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Air France A343 Climbs On Overspeed Warning  
User currently offlinecubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 410 posts, RR: 5
Posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 35429 times:

Air France A340-300 climbs from cruise altitude (35,000) to over 38,000 feet as First Officer overreacts to an overspeed warning as the aircraft went through a little turbulence. As the warning went off, he pulled back on his sidestick for 6 seconds.

http://www.flightglobal.com/news/art...nquiry-backs-shock-tactics-372060/

I'm a bit afraid that some pilots are not getting enough training, or are relying way to much on automation in the newer aircraft. There appears recently too much confusion over small consequences such as a minor overspeed.

49 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9818 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 35252 times:

Quoting cubastar (Thread starter):

I'm a bit afraid that some pilots are not getting enough training, or are relying way to much on automation in the newer aircraft. There appears recently too much confusion over small consequences such as a minor overspeed.

That does sound like a training problem. I'm not sure how close 226 kts is to a stall on an A340 at cruise, but pushing an airplane to below the minimum selectable speed as a response to an overspeed warning does not sound good to the untrained observer.

I can't comment on too much since I am not an expert on pilot operations, but I do see some problems pointed out in the article. It seems disturbing that the crew did not hear the altitude warning and inadvertently gained 3,000ft in altitude during cruise.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlinecubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 410 posts, RR: 5
Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 34763 times:

Additionally, it was the first officer who initiated the pullup and he was the Non-Flying Pilot. The Captain was the pilot flying and the overspeed warning evidently caused both to not hear the "off altitude" warning which evidently comes on when the altitude excursion exceeds 200 feet. Also, neither cockpit crew heard the autopilot warning nor recognized that the autopilot disconnected when the first officer pulled back on the side-stick.

This confusion lasted almost 90 seconds while the aircraft climbed at a rate of 5700 ft/min to a little over 3000 ft off of assigned altitude.

What happened to just responding by pulling back the throttles a little? Why spend various time "selecting" various mach speeds. (yes, I know, they did not recognize that the autopilot had disconnected). More importantly, it appears that flight crews these days are just really hesitant to take manual control of the aircraft when flying at altitude. Again..... training or too much automation? Automation is terrific! BUT, crews must still be able to hand fly the aircraft in any unusual situation.


User currently offlineaaexecplat From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 636 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 33941 times:

Unreal. The level of ineptitude displayed by this flight crew is flat out amazing. Combine that with the crashed flight from a few years ago and the lack of such errors reported from other airlines like LH, LX etc, and I am questioning the average skill level of AF's pilots.

User currently offlineAirlineCritic From Finland, joined Mar 2009, 738 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 33093 times:

This sounds ominously like AF447. Inexperienced and confused junior crew members have trouble with situational awareness and end up making dangerous moves.

User currently offlineebbuk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 32169 times:

Quoting cubastar (Reply 2):
What happened to just responding by pulling back the throttles a little? Why spend various time "selecting" various mach speeds. (yes, I know, they did not recognize that the autopilot had disconnected). More importantly, it appears that flight crews these days are just really hesitant to take manual control of the aircraft when flying at altitude. Again..... training or too much automation? Automation is terrific! BUT, crews must still be able to hand fly the aircraft in any unusual situation.
Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 4):
This sounds ominously like AF447. Inexperienced and confused junior crew members have trouble with situational awareness and end up making dangerous moves.

I am no pilot so don't shoot me for asking this question . I thought on the Airbus Fly by wire planes, they were designed never to stall? Or am i making that up?

AF447 i guess would be unique as the inputs to the computer were corrupted or interrupted but with A340 here surely the computers would have kicked in at some point if the first officer was still pulling on the sidestick?

I take it a "startled First Officer's reactions" would have played out the same in a AF non Airbus jet?


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21866 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 31949 times:

Before we go too far in vilifying the crew, here....

All jet aircraft have a procedure to be followed in the event of an overspeed. I don't know what the A340 procedure is, and it's unlikely to be published anywhere accessible to the public. But I'm sure some posters on this board do know, and I would hope that they would be able to comment so that we can establish whether or not the crew were doing what they were supposed to do.

With that said, the first few words of the article bear repeating:

French investigators are advising that simulator training should incorporate shock effects



Here's how my evaluation on stalls went when I was in recurrent training a couple of weeks ago:

Power to idle...pitch up to maintain altitude...keep pitching up as the speed drops off...keep watching the instruments to make sure you're on altitude...wait for it...wait for it...getting close now...wait for it...okay, there's the shaker, recover.

