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Airbus trepidation... convince me otherwise!

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Airbus trepidation... convince me otherwise!

Old 7th Jan 2012, 19:26
  #41 (permalink)  
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The only criticism I can level at that comment is that you compared it with a VW Beetle & added "low specification in terms of durability and required build quality"

Excuse me ! ! don't you mean Citroen 2CV ? Beetles beat the sh1t out of Airbi in sturdiness.
Actually, so do 2CV's come to think of it.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 19:41
  #42 (permalink)  
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Monarch Man, I guess I have been giving Airbus too much credit. Thanks for the story.
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Old 7th Jan 2012, 20:49
  #43 (permalink)  
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4000+ TT Airbus 319/20/21
1000 TT B747-200
1000+ TT B747-400

In seven years spent flying the Airbus I could never quite shake the feeling that it was designed by an engineer whose true desire had been to design the pilot out of the equation .

I never was a fan of the non-moving throttles (oops, thrust levers) nor the unconnected sidesticks (are we in gusty wind or is the other guy over-reacting on the controls?) I also disliked the way they rode turbulence: it has been almost five years since I got off the Airbus and got on Boeings, and a couple years ago I began to wonder, why don't I never hit turbulence anymore? Finally, as many have stated, when all is working well Airbuses are fine, but when things go wrong, boy they go really wrong, and it can be quite confusing on a dark night with degraded flight controls and a three-page ECAM.

However many colleagues (good pilots I respect) swear by the "Airbus philosophy" and seem very content to fly nothing else for the rest of their careers. Admittedly the Bus is more comfortable... better ergonomics, great seats, fairly quiet, good air conditioning etc. And if it means a promotion/better base/lifestyle etc, then probably don't think twice about it. Who knows, you might even like it better, there's only one way to find out.

Personally I still love that (small) part of our job that is intimately knowing exactly what attitude to set for a given weight/speed, gently placing the aircraft there, setting the correct thrust, trimming the control forces out, and then observing that airspeed and altitude settle nicely and behave exactly as you planned. On the Airbus, I had lost these small pleasures...

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Old 8th Jan 2012, 05:43
  #44 (permalink)  
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@Rick777 - correct answer. Airbus design seems to be too smart by half. Automation that is counter intuitive to actual input is probably automation too far. How did we get to the Moon and back and survive without all of that Airbus automation? We got to the Moon and back because we didn't have no Airbus automation.

Real pilots, I could imagine, want real control, and tactile feedback from their ship. Flying 300 passengers and cabin crew anywhere is not a game.
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Old 8th Jan 2012, 08:09
  #45 (permalink)  
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Automation that is counter intuitive...
Example - you lost a donk after an assumed temp TO. At 3rd
segment you level off. You notice the performance is lousy so
you shove the throttles up to TOGA with the final flap yet to
be retracted...

In a Boeing: The plane accelerates faster, remaining in level
flight as one would expect it to do.

In a Scarebus: Bloody thing goes into GA mode because now
you are out of SRS with flap still out and selected TOGA!

Damn idiotic Frog thinking. The Progress page has "EO clr" so
the box knows you're on one engine. So why can't the bloody
flt guidance circuitry know the same shit?

BTW do you (lucky) Boeing blokes know that this damn thing
CAN'T track a VOR radial? You got a LOC button, but no VOR
or VOR/LOC ones.

If Apollo 13 had've been designed by AI, I tell you now Lovell
and Co would be still orbiting the Moon.
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Old 8th Jan 2012, 08:56
  #46 (permalink)  
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BTW do you (lucky) Boeing blokes know that this damn thing
CAN'T track a VOR radial? You got a LOC button, but no VOR
or VOR/LOC ones.
I thought that the ability to navigate with VOR radial info was a prerequisite for IFR clearance.
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Old 8th Jan 2012, 09:03
  #47 (permalink)  
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Well the 757 / 767 / 777 and probably the 787 cannot track a radial either. You simply
'build the radial' on the legs page and track it in LNAV.

Not that I am any fan of the Airbus !
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Old 8th Jan 2012, 09:21
  #48 (permalink)  
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I thought that the ability to navigate with VOR radial info was a prerequisite for IFR clearance.
Things have moved on a bit since since Loran, Consul, and VOR radials.
Air Bus have 3 IRS position updated by twin GPS receivers or DME/DME.
You can "navigate with VOR radial info" using RNAV and display the VOR radial for cross checking purposes.

