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Airbus Official Urges Major Pilot Training Changes

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Airbus Official Urges Major Pilot Training Changes

Old 13th Apr 2015, 18:50
  #41 (permalink)  
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betpump5: good post and none of us see the profits that our companys earn from carrying said passengers around at 0 dark Oclock.*

At my company they have just told us that we don't need to record our LVP approaches any more, and this ties in with a suggestion I made some time ago, which was to record our raw data hand flown approaches instead - we could be required to show evidence of say at least three of them every 6 months.

These approaches would be done from an intercept heading and platform all the way to the landing, (obviously only in appropriate weather).

* It could be argued that the LoCos were created to exploit the previously untapped market of exactly those sort of people, but the trouble is that EVERYONE now wants to fly for virtually nothing AND still they expect the service of the 70's
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 19:29
  #42 (permalink)  
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As a regular pax I have a strong interest in feeling comfortable that the crew can handle most emergencies-by that I mean tricky weather redundant component failures etc not bombs/fatigue failure etc incidents which are relatively rare thank god.

However the pressure to cut costs-and to management pilots are a cost an nothing else -comes not from the type of pax you described-most of whom are perfectly ok people (unlike many of the front cabin folks who are rather less ok ethically) but from politicians and their poodle regulators. They have allowed training times and standards to slip and in doing so have failed to promote and preserve safety compared to the holy grail of promoting 'competition'; a strategy which if followed exclusively gets you a world with two airlines Emirates and Ryanair. So the complaints outside the company need to be directed there not at Joe Public.

The other issue about management seeking to de skill the workforce and then reduce their pay is commonplace in all industries in the last 20 years where it is now very unusual for a manager to be able to do the work of any subordinate because they started as junior managers and went upwards without ever learning anything. So again focus the pressure on the right people. If the DFO of an airline says at a board meeting procedure or policy xxx is unsafe then the other senior managers are not going to argue for fear of legal consequences but you guys have to get the DFOs of this world more on your side than 'theirs'. All the while the DFO says I think we can cut training time a bit or get a few more hours per crew member the suits are just going to accept it as gospel as it fits their purpose.

A view from the back-hopefully not too far back
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 19:51
  #43 (permalink)  
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I would argue the opposite. 707 pilots didn't have to fly CDA's to an RNP approach... oh and 38 knot crosswind limits....
Oh really?! When I flew the B707 our take off crosswind limits were 30 knots gusting 40 and landing 25 gust 35 - as near as dammit to 38 knots and a bit of journalistic licence was applied at certain destinations like Bermuda where we only carried island reserve and the runway was permanently out of wind.
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 19:53
  #44 (permalink)  
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"Management would rather have the automatics used and have fewer incidents occurr then have to deal with the inevitable incidents which will happen when pilots practice manual flying."

You might find that many of the latest/recent incidents have been caused by pilots not understanding or knowing the correct usage of the automatics, and being hesitant in taking over manually.
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 23:41
  #45 (permalink)  
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Sometimes quality saves the aircraft, I'm referring to the Cathay Pacific emergency landing in Hong Kong and the QANTAS A380 incident in Singapore.

The pilots involved were the cream of the crop, considerable money was spent on training them to a high standard and they enjoyed good terms and conditions of employment.

Unfortunately passengers won't pay for extra for ace pilots on the flight deck, hence the current race to the bottom with CX going from A scale to D scale and QF starting Jetstar.

Passengers complain about wanting extra legroom and better food, but when given the option of paying more for it they change their minds and go for the cheapest fare.

A B707 pilot had to be able to FLY his aircraft, there were no protections or back ups, auto pilot and flight director were rudimentary, there was no auto thrust. He had to be able to hand fly an NDB approach using pitch and power settings and manually compensate for changing wind whilst staying within tolerances. He would quite possibly finish off with a two engine landing with the rudder boost switched off in the simulator.

There is a "World no tobacco day", I propose a "No automatics day" were pilots switch off the A/P, F/D and A/THR and do without them for a whole day. I"ll make sure I'm on the ground and nowhere near an airport at the time.
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Old 13th Apr 2015, 23:44
  #46 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Centaurus
I never thought I would see the day that I would give up talking about the subject of degradation of manual flying skills v automation dependency. But ethnic culture with all its deadly pervasive influence on flight crews will never change. Time to change the subject and smell the roses…
My first reaction to Captain Harry Nelson’s comments as reported in Andy Pasztor’s Wall Street Journal article on April 12, was quite similar to my good friend’s, Centaurus, post … but that was a knee-jerk reaction on my part. However, in the following nano-second, reconsidering what I had been pounding the table for during my last three and a half decades of teaching/preaching aviation safety (to anyone who would listen to an over-worked federally employed, safety inspector) my long-held attitudes (those that originally prompted and kept encouraging my “table pounding”) fought their way to the surface … and my non-verbal comment, directed to Captain Nelson (in his absence) was “…great, but where have you been for the last 35 years?”

