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Ethiopian airliner down in Africa

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Ethiopian airliner down in Africa

Old 25th Apr 2019, 15:32
  #4301 (permalink)  
 
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Fly the damn aircraft...

Originally Posted by michaelbinary View Post
So, its that piss easy is it ?.

So 4 professional pilots failed to press a little trim switch to keep the aircraft in trim and killed a few hundred people.
Yes, it really was that easy. As you say, they were all professional pilots. And what exactly should be our expectations of a professional pilot? I would think that being able to fly their aircraft (and not rely on the automation to do it for them) in the presence of a distraction would be a pretty minimum requirement.

The first and most important step of any aircraft emergency is FLY THE AIRCRAFT. Set the pitch, set the power, check the performance, trim the aircraft. Pretty basic stuff.

Sadly, this has not been the first time, and probably won't be the last time, that one of the primary causes of a fatal accident was because at least one of the pilots was not FLYING THE AIRCRAFT.

As to the question of WHY four professional pilots failed to revert to these basics of airmanship, that should be a major topic of the accident investigation.

Last edited by 737 Driver; 25th Apr 2019 at 15:44. Reason: added comment
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 15:45
  #4302 (permalink)  
 
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Easy to criticize from the comfort and safety of your arm chair with the help hindsight, no urgency to say or do anything.
Seen lots of people like you.

Nothing takes away the fact that 2 aircraft crashed and killed everybody when there was essentially nothing wrong with them, and 4 pilots all made the same simple mistake of not using the electric trim tab to normalise the trim.

That stinks. Any common sense would tell you, that stinks.

If that is really the case which I dont think it is, Boeing have screwed up big time and deserve to be sued into the ground.


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Old 25th Apr 2019, 15:51
  #4303 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by michaelbinary View Post
Easy to criticize from the comfort and safety of your arm chair with the help hindsight, no urgency to say or do anything.
So you're perfectly okay with letting major lapses in airmanship slide even though hundreds a people might die sometime in the future because the deficiency wasn't ever addressed?

Boeing needs to fix their problem, but the professional pilot corp can just continue to whistle past the graveyard when their is an obvious issue with crew training and proficiency?

Last edited by 737 Driver; 25th Apr 2019 at 15:54. Reason: added comment
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 15:56
  #4304 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by michaelbinary View Post
So, its that piss easy is it ?.

So 4 professional pilots failed to press a little trim switch to keep the aircraft in trim and killed a few hundred people.

Really ?, there is something wrong with a system that causes 2 planes to crash like that, if the solution was soooooooooo simple.
Actually it was that easy.

Equally, leaving the flaps at flaps 1, would have suppressed all MCAS operation, and again they would have all the time their fuel load allowed to "figure it out".

You probably won't like this, but it's clear there is a generation of pilots currently responsible for hundreds of lives per flight, that know real well how to select the autopilot. Much else seems a bit of a challenge. Worry, much.

- GY
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 16:13
  #4305 (permalink)  
 
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Well neither of you were there, and neither of you know exactly what did or didnt happen or what the pilots did or didnt do to fix the issues.

I dont beleive the situation was as simple as you would like to make out.

You have the benefit of sitting there smugly, saying, I would do this or that, or they should have done this or that.
They were presented with a situation that they were not trained to respond to, or even told it was there or what it did, such was Boeing's arrogance.
There was probably confusion, lack of information as to what exactly was happening, and therefore confusion of what to do to correct it, and at the same time not making the issue whatever it was, worse.

