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EK 231 20 December DXB IAD near crash?

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EK 231 20 December DXB IAD near crash?

Old 29th Dec 2021, 22:38
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Rt Hon, ‘looking through the FD’; what a quaint, but important concept; thrown out by the SOP police over the years.

‘if the commands are rubbish’; the fallacy here is that there will be, can be a comparison, but what is the datum against which to compare. If all takeoffs are with FD, without ‘look through’, then the only reference - the only experience is the FD. A fair ground game - keep the cross / dot in the middle.

Monitoring pilot checks what, when, how; concentrating on getting the calls right, buttons pushed, modes annunciated - oh the aircraft, what is that doing (another quaint idea), so how would the monitor know because the FD is already centred.

There should have been other safety defences, but sometimes things go wrong - ‘so that you can tell when they go right’.
Look into the latent factors; management / chief pilots’ policies, use of FD, SOPs, training, and not to overlook the aircraft system and reset logic.

Lessons to be learnt; maybe those who have learnt have left the company, they could be better for that, and more valuable to an operator with modern views of safety.
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Old 29th Dec 2021, 22:41
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Surely any half decent professional pilot should be able to look through the FD if the commands are rubbish
I think that may be the problem. Continuing dumbing down of professional standards, cost driven sim sessions merely ticking the regulatory boxes, pilots as SOP not even doing take-off briefs, regulators who don't understand what they are regulating, flight ops departments driven by costs, regulators not picking up the signs, Airbus creating (nearly) idiot proof jets.......predict the end path.... its not difficult. Its when the accident rate from incompetent piloting, bad training and cost-aggressive management starts to rise unacceptably. This one was lucky.
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Old 29th Dec 2021, 22:41
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Emirates Flight ‘Technical Incident’ in Dubai Under UAE Regulator Investigation - Bloomberg


This looks like its a genuine monumental deviation
from norms that have been developed over 50 years or more and now in decline as is seen here. It throws up so many issues from basic flying skills absent to what looks like a major issue with honesty after a serious near fatal incident. Just as happened with the Lionair Max where the awful truth of the previous flight were not disclosed by the captain.
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Old 29th Dec 2021, 23:13
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Awair wrote
It should also be considered that this might not have been ‘just an MCP error’, and that unreliable airspeed (ie a genuine failure) may have been root cause.
If they had unreliable airspeed they would not have been allowed to engage the autopilot so I doubt they continued to IAD flying manually.😀

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Old 29th Dec 2021, 23:58
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As an ex EK “John Deere” Tractor driver this is so disappointing to hear about and certainly not reflective of the vast majority of pilots when I was there, equally skilled and capable of dealing with busy JFK, or gracefully touching down in the freighter at MLW into ElDoret at 7000msl off an NDB approach in a non radar environment with an uplift thunderstorm off the plateau smack dab on the procedure turn , let alone lifting off from home base. While none of us here know what happened here, many have suspicions and guesses which might be confirmed or rejected with time but all of us that have flown there know the myriad of “challenges” of operating at EK. Many of us reviewed the weekly safety incident wrap ups shaking our heads at some of the ridiculousness some of our colleagues found themselves in from some quite simple initial cockups exacerbated exponentially sometimes by the ever present push (by both trng and fleet) to overly rely on the automation. In reality the best solution in many cases (not all) was a quick disconnect of both the autopilot and auto throttles, sort out the FMAs, perhaps cycle the FDs, then build the automation back up, which would paradoxically require a mandatory report and thus invite scrutiny, second guessing and possible punitive action from a rather inhospitable East German. Couple that with varying levels of bone numbing fatigue and you suddenly stop shaking your head at those reports, become less judgmental and realize that may very well be your report next week. Hopefully EK will finally heed these warning signs and change course, expend effort and money in hiring and more importantly retaining experienced crews, producing reasonable rosters, creating a non punitive safety and training culture that actually encourages questions and filling in gaps in knowledge (instead of the “OIC” recurrent). Then again one can dream!

