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AF447

Old 28th Jun 2009, 03:41
  #2441 (permalink)  
 
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Bit harsh on the FO's

Gents,

I have been crossing the recently demonized ITCZ in a 330 anywhere from 4-8 times a month, for quite a number of years.

I've read with much interest over the last few weeks, but refrained from making comment as there were more than enough self opinionated posters willing to display their significant knowledge, or for some, appalling ignorance.

However, on the 'opinions' recently posted about the scenario of the two FO's in control when the accident happened, I feel many posters are being a little harsh on summizing how they may have acted incorrectly.

It makes me realise how blinkered or rigid some people are when you get quotes like:
BOAC
I expressed the opinion that I would not expect a Captain to 'take his rest' with the ITCZ to cross and 6-7 hours of relative peace to follow. I was somewhat surprised yesterday to hear from a 5 year retired BA 747 trainer friend that in his life the system was very 'rigid' and that rest would be taken 'on schedule'.
I have frequently taken rest during the 'crossing'. Like all aviation situations, you weigh up the pro's and con's, and take the best of what is often, all the bad choices presented to you. For instance, the weather at destination may require more of your concentration later, than the crossing of the ITCZ now. Consequently, with a competant well briefed and trained crew, there is no great drama in taking rest during that period. That said, if the experience or competancy levels of my particular crew on a given night were suspect, then would I take my rest then, probably not. But am I rigid in when I take my rest, definately not.

Me Myself
My opinion is that, regardless of the talent of the chaps sitting up front, there is a breach in the chain of command. No one is really in charge and in a dire situation like the one 447 encountered, there is no way you can have ONE single person in command who makes the life saving call.
Of the gentlemen, (and some ladies), who I leave in charge when I am resting, I am in no doubt that they take on the responsibility fully when I leave the flight deck, and yes ONE person is in charge. I may perhaps sow some seeds of thought concerning terrain or depressurisation aspects, or even perhaps ask that they keep a strategic lateral offset in, when not manouevering around weather, however they know they are in charge, and that they make all the decisions. Again, I have no doubt that the relief commander/pilot in charge would take a similar course of action to what I would do, were I to have been in the seat, because of the next quote:


p51guy
FO's aren't tested to the same level as captains.
I'd hate to work for that airline!
Where I work, the right seat guys are tested to, and expected to perform to, exactly the same standards as the skipper. Most of the crew in the right seat are there because of time in the company, not because of lack of ability. Indeed, many of our crew have the seniority for a command, but opt to stay in the right seat in order to remain on their chosen base.

Maybe I am very lucky to fly with a very professional outfit, and often it comes down to "would I put my wife and kids on a jet if this guy was in command", and when as in most occasions the answer is yes, I may take my rest crossing the ITCZ.

So as far as the AF copilots go, how about giving them a little more credit that some of our rigid minded posters have done.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 07:00
  #2442 (permalink)  
 
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Where I work, the right seat guys are tested to, and expected to perform to, exactly the same standards as the skipper. Most of the crew in the right seat are there because of time in the company, not because of lack of ability. Indeed, many of our crew have the seniority for a command, but opt to stay in the right seat in order to remain on their chosen base.
A few years ago I was talking to a very senior FO and when asked what about a command ? His reply was " I will loose so much income as I currently have first choice of routes ( expenses)"
I recall a well known FO on Concorde getting his command on 737s.
I am comfortable that the guy in the right hand seat is up to standard.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 07:46
  #2443 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by mephisto
many posters are being a little harsh
- not me. I made no such comment and also assume the 'relief crew' to be competent. I was just surprised at what I heard from another airline where, contrary to your post "But am I rigid in when I take my rest, definately not.", they appeared to be, from what I was told.

I repeat - in view of the KNOWN issues with 330 pitot inputs in weather, I reckon I would delay my sheer luxury of 'rest' (based on years of 15+ hours continuous duty with no rest).

