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Automation Bogie raises it's head yet again

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Automation Bogie raises it's head yet again

Old 4th Jan 2011, 12:13
  #61 (permalink)  
 
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In Australia, a regional operator flying Saab 340 "strongly recommends" (my italics) the autopilot be engaged at 200 feet (min engagement height) after take off and disengaged at 50 feet on landing. This is taking use of automation to a ridiculous degree and does nothing for flight safety. On the contrary. As this airline specialise in training its own cadets from zero hours to right seat of the Saab, it is living proof that manual flying is seen by this operator as an unnecessary impost. Despite numerous warnings from international flight safety authorities that automation dependancy is an increasing concern, clearly some operators don't see it that way.

The local regulator for this region is not interested and in fact has indicated it favours more use and understanding of automation. Nothing at all from these hallowed halls about the need for manual flight competency
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 12:15
  #62 (permalink)  
 
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This thread can go on forever....

The FMS magenta track line makes npa's utterly piss-easy to fly manually, it really riles me that anyone can cock these up with a damn autopilot engaged too.

As mentioned above, it is horses for courses, we fly automated airl;iners nowadays and they are designed to fly through the automatics. flight Managers look at FDA stats and draw obvious conclusions- more "events" occur when hand flying or with automation turned off. They have KPIs to lower "events" and logic tells them to stop people hand flying to lower the events.

Counter logic say to make folk hand fly more- but would lawyers agree? This is the quandry the Managers face. Don't forget they might only fly one day a month themselves, with F/Os terrrified to be stuck in a flightdeck with them and perrforming accordingly.....

Hmm.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 13:14
  #63 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by FD
Ok, I'll bite the bait, with tongue in cheek and a twink in the eye.
- the short answer to your post (TIC) is 'Yes'.

In my book, the "generation of greyhair examiners and course developers" should take on the task (- and I'm sure the good ones do) of ensuring that the "legion of underachieveing brats" is made to understand basic flying, including how to plan and fly a descent without a computer.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 13:51
  #64 (permalink)  
 
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I suppose it's a case of 80/20, and this pervades a huge amount of modern education. Background information is pared-down to a minimum, and if the end goal - line first officers - is all that matters, then hard faith in the automatics makes absolute sense, if only from a management point of view. Of course, the random nature of the real world periodically cares little for stats, modelling, or theory, and this is where man still has a big role to play when something out of the ordinary happens.

I think automation is amazing, but I've never flown anything larger than a C150. I still marvel at the precision and grace of modern airliners. Even as passengers, we have become disconnected from the experience of flight; a recent trip on a 777 was more like a magic carpet than an aircraft. A quick look around the cabin during takeoff will show that most people won't even flinch at being recipients of over 100 years of knowledge and skill that can propel a 350 tonne object into the air, and 10000 miles away in a few hours, and repeat the trick endlessly. Familiarity is the root of indifference.

And yet...

The laws of physics are unchanged, and indifferent. The same information is being presented in the same form (more or less) to the pilot, and Airbus say their products fly just the same as anything else. Is there anything really new here?
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 19:22
  #65 (permalink)  
 
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In my book, the "generation of greyhair examiners and course developers" should take on the task (- and I'm sure the good ones do) of ensuring that the "legion of underachieveing brats" is made to understand basic flying, including how to plan and fly a descent without a computer.

