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Russian 737 on ILS 263 knots over the fence.

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Russian 737 on ILS 263 knots over the fence.

Old 13th Feb 2021, 14:24
  #21 (permalink)  
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Check Airman

I agree that all pilots should be able to fly manually down to CAT1 minima. Especially with the FD. And that all pilots should be able to monitor this as PM. But this was clearly not the case here.

Manual flight with a ceiling at the minima, especially with a lack of recency, does not show good airmanship to me. The chance of a go-around is very high, and those have gone wrong far too often. Should all pilots not be able to manually fly a go-around? Of course, but history has shown that this isn't always the case.

Degrading manual flying skills has caused too many accidents, and I'm against the current industry trend of automation dependency, but this was not the best decision with those Wx conditions as both the PF and PM were not up for the task. However, the OVC 200' could possibly have been mistaken for OVC 200m. But even then, the result would probably have been the same: an unstable approach.

This does show to me, paradoxically, that less restrictions should be imposed by airlines in order to keep or increase our flying skills and that manual flight should be actively encouraged to prevent automation dependency (including FD dependency).
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 15:39
  #22 (permalink)  
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Back in the early 1980's I was a PPL and when ever I was going somewhere in the CAF 707 I always asked to ride in the jump seat. One really shyte day we were assigned the ILS into Ottawa.. The guy driving was a long in the tooth exchange RAF Flt Lt. With a huge cross wind and continuous light to moderate chop he hand flew the approach. The control wheel was making continuous big arcs but all I saw on the HSI were the unmoving needles in a perfect cross.. We broke out at 200 ft with a 20 deg crab angle which was quickly followed by a smooth touchdown one wheel at a time exactly on centerline.

I hate to be one of those old "back in the day, pilots could really fly" old codgers but I bet that today there is only a tiny minority in the cockpit of your average Boeing or Airbus that could do the same....
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 17:22
  #23 (permalink)  
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...Except they do do it. Every day, all over the world. You just don’t hear about it, because it’s not news.
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 18:10
  #24 (permalink)  
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It isn’t even particularly difficult if you do it regularly. But the old saying applies “if you don’t fly for for a week you notice, if you don’t fly for two weeks the copilot notices, if you don’t fly for three the passengers notice.” Currency is important and we can expect plenty of this if rusty pilots start practicing on line in poor weather.
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 18:22
  #25 (permalink)  
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Today’s reality is given a 200ft OVC, 25 kt crosswind, and continuous light to moderate turbulence, the average airline SOP would require this to be flown as a coupled approach.
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Old 13th Feb 2021, 19:30
  #26 (permalink)  

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Nope, no such thing widespread. Whether or not at some airlines such pilot attitudes prevail so they will elect to do so is another story.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 01:52
  #27 (permalink)  
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Big Pistons Forever

Not at any of the airlines I've flown for. Thankfully.
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Old 14th Feb 2021, 02:48
  #28 (permalink)  
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Are you sure about that? The B737-800’s I fly have a maximum quoted fuel capacity of 20,896kgs, in practice we rarely manage to load much above 20,600kgs. All somewhat short of the 26 tonnes you are quoting!
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Old 15th Feb 2021, 22:15
  #29 (permalink)  
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This long break in flying for many is a real risk that must not be underestimated. I suspect it has been a factor in many incidents and the odd accident already. Complacency from crew not showing this threat the respect that it deserves will be an issue.

Regardless of experience or being a sky god in an earlier life, those not appreciating the risks will easily fast come unstuck. Mental capacity, flying skills, work rate, situation awareness, decision making, will all be detrimentally affected. For those that have not operated for extended months at a time, now is not the time to take any extra risks whatsoever. It's time to refresh, go through the manuals, checklists and procedures, do the currency sims. Then take things easy, not rush, ignore time pressures as best as possible. The sims might be the easiest part, but then the greatest risks will present back online. Slow the operation down, no rushed approaches, checklists or briefings, turn down the crazy shortcuts to final throwing the barn doors out and the unnecessary raw data visuals. Use the automatics, leave behind the bravado and keep the threats in mind. The operation needs to be kept totally standard, not rushed, with the sole purpose of no reports or incidents, at lowest risk possible. Get back into the swing of things before the 'click click Seneca mode'. Don't be the one that gets caught out, and recognise it could be us the very next time, by truly believing that it is possible in a flash without warning.

No pilot on this planet given the extended breaks in operating will be safe from the threats that this represents without careful management.
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Old 15th Feb 2021, 23:16
  #30 (permalink)  
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An excellent post above, leave the manual flying to the simulator for the moment. Automatics in, keep it standard and slow it down. Triple check everything and make sure everyone knows to speak up if they see anything unusual.

Remember, we aren't the only ones with rusty skills. ATC have only been handling a fraction of normal traffic, ground staff may have just got back from a prolonged lay off, engineers may have only been monitoring stored aircraft etc etc.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 02:29
  #31 (permalink)  
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I'll continue to be deliberately difficult, if you'll entertain it. The moment we're in right now has gone on a bit longer than we anticipated a year ago. Should we be unfortunate enough for it to go on much longer, we may well find ourselves in a situation where crews say "I'll just use the AP for the first week or so". Then the week turns into a month. Then a few months...See where I'm going?

