motif1
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AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:23 pm

I didn't see this posted:
AP IMPACT: Automation in the air dulls pilot skill
Nothing new - there have been countless discussions on the a.net's fora.

M1
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loggat
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:36 pm

Nothing like instilling fear into the flying public that all their pilots are up there not knowing how to fly. All because a few less than competent pilots messed up very badly with tragic consequences.

Private pilot training, day 2: Stalls. Nuff said.

I can't speak for every airline, but my airline training program and manuals specifically cover situations where you would want to drop down in levels of automation. 1500 feet from landing, tower asks you to sidestep to a parallel runway. Not the time to start twisting knobs, punching buttons, etc. Click everything off and fly it like an airplane.

That's my 2 cents.
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bueb0g
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:19 pm

I, for one, am very happy AP has reported on this. It's a huge problem facing the industry today - and loggcat, it's not an isolated problem, it's widespread. It's caused over 1,000 deaths over the last 10 years - that's not scaremongering, that's a valid worry.

Hopefully the problem can be brought to public attention and that'll force the FAA/CAA etc to take a second look at their regulations, change them, and stop these types of accidents happening in the future.
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loggat
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:38 pm

Statistically speaking, it's not widespread at all (especially as nearly 1/4 of those 1000 deaths occurred on one flight - AF447). How many times do you hear about pilots who intervene automation to prevent disastrous outcomes? The answer is never because no-one outside of the cockpit would know about it, and even if they did it wouldn't be newsworthy in today's media. I guarentee you that automation intervention happens on nearly every flight. Our airline uses an acronym anytime you push a button or turn a knob: CAMI - Confirm Activate Monitor INTERVENE.

Every pilot flying for a US airline has started out with a private pilot's license. Again, day 2: Stalls.

Sure, it would be great to be able to get the accident rate to zero, but I disagree that the way to do that is with FAA/CAA overhaul of those kinds of regulations. At some point, the pilot's have to take responsibility for being a "pilot".
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par13del
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:50 pm

Based on some of the technical info posted on the AF447 threads, the item I am more concerned with is a blurring of the lines between FBW and AP Automations, to my read it does appear as if some of the laws placed in the FBW System are more pertinent to the AP operation.
 
flight152
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:01 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 2):
It's a huge problem facing the industry today

Really? Do explain the credentials you have to make such a swepping statement.
 
bueb0g
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:55 pm

Quoting loggat (Reply 3):
Statistically speaking, it's not widespread at all (especially as nearly 1/4 of those 1000 deaths occurred on one flight - AF447). How many times do you hear about pilots who intervene automation to prevent disastrous outcomes? The answer is never because no-one outside of the cockpit would know about it, and even if they did it wouldn't be newsworthy in today's media. I guarentee you that automation intervention happens on nearly every flight. Our airline uses an acronym anytime you push a button or turn a knob: CAMI - Confirm Activate Monitor INTERVENE.

Obviously many, many more accidents are avoided by pilots than caused. I don't dispute that, but the fact is training has not changed to accurately reflect the differences in a pilots job between now and 40 years ago. Pilots aren't the problem, it's the fact that training hasn't caught up.

Quoting Flight152 (Reply 5):
Really? Do explain the credentials you have to make such a swepping statement.

Being alive. If something causes over 1,000 deaths in 10 years it's a big problem. It's something nearly all aviation safety experts have been saying for - oh, I don't know, about 15 years now? Such as David Learmount: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zg1tSLdqdE. If you're pretending it isn't an issue you're in a state of denial.
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sandyb123
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:15 pm

Quoting loggat (Reply 1):
Private pilot training, day 2: Stalls. Nuff said.

Indeed, but I think it is fair to say that automation actually interfered with the stall and demise of AF447. Although that was also to do with poor pilot recognition of the scenario.

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 6):
If something causes over 1,000 deaths in 10 years it's a big problem. It's something nearly all aviation safety experts have been saying for - oh, I don't know, about 15 years now?

Yes (and I am kind of contradicting what I say above) but I wonder how many more deaths there would have been if there wasn't automation? Also, IFR (automation/insturment flying) makes so much safe flying possible than if we where restricted to VFR (manual / pilot flying).

