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AF 447 Thread No. 12

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AF 447 Thread No. 12

Old 9th Nov 2014, 14:51
  #761 (permalink)  
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Re, "and try to figure why one airline does this and one airline does that."

Now that's a question.

In a word, the manufacturer has no actual authority over what airlines do with their airplanes or how they fly them. The manufacturer writes what it considers the operating procedures for their product. Airlines are free, within a country's regulations, to change the procedures as they wish. They are of course accountable for such changes but the notion of "accountable" is often freely interpreted.

Most stick to "the book" and make small modifications. Some increase "guidance", and some simplifiy it. Line flying proves the procedures and it's why at an airline these things never stay the same...change is the only constant at most carriers, as learning from incidents and even accidents takes place.

Practically speaking however, an airline isn't free to radically alter the manufacturer's operating instructions, not, at least, without placing itself at risk should something occur. But some crazy things do emerge from airline folks who believe they know best...

Individual incidents and seeing how such incidents enable change is interesting enough and well understood within the industry but it's well worth finding some of the authors known for producing good work on flight safety to understand how the process works; for example, Charles Perrow, Sidney Dekker, Tony Kern, Robert Helmreich, Earl Weiner, the publications of the Flight Safety Foundation, the NTSB, (look up NTSB Docket). Such work has been used in the healthcare industry and also in medicine in recognizing that "human factors" aren't limited to only one industry which has risk associated with it.

At times, some modifications by one carrier might not make clear sense to another, or to many others. But the requirement to conform closely either to others or to the OEM SOPs doesn't exist even as the results may themselves be similar.

Such modifications are often positive, as many airlines have more experience operating a manufacturer's aircraft than the manufacturer does - the manufacturer must get the product certified according to standards already discussed here and elsewhere. The airlines must teach its pilots to operate the airplane safely and within the regulatory environment.

TurbineD;

Re, "Information was available to airbus pilots explaining UAS as resulting from pitot tube icing starting with the A-300-600:"

Absolutely correct.

I see now that even the QRH UAS memory item in the above drill to increase pitch to 5 when above FL100 is being questioned and instead indicating that no change in pitch and power should occur during the drill.

However, the "do nothing, maintain pitch and power" response by the crew was already in place in some flight crew training manuals and presentations which provided instructions on how to handle the procedure when the "safe conduct of the flight is not impacted", which it is not in stable, level flight at cruise altitude.

As you know I've maintained from the time we knew what transpired that the UAS drill was confusing and misleading if followed "precisely" - but thirty other crews knew what would happen to the airplane and it made no sense whatsoever to pitch the airplane up at all...just keep doing what it was doing prior to the failure of the pitot, and, as you point out, the airspeed information returns to normal, (as AF447's did, within about 50"). I subsequently found the Airbus presentation cited below which makes this clear.

First, from a number of FCTMs:

->>>>>> enlarged printing ->>>




From an Airbus presentation in 2006 on the UAS issue:

->>>>>>>>>from the same document->>>>>>>

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Old 11th Nov 2014, 17:14
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Originally Posted by Winnerhofer
SR111 is an interesting comparison with AF447.
SR111 went by the book whilst AF447 forgot the book yet both ended in tragedy.
Knowing what you can ignore is as almost as important as knowing what you need to pay attention to.
Hmm... I think while there's a general point to be made there, I'm not sure about the specifics.

As I understand it, the deal with SR111 was that "the book" was inadequate for purpose. Not in the same sense as AF447, where it appears AF were somewhat lackadaisical about passing Airbus's UAS addenda on to crews - but from the very beginning at MD. (emphasis mine) :

Originally Posted by SR111 Report Section 2.7.3
A review of several checklists showed a lack of emphasis on treating any amount of smoke in an aircraft as a serious fire threat. For example, neither the Swissair nor the McDonnell Douglas Smoke of Unknown Origin Checklist stipulated that preparations for a possible emergency landing should be considered immediately when smoke of unknown origin appears. Rather, on both versions, the reference to landing is the last action item on the checklist. Similarly, the Swissair guidance provided to flight crews was that the aircraft was to land at the nearest emergency airport if smoke of unknown origin was "persistent."
If I recall correctly, I think it did become something of a moot point because at the rate the fire propagated, even if they'd gone for a straight-in at Halifax when the smoke first appeared, they would not have had enough time to make it to the runway.

