door policy was brought in after the events of 9-11.

The concept of always having more than one person on the flight deck is probably an improvement. The best solution would be to have two pilots. But most short haul flights only have two pilots in total, so that would mean no toilet breaks on a flight lasting several hours - clearly impractical. So the other person has to be cabin crew - a flight attendant. So, do all flight attendants have to be trained to understand the myriad switches on the flight deck? And are we happy expecting unqualified crew to be able to understand when a pilot is doing something dangerous, as opposed to something which may actually be in response to an emergency?

On balance, an extra crew member on the flight deck is probably beneficial - if for no other reason than to operate the switches that unlock the door if it is clear that someone with appropriate authority needs to get into the flight deck. But that does all need training - more expense for cash-strapped smaller airlines. So, as Flightglobal said, "It is a problem that is irreconcilable at its most fundamental level."

There is another consideration. It is suggested that a pilot intent on suicide (and hence mass-murder) will be less likely to carry out his or her plans if there is someone else on the flight deck with them. That may be true, but I don’t think it can be proven.


I hope that clarifies things a bit, fmgc. And also - thanks to the peeps who’ve come to my support, and to the ones who don’t think the way fmgc does.

But I’d like also to answer fmgc’s question
How is Sean Maffett qualified to comment on something that he is totally uneducated about:
I believe, perhaps immodestly, that I’m quite well qualified - even educated - in the subject. Although I can’t boast those magic letters ATPL, I have spent all 50-plus years of my adult life in aviation. I like to claim that aviation fuel runs in my veins. I wrote in my LinkedIn summary that I try to “bring an understanding of aeroplanes and flying to people who have not had the experience that I have been lucky enough to have had in the world of aviation.”


Since spending twenty years and several thousand hours in the RAF - nearly all on transport flying (incidentally, ‘Transport Command’ disappeared in 1967, just after I left my my first squadron) - I’ve been a freelance journo.

Over the years, I’ve become, in the public shorthand, an aviation expert or analyst. I’ve written and narrated more than a hundred aviation dvds and videos. I’ve commentated at more air shows than I care to think about, including Dubai and Farnborough - on lots of aircraft types, civil and military.

And, on average these days, I do about sixty broadcasts a year on tv and radio. They’re about aviation, civil or military, and they’re all by request from a broadcaster. They’re mostly for the BBC, but also for ITV and Sky, as well as Al Jazeera and other international broadcasters - even sometimes for the Russians.

And, although I may not be ‘current’ on anything, I try my hardest to do the appropriate research. It’s even been known for the odd PPRuNer to say something kind about my efforts - although clearly not invariably….

In short - I know that, if I poke my head over the parapet, I must expect to get shot at by people with more appropriate aviation experience than I. But I’d just like the shooters to know that I do have a background in their world. The point is, I’m actually one of the people trying to make available to the Beeb, and the rest, an authentic aviation viewpoint, rather than the view of an aviation-ignorant reporter. And I remain happy to continue poking my head over the parapet.

fmgc, if you’re so unhappy with what I was quoted as saying, why don’t you offer your view to the BBC, rather than hiding behind an impenetrable PPRuNe name? All you have to do is phone the BBC, and ask for the reporter by name. Or, if you don’t want to do that, you could contact me through a PPRuNe PM. As a reputable journalist , I would, of course, guarantee to protect your anonymity should you choose to tell me your name.

That’s it - sorry to have taken up so much space.

Last edited by airsound; 24th Apr 2016 at 15:32. Reason: typo
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Old 24th Apr 2016, 16:51
  #64 (permalink)  
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Air sound, thanks for taking the time to reply. I do appreciate that but I still question either your qualification to comment on this or your research (or even both).

I am an airline pilot of 20 years and am in management. I have participated in creating the safety case and have had comms with airline management of most of the bigger UK airlines. I can categorically say that most if not all of them do not show that "On balance, an extra crew member on the flight deck is probably beneficial".