It would be a great pleasure to do so,.....but...SOP's preclude it, or management attitudes do. Further, if you tried, on the line, to instill some semblance of what is being discussed, it would take a very long time as the foundations have not been laid in the TQ training. That has been minimised and diluted as a cost saving measure. Students paying for themselves can not afford the 3 or 4 extra sim sessions which should be there for basic handling skills. Companies paying for the training don't want to do more than required. They seem content to have robotic trained monkeys up front. Pilots who can not be trusted to fly visual approaches without significant LNAV VNAV backup. I always thought the most useful tools in a visual approach were Mk.1 eyeball and a consumate understanding of pitch & power. Someone said the physics of a jet and a Cessna are similar. Correct. Give the beast the correct amount of energy and it will do what you want; give it more or less and it will do something surprising. That means you're not in control, which being the PF is rather disappointing. George can do a wonderful job; it can also bite your rear-end. So to follow the suggestion of teaching raw data descents to a descending low drag visual circuit as the norm, which it was in the clock & dials day, would be a real thrill and frowned upon very heavily. It'd take a full summer season. I hear from FDM experts that in CAVOK most G/A's follow screwed up visuals. Amazing. Solution? discourage the troops from doing them as a time/fuel saving method because if they mess it up any saving has been reversed. Encourage robtic techniques. Trouble then is when command upgrade time comes, the TRE expects to see some initiative, strong situational awareness, ability to multi-task in non-normal scenarios. If the basic foundations are not there to let you relax and manage the a/c too much energy and capacity is used during the tasks and it all breaks down.
I fly with F/O's who at 26 have 3000hrs and are expecting a command shot soon. How do % fail rates compare between companies? Long & short-haul. But also compare this to the era of 7-10 years in a company, 5000hours and the likely hood to have seen and learnt from some grey haired old farts during the various interesting scenarios that inevitably threw themselves in your face during your apprenticeship. Now, there seems an assumption that 4 years, 3000hrs, a couple of OK prof checks and it's time for 4 stripes. I find that some SFO's coming up for consideration, are still reluctant to make the first call when PF. I always throw the ball into their court, but they still ask what "I'd like to do." Your choice, mate; I'll tell you if I disagree. That attitude is not an option on a command course.
I did hear 1 chief TC say he would like to teach better handling techniques, but there is no time. With companies having bases all over the world it is very difficult to keep tabs on standards. So, dum it down to what you know works; use AFDS as amuch as possible; write a detailed SOP book and hope everyone plays the game. I can understand that solution; it just very soul destroying. I learnt BOAC's quoted techniques on the line. It was the way everyone flew, and most were good at. They'd all come through he same mill. Shame times have changed.
It will be interesting, but perhaps not possible, to hear what TC's in 10 years are saying. They will have come from this generation of teachings and be passing it on. I wonder what they will find on the command courses in the future. I wonder if the checking syllabus will have changed. In 15 years the CAA's will be staffed by people from todays teaching regieme. Will they change anything?
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 20:37
  #66 (permalink)  
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Rat - a fine summary of where we are and where we are going.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 20:53
  #67 (permalink)  

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We are already there and it is far too late to turn the boat around. We have seen it coming for some time.

Those who decry automation need an answer and there will be none forthcoming.

BOAC and I (and others) suffered the trials of selection; now, a credit card will do...
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 21:00
  #68 (permalink)  
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the trials of selection; now, a credit card will do...
- at least the day the c/card buys someone into the RAF/FAA/AAC is some way off.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 21:19
  #69 (permalink)  
 
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Not long ago, on this forum, I took polite exception to an apparently professional pilot's joking remark that to go up, you pull the stick back and to go down you pushed it forward. What's so hard about that?

I don't think he had any idea what I was talking about when I suggested that the throttle/power lever was actually the up/down control. Several others jumped in to complain that I was talking nonsense. "Try telling that to somebody taking off," one snarked.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 23:19
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stepwilk:

I don't think he had any idea what I was talking about when I suggested that the throttle/power lever was actually the up/down control. Several others jumped in to complain that I was talking nonsense. "Try telling that to somebody taking off," one snarked.
I don't either. The arguments are endless.
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Old 4th Jan 2011, 23:26
  #71 (permalink)  
 
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Try staying on a glide slope with the yoke alone. That's an argument I'll be delighted to watch.

Certainly there was no argument in my day, and in the 1960s and '70s, that's how we were taught. Have the physics changed?
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 07:05
  #72 (permalink)  
 
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Stepwilk in an airbus it is exactly that: to go up you pull the stick to go down you push, the thrust levers don't move and stay in the climb detent.
Flying for dummies.

Offcourse in theory you are absolutely correct, it's excess thrust that enables an aircraft to climb or lack of thrust that makes it go down.