The crucial difference between SR111 and AF447 is that the former crew were faced with an aircraft which was going to depart controlled flight anyway - and quickly - due to the fire damage, whereas AF447's crew had an aircraft which - despite a transitory problem - was quite capable of staying in the air with little or no crew interference.
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Old 14th Nov 2014, 08:38
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Originally Posted by DozyWannabe
If I recall correctly, I think it did become something of a moot point because at the rate the fire propagated, even if they'd gone for a straight-in at Halifax when the smoke first appeared, they would not have had enough time to make it to the runway.
A few years ago, there was a guest article in AeroSafetyWorld by a smoke/fire/fumes expert who tried several diversion scenarios in an MD-11 simulator. He more or less consistently achieved a safe landing at Halifax about 5 minutes before the time when the real aircraft struck the water. Or in other words, about the same time when their various systems started failing. Draw your own conclusions.

http://www.flightsafety.org/asw/oct0...16-17.pdf?dl=1
http://www.tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-re...ghtprofile.jpg

I hate fire.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 01:14
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Do not know how this is getting on this thread.

One crew knew they had a problem and did their best ( up to/ me, I would have tried to land ASAP and screw the dumping then take chances skidding off other end of the runway.) Other crew could not comprehend that the jet would fail to protect them. At the end, one dude said they were trying to climb and the plane was not responding. Duh.......

Many of us on this forum have had bad things happen to our jets. The big lesson is to know as much as you can about the plane and do not do something stoopid. The poor folks on the Swiss jet did not appreciate how bad and how fast the electrical fire would proceed.

The one crash that touches my soul is the ValueJet prang. Sheesh. Control cables burning out, fumes in cockpit and pax cabin, and ....... Oh well.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 16:16
  #765 (permalink)  
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Hi gums;

The thread went this way because someone compared the AF447s crews' actions with SW111's.

Your post clarifies the difference between hindsight bias and understanding what actually went on in the cockpit of SW111.

I think it is important for some here to understand that the question itself, (Could they have made Halifax?), is natural enough and a good one to ask but that it is important to distinguish between the question and a creeping hindsight bias regarding the SW111 crew and their actions.

There really is no meaningful comparison between the two which can teach us something. But the opportunity to discuss why I think this is so can and does provide some lessons.

First, the Canadian TSB's Report into the Swissair 111 accident is one of the finest investigative reports ever written. It sets a gold standard for how such reports should be done, and is well worth reading or re-reading.

Second, the Swissair crews' actions did not occur in a vacuum. There is a great deal of industry history behind the the actions the SW111 crew took. We can't even isolate the question without limiting ourselves to understanding the lessons that the accident ultimately had to teach the industry.

Some history...

From very early on (introduction of the jet transport in the late 50's), when smoke in the cockpit occurred, the drill was for "Smoke of Unknown Origin". After donning O2 masks etc., the "Smoke of Uknown Origin" drill for the DC8 and on other types was to troubleshoot, not land asap.

For the '8, we shut of one generator at a time to see if the smoke abated. The drill might take fifteen minutes. Then we'd do the air conditioning smoke drill if that didn't "work". Later, the drills were given a starting decision point regarding the "kind" of smoke...electrical or air conditioning, (essentially, was it arcing or oil sourced?...).

No crew ever thought to land the airplane first - or at least if they did and survived, it was certain that the first question asked would be, "Did you go through the smoke drill?". I know of at least one case where upon smelling smoke of unknown origin a crew did descend first and land. The company involved disciplined the captain for his actions - (gee, could it have had to do with embarrassing the company?). It turned out that the smoke was from one of the crewmember's cigarette butt that had dropped off and was smouldering on his seatbelt, (does anyone here remember when everyone smoked on board?!...even those in the "non-smoking" section?)...I can recall the cockpit blue with smoke while crossing the Atlantic - cigars, cigarettes, pipes. The nicotine stain was not only on many fingers, it was a long, brown streak along the fuselage behind the pressurization outlet door. Maintenance said many of the pressurization problems they had to deal with were with the sticking of these doors from the nicotine "goo" in the linkage...more history.

That was then and now is now. That needs to be understood by some, before coming to some conclusions. ;-)

Today, no crew in their "right minds" would hesitate to descend and land the airplane first. But that industry mentality only changed, and slowly, as a result of Swissair 111. The drill is to Land ASAP, while donning masks in the cockpit, (the masks are generally not deployed in the cabin), descending, and possibly troubleshooting on the way down.