NB Nor am I saying that is what happened here. It was an enquiry into an unknown world of 'scheduled rest'.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 08:41
  #2444 (permalink)  
 
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Again, I have no doubt that the relief commander/pilot in charge would take a similar course of action to what I would do, were I to have been in the seat, because of the next quote:
I can only say " Lucky you !!" because from experience, I can tell you it is very uneven. You get some outstanding chaps whereby I sleep like a baby, some others should altogether be out the shop. Plain simple.
It is assumed, all F/O's are of the same caliber ( same applies to Captains ) and we all know it's not the case. There is a huge variety of pilots, ex military, GA and cadets. Sorry, but a 3 years senior cadet who ends up flying the 777 isn't like an air force or navy bloke who's got a 12 years miltary carreer under his belt.
Trust me, I've discovered some pretty interesting things coming back from my break, some of them would just baffle you. My trust is now given on a one to one basis and I have learned to be that way from past bitter experiences.
Second, in the particular 447 case, while on cruise, the acting relief pilot sits in the right hand seat. So far the best way to perform an emergency descent which, until today , has been the worst forseen case scenario. This would mean the acting relief F/O would have had to fly the aircraft from the right seat, in direct law, using the stand by horizon ( assuming it was working ) and in severe turbulence. Who can do that ? I know I can't.
Evidently, the SOP's need to be reassed as the worst case scenario is worse that we thought it could be.
Training needs to be beefed up beyhond the boring engine failure on take off. In the 5 years on the 777, only once have I flown the sim on the stand attitude indicator and only because I had requested it having 10 minutes to spare. The nice to know that can ultimatly save your life has almost disappeared and I remember bitterly what a training captain once told me as I was requesting some out of the ordinary exercise " That's bloody ridiculous. It simply cannot happen " ..........;It was flying with total loss of flight controls.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 08:50
  #2445 (permalink)  
 
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I can only say " Lucky you !!" because from experience, I can tell you it is very uneven. You get some outstanding chaps whereby I sleep like a baby, some others should altogether be out the shop. Plain simple.
Just to raise a topic of discussion.
Being the Captain the ultimate responsible for the safety of the flight can he/she refuse to take off with a FO which he/she deem not sufficiently proficient on the type?

FSLF
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 09:43
  #2446 (permalink)  
 
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Theoretically yes ... but I cannot recall ever having heard it happen.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 11:06
  #2447 (permalink)  
 
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I'm a fan of simulators but having lost arguments in the past about nice-to-have, training we have to face the reality of prioritization and availability of pilots for unique training
It is more the case that some of those in flight standards chairs are simply out of touch with real life accidents over the years. How many of these people assiduously read accident reports published in various journals such as Flight International, Aviation Week, Business & Commercial Aviation, NTSB and AAIB accident reports and a host of excellent readily available flight safety reading matter?

If they did, then they would surely see the need to be proactive (hate the term, but most people seem to know what it means nowadays) and re-organise simulator training to learn from those accidents. Instead, we see the same old same old of long winded LOFT's where a disproportionate amount of scarce simulator time is spend "managing" a long winded series of unlikely scenarios involving dragging out the MEL, then follows lots of taxiing and a still more long winded take off briefing covering every possible "threat" and how to "manage" the threat.

For Heaven's sake - LOFT occurs every time we get airborne in the real aeroplane. How much more practice do we need in the simulator for LOFT? What a waste of precious simulator time when the more serious things that can kill you are seen as low priority "fun" exercises consigned to the last few minutes of a sim session - if one is lucky.

Obviously jet upset training for example is seen as a waste of time - same as regular practice at limiting crosswind landings on slippery runways which take real handling skill that few new first officers have at this point in their line flying.

Until flight standards people and regulators realise that the lessons learned from past accidents should be applied to simulator training, then pilots will continue to turn up each few months to the same old bog standard engine failures at V1, all automatics flight and general relaxed button pushing - and then just watch whatever real handling skills they may have once had, just slowly disappear in the fog of complacency.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 11:28
  #2448 (permalink)  
 
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Just to raise a topic of discussion.
Being the Captain the ultimate responsible for the safety of the flight can he/she refuse to take off with a FO which he/she deem not sufficiently proficient on the type?
Personal experience :
First assignement I got once ckecked out on the 777 was to sit in the left seat in the sim for a F/O who was just coming back from part time leave if I recall.
Simple enough, it was supposed to take an hour with 3 engine failures between V1 and VR: three times in a row..............we crashed up to the point where the intructor decided it was the sim that wasn't working properly !!!!!! and triggered the engine failure after gear retraction. We barely barely made it and I thought we were in cookoo land.
Sure enough, the F/O was checked and signed and left merry as a lark leaving me with the tought that if I ever see him / her again on my flight, he / she is history. Does that answer the question ?
Question : Why didn't I open my mouth ??? That's the trick, because if you do.............you're toast !!
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 12:27
  #2449 (permalink)  
 
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Me myself,

You make some very interesting observations in a your posts...many of which I agree with.