Another weird fact about airbus, even with manual thrust you still need to pull the stick to climb and push to descent. Pitch/power coupling is "prevented" by autotrim. Leaving the stick in neutral but playing with thrust levers would just result in speed changes.
This is why I find the airbus is a bitch to fly in turbulent gusty weather.

The airbus is simply a point the nose at where you want to go aircraft.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 08:42
  #73 (permalink)  
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Here we go again! Stepwilk and Terpster, hang on to your hats!

It's not particularly physics, it's primarily a culture thing.

John Farley said it 6 months ago in http://www.pprune.org/tech-log/41992...ml#post5791913.

The discussion goes on from there. Hurt's Aerodynamics for Naval Aviators is quite clear on the theme:
Originally Posted by Hurt, AfNA, p27
Angle of attack is the primary control of airspeed in steady flight
but his examples are unconvincing.

The discussion was not long, and was inconclusive, because to resolve it seems to require numbers which nobody was providing. But the issues are by no means simple.

PBL
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 08:46
  #74 (permalink)  
 
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stepwilk:

Try staying on a glide slope with the yoke alone. That's an argument I'll be delighted to watch.
How about auto-throttles engaged but auto-flight not?
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 08:48
  #75 (permalink)  
 
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make your mind up

So are you lot saying that an apprenticeship is now whats required to enhance safety?

Problem being airlines wont hire from airtaxi / corporate / jet charter as it doesn't fit their business model, they need to start doing to release that position for somebody else to train up.

You'll be a way up the corporate type rating ladder before you get to see an aircraft with VNAV and autothrottle - taken me 10 years! It sort of forces the issue regarding lack of skill as there is nothing to rely on.

I've always said that airline SOP's are not there just for safety's sake but also to account for the lowest common denominator in terms of ability - it appears they have stealthily changed emphasis from the former to the latter.

The great shame is that it will never change going forward.... you grandfathers of the green are wasting your breath, Airlines simply need more children of the magenta lest somebody doesn't get to AGP for a tenner.

What is interesting is that all the loco models are based on the Southwest model who don't entertain cadets or low time captains - we've nobody to blame but ourselves.

Get CTC to approach some Chieftain and Kingair operators - would the newbies cope....I'm not sure they would, they need the rigid SOP's to make it to the line.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 08:52
  #76 (permalink)  
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A simple plea! This thread is about 'Automation' - not the age old stick/throttle discussion.

Before we are all dragged screaming off into pedants' corner, and personal insults start hurtling around yet again, can those arguing about this please **** off somewhere else?

How about 'Private flying', or 'Flying Instructors' or 'Professional Pilot Training'? Plenty of choice.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 11:45
  #77 (permalink)  
 
