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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 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 35428 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 onlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9817 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 35251 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 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 34762 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 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 33940 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, 737 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 33092 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 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 32168 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, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 31948 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 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 31721 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 onlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7656 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 31153 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 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 30869 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, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 10, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 30871 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 offlineSKY1 From Spain, joined Apr 2006, 879 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (2 years 7 months 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 30538 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 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 30000 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 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 29100 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, 6639 posts, RR: 55
Reply 14, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 27162 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 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 27030 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 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 26518 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

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 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 25003 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 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 24153 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 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 22954 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 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 18341 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, 2477 posts, RR: 24
Reply 21, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 17003 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 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14786 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 onlinepar13del From Bahamas, joined Dec 2005, 7656 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14603 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 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 14570 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?


User currently offlineaffirmative From France, joined Jul 2009, 352 posts, RR: 0
Reply 25, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 13910 times:

Quoting par13del (Reply 24):
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?

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 them. But for me it's not the report in itself, it's the reaction of the F/O. I'm just about finished with my ATPL and I know that at FL350 you don't pull up, period. The article also mentions there was turbulence. Imagine getting close to the 1.25 gust limit. This is really, really dangerous territory. Even I, who never flew anything bigger than a light twin IRL know that if you yank the controls backwards you're asking for a lot of trouble. Busting your altitude, over stressing the airframe, exceeding AoA limits and a host of other things. Luckily they were not over the north atlantic tracks where a move like that could have you right in the path of oncoming a/c.

And for those talking about throttle levers not moving as a reason. A/T disconnect, throttle levers idle takes about 2 seconds for someone like me who doesn't fly Airbus regularly..

I really like the Airbus design philosophy. But I agree that pilots might get complacent with technology if they don't interest themselves in what's behind the "smoke and mirrors". So it's not just about knowing what to do it's about understanding why you have to do it. Once you understand why it becomes natural and second nature (motor skill) which means that reactions like this does not occur. But the change is fundamental and this might be what is wrong with the philosophy of training at air france and maybe at other airlines too..

cheers



I love the smell of Jet-A1 in the morning...
User currently offlineBoxBoy From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 51 posts, RR: 1
Reply 26, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 12355 times:

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 allowed anywhere near a cockpit.

And this is an Airbus--the easiest jet in the world to fly! Train the AF pilots to just let go of the stick.


User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 883 posts, RR: 11
Reply 27, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 11987 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 25):
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?

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 system as the USAF just has less pilots around. Regardless ex-military pilots in the US domestics still have a huge presence in these airliners and makeup a huge part of the culture. Those are guys who know how to fly with a stick and rudder and as they move up through an organization are going to create a training culture that emphasizes that.

Other nations don't have thousands of military pilots sitting around to draw from so most of their airline pilots are going to be civilian trained.


User currently offlinemcdu From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 1487 posts, RR: 17
Reply 28, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 11896 times:

Quoting affirmative (Reply 26):
And for those talking about throttle levers not moving as a reason. A/T disconnect, throttle levers idle takes about 2 seconds for someone like me who doesn't fly Airbus regularly..

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 command. The Boeing design keeps the pilot in the loop with the moving throttles. You can see at a glance where the throttles are, you see the movement and it keys you in to what is happening very quickly vs the airbus design.

As a professional pilot I prefer the real airplane flight controls on the BA setup versus the hybrid AB design. That is to say I like that a BA airplane dosen't employ the AB rate command. Give me deflection any day and I can sort out the input. After all that is how pilots are trained. Several years ago I gave interview checkrides in BA simulators to a large number of pilots coming from a defunct AB operator. For the majority their basic piloting skills were either never present or had eroded to a level that made them unemployable.


User currently offlinecuban8 From Kiribati, joined Sep 2009, 282 posts, RR: 0
Reply 29, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 11213 times:

Quoting BoxBoy (Reply 26):
And this is an Airbus--the easiest jet in the world to fly!

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 instance.


Quoting BigJKU (Reply 27):
Regardless ex-military pilots in the US domestics still have a huge presence in these airliners and makeup a huge part of the culture. Those are guys who know how to fly with a stick and rudder and as they move up through an organization are going to create a training culture that emphasizes that.

I'm not sure this will be the case and I'm not sure I'll agree with your statement. I've seen all kinds of pilots with all kinds of backgrounds.......and believe me, it's not related to military or civilian background. You have good and less good pilots.

