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Is There A Back Up Plan With No Flight Crew?  
User currently offlinetarzanboy From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 132 posts, RR: 0
Posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 11 hours ago) and read 5282 times:

Do airlines take in consideration in the worse case scenario what would be the course of action should both pilots in a 2 pilot airliner become unconscious for whatever reason?

Do they 'train' the cabin crew to 'fly an airplane'?

72 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1529 posts, RR: 2
Reply 1, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 5231 times:

No. If both guys are incapacitated, the pax are in for a nasty ride.

User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 5229 times:

Quoting tarzanboy (Thread starter):
Do airlines take in consideration in the worse case scenario what would be the course of action should both pilots in a 2 pilot airliner become unconscious for whatever reason?

Do they 'train' the cabin crew to 'fly an airplane'?

I don't know of any airline that trains for that, and it's pretty safe to say that no one does. The only time I can think of that something like what you mentioned happened (Helios flight 522) it resulted in a flaming crater on the side of a mountain.

In other words, should both pilots up front pass out for whatever reason, you're pretty much SOL, unless you got a REAL (not FS) pilot amongst the cabin crew or pax, and even then...

[Edited 2010-08-13 18:09:56]

User currently offlinemoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2323 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 5230 times:

Unless there is some MSFS ace on board... 


KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 9 hours ago) and read 5223 times:

I couldn't tell you. I'm not sure. Tat's something I can ask my department head tomorrow. As for F/A training, I know most know how to use the radios in case one pilot is out for whatever reason. Again, whether that's formal training or not IDK.

If both are out? I'll bet there are specific steps operations take that are all written but unless there is a another pilot on the plane, i'm not sure...pray!!

Even if you had a multi-guy onboard, flying a jet is MUCH different than flying a piston a/c.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5216 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 4):
I'll bet there are specific steps operations take that are all written

You'd be hard pressed to find them

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 4):
Even if you had a multi-guy onboard, flying a jet is MUCH different than flying a piston a/c.

Agreed. Jets are simpler to operate in some regards than pistons (2 levers vs 6) but of course, an airliner will have vastly more complex systems. However, all planes go up, down, left and right. Who cares if said multi pilot cant fiddle with the FMS or the A/P, there's no point.


[Edited 2010-08-13 18:26:52]

User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5207 times:

Quoting tarzanboy (Thread starter):
should both pilots in a 2 pilot airliner become unconscious for whatever reason?

Best course of action would be an attempt to locate a doctor.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 8 hours ago) and read 5203 times:

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 6):
Best course of action would be an attempt to locate a doctor.

Assuming everyone behind the cockpit is conscious as well   


User currently offlineweb500sjc From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 739 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 5168 times:
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Quoting moose135 (Reply 3):
Unless there is some MSFS ace on board...

you still have to get said ace in to the cockpit. which post 9/11 i doubt would happen



Boiler Up!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17039 posts, RR: 66
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 5168 times:

In a hypothetical scenario when both pilots suddenly dropped dead, I guess you hope there is a deadheading pilot on board. Any airline or military pilot would have at least some of the needed knowledge. Here's a question: What odds would you give, say, a 330 pilot on a 747?

Barring that, the best chance would probably be for an F/A or pax to contact someone on the radio (first obstacle) and then have said person be walked through programming the autopilots for a descent and then an autoland (assuming the aircraft has said facilities). The person would still have to operate flaps, landing gear, throttles (assuming no autothrottles) and brakes (assuming no autobrakes). You would not want the F/A or pax to actually take the controls.

I'll leave the scenario of the problem happening way out over the ocean with spotty comms as an exercise for the alert reader.

Personally, I would be torn between trying to finish the onboard liquor before we impacted landed and running up to apply my limited FS knowledge.  Wow!

All that having been said, this has happened a handful of times in aviation history at most so I'll worry more about my luggage being lost.



[Edited 2010-08-13 19:46:20]

[Edited 2010-08-13 19:47:35]

[Edited 2010-08-13 19:48:15]

[Edited 2010-08-13 19:49:07]

[Edited 2010-08-13 19:50:12]


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 7 hours ago) and read 5145 times:

Quoting tarzanboy (Thread starter):
Do airlines take in consideration in the worse case scenario what would be the course of action should both pilots in a 2 pilot airliner become unconscious for whatever reason?

Do they 'train' the cabin crew to 'fly an airplane'?

No and no.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
In a hypothetical scenario when both pilots suddenly dropped dead, I guess you hope there is a deadheading pilot on board. Any airline or military pilot would have at least some of the needed knowledge. Here's a question: What odds would you give, say, a 330 pilot on a 747?

