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Ethiopian airliner down in Africa

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Ethiopian airliner down in Africa

Old 29th Apr 2019, 02:38
  #4541 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
Okay Wonkazoo, you win. I humbly concede. I guess we will all have to accept that any pilot can freeze up at any moment, people will die, and there's nothing to be done. There's no way to train, no way to learn, no way to improve, no way to avoid certain death for some uncertain number of people. The best we can hope for is that someday someone will invent the perfect aircraft and thus be able to remove the imperfect pilot from the equation altogether.

Excuse me if I choose not to live in that world.
Hes not saying "theres nothing to be done", hes saying people may react in a way to extreme stress that degrades their actions for a period of time. That reaction is obviously undesirable but unfortunately it may happen to anyone including you 737 driver, me or any other pilot, even if you think thats an impossibility.
It is a positive thing however that we are totally confident that we can deal with such situations effectively even though that might not turn out to be the case if we are unlucky.
In the light of this I think it is very wrong we criticise pilots for making mistakes under stress, yes learn from those mistakes definitely but dont ever think youd never ever make them yourself.

Last edited by Sucram; 29th Apr 2019 at 04:28.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 02:39
  #4542 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
Okay Wonkazoo, you win. I humbly concede. I guess we will all have to accept that any pilot can freeze up at any moment, people will die, and there's nothing to be done. There's no way to train, no way to learn, no way to improve, no way to avoid certain death for some uncertain number of people. The best we can hope for is that someday someone will invent the perfect aircraft and thus be able to remove the imperfect pilot from the equation altogether.

Excuse me if I choose not to live in that world.
It shouldn't be surprising that you see this dialogue as something that must be won or lost given what you have written.

Sadly it isn't about winning or losing, its about enlightenment and using knowledge to alter future outcomes. (As opposed to continuing ancient tropes while simultaneously ignoring and exculpating the individual(s) who were really at fault for setting the cheese in motion in the first place.) If you put a hundredth of the energy into picking apart the engineering staff, legal staff, management staff etc at Boeing, and the certification process as overseen (ahem) by the FAA I would be more impressed, not to mention you might have a positive impact on the actual root causes for the entire chain of events.

And the next 737 model you climb into might end up being properly engineered and certified as a result, which I would think would be a happy outcome for you given your profession.

Warm regards,
dce
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:02
  #4543 (permalink)  
 
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However I am seriously wondering what's going on here and thought it worth pointing out to the population at large.

Regards,
dce
A tad conspiratorial if you ask me, but that's just one pilot's opinion. I don't think powers that be give much a hoot what the participants on this forum think regarding the design (or mis-design) of aircraft, lack of oversight, greed of corporations or whatnot. I suspect that in their eyes, we're just the rabble.

What is going on is I took an interest in these events since I do happen to operate this aircraft, and I came here among other places looking for information. Feel free to go back and look at my earliest posts. Yes, I like a good debate, but I have also tried to pass along relevant information regarding the 737 systems since there were obviously some non-pilots and non-Boeing folks wandering off into the weeds. Along the way, however, I also noticed a definite trend here of throwing bricks across the fence without much in the way of serious introspection. Let's just say I have a thing about intellectual consistency.

I've made no bones about where I think the problems lie, and I've noticed that no one seems to contradict me when I aim my displeasure at Boeing, or the FAA, or the airlines, or anyone but a fellow pilot. Why is that?

Are pilots that infallible? Do we have no room for improvement? Can we not honestly admit our errors and seek to do better? It's perfectly okay to say Boeing fracked up, but we dare not consider that a fellow aviator did as well? I just don't see the logic in that.

You can't fix a problem until you admit a problem exists. Continuing to pretend that there weren't serious lapses in airmanship, that there is nothing that can be done to prevent such future lapses, will do nothing to save future lives. As I've said many times, we aren't going to fix Boeing's issues, or the FAA's, and probably not the airline's (though we have a wee bit more leverage there). We can make a go at addressing ours. Assuming you think that saving lives is a worthy pursuit, of course.

Your choice.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:24
  #4544 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by wonkazoo View Post

Anyway my apologies for the now-deleted post- it didn't further any dialogue and that makes it in the end a wasted effort all the way around.

dce
Apology sincerely accepted.

Yes, I know I come across strong (I would say passionate), and my words may fall harsh on some ears. Call it an attempt to shake some folks out a sense of complacency. Fate may be the Hunter, but we don't have to be a passive prey.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:32
  #4545 (permalink)  
 
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An ancient voice from Paros; We don't rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:33
  #4546 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
Apology sincerely accepted.

Yes, I know I come across strong (I would say passionate), and my words may fall harsh on some ears. Call it an attempt to shake some folks out a sense of complacency. Fate may be the Hunter, but we don't have to be a passive prey.
Hahahahaha!!!

