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FAA encourages manual flying proficiency

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FAA encourages manual flying proficiency

Old 24th Nov 2022, 20:17
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FAA encourages manual flying proficiency

A new FAA report has come out to attempt to address the deterioration of manual flying proficiency.

Article on FAA report
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Old 24th Nov 2022, 21:09
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I believe that there's already a great deal more manual flying in the USA than in many other countries. It should be encouraged worldwide!
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Old 24th Nov 2022, 23:05
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So the FAA want pilots to do more manual flying yet EASA is pushing to have single pilot cockpits where the automation is the dominant partner in the operation of the aircraft. Well regulators you can't have it both ways. Either the pilots are in control or the automation is. Manual flying is a perishable skill and unless it is constantly practiced it wont be available when needed. I try and fly by example by not putting the A/P in until past transition and disconnecting early on approach yet most F/O's will engage the A/P even before the flaps are retracted and disconnect at 500'. Yes its an Airbus and easy to fly but the scan and the coordination still need to be practiced. The occasional manual flying exercise in the simulator is not the solution either. Flying in turbulence in cloud doing climbing or descending turns cannot be replicated effectively in the sim. The sim is a very good training tool not a real aircraft being subject to the vagaries of turbulence and wind changes close to the ground.
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Old 24th Nov 2022, 23:52
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Originally Posted by Piper_Driver
A new FAA report has come out to attempt to address the deterioration of manual flying proficiency.

Article on FAA report
Good !!!!!!!!!
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 10:51
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FAA AC 120-123 Flight Path Management

Here's the link...
AC 120-123 (faa.gov)
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 11:23
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What happened to the you beaut buzz word "competency"
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 12:06
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Recently retired from a 121 US carrier on the 320/321. I made it a point to turn off EVERYTHING at least once a day regardless of the wx. FD, AT, AP. When I was in the right seat, I flew with many guys who had NEVER turned off the AT!! I personally thought that was insane. During one recurrent event, the scenario was LGA/BOS with inop AT. As we were getting ready the Capt very quietly asked me to take this leg, i asked why and he said since he had never flown with them off he felt uncomfortable doing so….😳. When cleared for a visual approach anywhere, I would disconnect all, the FO would ask if i wanted the ´bird´?.. my answer was alway no. My own opinion was if I could not manually fly the airplane in visual conditions to the touchdown zone by either looking out the window or using the VASI/PAPI, I probably should not be in one of the two front seats….YMMV
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 14:03
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Originally Posted by Lookleft
So the FAA want pilots to do more manual flying yet EASA is pushing to have single pilot cockpits where the automation is the dominant partner in the operation of the aircraft. Well regulators you can't have it both ways. Either the pilots are in control or the automation is. Manual flying is a perishable skill and unless it is constantly practiced it wont be available when needed. I try and fly by example by not putting the A/P in until past transition and disconnecting early on approach yet most F/O's will engage the A/P even before the flaps are retracted and disconnect at 500'. Yes its an Airbus and easy to fly but the scan and the coordination still need to be practiced. The occasional manual flying exercise in the simulator is not the solution either. Flying in turbulence in cloud doing climbing or descending turns cannot be replicated effectively in the sim. The sim is a very good training tool not a real aircraft being subject to the vagaries of turbulence and wind changes close to the ground.
The FAA circular is addressed at pilots now flying existing aircraft. The EASA study is looking at aircraft that might just be in production in 20 years time. So two totally different topics.
I also don't think EASA are "pushing" for single pilot aircraft. The manufacturers and airlines are and EASA have agreed to look at it, as they should. Personally I think they will conclude that it is not safely practical, The next step will be pilotless aircraft, but i don't think they will arrive before I am gone.
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 14:45
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On the Boeing I fly we are not allowed to disconnect the autothrottle unless there are technical issues like unreliable airspeed. Previous Boeings I flew were operated with manual throttles for approach and landing. I think this is Boeing's recommendation and not company policy. It would be nice if once established on a descent profile during approach we could disconnect the autothrottle for practice.
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Old 25th Nov 2022, 21:00
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The FAA circular is addressed at pilots now flying existing aircraft. The EASA study is looking at aircraft that might just be in production in 20 years time. So two totally different topics.
Not really. The topic is the role of the pilot. The FAA is not just addressing current pilot skills as the pilots of aircraft in 20 years time are now in the training pipeline. The EU EASA and ICAO are stating that the role of the pilot will be different and that they will be more of a systems manager and that different skills will be required.