Hypothetically everyone wants to live and the A-330 pilot would be pretty motivated. I think the odds would be reasonably good. I certainly had no difficulty transitioning back and forth between manufacturers over the years, and think if I were to try to fly a model I had never flown before I could make a go of it, providing there wasn't some disasterous systems problem at the root of the crew's demise. I have a few hours in B-747-200 and DC-10 simulators though I never flew either and know nothing about either (except what's common between the 742 and 744,) and had no issues manipulating the aircraft (simulator) with no instruction or assistance. These were for simulator visual demos for some contractors who wanted to see simulator visual fidelity, and required no instruction or qualified crew, by the way.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17039 posts, RR: 66
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5135 times:

Thanks for info. To expand on that, how about a pilot who has only flown 737/320 or smaller trying to land a 340/777/747? Lots more inertia for starters.


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineetherealsky From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 328 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5116 times:

Larger airplanes indeed, but I'm not so sure that it's accurate to equate "inertia" with "manageability" since control surfaces and powerplants are also scaled up to match the increased size/weight of larger aircraft. I could be wrong, but I remember reading a post not too long ago by a 747 FO who mentioned that the 747 was actually one of the easier/more responsive airliners to fly/maneuver.

The V-speeds are a bit higher in those larger planes, but nothing too drastic, and I'd assume that a pilot who has previously flown even the smallest RJ will still be competent at managing any jet engine as well.



"And that's why you always leave a note..."
User currently offlinewn700driver From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 6 hours ago) and read 5113 times:

Quoting tarzanboy (Thread starter):

Do they 'train' the cabin crew to 'fly an airplane'?

No. Dangerous and expensive are the two best reasons for this.


User currently offlineDashTrash From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 1529 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5099 times:

You could have a whole extra crew sitting in the back. The outcome will still be less than stellar.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17039 posts, RR: 66
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5090 times:

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 14):
You could have a whole extra crew sitting in the back. The outcome will still be less than stellar.

Well yeah. They can't do much sitting in the back.   



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineKELPkid From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 6385 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5080 times:

I wish they had a plan when someone on the crew called in sick...I had a flight from ELP-DEN cancelled at the gate (by YV) the day after Christmas one year, and it was a free-for-all to mob the UA ticket counter at El Paso (imagine a CRJ-full of irate pax descending upon the hardly-manned ticket counter)   


Celebrating the birth of KELPkidJR on August 5, 2009 :-)
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3553 posts, RR: 26
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 5080 times:
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isn't there a slight problem of getting though the anti terrorist door to the cockpit.... ?

User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 79
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 5041 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 11):
To expand on that, how about a pilot who has only flown 737/320 or smaller trying to land a 340/777/747?

Not a particularly big deal...the picture is going to to be different on approach (different cockpit heights), but the controls will be familiar and in similar locations with similar functions, there will be copies of the FCOM somewhere to review procedures, etc. It won't be pretty, but it would probably be safe.

Quoting kanban (Reply 17):
isn't there a slight problem of getting though the anti terrorist door to the cockpit.... ?

Not really...punch in code on keypad (all FA's should know the code), wait requisite time for the lock to wait for a flight crew "Deny" signal, which it won't receive, then walk in. We're assuming that the flight crew are incapacitated, not actively trying to keep people out of the flight deck.

Tom.


User currently offlineunattendedbag From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 2328 posts, RR: 1
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 month 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4978 times:

Quoting web500sjc (Reply 8):
you still have to get said ace in to the cockpit. which post 9/11 i doubt would happen
Quoting kanban (Reply 17):
isn't there a slight problem of getting though the anti terrorist door to the cockpit.... ?

Even without the door code, I'm sure 30+ people with a desire to live would have no problem with the door.



Slower traffic, keep right
User currently offlineMaverick623 From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 5647 posts, RR: 6
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 4965 times:

Quoting tarzanboy (Thread starter):
Do airlines take in consideration in the worse case scenario what would be the course of action should both pilots in a 2 pilot airliner become unconscious for whatever reason?

No more than we do here.

Quoting wn700driver (Reply 13):

No. Dangerous and expensive are the two best reasons for this.

And pointless. Such an event is so incredibly unlikely, as well as if something did happen to both pilots, chances are the airplane structure itself is compromised.

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 19):
I'm sure 30+ people with a desire to live would have no problem with the door.

One strong person can get through the door.

No, I am not telling you how.



"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
User currently offlineFly2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 month 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 4906 times:

Quoting unattendedbag (Reply 19):
Even without the door code, I'm sure 30+ people with a desire to live would have no problem with the door.

The real problem is, assuming everything else is normal, how could the pax or crew tell the pilots are dead/unconscious?