You're absolutely right about "know the airplane", and that too has a history, and a sad one in my view. The value of "knowing", vice button-pushing automation has yet to be fully understood.

To return attention to AF447's crew and the thread topic, I think there is more in common between them and the crew of Colgan's Flight 3407 Q400 accident crew at Buffalo, N.Y. The First Officer was pretty new but, like all new pilots, hadn't been mentored into the profession but simply passed the checkrides and had the licenses. Mentoring is expensive, difficult to measure and therefore difficult to implement and sustain because the attitudes of airline managements at the time, partly driven by tremendous economic uncertainties and partly through ignorance, (no airline manager reads accident reports...it seems to be "against the religion"), considered the bare minimum qualification standards as acceptable. In both accidents, there are good reasons to say that this is not true.

Neither the F/O at Colgan nor the F/O's at Air France really "knew their stuff" and it wasn't entirely their fault. As I have written on the original threads, the Colgan F/O was "an innocent", earning US$16,000 a year, who's airline and who's captain in this case failed her in "bringing her along" in the profession. I don't think this is too broad a brush when it comes to adapting to the changes that have occurred to the profession since the early 70's. In many ways our knowledge of human factors is far better than then, but the citing of such factors in accident reports hasn't been able to change the industry.

The industry had shifted its attitudes towards pilots and pilot training and particularly the profession itself of which pilot associations were very slow to guard and sustain.

The pay and the status of "airline pilot" had plummeted (and is still there, where the industry put it), and people naturally respond to how they are treated. Sullenberger certainly understood the problem and said so to Congress soon after the Colgan accident, (but before AF447).

These days, how many, and how often do airline pilots hit the books in their free time? How many actually have the time to do so? How many regularly seek out and read accident reports? How many could carry on a discussion on basic aerodynamics, of high altitude flight, of the complexities of weather, of human factors and the realities of automation? How many are encouraged by "their elders" to do all this?

All this is in keeping with how a profession is defined - by expectations of self-governing behaviour, by a constant learning and by upholding standards in the face of those with different agendas and goals for your profession.

"Change is the only constant", is one way to assess how the commercial air transport industry treats flight crews; but the industry must also acknowledge that the principles of aviation, in terms of staying alive, do not change. I sense the industry has turned the corner on this but it has a long way to go, including attracting a steady stream of good candidates and teaching them well.

I think that is the historical lesson of AF447 and of Colgan. I think SW111's lessons are now well understood and already incorporated into the industry's and flight crews' collective mentality.

Sorry for the long post.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 18:43
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How many could carry on a discussion on basic aerodynamics, of high altitude flight, of the complexities of weather, of human factors and the realities of automation? How many are encouraged by "their elders" to do all this?
Discussion like in another time

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Old 16th Nov 2014, 18:52
  #767 (permalink)  
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WH;

Paying flight crews what any highly-skilled professional is paid does not make for "safer" operations.

What paying well does do however is attract those with the passion, the capacity, the talent, the discipline, and the resources to put into such a profession.

Our profession must compete with other professions which require similar capabilities from their new candidates and entrants. The medical and engineering professions are closely related to the profession of airline pilot in that they all have great capability to do real harm when not done well.

Although some may argue the case, the legal, education and dentistry professions require similar capabilities but do not have the same risks tightly-associated with poor work by the incapable or the incompetent.

I am by no means convinced that the MCP license and cadet programs are the answer. Though it may be effective on the surface, cookie-cutter thinking isn't a survival tool in aviation, it is a counter-liability tool first. Standards have degraded because most of the original problems associated with high-risk and high accident rates have been conquered. The naive thinking is that less skill is required thereby. Aviation is disproving that belief. After the dramatic drops in fatal accident rates and hull losses in the 50s, 60s and early 70s, the accident rate today remains steady though extremely low. The argument has been that if the percentage remains the same, then an increase in traffic is going to increase the number of fatal accidents and that isn't good enough.

