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Sell me the Monitored Approach

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Sell me the Monitored Approach

Old 6th Dec 2021, 17:51
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Sell me the Monitored Approach

How does it improve things over the normal way to fly a plane?
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Old 6th Dec 2021, 19:04
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Brilliant for what it was designed for, low vis approaches to cat1 or cat 2 minimas in aircraft with limited or no automatics as the landing pilot doesn’t have to try to acquire the runway visually whilst flying on instruments at the same time.

In aircraft types where low vis approaches are flown automatically probably not so necessary, although personally I think cat3a approaches where the captain takes over when visual but up until then the f/o has flown the approach and flys the go around if needed are better than the system where the captain does the whole thing and the f/o monitors. But that’s a personal opinion, and others will think differently.
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Old 6th Dec 2021, 19:52
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Having started my career with self-flown approaches, then transitioned to monitored ones, Iíve got used to the whole idea. Doesnít mean itís the absolute best for everything but I like the concept of at least one pilot thinking mostly about the G/A approaching DA/MDH. It also shares the workload, and involves the non-landing pilot in the operation to a greater degree than spending the whole flight watching someone else.

It also helps with stability. At 1,000R or whatever on a monitored approach, you have to assess how itís going: if you donít like it, you tell the other guy to G/A or simply do not take control, which effectively forces a G/A, which is easier to do than when youíre flying the whole thing and have fixated on the landing, with the PM on the edge of their seat.

On the whole, itís a bit more CRM-y and inclusive, which is the way modern flying is.
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Old 6th Dec 2021, 20:12
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Try quickly saying the colours not the words. It takes up to three seconds to change a complex cognitive task, such as switching from instrument flying to visual flying. The Big Airline pioneered monitored approaches (and otjers helped) so that P2 flies the instrument approach and potentially the instrument missed approach while P1 takes over if visual requirements are met in time, preventing the handling pilot from having to switch cognitive tasks.
Itís also a great tool to help force a stable approach as P1 canít take control until the aircraft is past 1000 radio AND fully stable (speed/slope/config), helping crews with a maxed out rushed approach make the correct decision and go around.
Finally itís a great tool to force a crew to come up with an agreed plan from TOD to 1000 radio meaning briefings are thorough assisting crew SA and allowing the other pilot to intervene if the agreed plan or gates arenít met.

Im sure Iíve missed something but is that enough?

I know many here will roll their eyes at this, however would you rather sitting in 1A quaffing champagne behind a crew flying a monitored approach or one whoís briefing was ďstandard Mykonos*). *pick an airfield of your choice.

Now Iím not saying itís the only way to do it and lots of very professional crews fly very safe approaches ďunmonitored ď, however itís all about marginal gains. When it all unravels and the holes in the cheese line up, it might just be the monitored approach that puts a barrier between a crew and an accident. Ever read the report of a British registered A320 at Glasgow when the Captain suddenly announced ďIím going VisualĒ and the First Officer replied ďare you sure?Ē. They were lucky they were in an A320 in normal law. It wasnít necessarily a stability problem, however an agreed plan would certainly have helped.

I hope that makes sense? Not preaching, just saying why itís done, and Iím sure many will disagree.



Edited to add that the control handover is different for approaches planned to terminate with an autoland.
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Old 6th Dec 2021, 20:54
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Originally Posted by CW247 View Post
How does it improve things over the normal way to fly a plane?
Always liked it on difficult weather/wind days. As commander you can be P1/PM (with capacity to mange the big picture) during the approach and yet still take it for the landing.

