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Multiple unrelated Non-Normals in simulator training

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Multiple unrelated Non-Normals in simulator training

Old 12th Oct 2019, 15:04
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Multiple unrelated Non-Normals in simulator training

Talked to a colleague who flew 737's with a German operator about 20 years ago. That particular operator would always have multiple non-normals in each simulator session as part of box ticking. These non-normals did not necessarily have any correlation with the previous one. Thus a two hour session could include engine failure at VR, asymmetric flap, loss of both engine driven generators, emergency descent, one engine inoperative go-around, unreliable airspeed, engine fire and evacuation. Not in any specific order. At the end of each session there could be a two hour debrief. There was a high failure rate.

Now this is not new and even today multiple un-related non-normals are considered "normal" as part of most simulator sessions. Indeed these may become necessary to get through a type rating syllabus within allotted time frames. Pilots frequently end the session tired and grim faced to await the inevitable barrage of criticism by the simulator instructor or check pilot. It has happened to all of us in our career.

It turned out that a visiting Boeing representative to that airline was horrified by what he observed. He said that Boeing never dreamed that any operator would throw in multiple unrelated non-normals to fill in a simulator session. It certainly wouldn't happen in the real aircraft. Boeing (his words - not mine) would recommend not more than two non-normals per pilot per simulator training session. Introducing multiple other "events" such as a medical emergency aboard coupled with decision as to diversion coupled with dodgy weather at destination can lead to serious over-loading of the pilot who may be undergoing command upgrade, and is another example of bad training.
We all know it is about money. Reduce costs by packing in as many sequences as possible into a simulator session. But does that make a better pilot? Of course not. What it can lead to is an intense dislike of simulator training; especially since security of employment may be perceived to be threatened

Last edited by Centaurus; 12th Oct 2019 at 15:17.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 19:05
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My first OCC on a complex multi-crew type, experienced on single-pilot ops but zero experience multi-crew, I was given on the FIRST go an engine failure at V1 but with no Autofeather or Uptrim. This makes the (ATR) extremely hard to control and get to climb. Later, I was given pilot incap. My sim partner (himself an experienced FO but sandbagging in the left seat.) warned me previously not to be pressurised and take a 10 mile final etc. He ‘died’ after V1 before gear up. On downwind the instructor, pretending to be cabin crew looking after the captain was saying things like “how long, i think he’s dying.’ On final ‘Atc’ told me there was a 747 with an emergency and requested a go around. (Which got refused, obviously!)
Remember, I wasn’t a FO on potentially the last LPC prior to a Command Assessment or in an upgrade course, I was a new FO! There’s training, testing and I agree a degree of pressure is required, but pretending ATC is trying to prioritise another Mayday over your prior Mayday is just playing silly buggers.
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Old 12th Oct 2019, 20:30
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Is there really any training these days at any airlines.
I know my airline training departments trying hard to make one of each pair of training days dedicated to hats of training, but in reality it’s all still a test.

training is a cost to any outfit, from my experience bear minimum is thrown at it. The regulators over the years have added lines of requirements to tick off (eg PBN, LVPs,) in recent years along with non normal requirements. Even with the best designed details, it ends up being a set of box ticking exercises to heard you through.

also with the added limited sim availability across the world half the sims are carried out in the hours not conducive to training.
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 02:09
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I don't recall the exact requirements but a type rating ride, or recurrent training, requires an engine failure with abort, engine failure with continued takeoff, single engine approach, single engine go-around, hydraulic problem(???), and flight control problem, along with a visual approach, visual go-around, CAT II/III approaches to include go-arounds, cross wind landings, etc, etc. We also do, or did, unreliable airspeed indicator, emergency descents, engine fires, medical issues, evacuation, etc.

Been doing that for decades. If anything it's gotten easier lately as the scenarios are in a specific order and every evaluator has to follow the same cookbook (script). Granted the examiner might have the option of 3 flight control problems, or 3 hydraulic problems, but everyone knows what the 3 options are and can study for them.
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 02:18
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One occasionally sees stupid personalities as check captains. We had one such character in our airline who would work up a rage if things didn't go as planned. One absolute classic example was in the 737-200 simulator many years ago. The crew included a New Zealand captain and an Australian F/O undergoing annual re-currency. Plus Australian check captain (the nutter).