PR with this issue is the problem and what the public perceive to be "safer" policies but which actually aren't. So your comments do not help safety they just add credibility to incorrect public perception that makes it harder to move back to the better policy of NOT having a 2 person flight deck policy.

I am not at liberty to reveal my company's safety case nor am I at liberty to speak to the press, either anonymously or not, as what is said to the press is a corporate decision made above my pay level.

I would suggest that you try to use your contacts to have a look at these safety cases, if you are unable to gain access then your research is incomplete and so your comments are based on incorrect assumptions.
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Old 24th Apr 2016, 20:24
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Originally Posted by airsound
Over the years, I’ve become, in the public shorthand, an aviation expert or analyst.
With respect, I think that illustrates the problem perfectly.

You are to be commended for your understanding, if I interpret you correctly, that "aviation expert" is a virtually meaningless term (given how wide-ranging the discipline is) and is used solely by the public, who don't know any better, and the media, who don't care and are solely concerned with filling column-inches or airtime with the nearest available talking head.

What we really need are more "experts" who acknowledge there are areas in the aviation universe that are outside their competency/comfort zone.

Somehow, I don't see that happening.
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Old 25th Apr 2016, 10:08
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I'm in line with fmgc and DaveReidUK on this.

Items such as the original BBC piece (and other pieces in the media) have fed an incorrect public perception which in turn has led to some interesting and sometimes some not particularly helpful comments and even e-mails and letters from some of our more observant passengers.

Unfortunately many of us (even the non-experts such as myself) have to remain tight lipped on the subject.
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 09:40
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fmgc, I’m impressed with your 20 years, and management stuff - which of course I didn’t know before.
I am an airline pilot of 20 years and am in management.
However (there’s always one of those, isn’t there….) - however, I don’t think people need to be ‘qualified’ to comment. I wonder, what actually is a comment qualification, and how does one get it?

What usually happens to me is that I get invited by programmes to appear because I have a track-record as a professional broadcaster with an area of specialist expertise - an area, incidentally, in which many broadcasting organisations have little or no expertise.

I would be fascinated to see your safety case findings. But I suggest you’re being a tad disingenuous if you think I’d be likely to see such any such thing - unless, of course, there was a whistleblower. Not much likelihood of that, perhaps. Or perhaps you could advise the highly-paid helps ‘above your pay level’ that it might be important to tell the travelling masses why you don’t think something is safe?

I also note that, on this thread alone, there seem to be at least as many posters in favour of the two person flight deck as against it. Do you suppose they have safety cases of their own?

As a journo, I have to take a view on the balance of probability. But if you read what I actually wrote for the Beeb, you’ll surely agree that I did not come out firmly on the side of the two person flight deck, merely ”on balance …. probably”. Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Also, I’m not entirely convinced that a longish article in the magazine section of BBC Online has the kind of readership that would affect anybody’s considerations much - especially since the article includes, with traditional BBC 'balance', people on both sides of the argument.

Finally, on the question of whether to have journalistic experts (however defined) or not, I’m fully aware of antipathy from many PPRuNers. But I have to ask whether you actually approve of journalism, as an essential part of democracy, at all. I assume, indeed I hope, you do. If so, would you rather have somebody commenting who does at least know something about aviation, or would you prefer to hear from a general reporter who knows nothing about the subject? Btw, the answer ‘none of the above’ is not open to you…..

airsound
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Old 27th Apr 2016, 09:45
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DaveReidUK
What we really need are more "experts" who acknowledge there are areas in the aviation universe that are outside their competency/comfort zone.

Somehow, I don't see that happening.
Well, Dave, I guess you wouldn’t see it, because it’s by definition invisible!

As it happens, I’ve turned down several invitations to be interviewed in the past few months, mostly because I thought the subject wasn’t appropriate for me.