Why was AF447 they in that thunderstorm?

Interestly we might learn something from the seafaring industry...P+O have very strict SOPs as to when the skipper or commander must be on the bridge of their cruise ships even though they have watch officers who are very very experiencedWhy? Simply because the buck stops with him. They`ve had 170 years of experience and have learnt from previous accidents/incidents. He must be on the bridge not only going into and out of port(take-off and landing) but for instance in busy shipping lanes like the Channel shipping lanes , anytime in fog, anytime a pilot is on board and difficult navigations like the Dardenelles. Why do you think they have these rules? Airline SOPs for when the Capt is on the `bridge` are limited to take-off and landing but i think you`re right -I treat each F/O on merit and you do have to think carefully about when would be the best time to rest if at all....some more thought will go into this area no-doubt.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 12:36
  #2450 (permalink)  
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frontrow, the alledged storm encounter occured several hours after takeoff. If the captain had alledgedly retired for his inflight rest, it has been already established that the rest of the operating crew were fully qualified for the safe operation of the flight. Untill such time that a definite cause can be established for this accident, which possibly will never be found if the FDR/CVR data can not be recovered, 2486 posts really do not prove a thing. I have experinced many thousands of hours of Boeing operations safely but would not dismiss the A330's record since it's first flight in 1992 with a total of 616 built so far and I'm willing to await the official report by the authorities of the bodies eminently qualified to provide a factual cause for the accident.

Last edited by HotDog; 28th Jun 2009 at 13:00.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 12:38
  #2451 (permalink)  
 
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[quote][officers who are very very experiencedWhy? Simply because the buck stops with him. /QUOTE]

And this should come in fashion again. No, not everybody is interchangable. No, a 5 years senior F/O is not the same than a 25 years pilot with 15 years of command behind him. We have unfortunatly come to the point where because the F/O CAN fly the plane ( Thank God ) and replace the skipper should this one meet his creator in an untimely way, then he is supposed to be his equal !!! That's total tosh regardless of the ability of the guy sitting in the right hand seat.
When I was a F/O it did look very easy from my seat.
Getting back to P&O, where was the skipper of the Amoco Cadiz when it crashed on the alaskan coast creating the biggest environmental disaster ever ???
Drunk, in his bunk !!

Why was AF447 they in that thunderstorm?
The question nobody wants to ask or answer, some even claiming these alledged CB's were just a fiction. Then explain me why AF 459 diverted 70 miles off track.
Then comes the aircraft that no matter how great people claim it is, shows some pretty amazing flaws.
Then comes the training : how on earth are we supposed to handle these aircrafts in degraded mode and adverse weather if we don't get the minimum training for it. And please, stop telling us a monkey could do what we do.
Then come SOP's as explained above. How can a pilot fly in direct law from the right hand seat using the stand by horizon. Answer, transfer of control to the guy on the left..............who's never flown the aircraft from that seat, let alone with controls working properly.
No, it is not uncool for the skipper to be in his seat whenever he sees fit. I know, we all have to look and be cool nowadays and turn out to be approval seekers instead.
Then comes management who should do his bloody job and .........er ........yes ....manage instead of burying its head in the sand and pretending everything is honky dory.