Also facilitates a good brief. As P1 youíre briefing (before descent) the P2/PF (for the approach) on how youíd like them to fly the approach youíll subsequently land. Very interactive. Easier to monitor the execution of a plan youíve conceived and briefed.
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Old 6th Dec 2021, 21:21
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All approaches are monitored!
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Old 6th Dec 2021, 21:54
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Locked Door is spot on.
Monitored Approaches allow one Pilot to stay unloaded and concentrate on decision making and eliminates that quite demanding moment of transition from instruments to visual. I thought they were great. Unfortunately a change of Training Department saw them go. Pity.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 02:38
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Flying the A320 now, so really don't think that would be a better approach to how we do it (pun intended). When I flew turbo-props, doing non coupled approaches, I did like it. The PF, for us the FO, would be concentrating on flying the approach on instruments, and if nothing happened by the time he reached the DDA/DA, he would continue to fly, and at mins would call "Go Around" and fly the missed. The PM, in our case the PIC, would scan in and out, and if it was clear a successful landing could be made, he would say "my controls, landing", and land the plane, with the FO becoming PM. For me it seemed to work better than to be scanning instruments, and hearing "runway", and having to look outside searching for runway while hand flying. We flew a lot of non-precession approaches where the runway would not be 200 feet below and 2/3 of a mile straight ahead at mins...
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 07:49
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The diff in a monitored approach vs a normal approach is in the fact that the Capt is PM. This allows the Capt (the pilot with the most experience and responsibility) to monitor. The Capt/PM is also always heads up in final phases of the approach, therefore allowing for an easy assessment of the landing conditions at minima. In my last company, it was used for all Cat II/III and NPA approaches with cloud base and viz below a certain limit. It works well. I know SAA used it for decades, BA also I believe. Who else?
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 07:59
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Just for the avoidance of confusion, for an autoland the Captain is P1 and takes control at 1000 radio and looks out, the F/O remains on instruments throughout.

For a manual landing either pilot can be P1 or P2 with complete role reversal, itís not a Capt / FO thing. If the F/O is P1 they will take over and land at the appropriate point just as the Captain would if they were P1.

For those that arenít familiar, P1 is the handling pilot for the takeoff, climb and cruise and runs the pre descent briefing. P2 becomes the handling pilot just before TOD and flies the approach and P1 takes over and performs the landing once stable and below 1000R.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 08:43
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CM. All approaches are monitored!

Use of the monitored (shared) approach depends on the situation; the context of an approach.
Some situations warrant offloading the physical workload of the more experienced pilot enabling more time to assess the overall situation, e.g. a complex approach pattern or time critical decisions in low visibility operations.

On other occasions there are advantages in the more experienced pilot handling the aircraft for both the approach and landing, particularly where the manual feel of the aircraft is important - abnormal ops, limiting crosswinds. Getting into the loop early.

It is important to have a company philosophy, flexible - not a fixed SOP, with awareness of the risks of old style flying ‘all approaches captain only’. Thus using experience wisely, yet still enabling the less experienced pilot to gain experience for ‘command’ monitoring and assessment, decision making, and handling the aircraft.

The level of automation available, decision cue lights, verbal rad alt, and weather are other variables.
Also to have a specific procedure; verbal only is time limited thus min height restrictions. A mix of verbal / manual - hand tap on the thrust levers should meet the most stringent conditions in low visibility.
(Yes, PF has a hand on the thrust levers).

Crew awareness in low vis will be improved by the head up pilot providing a commentary - “contact”, “centreline, crossbar”, “green threshold”, “runway” etc; stating colour is useful.

There is no hard sell of a monitored approach; its your choice after examining contributory factors with reasoned judgment.

This issue is the classic ‘there is no definitive answer’ - ‘it depends’; uncertainties which the industry dislikes and often constrains with procedures with little thought of the factors above - ‘there is no one fits all’ in aviation.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 08:51
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I’ve flown three different monitored approach procedures.
BEA where the captain monitored the power with the copilot doing the poling..rubbish and developed because some of our older guys (late 40s plus) couldn’t cope with the beast. Often the senior copilot changed seats from P3 if it was going to be on limits.
Secondly BOAC where one pilot monitors the other along with the flight engineer(who had his own set of levers and would set power called for). Worked well and much easier to fly than the with analogue auto throttle with its lag.
Third was SR where the training was to a higher standard. CAT 1 either we could fly a manual approach and land although if the cloud base was below 500ft I would elect as a copilot to do a monitored approach with the captain landing purely because we were in the business of transporting passengers.
CAT 1 monitored could be hand flown and had a continue phase from minimum’s to 100 ft where the copilot would expect the captain to take over although he could still fly a manual go around.
I watched a naughty one from the jump seat after the MD80 diverted to Gatwick where continue was called although nowt was seen and at 100ft there was maybe a centre line light visible.
Part of the problem nowadays is the reduction of training and experience before a line pilot is released without a supernumerary. It can be a one man band. How it works with old [email protected] relying on the automatics and fatigue is another question.
I would add that I’ve had control taken from me, taken control from others and regretted that I hadn’t taken control earlier or properly but that’s all 25 years plus ago.
Still a fan of a well executed monitored approach.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 08:52
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Thank you guys/gals. Must say, my eyes have been opened somewhat.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 09:28
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I think CW247 you are process orientated versus outcome orientated.

