Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Airbus Within 6ft of the Ground nearly 1 mile Short of Runway

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Airbus Within 6ft of the Ground nearly 1 mile Short of Runway

Old 9th Aug 2022, 21:27
  #221 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Usually firmly on the ground
Posts: 97
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by galacticosh View Post
We use standard phraseology, that way the use of one language works well. Any comments on this thread about English being chosen as opposed to another language are just hot air. It’s already happened. We could switch to Klingon and use standard phraseology and have local languages like in this case, and the same problems would continue to occur.
Can you spell out for me exactly how your comment relates to the incident mentioned in the OP?

The "standard phraseology" didn't prevent the wrong value from being given. In English. The only difference I can see had English been the only ATC language is that the incorrect value (which is the root problem here, isn't it?) would very likely have been passed on to *everyone*.
Eutychus is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 00:17
  #222 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Eutychus View Post
Can you spell out for me exactly how your comment relates to the incident mentioned in the OP?

The "standard phraseology" didn't prevent the wrong value from being given. In English. The only difference I can see had English been the only ATC language is that the incorrect value (which is the root problem here, isn't it?) would very likely have been passed on to *everyone*.
Surely you're missing the point that the incorrect value was given to just this one aircraft.

I would strongly suggest that if the CDG controllers used only English language phraseology at all times this incident would not have happened. If they weren't continually flipping between the standard language and French they would probably not have made the error to begin with. Even if they had had a momentary lapse and confused 1011 and 1001 in one transmission, the error would likely have been detected quickly when the correct QNH was transmitted to all other aircraft IN ENGLISH. The fact that the majority of these other transmissions were in a language foreign to the incident crew reduced their opportunity to catch the error.

As to the reasons for the Gallic refusal to adhere to the language stipulated as standard by ICAO (behaviour stubbornly echoed in China, I might add), who can say. It may be that domestic aviation in France would be drastically hindered by deficiencies in English language proficiency amongst the pilot population (it would certainly be in China), it may be national pride. But it's more fun to consider that it's sour grapes. Just be thankful the standard language isn't Esperanto.
Busbuoy is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 02:45
  #223 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Not commuting home
Age: 44
Posts: 3,966
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In 4 years the domestic PRC will have the largest traffic flow of all global regions. If they had been forced to use English phraseologies, surely some problems would appear now and then just because of that and the overall safety levels at the busiest world's busiest theatre would reduce.

That is part of what the linguist SLF gentleman had been saying. For all those who failed to understand his message or learn the meaning of it despite waving the flag of professionally utilizing those two very skills.

There are 6 official ICAO languages but that is not the point since the language of international aviation really is English.

Every country is allowed to use their own language and this cannot be disrespected. What happens at CDG and other French airports is select few of the local pilots insist on speaking their own at the detriment of the whole team.

When the CDG ATC tried to mandate English it's the French pilot unions who stood up against the order. Imagine that, a worker's union protecting the individual's legal right against unlawful rulings. Can't have the whole pie and eat it, dears.

All this talk of the French in use completely throws the focus off centre.

Unacceptable performance by a bottom paying operator by pilots without proper work contracts flying unsuspecting Western public.

Dysfunctional ATC reacation to low altitude alert.

Substandard Airport equipment in marginal weather. Which is not only safety issue but an economic too. Everybody pays good money to them to be ready for arriving aircraft.

​I don't read too many threads on PPRuNe about Binter speaking Spanish at Fuerteventura, the odd Dash 8 doing the same at Madrid. Italian at Palermo, Greek at Santorini, Russian at Moscow.


​​​​​​

FlightDetent is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 06:01
  #224 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Usually firmly on the ground
Posts: 97
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
FlightDetent, thank you.

Originally Posted by Busbuoy View Post
I would strongly suggest that if the CDG controllers used only English language phraseology at all times this incident would not have happened.
It seems just as likely to me that if only English had been used for all communications, the mistaken value could have been broadcast to all aircraft. Sure, that might have increased the chances of it being caught, but at the cost of multiplying the potential for similiar incidents with similarly inattentive crew.