This non-verbal comment, particularly in juxtaposition with referenced articles regarding the US FAA having recently published another Safety Alert for Operators, or “SAFO,” urging airline training departments to incorporate scenario-based training, particularly in go-around training curricula for pilots, reminded me of the necessity for someone, someplace, to continue to pound on that “table,” frequently and regularly, pointing out the importance of training pilots on the basic understanding of what training a pilot actually means, brought me to my senses. Of course, I agree with the basis of Captain Nelson’s motivation, AND with the premise of the FAA’s most recent SAFO ... but no one, anywhere, should never have relied so heavily on the "automatics" that there would ever be any doubt about the knowledge and/or ability of the human pilots (and there are 2 of them!) to accomplish what is necessary to safely conduct that flight.

The basic thought is, and should always be, just as it has been – and should always be – recognize the training provided to airline flight crew members should be exhaustive and cover all the skills necessary to recognize the current “flight condition” of the airplane, at any time, know what that specific condition should be, and take the appropriate steps (i.e., make the appropriate control manipulations) to achieve the desired flight condition OR to correct that flight condition to the desired condition - from each moment to the next. That means … the training simply must include all the tasks that are, or might be needed, to safely fly from one place to another – properly and completely meeting and dealing with every expected (and unexpected) occurrence. This would have supposedly eliminated the need for recalling attention to performing missed approach/go-around maneuvers ... or any other specific skill set on which pilots should have been initially trained and periodically reviewed - and the concept of re-introducing "scenario-based" training, should not be necessary if the training methods used were, and remain, appropriate.

The training equipment currently available is the best that it has ever been – and when used the way it was designed to be used – it should result in each pilot having had the opportunity to see, assimilate, understand, and be able to apply all of what has been learned … and the instructors should have zero doubt about that point, or that instructor should not allow that student to be put up for any kind of evaluation of those skill sets.

The current training equipment is designed to be able to replicate the “real world” to an exceptional level, and when used correctly (which requires – actually demands - a knowledgeable and properly trained instructor), the concept of “scenario-based” training should be so imbedded in the training delivered that singling out such a specific aspect would logically be seen as wholly unnecessary – as this specific concept would have been the entire structure of the training, the practice, the learning, and the proficiency demonstrations – there should be zero doubt that the crew member in training understands and is comfortable in whatever operational “scenario” he or she might encounter.

Last edited by AirRabbit; 14th Apr 2015 at 04:06.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 03:51
  #47 (permalink)  
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I don't think you can put all the blame on Airbus. Both manufacturers and the airlines have been trying to dumb down the profession so that they could justify shorter training courses, (ccq,mpl) and then claim that pilots didn't do anything so they should be paid less. Despite the claims that flying is safer than it has ever been, the media has focused on MH 370 and Germanwings in a way that stirs up the visceral fear of flying a lot of people have. At the end of the day however any media attention to such things as pilot training will hopefully generate reasonable discussion.

As far as the assertion about flying being a "cool" job. There are still lots of young wannabes who still think this and from what I read on other threads cashed up not so young wannabes.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 05:02
  #48 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Basil View Post
Never think competent pilots are overpaid.
I never have, and I never will.

The thing about this industry is, now, it's harder than ever to tell, from the back, whether a pilot is competent or not.

Well, at least until...
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 06:48
  #49 (permalink)  
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There's the old saying that what Little Johnny did not learn, Big John will never be able to.

It's nice to have some top shots pick up what we've said since decades, but the remedy goes along the old lines and will not do the job.

It's the basic training and first 1500 hours that imprint the skills. No MPL, Ab Initio or similar hoax onto a 320/737 (or bigger) can compensate for a thorough basic training and build up of routine and experience on smaller, less managed and less sop-infested equipment.

As long as the initial shortcuts are maintained, any kind of synthetic training in the most sophisticated sims and any alibi manual flying with the FD on, along the magenta line will only be a band-aid.

It will be difficult to bring pilots up to required skills again. Most airlines with the aid of the industry and the regulators have bred a new kind of chief pilots, TREs and TRIs with themselves no thorough basic training and experience. This group will build a wall to the now suddenly again required skills, as it would disqualify them on the spot.

And it would cost money, the most powerful wall for improvement of safety ever invented. Nobody will be ready to fork out the required funds, no taxpayer, no airline and no passenger.

