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Risks In The Old Days  
User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2885 times:

Today the safety in commercial aviation is fantastic.The fatal accident rate for a A320 or B737Ng is around 0,15 accident per million flight.But in the early jet age,things were different.TCAS and EGPWS didn,t excist, nor did crm or realistic simulators .When I heard the numbers of 707,s PAN AM and TWA lost from late fiftees to the middle of seventhtees,I got a little shockhed.Later on I have heard that the safety record for these companies were rather good.The safety record of the DC8 and 707 today is about the same.A little over 4 accidents per million flights,which indicate that the record was even worse in the earlier days.I think Pan am lost 3 707,s in 1975.
Question to the many old pilots on this forum:How did pilots cope with the safety standard of the old day,s.Did it at any time take away the joy of going to work?Did they think much about accident,s?Could pilot,s be afraid if they know the weather was bad on the flights following?And how was it to combinine family life with a risk job?

15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineSoku39 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1797 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2855 times:

Well as a young pilot/flight instructor I can tell you this. Flying a light 4 seat piston single engine airplane is statistically some of the least safe flying you can find, unlike airlines there is little standardization, and very little excess thrust. However I do it every day, multiple times a day, often times with people I don't know, some of the time in bad weather for a plane as incapable as your run of the mill 172 or Cherokee. That being said the job is every bit as enjoyable as when I started. Yes it's in the back of your head when you have a close call, but at the end of the day you are in control of the airplane. If you're gut feels that something is wrong, get the hell out of wherever you are and that's all there is to it. I am interested to see what the jet jockeys have to say about it.


The Ohio Player
User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2831 times:

Thank you for your reply Soku39.I may wery well be wrong,but in your case could your dream of becoming a jet jockey(If that is your dream)make the risk,s more easy to accept?.I have heard several stories of commercial pilots who become afraid of light aircraft after flying the big ones for a couple of years.

User currently offline2H4 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 8955 posts, RR: 60
Reply 3, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2826 times:
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Quoting B767 (Thread starter):
How did pilots cope with the safety standard of the old day,s.Did it at any time take away the joy of going to work?

I suspect they probably considered the safety record of the time as impressive as we consider our present A320/737NG safety records.

Just as we marvel at the relatively poor safety record of the 707/DC-8 era, they probably marveled at the relatively poor safety record of the B247/DC-3 days. In both cases, everyone uses all available experience and technology to maximize safety. It's all relative.

2H4



Intentionally Left Blank
User currently offlineB767 From Norway, joined Feb 2008, 127 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2812 times:

I don,t think the earlier jet,s was so much safer than the old dc3.

User currently offlineAviopic From Netherlands, joined Mar 2004, 2681 posts, RR: 42
Reply 5, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2809 times:

Being heavily involved with the historic aviation guess I am entitled to answer your question.

First of all even old A/C need to be modified to some extend to current regulations.
For example our 1935 DC2 does have GPS, Mode-S, TAWS etc.

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Also our 1958 F.27 has GPS, Mode-S and even Tcas.

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Does that make it any safer ? well.... yes and no.
Both a/c are more safe then they were in their active period but of course both of them can't be compared to modern standards.
Although the F.27 is a pretty sturdy a/c which flies just as well one 1 instead of 2 engines, the DC2 is kind of another story though.

Do I think about it ? well..... yes and no.
While doing maintenance on the ground you are always concerned about safety but when the decision has been made by everybody involved to go flying the thinking stops and you just concentrate on the job ahead and that's it really.

Then again maybe that's just me.
1928 Po.2

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An.2

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1955 S.11

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1949 Connie

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or I am just used to it  Wink



The truth lives in one’s mind, it doesn’t really exist
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16993 posts, RR: 67
Reply 6, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2747 times:

It's not just the aircraft, it is also in very large part pilot training. Today's pilot is much better trained than your 1950s pilot, what with CRM and procedures being integral parts of the job.

Another factor is meteorology. The 707 accident in Japan where the aircraft was ripped apart by atmospheric effects probably wouldn't happen today since that area would have been avoided.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSoku39 From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 1797 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 2730 times:



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 6):
Another factor is meteorology. The 707 accident in Japan where the aircraft was ripped apart by atmospheric effects probably wouldn't happen today since that area would have been avoided.

Well there's that too, however in light aircraft without TCAS I am convinced that if I die it will be on a severe clear day. Probably a Saturday or Sunday when pilots that don't know what they're doing seemingly are out to kill pilots that do know what they're doing. People will do anything other than fly a standard pattern, and I've had more close calls with midairs by about 2000% percent than any other threat in flight. After becoming a flight instructor sometimes I think aviation shouldn't necessarily be just a hobby.