Pilot error causes the majority of errors / fatalities. Automation makes the skies a safer place to be.

Sandyb123

[Edited 2011-08-30 10:16:04]

[Edited 2011-08-30 10:16:48]
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bueb0g
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:55 pm

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 7):
Yes (and I am kind of contradicting what I say above) but I wonder how many more deaths there would have been if there wasn't automation? Also, IFR (automation/insturment flying) makes so much safe flying possible than if we where restricted to VFR (manual / pilot flying).

Pilot error causes the majority of errors / fatalities. Automation makes the skies a safer place to be.

Yes, obviously, automation has reduced the amount of accidents. Unfortunately it's created a new type of accident, one that didn't exist quite to the degree it does now before.

And to say "pilot error causes the majority of accidents" is a bit 2 dimensional - the whole point of what AP was reporting on is that training has blunted pilots reactions to certain things. I think "forgotten how to fly" is a bit far, but certainly conveys the problem. You do however need to remember the thousands upon thousands of lives that pilot's actions have saved, and not merely look at the amount that have died due to mistakes (the second number is much smaller than the first.)
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apodino
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:17 pm

The key point I took from this article is that airline policies and procedures require automation so much that the pilots don't get any time to hand fly the airplanes and keep their skills sharp. This is a key point and I have seen it. In some cases its not necessarily a bad thing. One example is that at my company you cannot hand fly an ILS unless the Autopilot is on MEL, period. The reason for this is because of the Air Wisconsin AC in PVD a few years ago that porpoised and went off the side of the runway after a hand flown ILS became unstabilized and the captain took over from the F/O who was flying and tried to salvage the landing. That being said, there has to be some way to maintain proficiency in hand flying an ILS in case you do lose the autopilot.

Another example is because of the IRS and GPS, with FMS being standard in all airliners, pilots seem to forget how to navigate good old fashioned VOR style. There should be a way to keep proficient in this as well, maybe as part of a sim check.


And riding around in jumpseats of various carriers, its amazing to see the difference in philosophy. I have been in both UA and US jumpseats many times on the A320. UA pilots hand fly their airplanes a lot more, and many of them don't even use autothrottle on landing either. On the other hand, US pilots are switching the Autopilot on as soon as positive rate is called and gear is selected up. A US pilot even told me that there are strict rules about when they can turn the autopilot or autothrottle off, and he didn't agree with it, because there are situations he felt that it would be more beneficial to hand fly and not leave the autopilot on. But the directives come from the higher ups in the respective flight departments, not the crew members.
 
bueb0g
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:21 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 9):
On the other hand, US pilots are switching the Autopilot on as soon as positive rate is called and gear is selected up.

That's strange, wasn't the case with US 1549 - the autopilot never went on, and they climbed to about 3,000 feet before hitting the birds.
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UALWN
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:24 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 2):
It's caused over 1,000 deaths over the last 10 years - that's not scaremongering, that's a valid worry.

And it probably has saved 10,000. Just compare the accident rates in the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s...

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 7):
Indeed, but I think it is fair to say that automation actually interfered with the stall and demise of AF447.

I don't think it is fair at all to say that. Neither does the BEA's preliminary report.
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catiii
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:28 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 2):
I, for one, am very happy AP has reported on this. It's a huge problem facing the industry today - and loggcat, it's not an isolated problem, it's widespread. It's caused over 1,000 deaths over the last 10 years - that's not scaremongering, that's a valid worry.

And yet, according to the article: Fatal airline accidents have decreased dramatically in the U.S. over the past decade.

Hmmm....

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 8):
And to say "pilot error causes the majority of accidents" is a bit 2 dimensional - the whole point of what AP was reporting on is that training has blunted pilots reactions to certain things. I think "forgotten how to fly" is a bit far, but certainly conveys the problem.

How so? If a pilot is in the simulator every 6 months, being critically judged on things like (and this is hardly a comprehensive list) engine failures after V1, rejected takeoffs, windshear recovery and stalls, missed approaches with engines out, visual approaches with engines out, CAT I, II, and III approaches some with failed engines and missed approaches, non precision (VNAV) approaches, holding, and more...then how is the "training" blunting their reaction? What is the problem?


