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Flying an Airbus with 140hrs

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Flying an Airbus with 140hrs

Old 21st Jan 2022, 06:46
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Well said Chiefttp.

Us old timers still have the old-fashioned tools in the bottom draw, they may be a bit rusty, but when the modern tools go wrong, an old pipe wrench and a pair of pliers will often get you out of trouble.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 06:56
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What on earth has raw data flying and doing maths in your head got to do with MPL schemes and whether somebodyís flown Turboprops or private air charter or not? A pilotís reluctance to fly raw data is usually due to company policy, not because they donít have the confidence or ability to do it. In some parts of the world, a simple mistake made whilst going against company policy and flying raw data would see them out of a job (and a residency visa). With FDM thereís no hiding or covering anything up any more.

Most airline pilots want to go to work, operate safely with appropriate use of automation and then go home at the end of the day. Most airline pilots want to stay out of management offices, keep their jobs and provide for their family. If you think flying a raw data, A/T off departure in a busy airspace with low level offs, tight turns, stepped climbs and speed restrictions somehow makes you a superior pilot, youíre wrong. It makes you a moron.

Thankfully the majority of pilots Iíve flown with have common sense and know that thereís a time and a place for manual flying and visual approaches. Oh, and most professional pilots know better than to discuss other pilotsí performance in the sim.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 07:53
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Originally Posted by Vokes55 View Post
A pilotís reluctance to fly raw data is usually due to company policy, not because they donít have the confidence or ability to do it. In some parts of the world, a simple mistake made whilst going against company policy and flying raw data would see them out of a job (and a residency visa). With FDM thereís no hiding or covering anything up any more.
To play devil's advocate as an outsider to this world......Isn't that telling us that (most/all?) companies have decided that they would rather have pilots who use the automation effectively than pilots who know how to hand fly? When you feel that you want to build-up your experience doing something or other because it increases your confidence, adaptability, and ultimately safety, but you are prevented from doing that by company rules with draconian consequences, something has to be wrong. I suspect that the company policy is based on hard statistics showing that pilots make more errors than aircraft systems, and that fully understanding and using aircraft systems is the core of the job. When I look at accident reports, the proximate cause is almost always a crew who configured their systems wrongly for what they were trying to do, often with the systems working perfectly, sometimes with confusion resulting from a simple single hardware failure that was poorly handled. The catastrophic failures rescued by brilliant stick and rudder skills are vanishingly rare.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 08:05
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Originally Posted by tubby linton View Post
In the pre MPL days you probably went there in a light twin as an air taxi or corporate , or in a freighter as I did.My first commercial job in the UK was as a copilot in an antique turboprop but we did fly into Heathrow and other major airports in the rush hour.
Air Europe sent all of their low hour co-pilots to a turboprop operator for a number of years.
Gone are the days when the Commander 4000 hours all at Easyjet and the FO did some flying the old way of flying school / twin making the coffee de-icing the aircraft / RHS in a regional / RHS in a bigger aircraft then Command after much more than 4000 hours. Yes I know I'm out of touch and an old geezer with 50 followers on twitter
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 08:21
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Double Barrel..

I suspect that the company policy is based on hard statistics showing that pilots make more errors than aircraft systems, and that fully understanding and using aircraft systems is the core of the job.”

That is certainly sometimes the case; one airline made full time use of auto throttle (A/T) on likes of the T7 mandatory and that decision was based on the stats…

The claim was the data showed using A/T tended to result in unsurprisingly tighter speed control on final and also less dispersion of touchdown points, all leading to less chance of a runway excursion. The risk of deskilling was recognized but the risk of an excursion was thought to be the bigger threat.





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Old 21st Jan 2022, 08:34
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Originally Posted by Vokes55 View Post
What on earth has raw data flying and doing maths in your head got to do with MPL schemes and whether somebody’s flown Turboprops or private air charter or not? A pilot’s reluctance to fly raw data is usually due to company policy, not because they don’t have the confidence or ability to do it. In some parts of the world, a simple mistake made whilst going against company policy and flying raw data would see them out of a job (and a residency visa). With FDM there’s no hiding or covering anything up any more.

Most airline pilots want to go to work, operate safely with appropriate use of automation and then go home at the end of the day. Most airline pilots want to stay out of management offices, keep their jobs and provide for their family. If you think flying a raw data, A/T off departure in a busy airspace with low level offs, tight turns, stepped climbs and speed restrictions somehow makes you a superior pilot, you’re wrong. It makes you a moron.

