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Eventually !!Probe Blames Captain for GF Jet Crash

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Eventually !!Probe Blames Captain for GF Jet Crash

Old 26th Jul 2002, 01:02
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: England
Posts: 1,038

No it won't.

'Always' do it better that is.

I just don't comprehend how you continually attribute such infallibility to autoflight systems. Are you saying that you have never had to intervene because an autopilot has been performing less than brilliantly? I'm talking modes correctly selected, as opposed to having to intervene manually as a quick way of sorting out finger trouble?

Capt Pit Bull is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2002, 02:20
  #62 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 8,571
Clearly Seriph is a young(ish) guy/gal who has not been in aviation for very long. Pity the punters down the back should he/she be in charge at the pointy end when the autopilot is unserviceable. Day or night.
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Old 26th Jul 2002, 03:31
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: New Zealand
Age: 71
Posts: 120
"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. No knowledge at all is frequently fatal."

An Autopilot / AFDS is best regarded as an extra set of hands and a big help most of the time. However it is far from perfect some of the time and needs watching. The modern equipment is becoming more and more reliable it is true, but herein lies a big trap. (and if I need to explain that then you should not be reading this.)

An autopilot will only fly better than you if :

1. You are tired, distracted or busy.
2. You are disorientated or overloaded.
3. You never learnt to fly properly in the first place.

These are then the conditions when it is best to use the A/P. All other times its' use is best left to that old fashioned term - Airmanship.

Before anyone starts about Cruise Economy / Turbulence / Departure Tracking / Workload etc etc - I refer to the paragraph above.

There is a new generation of Nintendo Kiddies out there folks - Pinball Wizards to a man (I will totally discount the females here since,without exception, all that I have had the honour to train have been great handlers). On the rails these PBWs / NKs are fine, if mechanical. Get off the rails and then watch out for the recovery. It's a worry.

MasterGreen is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2002, 06:31
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 168
Capt Pit Bull, yes they do, I defy you to fly any procedure as accurately as an autopilot and if you try have any capacity left for the real world on a dark and dirty night and if you try it why?

411A - 37 yrs 16000 hrs. Trainer. I have flown all types with and without autopilots. I have never had to operate glass cockpit aeroplanes with all autopilots u/s, if I had to fair enough, but in 15 yrs with my current airline we have not had a single occurance of multiple autopilot failure. I have witnessed many near misses and crashes in simulators because guys cannot operate the aircraft and revert to manual flying. I have never seen a correctly operated flight system crash the aircraft. We have cases by the dozen where aircraft have crashed because the crew screwed up, this looks like one, engage the autopilot in hdg and alt and you won't hit the sea!

Master Green - 777's ? you're in the DC3 era.
Seriph is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2002, 08:51
  #65 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: FL350
Posts: 44
Hasnt it occured to you all that the way to do it lays....

EXACTLY in the middle between everything you are saying....

100% Autopilot......BAD!
100% Manual.........BAD!

Try to combine both in a way that suits you best considering fatigue, situation, traffic, etc......

Lodestar is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2002, 17:02
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 542
You sure dont talk like a trainer who's been flying 37 years.Most good trainers emphasize raw data and handling skills.Pilots who spend too much time on automation(not crusie) can become detached from the aircraft they are operating.eg,L1011 crash in the Everglades.Both pilots watched that A/P take them into the swamp...No disrespect to the crew..they fell into a trap that would fool most..misunderstanding of CWS and A/P mode annunciations.
You must surely know there are maneuvers that must be flown by the pilot...Windshear/TCAS/GPWS escape maneuvers.Visual approaches are to be flown manually.
I strongly suspect you fly Airbus...then dont forget that their chief pilot died with the A/P engaged.
A/P is a tool..a good tool.Use it as such.
Rananim is offline  
Old 26th Jul 2002, 17:25
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: FL350
Posts: 44
"I strongly suspect you fly Airbus...then dont forget that their chief pilot died with the A/P engaged. "

A lousy remark dont you think, RANIM?
Lodestar is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2002, 11:19
  #68 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 168
The autopilot flies the airoplane, you programme it and monitor. Simple really, of course you can 'fly it' like Buck Rogers but you reduce the crews efficiency and significantly increase you chances of hitting something. This has been established time after time. Apart from the few cases where temporary reversion to manual flying is required then you only do it for fun not for safety. I fly Boeings.
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Old 27th Jul 2002, 12:32
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Kagerplassen
Posts: 223
Seriph you are starting to bore me; yes the AP is a good tool to use for reducing workload, but in many conditions the AP stinks.

Ever in your 16000 hours flew an automated approach with too much crosswind (say 40 knots) and saw what happened?
Ever seen a 320-AP shoot 150ft through its level, because of the builtin passanger comfort?
I don't need to be in the DC3-era to see things like that happen, and I'm glad I'm there to take over from my autopilot when it just doesn't do what it is supposed to do, or to be able to take over when the conditions met are not what designers thought off on beforehand.

I go with Lodestar, 50% automated, 50% manual suits me fine.

Besides... the remark about the airbus chiefpilot who died while flying automated may be pretty macabre, but the case shows perfectly well, that if you encounter circumstances not before thought of at the design-table, the autopilot will not be able to handle it and then you should be.