That is a completely unrealistic stall entry scenario ("I'm going to sit here, with my hands on the controls and actively flying the airplane, watching the speed drop off, and do nothing about it until the stick shaker goes off"). I cannot think of a single accident or incident where it played out that way. Stalls happen because crews get distracted by something, and poor stall recoveries (as well as situations like these) happen because pilots aren't expecting to put in a situation where they'd need to perform that recovery, and have to switch mental gears from whatever they were doing to evaluating the situation, determining appropriate corrective action, and performing it. Fortunately, I had a good instructor who, earlier in the course, had tried to give me a more realistic scenario by letting me stall with the autopilot on and busying me with other tasks in the cockpit (though I still knew we were practicing stalls). But what I described is what the FAA evaluates on.

That was my experience with stalls, but I believe the same thinking is applicable to any abnormal situation that one may encounter during the course of the flight.

Admittedly, it is very difficult to train pilots on surprises - there are only so many ways to do it, and word gets around that when you see X, it means that you're about to see Y, so you can prepare for it. But the effort needs to be made, IMO, because I don't think that the current model is all that useful.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineecbomberman From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2011, 76 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 31722 times:

I'm surprised that a A343 could climb that fast (5,700ft/min)    . But seriously, 90sec is a long time for the flight crew to realise what's wrong.


VS343/346/744 CX744/L1101/343 MH332/333/733 BD32x/EMB 145 AK320 SQ310/77E/773/744 UA747SP/744 BA744 BI763ER/319 QF763ER
User currently offlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7665 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 31154 times:

Quoting cubastar (Reply 2):
What happened to just responding by pulling back the throttles a little?

Affect fuel flow and may result in greater fuel burn when you spool up again, with the cost of fuel today anything to not increase fuel burn may be mandatory.


User currently offlinecubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 410 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 30870 times:

Quoting par13del (Reply 8):
Affect fuel flow and may result in greater fuel burn when you spool up again, with the cost of fuel today anything to not increase fuel burn may be mandatory.

Obviously, there would be an effect on fuel flow. That's what you need. Reduce thrust for a short period of time to slow down. Very simple. Sort of like taking your foot off of the accelerator when you are speeding and spy a Patrol car. Safety is what is mandatory while flying.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21866 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 30872 times:

Quoting ebbuk (Reply 5):
I am no pilot so don't shoot me for asking this question . I thought on the Airbus Fly by wire planes, they were designed never to stall? Or am i making that up?

You can't design an airplane that will NEVER stall or overspeed (or otherwise exceed the flight envelope) - you can, as Airbus does, design the software so that it prevents voluntary excursions and corrects involuntary ones. IIRC, bank angle in the Airbus is capped at 66 degrees. Let's say you're in a 65 degree bank (which is quite steep, and wouldn't be normal operations, but for sake of argument) and you get hit by a gust that bumps you up to 70 degrees momentarily. The software will correct, but the exceedance did happen due to external factors (namely, that software can't override the laws of physics).

Hope that clarifies things.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently onlineSKY1 From Spain, joined Apr 2006, 879 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 30539 times:

OLD NEWS! --- I was thinking, when reading this heading that an AF A343 has suffered an new incident again ...and of course not. It has been talked several times before as it happened last year.

Quoting aaexecplat (Reply 3):
The level of ineptitude displayed by this flight crew is flat out amazing

...why? do u have the real facts? if so, please share it with all us. We only really know that It was an odd incident and in the end, the A343 did a safely landing at CDG. It's very, very easy talking and misjudge once it has already past.

Quoting aaexecplat (Reply 3):
Combine that with the crashed flight from a few years ago and the lack of such errors reported from other airlines like LH, LX etc, and I am questioning the average skill level of AF's pilots.

No every incident is reported and published. Honestly I think it has nothing to do about the skill level of AF's pilots which is similar to any mayor international airline.

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 4):
This sounds ominously like AF447.

Not at all! I hope you don't say that just because it was the same airline and the same aircraft manufacturer.

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 4):
Inexperienced and confused junior crew member

Inexperienced? 5400 hours combined on type don't seem be few hours:

Quoting flightglobal.com:
The A340's captain had logged more than 3,000h on type, while the first officer had over 2,400h



Time flies! Enjoy life!
User currently offlineebbuk From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 30001 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 10):
You can't design an airplane that will NEVER stall or overspeed (or otherwise exceed the flight envelope) - you can, as Airbus does, design the software so that it prevents voluntary excursions and corrects involuntary ones. IIRC, bank angle in the Airbus is capped at 66 degrees. Let's say you're in a 65 degree bank (which is quite steep, and wouldn't be normal operations, but for sake of argument) and you get hit by a gust that bumps you up to 70 degrees momentarily. The software will correct, but the exceedance did happen due to external factors (namely, that software can't override the laws of physics).

Hope that clarifies things.

Um not really. I think i'll stick to pumping iron thanks  


User currently offlinesomething From United Kingdom, joined May 2011, 1633 posts, RR: 21
Reply 13, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 29101 times:

Quoting Mir (Reply 6):
I don't know what the A340 procedure is, and it's unlikely to be published anywhere accessible to the public.