If they weren't continually flipping between the standard language and French they would probably not have made the error to begin with.
Again, I'm not sure. Remember the mistaken value was given in the non-native language. The issue here from a linguistic point of view isn't what that language is, it's that it's the ATC's non-native language. In my experience numbers are one of the hardest things to get right in a non-native language.
The fact that the majority of these other transmissions were in a language foreign to the incident crew reduced their opportunity to catch the error.
That is true, but as FlightDetent has pointed out, there appear to be a whole load of other ways of catching this error that deserve attention before deciding it's all the fault of dual language use. I'm sure crew picking up information from ATC communications with other aircraft is helpful to my SLF safety, but I sincerely hope it's not the first layer of safety...

As to the reasons for the Gallic refusal to adhere to the language stipulated as standard by ICAO
See my quote from the Wikipedia article on Aviation English here. One of the apparent misconceptions of some native English speakers on this thread is that speaking English, whether as a native speaker or not, suffices for RC to be intelligible. According to that page, it can actually be a disadvantage when used by native speakers, especially in non-standard and/or emergency situations.
Just be thankful the standard language isn't Esperanto.
The suggestion reveals another Western-centric blind spot. Esperanto isn't "neutral"; its use would favour Romance and Indo-European language speakers considerably. Somebody upthread suggested Klingon; the related Wikipedia article states that a design principle of the Klingon language was dissimilarity to existing natural languages in general, and English in particular, so that might make it a better candidate. Whether the more equal unfamiliarity of all pilots with this proposed universal aviation language would enhance safety overall is another question...
Eutychus is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 07:14
  #225 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: LONDON
Posts: 77
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Busbuoy View Post
Surely you're missing the point that the incorrect value was given to just this one aircraft.
That isn't one of the points here. From the BEA report:

At 11:35:37, the ITM instructed an easyJet flight crew to descend to 5,000 ft with the same incorrect QNH,
netstruggler is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 08:12
  #226 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 2,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My thinking is that the error occurred because (the aircrew did not properly cross-check the QNH, and did not look at their RadAlts*), but also because the ATC controller was speaking in two languages. It doesn't really matter what the languages were, but having to continually flip between native and words translated in their head was a big factor in this incident. Had they stayed in one language, this mis-translation would not have occurred.

Secondly, I can't remember what was said now, but if ATC gave the French QNH as "one thousand eleven" rather than "one zero one one" then this could have been another potential factor in the cock-up. I always bang on about CAP 413, but the phrases and methodology in that document have been carefully designed to avoid confusion when instructions are passed by voice over an imperfect radio link; one subject to distortion, interference, and fading. And being received on headsets in a cockpit that can itself have other audio noise and distractions. All of which means that messages are not always clearly heard; making the use of a set of very specific stock phrases vital. As soon as people start using lazy verbal short cuts then confusion can arise.

In a busy TMA, it must be very tempting to use abbreviations, especially if one has to say "unité zero unité unité" (11 syllables, and a right old mouthful), hundreds of times, rather than the much easier and shorter "mille onze" (2 syllables), but therein lies an elephant trap. If individual digits are spoken - in any language - instead of verbal shorthand, then fewer mistakes will occur.

*Perhaps also; NPAs referenced to QNH should have DHs rather than DAs, i.e. a final decision reference based on the Rad Alt, height rather than the QNH altitude? The QNH can be mis-set by the pilots or ATC as we all know, but a Rad Alt of course measures the actual height above the ground and therefore is a more reliable reference.
In fact the last 2,500' of most NPAs could be referenced to height rather than altitude, which would add a little more precision and safety.
Uplinker is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 10:01
  #227 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Manchester
Posts: 50
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
I.

Every country is allowed to use their own language and this cannot be disrespected. What happens at CDG and other French airports is select few of the local pilots insist on speaking their own at the detriment of the whole team.
​​​​​​
No, it's not a "select few". It is Mandated by the French Govt way back
"“MINISTERIAL ORDER of 7th SEPTEMBER 1984 relating to radiotelephony procedures for the use of general air traffic. It states in particular (in paragraph 2.4) that French must, except in special case, be used between French flying personnel and French ground stations.”

