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-   -   Speaker off while headsets on. (https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/609960-speaker-off-while-headsets.html)

9 points 11th Jun 2018 10:44

Speaker off while headsets on.
 
I hesitate to write this as I expect a flood of heated responses but here goes.For many years an argument has carried on among Airbus pilots concerning the use of the cockpit loudspeaker volume knob.There are two basic positions. 1. It must be on loud enough to hear the radio transmissions always unless there is a specific reason to turn it off or down such as he is listening to HF. 2. It can be turned right down or off when headsets are used.Argument 1 is claimed to be backed up by the SOP but the SOP does not state that it must be set to the 1 oíclock position AND LEFT THERE FOR THE WHOLE FLIGHT.Argument 2 is claimed to be backed up by the MEL which implies that only 1 level of redundancy is required but this is hardly iron clad.I fully understand the argument in favour of leaving it on, but I personally have over many years experienced a problem when I am using headsets and the other pilot has his speaker on, in this situation there seems to be an interference between the sound coming from my headset and the sound coming from his speaker. I theorise that this may be due to wave interference but whatever the cause I know it is a problem for me. It causes me to miss calls and that is not good.I was wondering if there is any official literature on this subject.

pineteam 11th Jun 2018 10:59

I used to hate when some skippers will insist to keep the headset on and loudspeakers open at the same time. Like you say, it creates very annoying interference making the communication more difficult to undestand. I really don’t undestand why people will do that. If my colleague or I forgot to tune down our loudspeaker, we notice immediately and we will tune them down straight away. You are 2 in the cockpit with 2 headsets so you already have redundancy.
Personnaly if my FO agrees, I ask headset off as soon as pratical especially on the A321 which is a very quiet cockpit usually around 15/20000 feet and put it back on about the same altitude. It’s doable to do the flight without headset on the A320 series. Done it before. A bit noisy during climb on A319 tho. If some people think this cockpit is very noisy they should fly an Islander. xD

PENKO 11th Jun 2018 11:40

I never notice this interference unless the speaker is wide open. My conclusion is that certain individuals must have some very sensitive auditory canals. Some FO's complain even when the volume is less than half way open. Fine, whatever rocks your boat, I'll turn it down, but it's odd!

The problem arises when both pilots take off their headsets and forget to open the speaker volume. Where is your redundancy then?

compressor stall 11th Jun 2018 12:01

I agree there can be interference, but not all the time and it's more noticeable from the other guy's speaker than yours. Occasionally putting the headsets on after cruise, I forget to turn the speaker down (or the other guy forgets). We're lucky that we have a culture where we can just ask the other guy to turn it down and it's usually accompanied by an "oops - sorry" and we go about landing and sorting out where to go for dinner.

Mushroom club 11th Jun 2018 12:05

9 points

Iím with Penko on this. In fact I seem to recall an incident I read about where a crew did exactly that. Might have been a CHIRP (UK) report. Turned off the volume and forgot about it. Iím pretty certain itís not ďwave interferenceĒ because one wouldnít expect to see a time delay between the headphones and the speaker. However, Iím niether a fan of the loudspeaker being set too high either. Itís only my personal opinion but I see the loudspeaker as a backup in the way that PENKO is suggesting. We might all say we couldnít make a simple error like that but maybe on a four sector day or at 30W in the middle of the night.....

pineteam 11th Jun 2018 12:23

Forgetting to put the volume loudspeaker up when removing the headset is like forgetting to put your socks before your shoes. I’m not saying it can’t happen but it’s unlikely. It’s like an automatism for me. When we agree to remove the headsets, it’s loudspeaker on first and only then headset off. In the airspace I fly, there is always someone talking every 10 seconds. So in case there is an usual silence, I would know pretty fast something is wrong. xD I don’t recall being on that situation. And yes I do forget and do mistakes like any other pilots. But this one is easily avoidable with discipline.

BBK 11th Jun 2018 12:31

Murphy’s law?

PENKO 11th Jun 2018 12:33


Originally Posted by pineteam (Post 10170442)
Forgetting to put the volume loudspeaker up when removing the headset is like forgetting to put your socks before your shoes. Iím not saying it canít happen but itís unlikely. Itís like an automatism for me. When we agree to remove the headsets, itís loudspeaker on first and only then headset off. In the airspace I fly, there is always someone talking every 10 seconds. So in case there is an usual silence, I know pretty fast something is wrong. xD I donít recall being on that situation. And yes I do forget and do mistakes like any other pilots. But this one is easily avoidable with discipline.

