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

Automation Bogie raises it's head yet again

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

Automation Bogie raises it's head yet again

Old 28th Dec 2010, 16:05
  #41 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wor Yerm
Age: 63
Posts: 0
I'm going to make myself a target now...

I don't think this is an "over reliance on automation" issue. It is a "What do you do if your air data system supplies some or totally corrupt data?" problem. No matter what aircraft you fly - glass, steam or otherwise, you have to have something to hang your hat on. A modern aircraft is capable of generating flight path data independent of the air data system and maybe we should start to use this information to get back to "Straight and Level." From a stable platform which is under control (and probably being manually flown) it should be possible to start to work out what has failed and take appropriate action.


Last edited by Piltdown Man; 5th Jan 2011 at 09:48. Reason: Spelling & punctuation
Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 17:08
  #42 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: UK
Age: 64
Posts: 475
piltdown man, at last someone with the vision to see beyond the usual nonsense about automation.

man and machine is the safest way forward not man or machine.
Safety Concerns is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 18:28
  #43 (permalink)  
Psychophysiological entity
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Tweet Rob_Benham Famous author. Well, slightly famous.
Age: 79
Posts: 4,682
There was a guy on the NOVA?? or some such program, who showed us what he would have liked the 447 PF to be doing. He suggested 5 degrees nose up, and a specific power setting. Clearly, this is only the start of containing the situation.

The two and four engined turboprops I flew were all much of a muchness in terms of basic control, but when on a slippery jet, it was quite a different story. One thing on the BAC 1-11, was the unpleasant resonant frequency of the wings. They really would twang sometimes, and the FD 108 would become a vertical bar of colours for several seconds. This made accurate interpretation of the pitch very difficult if not impossible in the short term. Needless to say, this could be repeated over and over for several minutes and there were times it seemed automation might be able to do a better job. However, there was one thing the sensors didn't take into account, and that was vertical acceleration.

Firstly, I have to say I don't know if modern kit inputs vertical acceleration data.

I know we have it drummed into us to forget seat-of-the-pants flying, and believe the instruments, but in our scenario, we are already down to basics. Suggesting a set pitch and power leaves me a little worried. I found anticipating the power needed, by the feel of the vertical acceleration was something that put me ahead of the game. There is no way in hell you can look to EPRs, HP rpms or N1s for such human input, it has to be initiated very quickly and with only moderate accuracy.

I hasten to add, this movement had to be contained within a small range.

Throttle position was available and meaningful to us on those simple machines, and when I read of throttles that don't move, and of insistence on A-T, I just feel glad I was flying in a different era. And what is also obvious, it needs the kind of practice a box fixed to the planet can never provide. Pilots must be allowed to fly their aircraft on a regular basis - especially in rough air.
Loose rivets is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 18:33
  #44 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: kent, england
Posts: 203
Sadly, FBW newbies haven't had the good luck to fly aircraft that require basic power, attitude equals performance.
If it's all gone wrong this will still keep you out of trouble, or reduce your risk of getting into more of it IMHO.
Auto thrust with non moving levers is not the best idea. I've flown AC with both and dislike them [non movers], especially on rough old night into a nastey island with a big 'hill' next to the runwayand your speed trend arrow doing the hokey kokey!!!!!

Last edited by fokker1000; 28th Dec 2010 at 18:48.
fokker1000 is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 19:11
  #45 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Quebec, Canada
Posts: 46
I have flown Boeing and Airbus and, I do not care if the Thrust levers move or not as long as I see the N1s and EPRs in my normal scan.

Flying a FBW aircraft, is exactly the same as a conventional aircraft. And nothing prevent the pilot to disconnect the AP ( and the Autothrust) and fly a manual approach with the FD Off, unless the Cie decides that AP, FD and A/T shall be On all the time which is not a good idea because it prevents pilots to maintain their manual skills...