Last edited by VThokie2; 30th Dec 2021 at 00:58.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 00:53
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Well at least , for those that were doubting it, we have it confirmed it really happened.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 03:22
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An Air NZ 777 did this in 2019 out of Rarotonga, it was rumoured at the time that it was a miss set MCP and the the aircraft descended to within 400ft of the water on departure. There was an article in the National Business Review saying the CAA had launched an investigation but that was the last I ever saw of it. Air NZ has an excellent control over bad news events getting out.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 03:23
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Originally Posted by VThokie2 View Post
As an ex EK “John Deere” Tractor driver this is so disappointing to hear about and certainly not reflective of the vast majority of pilots when I was there, equally skilled and capable of dealing with busy JFK, or gracefully touching down in the freighter at MLW into ElDoret at 7000msl off an NDB approach in a non radar environment with an uplift thunderstorm off the plateau smack dab on the procedure turn , let alone lifting off from home base. While none of us here know what happened here, many have suspicions and guesses which might be confirmed or rejected with time but all of us that have flown there know the myriad of “challenges” of operating at EK. Many of us reviewed the weekly safety incident wrap ups shaking our heads at some of the ridiculousness some of our colleagues found themselves in from some quite simple initial cockups exacerbated exponentially sometimes by the ever present push (by both trng and fleet) to overly rely on the automation. In reality the best solution in many cases (not all) was a quick disconnect of both the autopilot and auto throttles, sort out the FMAs, perhaps cycle the FDs, then build the automation back up, which would paradoxically require a mandatory report and thus invite scrutiny, second guessing and possible punitive action from a rather inhospitable East German. Couple that with varying levels of bone numbing fatigue and you suddenly stop shaking your head at those reports, become less judgmental and realize that may very well be your report next week. Hopefully EK will finally heed these warning signs and change course, expend effort and money in hiring and more importantly retaining experienced crews, producing reasonable rosters, creating a non punitive safety and training culture that actually encourages questions and filling in gaps in knowledge (instead of the “OIC” recurrent). Then again one can dream!
Spot on and it’s across the industry 👍
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 03:34
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Originally Posted by Propellerhead View Post
The avherald article doesn’t make sense. At the rotate call the PF looks solely outside whilst rotating until the runway / horizon starts to disappear then transfers onto the FD.
Different airline, but I noticed when watching this video a while ago that (at 12:45) the instant Rotate is called she looks down and focuses solely on the FD.


Last edited by Senior Pilot; 30th Dec 2021 at 03:37. Reason: Fix Youtube link
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 04:39
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Originally Posted by zz9 View Post
Different airline, but I noticed when watching this video a while ago that (at 12:45) the instant Rotate is called she looks down and focuses solely on the FD.
You can't accurately say what she is focusing on! My guess is Attitude, Speed and Tracking.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 07:22
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Originally Posted by zz9 View Post
Different airline, but I noticed when watching this video a while ago that (at 12:45) the instant Rotate is called she looks down and focuses solely on the FD.

Very interesting video. Especially in connection with discussed topic. The FO is performing ideally looking takeoff with FDs perfectly centered... focusing on PFD from the very start of rotation. IMHO this is not normal - I believe you should continue to look outside during the rotation.
A-320 FCTM says: "To monitor the rotation, the PF uses the outside visual references. Once airborne, the PF controls the pitch attitude target on the PFD."