I don't wear shoes that often. Sometimes it's flip flops, sometimes I'm bare feet, sometimes I wear shoes without socks.

For years and years I have flown with the volume up. Suddenly there is an FO in the base who insists on turning down the volume, so suddenly I break my routine and turn the volume down. In this scenario, only a super pilot will never ever forget to turn the volume up again in the cruise. I know no super pilots.

pineteam 11th Jun 2018 13:17


Originally Posted by PENKO (Post 10170454)
I don't wear shoes that often. Sometimes it's flip flops, sometimes I'm bare feet, sometimes I wear shoes without socks.

For years and years I have flown with the volume up. Suddenly there is an FO in the base who insists on turning down the volume, so suddenly I break my routine and turn the volume down. In this scenario, only a super pilot will never ever forget to turn the volume up again in the cruise. I know no super pilots.

I’m no super pilot but I don’t know any case that forgetting the loudspeaker had resulted in a loss of communication.
Surely in the past I got distracted and simply did the mistake to first remove my headset and did not turn up the loudspeaker volume up immediately. But within few seconds you would realise your forget to level up the volume as unless it’s not your day and your FO also forgot his loudspeaker, you should realise the sound is coming only on one side but mainly due to the fact than flying into chinese airspace it’s pratically impossible not to have more than 10/20 seconds of radio silence.

Edit: I’m using Telex 850 ANR headset. I guess using ANR headset make the interference worst compare to a conventional headset. Just a guess tho.











Check Airman 11th Jun 2018 14:05

Who the devil goes around on speakers and headsets all day? That's pretty annoying, unless the headset volume is off in an ANR headset. Like someone else said, at the companies I've flown, pointing it out is sufficient to get the other person to turn off the speaker.

If somebody flew around with the speaker on all the time, I'd ask if he listens to music via his ipod headphone and speaker simultaneously.

ACMS 12th Jun 2018 09:23

I hope you lot donít fly the A350, turn it down too far and you get a MEMO ďCAPT/FO SPEAKER LOWĒ ....so with headsets on we can only turn it down so far.....

We manage ok.

vilas 12th Jun 2018 10:22


I’m no super pilot but I don’t know any case that forgetting the loudspeaker had resulted in a loss of communication.
Don't bet on it. Jet Airways has done it twice in European air space. On the second occasion over Germany fighters were scrambled. But it shouldn't have happened. It is matter of doing it in procedural way. Increase the volume First then remove headset. Off course Jet airways is Murphy's airline. If any one can do it then they have done it.

TPE Flyer 12th Jun 2018 14:00


Originally Posted by Check Airman (Post 10170527)
Who the devil goes around on speakers and headsets all day? That's pretty annoying, unless the headset volume is off in an ANR headset. Like someone else said, at the companies I've flown, pointing it out is sufficient to get the other person to turn off the speaker.

If somebody flew around with the speaker on all the time, I'd ask if he listens to music via his ipod headphone and speaker simultaneously.

Every China Airlines Pilot. With the volume set at exactly 1 o'clock. Why? Because the manual says so.
And asking them to turn it down is met with confusion, then refusal.
That also includes having the Cabin PA and Cabin Intercom reception on too. Don't ask me why, I have asked and answers range from, "it's Big Picture" to "IP told me to."

Check Airman 12th Jun 2018 15:02

We leave the PA volume up on ACP 3 for the CVR, not 1/2. That's hilarious. I fly with a few guys who fly around listening to PA's all day. With the amount of PA's we make, I don't see how they have time to listen to the radio.

pineteam 14th Jun 2018 06:32


Originally Posted by Check Airman (Post 10170527)
If somebody flew around with the speaker on all the time, I'd ask if he listens to music via his ipod headphone and speaker simultaneously.

LOL. Nailed It.:D All the pilots flying with the Telex 850 on the A 320 family will acknowledge that when the guy on the other side has his loudspeaker opened , it creates very annoying interference making the communication more difficult and therefore more prone to misunderstanding. Our company provides individual headset to the crew. So we all have the same ANR headset and I don't know anyone who can do the radio peacefully when I keep my loudspeaker opened. Out of the blue, I'm amazed that some airlines don't provide any headset to their crew and they must use the headset from the aircraft. Sounds very hygienic. xD

Check Airman 14th Jun 2018 06:42

The companies I've worked for all provided headsets in the plane. Seemed like a great way to share bits of lunch, hair, dead skin and sweat. No thanks.

