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Airbus + Cathay working on Single Pilot during Cruise with A350

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Airbus + Cathay working on Single Pilot during Cruise with A350

Old 19th Jun 2021, 11:55
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Uplinker

All concerns are justified but examples quoted are wrong on many counts. First, number in front doesn't help. AF447 was crashed by two in front. SFO crashed with three in front. Qantas 747 400 was stalled three times in a hold near HongKong by three in front who not only didn't know the correct holding speed they erased the speed that was in FMS to insert wrong speed and whose combined experience was 40000hrs. So let's put more the merrier theory to bed.
Second, I am very sure Airbus doesn't want to repeat 737MAX saga by shelling out billions to squash the case.
Third, the bogey of EMER DES is not applicable to A350 because if the system cannot prevent the cabin pressure loss and estimates cabin altitude to rise beyond 10000ft in 10seconds it arms the auto EMER DES and if not cancelled or activated, at 15 seconds performs EMER DES without any initiation from pilot that includes cabin announcement, commencing descent to MORA/10000ft, offsetting track by 2.5nm, turning radar tilt down and squacking7700. And if there TCAS RA on the way down it will perform the escape automatically. Unreliable speed is not going to happen either because it has another set of pitot static in the engine that gives alternate speed if that also fails then from GW, CG and lift equation it gives you back up speed. All changes are automatic, the pilot notwithstanding one or two is just informed about the change. All he does may be say thank you and order coffee. AP can be engaged even after dual engine flame out.
Four, Airbus has already done 550hrs on ATTOL Automated Taxi Takeoff and Landing program where the pilot only started in the engines(I hope so) rest of the flight was done automatically. So there may be more automatics on the way in these trials. Offcourse no matter how safe it will be a conflict of interest for the community and no one is going to like it. Boeing may be the biggest opponent of this because as of now they don't have an equivalent. But should it come through they won't remain far behind.

Last edited by vilas; 19th Jun 2021 at 12:47.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 12:07
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Pilots will not gain more handling skills, practical pilotage experience and stay current if they are denoted to be cruise observers until something serious breaks. This is neither one thing nor the other. Could it be meant to prove that it doesn't work to come to the conclusion better leave pilots out altogether and go Tesla?
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 15:31
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vilas, #82; a thoughtful post, reminding us that there are alternative, justifiable points of view

For those who disagree, ok, but please provide a reasoned and argued debate.
Starting with this quote ?

“If you want to fly as [traditional pilots] say they do, then go fly gliders, become test pilots, for all I care go to the moon. But flying for the airlines is not supposed to be an adventure. From takeoff to landing, the autopilots handle the controls. This is routine. In a Boeing as much as an Airbus. And they make better work of it than any pilot can. You’re not supposed to be the blue-eyed hero here. Your job is to make decisions, to stay awake, and to know which buttons to push and when. Your job is to manage the systems.”

Quoted text from 2009 book Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson. - William Langewiesche

Last edited by alf5071h; 24th Jun 2021 at 08:48.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 16:00
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"Boeing may be the biggest opponent of this because as of now they don't have an equivalent. But should it come through they won't remain far behind".

Boeing is on this now, and has been working on this
concept for some time. The 777X autoflight sytem & FBW was designed with this concept in mind, and will continue to serve as the initial platform as time passes. Their plate is pretty full at the moment, so it remains to be see whether it actually comes to fruition in this decade.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 17:54
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alf5071h

Flying attracts those who are thrill seekers, who thrive on excitement. You know what, passengers don't want thrills, the management don't want thrills. The professional pilot who understands this uses his skill to make the flight routine, uninteresting, boring even. That is difficult for those of us who have a high threshold for stimulation.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 22:52
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vilas, yes but I never argued for "the more the merrier", I argued for a minimum of two pilots - not the same thing. The examples you give would not have been solved if only one (duff) pilot was in the cockpit. Like I say, improve pilot training and testing.

The A350, clever as it might be, will not be quite so clever if it suffers a major electrical, or other major system failure.

alf5071h, I have spent hundreds of hours crossing the Atlantic and the Indian oceans, staring forwards into blackness for hours on end, with nothing going wrong, while the aircraft is on A/P. I don't have a problem with doing that at all.

I have also twice had to emergency descend and dump fuel before making an unscheduled landing. If I wanted thrills, I would fly aerobatics in Pitts or Zlins. I agree totally with the last two sentences of your quote.
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Old 19th Jun 2021, 23:28
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Some of the most fatiguing flying I've ever done has been two crew at the limit of FDLs. If I could have left the perfectly competent FO in charge while I sent back for a kip in a comfortable crew rest, and then likewise for him, it would have enhanced safety,


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Old 20th Jun 2021, 05:06
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Just to refocus this thread. A350, single pilot, on cruise.

Not - Remove all aircrew, let the computer do all the flight controls. Can we have a little bit of perspective? Yes, it may be the start of a slippery slope, but it's a proposal.