Last edited by Me Myself; 28th Jun 2009 at 13:03.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 12:41
  #2452 (permalink)  
 
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Question : Why didn't I open my mouth ??? That's the trick, because if you do.............you're toast !!
Unfortunately based on several recent posts this seems in many ways to reflect the state of the industry. When many of the people who are in positions to know the difference (pilots, engineers, training crews etc..) collectively see a problem but are intimidated by corporate scare tactics the industry is indeed heading into unknown territory. Also prevelant is the notion that things have advanced to the point where many have given up any notion of how to resolve these issues. When training and flight safety programmes are "locked-on" to SOP that may have been intentionally limited there's only one word to describe the collective thought process employed - dangerous.
To reverse it we have to rely on those in positions to know the difference to take the risk and speak out, because if we're waiting for the beancounters.................we're all toast !!
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 13:07
  #2453 (permalink)  
 
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Air Caraïbe report

Hi there
I have just read again the Air Caraïbe report to see how the crew reacted to the cascade of fault reports, subsequent deprievation of flight protections, and how they applied the relevant procedures. There are french speaking people here who can translate any cryptic part of this report in French.
Phase 1 (22:11) "Weather deviation procedure for oceanic controlled airspace" (modification of the flight level, without result, back to initial FL)
Phase 2 (22:22) the "severe turbulence" QRH 5.01 procedure is implemented (A/THR off, N1 between 0.81 and 0.82)
Phase 3 (between 22:22 and 22:23) freezing of the Pitot probes
CAS plunged rapidly from 273 kts to 75 kts
ECAM messages: AUTO FLT AP OFF, MASTER WARNING (cavalry charge), F/CTL ADR DISAGREE, F/CTL ALTN LAW, F/CTL RUD TRV LIM FAULT, etc etc
Between 22:23 and 22:24: STALL, CRICKET and MASTER WARNING
Between 22:23 and 22:24: CAS goes back from 111 kt to 275 kt, ALT from 34200 ft 34500 ft
The crew struggled with the new multiple tasks to implement, and with the application of the QRH "unreliable speed indication": they had not the time to implement the "AFFECTED ADR IDENTIFICATION" and more worrying (I think), the "TECHNICAL RECOMMENDATIONS" in 2.22 state:
"RESPECT STALL WARNING AND DISREGUARD "RISK OF UNDUE STALL WARNING" IF DISPLAYED ON ECAM" and in the 3.02.54 (page 17) of the QRH: RELY ON THE STALL WARNING THAT COULD BE TRIGERRED IN ALTN OR DIRECT LAW. IT IS NOT AFFECTED BY UNRELIABLE SPEEDS BECAUSE IT IS BASED ON ANGLE OF ATTACK"

The Captain was concinced that the STALL ALARMS were irrelevant and took on him to ignore the "RELY ON THE STALL WARNING THAT COULD BE TRIGERRED IN ALTN...."

The Qantas crew was helped by the technical teams on ground to take the good decisions (and they had the time to do so)

I am not a specialist of air safety & procedures, but I feel very weird that fundamental warnings or alarms can have a variable meaning/reliability according to the context, and also very confusing that a crew already struggling with the instruments, not knowing exactly which one is valid, which one is corrupted, also may find ambiguities in the QRH.
Jeff
source: http://www.eurocockpit.com/docs/ACA.pdf

Last edited by Hyperveloce; 28th Jun 2009 at 14:29. Reason: forgot the source of the informations given
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 17:51
  #2454 (permalink)  
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A37575;
Re,
It is more the case that some of those in flight standards chairs are simply out of touch with real life accidents over the years. How many of these people assiduously read accident reports published in various journals such as Flight International, Aviation Week, Business & Commercial Aviation, NTSB and AAIB accident reports and a host of excellent readily available flight safety reading matter?
I think you express the issue very well. Yes, it is a problem and, I think, will become moreso as "SMS" becomes a reality and the regulator steps out of it's monitoring/auditing/enforcing role - another thread. We couldn't even get standards people to look at flight data from their FOQA program; - they certainly weren't spending time reading accident reports to see where the problems lie - a curious thing happens when someone goes into the office - they become a manager focused on costs and they lose "the aviator" in them.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 18:54
  #2455 (permalink)  
 
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a37575

I think you are right. I know that I have seen people in the training department or whatever you call it at your airline that can only do a checkride to FAA standards.

And, let me make this clear, FAA standards are not high enough in my view. Perhaps other regulating authority as well.

I recall when the 737 flipped on its back due to rudder problems...how quickly we got hardover training.