As previous posters have said, whether it's Air Bus or Boeing - they have different solutions to certain aviation problems. e.g. :
The Boeing has a vicious nose up couple when applying TOGA thrust during the GA from a low powered approach - which can catch the unwary out.
On the Airbus, the unwary can easily get caught out with TL / auto thrust mismanagement.

Get to know and understand your aircraft.
If you get left behind - who's fault is that really?
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Old 8th Jan 2012, 10:23
  #49 (permalink)  
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@Stilton, really? no VORLOC button? He was talking about basic nav, i know the 737 can do that, would have thought the other boeings can do that as well?
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Old 8th Jan 2012, 11:30
  #50 (permalink)  
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I must say that i am getting a bit bored by this continued discussion if Boeing is an Airbus is not a "pilots" airplane.
First NO airliner ist a pilots airplane. Its the airlines airplane !
Second a cocpit is a place where you work. Ideally in a professional way.
Third if you want to be a real pilot in a real airplane buy yourselve a glider.

As a office the Bus is a much better working environment.
It begins with the traytable. No not for eating, but for paperwork and checklist work.

As for the B. "philosophy" to build a FBW aircraft and then STILL put a macho device between your knees for wich you need to introduce technological crutches like artificial feel units is complete beyond me.
Rather childish.
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 00:08
  #51 (permalink)  
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But by definition, isn't ALL airbus feel artificial?
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 00:57
  #52 (permalink)  
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Well the 757 / 767 / 777 and probably the 787 cannot track a radial either. You simply 'build the radial' on the legs page and track it in LNAV.
It's been a long time, but recall with certainty that the early 767s I flew would track an actual VOR radial, albeit with a bit of wandering.
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 05:00
  #53 (permalink)  
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There is tracking an actual radial from a VOR and tracking a
radial inserted in the box (then NAV'd or LNAV'd).

Some radials aren't perfect and have their minor twists and
turns. Suppose one steam-driven is inbound to a beacon and
one with a FMC outbound (flight phase immaterial), and both
are given radials to maintain minimum lateral separation.

If I'm given a radial by ATC to track in or out with min sep in
the equation then I'll use it. (eg KCH VOR in Malaysia is one I
recall with a few bends in radials within the Western sector).
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 11:07
  #54 (permalink)  
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Six months Airbus 320/319 (500 hrs), 5000 hrs 737 300/700, 3500 hrs 146-200 (round dials), 2000 hrs Westwind (Business jet)

But why does Airbus "auto-trim"? As a pilot I **WANT** to trim out the forces myself - so that I am in concert with what I want the airplane to do. When I put my 757 in a bank, I trim slightly nose up and it's exactly how I've flown for 20+ years.

I don't **WANT** autotrim, as it removes me from control that much more. I want to know where my trim is at all times. Is there any way to disconnect the autotrim and keep 100% "hands on" operation?
There is a confusion that the airbus control system is designed as under a philosophy for pilots - which is rubbish, of course. The airbus side stick models were designed to be cheaper - cheaper to build, cheaper to operate (less weight in the control system), and everything else flows from that as a matter of course. The side stick thus doesn't have reverse engineered motion or artificial feel (because it would cost money to include that).

That means that it feels the same to pull back the stick at 150 knots as it does at 450 knots - it follows then that you cannot allow a direct stick-to-elevator relationship as the aircraft would be too easy to overstress. Thus stick position relates to G (because it's cheaper). Same for the aileron control.

As the stick relates to G, you then need auto-trim - so that was included.

With no stick movement, there's no stick push - hence the Airbus low speed protection. With no speed trim you need the Airbus high speed bias etc etc.

With so little feedback, you have to force concentration onto the FMA's so you call EVERY change. You talk your self to death on an Airbus - I have said "check" more in the last six months that the previous 10 years.

As the power levers use the top third of the range of motion for the TOGA, Flex/MCT and Climb stops, and the bottom third for the reverse thrust area, there is only the middle third for manual thrust control - which makes manual thrust very sensitive - so few people use it.

The point is - everything "Airbus" flowed from a manufacturing philosophy, not from a "better handling" or "safer" philosophy. The airbus is rubbish to fly by hand - but Airbus never cared that that would be the case, they only cared that it was good enough for it to be certified.

Everything else is marketing. The marketers sold the (rubbish, and dangerous) idea "you can't stall an airbus".