Pegasus77 is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2002, 12:49
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 168
Bet you drive a horse and cart.
Seriph is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2002, 14:58
  #71 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 49
Seriph, autopilots on boeings such as the 75/76 don't even have rudder control unless you're on a final approach. if the eng fails in the cruise the thing will roll onto its back and kill every one.
ia1166 is offline  
Old 27th Jul 2002, 19:00
  #72 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: uk
Posts: 108
Not if you apply a bit of rudder and trim it laddy.
Carruthers is offline  
Old 28th Jul 2002, 12:07
  #73 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Scotland
Posts: 21
An uncalled for remark about Nick Warner and incorrect,the a/p was diconnected.

There is nothing wrong with flying manually but remember high performance a/c are more efficiently and comfortably flown on the a/p.
I am afraid the day of the macho pilot is over.!

Last edited by apfds; 29th Jul 2002 at 09:45.
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Old 29th Jul 2002, 22:51
  #74 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: England
Posts: 1,038

I am not disputing the virtues of using automatics.

I am simply taking issue with your statement that the automatics will always do it better.

I defy you to fly any procedure as accurately as an autopilot and if you try have any capacity left for the real world on a dark and dirty night and if you try it why?
You are joking, right?

Any Procedure? How about any landing with a crosswind in excess of 20 Kts.
Capt Pit Bull is offline  
Old 29th Jul 2002, 23:32
  #75 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: U.K
Posts: 68
What excactly does a BA captain know about the A340? And please, if you need to fly at alpha max and in order to do that the pitch attitude is less than zero, so what? After all, in a microburst of large downhill proportions than alpha max may not be positive with reference to pitch. Heave the nose up and stall in a conventional a/c? I believe that too many people comment on things that they know nothing about.
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Old 30th Jul 2002, 07:28
  #76 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: A sandy island
Posts: 13
AhhhVC813, your sentence

I believe that too many people comment on things that they know nothing about.
is exactly correct.

(A certain 37-year old "trainer" with 16 000 hours and 15 years in one airline, which makes him a tender 22 when he joined..., AND who has still managed to fly "all types", comes to mind).

Personally, thanks to the people who have posted meaningful and thoughtful replies to a topic which, after all, discusses the death of 143 people.

To seriph and his spoiler mates, while it is your 'right' to be patronising, disparaging and rude to people about a subject that you successfully give the impression of knowing very little about, it might be an idea to start a new thread where you can all squabble and argue among yourselves, and come away feeling victorious about having 'won'.
tulips is offline  
Old 30th Jul 2002, 11:13
  #77 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Bahrain
Posts: 457
Question Manual vs AP

I'm not a complete technophobe (hey I can program my VCR!), in fact I work in the tech industry, but I can say that Airbus software is almost certainly FLAWED.
Before you start, no I am not saying that has anything to do with this incident, merely that probability tells us that the sheer volume of code, and the complexity of the calculations involved for each of the permutations involved means that it could be flawed in several ways. It may be missing an essential response simply because the circumstances haven't happened yet for them to be added to the code.
It may have an error in incident response code for circumstances it DOES knows about, but that haven't happened yet. It may have flaws in code that does get executed, but doesn't have a significant or noticeable impact on aircraft activity.
But it IS flawed, I guarantee you that.
So to all you technophobes: Yes, the Pilot should always be ready (and able) to take control in the blink of an eye.
To all you technophiles: It's written by HUMANS. Humans make mistakes. Ergo it makes mistakes. Be ready for them!
Here endeth the lesson, aaaaaaaamennnnnn.

P.S. In the 36th century, Robots will take over and come back looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Is that what you want? 'Cos that's what'll happen!
Desertia is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2002, 02:14
  #78 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: 38N
Posts: 356
As Seriph is misunderstanding autopilots, so Desertia is having his shot at misunderstanding the whole scope and breadth of modern control technology. Too much sand up the nose, mayhap?

The short answer is that - contrary to Desertia's assertion - we currently know how to make (at considerable cost) software, computers, and composite systems that are provably more reliable and more nearly 'correct' than any other component one finds on an aircraft.

To the extent that autopilots, control systems, etc. are not perfect in practical use, the problem in well-engineered designs is almost always one of incomplete SPECIFICATION of the circumstances to be dealt with and/or UNDERSTANDING of the appropriate solution. In less completely engineered ones, a lack of complete TESTING can also be an issue.

To the extent these issues exist, all are basically matters of as- yet incomplete communication between the people flying and the people designing. The full automation of aircraft is a 125-year problem, with only 75 years so far under the belt. When it's done, there will still be pilots and they'll still be saving the bacon now and then, so don't worry about that.

In a PC-dominated world it is an easy mistake to confuse the motives and abilities of those who design truly critical systems for health and safety with the products of highly visible companies, like Microsoft, that aim to profit greatly from a perpetuum of faulty consumer products requiring frequent replacement.

Last edited by arcniz; 31st Jul 2002 at 02:19.
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Old 31st Jul 2002, 17:01
  #79 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Surrounded by aluminum, and the great outdoors
Posts: 3,787
Like any computer...GIGO garbage in...garbage out...bad inputs either to the flight controls or the FMC can have bad results...obvious which one was the case here...
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Old 1st Aug 2002, 08:11
  #80 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 168
No Tulips 37 yrs flying not age. I wish. Oh and if you switch your flight directors off, you can still fly the 'birdie'

Arcniz, stick to theory, problems with auto systems are very rare. The difficulties come with the human / machine interface and was why initially Airbus had so many accidents. Now that the pilots have learnt how to use it the system works very well. As long as you are prepared to come out of the stone age.
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