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Airbus Official Urges Major Pilot Training Changes

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Airbus Official Urges Major Pilot Training Changes

Old 15th Apr 2015, 10:04
  #61 (permalink)  
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He would quite possibly finish off with a two engine landing with the rudder boost switched off in the simulator
A bit of an exaggeration there, Boeing did not even publish a Vmca2 rudder boost off, the words in the manual were approximately:
Vmca2, rudder boost off is too high to be of practical use.
On a B707-320 it was around 230-240 knots.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 10:27
  #62 (permalink)  
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Very pleasing to note a very general agreement that we know about the problem but can't fix it because we are back to the old "Bean Counter"situation. Maximum use of the automatics is often demanded because it is perceived to be more cost effective than encouraging hand-flying practice.Commercial Departments will insist on this being passed through the Fleet Office into the hands of the Line Pilot. Chief Pilots will comply because they like their jobs. Nothing more costly than a prang though. A "near prang" will serve to concentrate minds a bit and extended training through re-sits can prove costly too. I join the majority by agreeing that the obvious solution will be denied because of cost. Shameful.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 13:27
  #63 (permalink)  
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The Airbus speaker might want to bring that presentation to a gathering of airline management from all who fly airbus products in their fleet. Without funding, where is the training going to come from?
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 14:27
  #64 (permalink)  
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Airbus design philosophy

I think it is fair to say that the Airbus fly-by-wire technology and general design philosophy represented a significant step forward when it was first introduced and to this day, on-balance, has made a significant contribution to improving safety and efficiency. Us pilots are often a conservative and cynical bunch, however, it does not matter if you fly an Airbus or a Boeing. On either type the majority of the time is spent 'flying' the aircraft on automatics (just on the B the cockpit is a retro throw back to the sixties )

So moving this argument on it is not fair to argue that the Airbus design philosophy is responsible for the dumbing down of flying skills when in fact it has probably prevented a great number of accidents. You could probably prove this quite easily.

Furthermore, if the issue is lack of flying skills - then why on earth would you want to circumvent the very systems that are there to protect the pilot from himself

I also do not believe that the issue is driven bean by counters per-se. The issue is experience. The fact is that demand for air travel has grown exponentially. This demand requires pilots at an increasing rate. You cannot fast forward experience - this requires time served in the cockpit of an aircraft (be it an Airbus, Boeing or even a C152).

It is normally experience that saves the day and unfortunately experience is often something you don't get until after you actually need it
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 14:31
  #65 (permalink)  
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Landing accidents make a big percentage nowadays. This does not surprise me. FD and autopilot don't help at the most demanding exercise.
Agree. Flight directors were designed as an aid to instrument flying. Instead we see time and again pilots blindly following FD commands regardless of the true attitude of the aircraft. Over the years, the FD has become God Almighty in the eyes of many pilots - experienced or inexperienced. They are mesmerised by it. To switch off the FD even in fine weather is practically a criminal offence in many airlines.

"Follow the bloody flight director" is a phrase too often heard in simulator training and as soon as you hear those words you know the check pilot or simulator instructor is just another automatics addicted tragic.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 14:55
  #66 (permalink)  
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From original article:

Airbus ... called for fundamental changes to improve manual-flying proficiency and other cockpit skills that have been de-emphasized over the years.

How hillarious. When I said exactly the same to xxxx lo-co airline, I was told I was a Neanderthal who needed to move into the modern aviation world. The quote was: "passengers don't pay for you to improve your hand flying skills.". It looks like reality has caught up with the naive progressives, as it always does.

However, as I said them, this is not simply a matter of more handflying jets. These newbies need a four-week gliding course, not simply to brush up on hand flying skills, but to test themselves when the pressure is on and heart is beating fast. Try doing a landing into an unknown farmer's field, of largely unknown elevation, quality and texture, with no possibility of a go-around. Performa few of those, and you can call yourself a pilot.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 15:14
  #67 (permalink)  
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Maybe some recent time in a non-automated small aircraft should be a requirement, just to keep up those basic skills. And get checked on it. It would be quite inexpensive comparatively. What do the fancy sims cost per hour, with instructor?

The long wing on a glider (over 50 feet on a craft weighing 1,000 pounds) makes it respond slowly to control inputs in roll and yaw, imitating somewhat the response of a much heavier craft.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 15:17
  #68 (permalink)  
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I would remind many of you, who malign the MPL, that the majority of the non-US airline have been putting the product of cadet schemes in the RHS with 200-250 hours, since the early 1960s.