Uplinker 14th Jun 2018 11:44

You should worry more about the toilet door handle, or the remote control in your hotel room. :)

I mean there isn’t too much of a health risk with headsets - you share all that dead skin sweat etc. at home with your family.

You can clean the aircraft controls and buttons with a sanitising wet wipe, (but who ever cleans the overhead panel controls or the cockpit door handle?), and can do the same with the company headset.

As far as speakers are concerned, with two audio sources, there is always the possibility of cancellation or amplifying effects, and if there is a time delay between the two sources, there could be echo effects ranging from a change of perceived ambiance, owing to a very short delay, or if digital processing is involved then there could be a longer delay which might affect the intelligibility. I personally have never suffered, but I do sometimes accidentally leave my speaker on, and as soon as the other pilot asks, I apologise and turn it off.

jimjim1 14th Jun 2018 14:36

Occupational risks
 

Originally Posted by Uplinker (Post 10172667)
You should worry more about the toilet door handle, or the remote control in your hotel room. :)

...

Above all very sensible.

Following is from US Department of Labor data.

The most unhealthy jobs in America - Business Insider

22nd most unhealthy job
Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

Top three health risks:

1. Time spent sitting: 93
2. Exposure to radiation: 73
3. Exposure to contaminants: 68

8. Flight attendant

Top three health risks:

1. Exposure to contaminants: 88
2. Exposure to disease and infections: 77
3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 69


Best idea is to keep away from the flight attendents :-) JOKE!

(sorry about mad fonts, tried to fix it later but was not able to change size as far as I can see)

PENKO 14th Jun 2018 16:44


Originally Posted by Uplinker (Post 10172667)


I mean there isnít too much of a health risk with headsets - you share all that dead skin sweat etc. at home with your family.


My sickness rate more than halved after I bought my own personal headset.

Uplinker 15th Jun 2018 10:02


Originally Posted by PENKO (Post 10172932)
My sickness rate more than halved after I bought my own personal headset.


Out of interest, when you used the aircraft headsets did you always wipe them clean before use or just wear them as they were?

I havenít had a cold for at least three years, probably more.

Journey Man 16th Jun 2018 15:13

What happens when you don your mask? In my aircraft volume needs to be set at a reasonable level and then the speaker/headset button used to silence the speaker. When mask mic is selected, the speaker is automatically activated. Some canít understand this and use the audio setup correctly, leaving the speaker on but turned down all the way.

STBYRUD 16th Jun 2018 15:24

Mask and speakers on is the nastiest combination... I brief that the headset is to be put back on over the mask, and the intercom on only when something needs to be communicated. Must have lost a fair percentage of my hearing just from sim sessions with hot intercoms, masks on and the speakers on as well...

In normal ops - either use the headset or the speaker, not both together - especially when the intercom is hot.

pineteam 16th Jun 2018 16:43

On the A 320 Family, the loudspeaker volume drops automatically to a lower setting when you put intercom on. Another sign that it's not design to have both the speakers and headsets active at the same time.

STBYRUD 16th Jun 2018 16:48

Same on the Boeings - my thoughts exactly.

Citation2 16th Jun 2018 17:03

1)Volume is down , headset ON
2) While taking the headset OFF , ECAM pops up: Y HYD LO LEVEL
3) Simultaneously the purser wants to enter the cockpit and the buzzer sounds
4) you prioritze your tasks and fails to readjust the volume
5) You approach the FIR where you are supposed to be handed over to the next ATC.
6) For 5 minutes or more , ATC is calling you on guard.
7) Up to your imagination.

Lesson learnt : you relied on one automatism that was inhibited (cognitive function ) by a high level alert . Is your working memory so reliable ?

