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Airbus trepidation... convince me otherwise!

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Airbus trepidation... convince me otherwise!

Old 7th Jan 2012, 00:56
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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The Airbus cockpit is a dream and systems management is just about as simple as it can get. Coming into the type course from Boeing and McDonnell Douglas experience, I was skeptical of the Airbus fly by wire system, but came to appreciate the sophisticated and elegant implementation.

There will be times you'll be asking yourself "what the hell is it doing now?". Any long-time driver (not I) can attest to this being an occasional annoyance. It is something I've been told you adjust to. I have also been advised one eventually learns to "trust, but verify" the automatics.

The only areas the A320 comes up somewhat short of the competition from a piloting perspective would be moderate to strong crosswind landings, manual flight in moderate to heavy turbulence and when things electronic go wobbly, all situations best avoided if possible on any type, naturally.

From a trainee perspective, systems coverage is overly simplified and often limited to black-box level breakdowns, heavy on logic flow charts and light on engineering details, but this is an industry-wide dumbing down of recent times and not limited to the Airbus.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 01:02
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not a fan of the unlinked sidesticks or the non-moving throttles that Airbus provides. Visual cues are part of your regular scan. That said I'd fly the Airbus, without hesitation, if it made sense for my seniority.

777, as some posters have said, produces trim changes on it's own(gear, flaps). Talk about nice. 777-300ER and 787-9 will be the same. Every time you click the trim it immediately resets to that speed. One click 'on speed' trim.

If you require having cables, as one poster mentioned, don't bid the 777-200ER, 777-300ER, or 787-9 that AA has on order. FBW.

F-16, F-18, F-22, F-35, etc, etc all have auto trim. Before your time but guys that hadn't flown F-16's bitched about it back then. It's not an issue today.

Years ago people used to bitch about putting ABS in cars. Next-door neighbor testified in Congress back in the early/mid 1970's trying to get them mandatory. Too much opposition. Trying buying a car without ABS today... And what would they have said about VSC, were the brakes work on their own when they feel like it!?!?

And the pull out table? Also heard AA has received their first STC approval from the FAA for the Airbus a/c....160 lbs table limit instead of the standard 120 lbs.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 01:20
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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misd-agin

Clearly, AA F/As are heavier than French engineers had anticipated!

GF
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 01:25
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by aa73
Is there any way to disconnect the autotrim and keep 100% "hands on" operation?
No, unless you make that call to switch a few flight control computers off ...

do you Airbus folks believe that the lack of "cues" (sticks not moving together, throttles not moving) contributed to the lack of the pilots' SA?
Thrust levers not moving is ok, information is taken directly from the instruments. The thing is that the A/THR disconnect and A/THR re-engagement is less natural and needs practice, regular practice.

Sticks not moving together is definitely a way to lose valuable information for the PNF.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 03:04
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Sorry for the disturbing image, OK465. But, I'm trying figure out why they need to be stressed for 120 lbs; let alone 160. Only explanation I could come up with.

While most pilots want backfeeding of the sidesticks, the engineers I have talked with say that the failure modes are too numerous for certification.

GF
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 03:12
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by CONF iture
Thrust levers not moving is ok, information is taken directly from the instruments.
Maybe OK for you, but "information taken directly from the instruments" is one of my biggest points of concern when flying the Bus.

Quite simply, the eyes can only take in so much at once. The Bus puts far too much emphasis on visual clues at the expense of tactile clues. I spent the better part of the last 25 years flying with moving throttles. I don't have to look at a screen to tell my approximate power setting with moving throttles; with the Bus, I have to consciously focus on the engine instruments. In my opinion and experience, that philosophy forces me to overload my visual receptors and under-uses everything else. At least the Airbus engineers gave us round dials for engine parameters, that helps a bit.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 03:25
  #27 (permalink)  
 
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So to clarify, PFC's automatically positioning the elevator and stabilizer is not auto trim?
During manual flight the PFCs do NOT move the stabilizer in turns.. They temporarily bias the elevators so you don't need back pressure in a turn.

If you hold constant back pressure on the column of a 777, does the aircraft trim that pressure out? If you are using manual thrust and let go of the controls, does it keep the current attitude, which would be the case for Auto trim, or return to it's original trim speed- which would be a speed trim.

It's a matter of definition, but what the 777 has is completely different to the auto trim on an Airbus.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 03:35
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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aa73. As one who's done over 6,000 hours on Scarebus 320s
after cutting one's career teeth on 727s 737s and 747s, all I
can say is - stick to Boeings!

I for one can't wait to get back on 'em.

Why? Number of reasons -

I don't like the philosphy

I want a prong I can grab hold of, not a bloody gamestick

I don't like its confusing dog-dinner manuals (which are still
confusing despite the latest revision).

When everything's honky-dory a Airbus is fine. When the shit
hits the fan though...

I don't like French mechanical thinking. French women booze
and food yes but not Airbuses or French cars.