If you are unlucky you may get the chance one day to prove to the world just how wonderful you both are.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 16:15
  #4306 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
As far as defeating the MCAS input, the ONLY thing required of the Captain was to trim the aircraft normally. The yoke trim switch will trump MCAS every single time. He did not need the strength of his arms, he only need the strength of this left thumb.
We do not know that for sure, since nobody has provided any definitive proof, and the pilots that tried clearly failed. It is clearly in Boeing's interest to imply that there was pilot error, but an objective crash investigation may find differently. It may turn out that some weird software glitch, or wiring error, or activation of speed trim (in addition to MCAS), may have prevented the pilots from raising the nose.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 16:30
  #4307 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GordonR_Cape View Post
We do not know that for sure, since nobody has provided any definitive proof, and the pilots that tried clearly failed. It is clearly in Boeing's interest to imply that there was pilot error, but an objective crash investigation may find differently. It may turn out that some weird software glitch, or wiring error, or activation of speed trim (in addition to MCAS), may have prevented the pilots from raising the nose.
I'm not sure what level of definitive proof you are looking for, however, if you look at the DFDR output in the ET302 preliminary report, you will see that the Captain was making stab trim inputs and the stab was indeed moving. If you look closely at about the 5:40:25 mark, you will even see a pilot nose up trim input that stopped and reversed the ongoing MCAS input. This is strong evidence that the system was working as designed. As previously mentioned, Speed Trim was not active after the flaps were retracted, nor were there any indications on the DFDR trace of any automatic trim inputs other than MCAS. The Elevator Feel Shift module may have been active thus increasing elevator control pressures, but that would have only accentuated the need to trim off the control pressures.

As I keep saying, there were multiple causes to these accidents. Design issues, oversight issues, maintenance issues, and training issues. However, there were also crew performance issues. They all need to be addressed.

.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 16:33
  #4308 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GarageYears View Post
Actually it was that easy.

Equally, leaving the flaps at flaps 1, would have suppressed all MCAS operation, and again they would have all the time their fuel load allowed to "figure it out".

You probably won't like this, but it's clear there is a generation of pilots currently responsible for hundreds of lives per flight, that know real well how to select the autopilot. Much else seems a bit of a challenge. Worry, much.
- GY
Clearly, Boeing and their Good Ol' Boys are culpable here, but, [FWIW=0] I have completely lost faith in the supposed competence of the unseen pilots behind that door, and I'm not going to fly anymore unless it's an absolute necessity! Too much of a gamble. Apologies to the 100s of thousands of you who ARE competent and responsible.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 16:58
  #4309 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by michaelbinary View Post
Well neither of you were there, and neither of you know exactly what did or didnt happen or what the pilots did or didnt do to fix the issues.

I dont beleive the situation was as simple as you would like to make out.
There are lots of comments on this and other threads about how Boeing screwed up, how the FAA screwed up, how the airlines screwed up, and how maintenance screwed up without much in the way of dissenting voices. We expect them to fix their mistakes, don't we? Well how about the professional pilot corps? Are we willing to acknowledge that there were deficiencies on the part of the crew?

Listen, I get it. A lot of us here are pilots, and we hate to contemplate that someone within our group, for whatever reasons, fell short of the expectations of a professional pilot. It is easy to point fingers across the fence, much harder to look in the mirror. However, the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging a problem exist. Issues with automation dependency, pilot proficiency and deterioration of basic flying skills has been a constant presence in our industry for quite some time. I don't care what airline you fly for or how many hours you have, you have likely encountered someone (perhaps even yourself) who was no longer comfortable with turning off the automation and hand-flying in other than day VMC when there were no other distractions. This is a problem, and it needs to be addressed.

We do not control our training departments, but we do control how we approach our flying duties. If you are a professional pilot and you are honestly telling yourself that you could not have done any better given the MAX failed AOA scenario, then you owe it to yourself and your passengers to do something about it. Yes, we all now know the details about MCAS and how to deal with it. That's not what I'm talking about. The next malfunction you have may be equally unique and initially confusing.

If you are not comfortable with your hand-flying skills, then do something about it. Turn off the magic when you can. Hand fly the aircraft all the way to level off and all the way down. Captains, encourage your FO's to do the same. Automation is not always your friend, and sometimes it is your enemy. Start making note of pitch and power setting at different phases of flight. Pull out the manuals more often. Know your aircraft's memory items and limitations. Read incident reports and consider what you would do differently. Make training events in the sim count. If your sim instructor has the discretion, ask to see something different or something you haven't seen in awhile. Set a high standard for yourself and your crew. Yes, you can get by with much less effort for the same amount of pay 99.9% of the time. However, that last 0.1% can quite literally be the difference between life and death.

All this advice isn't anything you haven't already heard before. Just do it.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:07
  #4310 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by GarageYears View Post
Actually it was that easy.

Equally, leaving the flaps at flaps 1, would have suppressed all MCAS operation, and again they would have all the time their fuel load allowed to "figure it out".