I also have doubts about the training culture (stick and rudder) that you think will happen. For better or worse, today's pilot is (unfortunately) not about manual flying. Flight monitoring is the future and on that part my experience is that military pilots are more confused than civilians pilots, especially when it comes to IMC conditions (loss of situation awareness). That being said, this is just my experience in flight operations.

What's bothering me the most about this article is that the CVR was overwritten. Does anyone know if it was inoperative during the whole flight (under MEL) or if the pilots erased the information after the event?

Cheers


User currently offlineCM From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 30, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 10806 times:

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 27):
Other nations don't have thousands of military pilots sitting around to draw from so most of their airline pilots are going to be civilian trained.

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 pilot for the airline. This happens primarily in parts of Europe and in South America. After asking what they fly, invariably I learn they are flying a C-172 working on their instrument rating, or have only been through a sim screening process for pilot applicants and have not yet flow... they are junior pilots in the training pool to become airline pilots.

In the US, a major airline will not even interview a prospective pilot unless there are thousands of hours in the logbook and already an ATP endorsement. Often those thousands of hours were gained in the military.


User currently offlineTIA From Albania, joined Mar 2006, 524 posts, RR: 2
Reply 31, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 10542 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.

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 there will always be accidents, there is no such thing as too much automation. There were more crashes attributed to human error in the past than now.


User currently offlinesaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1619 posts, RR: 11
Reply 32, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 10123 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 24):
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?

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 by hand. Many of my F/Os fly to 10,000 feet by hand before engaging the A/P. We have no autothrottle in my airplane so every knows how to manage speed and pitch and power.

The ability to actually fly an airplane is a requirement in the US and seen as basic required knowledge. I sometimes felt in Europe during my training that actually flying the airplane by hand and doing maneuvers involving steep banks and pitch angles, slow fliight, etc were just a nuisance and a box that had to be checked off. Very different mentality between the US and Europe.

We don't have all the facts, but on the face of it this incident does seem to point to a lack of awareness on the part of the pilots flying the airplane.



smrtrthnu
User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 33, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 9753 times:

Quoting TIA (Reply 31):
So while there will always be accidents, there is no such thing as too much automation. There were more crashes attributed to human error in the past than now.

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 trying to set up the automation properly, whereas if the automation wasn't there they'd just have used their eyes, seen the airport, and landed. Not necessarily too much automation, but too much use of automation. Fortunately, this was in a sim - the only thing at risk was dignity.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineSKGSJULAX From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 84 posts, RR: 0
Reply 34, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 9103 times:

Quoting mcdu (Reply 15):
Why? Because the Airbus design doesn't have moving throttles. The throttles are placed in the climb detent and don't move.

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 flying pilot. Doesn't that significantly reduce "visual awareness" in the cockpit for the other pilot?



Omnium curiositatum explorator
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9545 posts, RR: 42
Reply 35, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 9089 times:

Quoting saab2000 (Reply 32):
Many of my F/Os fly to 10,000 feet by hand before engaging the A/P

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 notice how the departure was handled). Can anyone guess which airline it was?  

OK, let me be more specific - since that's where the two incidents everyone is focusing on happened - do US airlines offer more hand-flying training and experience at cruise?


User currently offlinepropatriamori From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 132 posts, RR: 0
Reply 36, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 8776 times:

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 was to pitch up slightly to slow the plane down. A similar zoom climb to 38,000 feet occurred, and the A340 came to within 200-300 lateral feet of an overtaking Air Transat A330 1000 ft above it.

I don't recall reading that it was pilot input which caused the zoom climb, but something about the autopilot and FMC entering some sort of "alpha protect" mode that left the controls in a climbing position until pilot input (stick forward) stopped the climb.

http://www.fss.aero/accident-reports/dvdfiles/GB/2000-10-02-UK.pdf


User currently offlinecuban8 From Kiribati, joined Sep 2009, 282 posts, RR: 0
Reply 37, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 8678 times:

Quoting CM (Reply 30):
In the US, a major airline will not even interview a prospective pilot unless there are thousands of hours in the logbook and already an ATP endorsement. Often those thousands of hours were gained in the military.

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 in VMC conditions. Not exactly the kind of experience that will make you more qualified than a low houred pilot in hard weather conditions etc..


User currently offlinesaab2000 From Switzerland, joined Jun 2001, 1619 posts, RR: 11
Reply 38, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8471 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 35):
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 notice how the departure was handled). Can anyone guess which airline it was?

OK, let me be more specific - since that's where the two incidents everyone is focusing on happened - do US airlines offer more hand-flying training and experience at cruise?