In terms of operating it:
- The seats are about the same as the Boeing IMO.
- The space is nicer (larger and cleaner).
- The table is OK - I never noticed the lack in the Boeing, but I DO notice the lack of chart space in the Airbus (as the table needs to be stowed for landing).
- I HATE the cold feet problem on longer flights in the Airbus.
- I seriously dislike having to call engineering on the phone around once every 20 sectors or so (once a working week!) to organise a computer or system reset.
- the Boeing FMC was faster and easier to use and better in calculating performance.
- the map display in the Boeing was better (you can show airports AND constraints at the same time!), not that that is anything to write home about compared to current cockpit displays.
- as the Airbus is rubbish to hand-fly, as stated above - you'd rather be in a 737 rather than an A319/20 on a gusty high crosswind day.
- I am honestly surprised that the manuals in the Airbus were certified, they are THAT bad.
- Engine failures in the sim in the Airbus are much easier, as the autopilot is available for almost the entire exercise.
- Cat IIIb is better than Cat IIIa (I know it's an option on the 737).

I don't care enough to change my job over it, though.

Last edited by Checkboard; 9th Jan 2012 at 11:17.
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 11:56
  #55 (permalink)  
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Hi Checkboard,

32 years Boeings & Lockheed, 7 years A319/20.

Spot on!
+ what is PF doing with the controls when I'm close to the ground?
+ ECAM is like trying to read a newspaper through the letterbox.
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 12:03
  #56 (permalink)  
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Indeed - agree with those two as well.

I prefer the Boeing QRH to ECAM. At least you can flick through the QRH on the Boeing on long sectors for easy revision, and choose which checklist to run first on complex failures.

ECAM prevents both of those, and having some checks on paper, and some on ECAM is a pain, and makes a mockery of the ECAM philosophy.
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Old 9th Jan 2012, 12:38
  #57 (permalink)  
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Checkboard, nice analysis. Spot on I think.

To those who continue to claim that the Bus flys like a normal airplane: you must not know how a normal airplane flys.

With all that said, I lift a 320 off the ground 40 to 60 times a month and I don't feel unsafe doing so.

Last edited by TTex600; 9th Jan 2012 at 12:39. Reason: Spelling
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Old 10th Jan 2012, 01:49
  #58 (permalink)  
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Training is everything

An argument used to support unusual, or perhaps incorrect ways of doing things, particularly with AB aircraft, is “with sufficient training everything will be alright”. While this is ultimately true it does have practical limitations. You can design an aircraft where you push the stick forward to go up and pull the stick back to go down and providing sufficient training is done everything will be OK. You can label the “fuel dump” switch the “undercarriage” switch and providing the appropriate training is done and systems are in place to prevent accidental operation of the wrong switch everything will be OK.
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Old 10th Jan 2012, 02:21
  #59 (permalink)  
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AA73, in anaswer to your original post - and ignoring the A vs B responses which were invevitable!

I transitioned from B to A, but with no trepidation - I decided and forced myself to approach the course with an open mind. My advice to you is to do the same. As are diffferent to Bs, some bits are better on As, some worse. What you must do is resist the temptation to think "I wish the A has what I'm used to on the B" because this will just make the task harder.

Unfortunately, the A gets a lot of bad press from the B fans, especially in the USA - perhaps because it's not American. And a part of your experience will be how the aircraft is introduced into service. My compay has been flying As for years. About five years ago, we were bought by a larger company which has As, but was traditionally more a B company. We knew the A wasn't poplular there with comments such as the Airbus course being the Boeing appreciation course being common. When they forced their SOPs onto us, we found out why - they were trying to fly their As like 747 Classics. Gradually, we've got rid of their SOPs and are back to (almost) pure A SOPs. If you have any influence on policy in your company, I strongly suggest you advocate using the Airbus SOPs and forget any other manufacturer's procedures.

The A philosophy is different to B's. Accept it and operate the A the way Airbus Industrie intended. You will get far more out of it, and like me, may come to appreciate it. Having done this, I've come to like the A more than the B.
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Old 10th Jan 2012, 04:28
  #60 (permalink)  
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Flew with an FO years ago new to the 757/767. He keep complaining how he liked the 727 better. Another complaint was - "it should be right here, I shouldn't have to go look for it." Funny, but the 727 never provided that information(that point was lost on him).

If was funny as heck, sad actually, to watch him pull out his high altitude charts, switch from MAP to VOR, and start dialing in radials as I flew across the country in LNAV - "how do we know where we are if we don't do it this way? The VOR's aren't the VOR's we're navigating off of."

He wanted to fly the return leg in heading select while tracking the VOR manually. So off we go, in LNAV, while he's dialing up VOR frequencies and radials - "Xxx, it would be easier if you'd try to understand it instead of fighting it the whole time."

Last edited by misd-agin; 10th Jan 2012 at 04:30. Reason: added sentence
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