Also, can someone tell me the number of hull losses from events happening whilst at cruise versus hull losses at departure or final approach?
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Old 20th Jun 2021, 12:00
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Witness Boeing and the Max fiasco where they tried to save money - a fiasco that killed 300 people.

the difference is that it seems airbus has not cut corners with boat anchor systems like Boeing. Boeing added a control system with only 2 AOA. Airbus added more redundant multi sensor systems to improve safety. Cost a shedload no doubt.

apples for apples the 2 manufacturers do things very differently. No problems with the fear of pulling circuit breakers in a Boeing. The FCOM doesn’t really allow it unless your in a dire circumstance.

Give you a free lunch if you can find a cb on the 350 overhead. There are authorised computer resets in the fcom, different philosophy to Boeing.

Last edited by 320busboy; 20th Jun 2021 at 12:13.
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Old 20th Jun 2021, 19:10
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I don't think the business case is clear already, as we do not know the applicable regulations that ICAO and EASA will issue in terms of certification/operations/flight time limitations...

Let us have an example:

You can have singe pilot cruise ops (EMCO) certified by proving, among a load of other things, that the probability of an emergency descent multiplied by the probability of an auto emer des sytem failure stays below a certain safety threshold. What if one pack or one bleed is MEL? the probability of an emergency descent goes through the roof, as you have no redundancy anymore (been there...) .Still under that treshold? If not, no extended minimal crew operation today. Crew is augmented, or flight cancelled if no standby crew. And what if the failure happens in flight? Of course, you expect the second pilot to come back from the bunk. But then, what is the maximum flight duty period? The FDP originally planned with EMCO, or basic max FDP? Depending on the regulation, you may end up diverting for some very minor failures.

They can do it, ok. But will that be really profitable in the long run? Not sure. Time will tell...
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Old 20th Jun 2021, 20:26
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procede

How do you know the captain would have not pulled up as well? And if other first/second officers were assigned to that flight would all of them pull up using your logic?
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Old 21st Jun 2021, 09:51
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No, but this particular second officer would not have been there if they would have been allowed to fly with a two man crew. More humans in this case simply meant more chance of human error.

Second officers generally aren't that experienced and especially inexperienced pilots are know to have really bad panic responses to unexpected situations.

I was just looking at this video on fatal accidents in GA due to students locking the controls in a panic response:

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Old 21st Jun 2021, 16:07
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So all this PM/PF confirm/confirmed FPM is complete bunk then? It's good to see engineers and managers have it all sorted.
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Old 21st Jun 2021, 20:02
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What about the Germanwings incident where the co-pilot deliberately crashed the aircraft after locking the Captain out?
Since then, many airlines insist on minimum 2 people on flight deck at all times. So, when one needs the lav-a cabin crew must remain on the FD until the other crew returns.
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Old 21st Jun 2021, 21:21
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Boeing added a control system with only 2 AOA.
No! They did it with a single AoA. They didn't bother to connect the other one which is installed. Only after the crashes they connected them.
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Old 21st Jun 2021, 23:12
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my bad. Thanks for correcting me. That makes it even more ridiculous. This is the benefit of modern systems in Airbus. You don’t bolt on something to fix something. You can use the various redundant systems and change the software function to suit. Sure some things are hard wired, however the data is shared on one of the many redundant data bus’s.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 06:34
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Just ask the regulatory agencies if they accept all the ETOPS operations to go Single Engine? Why not? the engines are so reliable our days!!!!
Single Pilot Operations are the big push from the Industry (Airbus and Boeing) because they've realized it is impossible to crew the number of aircraft they are planning to sell. This was a study done pre pandemic but it is still valid.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 09:51
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Also final reserve fuel. What's the point? Haven't heard of anyone for years using any part thereof.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 19:12
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They’re after reserve crew. Making the 2nd pilot “reserve crew” cuts a lot of personnel costs up front, not only salary, and Cathay is a logical early adopter because they do a lot of 2-crew flights. All other LH operators are gonna watch this one very carefully... and of course, once this is done they will plan the next step, which is getting rid of the 2nd pilot, because the lifetime costs of a pilot (salary, retirement benefits, hotel, ground transport, etc) add up to a pretty penny and pilots can’t be traded or put up as collateral (yet) (Not valid in the sandbox)

Freight will go uncrewed first, until the first accident caused by an unexpected/unannounced GPS jam, which is something that’s already a problem, but unknown to the bean counters who get lost in their Lincoln Navigators. After that one, we’ll rest easy until at least 2100, by which time there’ll be demand for pilots on Mars, and all of us here will be either winged or horned (or reincarnated)...
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 07:44
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All other LH operators are gonna watch this one very carefully...
Well one already has-Lufthansa and they have already said no because it doesn't meet the safety requirements:

Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) has also worked on the single-pilot programme but currently has no plans to use it, a spokesman for the German carrier told Reuters..... Both arguments miss the point, according to a source close to Lufthansa - who said the airline's executives were advised last year that the programme could not meet safety goals..
I think LH might know a thing or two about long haul flying and crew costs.
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