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Flying skills

Old 30th May 2011, 15:42
  #21 (permalink)  
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The way I understand it (just an MEP PPL) modern carriers automatically send back to base even the slightest deviations of optimal speeds etc caused by hand flying the latest slippery machines such as the Airbus 320 family.

Such deviations result in a gentle call from the Ops to the PF recommending AP usage or just gently cautioning.

If this is true, such a nudge will stop people hand flying, it breeds a culture of "keeping your head down". In this case doing nothing improves your career development.

The end result will be that once someone becomes Captain, he will have hand flown just a fraction of what a new captain would have flown 20 years ago (and yes, I do accept modern airlines now contain a lot of safety features that work most of the time).

If then flying something like a Seneca, just for fun, is discouraged by company policies, there is no way for such young pilots to gain hand flying experience.

Perhaps all new FO's should be obliged to do a minimum of 500 hours of instruction at a glider or GA club in their spare time before becoming eligible for Captain promotion?
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Old 30th May 2011, 15:50
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Cost is ranked higher then skill.
I was once told an autoland is cheaper the a manually flown landing.
This x thousands of landings a year is less cost for the man upstairs.
Skill is expensive and Airbus heavily promotes automation.
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Old 30th May 2011, 15:58
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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vanHorck

modern carriers automatically send back to base even the slightest deviations of optimal speeds etc caused by hand flying the latest slippery machines such as the Airbus 320 family.

Such deviations result in a gentle call from the Ops to the PF recommending AP usage or just gently cautioning
Don't think you should read that level of pickiness across to all carriers.


"My" outfit, like many, does analyise all flights ( from the data recorder, not datalink) but you'll only get a phone call ( and usually from a Union reps, not management) if you've really "rung a few bells" on a single flight or rung a bell they're particularly interested in that month.....of course OTOH if you've utterly stuffed up

To be honest if I'd had a euro for every time I'd made the slightest deviation from optimal speeds I'd be a millionaire and the union would have a very large phone bill, so I'll stick to my SOP of hand flying whenever it is appropriate.
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Old 30th May 2011, 16:23
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by B2N2 View Post
Skill is expensive and Airbus heavily promotes automation.
Then how do you explain this?

http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/3...ys-airbus.html

There's a big difference between a manufacturer pioneering automation in transport-category aircraft and claiming that the manufacturer is promoting use of automation above all else (which in Airbus's case is flatly contradicted by the above thread and the article that spawned it).

The problem rests with the airlines.
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Old 31st May 2011, 05:14
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Even if you want to make the argument for costs, how do you account for the lost revenue, loss of business, bad image and write offs that one pilot who cannot hand fly an airplane can bring about. After all, it's happened a few times in the last few years.
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Old 31st May 2011, 06:34
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I am sure that bean counter can calculate very precisely the savings based on money saved versus the probability that an accident/incident could occur.

Rwy in Sight
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Old 31st May 2011, 06:46
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I am sure that bean counter can calculate very precisely the savings based on money saved versus the probability that an accident/incident could occur.
Excellent, not sure if it was intentional on your part or not, but you've said that people's lives are expendable, if it saves a penny or two in the long run. Hope I don't ever fly on that airline.
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Old 31st May 2011, 08:56
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Cool It's all up to your airlines' training department!

Originally Posted by vanHorck
The way I understand it (just an MEP PPL) modern carriers automatically send back to base even the slightest deviations of optimal speeds etc caused by hand flying the latest slippery machines such as the Airbus 320 family.
vanHorck, as far as I know only technical problems end ECAM warnings (A320) will be sent to base in most carriers, not deviations of optimal speeds.
Originally Posted by vanHorck
Perhaps all new FO's should be obliged to do a minimum of 500 hours of instruction at a glider or GA club in their spare time before becoming eligible for Captain promotion?
That would be a useless rule! Even though some gliding experience is useful (ref 1) a pilot should practise handflying his airline jet with only raw data. And why would you suggest it only for future captains? Shouldn't the co-pilot be able to handfly and land the beast as well?

In my company it's done like this: Starting in the type-rating sim sessions the F/O's in training are learned to fly the Airbus manually (A/P, F/D & A/THR off) on many occasions whenever the exercise permits it. (And, for training, having one engine out is NOT a good reason to keep the A/P on. ) Then, during base training they'll fly a few touch and go's, again without the automatics. Later on, during the initial line training, they will be asked to fly manual raw data approaches, whenever the conditions permit it. Believe me, once they're fully released on line they'll handfly the A320 pretty well, or ... they won't be released on line.