Is there any other country that specifically mandates local language in ATC. If not why only in France?
Youmightsaythat is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 10:04
  #228 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Usually firmly on the ground
Posts: 97
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
It doesn't really matter what the languages were, but having to continually flip between native and words translated in their head was a big factor in this incident.
I don't disagree, but the question of how to mitigate that for the best remains. Mandating a single non-native language is a red herring, in my view.
Had they stayed in one language, this mis-translation would not have occurred.
Speaking again here from a professional perspective, I don't think it's really a "mistranslation". More likely, as someone posted upthread, a 'brain fart', I think it could have happened in either language, but that it was more likely in a non-native language.
Secondly, I can't remember what was said now, but if ATC gave the French QNH as "one thousand eleven" rather than "one zero one one" then this could have been another potential factor in the cock-up.
Note that the 'cock-up' was in English...
In a busy TMA, it must be very tempting to use abbreviations, especially if one has to say "unité zero unité unité" (11 syllables, and a right old mouthful), hundreds of times, rather than the much easier and shorter "mille onze" (2 syllables), but therein lies an elephant trap. If individual digits are spoken - in any language - instead of verbal shorthand, then fewer mistakes will occur.
It's certainly much less counterintuitive for the respective native speakers to say "one zero one one" than to say "unité zéro unité unité"; and from that perspective the use of English is much better. But it isn't a panacea.
Eutychus is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 10:05
  #229 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: IRS NAV ONLY
Posts: 1,193
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Eutychus, you'll be surprised to find it's actually a legal requirement for all comunication between ATC and aircraft to be exclusively in English language at all busy European airports (more than 50,000 international IFR movements per year).

But of course, the regulators had their hands tied when nationalism won over common sense, and there is a provision for countries to conduct a safety study on risks associated with using two languages at the same time, which clearly there isn't any. The fact that places the likes of MAD, BCN and CDG have disproportionally high rate of TCAS RA events is probably just a pure coincidence, and in no doubt has absolutely nothing to do with ATC shuffling two different languages, and moreover, situational awareness of all parties is definitely not reduced by half of communication being in a language you don't understand. No problems there, whatsoever. It's also a pure coincidence that a lot of professional crews flying to those airports list ATC as the main threat during their departure/arrival briefings. Pure coincidence.

*Perhaps also; NPAs referenced to QNH should have DHs rather than DAs, i.e. a final decision reference based on the Rad Alt, height rather than the QNH altitude? The QNH can be mis-set by the pilots or ATC as we all know, but a Rad Alt of course measures the actual height above the ground and therefore is a more reliable reference.
In fact the last 2,500' of most NPAs could be referenced to height rather than altitude, which would add a little more precision and safety.
Generally a good idea, but I think it falls short when you consider that most Cat 2/3 approaches have very low minima (close to or at the runway), where terrain is generally flat. NPAs sometimes have quite high minima, over terrain that might be quite undulating, and it would be difficult to determine the accurate minima based on RA reading alone.

Perhaps the ATC's MSAW could be enhanced a bit more for NPAs, so if an aircraft crosses the FAF more than 100-200ft lower than the prescribed altitude, it would generate a warning while the aircraft is still quite far from terra firma.
FlyingStone is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 10:29
  #230 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
Posts: 2,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am sure the professional pilots among us have all counted down the altitudes versus distance to go for our PF during an NPA - referring to the table provided on the plate: "OK you were 50' high, at six miles you are looking for 2,360 feet" etc.

It would be a relatively simple matter to survey the land on the approach and publish a similar table of Rad Alt heights versus distances to go. Granted, the heights will not always be reducing in a linear progression, and there might be steps in the heights, but the Rad Alt measurement at least will be accurate, and combined with the DME, (assuming there is one available), would give a generally much more accurate picture. Even just having a DH rather than a DA would improve safety, in the sense that a reading 300' out, or reaching the DH at the wrong DME would/should ring alarm bells in the pilots' minds, and having only a DH would at least make them look at the Rad Alt.

Another safety improvement I think would be to mandate a Rad Alt auto call-out at, say 300', and not allow that to be pin-UNprogrammable. That way if a crew suddenly heard "three hundred" when not expecting it, their immediate actions would be to go-around.
Uplinker is offline  
Old 10th Aug 2022, 16:38
  #231 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Not commuting home
Age: 44
Posts: 3,966
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I stand corrected on the minister decree of FR use if in force as applicable.