Thankfully the majority of pilots I’ve flown with have common sense and know that there’s a time and a place for manual flying and visual approaches. Oh, and most professional pilots know better than to discuss other pilots’ performance in the sim.
Vokes, clearly you miss understood my point. First of all where did I say that flying raw data in busy airspace was a good idea? One of the Golden rules of Airbus states: Use appropriate level of automation at all times Ľ. Meaning if the weather is cavok, easy airport, it’s good idea to disconnect everything. But if it’s low clouds, sun in the face, crew are tired, then by all means, perform an autoland if you have to. It’s all about common sense. I never fly raw data when it’s not appropriate. First of all my outfit has restrictions and why I will put myself under unnecessary heavy workload? I’m not a fool like you seem to think I am. But if I had to in an emergency I would be able to do it as I practice regularly. I love the automation on Airbus, and I study my ass off to understand it and to be able to use it at its optimum capacity. But! You also need to maintain your handskills. This is a no brainer; Not my words, Airbus says so. Just go watch the Airbus video man. They explain it very well. And I know many airlines prohibit flying raw data. So what? They are obviously wrong and part of the problem. Emirates latest incident flying at 75 feet after airborne should raise some alarms. If you decide to work with these outfits, that’s your call.
You said also pilots don’t fly raw datas cause of company policy and not because of confidence and ability to do it. Sorry but that’s not true: My outfit allows raw data and many guys are not doing it cause of their lack of confidence and the phobia of FDM/QAR. I have seen many guys flying raw data and believe me if it was in IFR it would have been alarming. If pilots were confident with their flying skills they would not be so concerned with FDM/QAR. As long as you stay within the limits and correct when the PM is calling out the deviations there is no reason you will burst a QAR.. Now about the sim sessions: This is just about sharing our mistakes and experience in the sim to help our fellow colleagues. We are a small outfit. I’m never mocking other pilots. and I’m the first one to share my experiences when I did something stupid or any kind of mistakes in the sim or during line. Have a nice cold beer and chill out bro. =)

Last edited by pineteam; 21st Jan 2022 at 12:22. Reason: Typo
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 10:56
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“ If you think flying a raw data, A/T off departure in a busy airspace with low level offs, tight turns, stepped climbs and speed restrictions somehow makes you a superior pilot, you’re wrong. It makes you a moron.”

Actually it does make you a superior pilot, It’s essentially what we did every day in military pilot training, You’d be surprised at how well you could do it too if you take your time, study the departure/ arrival and have done it dozens of times before. Like others have said, the correct level of automation, at the proper phase of flight is the best course.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 11:12
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We seem to have dropped into hand flying Vs automatics, but the original thread was about low experience pilots flying modern complex jets.

More experience means you have seen more things, including unusual things. Flying C152s solo for several hundred hours and then basic turbo props for several thousand hours; there was the opportunity to consolidate hand flying skills and experience the real world and scare ourselves, and this helped us realise why instructors told to us do things in certain ways.

On an Airbus if you correctly follow Airbus SOPs, (and make appropriate considerations about weather and fuel etc) *, you cannot go very far wrong, and can conduct a safe flight quite easily. So a 140 hr cadet can in theory fly an Airbus safely - assuming they have successfully passed the type rating. I mean, we all passed our driving test and went out onto the motorway, travelling at 70mph only a few feet away from other traffic - a potentially far more dangerous environment - with much much less than 140hrs driving experience.

When things go wrong or non-normal however, that is when experience or lack of it becomes an issue. And in medium and big transport jets in four dimensions, as we know; things can go wrong very rapidly.

When TCAS first came in, there were a number of incidents of pilots who clearly panicked and hauled back on their yokes or dived down to avoid the "impending crash", or ignored or went opposite to the TCAS command, rather than calmly following the IVSI band, making a small adjustment to their V/S to avoid the other 'plane.

And we all know about AF447.

We had a GEN 1 go intermittent at FL350, and it was on/off/on/off, as quick as it takes to read that. ECAM could not keep up and the cockpit was like a Christmas tree of flashing lights, and audible warnings, (and the engine sounded like it was back-firing with the changes of loading on its gearbox). But although it seemed as if the world was about to end, we knew it was not a major issue - we were still airborne and in (manual) control. Madrid was just down there, so we could land quickly if we had to. But CRM, calm DODAR style diagnostics (and a lucky spot by me), sorted the problem out.

There will never be two 140 hour pilots on the flight deck together, but the the real question is whether it is sensible to have a 140 hr F/O with a weak P1C, or in the event of P1C incapacitation. Short-haul over western Europe gives many airports to autoland at and very good ATC, but long-haul in some areas and over the Ocean doesn't.