Not 100% what you are looking for, but interesting nonetheless.

http://www.smartcockpit.com/data/pdf...40_Flight_Crew_Training_Manual.pdf



..sick of it. -K. Pilkington.
User currently offlinecx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6641 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 27163 times:

I'm not sure how this sort of thing keeps happening at Air France. Surely by now they have trained this exact situation after the AF447 accident?

User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1487 posts, RR: 17
Reply 15, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 27031 times:

Quoting cubastar (Reply 2):
What happened to just responding by pulling back the throttles a little?

Why? Because the Airbus design doesn't have moving throttles. The throttles are placed in the climb detent and don't move. The Autothrust could be commanding idle thrust as a result of the overspeed and the throttles stay in the detent and the engines roll back to idle. The pilot must pull the throttles to a position approximating what they think they want and disconnect. If they disconnect with the throttles in the detent they could command an increase in thrust to further compound the issue of the overspeed.

The key is pilots rely too much on automation these days. I see it everyday. You have to stay ahead of the airplane AND the automation to fly the airplane safely. The AF pilots are not setting a good example of staying ahead of the airplane. In an overspeed you may need to extend the speedbrakes in cruise to momentarily kill the speed increase. Of course you need to do this judiciously as an underspeed can occur quite quickly if you don't keep flying the airplane.


User currently offlinezhiao From United States of America, joined Jan 2011, 428 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 26519 times:
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What's wrong with this airline? They dont seem to have the best pilots.

User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4229 posts, RR: 37
Reply 17, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 25004 times:

This is exactly how the entry into the stall on AF447 began. Many carriers around the world are training over reliance on automation and not stick and rudder skills. Many places outside of the US it is frowned upon to not use the autopilot as much as possible.

When it all hits the fan and the automation isn't doing what you want it to do, you have to have pilots that are capable of turning it all off and being pilots. The airbus has fly by wire protections, but those are only protections and can be broken through.



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlinemy235 From United States of America, joined Mar 2009, 93 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 24154 times:

Quoting aaexecplat (Reply 3):
Unreal. The level of ineptitude displayed by this flight crew is flat out amazing.

I couldn't agree more. Why isn't there a redundant system in place that uses gps or some other way of letting the autopilot/brain-o-the-plane know that the ground speed is still in the green. I'm a super novice but questions.


User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4229 posts, RR: 37
Reply 19, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 22 hours ago) and read 22955 times:

Quoting my235 (Reply 18):

You're a novice, so I'm going easy on you.  

Ground speed has nothing to do with airspeed. Airspeed is what keeps the airplane in the air in an overly simplistic way of stating it (it actually has to do with wing angle of attack through the air, as if you are pulling enough G's you can stall an airplane at any airspeed, but I digress...). I've had an airplane going backwards over the ground before and still above stall speed going through the air, for example.

The best description I can give you is the air is like you're in a river and the ground is the shore. Your speed relative to the shoreline has nothing to do with the performance of your boat. The boat's only interaction is with the river water.

The airbus has protections as far as angle of attack and airspeed built in, but those sensors can malfunction, which was the case with AF447. They were left with partially functioning instruments and due to that the protections took a time out because they no longer were able to "protect."

That is where being a pilot comes into play. As a new instrument pilot, you are trained to recognize instrument malfunctions and compensate. Pulling up to the extent they did at that altitude is never called for in any situation. Normal pitch attitude at high altitude should never go above about 5 degrees (on most aircraft, there may be exceptions).

I would blame a large part of these incidents on the training mentality of many global carriers on over reliance of automation and discouraging hand flying. Several US carriers have had identical situations with totally benign outcomes.

[Edited 2012-05-18 22:57:11]


Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineBrouAviation From Netherlands, joined Jun 2009, 985 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 18 hours ago) and read 18342 times:

Quoting SKY1 (Reply 11):
Inexperienced? 5400 hours combined on type don't seem be few hours:

2400 hours on type for the FO averaged by 10 means 240 flights, part of which were as PNF. I would call that inexperienced indeed. Especially since the first several hundred/thousand hours with AF/KL don't involve any actual flying, but only sitting on the right seat touching buttons above FL200.

The number of actual hours this FO had manual control of an A340 might shock you.



Never ask somebody if he's a pilot. If he is, he will let you know soon enough!
User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2478 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 17 hours ago) and read 17004 times:

Quoting BrouAviation (Reply 21):

I wouldn't call him inexperienced, but you are right. There is very little hand flying involved in being an airline pilot. It is not like flying a Cessna 172 or whatever.


User currently offlineaffirmative From France, joined Jul 2009, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 14787 times:

Ok, I'm not out to hang anyone but it's getting blatantly obvious that all is not right at AF. What could be the cause of such a reaction? Training? Scheduling? Lack of either of the two?