Airbus should have automated crosscheck between the the FCU selection and MCDU. Same as the recently implemented useless THS reminder (narrowbody).

The method of transferring critical QNH value to airborne craft by voice only will be hopefully become obsolete soon. No idea when and how.

The NPAs should have a RA hard crosscheck somewhere (1000 afe) PUBLISHED by the AIS similar to G/S validity with DME or marker overflight.

Keep the ideas coming...




​​​​​


FlightDetent is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2022, 16:28
  #232 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: England
Age: 75
Posts: 1,068
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The method of transferring critical QNH value to airborne craft by voice only will be hopefully become obsolete soon. No idea when and how.
Suggested 4000 pages ago:

Tech solution: ATC data base automatically transmits current local QNH to aircraft ADCs via data link - no humans involved! (Except to check for disparity between received QNH and expected QNH). Presentation in flight deck:






Last edited by Discorde; 12th Aug 2022 at 08:40.
Discorde is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2022, 16:46
  #233 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 1999
Location: England
Age: 75
Posts: 1,068
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And before too long altimetry will be via GPS, which will solve the problems of mis-setting. Transition levels consigned to history! Pressure altimetry (via data link with automatic adjustments to cross-check GPS) will be the back-up system.
Discorde is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2022, 20:55
  #234 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Tranquility Base
Posts: 54
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
Airbus should have automated crosscheck between the the FCU selection and MCDU. Same as the recently implemented useless THS reminder (narrowbody).​​​​​
Absolutely they should. Can't be that difficult to implement on a multi-million-value machine.

As long as we don't have that operators also should adopt a policy of presetting QNH during cruise in low workload from a weather report, and once you set QNH you again should confirm what you got from ATC with an independant source right before you do your altimeter check.
1201alarm is offline  
Old 11th Aug 2022, 21:06
  #235 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 14,289
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Originally Posted by Discorde View Post
And before too long altimetry will be via GPS, which will solve the problems of mis-setting.
Good thinking, what could possibly go wrong ...
DaveReidUK is online now  
Old 11th Aug 2022, 23:09
  #236 (permalink)  
fdr
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: 3rd Rock, #29B
Posts: 1,582
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
Good thinking, what could possibly go wrong ...
Quite so unfortunately. In the past few years we have had a number of occasions where the TSO'd GPS navs have decided to go cross country biggly, in L/L and height, yet the ipad GPS was not affected. Each time we happened to be near a certain quite large workers paradise country that is a bit uppity over some rocks in a local pond. Ipads were rock solid and were correct by radar fixes, TSO'd units went away and eventually came to their senses when we were in an area of less inhospitable natives.

fdr is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2022, 00:56
  #237 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: florida
Age: 79
Posts: 1,516
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Salute!

I seem to agree...last thing I would soley rely upon would be GPS for altitude. Maybe use it as a crosscheck with the baro stuff. And then a radar altimiter that has a connection to a geographic terrain map.......

Gums sends...
gums is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2022, 01:10
  #238 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Not commuting home
Age: 44
Posts: 3,966
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fdr View Post
yet the ipad GPS was not affected. Each time we happened to be near a certain quite large workers paradise country
them iPads be Designed in California made in Paradise by any chance, fdr?
FlightDetent is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2022, 04:30
  #239 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Seat 0A
Posts: 8,259
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As long as we don't have that operators also should adopt a policy of presetting QNH during cruise in low workload from a weather report, and once you set QNH you again should confirm what you got from ATC with an independant source right before you do your altimeter check.
The PM writes the ATIS QNH on the TOLD card, then the first QNH that ATC gives you is verified against that. Not hard.
Capn Bloggs is offline  
Old 12th Aug 2022, 06:14
  #240 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Not commuting home
Age: 44
Posts: 3,966
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cards, 1980's. Unnecessary.

During approach preparation the PF fills
​​​​the MCDU Perf APPR page with the crew's latest QNH.

Later during descent, upon ATIS receipt, the Perf APPR page is updated.

When instructed to descent to altitude crew verifies the value against the prepared entries before re-setting the altimeters.

​​​​​​======

First 2 as per current SOP, the third as suggested and spelled out in the book for those with inadequate personal techniques.

Less work, more safe.

FlightDetent is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.