You probably won't like this, but it's clear there is a generation of pilots currently responsible for hundreds of lives per flight, that know real well how to select the autopilot. Much else seems a bit of a challenge. Worry, much.

- GY
Yes, I agree. It SHOULD have been easy, but for some unknown reason, it was not.

There are at least three things that could have saved them:

1) leaving the flaps extended to stop MCAS operation
2) using electric trim to stop MCAS operation
3) using the stab trim cutout switches to stop MCAS operation

They did NONE of these things CORRECTLY. We need to find out why.

Hopefully the final report will give us the answer.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:11
  #4311 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
I'm not sure what level of definitive proof you are looking for, however, if you look at the DFDR output in the ET302 preliminary report, you will see that the Captain was making stab trim inputs and the stab was indeed moving. If you look closely at about the 5:40:25 mark, you will even see a pilot nose up trim input that stopped and reversed the ongoing MCAS input. This is strong evidence that the system was working as designed. As previously mentioned, Speed Trim was not active after the flaps were retracted, nor were there any indications on the DFDR trace of any automatic trim inputs other than MCAS. The Elevator Feel Shift module may have been active thus increasing elevator control pressures, but that would have only accentuated the need to trim off the control pressures.

As I keep saying, there were multiple causes to these accidents. Design issues, oversight issues, maintenance issues, and training issues. However, there were also crew performance issues. They all need to be addressed.

.
I certainly did look at the ET 302 FDR readout, before posting my comment. The question is why did the pilot stop nose up trim inputs at 2.5 degrees? There were still considerable control column forces shown on the FDR. Why would any pilot only half trim out those forces, unless they were stopped by software or hardware? My question remains unanswered...




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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:16
  #4312 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
Yes, it really was that easy.
Do you know what their long term shift pattern was? Have you read the FlyDubai Rostov crash thread? Do you know why they didn't quite get it back in trim? Why they just blipped the switches during the second MCAS activation? They did pretty much everything you ask for, just not quite enough of it. Why? They even identified the issue and operated the cutouts.

Perhaps misleading alarms, violence of stick shaker masking clack of trim, possibility of a number of causes to go through, speed of MCAS operation, repetition of MCAS, startle factor, no sim training for specific event? Fatigue? Heck even Sully said he had a lot of luck, and it took him quite a few seconds for real cognition to come in. And he had none of the above to contend with, just a nice quiet cockpit.

They were acting as test pilots for a failure mode that was easily predictable, that never should have been allowed to pass design stage never mind FMEA and testing. Boeing's responsibility.

You've made up your mind but I'd prefer to give a little slack to two dead guys who had to add "systems faulting engineer" to their CV at the drop of a hat.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:25
  #4313 (permalink)  
 
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Slight reframing of the issue starting with some assumed true statements, mostly applies to both accidents although the lion air prelim report does not show control column positions.

1: The pilots were initially aware that the plane was out of trim through no action on their part.

2: They counteracted some but not all of the MCAS inputs.

3: The last moments of both flights saw brief manual trim inputs, woefully insufficient.

The question is why did both crews only partially retrim and then loose it at the end?
Possible answers, not mutually exclusive of course.

A: They were confused by all the warnings and just lost the plot.

B: They had no training with grossly out of trim conditions and were used to short inputs.

C: Something confused them after the initial re-trim to believe the airplane was close being in trim, despite the obvious control column in lap.
Could they have believed that some other factor was causing this?

D: Some biomechanical or other issue prevented them from actuating the switches.

As others have stated 'basic airmanship' should have worked but clearly something was missing.
Note, There were also a large number of other factor that could have prevented these accidents, especially ET, this is just about why the crew did what they did.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:26
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Originally Posted by GordonR_Cape View Post
I certainly did look at the ET 302 FDR readout, before posting my comment. The question is why did the pilot stop nose up trim inputs at 2.5 degrees? There were still considerable control column forces shown on the FDR. Why would any pilot only half trim out those forces, unless they were stopped by software or hardware? My question remains unanswered...
I had the exact same question when I first read the accident report. I spent a lot of time looking for evidence that the trim motor stalled or the trim switch wasn't working. However, none of the accident evidence or any historical data supports either of these conclusions.