Try this in the sim: During rotation, distract the PF by anything like call out anything stupid "Look at EGT !! " whatever you like. PM does not call "Positive Climb" PF does not call "Gear UP" . Gear is left down for a quite a long time until the crew realizes . Some didn't until the checklist ! hopefully there is an after take off checklist but there is no "After headset OFF " checklist

PENKO 16th Jun 2018 17:08

Amazing how emotive a subject this is.
Flew with an FO this week who had his very own handsignal for 'captain could you please lower the volume of your speaker', but then a lot less polite. It was more a flick than a gesture.
Oh well..

pineteam 16th Jun 2018 17:18

I will say it again. Encore une fois: I don't know where you guys are flying but in Asia and most specifically in China, there is always someone talking on the radio. So an awkward silence of more than 1 minute and you know something is not right as it's too quiet to be true.
Then it's loudspeaker on first and only then we remove the headset not the opposite way around. Same as when you set the flaps you always check the speed before not the other way around. It's a question of discipline. At least I expect that if I'm doing that mistake that my colleague won't. So very unlikely to happen as it's done like this on every single flight.
And last but not least, I would rather taking the risk of losing communication for a couple of minutes than flying all the time with strong interference and most probably ending up with altitude burst as you can't clearly understand the radio when both the loudspeaker and headset are tuned on at the same time. A 320 drivers flying with ANR headsets will acknowledge that. if it was not making this annoying interference I would keep the loudspeaker on for more redundancy but it's jut too unbearable that echo. Lol
The scenario you present, not saying it's impossible but I think I have more chance to win the lottery than that to happen. 3 unlikely events to happen at the very same time. What are the odds? Nom de dieu! xD

PENKO 16th Jun 2018 17:29

Pineteam, please cut the drama. It's a very simple discussion.
I have never ever encountered this interference you write about, and I have used just about every ANR headset currently on the market. I guess not everyone is susceptible. On top of that, it's very rarely the guys with an ANR headset who complain about the speaker volume. At the beginning of this topic I hinted that some individuals might be more susceptible to this interference than others, other than that there is no explanation why for some it seems to be a cardinal sin to keep the volume open whilst others hardly notice.

pineteam 16th Jun 2018 17:43

Penko, in the 4 years I'm flying on Airbus. Never had encountered one guy who would not ask me to set my loudspeaker to minimum when I forgot it open. So I guess the majority of us is sensitive to that interference and we all use the same ANR headset. If you can fly comfortably with headset and speaker on, good for you bro. But the fact is, it's not designed to be used together for all the reasons mentioned above. Unless you can prove me wrong. As far as I know all the bus drivers in my company do exactly same as I do. And in more than 20 years, no problem in this matter.

Edit: On my first post I was talking about some skippers asking me to keep both at the same time. It was actually one clown who resigned since and it was back in the days we were using crappy non ANR headset. The guys was nervous as hell and doing radio check all the time. xD


Originally Posted by PENKO (Post 10174513)
I have never ever encountered this interference you write about, and I have used just about every ANR headset currently on the market.


Maybe because your FOs are always keeping their onside loudspeaker to a low level as a kind gesture to you; Thus the impression of no interference. When I keep my onside loudspeaker active, I don't notice any interference but I guaranty you that my Fo will notice it immediately and ask me nicely to turn it down.
:}

Uplinker 17th Jun 2018 11:53

It must be the other pilot’s speaker that causes this effect. The difference in time delay between your headset earphones and your onside speaker is presumably too short to bother you, hence we often don’t notice if we have left our own speaker on. But the time delay from the opposite speaker is perhaps long enough to cause noticeable audio effects to the other pilot, depending I guess, on a combination of headset type and relative volume levels.

Note, I am talking Airbus FBW here. Relatively wide cockpit with the speakers next to the sidewalls, so furthest away from the other pilot. Other types, such as 737, have different speaker locations.

(Delayed audio added to the original, produces all sorts of effects, ranging from increased ambience, to echoes, to frequency cancellation, (e.g. comb filtering), depending on the duration of the time delay. Indeed, this is the method by which some electric guitar and recording studio effects are produced).

Escape Path 18th Jun 2018 01:02

I seriously don't get what the fuss is all about. I've been flying the Airbus for a couple of years now, always with an ANR headset and almost never I've had any annoyance with the speaker. I leave it on at 12 or 1 o' clock position as the FCOM says; as others have pointed out, the volume from the speaker automatically reduces quite significantly if any intercom sw is open, so that's one condition gone straight away, unless you have the volume on the audio panel and the speaker way up (BTW, on the Airbus FBW at least, the volume control on the audio panel has more range, i.e. goes louder, than you have with the speaker volume knob). I've had a few skippers who ask me to turn the speaker down a bit, but all of them fly with crappy headsets anyway... Other than that, it's been a non-issue 95% of the time. Like I said, unless you have the volume knobs ridiculously up...