In an ideal world, cadets would have much more than 140 hrs before getting anywhere near a jet transport flight-deck.


* but this only comes with experience of course..........
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 11:56
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My bad Uplinker. I’m partly responsible for the off topic.
We don’t have any MPL pilots in the company I work for but we do have a decent amount of cadets who joined straight from flight school onto the Airbus. And for my personal experience, Most of the time I enjoyed more flying with these guys than some very experienced FOs cause the attitude is usually spot on and they are so willing to improve which makes me very happy. Yes they are struggling on landing for most of them at first but totally understandable and experience will fix it eventually.
@Chiefttp: I don’t know you but you seem to be the kind of TRE I would enjoy to fly with!=)
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 12:40
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Flying ability aside whatís the general consensus on what these (usually) young MPL / Integrated FOís are like to fly with as far as conversation is concerned?

A ex mil, legacy captain once told me that, in the main, their flying ability was usually very good however trying to make conversation at FL390 became a massive chore.

He said trying to chat with a 20 year kid whoís gone straight from college to a sausage factory school was a massive effort and made the cruise extremely boring. He was glad when he got an ex mil or an older FO with either previous flying experience or previous work experience to have a chat to.

Obviously we are paid to fly not to socialise but he had an interesting opinion.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 14:33
  #71 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by pineteam View Post
We don’t have any MPL pilots in the company I work for but we do have a decent amount of cadets who joined straight from flight school onto the Airbus. And for my personal experience, Most of the time I enjoyed more flying with these guys
The flight hours to reach RHS A32x the fastest could be around 220 hrs for your cadets colleagues while MPLs get there with 140-ish as observed.

Different from the cadets, however, the MPL training is completely focused on that specific RHS job and type from very early on. Their IR / MEP is done on the type which will be awarded to obtain around 80 hours before touching its metal, under the sponsoring airline's SOP. Somewhat ironically they have more job-related experience than the cadets and should kick ass accordingly.

There will be weak points but those are broadly the same to anyone starting without previous commercial IFR experience.

Last edited by FlightDetent; 21st Jan 2022 at 21:41.
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Old 21st Jan 2022, 16:46
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Success of MPL pilot depends on talent spotting, quality of training imparted and the type of aircraft they are trained for. Airbus FBW being flight path stable is easier to handle than non FBW aircraft. They will benefit with good in depth training of automation and procedures. AF447 and QZ8501 happened more because lack of adequate knowledge of alternate law and stall recovery procedure and not because handling in alternate law is difficult. Many accidents are caused by experienced people. Now Airbus and B787(I think) unreliable speed poses no difficulty as it automated. Automation and MPL is here to stay.


