Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Tech Log
Reload this Page >

TWO MEMBERS CREW vs THREE MEMBERS CREW

Tech Log The very best in practical technical discussion on the web

TWO MEMBERS CREW vs THREE MEMBERS CREW

Old 31st Jul 2007, 20:16
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: N33 24.7 E36 30.8 E 36 30.8
Posts: 185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
TWO MEMBERS CREW vs THREE MEMBERS CREW

Hi everybody

My company is phasing out our B727-200adv and B747 SPs in favour of the A320 and the two-man vs the three-man crew is becoming a serious issue as most of the crew members are coming from three-man crew originally
I know this is a controversial issue, and a lot of ink has been spilled talking about it, nevertheless, i would very much appreciate your inputs on the subject

Best regards
bflyer is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2007, 21:33
  #2 (permalink)  
Warning Toxic!
Disgusted of Tunbridge
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 4,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I spent 16 years flying 3 crew, and 19 years flying 2 crew. When you need a Flight Engineer because of the design of the aeroplane, it's great. When you fly more modern gear and it's designed for 2 crew, dare I say, it's even better. The time of Flight Engineers in civil flying has passed. The new equipment does not need them. Even a 747-400 is quite adequately and safely crewed by 2. And it works well. It does mean there is slightly more to do and you must be a bit better organised (nobody to pass you manuals/charts at busy times), but do not fear- you will enjoy it.
Rainboe is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2007, 22:00
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: fl
Posts: 2,525
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It was nice having the FE to run the systems but that luxury doesn't exist any more because of economics. The checklists have been simplified so a two man crew can run them because now they are brief for abnormals

On a 3 man airplane you could isolate electrical faults like electrical smoke unknown source, now you do the basics, if anything and just land. Of course the SwissAir Halifax crash could have probably been prevented if they had an engineer to shut down the non essential entertainment system instead of just trying to land with it still being powered. It is all economics and we will never go back. Normal days everything will be fine.
bubbers44 is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2007, 22:09
  #4 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: various places .....
Posts: 7,182
Received 93 Likes on 62 Posts
.. except that, when the custard flies furiously at 0-dark-30, and the two guys/gals up front are working their little hearts out trying not to die ... gee but it is nice to have a competent third seat ..

(a) to look after the boiler room

(b) (presuming the company thrust is for basic operational competence as well) keep a relaxed eye on what is going on up front.

I can recall two events where (b) probably avoided a heightened level of anxiety, embarrassment ... or worse ...

Having said that, I have no problem with a two-crew operation .. the 737 works real fine .. but you do need to have two experienced and competent folk to make up for not having (b) ...

I am not at all terribly sure that the present trend to very low total experience in the RHS (which can put the LHS in a defacto SP operation if the workload really ramps up) is a sound equivalent ... as in, when it works well, two crew is great .. but, if it falls in a heap ... it can do so big time ..
john_tullamarine is offline  
Old 31st Jul 2007, 23:14
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Florence,AZ
Age: 81
Posts: 16
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Cool

I recall when Frontier Airlines went to two man crew on the 737 (circa late '70s), some Western Airlines crew tussled with a Frontier crew on a shared crew shuttle bus, in Denver, over this issue. I agree that having three crew seems safer. However, my observation is that overcompetence is as dangerous as incompetence, just more insidious.
Frontier Engineering realized one benefit of going to two crew...cabin altitude squawks went away!!
Went into Deerlake, New Foundland, in a snowstorm, on an Eastern Provincial 737...that was exciting!
Putt
Putt is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 01:50
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Arizona USA
Posts: 8,571
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am remined when, some time ago, SaudiArabian took delivery of their first A300-600, two FD crew.
Sitting in the obs seat on one flight deadheading to join my assigned L1011 flight, during the cruise, an overheat warning in annunciated on the ECAM, and the Airboos instructor pilot in the RHS, selects the appropriate page, only to find the ECAM suddenly goes 'dark'.
'Not to worry', says he, as he picks up the big thick ops manual, 'we find the solution here'............whereupon, the binder flips open, and all 293 pages fall to the FD floor.
Says he...'its times like this we wish for the Flight Engineer'.