How about this though. Cruise phase, headsets off, both speakers set to a higher than normal volume (say 3 o'clock or more), both VHF1 volumes set higher than normal too (about same position, 3 o'clock), ATC calls and you obviously reply with the hand mic. Now, there's annoying for ya... Well, not you actually, but everyone else on the frequency, including ATC.

pineteam 18th Jun 2018 04:39

The point is that we have to acknowledge that we all have different aircraft and headset and it's all about common sense and not monkey business. I'm aware of the FCOM setting of 1 o clock position for the loudspeaker. On the ACP, I usually keep the knob at 12 o clock position depending of the aircraft as in reality it varies from aircraft to aircraft. If you do have interference, set the loudspeaker to a lower setting. We personally put it to a minimum setting as we don't rely on loudspeakers when using headset. If you are lucky and don't experience any interference, then use them as your discretion. Simple as that. Communication should be as clear as possible to guaranty the best outcome.

maggot 18th Jun 2018 07:14


Originally Posted by Uplinker (Post 10175019)
It must be the other pilotís speaker that causes this effect. The difference in time delay between your headset earphones and your onside speaker is presumably too short to bother you, hence we often donít notice if we have left our own speaker on. But the time delay from the opposite speaker is perhaps long enough to cause noticeable audio effects to the other pilot, depending I guess, on a combination of headset type and relative volume levels.

Note, I am talking Airbus FBW here. Relatively wide cockpit with the speakers next to the sidewalls, so furthest away from the other pilot. Other types, such as 737, have different speaker locations.

(Delayed audio added to the original, produces all sorts of effects, ranging from increased ambience, to echoes, to frequency cancellation, (e.g. comb filtering), depending on the duration of the time delay. Indeed, this is the method by which some electric guitar and recording studio effects are produced).

This is precisely my experience of this issue over the last 20yrs in both bus and Boeing's of varying vintages.

Offside up is so distracting to me that I miss calls thus and get further distracted. You rarely notice if you've left your own up.

At my operation we keep headsets on for VHF so I'm not worried about missing calls as they're on a fair bit. And if you miss a call? So what, mostly. If you're crossing an FIR pay attention.

I've also never had an issue with a polite request to turn it down when forgotten.

YMMV

pineteam 18th Jun 2018 07:32

I found a reference from our Flight Operating Manual to confirm what I said ealier. It's actually written that you use Loudspeakers or headsets in pair but not both at the same time. :E:p:E


https://cimg6.ibsrv.net/gimg/www.gmf...bc43a4de9e.jpg

maggot 18th Jun 2018 07:37

In stereo stereo

PENKO 18th Jun 2018 07:56

That’s not what it says pineteam. Really. I respect your opinion but the text you quote just tells you that pilots should be either on headsets or on speakers. I.e. one pilot cannot be on seakers whilst the other is on headsets.

pineteam 18th Jun 2018 08:04

My apology!You are correct Penko. :}
But it says use headsets OR loudspeakers. That's not very clear for me. Anyway. Who cares really. xD

Piltdown Man 18th Jun 2018 08:19

I think that the writer intended pairs to mean both pilots, but doesn’t explicitly say that. To add to the confusion, headsets typically have two speakers, it’s also interesting to see that 121.5 shall be continuously monitored without exception. That is a poorly written document. I hope the rest of your manuals are better written.

PM

liveandletlive 18th Jun 2018 08:37

In my opinion, I think it is fairly well written. I think in one sentence they state two things:

1-. Speakers or headsets
2-. Must be used in pairs

1-. Clearly states what pineteam has been defending here, the use of one of the systems, not both. Otherwise, they should've chosen AND instead of OR.
2-. Both pilots use the same system except for the condition given.

PENKO 18th Jun 2018 08:37

But now that you mention it pineteam, there is anecdotal evidence that some pilots in my company keep their ANR headset on during the cruise whilst their colleague is on speakers. This has become apparent during discussions regarding the use of personal ANR headsets on my company forum.

Now I don't like the idea of one pilot on headset whilst the other is on speaker but our company, unlike yours, doesn't prohibit it. What is more interesting though, in light of this discussion, is that none of these pilots mention interference. They are happy to fly for hours and hours with their ANR's on whilst their colleague is on the speaker with no hint of missed calls or other issues. Remember, this is in the cruise with the off side speaker wide open!

CRM-wise it must be a bit awkward, one on headset and one on speakers, hence the reference in your company manual. But again it goes to show that this interference is not universally felt/heard/noticed. Maybe it's a bit like the pressure waves some notice with ANR headsets. Most are not bothered, bot some are totally put off..


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