All the MPL does is allow a more effective training, within the hours, by more fully utilizing Level 5 through 7 FSTD, instead of accumulating a few hours on light singles and( if you are lucky) twins.

If you seriously look at recent accidents, there is no correlation with being a low hour pilot, and the accident record.

I do most certainly agree that hand flying standards have seriously deteriorated, with the results that most of us who have been around since the only "computer" on the flight deck was labeled Dalton, had no trouble predicting years ago ---only to be labeled dinosaurs by the "progressives" (great description, whoever came up with it).

The reality is that the REAL basics of flying have not changed since the "airline" was invented, just improving design has made the basic job easier.

The automation is there as an aid, to help, it should not (but probably has) become a workload increasing hindrance ---- a situation that is entirely reversible, now that Airbus and Boeing have had the message rammed down their throats by the recent record.
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 16:21
  #69 (permalink)  
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The long wing on a glider (over 50 feet on a craft weighing 1,000 pounds) makes it respond slowly to control inputs in roll and yaw, imitating somewhat the response of a much heavier craft.
And it provides experience of many components of aviation that have been lost in the compu-jet age. Things like:

The clutching-hand (instant stall) effect of low-level windshear.
The inability to turn in low-level windshear (if you have long wings).
The correct technique for extending a final glide.
The huge effect of rain or bugs on a supercritical wing profile (have you seen the in-flight bug removing machines?)
The effects of weight on glide (you need to be as heavy as possible).
How to cloud climb with a 30 deg angle of bank, only using a turn and slip and airspeed.
How to fly and navigate simultaneously (throw out the gps).
How to fly with no instrumentation (instructors are known to stuff paper in the pitot).
How loading effect the flying and stalling, with huge difference between max forward and aft.
How to stall 50 times in one flight, and consider it absolutely normal (rough winter thermals). (with no height loss, I must add).
How to land in one spot, and not where the aircraft takes you (rest of the field covered in gliders and sheep)

I could go on.....

A semi-automatic glider bug and rain remover in action - demonstrating how wing contamination effects stall and performance.

Last edited by silvertate; 15th Apr 2015 at 16:37. Reason: duplicated post
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 19:57
  #70 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by oblivia View Post
I'm shocked that an educated, non fish-and-chip-eating pilot could fail to understand this—and instead blame it on his passengers!
I have to say I find some of the mean-spirited comments on this thread very disappointing. Blame the passengers, blame the foreigners...

I'm a firm believer that the actual issue lies with airline management, but it is a problem shared across commercial industry in general, as the rise of the MBA effectively phased out managers who came up through the industry concerned and replaced them with people trained in pure business theory. There are industries in which that's not so much of a problem, but I'm convinced aviation isn't one of them.

Long-time poster PJ2 has written several very insightful posts on the subject, well worth reading. Here are a couple of them:


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Old 15th Apr 2015, 20:07
  #71 (permalink)  
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In previous topics about maintaining manual flying skills, I've written a few replies which I think would add to the discussion in this topic.

Perhaps you would care to read what I have to say about it.
(Just the opinion of someone with more then 13 yrs and over 10.000 hrs experience on the A320 alone)

Maintaining Manual Flying Skills
Why would using automation be safer then manual flight?
Why would flying with automatics on be more cost effective?
Low time cadets are not dangerous if your airline has a good training department and SOP's!

Last edited by sabenaboy; 15th Apr 2015 at 20:26. Reason: spelling
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 23:07
  #72 (permalink)  
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We have had this discussion in the private flying forum where there have been a spate of tragic loss of control and failure to recover accidents which should not have happened had the pilots been trained more in basic handling and recovery skills.

A lot of the emphasis has changed to recovery at incipient and there were some PPLs who posted that they were scared of stalling on their own because they had never experienced what could happen beyond the incipient or how to recover using basic flying skills like spin recovery or spiral dives or rather knowing the difference.

Again talking about PPLs the aircraft have become very sophisticated and these PPLs are flying out of their capability relying on the autopilot and automations to compensate for their own lack of instrument flying capabilities.

The trouble with automation is it has a habit of going wrong as do autopilots.
Ok thats PPL stuff and ATPLS are trained to a much higher standard and uniformity but still there is a trend across both which is worrying.