Quoting bueb0g (Reply 6):
Such as David Learmount: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Zg1tSLdqdE. If you're pretending it isn't an issue you're in a state of denial.

Explain to me how, if the pilot was handflying the airplane into a stall and crash, the automation was the problem here? Also, I would pay good money to see you take a simulator ride re-creating the conditions of AF447 even knowing that those conditions were coming. I am not buying into the theory that the two co-pilots were "blunted" by automation and did not know what they were doing. AF pilots are well trained and in a group with the best in the world. They were presented with very confusing and conflicting data (which is an understatement), and yet they were so "blunted" that they acknowledged that the aircraft gave up the protection of Normal Flight Laws and fell into Alternate Flight Laws (creating a new ball game), and acknowledged and wrestled with conflicting data from the ADC.

The question will always be "why didn't they ignore the bogus data and fall back on pitch and power?" And when the obvious question doesn't present an equally obvious answer (as it did, for example with Colgan 3407) the press and the public start overanalyzing it and looking for solutions to problems that really don't exist. And Ben, this means you...
 
bhill
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:35 pm

Bueb0g, I really think you are beating the wrong drum. Automation is just a TOOL...don't blame AP, collision avoidence, etc. If the airline SOP's require it's use or non-use, complain to them. In the case of the AF447, it's suspected that the SENSORS were faulty, as such it was not like the PF could have stuck his head out the window to get input to fly by hand. And with regard to your last post...would the birds have not been hit if the AP was on? Why hasn't AP done a story on how many lives have been saved? Because good news doesn't sell.....
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stasisLAX
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:33 pm

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 8):
I think "forgotten how to fly" is a bit far, but certainly conveys the problem.

"...airlines direct their pilots to switch on the autopilot about a minute and a half after takeoff when the plane reaches about 1,000 feet, Coffman said. The autopilot generally doesn't come off until about a minute and a half before landing, he said.Pilots still control the plane's flight path. But they are programming computers rather than flying with their hands." according to the article. I am sure this is a variable that changes dependent on the individual airline, but here's the deeply concerning part of the article to me -

"Opportunities to fly manually are especially limited at commuter airlines, where pilots may fly with the autopilot off for about 80 seconds out of a typical two-hour flight, Coffman said."   

[Edited 2011-08-30 15:34:54]
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goboeing
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:59 pm

Quoting stasisLAX (Reply 14):
"Opportunities to fly manually are especially limited at commuter airlines, where pilots may fly with the autopilot off for about 80 seconds out of a typical two-hour flight, Coffman said."

Glad it's not like that where I work. I don't think it's the official rule anywhere either though. This article had a decent number of inaccuracies.

I probably hand-fly 10-15 minutes of a two hour flight. Of course there is no one single typical flight. If we're busy I might turn it on earlier, if we're not then I won't.

Easiest way to fly a visual approach where we're cleared for it 30 miles out at 10,000 feet is to NOT use the automation much.

I never land with the autothrottles on because it is pilot's discretion where I work, and I prefer to do it myself rather than have to override them.
 
catiii
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:01 pm

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 15):
I probably hand-fly 10-15 minutes of a two hour flight.

So would you say you hand fly from takeoff to 10,000 feet or so, and then pick it up again somewhere on the approach? Maybe the outer marker?
 
BCEaglesCO757
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Tue Aug 30, 2011 11:42 pm

Quoting loggat (Reply 1):
Nothing like instilling fear into the flying public that all their pilots are up there not knowing how to fly. All because a few less than competent pilots messed up very badly with tragic consequences.

Private pilot training, day 2: Stalls. Nuff said.

I can't speak for every airline, but my airline training program and manuals specifically cover situations where you would want to drop down in levels of automation. 1500 feet from landing, tower asks you to sidestep to a parallel runway. Not the time to start twisting knobs, punching buttons, etc. Click everything off and fly it like an airplane.

That's my 2 cents.

Well said.

Besides. I thought you guys had an "easy button" up there.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:05 am

Quoting loggat (Reply 1):
Private pilot training, day 2: Stalls. Nuff said.

For commercial pilots, day 2 of private pilot training could be 20 or 30 years ago. It is totally unreasonable to expect someone to have a fast reaction to an event they haven't trained for that long.