The Ohio Player
User currently offlineAtlturbine From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 158 posts, RR: 14
Reply 8, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 2723 times:

Another thing to consider is that many of the jet crashes in the 60's & early 70's were attributed to pilots transitioning from much slower piston engine airliners to jets with much faster approach speeds. (staying ahead of the airplane) All of the things mentioned in this thread thus far are true, like most aviation accidents there is always more than one single cause for a crash.


To the World you might be One Person but to One Person you might be the World
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6343 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2686 times:



Quoting B767 (Thread starter):
When I heard the numbers of 707,s PAN AM and TWA lost from late fiftees to the middle of seventhtees,I got a little shockhed.Later on I have heard that the safety record for these companies were rather good.

Well, crew resource management (CRM) didn't exist back then, and God help anyone who questioned the captain's decision making. Not all captains back then had the God complex, though. I think the advent of CRM is a much bigger reason for the improved safety than the equipment advances alone.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 6):
It's not just the aircraft, it is also in very large part pilot training. Today's pilot is much better trained than your 1950s pilot, what with CRM and procedures being integral parts of the job.

 yes  Thanks, NASA for all the human factors studies in the '70s and '80s, and the NTSB (and all it's sister agencies around the world) for the accident investigations of 1950's and 1960's accidents that uncovered many of the human factors at the root cause of the accidents...



Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16993 posts, RR: 67
Reply 10, posted (5 years 9 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 2683 times:

KELPkid mentions the investigations. This is crucially important. In the old days aircraft would often just "disappear". That doesn't happen a lot anymore. Modern crash investigations are spare-no-expense deals. Combined with flight recorders they contribute greatly to the safety of future operations.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24817 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 2523 times:



Quoting B767 (Thread starter):
I think Pan Am lost 3 707,s in 1975.

You're probably thinking of 1973-74. Pan Am lost 5 707s in 9 months between July 1973 and April 1974 with 315 fatalities. One was a terrorist attack on a parked aircraft at FCO just prior to departure for BEY. Another involved a freighter.

Pan Am lost 7 other 707s over the years.


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8021 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2501 times:



Quoting Soku39 (Reply 1):
Flying a light 4 seat piston single engine airplane is statistically some of the least safe flying you can find

Only because of the unacceptable risks many general aviation pilots take on a regular basis, alluded to in your later post about clear days. The aircraft themselves and their equipment are generally fine.



If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2481 times:

Airline pilot 'safety' is very much related to original training in the respective type.
I personally trained at PanAmerican on the B707, then went directly into the LHS at a small charter company, flying the old straight-pipe models of the 707-320.

None of us 'crashed' because we all had trained at PanAm, the the training there, at the time (early seventies) was absolutely the best that could be had...period.
TWA was a close second.
AA, a very distant third.


User currently offlineDeltaGuy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 2466 times:

I think the dangers of the old days are still there, lurking, just, in different forms.

The training has come light years from the 60s, say. Airline's own training departments, or large companies like FlightSafety, have brought aviation safety to a new level, and it's only getting better.

Technology like EGPWS, TCAS, to name a few, are now industry standard on transport category aircraft. Technology that only Gulfstreams seem to boast these days (HUD's with FLIR capability, Synthetic Vision, RAAS, etc) will one day be mainstream I'm sure. Behind these systems are competent pilots.

But those same competent pilots are still just as vulnerable to the demons of complacency or error as the days of Pan Am 707's (and Frank Abagnale  Wink).

It doesn't matter if you're strapped into that Gulfstream, or that C172 on a weekend jaunt- as Soku said, I'd more expect to buy it on a crystal clear blue Florida day out in our T-34, then out in radar controlled IMC with all the bells and whistles on the Gstream. You get accustomed to hearing TA's and RA's when necessary, suddenly those niceties go away in the piston equipment.

DeltaGuy


User currently offlineZappbrannigan From Australia, joined Oct 2008, 247 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 9 months 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2268 times:



Quoting B767 (Reply 2):
I have heard several stories of commercial pilots who become afraid of light aircraft after flying the big ones for a couple of years.

It's funny you should mention that. Just about every airline pilot I've spoken to recently about their flying history and GA experience, says roughly the same thing - thinking back, they cannot believe some of the things they did routinely while flying the light piston stuff. Not illegal actions - just actions that are completely foreign in the modern commercial jet environment, and would no doubt be considered foolish. Normally something along the lines of "I can't believe we didn't have any catastrophic accidents while I was at Company X".

As Soku said - I'd say by the time you're flying the big stuff, bells and whistles or not - you've probably already done the most "risky" flying you'll ever do in your career quite a few years ago.


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