Sadly both my dad's copy and the first I stumbled on to twenty years ago are in boxes right now so I have to work off memory. But this line, paraphrased though it is will still resonate: "The default is pilot error, because no investigator is going to admit that the best they could come up with is that God unzipped his fly and urinated on the pillar of science..."

This forum is the place for passion, unlike your office, where (I think we both agree) calm reason must rule the day. Even if, as I argue, both calm and reason might occasionally be lost...

Cheers-
dce
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:34
  #4547 (permalink)  
 
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Wonkazoo,

I have enjoyed your contribution to this discussion, particularly your first post, but I think you are offside with this post. 737 Driver is doing an exceptional job of articulating what a lot of us professional pilots both on this forum and elsewhere think about this whole MAX affair: MCAS needs to be tweaked (although fundamentally there is nothing wrong with a single sensor device that prevents a stall but intervening in the flight controls like numerous other aircraft), the industry (manufacturers, airlines, CAA's, pilot unions) needs to have a serious look in the mirror as they have been whistling past the graveyard way too long with poor training and over reliance upon automation, etc.

In the final analysis, however, the professional pilot who knows how to fly an aircraft with all of the auto stuff turned off and with bells and whistles blaring has to be able to gain and maintain control of the aircraft. If any of the MCAS accident crews had done that we would not be having this discussion; in the Lion Air incident the day before the fatal one, the crew did, in fact, do the UAS drill (unlike the crashed aircraft cases) and that gave them time to assess the situation and the aircraft control to trim the aircraft, although it is unforgivable that a jump-seating, B737 rated pilot from a different airline had to tell them to turn the stab trim off - that tells me lots about Lion Air's training that 0 of 4 pilots could recognized a stab trim runaway.

Unlike your harrowing experience with the broken control cable for which there is no published, let alone simulator trained procedure, there are procedures for the MCAS event. First, the UAS which is a pretty simple emergency even with bells and whistles blaring - auto stuff off, 10 degree pitch, 80% power. Neither of the fatal aircraft crews did that; the recovered aircraft crew did. Is it a coincidence that the crew that did the drill survive and the others that didn't did not? That should tell everyone something. And remember, the stab trim problem did not manifest itself until after the flaps were raised minutes later.

A stab trim runaway too is a published procedure for not just the B737 but any aircraft with electric trim - fly the aircraft, trim as necessary and if that does not work turn off the electric trim and revert to the backup trim (mechanical in the case of the B737, electric in the case of many other aircraft including the B767, B777 and B787). I haven't flown the B737 for 15 years but having done lots of hand flying with it (it had a very basic Sperry autopilot) one learned how to trim including using continuous trim particularly during flap selections; judging by the lack of continuous trimming by the pilots (but intermittent bursts instead according to the FDR printouts), this tells me that they lack the basic hand flying skills likely because they have spent most of their lives as Children of the Magenta Line, i.e. autopilot cripples. This ties in with my earlier comment on this post as well as one a week or two ago that the industry has to do a rethink of the notion of not hand flying and allowing those hands and feet skills to atrophy. I am sure that you would agree that in your harrowing experience it was your hands and feet skills that saved your bacon not an autopilot.

I am not going to repeat the rest of the analysis as that has been beaten to death on this forum but I, as a 36 year/26,000 hour professional airline pilot who also taught flying for many years, wholeheartedly agree with 737 Driver. If it is of any value, when me and my flying buddies discuss this over coffee we have 100% agreement that this is an entirely manageable situation - we are all ex B737 drivers too. As unpleasant as it is to criticize someone who is no longer on this planet and is unable to defend themselves, these accidents scream "pilot error" for not fulfilling their role as the last line of defense in the Swiss Cheese model.

While you question 737 Driver's credentials, I would be interested in the credentials of those who keep arguing with him - what, if any, flying experience do they have? How much professional flying experience? How much B737 time? If the consensus of my coffee buddies is any gauge, I would think that the majority of professional pilots would agree with myself and 737 Driver that one has to fly the aircraft first then deal with the emergency, particularly since nothing is on fire nor are any pieces falling off the jet. And dealing with emergencies with bells and whistles going off is part of the job for which one has to be trained to overcome in order to focus on flying the aircraft, solving the problem and getting the aircraft back on the ground.

Last edited by L39 Guy; 29th Apr 2019 at 04:37. Reason: First sentence struck out following retraction however the balance of the post is relevant.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:47
  #4548 (permalink)  
 
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Full Circle

Having been playfully reminded of uncle Ernie I went online to try to find the quote I posted above. I failed, but there are a few more which I did find, and which are wise beyond their years.

Regarding the hidden MCAS:

The emergencies you train for almost never happen. It's the one you can't train for that kills you.

And referencing many of my posts above, and why the pilots need to be cut a ton of slack:

Fear is the afterbirth of reason and calculation. It takes time to recuperate from fear...