One of the most telling pieces of evidence in this report, however, is that the Captain repeatedly tried to engage the automation (three times) in a situation that specifically precluded it. This is evidence of someone with a strong case of automation dependency. People with significant automation dependency also demonstrate a deterioration in basic hand-flying skills. Combine that with the startle effect and the distraction of the active stick shaker, it is entirely conceivable that the Captain suffered from cognitive overload and simply forgot to trim because it had never become a thoroughly engrained behavior.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:40
  #4315 (permalink)  
 
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I can understand a reluctance to fight the aircraft to dramatically alter the trim when the issue is not clear.

Many road vehicle crashes are made worse by tentative breaking when only full force could have helped. (Several car makers initially added brake force acceleration systems to increase partial braking towards full pressure for this reason - now augmented by radar anti-collision systems)
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:44
  #4316 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
The STS would not have been active with flaps up.
So, do you still consider MCAS an STS subsystem ?
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:48
  #4317 (permalink)  
 
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Those two short electric trim-up commands at the end of both crashes just before enter info a dive keep puzzling me... Farfetched maybe, and probably repeating what others have suggested already, but what about:

E: The electric trim didn't move the trim wheel at all. Flip up once, no trim wheel movement. Try it another time, still no movement. The pilots conclude electric trim it isn't working and proceed (and the MCAS steps in again).

SLF
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:49
  #4318 (permalink)  

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Can I just highlight that the F/O had 200hrs experience. I didn't get a commercial pilots licence until I had flown 230 hours and didn't fly jets until I had 1800hrs. The company that I flew 737's for in the UK in the early 1970's required 2000 hours before offering a job in the right hand seat.

This incident was to all intents and purposes a single pilot operation.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:49
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Originally Posted by Lost in Saigon View Post
Yes, I agree. It SHOULD have been easy, but for some unknown reason, it was not.

There are at least three things that could have saved them:

1) leaving the flaps extended to stop MCAS operation
2) using electric trim to stop MCAS operation
3) using the stab trim cutout switches to stop MCAS operation

They did NONE of these things CORRECTLY. We need to find out why.

Hopefully the final report will give us the answer.
So above-average pilots would have saved the plane and below average pilots lose it. Let's see, there are 50% of below average pilots in the world, you better be careful when an SLF to get in the right plane - although of course only above average pilots participate in PPRuNe.

Gimme a break - the issue is why were the pilots subjected to this horrible situation, where being average but not good meant bye bye for the SLF?

Edmund
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 17:58
  #4320 (permalink)  
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Posted in error on the parallel thread.

737Driver
post number #4304
Quote:
First of all, some of you might be surprised to learn that in a stall condition, the STS will trim the stab nose down at the exact same speed as MCAS and can do so continuously until it hits the stop. This is far more authority than MCAS ever had. Why is not a problem? Because the STS will respect the control column trim cutout switches. These are not the pedestal switches that are activated by the pilot. These limit switches are located at the base of the control column and prevent trimming opposite the direction of column displacement. That is, if a pilot is pulling back on the yoke, then nose down trim is inhibited. If someone is pushing forward on the yoke, nose up trim is inhibited. Thus the authority of STS is limited by the control inputs of the pilot.
One of the bees in my bonnet has been the removal of that column switch on the MAX. Not just the bypassing of its logic under certain conditions - but the total physical removal.

Despite being in my 80th year, (and posting on the wrong thread) statements like that still stick firm, like the unwinding of MCAS. The switch removal (from under the floor at base of column) never really got a clear answer. Well it did: a dedicated post saying 'I don't know'.

I try to filter my information input, and of course a lot is from the Times publication and our engineering friend in Seattle. The switch is either there, or not there, but it seems if it is, its functionality can be obviated as per 737 Driver's earlier post.

Back to his assertion that it was flyable. I get a sickening feeling that something else apart from psychological overload might be wrong. There are so many able minds chasing the suspected faulty input to that 47' of flying surface, along with the associated loading difficulties, that you'd think remedial action was just a matter of time. But the thing I fear most is months of rewriting of code, some agreement on what is now certification and the craft back in the sky carrying a ghost in the machine.

There is too much pressure to get airborne.

'We' seem to have everything we need to throw light on those terrible moments, but the very fact that so many skilled people, not least of all on this forum, can disagree on the extent of the pilot culpability worries me deeply. There is a huge dichotomy in the judgement of these flying professionals.
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