Scenario:
Nutter whispers in captain's ear to become incapacitated during takeof roll. F/O unaware of plot. Around 100 knots the captain gives a strangled cry and collapses over the controls. Very realistic I might add.

F/O startled, and says "WTF, Mate - are you OK?" and reaches across to sympathise with the captain who he thought was really sick. Captain had already booted in rudder as part of incapacitation process and the 737 departed the runway and was heading towards the control tower.at ever increasing speed. The captain still gurgling and clutching own throat. Hollywood movie stuff.

The nutter check captain roars in rage and freezes the simulator and says WTF to the hapless F/O who thought the captain had had a real medical episode and was only trying to help. The F/O got marked down for not taking over control and for not "playing the game."

After coffee break it was F/O's turn to be PF. Half way down the runway on take off roll the F/O gives realistic strangled cry and collapses in seat. Pandemonium on flight deck as not only is the check captain caught off guard, but the captain (PM) thinking the F/O has had a real heart attack, undoes his harness to reach over to restrain the F/O who, while thrashing around in apparent agony, still manages to jam on full rudder. What's good for the goose is good for he gander, he thinks. Meanwhile, the 737 again heads for the control tower at 2.15 EPR both engines. .

The check captain, incensed at what is happening un-briefed, freezes the simulator and rips into the F/O who is now sitting upright straightening his tie. Dying in the safety harness is a labour intensive event..
The captain is now red-faced because he thinks this must be a new plot he was unaware of and he awaits the usual castigation from the check captain.

But the captain is off the hook because the object of the check captain's ire is the smugly smiling F/O. "You weren't supposed to die" shouts the check captain to the F/O . "Only captains die and you are just a bloody smart-arse." and again writes down the F/O for playing silly buggers.

And that, dear readers, really happened and is called simulator "Training."

Last edited by Judd; 13th Oct 2019 at 02:39.
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 07:22
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Great story Judd, I wonder if we perhaps worked for the same outfit.!

Over 35 years ago I worked for a small island airline operating B737-200's, we did regular sim, using the sim of a foreign National carrier whose government oversaw the airlines AOC. Anyway eventually it was decided by the airline's management that they could no longer afford sim at all and we would do recurrent training, instrument ratings et al in the aircraft.
So how this would work is that when an aircraft was overnighting at a certain capital city airport a training captain and up to four "trainees" would ferry the aircraft to a seldom used airport nearby equiped with an ILS for the first ILS to a full stop. After back tracking a take-off was made, at unrealistically light weights, and at V1 the trainer would pull back a thrust lever to idle after covering the levers. Yes, I'm not kidding ( think ANZ DC8) . After airborne with levers now uncovered the candidate having successfully completed the QRH items while following a sort of tight circuit at 1500 was exempted from completing a full single engine approach brief because he was now on final. The training guy was setting gear and flap without referring to the PF, announcing it would be a 2 engine touch and go. After airborne from the T&G the same engine would again be put back to idle, the same circuit followed, QRH and after take off checks ignored and now various hydraulic pumps were turned off to simulate a "manual reversion" ( think RAAF B707). All candidates would go through pretty much similar absurd and dangerous exercises before the aircraft returned to do its next scheduled service.
Soon after the Airlines management decided to cancel their Jeppensen subscription as they claimed they were paying for new amendments when the old ones were not even worn out. The conscientious ones among us used to (illegally) photocopy relevant charts where possible.
There were a few pilots who felt that these safety issues were only "perceived", go figure.
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 09:51
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On most Boeings simulators I have 'flown' there is a big red guarded switch on the back of the centre console that stops the SIM in its tracks.
As a young FO I was PNF when the trainer started piling on various faults for the seasoned captain in the LHS, it soon became evident that the exercise was bordering on improbable if not impossible whereupon the captain in the LHS leaned back in his seat, reached behind the console and switched everything off! There was a brief exchange between the training captain and the captain in the LHS and the session continued in a much more realistic fashion.
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 10:27
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A question comes to mind.
How do those "unrealistic" piled up emergencies relate with the actual multiple alarm/faults of the MCAS mishaps ?