When the approach is "rough" due to high winds and turbulence, I disconnect A/T and AP and fly it maually it is a lot easier, in my view, because you have a better control on speed.
breguet is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 19:46
  #46 (permalink)  
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
Posts: 4,039
My first jet was the BAC1-11 and following the advice of an old but not bold pilot I always had a copy of that page of the ops manual that showed the table for flight with unreliable airspeed on my clipboard. Carried it through until my final flight on the -400 and because I looked at it fairly often, it being constantly 'in view', I subconsciously committed just a few of the speed, body angle and power settings to memory, it can't hurt.

I still maintain that a large part of the current problem with automation is that it is not taught and practiced sufficiently to the point that pilots are competent and confident to utilise the automation throughout its envelope; that is a management and training issue and in almost every case will come back to a budget issue.
parabellum is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 21:12
  #47 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: fl
Posts: 2,561
When automation works it is fantastic. When it quits working turn it off because it can hurt you. Manual flying skills should still be required for all airline pilots. Airlines that rely on automation for 250 hr pilots to fly passengers is crazy. Simple loss of airspeed procedures for all airliners gave a chart for weight, altitude, attitude and power to survive. Air France put their flight into the Atlantic with their Airbus recently. Did they have that training? Why do we have to dumb down our procedures to hire unqualified junior pilots. We have plenty of qualified pilots in the US to fill these positions but for a reasonable salary. We are not short of pilots, just short of airlines that will pay them what they should. I only know about the US so hope European pilots are equally qualified.
bubbers44 is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 21:19
  #48 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: fl
Posts: 2,561
I'm talking about the new hire FO's. Not captains.
bubbers44 is offline  
Old 28th Dec 2010, 23:52
  #49 (permalink)  
quidquid excusatio prandium pro
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 351
through until my final flight on the -400
Staring that right in the face now P, any words of wisdom as I take my final stroll, shortly, for the last time, off the mega-ship flight deck that has been my home, my light, and my reason for living, forever and always?

This is not good, nobody ever told me it would end, I am devastated...
bugg smasher is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 02:01
  #50 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: alameda
Posts: 1,053
bubbers...everyone has more time to type because they are so autopilot dependent.

I know you know what flying is all about...I mean it.

BUT I really miss the pride one took in their hand flying and while hand flying...they managed to navigate and even eat a ham sandwich.

protectthehornet is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 03:46
  #51 (permalink)  
Nemo Me Impune Lacessit
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Derbyshire, England.
Posts: 4,039
Try and enjoy your final trip as much as possible, I picked a four sector SIN-AMS-JFK-AMS-SIN for my final run. Chatted up the hotels in advance and managed an even more superior room. Unbeknown to me my wife arranged a good photographer with airside clearence to do the whole caboodle in AMS, still photography. Check-in, briefing, the final walk down the jetway, external, flight deck, a/c departing so I have a permanent record. Once retired stay involved if you can, airshows etc. and other volunteer work, stay busy.

Sorry, considerable thread drift!
parabellum is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 12:04
  #52 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Australia
Posts: 3,849
I don't think this is an "over reliance on automation" issue.
Maybe, maybe not. But when a first officer on a sophisticated jet transport has never done a profile descent from top of descent using DME versus height, then that is because of over-reliance on automation.
Centaurus is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 21:31
  #53 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wor Yerm
Age: 63
Posts: 0
No, that's called poor training and standards.

Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 22:07
  #54 (permalink)  
Per Ardua ad Astraeus
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: UK
Posts: 18,584
No, that's called poor training and standards.
- isn't that what this is all about? 'Over-reliance on automation' - just WHERE do you think that comes from then?
BOAC is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 22:08
  #55 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York
Posts: 877
"Once retired stay involved if you can, airshows etc. and other volunteer work, stay busy."

