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AF447 final crew conversation - Thread No. 1

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AF447 final crew conversation - Thread No. 1

Old 7th Feb 2012, 14:14
  #1241 (permalink)  
 
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So what is being said is that there is a doubt that the co-pilot flying the leg as acting Captain may not have had the correct licence or qualifications to fly this aircraft?
Is it possible that the PIC (Bonin) at the time of the accident was not qualified?
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Old 7th Feb 2012, 15:28
  #1242 (permalink)  
 
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Is it possible that the PIC (Bonin) at the time of the accident was not qualified?
In the aviation business all is possible .. even faked licenses (that's few discussions about in this forum)
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Old 7th Feb 2012, 16:12
  #1243 (permalink)  
 
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As far as I know, there is no question that Bonin was suitably qualified. It is covered by both the BEA report and by various contributors to these threads who included both present and retired airline captains.

What I and others have wondered, to which it is unlikely that any answer will ever be forthcoming, is why the commander left it until he was about to depart from the cockpit for his rest period before he sought confirmation from Bonin that the latter was indeed so qualified.

Unless somebody has evidence to directly challenge the investigation into licensing that BEA conducted, there appears to be really no reason to continue to cast doubt on this.
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Old 7th Feb 2012, 17:20
  #1244 (permalink)  
 
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We are approaching the day of automation where aircraft will not have qualified pilots in the cockpit. Unfortunately AF447 is the best example of this so far.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 00:35
  #1245 (permalink)  
 
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Automation and the implications in real (rich) world

We are approaching the day of automation where aircraft will not have qualified pilots in the cockpit.

We need to put automation CAREFULLY in our designs. Keeping in mind the K.I.S.S. principle on the man-machine interface.

IMHO the current approach (and the trend) is dangerous and require much more from the pilots than before.

The timely "understanding" of certain situations is uncertain and this must orientate us seriously.

The "stuck" THS in this case is an example of the complexity of the issue.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 02:23
  #1246 (permalink)  
 
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I don't think it is the captains responsibility to verify the other pilots are qualified. That is the airlines responsibility knowing all three crew members have to leave the cockpit to have legal rest.

Has anyone on this forum ever asked another pilot to verify they are qualified? Didn't think so.

Also saying he was fully qualified but still pulled the SS up into a deep stall because he lost airspeed verifies he wasn't qualified except on paper. A few copilots I flew with were legal but not safe so I never left the cockpit. He sounds like one of them.

We are not in a pilot shortage quite yet so why do we hire incompetent pilots when we have competent ones available? Maybe the pay scale? I knew on my first day on the job I could single pilot the 737 if needed with no problem. Now all that seems important is the bottom line of company profits so pilot ability is not important, just pass the minimum standards.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 02:51
  #1247 (permalink)  
 
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I have a friend in the San Francisco Bay area that is in tune with this that will agree with the need to use pilotage, not automation, to safely fly an airliner.

Sully was a good example of how the Hudson incident was an example of how piloting skills are very important and the automation that day was worthless because it couldn't handle it.

Sully did what all of us should be able to do but if the trend goes to automation and we forget how to really fly the next time will be a disaster.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 03:58
  #1248 (permalink)  
 
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I fully agree with what you are saying. I also believe its not the Captains responsibility to ask if his flight crew are qualified.

I do believe however that Air France and all other airlines have a responsibility and a duty of care to all passengers and their crews to ensure that all personnel flying for them are fully qualified and trained to operate their respective aircraft in all conditions of the flight envelope.

How Air France get this information concerning qualifications of other crew members to their Flight Captains prior to pre-flight briefings is another matter.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 05:55
  #1249 (permalink)  
 
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Sully was a good example of how the Hudson incident was an example of how piloting skills are very important and the automation that day was worthless because it couldn't handle it.

Sully did what all of us should be able to do but if the trend goes to automation and we forget how to really fly the next time will be a disaster.
First of all, the autopilot on US1549 was never engaged, so saying "the automation that day was worthless because it couldn't handle it" is pretty disingenuous.

Secondly, Sully's A320 remained in Normal Law (powered by the APU and RAT) throughout the ditching, with all flight control protections active until splashdown.

Great piloting yes, but he had some help.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 06:48
  #1250 (permalink)  
 
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thehighlander

You are right, but there's also a certification issue. No-one seems to think it odd that it's legal (certified) to have an autopilot that under certain conditions in cruise gives back control of the plane to the pilots. The same conditions in which the pilots are not trained to fly the plane.

It was made worse (probably made fatal) by the crew making no attempt to follow AF's clearly set out procedure for 'unreliable airspeed'.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 10:49
  #1251 (permalink)  
 
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No-one seems to think it odd that it's legal (certified) to have an autopilot that under certain conditions in cruise gives back control of the plane to the pilots.
Are you saying that you think that an autopilot should be designed to remain connected when a key piece of data that it uses to fly the aircraft is no longer available? I sure hope not. Why not suggest that it's okay for the autopillot to continue flying a CAT III approach even when the ILS signal is missing ...
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 11:30
  #1252 (permalink)  
 
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JO, may I suggest that, in response to a problem, you are putting up an Aunt Sally of a wrong solution?


As many have suggested (myself and several better qualified people), what was needed was better training for the eventuality of “Otto” handing it over as it could not cope.