What will happen is the implementation of some lame encouragement to pilots to sharpen their skills en route, but curtailed by so many restrictions that it must remain lip service. There will be more so called "manual sim sessions" to satisfy the week reaction of regulators, but they will be so packed with unrealistic required scenarios and with so many resets, that the very small actual value is even more diluted within 10 minutes. Experienced instructors slowly die out or will be so disgusted at the T%Cs and all the restrictions, unnecessary a-c sops and other obstacles, that they no longer are willing or capable to transmit their know-how. More ex-manufacturer or ex-airline exponents will write exposés like Nelson and everyone will nod and applaud, but no one will actually be able or willing to root out the core problem.

But it's good that we all talked about it ........
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 07:40
  #50 (permalink)  
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One disappointing observation: some feed back from a training department is that one of the worst performed manoeuvres is a surprised 2 engine normal G/A; in the sim. yet this is one of the most likely encounters on the line. Most airlines have a 'no blame' policy for G/A's. They have a very strict stable landing gate criteria. Yet do they introduce practice of this manoeuvre every sim session? No: it's not a mandatory prof check item. It might occur in a recurrency LOFT, it might not. What adds to the screw up is that the SOP G/A is not written the same as a normal takeoff. So here is a badly performed manoeuvre; can happen as a surprise, or anticipated, but will always be a little stressful; is known to cause problems but is written different to the every day stressless takeoff. In other words the SOP is contributing to the mediocre performance. Surely that needs changing.

Many are asking why XAA's do not insist their national airlines adopt a more appropriate training syllabus. I ask, why has training been allowed to be diluted? Why has the basic MPL been cut to the bones? Why have prof check items not been updated in decades? Why have FTL's been stretched? Why has the whole industry been allowed to be dumbed down in so many aspects? IMHO the tail is wagging the dog and the lobbing of shareholder/share option rewarded managers is what is really controlling the industry. Often there is a discussion from XAA's to improve this or that and the push-back from the airlines is so great, due to loss of profit, that it goes away. If that initiative for improvement came from crews it is almost a death nell for the suggestion. I've worked under various XAA's. A common gripe from crews was the way companies circumvented the spirit of rules, be they FTL's, a/c defects, scheduling etc. The XAA's had deaf ears: but forget to sign a piece of paper 5 times or not fill out every box on a Nav Log and the feedback from the audit ran into pages. It didn't give one much confidence that the industry was in the good hands of the responsible oversee'ers. But then we rarely see any XAA in the dock. It is always either the crew, the company or the manufacturer. IMHO an XAA owns one of the holes in the cheese and sometimes it is open.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 08:59
  #51 (permalink)  
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RAT5, I agree with your tone.

Money can do a lot of good when applied with care, but it also tends to steer an otherwise fine enterprise onto the rocks of greed and narrow-minded thinking, leading to a less-than-fine result...unless you're a shareholder and have no loyalty to a particular company's printed paper.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 11:25
  #52 (permalink)  
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I have to agree with your comment about 2 engine missed approaches, Rat5. What's even more surprising is how many pax react to them as some sort of major emergency. (See any TV news report or newspaper article interviewing passengers after a go around.) It really was necessary to make a reassuring PA as soon as possible. On ultra long haul, where I had an extra crew in the jump seats, I would usually ask the other captain to make that all important PA quite early in the missed approach.

I've been extra crew (on ultra long haul) in the jump seat and witnessed almost frightening performance by usually quite competent colleagues in that manoeuvre. Before it was banned, (where the company insisted the procedure be done exactly 'by the book' using the highest level of automation available, which almost always resulted in a rushed procedure that was almost chaotic with 'hands all over the place' as you attempted to cover everything required with the aircraft rocketing towards the usually quite low missed approach altitude), I had my own procedure - after the initial climb was assured, I would take the aircraft out of TOGA and select a vertical speed of 1000fpm. This slowed everything down and made the whole procedure infinitely easier - and more comfortable - for all concerned, and much like a heavy or 'assumed temperature' take off.

This also made the reduction of power on reaching the missed approach altitude less extreme and so didn't freak the pax as much.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 11:39
  #53 (permalink)  
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Handflying is a lost art. Those of us who have spent 1000s of hours beating around in all weather, summer winter, day, dark in light twins will gain not just a deep understanding of coping with weather and reading the sky but also an instinctive understanding and an ability to make judgement s on your own plus a certain amount of creative flying which wouldn't fit in the world of the airlines.

there has been too much emphasis on button pushing and automation, the nerd type computer operator more that the pilot.

we all had the image of the wise Captain from previous Eras the silver haired, fatherly figure with the knowing look in his eyes from years of experience when pilots had to be creative with the minimal navigation aids available back then.

with the automatics and nerd type pilots those skills have taken a second place as airlines have moved further away from the differences in skills and ability those pilots had to a much more set standards modern pilots hold and where pilot skills have to a certain extent been replaced by automatics.