We should definitely slow down as necessary, and I agree that perhaps it may sometimes be prudent to use a bit more automation than you normally would. However many of us don't know when we'll next get to practise our skills. My personal preference is to make the best use of the opportunity, and use as little automation as possible. Automation dependency creeps up on us stealthily, and that disease has an ideal environment in which to spread now.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 03:09
  #32 (permalink)  
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Yup but these guys were ONE HUNDRED knots too fast. Absolutely hand fly when you can but be smart about it. Use automation when by conscious decision you have decided it is the best configuration for the conditions, not because it is easy.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 04:10
  #33 (permalink)  
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The PF found himself 100kt fast because he followed the FD to 8 degreees nose down. I really wish we had more details, but I hope we can agree that-

- an ILS with the AP off and FDs on should not be considered a "high workload" environment for an airline pilot

- had the PF practised raw data flying more often, he would not have followed the FD to 8 degrees nose down

- flying raw data only when conditions make it "easy" doesn't do much for your skill and professional development
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 04:59
  #34 (permalink)  
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I had 6 months of not flying between mid March and mid September last year but had recency maintained in the simulator. First flight back I was not comfortable, particularly when I disconnected the autopilot on final. Simple tasks which previously were second nature, now required a bit of thought and took longer to accomplish.

After making a normal landing on one of the shorter runways in our network, my confidence returned. On the home leg I could feel it coming back to me as skills which couldn’t be exercised in the simulator came to be used.

In the last 5 months I will have logged about 30 hours and am currently flying about twice a month. I feel more normal now but am well aware that I’m still a bit rusty. In addition to the recency sims, I’ve had two check rides and recurrent training which involved manual flying and didn’t give me any problems. For the moment I’m leaving the automatics on in the aircraft until I feel comfortable with the extra workload involved in hand flying. I don’t even bother about the schedule, we leave when I feel ready to fly.

Different people are affected in different ways after a prolonged period of not flying, keep the workload as low as possible initially and gradually build up as confidence and currency increases.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 12:25
  #35 (permalink)  
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For the moment I’m leaving the automatics on in the aircraft until I feel comfortable with the extra workload involved in hand flying.
Believe me that moment will never come because by the look of things you are already hooked on to the automatics as a crutch. Do you mean you are 'uncomfortable' when hand flying? Hand flying - extra work load? This comment is not meant to be derogatory in any way since probably 90 percent of airline pilots would feel the same way. What should concern is proof positive that so many of todays airline pilots are seemingly apprehensive of going "Click - Click" and grasping the nettle of hand flying for the enjoyment of being at one with their aircraft. I suspect that often the real reason for hanging on to the automatics is the fear of stuffing up in front of the second in command? .
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 13:36
  #36 (permalink)  
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Once I’m flying 2-3 days a week and I’m back up to speed again, I’ll consider a bit of manual flying in the aircraft. Every recency sim I’ve done has included an engine failure after V1 and a single engine landing, I’ve had more asymmetric practice in the last year than anytime since I did the endorsement. I’m perfectly comfortable with the automatics switched off in the sim where there are no consequences if a practice session goes a bit wrong.

At the moment I’m flying very conservatively, early descents, configuring early, fully stabilised by 1500’ and staying out of the monthly safety report will do me.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 14:02
  #37 (permalink)  
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Krismiler, for what itís worth - I completely agree with your approach..... youíve explained it very well in my opinion. Canít expect everyone to agree, but I think itís a bit unfair to accuse you of being hooked on automatics....I think youíre actually recognising your limitations under these extraordinary circumstances and showing good airmanship....

Anyone who believes that only flying twice a month has no effect on confidence/flying skills is, in my personal opinion, either deluded or not actually a commercial pilot...
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 14:15
  #38 (permalink)  
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I take the Winter off at my outfit, so it's usual to not have flown for 4 months when I go back into the SIM. I find it's not the hand flying but the overall environment that adds to your workload, I can hand fly perfectly well from the SIm day 1, to the line. It's all the rest of it that takes a few days to get back, the SA and general working environment. Usually the hardest part is all the SOP changes that take place over the Winter!
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 15:42
  #39 (permalink)  
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A Polite Question

I’m lucky enough that my flying job has been relatively unaffected by COVID. I also do not fly large passenger aircraft.

My question is, what if something were to happen on your first trip back that necessitated a hand-flown approach down to instrument minima?

Are those people that claim they will wait a few trips before they hand fly confident that they could handle an emergency that required a manual approach?

Surely to say you want to wait is to tempt fate a little.

As I say, it is a polite question and don’t think I’m having a dig.

In my flying world we constantly try to do the hardest thing we can to make the routine things easy. ‘Train hard, fight easy’ is the mantra.

But then, we don’t have company profits to worry about. Or passengers for that matter.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 21:58
  #40 (permalink)  
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Uncomfortable Flying by Hand????

It really makes ME feel uncomfortable that the pilot of an airliner in which I am a passenger would feel "uncomfortable" flying manually.
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