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Old 9th Feb 2018, 12:32   #1 (permalink)
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Hand flying in todays jet transports

There are operators in the Middle East and Asia known for their propensity to mandate as SOP no manual flying, except for the few minutes of take off and the landing from short final. Inevitably, the natural result is increasing automatics dependency among their crews. Nevertheless, many of these operators enjoy a good flight safety record.

One letter writer to the editor of Aviation Week and Space Technology (January 29-February11, 2018), makes the following astute observation, however.

"Lack of mechanical breakdowns is way ahead of pilot qualifications or experience resulting in increased safety. Challenge today's pilot with hand-flown non-precision approaches (in a simulator, of course) to see the truth of pilot experience now."

Few would disagree with his sentiment in the light of increasingly sophisticated jet transports coupled with low experience pilots direct from flying schools, now coming into the industry.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 16:01   #2 (permalink)
 
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Hand flown NPA? Ha! How about a traffic pattern? Ever seen an automation junkie try to fly a traffic pattern?
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 16:07   #3 (permalink)

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Quite.

Do not allow hand-flying in modern aircraft and then expect a good result after a double hyd or emerg elec config in an Airbus.

You are joking, of course.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 16:37   #4 (permalink)
 
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Hand flown NPA? Ha!

B732, in 80's, dive & drive hand flown NDB was an annual sim check. Hand flown SRA on line was not uncommon. Hand flown everything else, weather permitting, was the norm and expected. An airline with pilots in management meant they expected pilots to be able to handle what was thrown at them, thinking on the spot. They expected and demanded sharp skills both in mind & hand. It was an excellent time, having come from GA ops, to be an apprentice in jet airline ops. The equipment, in the air & on the ground in some places, was basic, but the crews were well up to it.
It is sad and disappointing to see that giant leaps in technology has seen a corresponding decline in piloting skills. There is absolutely no need for it. Not all companies allow it. There are still those who encourage the old ethos. The decline in skills is not a technology issue it is a Flt Ops & training culture within the airline. I flew old & new tech and my skills were kept sharp, even sharper, until they were not allowed to be by handcuffing SOP's. I know of mates who are allowed to fly their B747 like I flew B733. I know of others who fly their B737NG like a play station, because they have to. Don't blame the engineers and designers, blame the Flt Ops managers.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 17:55   #5 (permalink)
 
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Its not just some Asian and ME Carriers who mandate almost continuous Automatic route flying.
British Airways SOPs ban any manual route handling.(Manual flight defined as, manual control of speed and flightpath)
BA SOPs dictate continuous Auto-throttle on all types except the B744..
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 18:22   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cessnapete View Post
British Airways SOPs ban any manual route handling.(Manual flight defined as, manual control of speed and flightpath)
I guess some of this stems from RVSM airspace.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 18:44   #7 (permalink)
 
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Not talking about cruise flight! There’s no RVSM on hand flown approaches and landings, which BA crews are banned from practicing down route!
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 18:47   #8 (permalink)
 
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On the 737 NG:
I make my students hand fly manually FD and AT off all the way till cruise alt during line training, same for the descent. Feel the aircraft, get to know te difference between Mach and IAS. Then a visual pattern into a Greek island, all manually raw data. No rules in my company limitting the use of automation, manual flying strongly encouraged. In general manual flying skills are very good.
We do have other problems though.
PS I am familiar with RVSM requirements

Last edited by repulo; 9th Feb 2018 at 19:59.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 18:55   #9 (permalink)
 
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Manual flight = Manual thrust

But to be true, my FLT OPS dep has changed that philosophy more than 10 times. Both A & B, EU legacy carrier
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 20:02   #10 (permalink)
 
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cessnapete - Please expand on that BA SOP...
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 20:46   #11 (permalink)
 
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Cough
During route flying on all types except B744, BA SOP only permit manual control of flight path. Speed control continues to mandate full time auto thrust, even when autopilot disengaged.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 20:58   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cessnapete View Post
Not talking about cruise flight!
You were.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cessnapete View Post
Its not just some Asian and ME Carriers who mandate almost continuous Automatic route flying.
British Airways SOPs ban any manual route handling.(Manual flight defined as, manual control of speed and flightpath)
BA SOPs dictate continuous Auto-throttle on all types except the B744..
Perhaps English isn't your first language. Saying route flying implies aircraft in the en-route phase of flight. i.e. not on approach/departure.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 21:02   #13 (permalink)
 
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cessnapete - Are you a BA pilot?
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 21:27   #14 (permalink)
 
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Lots of "interesting" manual approaches in the biz jet world. Innsbruck, Chambery, Mandelieu, (there are also plenty of VERY exciting ones for the littler jets; but I was on CL604's) plus NPA's at for example Freeport Bahamas dodging some very big CB's on the way in.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 21:40   #15 (permalink)
 
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PAR approaches are always hand flown. One to minimums in rain and strong winds is a challenge for both pilot and PAR controller. Done a few to mins in those conditions at ETAR and KNHK. Good times.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 21:44   #16 (permalink)
 
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Hhm, I may be wrong, but if memory serves me right, more incidents/accidents were on "Auto" and goofing it up, not on manual flights...
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 22:06   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
.British Airways SOPs ban any manual route handling.(
Load of rubbish. Reliably informed the auto thrust thing is true, otherwise you can do what you want.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 22:49   #18 (permalink)
 
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I despair at my company. Every time I ask the F/O if he/she would like to do some hand flying they make excuses and bottle out. When I (CRM) ask if they mind if I have a play, it's again, a load of excuses, such as too tired, or weather's not perfect... or they'll report me!

Not banned in the manuals, but generally they're too frightened of FDM or more specifically management's response to FDM if they have an event.

I come from TP and GA and have hand flown smoothly and accurately all my 30 years at the controls. Never an issue till I landed at this company. (won't be here long if I can help it!). UK operator. B737/B757.
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Old 9th Feb 2018, 23:34   #19 (permalink)
 
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I've not spent remotely the same amount of time as you flying but came from GA then TP. In a jet now and very grateful the company is very pro hand fly. We also go with all in or all off. If you hand fly you disconnect the AT.
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Old 10th Feb 2018, 01:38   #20 (permalink)
 
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I’m told that turning the FD’s off at FR unless instructed to do so by a check list ( unreliable airspeed) is a disciplinary act.
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