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Look out the window?

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Look out the window?

Old 15th Jul 2021, 14:38
  #1 (permalink)  
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Look out the window?

I fly the A320 but this question applies to any aircraft which can fly an ILS on an autopilot and has flight directors.

A technique often taught is to look more outside the window and less at the instruments once disconnecting the autopilot on an ILS approach. Personally, I think that is making it yourself difficult. I find it much easier just to keep flying the flight directors to about 100 ft. That is not to say not to look outside at all, but to look more in than out. On a VOR it's different, I am just talking about an ILS approach.

One argument I get is that new pilots need to learn manual flying skills and not flying the FD so much. But then I even see experienced pilots always doing this. Doing this sometimes for practice, ok. But always? I just don't see the point of it.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 15:49
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If you can't fly the aircraft by using visual references after disconnecting the aircraft stabilised in landing configuration, on speed and in trim, and only looking inside to scan airspeed, vertical speed and N1, something has gone amiss during training. It's really one of the basic skills every pilot should have.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 16:03
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If proficiency is your goal, keeping the FD on is a waste of your time. Turn it off, and fly the approach. Alternate approaches looking outside, and raw data inside.

To add to (or maybe subtract from) what FlyingStone said, in a modern airplane, with a trend vector, you don’t even need to scan the N1 too often. VSI and airspeed will get you there safely.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 16:19
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What they both said… Yes I know lots of experienced crew always glued to the FD. That’s probably why their handling s*ck. Even my Grandma can follow FD bars. xD
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 16:38
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If you do not develop and maintain proficiency in flying the aircraft with reference to external visual cues you will struggle with visual approaches and circling approaches. You don't want to find out that your skills are lacking in this area when conducting an approach in challenging weather conditions to a small Mediterranean island airport with limited lighting etc.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 17:14
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Itís gotta be a windup doesnít it?
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 17:15
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There is not a huge amount of point in following flight directors on a manual ILS, except during a very turbulent approach perhaps. You have the ILS indicators for that. If you look out of the window and not at your ILS indications, that makes it a visual approach.

Having said that, I am definitely not perfect and I am definitely not preaching !

Regarding the speed trend arrow; that does not tell you what the N1's are doing. The speed trend is a cue for one to look at the N1/EPRs to see if the engines are being commanded correctly (if A/THR is being used). It only takes a second to look.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 17:15
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In the old days we became pilots because we wanted to fly aeroplanes. Looking out the window is one of the reasons why.
To stay locked onto the TV screens until 100 feet is really worrying. It would suggest you don't know where the aim point on the runway is, nor where the aim point should be in that window.
Root cause of this is that most pilots these days do there training in simulators, and are told to just follow FDs. What a shame. Knowledge of the attitude required for each configuration and phase of flight is diluted to just follow the FDs.
Do yourself a favour. On your next approach identity the aim point (between the papis ) and see where it is in the window. On the type I fly its about a closed fist above the comming. You will notice flight path deviation by seeing this move way before the FDs wake up.
Those windows are expensive. Might as well look out of them.
Don't be scared of flying the aeroplane.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 17:30
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That works in a C172 because one flies visually most of the time because the instrumentation is very basic.

We obviously look out of the window to land and take-off but we are trained to fly in IMC, by reference to our instruments. If pilots are now being taught to follow the FD and not look at the aircraft's pitch bank and speed, that could explain a lot.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 17:37
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The subject of this discussion makes me never want to board a commercial flight again!
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 17:47
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Once you see the runway it's both in and out. Head for the aiming point but a glance inside. In Airbus it's easier since it maintains flight path. If you want to develop raw data skills then you will have to practice doing it without FDs. But once you have it then to keep it effective you can do a few approaches now and then on as required basis.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 18:03
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Below the DH for your approach (which is supposedly the CAT I DH of 200 feet if we're talking manual landings) nobody guarantees you sufficiently accurate ILS guidance. Whenever the aircraft is required to fly the ILS until touchdown, low visibility procedures are in force for this exact reason - to make sure that a holding aircraft or a passing truck will not give you an ILS signal glitch. Hence, blindly following the FDs below DH can be risky. Your scan should alternate between inside and outside, with more focus on outside as you get lower. The touchdown zone should stay in the same point of the windshield. Once you get to the flare, you should be looking about 100 metres or so ahead of the aircraft. If you're looking straight under the nose, you'll likely flare too low or not flare at all which can result in a hard landing. If you're looking too far ahead, e.g. to the opposite end of the runway, you might flare too high - which, if not corrected promptly, can result in an even worse hard landing compared to the low flare scenario.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 18:15
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Anyone remember something essential in aviation? It was referred to as AIRMANSHIP. The first and most important rule of airmanship is LOOKOUT! What on earth are the flying training outfits teaching these "graduates" from the sausage factories these days?

"VFR on instruments" is something that has been creeping in for years now. Get your eyes out of the cockpit as often as you are able. even at the expense of accuracy. It also reduces the chance of a collision, both in the air and on the ground.

I don't care what you fly, the basics still apply. Mark one eye ball.

Last edited by RichardJones; 15th Jul 2021 at 18:44.
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 20:49
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my God, I m speechless about this post..
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 21:20
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Looking out is scary , especially when you can fly circling , “visual “ circuit , non precision down to the runway following the flight director..
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 21:52
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Which airline do you fly for?
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Old 15th Jul 2021, 22:11
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Does your operator allow you to fly raw data, that is without FD on? If yes, practice when the weather and the work load allows. And if you can not, learn to fly through the FD.
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 00:03
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My old outfit had a period of heavy landings - turned out that inexperienced copilots were heads in flying the FD all the way into the flair. Not looking out at all.
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 01:57
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Unfortunately this is the new generational shift that is pushed even further with the introduction of MPL. I learnt to fly on planes without GPS and most instruments U/S when VFR. This meant looking outside.

Now that large parts of training are focused on screens (G1000 etc) and simulators people tend to just enjoy the pretty graphics.

It isn't going to be an issues for the majority of the time but what happens when something isn't by the book?
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Old 16th Jul 2021, 08:27
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What about a good scan, both inside and outside? That's what I usually do. Anyway, if FD's are on, you must follow them, at least in my airline.
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