https://www.icao.int/Meetings/a41/Do.../wp_101_en.pdf

So the two are linked. The regulators have to decide what the pilot is for and what skills need to be maintained. If they are just a systems manager then all the simulator training, all the competency requirements that are currently mandated will have to change and that change is needed well before these wunderluft take to the skies. If the regulators still require pilots to meet ME, IFR ,two crew, HF, CRM and experience to be PIC then the whole industry will need to be in place for a long time to come. Boeing forecast the demise of the 4 engine transport jet while Airbus ploughed ahead with the A380. I think the FAA might also have it right when looking to the future status of the pilot.
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Old 26th Nov 2022, 08:57
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IATA report on same subject

There's also this ...
Aircraft Handling and Manual Flying Skills Report (iata.org)
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 06:40
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The FAA's AC on Flight Path Management is a 'mess'.

It attempts to address issues which are poorly explained, and for which there may be no unique solution; particularly not training. Training has served us well, a high level of safety, but not a universal solution.

The origin of the 'safety' data is questionable (pre 1996); dated and subjective HF interpretations from accident investigation, categorised by error, blame and train; old views of safety with reducing relevance to the modern world.
Flight path specific data, if any, is not presented or discussed in context, nor related to the new generations of aircraft and operational situations, in a very safe industry.
The 1996 report focussed on technical interfaces, where revised design requirements still refer to human error, and the assumed ability of crews to alleviate design issues (25.1302) in older aircraft.
The updated review 2013 does not refer to modern aircraft and operations. There is little or no substantive data, lacking explanatory understanding or justification beyond blame the human, i.e. human error, more training.

There are no comparisons with recent safety trends - flatlining since 2020 - (which suggest that the excellent safety record may be as good as it gets), new technology, focussed learning, and compatible operations.

Reading the AC from a European, UK English, viewpoint, and considering that meaning stems from communication, the wording poses many problems.

The AC "… provides guidance and recommended practices to operators … in developing operational policies, procedures, and training to support effective flightpath management (FPM)."
Words are increasingly subjective, meaning is formed according to local context - it means whatever the reader wants it to mean.

'Effective' may only be judged after the fact, by lack of incidents, or with incidents, ineffectiveness is used as an alternative for error, blame; without reasoned explanation or justification.
No human related intervention can be 'Assured', only judged relative to viewpoint; who's view, who judges - the regulator against the non existent 'how to' achieve the ill-defined objectives in this AC.

The FAA devolves responsibility to the operator, to the pilots; 'To be fully aware, capable, proficient'; … if not … blame, train, constrain.
Regulators must 'stand up', take responsibility, at least for explanation and practical guidance relative to the problem issues (beyond explanation by outcome).

… and the crux with this approach to safety is in para 2.2.1
"Operational policy and procedures for FPM should be based on guiding principles that state the general philosophy or overarching concepts and expectations for FPM."

An expectation of the safety of flight path management - the pilots day job - based on principles, philosophy and concepts, and expectations, assumes too much.

The AC creates conflict, '… procedures for the execution of most maneuvers, contain highly scripted actions and callouts. Training for these maneuvers should ensure that pilots are not taught to focus on the procedural details at the expense of the “big picture,” which is that FPM is the highest priority aspect of every maneuver. Standardized procedures are important, but procedures should be taught in such a way that the overall context of FPM is clearly conveyed to the trainee.'
So follow the SOP, except where the context has to be interpreted otherwise. Double Bind, catch 22.
… and cross checked with monitoring, the least effective human ability.

The preceding Flight Operational views (Air Carrier Training Aviation Rulemaking Committee) make similar assumptions;
"17-8(a): Operators should provide flight crews with recommended strategies on the use of automated systems in normal, rare normal and non-normal operations. Training these strategies should be scenario-based and operationally relevant." But what is relevant, who's view.
There are others, and a glimmer of hope from ACT ARC Recommendation 19-4 Energy Management which considers the wider problem issue; unfortunately encapsulating the complexity of the issue by reverting to definitions - illustrating the difficulties in understand the issue, thence understanding is inferred by definition.