Quoting bueb0g (Reply 2):
Hopefully the problem can be brought to public attention and that'll force the FAA/CAA etc to take a second look at their regulations, change them, and stop these types of accidents happening in the future.

It's not a regulations problem...there are no regulations that force use of automation.

Quoting par13del (Reply 4):
it does appear as if some of the laws placed in the FBW System are more pertinent to the AP operation.

That's because the FBW and AP systems are fundamentally doing the same thing, just at different levels of abstraction. What FBW does today was purely the domain of autopilots 40 years ago.

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 7):
Indeed, but I think it is fair to say that automation actually interfered with the stall and demise of AF447.

It's not fair to say that at all. The first thing the automation did when the sensors went bad is get out of the way, as it was designed to do.

Tom.
 
catiii
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:07 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 18):
It is totally unreasonable to expect someone to have a fast reaction to an event they haven't trained for that long.

Yeah, but they are in the simulator every 6 to 9 months...
 
goboeing
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 1:15 am

Quoting catiii (Reply 16):
So would you say you hand fly from takeoff to 10,000 feet or so, and then pick it up again somewhere on the approach? Maybe the outer marker?

It all depends.

If we're leaving somewhere in NYC first thing in the morning after too short of a layover, with an extended level off at say 5,000 feet, traffic being pointed out frequently, bouncing around, etc. then I might elect to turn it on then even though we're only 2-3 minutes off the airport.

Opposite scenario, a few weeks ago departing LAX west for the Loop4 departure, it was enjoyable to fly it all the way up to the 30s as the workload was low, the big winding turn is fun and we were light and climbing really good.

One situation is almost automatically hand-flying into the 20s and 30s for me: empty flights, and since I'm a reserve pilot I usually see one per month. Way too much fun doing 3000-4000 feet a minute blasting through layers of clouds to have the machine on the controls!
 
catiii
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:58 am

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 20):
One situation is almost automatically hand-flying into the 20s and 30s for me: empty flights, and since I'm a reserve pilot I usually see one per month. Way too much fun doing 3000-4000 feet a minute blasting through layers of clouds to have the machine on the controls!

Haha, just bury the vertical indicator speed needle huh?
 
loggat
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:23 am

Quoting catiii (Reply 19):
Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 18): It is totally unreasonable to expect someone to have a fast reaction to an event they haven't trained for that long.
Yeah, but they are in the simulator every 6 to 9 months...

Exactly, I was just pointing out how fundamental the idea of stalls and stall recoveries are in a pilot's training. Of course, as catiii points out, we still practice them every 6-12 months in the simulators. Modern airliners mostly have stick-pushers too. I know you know that tdscanuck, but for others that don't... we have both stick shakers which vibrate the control yoke loudly and violently - "hey, idiot, you're about to stall" and then a pusher which forces the nose to go forward and break the stall "I guess you didn't take my warnings seriously, so I'm going to do your job for you". Of course, it doesn't work like that in an airbus where there is no control yoke. There are similar warnings and laws that effectively do the same thing in the airbuses.

The best part about having automated airplanes is that you can fly them "old school" if you want to, or not if you don't. Problems generally arise when you don't WANT to, but you HAVE to. On some of our shorter flights (ie. 30 mins t/o to ldg) I have hand flown the whole thing by choice just to keep sharp.

My personal mentality is that I command the automation to fly the airplane the exact same way I would fly it hands on. That means that I would never hit a button or turn a knob unless I know exactly what that is about to do to the airplane. No surprises. One of the nicest compliments I ever received from a passenger was one who asked "Were you flying or was the autopilot flying?" to which I said "we took turns" and he replied "Well, I couldn't tell where you switched controls. Nice job."
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maxpower1954
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:09 am

Some clarification here reference reply 9 - at US, all NAV departures are required to be flown on the autopilot. That's actually an FAA requirement. On the Airbus it can be engaged at 100 feet. On all other departures, it's at the discretion of the pilot. Until a few years ago autothrust (that's the correct name for it on the Airbus) was required to be used on all landings. Now, under day VFR conditions you can click it off and do it yourself...not a bad idea in gusty crosswinds. Other than certain approaches, there are no restrictions on hand flying the airplane on landings.