Finally this:

Electronics were rascals, and they lay awake nights trying to find some way to screw you during the day. You could not reason with them. They had a brain and intestines, but no heart.

A good ending to this night for me. I need to go find the box with Fate is the Hunter- it's been more than a few years and I miss it dearly...

dce
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:56
  #4549 (permalink)  
 
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L39 Guy-

I will respond to your thoughtful post tomorrow when I have time.It has been a long weekend and I cannot do it justice tonight. Thank you for your understanding-
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 05:01
  #4550 (permalink)  
 
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No problem and that was a gracious and class act to retract that post.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 05:27
  #4551 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by wonkazoo View Post
Hahahahaha!!!

Sadly both my dad's copy and the first I stumbled on to twenty years ago are in boxes right now so I have to work off memory. But this line, paraphrased though it is will still resonate: "The default is pilot error, because no investigator is going to admit that the best they could come up with is that God unzipped his fly and urinated on the pillar of science..."

This forum is the place for passion, unlike your office, where (I think we both agree) calm reason must rule the day. Even if, as I argue, both calm and reason might occasionally be lost...

Cheers-
dce
Thank you for that...somehow invoking Ernie Gann makes me feel like we're all somewhat on the same page. Indeed, I plead guilty to being passionate, perhaps overly zealous about airmanship (or perhaps lack of it) but let's all agree that for most of us here it's for the right reasons: lives are on the line. We owe it to them to be over-prepared if we are the ones in charge up front and the last line of defense.

Goodnight.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 05:39
  #4552 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by L39 Guy View Post
although fundamentally there is nothing wrong with a single sensor device that prevents a stall
Not so sure about that on an airliner, I think Airbus put 3 AOAs on their aircraft for a good reason

Last edited by Sucram; 29th Apr 2019 at 06:24.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 05:48
  #4553 (permalink)  
 
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I agree. And if I wasn't clear previously, Boeing clearly screwed the pooch, but I still believe that advanced airmanship (e.g. ATP level) should have prevented a complete loss.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 06:10
  #4554 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by formulaben View Post
but I still believe that advanced airmanship (e.g. ATP level) should have prevented a complete loss.
I wouldnt really like to make a judgement on that before the final report comes out, but it is of course a possibility.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 06:21
  #4555 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by formulaben View Post
I agree. And if I wasn't clear previously, Boeing clearly screwed the pooch, but I still believe that advanced airmanship (e.g. ATP level) should have prevented a complete loss.
The question has to be the following. From 1000 randomly selected 737 crews, how many stuff it into the ground. Mind we are starting from 2 out of 3.
Had the planes been NGs with the same failure, AOA failed high on PF side on rotation), how many would have stuffed it into the ground? (I hope the answer is 0.)
Is the increase in this number acceptable and why was it allowed to increase?
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 08:43
  #4556 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
Wonkazoo,

I understand your position, and I fully support what you say about the need to hold the manufacturers, regulators and airlines accountable. However, I guess we will have to just agree to disagree on how much control the crews had on the outcome.

To me, the great tragedy of these two accidents is not in the complexity of the malfunction, but rather in the simplicity of the appropriate response.

Since my very first days as a student pilot, one primary commandment has been repeated over and over and over again. This commandment applied to all operations, normal and otherwise. Following this commandment may not always save the day, but disregarding it will almost always lose it.

So I'll say it again and again, for as long as it takes: FLY THE AIRCRAFT, first, last, and always.

For all situations, for all malfunctions, for all weather conditions, for all regimes of flight, some pilot must be actively monitoring, and if necessary, actively flying the aircraft. Whenever there is undesired or unexpected aircraft state, the pilot's first and most important priority is NOT to figure out what it is going wrong. The pilot's first priority is to FLY THE AIRCRAFT. Set appropriate attitude and power, monitor the performance, trim as necessary, adjust as appropriate.

In all of the discussion of these accidents, there has not been a single shred of evidence that the primary flight controls or trim were not responding to pilot inputs. There has been no credible argument that if the pilot flying had simply set a reasonable pitch attitude, set a reasonable power setting, and trimmed out the control pressures, that the plane would not have been flyable. The fact remains that in the heat of the moment, these crews forgot or disregarded the first commandment of aviation - FLY THE AIRCRAFT, first, last, and always. WHY they forgot and what corrective measures can be taken to train future crews should certainly be part of a serious post mortem, but we cannot remain in a state of denial regarding what happened.

Sadly, no matter how many times this commandment is repeated, and tacitly acknowledged by just about every pilot, we still seem to have difficulty applying it in practice. Any professional pilot here likely has access to various incident/accident reports. We can read the narratives and easily determine in which cases there was someone actively monitoring or flying the aircraft, and in which cases they were not. Fortunately, most of the "not's" do not wind up as a smoking hole somewhere, but it is still somewhat distressing how often the first commandment is forgotten.