In airline flying there have been accidents which have been caused by too much autopilot and automations with basic handling forgotten and a failure by some pilots to manually recover or identify certain situations.
So maybe this goes deeper than we think

Flying up to RVSM airspace pilots should where possible hand fly especially in good weather or out of quieter airports
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Old 15th Apr 2015, 23:41
  #73 (permalink)  
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When NASA was training pilots to fly the space shuttle to a landing I believe they modified the controls in a corporate jet to simulate the predicted response of the shuttle to control inputs. With today's technology I would think it would be possible to do the same with a small jet like a Citation Mustang and have it respond like whatever airliner you wanted. You could then allow line pilots to hand fly those. It would give crews actual hand flying time at a fraction of the cost of flying the actual airliners.
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 01:50
  #74 (permalink)  
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With today's technology I would think it would be possible to do the same with a small jet like a Citation Mustang and have it respond like whatever airliner you wanted. You could then allow line pilots to hand fly those. It would give crews actual hand flying time at a fraction of the cost of flying the actual airliners.
Absolutely correct, to the degree that something like 15 years ago (knowledge about the limits of simulation, automation dependence etc., and the need for hand flying competency is not new) several specially strengthened Citation were built, for in-flight upset and recovery training with real G-loads.

If I recall correctly, they were used initially by the US Navy, and proved the idea.

Colleagues and I, with a view towards upset and recovery training, particularly to the cohort of airline pilots to whom 35 degrees angel of bank was an "unusual attitude (ie: had never done any aerobatics, maybe never even spin and recovery) approached a number of US and Australian airlines.

In each case the answer was the same --- when it is required by regulation, we will look at it.

In each case (5 airlines) the good sense and value of the idea was not disputed by the airline's training department, just the cost -- if "the opposition" didn't have to bear the same costs, forget it.

To this day no simulator can, and probably never will, be able to realistically simulate an upset and recovery.
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 02:47
  #75 (permalink)  
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A number of airlines around the world already conduct their training with specially modified / equipped business jets. (And have done so for many, many years!)
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 08:18
  #76 (permalink)  
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I wrote this in a previous similar topic. I reacted to some quotes by other members.
The sole purpose of manual flying is to develop and maintain the skill needed to do so when automation fails and nothing more.
Wrong!! Manual flight can be more effective then using the autopilot! Are you one of those pilots who would use HDG and V/S to fly a visual approach or a circuit? Once you master manual flight, under certain circumstances it's much easier and just as safe (or safer) then letting the A/P do it! If you haven't done it already, you really should take the time to watch children of magenta. It's a very old speech, but still very much applicable today!
There should be no sense of adventurism
You're right about that! If the PIC of the flight I'm a passenger on, sees it as an adventure to disconnect the automatics, I would prefer him to keep the A/P on! Better yet: I'd prefer not to be flying with this guy. I want my pilots to be convinced that they can handle the plane just as safely by hand then through the A/P! Let me assure you sure you that whenever I disconnect that A/P I'm convinced that I can fly the plane at least as safely as the automatics! I don't feel an adventurer when doing so, but I agree it is much more FUN handflying my A320 through a visual then taking the vectors to the ILS with A/P on!!!
If you create an incidence/accident while trying to be a better pilot try telling that to the passengers.
And what are you going to tell the pax when the pilots let a perfect plane crash simply because tha auto-flight system did not behave the way they expected it to and they were letting the plane crash because of it?
Passengers pay to go from A to B as safely as possible.
Absolutely! The pax deserve pilots who are fully proficient! I cannot imagine the Asiana crash would have happened if the PF hand been handling the thrust levers himself instead of relying on A/Thr! Even if he was very rusty and uncomfortable with it, I'm sure that he and his training captain would have been monitoring airspeed, pitch and thrust and the worst that would have happened was a go-around but certainly not a crash!
The very purpose of the flight is to make money for the company and not to get some thrill out doing something extraordinary
True! read what I have to say about that!
How many sectors you should hand fly. The answer is as minimum as required to keep the skill. Anyone who needs to manually fly 4 sectors everyday should have been doing something else.
Wrong!!! Every time there's nothing from stopping you (too much traffic, too tired, low visibility or cloudbase...) you SHOULD handfly your plane. Only then will you stay/become so proficient to make you convinced that you can be just as safe as when using the A/P! Only then will you become confident enough to instantly take over from a failing or mismanaged auto-flight system! The Qantas crippled A380 crew had to hand-fly the final app because the A/P couldn't handle it. I'm glad they were proficient enough to handle it! Would the outcome have been different if the A380 had belonged to an other company? Some Korean company? I would hope not...
If you are not comfortable with the machine you should change your job. any new aeroplane you fly you need to adapt to it and not otherway round. I have flown both As and Bs and enjoyed both. Uneasiness about a machine is in the mind.
You could even say that you should change your job if you're not comfortable HAND-FLYING that plane. I'll say it again: they're all big Cessna's. A correct pitch, bank, speed, thrust setting and configuration is all you need!! Uneasiness about manual flight is only in the mind brought about by stupid SOP's and a dangerous lack of currency!!
Commercial flights are not training flights.
Aren't they? How do you expect somebody new on type to get really proficient then? Let him/her fly a couple of dozen sectors with an empty airliner? No!! Consider every flight as a training opportunity! That doesn't mean you should start experimenting or taking risks of course. By all means, keep it safe! But, the very fact that you seem to be thinking that manual flight would be less safe, suggests to me that it's time to start thinking about your proficiency in manual flight! Boy, am I glad we have a good training department in our company!
Originally Posted by Check Airman in reply to someone suggesting manual flight adds significant workload to the P/M
Before anybody attacks me, I'm obviously not talking about a busy airport while avoiding weather on a crowded frequency etc, but on a normal day, what's the big deal?
Amen to that!
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 10:30
  #77 (permalink)  
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A number of airlines around the world already conduct their training with specially modified / equipped business jets. (And have done so for many, many years!)
For my benefit, could you nominate the airlines, please, and what types and where is this training being conducted.
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 11:56
  #78 (permalink)  
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India Four Two