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 and keep it real steady. But there are times when the A/P is deferred via the MEL and then we are allowed to do it as long as we are clear of RVSM airspace.

I recently flew from YOW to CLT by hand. It's OK and just takes a bit more concentration, which is not really a bad thing.



smrtrthnu
User currently offlineRubberJungle From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 39, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8473 times:

Quoting cuban8 (Reply 29):
What's bothering me the most about this article is that the CVR was overwritten. Does anyone know if it was inoperative during the whole flight (under MEL) or if the pilots erased the information after the event?

Neither. The incident occurred eight hours' flying time from Paris, and the cockpit recorder could only hold two hours of data. The recording was simply overwritten as the flight continued.

Investigators also determined that, if the autopilot had not been disconnected, it would have stabilised the A340's flightpath with only a 200ft deviation in altitude.


User currently offlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21864 posts, RR: 55
Reply 40, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8491 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 35):
OK, let me be more specific - since that's where the two incidents everyone is focusing on happened - do US airlines offer more hand-flying training and experience at cruise?

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 altitude-keeping in RVSM airspace.

EDIT: Upon further review, it is not a legal requirement to use the autopilot during cruise, at least in the US. Airline-specific policies may vary, of course.

Quoting propatriamori (Reply 36):
IIRC the autopilot response in an overspeed situation was to pitch up slightly to slow the plane down.

This is part of Airbus programming, IIRC. It's not the only means of correction - reducing thrust will be the first action, but failing that pitching up to bleed off speed is the second course of action.

-Mir

[Edited 2012-05-19 12:35:56]


7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineAsturias From Spain, joined Apr 2006, 2156 posts, RR: 16
Reply 41, posted (2 years 7 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 8409 times:

Quoting David L (Reply 24):
Are major airlines in the USA substantially different from other major western airlines regarding the use of autopilot?

No, not really. In fact, not at all. Autopilot is used just about from V1 to touchdown (I exaggerate, but still)

Quoting BigJKU (Reply 27):
Those are guys who know how to fly with a stick and rudder and as they move up through an organization are going to create a training culture that emphasizes that.

Many countries have a large percentage of ex-military/airforce airline pilots. The use of autopilot in the USA is no less frequent than anywhere else, in fact autopilot was pretty much invented, mastered and perfected in the USA.

Quoting affirmative (Reply 25):
I really like the Airbus design philosophy.

I'd prefer motorized throttle levers myself, it's a small thing, but I'd prefer it.

asturias



Tonight we fly
User currently offlinesandrozrh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 42, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6626 times:

Quoting AirlineCritic (Reply 4):
Inexperienced and confused junior crew members have trouble with situational awareness and end up making dangerous moves.

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 have to put into a good flight follow up (the oh so famous being 5 minutes ahead of your aircraft), but even a pilot with 20'000 hours on a specific aircraft type will run into troubles if he/she doesn't maintain a n accurate follow up on his flights. Let me give you an example: When crossing the atlantic, there are specific rules on how to react in case of an emergency (north atlantic contingency procedures). This, among other things, involves either a 180° turn or a 45° turn to reach a 15NM offset of your atlantic track. Good situiational awareness in this situation would be to have an approximate idea of what heading youre going to take up in case you need to leave your atlantic track in a hurry, and wether you're going 45° right/left and essentially continuing across the altantic or turning 180° and going back to where you're coming from (this again depends on where your closest alternate is located, which a pilot with good situational awareness will know when crossing the sea). Now a "junior" pilot with less experience might be required to think about this exact thing more frequently than an experienced pilot who has crossed the atlantic hundreds of times, but it will lead to the same result, good situational awareness. There are loads of things that need to be taken into consideration when maintaining a good follow up: How far away am i from my max altitude? How is the terrain below me? where am i going if..? Can i descend to FL100 in case of a decompression? of not, how low can I go? when do I have to go lower? I could go on for hours. Again, this has little to do with experience, it has everything to do with effort.

Quoting Mir (Reply 6):

Good post!

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.

I hope that's a joke.

Quoting cubastar (Reply 2):
More importantly, it appears that flight crews these days are just really hesitant to take manual control of the aircraft when flying at altitude.

In fact, we're encoured NOT to take manual control in an overspeed situation, as this is more likely to result in exactly what happened here than if we let automation "sort it out". Furthermore, an overspeed is not a dangerous situation to a certain extent, and certainly a lot less dangerous than a low-speed situation.

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

A little, yes, but if youre going back all the way to idle, youre again running the risk of a low-speed situation as the engines will take a lot longer coming out of idle at high altitudes than on the ground.