Unashamed plug, but I stay involved by volunteering as a youth-mentor member of the Tuskegee Airmen Inc.'s Red Tail aviation program. Look into it. And yes, I'm Caucasian.
stepwilk is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 22:50
  #56 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: The Smaller Antipode
Age: 85
Posts: 12
I don't disagree with any of the above - even the Last Trip advice !! - but let's not forget that every generation has it's own problems to address, in ways we 'oldies' can only imagine now.

I was once told that I would never make a navigator until I'd been over Berlin with the shells coming through the cockpit as I tried to get 3 different drift readings from the drift sight as the pilot tried to keep the aircraft steady on heading, to assess the wind for the flight home.

I never had to do that.

Later I despaired of my own nav. students wrestling with the sextant, and Grid navigation, over the Pole.

They never had to do that.

Along came INS, and then FMS and now GPS, they don't even have to fight HF radio - do they ? ( Delhi, Delhi, this is Bombay - Shut Up Delhi ! )

I blame Bill Gates, life was easier before computers - even in the shops !!( at least people could do mental arithmetic )
ExSp33db1rd is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 23:37
  #57 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Asia
Posts: 2,378
I bet most of you lot never had to hand swing a propellor either.
Metro man is offline  
Old 29th Dec 2010, 23:41
  #58 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: alameda
Posts: 1,053
hey metroman...do they call you, "Lefty"? (just kidding).

everyone should be able to fall back to a previous method or technology...TCAS out? look out the damn window.

even lindbergh lost his compass system at one point...so he put the north star above his left shoulder and still found Dingle Bay ok!
protectthehornet is offline  
Old 30th Dec 2010, 04:09
  #59 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2008
Location: pit
Posts: 314
Interesting thread, interesting arguments.

I go with what I have experienced the last few years. Some examples:

- In our big company there is not a weekly incident report without unstabilized approaches. The overwhelming reason given is "short cuts and short vectors". Now either there is a lack of capability to calculate distance vs. altitude or a lack of capability to fly the aircraft down slightly higher angles. Mostly both.
- When a AT goes u/s, the approaches often go to at least "uncomfortable". A frenzied scan between the speed on the PFD and the N1/EPR on the engine display leads to pitches between 0°and 8°, bank of more than 10° l/r on the final ILS stage.
- Visual approaches and circlings are treated as demanding procedures (when I started aviation they were the more simple approaches than CatII ...). I observe an abundance of special techniques with the basically obsolete FMC, like drawing 3nm circles, abeam points, altitude reminders etc. Additionally there is a teaching to use/program the FD throughout the whole procedure. Although it might help a bit, people often try to fly it more than looking outside. All this ends in an over reliance on such reminders and on the FD and consequentially a loss of general overview of the simple approach happens.
- The AP is mostly switched off at ~500ft. Initially the FD is religiously followed, but soon it is slightly lost, ~200ft, because the lookout only starts there. The aiming point gets lost down the runway, with very little corrective action, as the "feeling" for the aircraft could never be established in such a short and already fully configured time. The landings are often smooth, but seem somewhat uncontrolled and mainly long.

I do not want to venture into discussing why, just a personal observation to sustain the dire need for attention to the issue of the thread, the issue of automation correlated to the loss of skill.

Last edited by pool; 30th Dec 2010 at 16:34. Reason: typos...
pool is offline  
Old 4th Jan 2011, 11:04
  #60 (permalink)  

Only half a speed-brake
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Commuting home
Age: 41
Posts: 2,533
Originally Posted by BOAC View Post
- isn't that what this is all about? 'Over-reliance on automation' - just WHERE do you think that comes from then?
Ok, I'll bite the bait, with tongue in cheek and a twink in the eye.

Are you implying, that the "magenta FMS whizz no-pants-in-seat" set is actually not a legion of underachieveing brats but rather a product of a generation of greyhair examiners and course developers who (under pressure to reach the required output levels and cost competetivness) took the easy way out. Using automation without need to explain what it does and what never was intended to do?

FD (the un-real)
FlightDetent is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.