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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.
I wonder why a very steep angle was used? In my 45 years of flying I've found that rarely if ever would that be required, even for terrain.
I still make a PA though as the pax may be wondering and I like to try and keep them informed when appropriate.
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 13:21
  #79 (permalink)  
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To this day no simulator can, and probably never will, be able to realistically simulate an upset and recovery.
Agree. However, it should be remembered that the majority of fatal crashes caused by failure to recover from an unusual attitude or jet upset (same thing?) was poor instrument flying ability in the first place.

Regardless of what manoeuvre initiated the unusual attitude there was usually one common denominator. And that was the aircraft was in cloud or IMC or dark night - whatever. In most of the accident reports I have read over the years, where failure to recover from a UA was the direct cause, the sun was not shining and it wasn't CAVOK where a pilot could visually get back to level flight.

That is why unusual attitude recovery practice which is part of basic instrument flying skill starts with training in a Cessna 172 with the pilot "under the hood" meaning simulated instrument flying. In other words instrument interpretation. It is much easier to practice in a 737 or any other airline type simulator where simulated IMC is introduced.

It doesn't matter that modern simulators cannot replicate G forces. They certainly can replicate the instrument indications of an unusual attitude and effectively at that. It is a straightforward exercise taking less than ten seconds to barrel roll an airline simulator where the compass and artificial horizon still show the current attitude and heading.

Freeze the simulator when the flight instruments show inverted, then discuss at leisure with the candidate the recovery action most suited for the attitude. Better still have the instructor demonstrate initially rather than trying to "talk through" the process as the candidate flies. It is all about interpretation of the flight instruments. Place the simulator in a steep spiral. Practice the recovery until competent. Repeat after me: "It is all about interpretation of the flight instruments

Forget using special aerobatic aircraft in real time. The candidate needs to practice in the airline simulator he is going to fly for real. There is no risk in the simulator and no G to bewilder you. But the instruments don't lie.
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Old 16th Apr 2015, 14:28
  #80 (permalink)  
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Sabenaboy, thanks for the very well done summary of the importance of hand flying. Yes, all pilots should feel confident at any moment to disconnect all automation and hand fly with no doubts of the outcome. We should use automation as a tool, not a crutch.

Even at high altitude disconnecting the autopilot should be a non event to correct a faulty autopilot. I know the newer rules don't allow operation at these altitudes with inop autopilot because of reduced FL separation but before that it was legal to dispatch a flight with inop autopilot with no altitude restrictions.

I can't see how a pilot could let skills decay to the point he lacks the confidence to disconnect at any time.
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