Automation is just great, like cruise control in your car. But when you get in heavy traffic (in the airplane gettinng close in and busy) it's better to knock that fancy stuff off and just fly the airplane. I love the Airbus and think it's a great airplane, but I can still fall back on my stick and rudder skills if I have to...aqquired in DC-3s, BTW.

[Edited 2011-08-30 23:20:11]

[Edited 2011-08-30 23:21:32]
 
ltbewr
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:41 am

One of the critical problems with automated flying systems is the old point made about problems with computers - GIGO - Garbage in - Garbage out. If the sensors are not working right (pitot tubes as a factor with AF 447), or settings are not made right (KAL 007), or are sudden changes in tempatures, wind, and so on, the autopilot systems will just follow that data to potential doom.

Perhaps there needs to be some interaction at ramdom times during flight to make sure pilots are alert, aware of their conditions, set ups so that if a faulty sensor both the PIC and FO can know of any conflicts in the AP systems and an abilty to quickly override if in potentially dangerous enviromental situations.
 
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par13del
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:08 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 24):
One of the critical problems with automated flying systems is the old point made about problems with computers - GIGO - Garbage in - Garbage out. If the sensors are not working right (pitot tubes as a factor with AF 447), or settings are not made right (KAL 007), or are sudden changes in tempatures, wind, and so on, the autopilot systems will just follow that data to potential doom.

To stir the pot, NO, that's why there is a pilot in the cockpit, he is supposed to recognize that something is wrong and revert to manual procedures.
One thing the AF447 threads have shown is that there is a very fine line to be tred between automation, human / machine interface, training, procedures and pilot error.
 
UALWN
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:19 pm

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 24):
One of the critical problems with automated flying systems is the old point made about problems with computers - GIGO - Garbage in - Garbage out. If the sensors are not working right (pitot tubes as a factor with AF 447), or settings are not made right (KAL 007), or are sudden changes in tempatures, wind, and so on, the autopilot systems will just follow that data to potential doom.

Just to clarify once again: the computers in AF447 recognized the GI and bailed out, as designed to do, leaving the pilots to sort out the situation. They failed, but this can hardly be blamed on the automatisms.
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Lemmy
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:36 am

An excellent and nuanced take on cockpit automation from a professional: http://flightlevel390.blogspot.com/2011/08/automation.html.

I always make a point to read the Flight Level 390 blog. Great writer who gives us duffers an entertaining and instructive peek into what life as a professional pilot is really like.
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filejw
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 1:57 am

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 23):

That maybe a requirement at some airlines but for sure not all.The POI of an individual carrier may say that but the FAA has not.
 
maxpower1954
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:02 am

Quoting filejw (Reply 28):
The POI of an individual carrier may say that but the FAA has not.

I thought the POI WAS the FAA! You may be right, though. But even the B737 -300/-400 fleet at US is required to use the autopilot for RNAV departures.
 
Mir
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:38 am

Quoting loggat (Reply 1):
I can't speak for every airline, but my airline training program and manuals specifically cover situations where you would want to drop down in levels of automation. 1500 feet from landing, tower asks you to sidestep to a parallel runway. Not the time to start twisting knobs, punching buttons, etc. Click everything off and fly it like an airplane.

   I generally handfly up to 18,000 feet if there isn't a complex departure procedure, and handfly all visual approaches (though the autopilot can do that, too). I'll also handfly instrument approaches unless the weather is close to minimums. That's unless it gets busy and there's something that could use my attention, of course - the other day there was someone close to us on TCAS (not close enough for an alert), and I wanted to keep an eye on him - AP on, let it do the flying and let me keep an eye on where the traffic is going.

Quoting catiii (Reply 12):
If a pilot is in the simulator every 6 months, being critically judged on things like (and this is hardly a comprehensive list) engine failures after V1, rejected takeoffs, windshear recovery and stalls, missed approaches with engines out, visual approaches with engines out, CAT I, II, and III approaches some with failed engines and missed approaches, non precision (VNAV) approaches, holding, and more...then how is the "training" blunting their reaction? What is the problem?