I had no comment whatsoever, but could not stop laughing for at least five minutes.
411A is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 02:21
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 518
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Three brains are better than two

There can be no question that CRM is optimized when one person is dedicated to flying the airplane and two other people are working together on the emergency checklist.

In fact studies have shown the best CRM combo to be the Capt and FE working together while the FO flys the airplane.

Alas, things have changed and so must we.
zerozero is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 07:04
  #8 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: various places .....
Posts: 7,182
Received 93 Likes on 62 Posts
I suggest that it's more a case of .. when things are going well or not too badly .. it doesn't really matter whether it's a well-oiled 2- or 3-crew operation.

However, if everything goes wrong .. three competent, well-trained brains, pairs of eyes, etc., etc. ... probably give you a better fighting chance than two.

More importantly, with the two-crew animal and, say, a new chum F/O starting his line training program and after the safety F/O (or whatever support is provided for the initial training program) is released ... the LHS is in a very awkward situation if a serious problem arises and the RHS is just not up to the requirement at his/her level of experience/training.


I wonder what Al Haynes would say about 2-crew ops in awkward circumstances ?
john_tullamarine is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 07:51
  #9 (permalink)  
Warning Toxic!
Disgusted of Tunbridge
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Hampshire, UK
Posts: 4,011
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Putt- why did cabin alt squawks go away when you went 2 crew? And I go into Deer Lake, Newfoundland now, in a 737 (after a 2 crew ETOPs Transatlantic at 41,000' no less! How the Fluff Jet has changed since the -200 days!) snow storms or otherwise! Great place, but really surreal when you can't see the runway and dry snow is blowing across it. Very strange effect, and a bit unsettling.

I'm afraid the economics of carrying a third crew member on 100% of flights versus the minute percentage of flights where he would be ultra useful just don't add up anymore- there cannot be an economic case for it. Rather like carrying a ton of fuel extra per every flight versus the very low cost of an extremely unlikely diversion through not having that extra ton. Modern aircraft are quite happily flown by 2 pilots. Modern flight decks are no longer built for 3 in comfort. Hell- they're not even comfortable for 2 anymore! I know some airlines like Air France used to operate the 737 with 3 pilots, but surely that was archaic industrial practices? (there- blame it on the French again, whether it's their fault or not). I cannot imagine how it was effective (or comfortable).
Rainboe is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 17:33
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: on the golf course (Covid permitting)
Posts: 2,131
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
j_t

Wouldn't Al Haynes be an advocate of four crew, not three?

Don't get me wrong, when the fan is involved 4 is better than 3 is better than 2 is better than 1 man and his v inexperienced co. Still not a reason to carry 3 routinely for other than LROPS imho.

[Possibly the same as the argument about the number of engines]

744 driver
TopBunk is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 17:48
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 77
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
> Wouldn't Al Haynes be an advocate of four crew, not three?

The DHL A300 that got whacked by a missile in Nov 2003 also comes to mind.
Dryce is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 19:58
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 789
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In fact studies have shown the best CRM combo to be the Capt and FE working together while the FO flys the airplane.
Didn't one of the classic CRM fatality cases occour when the Capt and F/E ganged up on the F/O - 'What's the difference between a duck and an F/O? A duck can fly.'
A Very Civil Pilot is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 21:47
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: flyover country USA
Age: 82
Posts: 4,579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The was a comment on another thread that a greater % of the passenger's fare goes for airport "security" (yeah-...) than for the Capt. salary.

I don't know whether or how often this is true, but if an armed F/E were on board, he might be very useful in a number of roles, both technical and security, and reduce the "workload" back at the departure queue.
barit1 is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 21:53
  #14 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: various places .....
Posts: 7,182
Received 93 Likes on 62 Posts
Re Sioux City and DHL ... we certainly can find examples on the fringes where the heavy crew has a better chance of survival.

Equally, we can find examples where an ill-disciplined three man crew performed rather indifferently.