Where next?
The regulator could start with the ICAO guidance for HF in regulation; a revised view of safety, Safety-II, Resilience.
Relinquish expectations that humans will conform to Work as Imagined in regulation, advice, or guidance.
Seek real-world line-orientated knowledge of the problem, an understanding of Work as Done; beware of the limits in industry sponsored operator or national reports which often suffer bias as above.
Accept the uncertainty in modern operations; outmanoeuvre it opposed to control it.
It is difficult to change the human condition, easier to change working conditions, particularly if aligning recommend practice, regulations, etc, with the realities of operation, aircraft systems, operational scenarios, and human performance - the day job - work as done.

Present the evidence, discuss, relate; is there a problem, or just a perception lacking explanation; or is this a reactive initiative by controlling bureaucratic regulator, which risks adverse outcome due to lack of understanding?
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 08:54
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I agree Alf5071h. It's doubtless well-intentioned - the FAA issued Safety Alert SAFO 13002 10 years ago encouraging operators to "take an integrated approach by incorporating emphasis of manual flight operations into both line operations and training (initial/upgrade and recurrent)" . So it's only taken that long to produce 46 pages which talk about training programmes, but nothing really specific that a Chief Pilot could look at and implement quickly to change day-to-day line operations. (I'll PM you in a couple of days on this, Dan).
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 09:14
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It would also help if the authors of these documents could write in plain English. George Orwell has some excellent words of advice about the use of English. He wrote that “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity” and suggested 6 rules to help keep writing clear and concise

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 09:59
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Originally Posted by atr-drivr
I made it a point to turn off EVERYTHING at least once a day regardless of the wx. FD, AT, AP.
The statement "regardless of the wx" is as equally insane as keeping everything on all the time. There are days when it's not the right time to "make a point" and you should use all available tools to help you out. At the end of the day, we are there to keep the passengers safe, not to show we can do something.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 10:07
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Talking

Originally Posted by draglift
On the Boeing I fly we are not allowed to disconnect the autothrottle unless there are technical issues like unreliable airspeed. Previous Boeings I flew were operated with manual throttles for approach and landing. I think this is Boeing's recommendation and not company policy. It would be nice if once established on a descent profile during approach we could disconnect the autothrottle for practice.
Not allowed is not the same as recommended. On the B777 Boeing recommends AT use, but we disconnected frequently just to keep the habit. There are a lot of people out there who have lost faith in themselves, or maybe even skills yes flying raw data.

The interesting conclusion I had to draw was that if you do this every once in a while, you don't really lose a lot of skills. On the contrary, the autothrottle also shows you how stable a speed can be within certain movements of the levers. I actually found it more strange to revert to "autothrottle ON" for landings than "autothrottle OFF" for some bizar reasons.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 10:25
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Originally Posted by BraceBrace
The statement "regardless of the wx" is as equally insane as keeping everything on all the time. There are days when it's not the right time to "make a point" and you should use all available tools to help you out. At the end of the day, we are there to keep the passengers safe, not to show we can do something.
„…At the end of the day, we are there to keep the passengers safe, not to show we can do something…“

IMHO the best and the most professional reply within this thread. Congrats to @Brace

Last edited by Airbus_a321; 28th Nov 2022 at 10:32. Reason: wording
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 10:31
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Isn't being current to hand fly part of keeping them safe? Some airlines enforce the total use of automation, up to autolands on sunny days, so nobody ever can get any hand flying routine.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 18:26
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Originally Posted by Bergerie1
It would also help if the authors of these documents could write in plain English. George Orwell has some excellent words of advice about the use of English. He wrote that “the great enemy of clear language is insincerity” and suggested 6 rules to help keep writing clear and concise

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
When I was still working, anything that went out to the flight or maintenance crews had to be 'translated' to something called "Simple English". Supposedly an aid to people for whom English was a second language, but it was often anything but 'simple' to express certain things within the rules of "Simple English".
Something I was often complemented on was my ability to write complex things in a way that was readily understood by those unfamiliar with the subject. Doing that in "Simple English" was way more difficult - at least for me.
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Old 28th Nov 2022, 18:56
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tdracer, Thank you so much, it really is difficult. In a previous existance, I used to oversee the writing of flying manuals, SOPs and instructions to flight crews. My constant mantra was that we were not writing literature but plain simple English. Thus, it was necessary to avoid all gobbledygook, to describe systems and procedures in the simplest but most accurate ways, and always to define the terms that we were using. In my view, the real expert can describe the most complex issues in simple terms. However, those who do not really understand what they are talking about (especially middle management executives) tend to obscure their ignorance in complex language that no one really understands.

Last edited by Bergerie1; 28th Nov 2022 at 19:09.
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