Wouldn't it be the prelisted emergencies in a pre-planned order that are unrealistic ?
Just a question.
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 15:08
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Originally Posted by Fly Aiprt View Post
A question comes to mind.
How do those "unrealistic" piled up emergencies relate with the actual multiple alarm/faults of the MCAS mishaps ?

Wouldn't it be the prelisted emergencies in a pre-planned order that are unrealistic ?
Just a question.
MCAS and two - 'nuisance stick shaker' and 'runaway stabilizer'/'uncommanded stabilizer movement'. Nuisance stick shaker is the more annoying fault as it can't be stopped....
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Old 13th Oct 2019, 23:34
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I’ll always remember my conversion course LPC/OPC on the 737 simulator at Stockley Park LHR, examiner was ex BA with an interesting history I believe. He often wore a cravat and was more interested in horses at Badminton than us converts from the much maligned BAe146. Anyway, with a GB Airways observer on the Sim jumpseat and CAA Inspector as well, me and my F/O were subjected to what only can be described as pilot abuse. Multiple unrelated Emergencies were piled upon us with the intention to establish our breaking point. We managed to rise above all and succeed. My signed Training file was thrown at me, while my colleague did his 737 simulator Base training preparation detail. I let it fall to the floor without attempting to catch it and told “Captain Cravat” to pick it up. On leaving the Sim building, in freezing weather on 31st December1999, Captain Cravat was unable to start his horse box towing Volvo. What goes around, comes around.
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Old 14th Oct 2019, 00:05
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And yet, simple standard emergencies are of no special use except in initial training.
It is interesting to note how multiple emergencies in the sim are considered abusive, whereas realistic emergencies should incorporate startle effect and confusing alarms like in some real life (and death) situations.
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Old 14th Oct 2019, 13:07
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Originally Posted by Fly Aiprt View Post
It is interesting to note how multiple emergencies in the sim are considered abusive, whereas realistic emergencies should incorporate startle effect and confusing alarms like in some real life (and death) situations.
There is a difference between presenting multiple unrelated non-normals (as the thread title suggests) and a scenario in which multiple NNC must be prioritized and managed. While the former may be abusive, the latter would be realistic training.
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Old 14th Oct 2019, 14:05
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Originally Posted by Tomaski View Post
There is a difference between presenting multiple unrelated non-normals (as the thread title suggests) and a scenario in which multiple NNC must be prioritized and managed. While the former may be abusive, the latter would be realistic training.
Agreed, but how would those MCAS mishap qualify, since nobody at Boeing or elsewhere had any idea as to how the multiple alarms would relate ?
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Old 14th Oct 2019, 14:31
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Originally Posted by Fly Aiprt View Post
Agreed, but how would those MCAS mishap qualify, since nobody at Boeing or elsewhere had any idea as to how the multiple alarms would relate ?
Well, we really weren't specifically talking about MCAS. It is impossible to put flight crews through every possible combination of, again, realistic scenarios that would involve managing multiple NNC. However, by regularly exposing pilots to the potential for having to manage multiple emergencies, that ought to help reinforce basic prioritization skills, of which keeping the blue side up being paramount.
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Old 15th Oct 2019, 13:13
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While agreeing that some of the torture sim rides mentioned above are beyond the pale, and totally unreasonable, it is well to remember that, following a turbine disc failure, for example, many unrelated non-normals may occur nearly simultaneosly.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 09:55
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Originally Posted by Bergerie1 View Post
While agreeing that some of the torture sim rides mentioned above are beyond the pale, and totally unreasonable, it is well to remember that, following a turbine disc failure, for example, many unrelated non-normals may occur nearly simultaneosly.
Yes, that‘s true and sim rides can/should be challenging to a certain extent. The behavior of the check captain after a tough session is most telling. If they are kind of p$$ed that you made it through their failure barrage and prevailed, it‘s pretty clear what their real intention was. Had my fair share of these characters in the sim.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 10:12
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I have a lot of sympathy with the majority of the posts here, and am grateful that the consensus nowadays seems to be to condemn this sort of overload training as useless as best, and damaging to skills and confidence at worst.