Quoting BoxBoy (Reply 26):

And this is an Airbus--the easiest jet in the world to fly!

Yeah, it's so easy a monkey could do it.  
Quoting CM (Reply 30):
In the US, a major airline will not even interview a prospective pilot unless there are thousands of hours in the logbook and already an ATP endorsement. Often those thousands of hours were gained in the military.

Or at a flight school in northern alabama, surrounded by farmfields, flying a cessna for 8000 hours across the plains. You're beating a dead horse here, this has been discussed to death.


User currently offlineBureaucromancer From Canada, joined Feb 2010, 165 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6542 times:

Quoting cx flyboy (Reply 14):
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?

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 minimum I seem to recall an incident in Africa a couple of years back involving a major tail strike (or maybe they hit a wingtip actually when I try to recall it) that ended up with someone from the company admitting he was unsure of his ability to hand fly the aircraft. And this is, of course, before we get into what happened on the early A320 fleet...

The problems Air France crews seem to have with Airbus aircraft really are starting to become concerning in a general way IMO.


User currently offlineimiakhtar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 44, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 6528 times:

Quoting CM (Reply 30):
In the US, a major airline will not even interview a prospective pilot unless there are thousands of hours in the logbook and already an ATP endorsement. Often those thousands of hours were gained in the military.

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 B735 at DEN and TK B738 at AMS involved military pilots with over 10 000 hours in each case.

How many incidents have there been at KE where most of the flying crews had military backgrounds?

The military is not the be all and end all of flying that some make it out to be and more often than not brings it's own challenges to the flight safety departments of airlines.


User currently offlineCM From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 45, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 6231 times:

Quoting sandrozrh (Reply 42):
You're beating a dead horse
Quoting imiakhtar (Reply 44):
What's your point?

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 airline pilots without a military background make bad pilots. My point is that in some countries, pilots get into the right seat with relatively little total flying time. Countries with a more robust pilot pool to select from set the experience bar quite differently.

There is a lot of talk about the value of experience level in the thread above....

Quoting SKY1 (Reply 11):
Inexperienced? 5400 hours combined on type don't seem be few hours:
Quoting BrouAviation (Reply 20):
The number of actual hours this FO had manual control of an A340 might shock you.
Quoting mcdu (Reply 28):
I have over 5000 hours in the left seat of the Airbus.

If we are going to value stick time it seems a little disingenuous then to conveniently not see the value of thousands of hours flying military transports, tanker, bombers or fighters, just because a member state near you doesn't have that kind of pilot pool to draw from (neither the UK nor Switzerland are in this situation, BTW).


User currently offlineairmagnac From Germany, joined Apr 2012, 321 posts, RR: 52
Reply 46, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 5946 times:

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 afraid it is only available in French for now. And it might remain that way, as this was an incident that I guess stirs some interest on forums because it is somewhat similar to AF447.

I haven't fully read the report yet, but from what I have seen, the article sums it up correctly. The major issue here was that the crew was startled by an OVERSPEED alarm while going through heavy turbulence. The PNF pulled back on the stick for 6 seconds without realising it (at least that is what he says). As they were eating their meals at that time, they first had to turn around to get rid of their meal trays, which may have contributed along with the shaking and the aerodynamic noise to the crew's loss of situational awareness in the first critical seconds. It took about a minute for the crew to regain SA.

As the flight continued for several hours, the CVR recordings were overwritten (=>recommendation to extend recording time), so nothing certain can be said about CRM (whether it was correct, bad, inexistant, partial)

There seems to be some details about the warnings (audio and visual) in the cockpit.

The main issue, as reported by FG in the article, is the startling factor. Long haul crews seem to be getting used to long uneventful cruising, and react in unexpected ways when something surprises them.
Hence

Quoting Mir (Reply 6):

French investigators are advising that simulator training should incorporate shock effects

And anyone would (rightfully) say "Well, duh !!"
Except that it isn't that easy...
The 2 main issues being
1) During the sim session, pilots know they will be put in unusual situations, and therefore they are already mentally prepared to react to the unexpected
2) No matter how well the environment is simulated, a pilot will always know that there is no fatal consequences from his actions in a sim (because that's precisely the point of a simulator!). So it is difficult to reproduce the feeling that you are responsible for your life, and the lives of all the other people on board your aircraft.

Another issue is that due to time constraints (and tradition, to some extent), training is maneuver-based. This means you just bring up the situation you want to train for (like a stall), and then practice the procedures; This results in terribly unrealistic entries to the unusual situation. Exactly as mentioned by Mir in reply 6.
One idea is to use instead scenario-based training, where the maneuver is only part of an overall "story" with many events thrown in by the instructor to provide a more realistic context.