I think it would be safe to say that by the time the cabin crew realized what was going on and decided to call the cockpit via the interphone they'd be way past their destination and running very low on fuel.


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2825 posts, RR: 45
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 month 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 4836 times:

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 18):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 11):
To expand on that, how about a pilot who has only flown 737/320 or smaller trying to land a 340/777/747?

Not a particularly big deal...the picture is going to to be different on approach (different cockpit heights), but the controls will be familiar and in similar locations with similar functions

I agree with this Tom, and agree with your overall analysis and conclusions, except perhaps for this...

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 18):
there will be copies of the FCOM somewhere to review procedures, etc. It won't be pretty, but it would probably be safe.

I agree it wouldn't be pretty, and certainly chances of an incident on landing would be higher than normal, but reviewing the FCOM (or equivalent) manuals for procedures would be very difficult given the incredible diversity of formatting in use in the world (unless the pilot was, perhaps, from the same airline) and the incredible length and cumbersome nature of the manual sets for most aircraft. I just don't think most guys would take the time to read a lot right then. I could be wrong. Still this is fairly nit-picky, and I do agree with you on the ultimate outcome of the event, provided there were no serious problems with the aircraft that incapicated the pilots in the first place.


User currently offlineAirportugal310 From Tokelau, joined Apr 2004, 3640 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 month 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 4789 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 22):
I agree it wouldn't be pretty, and certainly chances of an incident on landing would be higher than normal

In this type of situation, I would take the landing incident over the alternative  



I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7175 posts, RR: 9
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 month 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4763 times:

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 2):
REAL (not FS) pilot amongst the cabin crew or pax


As a real pilot will of course do a better job. I must say if its a 737-800 I would rather have a guy who spends his weekends on PMDG 737 all day playing around with the FMC and doing ILS auto lands then a 100 hour private pilot that does not even know how to use a G1000. Some people dint give FS the credit it respects. Yes hand flying on FS will not teach you anything in flying a real airplane. However the FMC, overhead systems, radios etc.. Are all pretty much the same thing in the payware addons. If I can set up a simulated Boeing 744 made with the help from Boeing itself to autoland on FS why cant I do the same in a real one?

Quoting web500sjc (Reply 8):
you still have to get said ace in to the cockpit. which post 9/11 i doubt would happen


I know people wont give the answer to this. But I would imagine the flight attendants have some way of getting into the cockpit.