The real world reality is that the Industry is headed toward the well known "one man and a dog" crewing philosophy. It's not going to go in reverse so we all had best get used to it and adapt to the management demands in the cockpit.

The flight management reality is that the commander has to apply an increased level of interest to optimal crew management to overcome any shortcomings in the smaller complement.

Me ? I was quite happy either with 2- or 3-crew where the company philosophy was to overtrain and the crew members were both experienced and competent.

Nowdays, with a management hat on .. I just hope that the folks up front approximate well trained and highly experienced/competent.
john_tullamarine is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 22:01
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Usually Oz
Posts: 732
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Exclamation

I transferred to a 2-crew type after 28 years flying 3[+]-crew.

Be very careful for the first couple of years. You don't realise what the 3rd guy was doing for you until a hole appears!!

Stay safe!

G'day
Feather #3 is offline  
Old 1st Aug 2007, 23:29
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 518
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A Very Civil Pilot

Didn't one of the classic CRM fatality cases occour when the Capt and F/E ganged up on the F/O - 'What's the difference between a duck and an F/O? A duck can fly.'
Yeah. That was Alaska Airlines in Ketchikan, Alaska in 1976.

The FO kept raising "trial balloons"--dropping hints about being too high, too fast, etc.

As they overran the runway the last words on the CVR were the FOs: "I told you!"
zerozero is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2007, 00:48
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: flyover country USA
Age: 82
Posts: 4,579
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
(~1980) When Airbus was floating the 2 vs 3 concept, they called it the "FFCC" or Forward Facing Crew Concept - the F/E (optional - if the airline retained the 3-crew) sat facing the center console and managed the show from there. Eventually the third person was phased out. Did any carrier fly A310's with a third crew?
barit1 is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2007, 03:19
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: with the porangi,s in Pohara
Age: 66
Posts: 983
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Quote John T.."I am not at all terribly sure that the present trend to very low total experience in the RHS (which can put the LHS in a defacto SP operation if the workload really ramps up) is a sound equivalent"

John....a very valid point and couldnt agree more!!!

Have flown 2-and 3 man/shelia crews...immerse yourself into the "concept" and its not a problem...

The introduction of ths new MPL (multicrew pilots license)....is scary stuff indeed......the concept of having a 250-400 co-pilot flying with no real experience is a concept that I have a hard time accepting.......not saying they are not good enough at all......but experience is experience......and when things are turning to custard...correct me if I,m wrong......but Ill go for "proven" versus un-proven
pakeha-boy is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2007, 03:46
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: In the middle
Posts: 7
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If the aircraft is designed for 3 crew then all and good.
I flew B767's with a F/E and also as 2 crew. Much better as 2 crew. Some engineers were happy to follow the QRH when needed but most wanted to troubleshoot the problem instead of following the procedures.
Best option for me is long haul when I have another F/O on board.
Bingle is offline  
Old 2nd Aug 2007, 05:32
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Where the Quaboag River flows, USA
Age: 71
Posts: 3,411
Received 3 Likes on 3 Posts
I always thought it interesting a committee headed by three men did the recommendation on going to two-man cockpits. One from industry, one FAA, one union.

To John T's point, I quite agree you can find examples of successful and unsuccessful crews, the number of crewmembers in the cockpit being irrelavant. The two-man crew on AF90 did not deal well with their icing problem at DCA, the three man crew in the recent C-5 accident performed horribly; but the three-man crew with Al Haynes or the other UAL 747 incident were absolute paragons of CRM and efficiency. I liked working with engineers, but insisted that they act as part of the crew and could speak up at anytime-emphasized that they would be killed by my mistake as I could be by their's.

My only reservation with two-man crews in an emergency is that one becomes very concentrated with flying, one with the emergency drills and NO one cross-checking the other, unless they are very competent and using the automation correctly and fully. Despite the claims of engineers, two-man planes can be a handful in emergency. In a two-man cockpit, I feel better if automation is being utilized, it is hard to be heads-down working an emergency checklist while I know the other is hand-flying a SID or an approach.

GF
galaxy flyer is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.