FLY THE AIRCRAFT, FLY THE AIRCRAFT, FLY THE DAMN AIRCRAFT
737 driver
you are saying what Iíve said since the beginning. Someone just said we need a plane that donít go wrong. Dream on.
This ref QF72 is interesting. 65 complex faults. ALL aural warnings going off at once. Crippled (clearly not) aircraft.
Safe landing. FLY THE PLANE. PITCH POWER. TREAT WARNINGS WITH CAUTION IF THEY DONT APPEAR VALID Use excellent training and CRM to overcome the unexpected.
on takeoff with correct pitch/power/rate of climb/ groundspeed you are safe even if every aural and visual computer generated warning is sounding simultaneously. Youíve got to be trained to cope with that.
AF477 wasnít. Many more. My concern is not the avionics although clearly MCAS Needs a Mk2 version without the glitches we know about. It is that we may have literally thousands of younger pilots already out there and in the pipeline untrained for the totally unexpected.
https://www.abc.net.au/radio/program...pigny/10337426
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 08:56
  #4557 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Cows getting bigger View Post
The pilot bit is only one element of the issue. Whichever way you look at this, MCAS was a fix to a problem generated by the manufacturer trying to squeeze the last drop out of an airframe designed before I was born. The fix was, at best, a second rate solution which transferred an additional element of hazard management to the pilots; the expectation was that pilots would be good enough to handle the event. Shuffling risk down the line - hmmmm.

An uninformed question (sorry, only 36 years and 22,000 non-Boeing hrs) - how often has the 737 flavour of aircraft had a trim runaway event, how is it manifested (other warnings/cautions) and at what rate does the trim runaway?
Just my wild speculation, but there are several orders of risk:
1. How many times has runaway trim actually pushed a B737 into the ground? Zero.
2. Electromechanical switches are the most likely component to get stuck in the on position. Given that there are two adjacent thumb switches on the B737, and both have to be active, this seems like an extremely low flight risk.
3. Autopilot software malfunction? Turn off autopilot.
4. Electrical wiring and other faults? Unknown.
5. MCAS? 2 out of 3.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 09:46
  #4558 (permalink)  
 
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If

If the Lion Air crew and the Ethiopean crew had saved their days as recommended, would MCAS still be flying now?
If so, would that be a happy state?
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 09:51
  #4559 (permalink)  
 
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CowsShuffling risk down the line -’
Cows, Gordon,
Conventional risk is judged on past outcome, probability vs severity.
‘Future’ risk (certification) has to be judged on the likely-hood of a failure (system safety analysis). If trim can runaway however unlikely, then experts judge of the severity of outcome - manufacturer and certification.

Historically, the mitigation for trim runaway in the 737 appears to have been based on pilot recognition and intervention - inhibit then use manual wheel trim, thus reducing the outcome severity (ex 707 procedure?)
It also appears that the possibility extreme out of trim conditions was recognised, where the tail forces exceed those which allow manual trim. Thus there was an additional procedure requiring large, high stick force elevator inputs to raise the nose, then releasing the elevator input (adverse load), thence the reduced tail load enables manual trim. (To what extent was this flight tested)

The assumptions and procedure appear to have been carried forward for later 737 variants; assuming that certification validated these against aircraft aerodynamic and engine changes (and smaller trim wheel - NG).
This process appears to have further extrapolated for the MAX, but again the extent of certification checks on the effect of (significant) changes is not known.

The outcome of recent accidents suggest that the assumptions relating to large out of trim conditions in the MAX are inappropriate - recognition and intervention (were these aspects considered, checked, or flight tested in the MAX).
Thus the risk associated with trim runway in the MAX appear to be significantly higher that originally judged.
Reviewing the MAX trim system might conclude that runaway is an unacceptable failure mode where recover depends on human intervention; these aspects are independent of MCAS malfunction or modification.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 10:20
  #4560 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by L39 Guy View Post
Wonkazoo,

737 Driver is doing an exceptional job of articulating what a lot of us professional pilots both on this forum and elsewhere think about this whole MAX affair: MCAS needs to be tweaked (although fundamentally there is nothing wrong with a single sensor device that prevents a stall but intervening in the flight controls like numerous other aircraft)
Rubbish. I have 21 years in safety related systems including design and certification and you NEVER, NEVER use a single fallible input to drive a safety critical system. And then to give it full authority driving a critical control surface, allowing it to trim full down? Breathtaking incompetence. Also, you ALWAYS design to fail-safe. This doesn't mean what most people think. It doesn't mean it will never fail. It means it will fail in a safe state. AOA disagree is an absolute obvious failure and yet MCAS failed in the most unsafe state that it could possibly have.

A 16 year old electronics student with a week's training in safety related systems design would have done a better job.

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