What is the desired outcome? A safe and controlled, stabilised landing in any/inclement weather.

Does the monitored versus non-monitored approach produce any verifiable difference? If so; choose your process accordingly. If no difference in the data then it’s whatever you personally choose.

If you choose a process when there is no verifiable difference then you are kidding yourself.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 09:37
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bp, “Part of the problem nowadays is the reduction of training and experience before a line pilot is released without a supernumerary. It can be a one man band.” Interesting thoughts.

Reduced training because past operations indicate a high level of safety. Assumption that past safety can be equated to to future risk.
Low experience Captains, self training on the job, favours Captain only procedure; with inherent risks of low experience. Also, few if any opportunities for the other crew to gain experience. (cf crosswind limits)

A downhill spiral; but then perhaps the industry is ‘safe enough’ for these operations - until the next event. (Side debate is if simulation provides sufficient ‘experience’ for actual operations vs the non-reality of being in a ‘training machine’).

Boeing 99, re outcome.
Outcome may not reflect the actual risk of the operation, where for the same conditons outcomes can differ.

Not ‘what’ was achieved (history, outcome), but ‘how’ this is to be achieved (future, a judgement) - monitored approach procedure - process.
Past success (outcome) is no guide to the future, only complacency.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 09:48
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Personally, I never like the change of PM and PF at TOD. I find it weird to suddenly change roles at this point, after hours as PF, having flown and guided the aircraft from push-back to TOD to the best of my ability, only to have the descent, STAR and approach, meeting all the speed and altitude constraints - the fun stuff - done by PM !
Likewise, as PM it doesn't feel quite right to fly "someone else's" descent and approach. If conditions are low viz or dictate an auto-land, then PF can still be PF from taxi out to DH, and PM can still be eyes out and change roles at DH to land.

If conditions are windy with low cloud base rather than still air, misty low viz, I find it much better for the landing pilot to manually fly it in from at least 4 miles - preferably 7 - to get into the groove, so by the time they get to DA/DH, their control responses are tuned in and up to speed, enabling a nicely coordinated and well controlled decrab and touch-down. By doing this PF will also know how close to control limits they might be getting, giving them a more informed opinion about whether to go-around or continue, (visibility notwithstanding).

Being given an aeroplane at around DA/DH on a windy day to flare, decrab and land without having had a few miles to get used to the conditions of a bad weather day is quite challenging ! - arguably more so than looking up from the instruments to the runway and transitioning to visual flying.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 11:03
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My point is that on initial training jet fleet a new copilot with a low number of sectors let loose on a normal line captain without a safety pilot can be a liability.
Simulator flying is not line flying and automatics aren’t a substitute for skill and experience.
When the whale was introduced a mate who had been fleet training manager on a smaller Bus phoned me as he was dropped in the deep end having to train from both seats without anyone supervising..in his 60s it was too much INHO.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 11:15
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
enabling a nicely coordinated and well controlled decrab and touch-down.
Judging by the crosswind landings seen on YouTube it seems many pilots these days do not decrab in a crosswind - is it now acceptable to land with drift? Have the aircraft manufacturers beefed up landing gear to cope with the stresses? To us old timers it looks like abuse of the machinery!
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 11:30
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You old timers are the management and training pilots of today who dictate to and create the standard to which new pilots train to. So where does the buck stop? Training departments who are so afraid of management that the AP is the only choice?

safetypee; you take my thoughts further - the ongoing outcome that is desired is safe and stable approaches and landings. A one-offf is irrelevant. So again if the ongoing outcome of unmonitored approaches results in the same level of safety as monitored approaches then the choice is personal taste/operator’s belief and it’s not based on data, just inertia and possibly a sense of “we’ve always done it this way and it’s worked out well so far”.

The only large operator I can think of that does monitored approaches has had a series of reasonable high profile failures in procedures in the last few years - cowlings at LHR/RTO at LAX/Gear pins at LHR. Maybe it’s time to have an honest appraisal of the processes and frank look at what the desired outcomes are.
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Old 7th Dec 2021, 12:49
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@Discorde, abuse it certainly is, and there is no excuse for not aligning the aircraft with the runway during the flare just before touch-down; that's what the rudder pedals are for. But let's not open that can of worms !!
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