Some companies are sufficiently enlightened to start flight crew remuneration back up to previous levels to attract a still-dwindling pool of suitable aircrew candidates. Others are going to have to settle for second-best and worse, unless the profession is made more attractive to those who would take their skills, talent and intelligence elsewhere.
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 20:23
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while we're off-topic somewhat

Ahhhh, I missed Galland by a few days when reporting in at Hill AFB in June of 1979 to join the first F-16 squadron in the world. He was touring with a Brit that had flown in the Battle of Britain. He signed our bar in the rec room and we used his quote for our official picture done by the Waki brothers - The Spirit of Attack. " Only the spirit of attack born in a brave heart will bring success to any fighter aircraft no matter how highly developed it may be."

see: Spirit of Attack

As romantic as Galland's quote may sound, I am convinced that it applies to commercial pilots as well. We all became "system monitors and users" as the technology marched on, but the end game always depended upon our personal skill, knowledge, judgement and "hands". We few at the leading edge of technology in the military saw it sooner than the commercial folks. We adapted and we changed our instruction of new pilots. I was there as an IP from the WW2-like A-37 training squad to the A-7D and then the F-16. Helluva ride, gotta tellya.

I cried reading the reports of the ValueJet fire and the Swiss crash and the cargo fire in the sandbox. Then I recall my buddy's crash at Cali almost 20 years ago. The AF 447 debacle really hit a strong vibe, and I began to worry about the crews as much as the aircraft in some respects.

I am glad to see some changes in the emergency procedures and some emphasis upon the "boldface" that we military folks memorized. You know, "fire light", "engine stalls", "system "x" fails" and so on.


@PJ

One thing we learned early in the Viper was not to be a test pilot ( although we all "were" and discovered new and exciting things the engineers and such never imagined, heh heh). In other words, no trouble shooting, but get the jet on the ground ASAP. We had the first CVR and flight data recorders and such. So the folks on the ground could look at the data and fix things even if we punched out.

I am not disturbed so much about the pay scale for the newbies. I never thot the senior pilot pay should have been so high, but I have to look at the "responsibility" those folks have with a coupla hundred folks depending upon them ( and then we see Asiana, gasp).
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Old 16th Nov 2014, 20:35
  #769 (permalink)  
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gums, re "senior" money, it tops out at around US$150,000 to $200,000 after about 25 years in. Bottom guys and gals are making between US$16k and $75k in the right seat, bit more in the left. An airline pilot may make around US$160k in the left seat of a B767/757 - (perhaps someone who knows for sure can chime it). You certainly can't raise a family on that kind of money at the lower end - it's not as though these pilots aren't already veterans, earning that kind of money. With student debt for the degree, the cost of licences and endorsements and putting the hours in, there's simply no return on the US$100,000+ investment to be qualified to land a first real job with a connector carrier. I believe it's slowly changing but the numbers make no sense whatsover to go through what it takes to become an airline pilot.

If you take a look at any CEO of a US$250m corporation and the liability that rests with one man in terms of potential losses, I think the salaries were commensurate and realistic. However, the prospects of good money and decent conditions are few and far between; and most carriers are working the ass off their crews, paying lip-service to fatigue risk management.

Today, pro hockey players, football players and basketball players each collect more in a couple of weeks work than almost all pilots make in a year. Brand new teachers and brand new nurses make more in their first year.

Not everyone can be a sports pro, but not everyone can fly either.

I'm not "negotiating for pilots" of course, I'm describing a phenomenon: It is what it is, and airlines will have to deal with the consequences of how they've treated the piloting profession. I'm retired. Thankfully, and I had a trememdous run and am watching things like AF447 happen needlessly.

Actually, it doesn't matter what any of us think because we were all told by senior managements at the time that we're worth what the "market" will pay. Well, that "market" is slowly starting to change in a few places because young people ain't coming into the profession any more, they're taking their skills and going into law, government, politics or becoming one o'those wealthy one-percenters who get multi-million dollar bonuses no matter if they fail or not. Nice gig; we all know what happens when an airline pilot "fails"...CEOs get bonuses, pilots get a funeral.

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Old 19th Nov 2014, 14:27
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PJ2
Once again I admire your posts, in particular No. 925 above. I have just been talking to an old flying colleague (Yes, I know we are both probably silly old farts) but it is most depressing to see what is happening in the profession today. You have hit the nail on the head! Thank you.
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Old 21st Nov 2014, 07:45
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PJ2
very good post and add two small snippets
Swissair had a cockpit fire out of MUN? a few years before SR111...they did a smart 180 and landed "blind" downwind having successfully sorted the problem out...which was incredibly obscure...short cct in the emergency power switch in the overhead panel...the skipper (a mate) walked around for the next couple of weeks wearing a bandage from the burn.
Whilst SR111 crew were "knocked" by other pilot groups having flown for BEA/BA(old BOAC) and SR I can honestly say the level of training and professionalism was way above my old employers. I flew 100 sectors on the DC9 with another copilot during my line training..far more than the combined total of my first two aircraft.
They also paid for their expertise.