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BOAC: back on track indeed. The basic tests, LST & LPC, are ancient in todays world. We are allowed, encouraged, to use automatics for an NPA. Not to have 1 available would be a multi-failure on a modern jet. However, the LPC test manoeuvres are similar for many types. Do all smaller pax a/c have multi autopilots? 1 broken = manual approaches.
The only manual manoeuvre is the SE work. That worries me. It is negative training. In a multi-autopilot a/c, with an engine failure, why not fly the approach with the A/P. Managing the automatics in the non-normal scenario is what the real world needs. Are we trained for it, or could mis-managing the auto's be the final piece of cheese that lines up the holes? If we decide that is the way to go it has to come from the top = CAA's. The other solution, if things stay the same, is for companies to give more training/recurrency time in use of automatics in some very strange circumstances. Real training to a proficiency, not a fast pass at 1 secenario quickly followed by another and another, then a tick in the box that recurrency has been satisfied. The airline is responsible for ensuring the OVERALL proficiency of its PILOTS.
If the way forward in testing is to use automatics the way we should in the real world during NNC's, then the opposite should be true and companies would give extra time to develop manual flying skills. Same reasoning as above. In both cases it will cost the airlines time/money so it won't happen.
What about an LPC using automatics and an OPC using manual skills? I still believe the pax expect us to be a safe insurance and get them home safely when the sparks fly; or don't.
Further, given that we seem to agree the future is towards having system operators and less pilots, I'd like to see a complete re-think of airline's personal charateristics for student pilots. They ask for people who will be very over-educated for the tasks involved and probably of different motivation for the future life styles that they will inherit. Causes the wingeing syndrome we are so familiar with. Wrong type of people in wrong places. During an interview for Air Heathrow I was told they did not recruit F/O's, but captains, and not even captains but future managers. Pilot was not in the vocabulary. OK a A380/B747 captain might be more of a cruise liner captain personna than a LoCo B738 captain. Indeed it does require a different personna. Do airlines recruit for that? Not in my opinion. Another major carrier told me they did not require more than 1 experienced pilot on board and that captains flew the a/c and station managers made all other decisions. With ACARS & SAT phones they could always ask for help. Again, a very different enviroment than the F50/EMB135 6 sector a day pilot. Different horses for courses and different training worlds. Some very automated, others verfy basic. The Highlands & Islands type flying needs a different animal to the A380 pilot.
Is there any motivation to change the aviation world, anywhere? I find it sad when I read an airline does not recruit experienced F/O's or non-type rated DEC's. Could this the start of a trend towards cloning their own monkeys? Easier and cheaper, or is it in fact the modern version of all the major carriers (EU) who used to have their own training schools for raw recruits. get 'em young and mold into the way of our church. No bad habits. Brain washed in our mehtods. I still meet ex-major pilots who've spent their whole lives in one cosy nest and believe there is only one way to to do it, and their's is the best.
How long before ATC start flying the a/c and we do really become system monitors? They like to do it now by command. It's worse than being married. Do this, do that and no back chat. Trouble is that sometimes they ask for something which is not appropriate, but I still see Topgun over there get sucked into it and start to wonder if it'll work out OK. There is a hesitation to say, " I, the responsible commander, would prefer to do something else, as from where I sit this is not going to work out comfortably." That's a whole new thread and I'll leave that for another time.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 12:14
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In a multi-autopilot a/c, with an engine failure, why not fly the approach with the A/P.
But in the 737 Classic, the autopilot-flown single engine instrument approach, is neither fish nor fowl. The remaining throttle is operated manually and so are the rudders; while the ailerons and elevators and stab trim are on autopilot. In the simulator for example, we see the situation where the pilot changes the thrust manually to correct a speed trend. In turn, he then has to adjust the rudder position to correct for yaw.

Unless the correct amount of corrective rudder is fed in to counter yaw, the control wheel then turns automatically to hold the ILS localiser. This causes inevitable flight spoiler operation and thus unwanted drag. The whole event can then turn into what is beautifully described as a horses's arse. And that is because of crossed controls.

Even on a single engine autopilot flown circuit, it is not uncommon to see the aircraft turning (say) on to base leg with the PF using the heading select function of the autopilot. Meaning the control wheel turns but if yaw is allowed to occur due to incorrect rudder input it becomes quite interesting to see the control wheel turning in an opposing direction. Aircraft turning left under yaw and wheel turning right trying to correct the yaw due incorrect rudder pressure.

On the other hand a single engine circuit or single engine ILS flown manually throughout, presents no problem to a current and competent pilot because there is no mixing of manual input and autopilot input.

Personal opinion only, of course
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 13:18
  #79 (permalink)  
 
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With regards to the "stay on glideslope without throttles" remark.

We are talking about the last 500 feet I presume? At my base the aim is full idle approaches until approaching the landing gate.
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Old 5th Jan 2011, 13:52
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The accident report of the December 1, 1974, crash of a NWA 727 in New York should be required reading for all of today's active crewmembers. They forgot to turn on the pitot heaters and when "the stuff hit the fan" they got fixated on the bad information to the exclusion of attitude instrument flying.
From ATERPSTER (Post # 4)
The accident report can be downloaded here: http://www.fss.aero/accident-reports...4-12-01-US.pdf

I had an eerie feeling when I looked up the crash site on GOOGLE Earth, there is still a large clear area...



Makes you more humble, there is absolutely no substitute for the basics.

Last edited by Melax; 5th Jan 2011 at 14:03.
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