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Old 21st Jan 2022, 22:03
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Indeed, on QZ8501... Ex-fastjet captain with over 20,000hrs (including significant time on the F5, 737, F27...). FO was newish to the type, first airline with 2,300hrs total and 1,300 on the Airbus, so presumably the rest of those hours on something far lighter. All of that stick and rudder time didn't seem count for anything. Regional issues aside, over here a freshly minted (and line released) MPL religiously following the SOPs and ECAM by the book would have saved the day. I don't find any difficulty in operating at their speed or to their comfort level. A decent EBT solution from a reputable airline (eg one who has actually been approved to run an MPL) should discover their limitations and areas of weakness and train them upto scratch.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 03:28
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Hi Vilas and Giggitygiggity,
I agree that knowing the emergency procedures are paramount and would have helped in the case of AF 447 and QZ8501. But Like Airbus explains: Basic skills is not something we unlocked with practice and maintain for life; unfortunately, it will erode in time if no practice. You can have 10 000 hours of flying stick and rudder like a champ but the day you stop, your performance in that aspect will go down. For example if professional tennis player stops training for many years, how will he perform? He would not stand a chance against any decent tennis players. When was the last time these poor pilots flew raw data last? Imagine in the case of QZ8501 if they were flying manual thrust on that day; I highly doubt the outcome would have been the same. Your scan for the pitch, speed, vertical speed and altitude is a must when you fly raw data to stay within the safe enveloppe. Flying with perfect automation behaviour all the times for so many years and you will naturally be less on your guard. I don’t know guys for me it’s a no brainer that these skills still need to be maintained. And looking at many of these accidents or incidents I can not stop thinking that if on that particular day if only the FD or auto thrust were off many lives could have been saved..
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 04:29
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Originally Posted by pineteam View Post
Hi Vilas and Giggitygiggity,
I agree that knowing the emergency procedures are paramount and would have helped in the case of AF 447 and QZ8501. But Like Airbus explains: Basic skills is not something we unlocked with practice and maintain for life; unfortunately, it will erode in time if no practice. You can have 10 000 hours of flying stick and rudder like a champ but the day you stop, your performance in that aspect will go down. For example if professional tennis player stops training for many years, how will he perform? He would not stand a chance against any decent tennis players. When was the last time these poor pilots flew raw data last? Imagine in the case of QZ8501 if they were flying manual thrust on that day; I highly doubt the outcome would have been the same. Your scan for the pitch, speed, vertical speed and altitude is a must when you fly raw data to stay within the safe enveloppe. Flying with perfect automation behaviour all the times for so many years and you will naturally be less on your guard. I donít know guys for me itís a no brainer that these skills still need to be maintained. And looking at many of these accidents or incidents I can not stop thinking that if on that particular day if only the FD or auto thrust were off many lives could have been saved..
Again missing the topic. Yes, raw data and manual handling on the line, when conditions permit, is useful. But doesn't have anything at all to do with the amount of training needed to reach the flight deck of an airliner, which was the start of this topic: is it enough to have 140 hours to start on an airbus. And yes, it is, under the condition of a well done selection and focused and structured training. And yes, i have seen MPL students do near perfect raw data approaches and non-MPL do a mess of things in similar conditions.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 04:56
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Originally Posted by Denti View Post
Again missing the topic.
Sorry Denti. I know I was off topic just could not let it go. xD
Jokes aside, I agree with you.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 05:27
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Pineteam
BY all means a pilot in the cockpit must have atleast the minimum required handling skill. But a trainee who performs a perfect raw data handling in a simulator just adjusts in the aircraft to real life feel and turbulence etc. He doesn't have much problem because his scan is already set. You come across thousands of experienced pilots who's alternate/direct law experience is only in simulator. So what's the problem? And if once in a life time if someone did it in real life it doesn't make him better or worse pilot. Thanks to PW GTF which gave practice of engine failures in real life otherwise very few pilot faced it on line. More shocking is two check captains in the cockpit the PF wrongly pushes EXPED button doesn't know how to disconnect, causes THR LK then applies wrong procedure and causes overspeed of flaps by 38kts and GPWS alert before the madness ends. I don't think any MPL has done such a crazy thing. Experience means nothing without sufficient knowledge of key systems.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 09:06
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While perfectly correct, vilas, by coincidence you underscore pinteam's topic. Had those two been more proficient with the drill of FDs off, pitch, power, A/THR off, and appropriate instrument scan....

Agreed, different kettles.

The MPL is like a tailored high-school for RHS and given the high standardization of the training as well as its extent 'on type' and 'in equivalent environment' the end product meets the specification with sufficient margin. And mostly above average.

It's a good question how they are to broaden their experience to become wise commanders with enough lateral thinking. Yet that applies to every new pilot these days.

The only solution available is more carefully crafted SIM exercises togehter with an educative approach from Fleet, Standards and Training departments. Exactly what the MPL concept introduced over the integrated ATPL schemes. Including the continuous monitoring of skill development.

Perhaps the rest of the pilot pool could benefit from the same philosophy. Continuous monitoring of (essential skill) degradation?

It's hard to imagine 2x 140 MPL's flying into a PIA style crash. Equally hard as to accept there was no noticeable markers before that one in the PIC performance. Outside the FDM algorithms.

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Last edited by FlightDetent; 22nd Jan 2022 at 09:22.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 10:36
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Interesting that as we slowly move to fully autonomous aircraft, we are simultaneously moving to rules-driven automata in the driving seat.
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Old 22nd Jan 2022, 12:51
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
The only solution available is more carefully crafted SIM exercises togehter with an educative approach from Fleet, Standards and Training departments. Exactly what the MPL concept introduced over the integrated ATPL schemes. Including the continuous monitoring of skill development.

Perhaps the rest of the pilot pool could benefit from the same philosophy. Continuous monitoring of (essential skill) degradation?

It's hard to imagine 2x 140 MPL's flying into a PIA style crash. Equally hard as to accept there was no noticeable markers before that one in the PIC performance. Outside the FDM algorithms.
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I believe that is exactly what Evidence Based Training (EBT) tries to solve. Continuous monitoring of pilot capability, both via fleet based FDM and of course in the simulator. Training to proficiency not meaning to only tick the boxes, but to reach real proficiency before releasing crew (back) to the line. In effect the continuation of the MPL training philosophy into the line flying segment. That might rattle some of us, but i think many of us who have a modicum of EBT already tried on us actually prefer it to the old tick the box style "training" and checking.
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