Certain accidents have put the emphasis back towards raw handling and that can only be a good thing
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 14:57
  #54 (permalink)  
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What's even more surprising is how many pax react to them as some sort of major emergency. (See any TV news report or newspaper article interviewing passengers after a go around.) It really was necessary to make a reassuring PA as soon as possible.
I disagree with you. It's very unusual event that most passengers will have never experienced. In my 45 years of flying all over the world, I've experienced two go arounds, ironically on consecutive sectors. One was a non-event from three miles back due to a blocked runway, where the captain informed us in advance. The other however was more dramatic - in an MD-80 over the threshold at Heathrow, where we flew into a wake vortex. Full power was applied and we climbed away at a very steep angle. I found the experience very interesting, but I can see how non-pilot passengers would find it frightening.

I do agree that a reassuring PA is necessary.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 17:41
  #55 (permalink)  
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More simulator time?

So, a very relevant question (at least to me) is:

"Would more simulator time be attractive to the average line pilot?"

The follow-up question to this would be:

"Does the simulator need to be a $10M Level D FFS, or would a fully functional non-flat-screen fixed based FTD-class simulator (at roughly 3-5% of the cost) be adequate?"

Basically the lower-cost FTD device would be a fully-functional hardware-based cockpit (switches, dials and screens as appropriate) and say a 150-dgree collimated visual on a 6-foot half dome.

If your airline had, say, a couple of these available for "free-play" would you use them?
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 21:55
  #56 (permalink)  
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If we accept line pilots, who are flying even half of the regulatory limits, coming back to the school house needing sim time to hone pitch, power and airspeed skills we have already lost.

This is not a training issue. That those skills are not allowed or required to be kept at acceptable levels while flying the aircraft is a policy issue.
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Old 14th Apr 2015, 22:36
  #57 (permalink)  
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I think sim time is useful regardless. That's because in day-to-day flying you can only work within the parameters of normal commercial flight, whereas to really "hone" your skill, you need to keep exploring limits of the flight envelope.

You're not going to do approach to stalls or practice unusual attitude recovery with 400 souls on board.

But "free-play" is not training. For training to be effective you need to have clear objectives, a structure/curriculum, and measurements of areas to improve.

You don't want pilots developing bad habits from free-play that they will take to the aircraft. Or learn something wrong in the sim due to lack of fidelity and supervision, only to get surprised when the behavior of the real aircraft is not at all the same.

Airlines are better off training pilots as a crew, not just have individual pilots go at it in a basic FTD in their own time. Which brings me to another point... training should not be "voluntary" (unpaid).
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 00:13
  #58 (permalink)  
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the scum of the earth fish-and-chips eating tracksuit wearing yobbos who had no right whatsoever to the jet-set life 30 years ago can now fly to those Greek Islands for 50 quid.
What changed the industry was privatisation. I'm shocked that an educated, non fish-and-chip-eating pilot could fail to understand this—and instead blame it on his passengers!

Standards are lower today because state-owned airlines ran at a loss and were subsidised by taxpayers (tracksuit-wearing yobbos). Regulators were well paid and well funded, there were far fewer pilots and we still had a state education system to speak of.

The people who voted to change all that (and continue to do so) were far more likely to be pilots than tracksuit types. You want to know where this cost-cutting mentality comes from? Rich people who want a low-cost state so they can pay fewer taxes. Great idea chaps.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 04:29
  #59 (permalink)  
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GarageYears brings up something I have been wondering about. In addition to time in less expensive simulators, how about time in actual less expensive aircraft? I have heard several people say that time spent in the smallest aircraft you can find, and maybe preferably gliders, is the best way to get the intuitive feel for the basics.

My only real flying has been in gliders, and it is all about energy management, which would seem to be equally applicable to engine-out situations. Ok, you aren't going to work thermals in an Airbus, but Captain Sullenberger said that his experience in gliders back at the AF Academy is what let him land his A320 in the Hudson river.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 08:52
  #60 (permalink)  
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"Handflying is a lost art. Those of us who have spent 1000s of hours beating around in all weather, summer winter, day, dark in light twins will gain not just a deep understanding of coping with weather and reading the sky but also an instinctive understanding and an ability to make judgement s on your own plus a certain amount of creative flying which wouldn't fit in the world of the airlines."

I never flew light twins and I am working for a major airline. But I fly manually since 25 years, being tired and Vis blw 800m (FD required) made the only exceptions. It stays solely within the responsibility of every single pilot to stay in training. Management or training standards are no excuse, if someone fails to perform.

And so I saw a considerable increase of the spread within the last decade. Although we have four simulator events per year, this does nothing for the manual skills. It is the hours on line, which make the difference. This training is "for free" for the company. Some use it, and get better, or keep their high standard, and others don't.

Landing accidents make a big percentage nowadays. This does not surprise me. FD and autopilot don't help at the most demanding exercise.

Last edited by Baron737; 15th Apr 2015 at 09:02.
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