To me it seems that this phenomena is happening to AFs long haul crews. Is there a built in complacency after driving the narrow bodies and get to step up to the lazy days of long haul flying? Or so they think..

Noone in their right mind should pull up in a situation like the one described. Coffin corner anyone? He could've easily ended up in the same situation as AF447..



I love the smell of Jet-A1 in the morning...
User currently offlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7665 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 14604 times:

Quoting affirmative (Reply 23):
To me it seems that this phenomena is happening to AFs long haul crews.

Or is it because anytime anything happens on an AF a/c it is reported due to the crash a couple years ago but on other ailines its just another non-event?


User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 24, posted (2 years 7 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 14571 times:

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 17):
Many carriers around the world are training over reliance on automation and not stick and rudder skills. Many places outside of the US it is frowned upon to not use the autopilot as much as possible.

Is it not the case that airline pilots these days might not be getting enough training and experience in hand-flying in cruise conditions? Are major airlines in the USA substantially different from other major western airlines regarding the use of autopilot?


25 affirmative : Sure, you might be right. Maybe the AF organization is more transparent with these incidents after the AF447 incident, in that case we should salute
26 BoxBoy : Pathetic airmanship. AF just made my no fly list. If you don't have the confidence or training to fly the jet w/o the autopilot, you should not be all
27 BigJKU : A very large percentage of US pilots are ex-military, though this is decreasing as guys from the 90's in the post Cold-War era move through the syste
28 mcdu : I have over 5000 hours in the left seat of the Airbus. It is not a pilot friendly design. Sure you can move those throttles to idle to match the comm
29 cuban8 : Well, obviously not in all cases. My personal experience is that Boeing aircraft's are much easier to fly manually than Airbus aircraft's for instanc
30 CM : I spend a lot of time working with airlines around the world and am often amazed to have young (20ish) people come up and introduce themselves as a p
31 TIA : The thing is that flying has gotten SIGNIFICANTLY safer as time has passed. Advances in technology and automation play a big role in that. So while t
32 saab2000 : At my US carrier there are some restrictions regarding A/P usage on ILS approaches in IMC, etc. But for the most part, pilots are free to fly or not
33 Mir : Human error can involve misuse of automation as well. I've seen someone let an airplane almost fly itself into the ground because they were too busy
34 SKGSJULAX : In addition, I believe that, on Airbus aircraft, the control sidestick of the non-flying pilot does not move in lockstep with the sidestick of the fl
35 Post contains images David L : Funny you should say that. On my most recent trip on the flight deck, the FO did the reverse of that on the way down (I was too busy taking photos to
36 Post contains links propatriamori : A similar incident happened with a THY A340 in 2000 when it hit turbulence over the Atlantic. IIRC the autopilot response in an overspeed situation wa
37 cuban8 : Problem is, not all of these pilots comes from the military. I know a few who got their thousands of hours by flying a long the pacific coast highway
38 saab2000 : There is nothing in our SOPs which would prevent it but it's pretty rare because the airplane I fly is not a particularly easy one to fly at altitude
39 RubberJungle : Neither. The incident occurred eight hours' flying time from Paris, and the cockpit recorder could only hold two hours of data. The recording was sim
40 Mir : No, they are not allowed to hand-fly at cruise. This isn't anything airline-related, it's a regulatory requirement brought on by the need for precise
41 Asturias : No, not really. In fact, not at all. Autopilot is used just about from V1 to touchdown (I exaggerate, but still) Many countries have a large percenta
42 Post contains images sandrozrh : Situational awareness doesn't have much to do with experience, but with your flight follow-up. Experience might play a role in how much effort you ha
43 Bureaucromancer : This is getting to be a very good question. This, 447 and 358 aren't even the only significant incidents at AF involving A330s and A340s. At a minimu
44 imiakhtar : What's your point? That military pilots are by way of their experience, better handling pilots? Just off the top of my head, the FX MD-11 at NRT, CO
45 CM : LOL! Don't get defensive. Since I happen to be a pilot who learned in a Cessna flying over farmland, I certainly am not trying to make the point that
46 Post contains links and images airmagnac : As I haven't seen it yet, here is a link to the BEA report published yesterday : http://www.bea.aero/docspa/2011/f-zu110722/pdf/f-zu110722.pdf I'm afr
47 Post contains links airmagnac : Here we are : http://www.volpe.dot.gov/coi/hfrsa/docs/volpejbcsurprisedecember.pdf (more generally, publications by the ICATEE group about extended-en
48 sandrozrh : Again, it's a moot point how to weigh good training tailored to large transport jet flying vs experience on small props, military aircraft or whateve
49 Post contains images prebennorholm : No. He was in normal law with full alpha protection. The plane could not be stalled. Coffin corner is totally unrelated to this incident. Coffin corn
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