Attended a presentation this week and over dinner was seated opposite a guy heavily involved in training ab initio pilots...relevant to the thread his first "flippant" comment was along the lines of "shag Fest" (447) (the crew were tired before they commenced their duty as highlighted on french TV).
His next peach was when he was CFI of a training organisation for a flag carrier a group of management and lawyers descended upon him and made huge cuts to the training program "because the authority doesn't require these subjects testing"..which he was forced to go along with;
and that FR reject over 50% of their applicants because their training hasn't been up to scratch.
An industry being forced to cut costs whilst the aviation authorities do nothing about training standards.
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Old 21st Nov 2014, 16:19
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Bergerie1;

Thank you for your response. How the present situation will resolve is anyone's guess but at present rates of intake for young pilots, something has to give...either growth, or the accident rate. A "cadet" system only works when there is a larger system in place, with a history, to teach newcomers the ropes. The alternative without any such apprenticing/mentoring, (unpopular terms these days, I know), is newbies in the cockpit who don't know what they don't know, re-learning old lessons anew with people in the back.

In some quarters, the conversation regarding these points has begun, and more broadly I sense a population fed up with the present disparity between those who have access to a multi-trillion dollar U.S. economy and the far more vast numbers who do not and who are shut out of the promise of a vibrant economy.

The sources of our own industry's present problems may be found in these larger matters, but I'll stay on-topic.

blind pew;

A couple of comments if I may. First, thank you for your comments.

We dwell in a technical milieu in which attitudes towards experience may be contrasted with the more technical notions surrounding "accreditation". In short, one is "qualified" if one has done "the training" and "has the licence", regardless of what one actually knows or what one can actually do both in terms of quantity of work and quality of work.

The latter two, (quality and quantity of work and knowledge), are assumed by those examining the formalities of training such as licences, diplomas, certificates, degrees and awards, all of which are supposed to represent "the back room" work done to achieve such formalities. It is an assumption which, like most assumptions, (and opinions!), requires constant re-evaluation and inspection, as well as an overarching stance of, "should we be doing this? - is this a good idea?" I think the 1500hr rule was a quick, sausage-making response for example.

In one way, this is the essence of SMS, and is also the very best reason why we need solid regulator oversight in what I think could be a very good system. However, the regulator itself must understand how things have changed.

A system based upon accreditation, documentation and audit processes works in high-risk industries so long as one is permitted and encouraged to hearken to experience, or "historical learning", or "brain trust", etc.

Your example of cuts to training programs illustrates the point beautifully, (and who hasn't seen such cuts in their own organization?).

The final arbiter of standards, the regulator, which may both set and enforce standards or merely enforce standards imposed by a country's government on their aviation system, will always bend to lobbied interests. For example, the long and sad story behind Fatigue Risk Management Systems for air carriers remains watered down with only a slight, concessionary bow towards the considerable science and industry, (flight crew) experience. Airlines must survive and in a heavily de-regulated industry, some have managed a respectable longevity, but not without the compromises you speak of, which can only come from a (heavily-lobbied) government regulator.

As we examine this, suddenly, there is another side of this argument which few have examined: Not only may standards be lowered, but in this new environment where accreditation, documentation and metrics of a system govern behaviours, (out of a fear of liability), we actually see reductions in a willingness to "go beyond" the standard not merely because it is more expensive (in the short term), but because such is not "accredited" in the regulations and therefore there is no way to quantify or measure quality of such initiatives.

In other words, if it is not recognized or governed in law, is there risk of liability by doing that which is not formally required?

Such a view seems ridiculous, doesn't it?....keep standards close to only what is required, for to go further may open one to risk of liability.

If we contrast this with the notion of "best practices", the counterargument when experience and history have less currency than documentation, etc., may be, "according to whom?"

I wouldn't say that the entire aviation system suffers thus, and as always such observations are made of a very complex system upon which thousands of books, articles and theses are done every year.

I've flown with pilots of the kind you describe - crusty, WWII guys, sharp airforce guys, sharp civilian guys who got their bones staying alive in the north, in the mountains or on the water. It can be done, and a fine pilot can be "made" starting out with only 250hrs of light-twin time with a keen, disciplined mind and a keen spirit. One took it on the chin if one wasn't "keen". I doubt if any cadet program teaches as well but the MCPL is where the industry has chosen to go.