If pilots have no training or practice in hand flying at mach 0.8+, and FL 350+, and none in UAS at such levels, it is not surprising that it can go wrong.


We have also pointed out the poor CRM, lack of adherence to SOP and/or QRF, which to my mind also suggest inadequate training and testing.


AF, and/or the industry, and/or the regulators/ICAO, need to look at these issues and change things for the better.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 14:34
  #1253 (permalink)  
 
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AF, and/or the industry, and/or the regulators/ICAO, need to look at these issues and change things for the better.
Almost 3 years after the accident AF447 .. what are the real changes implemented for cope with those issues ?
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 14:34
  #1254 (permalink)  
 
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JO, may I suggest that, in response to a problem, you are putting up an Aunt Sally of a wrong solution?
I don't have an aunt Sally so I'm not sure what you mean. In any case, I was not disagreeing with the need to ensure that pilots are adequately trained and prepared to handle a situation like that faced by the AF447 crew. But the devil is in the details and to suggest that the autopilot going off was somehow a bad idea is leading to the wrong conclusion, IMHO. If I used a bad example to support my position, then it is what it is.

This entire discussion raises the very complex issue of knowing where your next accident is hiding. For all the talk about SMS and proactive risk management, what is not being addressed adequately is the fact that accidents such as AF447 are difficult to predict, and therefore difficult to prevent proactively. I've been in this business a long time and around Airbus FBW aircraft for close to 20 years, and I would never have envisioned that a pilot would respond to those specific circumstances in the way that he did, nor that once it happened, a crew would be unable to get out of it with over 3 minutes to react. If the investigation doesn't help to determine why this is the case and why it made sense to them at the time, then the outcome will be wholly unsatisfying.

Alas, I fear that we will be left unsatisfied. Instead, what we may be left with is the same problem we've faced for decades, that of having to make "tombstone changes" to the system in response to a bad event. This thread is littered with accusations that this accident was entirely preventable, but I am just not sure that this is a fair analogy.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 16:06
  #1255 (permalink)  
 
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First of all, the autopilot on US1549 was never engaged, so saying "the automation that day was worthless because it couldn't handle it" is pretty disingenuous.

Secondly, Sully's A320 remained in Normal Law (powered by the APU and RAT) throughout the ditching, with all flight control protections active until splashdown.

Great piloting yes, but he had some help.
Regardless of the "laws" he did not splash down with 13 degree ANU either did he? Do you think if that experience was on board AF447 it may have turned out a bit differently? I like to think so. Help or no help, he knows how to fly.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 16:19
  #1256 (permalink)  
 
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Comparing this to Sully's flight

I think it does no good to compare these two flights, even though Cap't. Sullenburger did display great airmanship in the face of no-time-to-think.

Besides the aforementioned A/P issue, Sully had perfect visibility in the daytime, so situational awareness was very good. On AF447, nobody could see nuttin', much less the horizon. Not to say that training wasn't deficient; it clearly was.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 16:49
  #1257 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Organfreak View Post
On AF447, nobody could see nuttin', much less the horizon.
So far, there are no serious suggestions that the IR data 'went topsy-turvy', apart from a few conspiracy maniacs.

So yes, they could see the horizon... it was right in front of them on the instruments.

Suggesting, indirectly, one can't fly at night through the ITCZ unless being VFR, is slighly fatuous, no?
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 17:01
  #1258 (permalink)  
 
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ChristiaanJ typed:
So far, there are no serious suggestions that the IR data 'went topsy-turvy', apart from a few conspiracy maniacs.

So yes, they could see the horizon... it was right in front of them on the instruments.

Suggesting, indirectly, one can't fly at night through the ITCZ unless being VFR, is slighly fatuous, no?
Well sir, though I take great pride in being fatuous at times, in fact I am a master at it, I say, "No!" I only mentioned this fact as a point of comparison between the two flights, AND...it has been oft-mentioned here by people with much greater qualifications than I, that the AF pilots' inability to see the real horizon may have contributed to the lack of situational awareness in the cockpit. Wasn't MY idea! Certainly, they weren't able to "fly at night through the ITCZ unless being VFR." I'll be online all morning awaiting your groveling apology.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 17:19
  #1259 (permalink)  
 
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By "people with much greater qualifications " I suppose you mean people who have qualifications.

In the interest of keeping the repititous character of these threads to a minimum, it might be worth letting those who have qualifications keep their opinions as their own, rather than having those of lesser or no qualifications co-opt and regurgiate them at far too frequent intervals.
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Old 8th Feb 2012, 18:10
  #1260 (permalink)  
 
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I've been in this business a long time and around Airbus FBW aircraft for close to 20 years, and I would never have envisioned that a pilot would respond to those specific circumstances in the way that he did, nor that once it happened, a crew would be unable to get out of it with over 3 minutes to react. If the investigation doesn't help to determine why this is the case and why it made sense to them at the time, then the outcome will be wholly unsatisfying.

Alas, I fear that we will be left unsatisfied.
That's the second tragedy of AF447. The first was the crash itself. The second would be if the lessons that need learning, and then applying, are not. Which would lead to a third tragedy, namely, a similar and preventable crash sometime in the future.

But based on some of the input in four of five extended threads on this topic, crews (in some airlines) seem to be on the receiving end of systems and situation awareness, and even some practical (simulator?) training.

That's a good first step, don't you think?
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