After this current, mildly bruising, PPRuNe encounter, I may well turn down future invites to contribute comment in writing, since the risk of being taken out of context is much greater than in live broadcast interviews.

So…. (small) result, for you, fmgc?!

airsound
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Old 28th Apr 2016, 16:17
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Mr Airsound,


If you comment on things or write articles in the mainstream media then you can only expect to receive differing views and for your qualification to express those views to be questioned, surely it comes with the job.


I have not taken you out of context, you said what you said. "On balance, an extra crew member on the flight deck is probably beneficial" and the rest of your comments just qualify your statement.


I bet that anything you write about with regards to Vulcans, airshows and the ilk are very good and interesting.


My feelings on the press and a debate about that here is not appropriate, but let us just remember that when it comes to "taking things out of context" the press are hardly innocent!


If you had the confidence in what you were writing then I doubt that you would be so ready to throw in the towel. Maybe you would admit that it is reasoned argument and expressed views that has made you reconsider your future invites rather than just getting a mild bruising.
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Old 28th Apr 2016, 16:25
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However (there’s always one of those, isn’t there….) - however, I don’t think people need to be ‘qualified’ to comment. I wonder, what actually is a comment qualification, and how does one get it?

So by not being qualified then incorrect and misleading information is being passed to the public as qualified comment.


I think that in this instance somebody with airline experience, who understands safety cases and who has operated with this policy (ie subject matter experts) would be qualified to comment.
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Old 29th Apr 2016, 19:03
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fmgc - I’ve tried to answer your sallies politely and with patience. But you just keep pushing.

I have no problem with anybody questioning what I say or write in public. That comes with the territory. But if you want to push me, then at least pay attention to my responses. As well as being disingenuous (you didn’t answer that one), you’re now being condescending.
I bet that anything you write about with regards to Vulcans, airshows and the ilk are very good and interesting.
You also choose not to enter the debate about what you call ‘the press’ - but surely that’s absolutely central to what we’re discussing here? You opened this whole thread by questioning my right to comment. I’m telling you why I have every right.

You suggest that only SMEs should be allowed to enter this arena. Well, in an ideal world, maybe. But tell me, please - how does the broadcaster:
a. find these SMEs
b. get the SMEs to speak in public, when they - and their bosses - are institutionally opposed to any such public airing of views.
c. make sure that an SME actually comes over as audience-friendly?

incorrect and misleading information is being passed to the public as qualified comment
You judge that information incorrect - but, as I’ve said, others don’t. And, as I’ve also said, I’d hardly describe my equivocal ‘support’ for the two-person-flight-deck as argument-settling or fact-changing.
If you had the confidence in what you were writing then I doubt that you would be so ready to throw in the towel.
Where did I say I was throwing in any towel? All I’ve said is that I may not contribute in writing in the way that I did. As a matter of interest, contributing that way was a first for me - and it didn’t work. But I shall continue with my broadcast work, as long as broadcasters want me to - as they did today in reference to the immensely sad Bergen Super Puma event.

So, fmgc - may I suggest that we agree to differ? Neither of us is going to change the way we do things much, if at all. And I expect PPRuNe is probably fed up with this dialogue anyway…….

airsound
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Old 29th Apr 2016, 19:28
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I fundamentally disagree with most everything you say in your post so let's, as you suggest, agree to differ.
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Old 30th Apr 2016, 08:45
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In my perception, the problem lies with lazy news corporations. They don't have specialist journalists or researchers any more, and throw together extremely badly researched stories. To gain any sense of credibility, they then wheel out a paid name who often compounds the rubbish. David Learmount and John Nichol are two good examples (the latter excelling himself on the first night of the second Gulf War, and Learmont's initial BBC interviews on the recent hijacking were pretty epic). The good commentators are rarely noticed, if used, as they don't give the punchy comments that the preferred "experts" give. Unfortunately, this means that the whole group's reputation is tarnished. Of course, the same is true of pundits in most fields of specialisation.
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Old 30th Apr 2016, 16:41
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Let's face it "the press" don't have a clue about aviation. In over 40 years of flying I have seen that the press not only don't know the difference between a Boeing or an Airbus but between 4 engined & 2 engined. Also some supposedly knowledgeable writer believing pilots only do 10 hours work a week, when in fact it is more like 50. As for 2 in the cockpit how many times have press articles made out their is only 1 pilot operating the airliner.
Streuth