One thing is for sure: The Profession of Airline Pilot has taken a beating, and unlike other professions save medicine & engineering, the outcomes have material consequences. I think there are a lot of guys and gals "out there" who know this and are quietly trying their best to retard the retreat. In a time when unions have all but been destroyed as the only agencies representing ordinary people and their interests, it is time for flight crew representatives to work even harder to retain authority over their profession to exercise their considerable understanding of what makes and keeps aviation safe.

I think this is the larger message of recent accidents, including the topic of this thread. While the technical aspects of the Air France accident are fascinating particularly for those who fly, or who flew the Airbus, the human factors story is far more relevant, but as yet has not, in my opinion, been examined widely enough.

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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 01:29
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ok, now back to business
This crew can be blamed for this accident or lack of training at the same extent that a professional driver does not understand the significance of the red traffic light. Right?
...or, rather the traffic light indicated red-green erratically (stall warning on/off), without the presence of a traffic cop or any other backup(AOA indicator) and the car inexplicably accelerates while the brake pedal is pressed(THS at max NU)
Is that driver an idiot that died in intersection together with all passengers?
Unfortunately, this crew not only died physically. Also, it was killed their dignity of ordinary pilots.
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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 06:35
  #774 (permalink)  
 
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Phoenix,
Unfortunately it is much more complex than that. This why I think that what PJ2 has to say is so important. Over the last 50 years or so flying has become very much safer because aircraft, their systems, their flying qualities, the operating environment, many human factors issues, safety management systems, etc, etc, have improved so much. But, at the same time, I think the professionalism of flying has deteriorated. I say 'I think' because I retired from flying nearly 20 years ago and am therefore getting more and more out of touch. But I strongly believe that what PJ2 has said in his posts here is highly relevant to the Air France accident and some of the others that have been mentioned on this thread. And when I say 'the professionalism of flying' I mean more than just the pilots themselves. I mean all the many factors surrounding the profession, in particular the quality and relevance of their training, the attitude of many airlines towards their pilots, the way they are now employed and the fact that automation is a two edged sword.
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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 07:06
  #775 (permalink)  
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Phoenix;

What you think should have happened in the cockpit of AF447 and who should be blamed for what you are assuming went on, does not explain the accident.
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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 07:08
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I think that this change from piloting years ago to now can be overall expressed in simple terms. Years ago pilots had been trained to act as controller of the whole system, from planning stage to the time when leaving the airfield after work. Today pilots are trained to manage what's provided from other sources.

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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 12:49
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PJ2 re last part of your post 937.
Unfortunately I believe part of the human aspects are due to the double standards which I have witnessed throughout my career.
It started with "inaccurate" accident reports and continued with illegal operations, ignoring SOP and flying with blokes who shouldn't have passed their IR renewal.
When one witnesses one law for those with connections and one law for the rest the overall moral suffers.
I was impressed by a union rep who flew with an Air France management pilot in the 70s after a period of industrial action "Of course I didn't fly - I had to support my fellow pilots".
This was at a time where my management were lying to us as to the IRA bomb threat.
That after the 447 disaster the AF pilot's had to call a strike to get the Thales probes replaced shows how far the industry has lost it's direction.
SR ceased to exist because of management decisions - after Baltensweiler retired. We had many FM and other pilots stand up to the ridiculous policies...they either were sacked or resigned.
There were two "similar" near disasters in a previous employer...one was a long range night flight where the captain made what he thought was a good decision for the company and the other was a "short haul" flight whose captain's decision was based on his ego and his wallet. One was hung out to dry and the second has a gold plated pension.
Reading of other incidents which smack of a lack of professionalism and education leads to a conclusion that Air France isn't unique but perhaps unlucky.
The malaise is throughout the industry...authorities - manufacturers - schools and is driven by short term profit.
There are many whistleblowers who are largely ignored and there are ALWAYS several of their mates willing to sell their souls to replace them - most of them who otherwise wouldn't get promoted.
I had a friend training on the A380 who phoned me to complain that it was dangerous as he didn't have a safety pilot....it went quiet when I suggested he threatened to resign.
Unfortunately money is a necessity - morals aren't and while we have authorities beholding to politician and airline pressure with the media in the same circus ring it will be down to individuals and luck.
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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 13:57
  #778 (permalink)  
 
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I'm not far from the point of vew of blind pew, as expressed here about european aviation..
But profit is not the motor of that disfonctioning. Ego and megalomania of a little kernel of de facto prescriptors are the actors of that sad story.