However.

As most of us will probably recognise, a shift in focus of modern training has taken place in recent years: away from training specific (or combinations of specific) failures, to training competencies to better equip pilots for managing the unforeseen and untrained - think Qantas 32, UA232, UA1549 etc. To suggest none of these events have taught us anything as pilots is patently false (though I am sure we are all thankful we had the opportunity to do the learning second- rather than first-hand!).

Training multiple (related or unrelated) failures CAN have its place in training, if such a scenario is used to TRAIN (and not test to breaking point) pilots in targetted competencies, eg prioritising tasks, avoid distraction from flying, delegation to crewmembers etc etc - all essential skills that can be usefully employed across the board iin any situation.

The caveat: this sort of training must be carefully and thoughtfully planned and delivered, wiht a defined objective and not merely to tick a dozen different boxes on the recurrent schedule (only as a non-jeopardy/non-technical training exercise, and not part of a prof check); and the debrief does takes a bit more effort from the conscientious instructor, if crews are to be left with a positive experience and an improvement in their comptencies and confidence. The actual outcome of the 'flight' is of secondary importance to the crew's experience in recognising and practicing good competencies in a realistic environment, and most important of all being able to debrief themselves on what worked and what didn't.

Some 'old-school' instructors (a small minority in my experience, and thankfully getting smaller) I have observed as a stds TRE perhaps don't quite appreciate the way the purpose of this training has evolved since they first started yelling at people in the sim 35 years ago, and what is now expected of them,...the same barriers exist to (re)training instructors in these new skills too. After all, they are human beings* too. AviatorDave paints a good picture of the an instructor with the 'wrong stuff'!

*most of them

The expectations and experiences of the contributors on this thread reassure me that as an industry we are heading in the right direction here, nevertheless!

Last edited by Rostermouse; 19th Oct 2019 at 10:28.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 15:04
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I have a lot of sympathy with the majority of the posts here, and am grateful that the consensus nowadays seems to be to condemn this sort of overload training as useless as best, and damaging to skills and confidence at worst.
Rostermouse. With all due respect to your carefully written comment where you say (highlighted) you have sympathy with the majority of the posts here. I suspect that is nothing more than a motherhood statement to prepare we readers for a mouthful of regulatory gobblydook.

Your last comment "The expectations and experiences of the contributors on this thread reassure me that as an industry we are heading in the right direction here, nevertheless"
On the contrary. I read all the posts as just the opposite.
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Old 19th Oct 2019, 17:12
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Ok.

What I meant by my final statement, without the gobbledigook, is that most of us on here seem to recognise that chucking failure after failure at pilots to either a) prove a point about how clever the instructor is, or b) tick umpteen boxes at the same time to save sim time (money) is a load of crap, and not good training.

Those people who have experienced this in the sim recently are experiencing something contrary to the current ICAO/EASA guidelines on training best practice; unfortunate but unless you are unlucky the overall quality of training should be better now than it was 30 years ago. I’m not making excuses for some of crap trainers described in this thread.

My main point was that some details can be planned that are busy, even hectic, such that prioritising is necessary (cargo smoke, but flap jam on finals, for instance); but not out of the blue, and not as a prof check but as a non-jeopardy training exercise - just because an event has unrelated failures does not automatically mean it is worthless training. More relevant is how the training is delivered. And unfortunately for the dinosaurs out there this is a lot harder to do than just reading off a shit-list of stuff the crew did wrong.

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Old 21st Oct 2019, 21:01
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At a previous, early post-deregulation carrier based in a large town in the American Southwest (not Dallas), if you were doing a good job on a sim ride, some check airman might play "let's see how many red lights we can light up." This would only happen to their "friends" and if you had already passed the ride.

I know one guy who had manual reversion, one engine generator working, the other engine inop, and then the slats/flap were stuck at 1.

Everyone laughed all the way down final.

Now, at the successor to that carrier's successor carrier, every sim session is choreographed to the last iota. Never a surprise. Ever.
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