I was reading a few weeks ago a paper by a team of the Royal Aero Society on these exact same topics; I'll try to dig it up.

In any case, it really seems to be mainly a training issue. And the discussion of recruitment of non-experienced vs experienced (civil or military pilots), seems to be out of topic here, as far as I can see. Pilots of both "categories" can be startled just the same in the middle of a long uneventful flight.
Same thing for the general remarks about Air France & Airbus cockpit design & automation. I'm not letting them off the hook as they might have played a role in the details, but the usual "AF pilots are incompetent", "Airbus cockpits are designed for engineers, not pilots", "too much automation", etc... have been discussed over and over and over again, and won't bring much to this discussion IMO

Ok, off to finish the report !  



One "oh shit" can erase a thousand "attaboys".
User currently offlineairmagnac From Germany, joined Apr 2012, 321 posts, RR: 52
Reply 47, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 5740 times:

Here we are :
http://www.volpe.dot.gov/coi/hfrsa/docs/volpejbcsurprisedecember.pdf

(more generally, publications by the ICATEE group about extended-envelope training are interesting. But they have more to do with AF447 or Colgan 3407 than with the present incident)

Otherwise, after reading the report, I'll confirm what I posted above : the main factor was the crew being startled by the overspeed warning when they were not expecting any weather events (they ran into rapidly evolving storm clouds which could not be forecast by long term means, and the on-board radar settings were "inappropriate"). This triggered an inappropriate pull up, and prevented the crew from regaining SA for 90 seconds.
Also contributing was the fact that the AP OFF and altitude warnings were covered by the OVERSPEED warning.
[Under the 1995 regulations which the A340 is certified under, the AP OFF warning can be programmed to last only a limited amount of time and then shut off. On aircraft certified since 2007 the AP OFF warning can only be shut off by active pilot input. BEA recommends to extend this to all airliners]

And clearly from the report :
- No moving stick/moving throttle issue (throttle probably did not move that much, and given what the pilots missed they likely would have missed the stick also)
- Not an AF-specific issue (startle is clearly an industry-wide problem)
- Not an Airbus-specific issue (see above. As for the warnings being lost, Boeing/Embraer/Bombardier aircraft are probably made the same way)
- Automation did not play much of a role here
- Not a question of hand-flying (apart from the pull up, there were not many manual inputs)
- Not a question of "airmanship" (the Captain reacted to the overspeed by extending the spoilers, IIRC that is a correct reaction)
- I am not convinced that in such circumstances, military pilots are any less likely to be startled than others (BTW both pilots were around 50 ; PF had logged 24,000 flight hours, PNF about 10,000)

Just a question of human beings being...well, human. And the training to make up for that is currently inexistent.



One "oh shit" can erase a thousand "attaboys".
User currently offlinesandrozrh From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 48, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5497 times:

Quoting CM (Reply 45):
Ifwe are going to value stick time it seems a little disingenuous then to conveniently not see the value of thousands of hours flying military transports, tanker, bombers or fighters, just because a member state near you doesn't have that kind of pilot pool to draw from (neither the UK nor Switzerland are in this situation, BTW).

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 whatever. It seems that opinions on this matter seem to differ on both sides of the pond, but the truth of the matter is that both systems seem to work. You can't question the whole system when one single airline seems to have a series of incidents, whereas you never hear anything of the other X00 airlines employing the same training philosophy. In any case, i'll try not to be offended by your comment, as indeed I dont have thousands of hours flying single engine pistons across farmland, but probably a lot more simulator time on the aircraft i actually fly now than anyone who was hired "off the street" so to say. Anyway, we're going off topic. Let's go back to the actual topic here shall we?


User currently offlineprebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6540 posts, RR: 54
Reply 49, posted (2 years 7 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 5444 times:

Quoting affirmative (Reply 22):
He could've easily ended up in the same situation as AF447..

No. He was in normal law with full alpha protection. The plane could not be stalled.

Quoting affirmative (Reply 22):
Coffin corner anyone?

Coffin corner is totally unrelated to this incident. Coffin corner is when at MMO, and any further lift demanded of the wing creates low speed buffet. At FL350 they were fast, but had plenty of spare lift. At the top of the climb they were 30+% slower than MMO.

Quoting affirmative (Reply 22):
Noone in their right mind should pull up in a situation like the one described.

  



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
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