Boeings are built by geniuses to be flown by idiots. Airbuses
are built by idiots to be flown by geniuses. QED.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 07:05
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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I also have 6000 hours or so on the 320 and I loved it. I have types is all the Boeings from 707 to 777 except the 737 and I have 1000 or so hours in the right seat of it. I have the opposite opinion of slasher. The 320 was designed for third world pilots. That is why they tried to take the pilot out of the loop as much as possible. Slasher is right though in that when things go wrong on the Airbus they really get interesting.
As for the 777, regardless of what you call it, the only time you have to manually trim is for speed changes. About one good click per knot seems to work. The plane takes care of everything else.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 08:21
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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I have heard that before and it is nonsense 'Airbus are designed for 3rd world Pilots'


If First world Pilots cannot understand them, how can those from more 'primitive lands'



It seems like a good fair weather Aircraft, as long as nothing goes wrong.


On the Other hand, in over 20,000 hours of flying around the world in Boeing, and to a lesser extent Douglas products I have never had a moment where I lacked confidence in the Aircraft or were totally confused as to what it was doing.


Boeing simply makes a better product, far more rugged, intuitive and Pilot friendly.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 13:38
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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third world pilot

You guys are hilarious with your new concept of " third world and first world pilots "

pilot from Primitives lands !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

give me a break
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 13:50
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by TTex600
The Bus puts far too much emphasis on visual clues at the expense of tactile clues.
I don't disagree.
In the meantime, it is not because one, two, three, or four throttles will move into a given position (under auto or not) that the output will be what we could expect ... better have a quick glimpse to the dials for confirmation of the normal operation for all.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 13:54
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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intuitive
Yep stilt dead right. One I forgot to include.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 14:21
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by stilton
I have heard that before and it is nonsense 'Airbus are designed for 3rd world Pilots'


If First world Pilots cannot understand them, how can those from more 'primitive lands'
Roger that!

I don't know who the Airbus FBW "protected" aircraft were designed for, but I'll speculate that it was designed for the European trained pilot. That is, minimal flight time (flight time is expensive and highly regulated) combined with maximum book learning and knowledge examination. The American way is just the opposite, you have to prove you could fly the airplane with extensive training and checking, but the book learning was minimal. I once flew with a pilot who took every written exam after taking a weekend "here's the answers" ground school .......but he could fly with the best of us. (Qualification: the US used to be that way, after hearing more and more about the training received by the guy who crashed his Q400 in Buffalo, NY, I have to wonder)

I think the "third world" pilot perception likely came from airline managers who misread the intent of the design.

BTW, I think most of us understand it only as well as we were trained. Someone else posted earlier that the manuals were bad. I concur. The manuals provided to pilots are minimal at best.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 14:29
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by CONF iture
Quote:
Originally Posted by TTex600
The Bus puts far too much emphasis on visual clues at the expense of tactile clues.

I don't disagree.
In the meantime, it is not because one, two, three, or four throttles will move into a given position (under auto or not) that the output will be what we could expect ... better have a quick glimpse to the dials for confirmation of the normal operation for all.
If all hell is breaking lose, why must I divert me attention from the primary flight displays to re focus my over 40 eyes on the engine instruments. When my brain is 100% focused on maintaining control, why must I break that mental focus to redirect my eyes at the engine instruments? In any other airplane I know of, in the same situation, I know without thinking or redirecting my mental focus approximately what power the engines are producing.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 14:56
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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If all hell is breaking lose, why must I divert me attention from the primary flight displays to re focus my over 40 eyes on the engine instruments. When my brain is 100% focused on maintaining control, why must I break that mental focus to redirect my eyes at the engine instruments? In any other airplane I know of, in the same situation, I know without thinking or redirecting my mental focus approximately what power the engines are producing.
There's a solution for that as well: Disconnect A/T and move the throttles yourself, just like you would on a Boeing.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 14:59
  #37 (permalink)  
 
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aa73: Oh no!!! .................not this old chestnut again!!

It reminds me of the furore the invention of the "aileron" caused old Wilber and Orville who were absolutely convinced of the superiority of their "wing warping" system!! (hint: I think "aileron" may be a French term!)
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 15:58
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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TTex600

By taking manual control I was refering to disengaging the autopilot and autothrust (rather than letting the aircraft fly its self into the ground while wondering what the automatics were doing)

I will grant all the Bus fans on the forum that this has recently been done on a Boeing but the crew had to work very hard at it.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 16:15
  #39 (permalink)  
 
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already answered before

Last edited by kbrockman; 16th Jan 2012 at 23:44.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 16:31
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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4400hrs A320/21/330

2500hrs 757/767

1500hrs 777

A few years ago in the process of collecting a new build A320, I had the chance to speak with an airbus flight acceptance pilot in Toulouse over a particularly fine glass of Merlot. I can confirm that his view was that the FBW family of aircraft started with the A320 was borne out of a desire to mitigate the need for thousands of hours of experience, and was in essence the VW beetle for cheap short haul travel.
Nothing I've seen in the time I flew the Aeer Boos changed my mind.
It is an aircraft built to a lower specification in terms of durability and required build quality, it is an aircraft designed to operate with less human input and is thus from the engineers who designed it safer.
It's also worth noting that many of these same very clever engineers were heavily involved with technical response to the Air Inter incident, most allegedly refuse to this day too accept that their clever machine human interface was as fallible as it has proved to be.
In my opinion the 320 family and siblings IS designed for the third world in the sense that it removes the aviating from aviating and so is suitable for low houred, low experienced and less thoroughly trained pilots.
Standing by for in coming
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