I don't have my own videos like this (will try to make them later), but I was able to find similar video on youtube. Search for "GENOA LIMJ Boeing 737 TAKEOFF" 2:20 duration, the precise moment is at 1:06.
Clearly the FO is looking outside at least during the initial part of rotation.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 07:46
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While this looks to have been 1 big clustfxckup, and a lot seem to ‘focus on looking outside’, which I do agree with to some extend, do not forget the only way you can get properly and safely airborne during CAT 3 conditions with zero cloudbase is by using your pitch/attitude, and thus looking INSIDE.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 08:03
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Originally Posted by 5star View Post
While this looks to have been 1 big clustfxckup, and a lot seem to ‘focus on looking outside’, which I do agree with to some extend, do not forget the only way you can get properly and safely airborne during CAT 3 conditions with zero cloudbase is by using your pitch/attitude, and thus looking INSIDE.
I agree with you about Cat 3 conditions, but the discussed video was made in good weather conditions. And the discussed EK takeoff was performed in CAVOK.
Ok, we can say that the FO on the video was training herself for LWO takeoff... but, honestly, this looks like normal practice. Flight accidents rarely happen "out of the blue" - usually there are certain prerequisites for them.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 08:17
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Replaying the CVR as recorded during the event would be most interesting - I expect that it was almost certainly overwritten during the subsequent flight. In my discipline - purely recreational, far removed from this level of aviation - stuff- ups of this kind were often traced to the situation where each pilot "thought the other bloke was flying!" That couldn't possibly happen in this kind of operation however ... (could it?)
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 08:18
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The more I think about this.. the more I think.. how is it possible? Even if the PF ( fatigued, 3.00 am in the morning) had severe spatial disorientation during the take off roll.. how is it possible that the PM just let it happen? It appears he just sat there and watched the end of the runway appear at a great rate of knots.. and did nothing, up to and including, “ I have control”. This could make a great CRM study.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 08:25
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Originally Posted by FullOppositeRudder View Post
Replaying the CVR as recorded during the event would be most interesting - I expect that it was almost certainly overwritten during the subsequent flight. In my discipline - purely recreational, far removed from this level of aviation - stuff- ups of this kind were often traced to the situation where each pilot "thought the other bloke was flying!" That couldn't possibly happen in this kind of operation however ...
Ha, the Voice Recorder might have been overwritten but EK knows everything from every flight…. Everything is downloaded and analyzed (to say nothing about deidentification). Big brother was watching and fear of it (in some not all) had the potential to lead to some ill timed hesitation, second guessing and repression of gut pilot instinct in time critical situations. Root causes in addressing this incident will largely be lost in the departmental blame game and savings of face. Probably should have concentrated over the years on hiring and paying top dirham to retain the most experienced of pilots for such a diverse and challenging network.

Last edited by VThokie2; 30th Dec 2021 at 09:05.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 08:41
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Originally Posted by Torukmacto View Post
Be interesting to see what the roster was like for preceding week or so ?
Originally Posted by Twiglet1 View Post
Good luck with that the reports normally only state 64hrs in last 28 days etc
Does EK still factor pilot flying hours for the benefit of FTL's?

Post from a few years ago - Emirates Factored Flying Hours
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 09:10
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The CVR would be overwritten considering the 120 min tape duration


The FDR may be useless also as the 25 hour duration would not hold the pertinent information considering the additional 14 hour circa return sector

OFDM through the QAR may be of benefit
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 09:31
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Originally Posted by VThokie2 View Post
Ha, the Voice Recorder might have been overwritten but EK knows everything from every flight…. Everything is downloaded and analyzed (to say nothing about deidentification). Big brother was watching and fear of it (in some not all) had the potential to lead to some ill timed hesitation, second guessing and repression of gut pilot instinct in time critical situations. Root causes in addressing this incident will largely be lost in the departmental blame game and savings of face. Probably should have concentrated over the years on hiring and paying top dirham to retain the most experienced of pilots for such a diverse and challenging network.
Yep, all very true…
The thousand+ of us who got binned a year ago by AAR and TC were all very capable guys, who were all at the medium to top of the ‘labourforce’ list. It is truely embarrassing as exEK skipper to read the sketchy details of what has happened on that flight… To the extend that I would not be surprised this might have to do with fatigue…Remember the 380 in Moscow? That skipper’s roster and his duties pre that Moscow event were INSANE…. Obviously that particular factor was never mentioned in the groundschool debrief…

And yes, ofcourse factoring is still done by EK.
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Old 30th Dec 2021, 10:26
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Originally Posted by SOPS View Post
The more I think about this.. the more I think.. how is it possible? Even if the PF ( fatigued, 3.00 am in the morning) had severe spatial disorientation during the take off roll.. how is it possible that the PM just let it happen? It appears he just sat there and watched the end of the runway appear at a great rate of knots.. and did nothing, up to and including, “ I have control”. This could make a great CRM study.
My thinking exactly. I just can’t understand it. Rotate call start rotation. If PF isn’t doing it within straight away I would be taking control.

Has to be something else. Incorrect VR or something. I can’t believe 4 pilots would just sit barrelling down the runway.
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