I know what I would do about flying and teaching people to be better pilots.

Hand flying would be a big part of it. Being able to switch from automation to desperation in a second and come out OK.

computers that give us information can be helpful, but computers that rob us of our strengths should be discouraged.

In the USA, near Washington, DC, a computer has been accused of failing and allowing two trains (like subways) to collide, killing 9.

computers, HA.

good thinking A37575

Ialso want to add that people in the training department shouldn 't be there because they play golf with the boss.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 19:13
  #2456 (permalink)  
 
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In a post on the very first of june at 21:16 (post nr 243)(other thread) i asked a question about the possibility the capt. was "in the back"

I was shouted at as it was impossible etc etc, what i have seen since is more SPECULATION about that very same thing!

I hope I am wrong...
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 19:19
  #2457 (permalink)  
 
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If he was at the back, the 2 F/O were at the front. I often do a walk around just before going to sleep, nothing wrong with that.
However, given the weather that night, taking his break at the worst possible moment would be questionable.
But on the matter, we can only do guesswork. Not helpfull I'm afraid.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 19:29
  #2458 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by testpanel View Post
In a post on the very first of june at 21:16 (post nr 243)(other thread) i asked a question about the possibility the capt. was "in the back"
How can we infer this, or why do we need this hypothesis ? Because of two bodies retrieved and latter identified as being the captain and a flight attendant ? Can't we conversely infer that it was the F.A. who was in the vincinity of the flight deck, near the captain on duty ? Or that the F.A. was not in the vincinity of the flight deck but was projected toward it at some point ?
Jeff
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 19:32
  #2459 (permalink)  
 
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It seems like the popular position to deride both managers and computers.

It is more the case that some of those in flight standards chairs are simply out of touch with real life accidents over the years. How many of these people assiduously read accident reports published in various journals such as Flight International, Aviation Week, Business & Commercial Aviation, NTSB and AAIB accident reports and a host of excellent readily available flight safety reading matter?
I have heard this same speculation leveled at NASA as well. It's pure speculation that honestly doesn't make much sense. If these people were so out of touch then I doubt safety would continue to be as good as it is, statistically speaking. It's still important to remember that these accidents are very exceptional, not every day instances of common failures that the standards authorities are ignoring.

In the USA, near Washington, DC, a computer has been accused of failing and allowing two trains (like subways) to collide, killing 9.

computers, HA.
I have seen accusations leveled at the faulty track sensors. Sensors are not computers. I'd expect a crash if a human operator were struck blind but didn't know it. Wouldn't you? Automation trades human error for computer error. Those that automatically assume humans always make better choices should take a hard look at accident history (current and past, in other fields too) to see that humans have their share of issues too.
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Old 28th Jun 2009, 20:43
  #2460 (permalink)  
 
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jeremiahrex

I may see some of what I would call 'personification' in your post. It is always tempting to put a human shade on what might be called 'stark data'. 'Sensors are not computers'. That's not wrong, nor is 'we trade human errors for computer errors'. If I may I'll use some of your logic to ask a question of another.

ELAC

Histrionics aside, may I ask for clarification on one of your recent posts re: 447, flight computers, and hand flying? With possible corruption of sensors, 330 flight computers seem to produce a reasonably consistent chain of output that may 'confuse', or inhibit manual flying which results as a trip out of the a/p and consequent degradation to Alternate Law or Alternate Law 2. Reference Qantas and NWA, the computer displays 'Stall Stall'. Whether or not that cue is to be taken seriously seems to depend on decisions made by the PF. Do you consider that a hindrance in recovery? Or, could the PF, acting on cue, push the nose down, even add power, though the a/c is anything but stalled?

Also, re: Rudder Travel Limiter. If due to corrupt AS data the ship loses Rudder protection, and possibly all limit to Rudder travel, would you think that a Rudder input might put beyond-fail stress on the VS? To wit, as AS data is lost, could the Rudder Limit reach a status of Low Speed restrictions as determined by the computer? In other words, could the Rudder's travel be deflected enough to convince the sensors in the tail in concert with corrupt a/s that low speed had actually been obtained allowing this deflection to be the new parameter, though the a/c is still travelling at M.80?

Thx
Will
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