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Airbus; Reading the FMA

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Airbus; Reading the FMA

Old 21st Nov 2019, 03:16
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Question Airbus; Reading the FMA

As has been discussed here on PPRuNe, the Airbus manuals are always containing less and less information. The topic I bring today is something that used to have an answer in the FCTM, but it doesn't anymore.

I can't get anybody to agree with me on this so I don't suppose anybody here will, but...

When I did my type rating I was taught to read the FMA like this, when arming the approach and engaging the second AP: "CAT 3 DUAL, Autopilot 1 and 2, G/S LOC blue." Active modes first (top line) and then armed modes (second line) from left to right.

Most pilots (all?) I fly with today will read "G/S LOC blue, CAT 3 DUAL, Autopilot 1 and 2" - they'll read line two with the armed modes first, then the active modes, as they are further to the right. You might say that reading it like this you are the FMA column by column.

If anybody owns an older FCTM it can probably be seen that it said you should read the FMA from left to right, top to bottom.

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Old 21st Nov 2019, 04:01
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I was also taught to read the FMA from left to right, the way that irks you.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 05:46
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All pilots in my company read from left to right. For me it makes senses to do it this way.
i checked an FCTM from 2009 quickly and I found this:
When cleared for an ILS, the APP pb should be pressed. This arms the approach mode and LOC and GS are displayed in blue on the FMA. At this stage the second AP, if available, should be selected.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 05:56
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There is no contradiction in the first post.

Arm APCH mode - read the blues
Engage the offside AP - read the result.

​​​​​​Pressing the FCU buttons first is a shorthand that does no harm, still the FMA readout retains the original sequence.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 10:17
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
Arm APCH mode - read the blues
Engage the offside AP - read the result.
When you arm the approach mode by pressing the APPR pb the FMA will also read (in addition to G/S and LOC in blue) CAT 3 SINGLE (the second AP hasn't been selected yet).
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 11:12
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FMA is read left to right and there is no difference for approach modes. You are arming approach to get GS LOC blue which appears like other FMAs but when you engage autopilot 1+2 CAT3 DUAL AP1+2 comes in a box and your scan is attract to it. It happens to most trainees. But is not to be taught like that. If this particular call was different FCOM would say so. What flight detent said is correct that is the way it should be done but most people select other AP and only then look at FMA.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 11:28
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Originally Posted by Casio View Post
As has been discussed here on PPRuNe, the Airbus manuals are always containing less and less information. The topic I bring today is something that used to have an answer in the FCTM, but it doesn't anymore.

I can't get anybody to agree with me on this so I don't suppose anybody here will, but...

When I did my type rating I was taught to read the FMA like this, when arming the approach and engaging the second AP: "CAT 3 DUAL, Autopilot 1 and 2, G/S LOC blue." Active modes first (top line) and then armed modes (second line) from left to right.

Most pilots (all?) I fly with today will read "G/S LOC blue, CAT 3 DUAL, Autopilot 1 and 2" - they'll read line two with the armed modes first, then the active modes, as they are further to the right. You might say that reading it like this you are the FMA column by column.

If anybody owns an older FCTM it can probably be seen that it said you should read the FMA from left to right, top to bottom.

Go ahead - shoot me down
Boring, but follow your company SOP on the subject.

Right or wrong, if you do anything else you just confuse your fellow pilot.
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 13:43
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Originally Posted by Casio View Post
FMA will also read (in addition to G/S and LOC in blue) CAT 3 SINGLE
Where is the /:very_silent:/ emoticon when I need one?
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Old 21st Nov 2019, 20:31
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Or you could work for a company where PF calls active modes and PM calls armed modes, just to add to the confusion!
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 03:33
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My head hurts!
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 05:53
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Originally Posted by Jwscud View Post
Or you could work for a company where PF calls active modes and PM calls armed modes, just to add to the confusion!
...or one where the only call outs are done once or twice a year when we need an autoland.
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Old 22nd Nov 2019, 07:44
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
There is no contradiction in the first post.

Arm APCH mode - read the blues
Engage the offside AP - read the result.

​​​​​​Pressing the FCU buttons first is a shorthand that does no harm, still the FMA readout retains the original sequence.
This makes a lot of sense, however most pilots in my company read the top line first, then the blues.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 04:39
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In the middle East we read right to left. .

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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 12:44
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Originally Posted by Airmann View Post
In the middle East we read right to left. .
In Russia the FMA reads you.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 19:13
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Originally Posted by iggy View Post
In Russia the FMA reads you.
In China, the FMA tells you what to do.
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Old 23rd Nov 2019, 19:18
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Honestly, this is the kind of thing that drives me up the wall. What will change if you say loc glide blue first, or cat 3 dual first, or ap 1+2 first? Did you arm everything you had to arm? Did you acknowledge and *understand* the fma? What difference does it make how you read it? This sort of “overstandardizing” of pilots does absolutely nothing to improve safety, all it does is make a few anal check airmen happy to have something to annoy other pilots with.

The whole idea of reading the FMA out loud is pretty silly if you ask me. It’s a great way to miss radio calls and increase fatigue over time. A quiet cockpit is way safer than one where one of the pilots is constantly talking for no good reason. Reading the FMA out loud does nothing to guarantee the pilot actually understands what’s gong on, which is what really matters.

Sully would have gotten an F for fma-reading, and we all know that crew did an A+ job given the situation they were in.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 00:13
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Originally Posted by FlightDetent View Post
In China, the FMA tells you what to do.
In ‘Murica, we don’t read no darned FMA!
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 19:46
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To spoil things even further:
When you disengage AP during an ILS approach,
do you call out "CAT III Single", then "CAT I", or just "CAT I"?
III Single is displayed momentarily, but never really active.
Many still call it out, doesn't make much sense to me.
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 20:15
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Do they also call “nav blue” after inserting a direct when in heading mode?
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Old 24th Nov 2019, 22:21
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Nav, as the mode becomes active.
Nav blue, when the radial in function is used or nav is pushed.
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