Unlike many others my company encourages pilots to keep their handflying skills up to date. Most of the time, I don't have to suggest my F/O's to turn the automatics off. they will have asked me before if they can. More often it happens, especially with the newly released kids, that I have to suggest them that it would be wise to fly with the automatics on when the metar warns us about low clouds and moderate visibility or when flying into a busy airport we are not familiar with! It's not they are not smart enough to know that, it's just that they were so used to raw date flying during their training, that using the automatics for approach has become the exception, rather then the rule.

I'll admit that sometimes those new F/O's are not so great in using the automatics. For instance, the first time they have to intercept a G/S from above with the A/P, they will often have a problem. Not amazing, they've trained it once in the sim and then they were expecting it! So confronted to this situation these guys (and girls) will disconnect the A/P when it captures the initial approach alt before the G/S iso using the Airbus procedure for this. (dialling the altitude up and using V/S to get to the G/S.) Oh well, manually intercepting the slope and then re-engaging the A/P gets the job done just as well and it gives me something to talk about during a friendly post-flight debrief.

There is really no excuse for Airlines who forbid their pilots to keep their raw data handflying skills up to date.


(ref 1) I know. I have a few hundred hours of gliding and glider-towing experience!

Last edited by sabenaboy; 31st May 2011 at 13:09. Reason: added the "girls" after the guys to avoid a discrimination lawsuit!
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Old 31st May 2011, 09:18
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by vanHorck View Post
<snip>
Perhaps all new FO's should be obliged to do a minimum of 500 hours of instruction at a glider or GA club in their spare time before becoming eligible for Captain promotion?
500 hours instructing? In their spare time? Ye gods - I guess that's one way of making sure no-one gets to be an FO until they have grey hair.

The only person who gets anywhere near that amount at your average gliding club is the full-time paid instructor. Part-time instructors might do 5 hours a week (at most) for a few months a year - most do far far less, and it would take them 10 or more years to get to 500 hours instructing.

If you asked for a Silver 'C' you might be nearer the mark - a Silver 'C' pilot is someone who is a competent glider pilot able to fly in moderately demanding conditions, who can sustain soaring flight (on the right day!) and with the confidence to go out of glide range of the launch site, and select a field (a good field one hopes) and execute a field landing if necessary.
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Old 31st May 2011, 12:30
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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BJ, I was doing solo spins with 7 hrs total time. I agree as in maintaining your hand flying skills, knowing how to control a skid in a car and spins, we should be in command of what we are operating outside of the norm.
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Old 31st May 2011, 12:45
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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There is really no excuse for Airlines who forbid their pilots to keep their raw data handflying skills up to date.
+1

Totally agree there, and thank god my company still has that in their manuals.
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Old 31st May 2011, 16:32
  #32 (permalink)  
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Of course insurance premiums could come down if a higher % of stable approaches were achieved by a carrier through automated flying only?

Or lower GA leads to reduced fuel cost etc?
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Old 31st May 2011, 17:55
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Most captains in my company are not too comfortable if an FO suggests to fly manual. Manual flying in my experience is very rare and only on nice days. Manual flying practice is for in the simulator. Al data is monitored and if you exceed a limit or a gate while manualy flying you will be contacted by the company. People just don't want to take the risk.

If you don't fly too often manualy, it gets harder when you do. You need more capacity. And that puts people off even more.

However, the airbus has lots of failures that imply the loss of the automation. Manual flying skills will be there, but rusty and will consume a lot of capacity which will be taken away from decision making.

For the company it is off course of interest to collect lots of data indictating that 95% of the approaches are within certain limits and thus get a cheaper insurance bill. This is done through the flight data monitoring systems and I know from colleagues in other companies that they have that too. However, I do have the impression that in some other companies hand flying is more commen, like the example given above.
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Old 31st May 2011, 18:43
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by bobwi View Post
However, the airbus has lots of failures that imply the loss of the automation. Manual flying skills will be there, but rusty and will consume a lot of capacity which will be taken away from decision making.
I don't think that's something unique to Airbus (Airbii?). In terms of autoflight (something entirely separate from FBW), most modern Western airliners tend to be flown using the automatics from noise abatement to final approach. This is true whether you're occupying the seat in a Boeing/MD/Embraer/Avro or an Airbus.

I have it on good authority that when one switches autoflight off on the FBW Airbus models, they tend to hand-fly rather well.
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Old 31st May 2011, 21:54
  #35 (permalink)  
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Of course insurance premiums could come down if a higher % of stable approaches were achieved by a carrier through automated flying only?
Aviation insurance underwriters will only be looking at the actuarial evidence. If, by using automatics, you avoid accidents then you are only doing what your insurers expect of you, if you have accidents then your premiums will increase. Underwriters are very loath to tell operators how they should operate, that is not their skill.
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