Our civil aviation is not a normal economical activity, but a strategic activity in the hands of people ready to kill father and mother to reach their target. We must not be estonished that innocent passengers die in crashes, billions are transfered in wrong places, and Justice is mute.
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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 15:36
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Bergerie1 and PJ2,
20 years ago, pilots were the lords of the skies. They had a dreamlike profession, a proper social status and a nice paycheck. Then the automated systems and FBW were introduced for the idea to decrease the pilot loading, for increased safety and comfort, but mostly to minimize the fuel consumption and maximize the profits.
Basically in normal law, the FBW aircraft can be flown by grandma, the controls are used as mouse&keyboard that input the computers. We know well that in fact the computer flies the plane. Perhaps for this reason the pilot is seen more and more as a computer operator and his role in the cockpit is increasingly impaired. If we look at the other side of the double-edged sword, if the plane leaves the normal law, then you need the superman in the cockpit. Well, you can not have both of them in the same skin. I mean, we must understand that we have to bring grandma and superman to a common denominator. If the plane leaves the normal law, the pilot must be put in a unique law "back-up flight - direct law", back to stick and rudder. The aircraft must comply accordingly. I am referring mostly to the horizontal stabilizer function, if the pilot's command is nose down, then the aerodynamic vector of stabilizer-elevator combination must be up and not vice-versa. The operator must provide appropriate training for pilot, to fly the plane in the conventional way, at any stage of the flight or emergency situation.
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Old 23rd Nov 2014, 19:09
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pilots and monitors

@ Phoenix.....

Seem to be a current poster but maybe a long time lurker. Can't tell from user info ( sheesh, the intell folks can find us easy, so my bio and such is clearly exposed. Ditto for SPAM webcrawlers and so forth)

The AF 447 debacle brought forth a super discussion here about systems, piloting, corporate interests, crrew management, and more. Wish you would have been here since 2009 to see the thousands of posts and such. Also know your background.

I continue some philosophy and such while still addressing Phoenix.

Was fortunate to fly one of the first computer jets back in 1971 - the A-7D. I was a single seat dude from 1967 until I retired in 1984. We had to be able to fly the jet, but we also had to monitor and program and use all the computers because we didn't have a second troop to help on basic stuff. Those suckers really reduced workload once in the air, and they allowed navigation and weapon delivery options we had never seen. The HUD really helped with IFR approaches and seeing flight conditions ( attitude, flight path, speed, AoA, altitude very fast). The integrated inertial/doppler and projected map was a miracle. We also had super radar for ground map and such. All that aside, we still had to be able to fly the jet and fly it in bad weather, navigate if the computers failed, and so forth ( not going to get into refueling at night in a storm, diverting to another base, dealing with battle damage, and all those other things we dealt with).

So I take issue with the qoute by Phoenix:

Basically in normal law, the FBW aircraft can be flown by grandma, the controls are used as mouse&keyboard that input the computers. We know well that in fact the computer flies the plane. Perhaps for this reason the pilot is seen more and more as a computer operator and his role in the cockpit is increasingly impaired. If we look at the other side of the double-edged sword, if the plane leaves the normal law, then you need the superman in the cockpit. Well, you can not have both of them in the same skin.
I and thousands of other pilots in the military adapted to the computers and still maintained our "pilot" skills. This was primarily among the single seat folks, but the "crewed" jets also adapted.

In defense of the "heavy" pilots here, they cannot program all the computers and then sit back to watch/monitor. It is true than many portions of the mission can use the autopilot and such, but the critical phases require good pilots.

My problem with the industry is the emphasis upon automation versus the basic skills to fly a plane.

The FBW laws are not the problem for the most part. What I have seen is a buncha engineers trying to make a fool proof system that does not account for a human being that knows how to fly!! Sheesh.

I like AoA protections. I like rate pitch/roll gradients and maybe some other features of most FBW systems. But it looks like we are trying to provide too many "protections" and then invoke too many back-up modes/laws and such when we lose a few inputs to the FBW computers. The simple fact is that embedded sensors in the flight control computers can provide body rates, gee and attitude and such without depending upon any aero sensors or nav sensors or..... So no reason to panic if the air data goes tango uniform for awhile, such as the AF447 crew did.

Sorry to rant.
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