Last edited by IcePack; 30th Apr 2016 at 17:22. Reason: Typo
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Old 30th Apr 2016, 23:08
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Slightly related to the recent discussion (journos / pilots), whilst it's obvious that most journos will have no flying skills, the standard of written English by many pilots here leaves a great deal to be desired ! That said, I'd rather be flown by a pilot who can't string a sentence together than a journo who can't fly !
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Old 1st May 2016, 11:11
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I'd rather be flown by a pilot who can't string a sentence together than a journo who can't fly !
Indeed, anengineer.

Like most broadcasters, I've been involved in my share of cockups, live, on air. In the inevitable washup afterwards, there are always the questions 'How did that happen?', and 'How can we stop it happening again?' But there's also usually someone who says "It's only broadcasting - nobody died."

airsound
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Old 1st May 2016, 15:17
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Most national agencies have implemented the “minimum two crew members in the cockpit rule" as a response to EASA SIB No.: 2015-04.

From that day on, every time, one of the pilots needs to leave the cockpit for physiological reasons, a cabin crew member, has to be called to "watch" the other pilot's movements, in order not to allow him/her to lock the door and plunge the aircraft into the sea or into a mountain hill...

Not only this recommendation was immediately implemented by most agencies, without proper investigation and consideration for unforeseen risks, just to appease the public opinion, but was turned into a rule in many countries.

There is nothing an element seated in the first observers seat can do to prevent a suicidal pilot to crash an aircraft! (Every pilot knows that). From take-off to landing phases, there are a miriade of ways to intentionally crash an airliner and so, the ultimate goal should be, to reassure that we have psychologically fit pilots at the controls at any time. Not to have watch dogs at their back.

On the other hand, the permission granted to third persons to enter the cockpit — while there is only one pilot at the controls — even if that person is authorized in accordance with CAT.GEN.MPA.135, leaves that pilot alone, facing forward, completely vulnerable (offering his/her's back), to another person, he/she knows nothing about, and that could well be a potencial suicidal person…

It is a question of statistics, therefore, a question of time: the more people are granted access to the flight deck, the greater is the risk of one of them being a suicidal potential person.

So, the million dollar question is: why grant more people access (while the other pilot is alone in the cockpit), if he/she is unable to prevent a malicious pilot to crash an airliner?

There are no final solutions for the prevention of suicidal pilot's misbehavior. But a good start would be to facilitate a closer relationship between management (Fleet Chief Pilots, GeneralOps Management, HR, psychologists, TRI'/TRE's, SMS, etc) and their working force mates.

A more human and closer relationship done through the promotion of workshops and leisure events and specially through the integration within the workforces of companies while dignifying careers and wages.

A system where a pilot would feel at ease to talk freely about his/her personal life, without being afraid of being judged, penalized (personally and economically), nor prejudiced by being honest.

In my humble opinion, this recommendation is unsafe and doesn’t motivate operators to accept the responsibility to do their homework on the establishment of preventive mesures for a healthy work environment.
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Old 1st May 2016, 16:24
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There is nothing an element seated in the first observers seat can do to prevent a suicidal pilot to crash an aircraft!
Yes there is.

To open the door for the raid party.
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Old 1st May 2016, 17:54
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How with a crashe axe in their brain?
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Old 1st May 2016, 18:04
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent
Yes there is.

To open the door for the raid party.

Do the skilled combat members of your "raid party" have any recent cockpit assault training in zero G?
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