Anyway a situation where both pilots go down is probably a terrible situation which it didn't matter who was there to fly the plane.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
25 Maverick623 : It's been answered: Or:
26 unattendedbag : example: Northwest flight 188. It wasn't until the flight attendant phoned the cockpit that the pilots realized they had overflown their destination.
27 Post contains images PGNCS : You have definitely got that right! The scenario that seemed to be under discussion and that was specifically postulated by Starlionblue was a pilot
28 DashTrash : I don't know about that one. Won't work in an airplane with a manual deadbolt.
29 Fly2HMO : Had they not answered however, who knows how much longer would have passed before the cabin crew would have even figured out what was going on, and d
30 tdscanuck : I really meant to say QRH there....I was thinking mostly about using the normal procedure checklists. I agree that trying to decipher an FCOM in a hi
31 Post contains images unattendedbag : If that one strong person doesn't know how to get through the door, then he is useless. And if you aren't going to share your knowledge, then that kn
32 cobra27 : No its not the dangerous at all, you just have to push the right button A guy who studied lets say 737 CBT (or any autoland capable) or flight manual
33 ManuCH : I will do the test myself, as a SEP PPL, in an LX sim (I still have to decide whether it will be an A320 or an A330, depending on availability). I wi
34 MingToo : Are there not just so many permutations of possibilities for such as event that the amount and cost of training needed to make an appreciable differen
35 tdscanuck : At least one airline did try it with a full motion sim, and there's a good account of it somewhere in these forums, but for the life of me I can't co
36 sfotom : For what it's worth, back in the 70s Flying Magazine exploring the question of how well could a GA pilot do in an airliner where the crew was incapaci
37 flymia : It would be very interesting. Mythbusters on the Discovery channel did this with one of their guys.They said he had no flying experience however thes
38 TheRedBaron : My Brother who is a X-plane and MS FS fan, went into a 737 Sim, and landed it. The instructor told him that the plane suffered structural damage but h
39 bjorn14 : Most senior FAs are trained to read off the checklists if one of the pilots goes down so at least they have familiarity with the cockpit. They probabl
40 Aaron747 : This would really be an interesting exercise. Seeing as some of the MSFS add-on software available was partially developed by real world airline pilo
41 FlyDeltaJets87 : You inflate the automatic pilot (and ensure it stays inflated with the tube just below the belt buckle) and then you find Ted Striker and have Rex Kra
42 Starlionblue : quote=kanban,reply=17]isn't there a slight problem of getting though the anti terrorist door to the cockpit.... ?[/quote] I can't remember but I think
43 flymia : I am pretty sure it was perfect conditions. Now if there is no ILS avail or it is crosswinds and IMC any non commercial pilot is going to have proble
44 Post contains images PGNCS : That would be more reasonable, yes! ...which is in the cockpit... Yes it's just that easy. Push the right button and the airplane lands itself. Sorry
45 tdscanuck : I think your best bet would be to get with a military controller and have them do a Surveillance Radar Approach...in that case, you just need someone
46 Post contains images Fly2HMO : As someone who has 99999999hrs on flight sim, and just over 300 TT in real planes and a CFII, and a 737 type rating course under my belt, I must say t
47 Post contains images FlyDeltaJets87 : I didn't have anyone on the radio. I just flew around and had fun. My friend who works in the Sim department was sitting in the right seat but he kep
48 flymia : Well first thing first I think a lot of the experience MSFS user have experience in all types of aircraft. I know how to set up the FMC or a Fokker,
49 PGNCS : Then your jaunts around the pattern went better than I would have expected. I am. I am not. I am not. I am not insulted, nor do I in any way consider
50 PGNCS : I understand your position. It is the same position that most non-real world pilot, frequent MSFS users adopt in these threads. I don't think it's im
51 Post contains images flymia : Cant argue that response . Just wanted to point out when I said just about perfect condition I mean the weather not the state of the aircraft. I know
52 Post contains images Maverick623 : As stated, they did something like this on MythBusters. After a little coaching, one crashed short of the runway, but the other one made it (although
53 m11stephen : My F/A friend says that F/As are trained to set the transponder to squawk 7700 and await help from ATC. This is of course done after checking that the
54 Post contains images MingToo : Seems to me that is where the largest part of the difference in the scenarios is the level of automation that is available. I'm sure that there is a
55 MerlinIIIB : I have many MSFS hours and 4 hours in an industry standard B737-300 sim. I can ensure you - there is no way I could land a real 737. It would be a tr
56 HAWK21M : Whats the probability of something occuring to both crew members,No supernumery crew in Flight deck or not finding another pilot amongst pax even with
57 Starlionblue : I believe that in the previous flamefest thread on this subject it was Wing who made an excellent observation: Most MSFS "pilots" don't count on the p
58 MingToo : Seems statistically highly unlikely to happen by chance. The most likely situations are those where there is a cause which would make the issue almos
59 flipdewaf : I don't think any real systems knowledge is really relevant at all (fms type) you aren't going to befollowong normal routings and flying in a standar
60 Post contains images AirstairFear : This situation is not "quite" fair. You do know the aircraft type before you step on board. Manuals and CBTs are there for the taking from just about
61 MingToo : I would imagine they will send up something, presumably military, to monitor what is happening anyway. So they can do the navigation and routing. If
62 alwaysontherun : Or the other way around--> how would a large jet's pilot (A or B or any odd letter) perform in my single engine LSA? Systems are simple (flaps, co
63 ManuCH : It's not a matter of stick or yoke. It's a matter of what you see out of the window. I have talked to instructors who do checkouts to airline pilots
64 sfotom : On my airline the pilots flight manual has illustrated examples of doctor's identification cards from various countries and other verbiage on how to
65 Post contains images FlyDeltaJets87 : What defines "fly well"? Have a graceful landing at the optimal touchdown point on the centerline of the runway? Putting the plane somewhere on the r
66 Post contains images Aaron747 : I believe that was essentially my statement as well, though I didn't articulate it well. Particularly with my comment about descent energy management
67 MingToo : Just curious but ..... Is it feasible to have a large red panic button after which the aircraft takes on the task of landing the aircraft somewhere ap
68 DashTrash : I do know a few with their private certificate, but I don't know any who were trained to read checklists / work the radio. Neither is rocket science
69 tdscanuck : Yes. All you're asking for is what some UAV's can do already. Tom.
70 MingToo : Cool. But since it wasn't considered as an appropriate solution to hijacking, which is a more likely problem, then it wouldn't be considered in this
71 m11stephen : Well thats definitely a bad design. How our F/As supposed to give first aid to two incapacitated pilots or allow a deadheading/non revving pilot into
72 Post contains images DashTrash : All I can say is there are good reasons behind that design. An incapacitated flight crew member is a land "as soon as practical" emergency. Point bei
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