The problem, at least with the stalls, is that the scenario in which they are evaluated is entirely unrealistic. Train stalls under more realistic conditions, and I bet you'd get better results.

Quoting loggat (Reply 22):
On some of our shorter flights (ie. 30 mins t/o to ldg) I have hand flown the whole thing by choice just to keep sharp.

I don't like handflying on the shorter flights - same workload in less time, and I don't want the PNF to have to worry about keeping the flight director set properly in addition to all the other stuff he's going to be busy with. I find it puzzling that it's the very short flights that people want to implement single pilots on first - that's the LAST place I'd want to put them.

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 29):
I thought the POI WAS the FAA!

The POI is an employee of the FAA, yes, but that doesn't mean that all POIs feel the same way about the same things. For example, the POI of my company is fine with us doing LNAV/VNAV on RNAV approaches. I spoke with another guy who flies for a similar company, and their POI doesn't let them do that for whatever reason, and they're stuck with LNAV only.

-Mir
7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
 
tdscanuck
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:55 am

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 24):
One of the critical problems with automated flying systems is the old point made about problems with computers - GIGO - Garbage in - Garbage out. If the sensors are not working right (pitot tubes as a factor with AF 447), or settings are not made right (KAL 007), or are sudden changes in tempatures, wind, and so on, the autopilot systems will just follow that data to potential doom.

If the sensors stop working properly, the automation drops out (by design) and notifies the flight crew that it has done so. This function worked properly in the AF447 crash. The autoflight systems will not generally follow bad sensors to their doom...the autoflight is usually the first thing to quit when input data gets questionable.

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 24):
Perhaps there needs to be some interaction at ramdom times during flight to make sure pilots are alert, aware of their conditions

There is. On a Boeing, it's the "CREW RESPONSE" EICAS message. I'm not sure what the Airbus equivalent is called but I'm pretty sure they have one.

Tom.
 
sandyb123
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:33 am

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 31):
There is. On a Boeing, it's the "CREW RESPONSE" EICAS message. I'm not sure what the Airbus equivalent is called but I'm pretty sure they have one.

This has always Been a question of mine. So the EICAS prompts for a response from the crew at random times through a flight. What happens if it doesn't get a response?

Sandyb123
Member of the mile high club
 
apodino
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:17 am

Quoting maxpower1954 (Reply 23):
Some clarification here reference reply 9 - at US, all NAV departures are required to be flown on the autopilot. That's actually an FAA requirement. On the Airbus it can be engaged at 100 feet. On all other departures, it's at the discretion of the pilot. Until a few years ago autothrust (that's the correct name for it on the Airbus) was required to be used on all landings. Now, under day VFR conditions you can click it off and do it yourself...not a bad idea in gusty crosswinds. Other than certain approaches, there are no restrictions on hand flying the airplane on landings.

That is not entirely true. RNAV departures do require the use of a flight director to ensure that the departure routes are being flown precisely, but the pilot can still choose to hand fly the departure if he or she chooses. A flight director is not the same thing as an autopilot.
 
cbphoto
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 6:33 am

For the most part, automation brings the entire pilot group on an even playing field. Its often said, an Airbus (or most other heavily automated planes) will make a great pilot, an average pilot and a horrible pilot, an average pilot. In this day and age, automation is a way of life and we have to learn to cope with it! Has it saved lives, absolutely! Has it made the pilot group more complacent, in many respects yes! However, that being said, most of the burden to keep the pilots in touch with both automation and stick/rudder skills, relies heavily on the training departments. Training is key to finding that happy balance between old school and new!



Quoting Mir (Reply 30):
The problem, at least with the stalls, is that the scenario in which they are evaluated is entirely unrealistic. Train stalls under more realistic conditions, and I bet you'd get better results.

Agreed 100% Our stall training consists of..."set up and show me a departure stall!" Like that happens in the real world!

Quoting stasisLAX (Reply 14):

"...airlines direct their pilots to switch on the autopilot about a minute and a half after takeoff when the plane reaches about 1,000 feet, Coffman said. The autopilot generally doesn't come off until about a minute and a half before landing, he said.Pilots still control the plane's flight path. But they are programming computers rather than flying with their hands." according to the article. I am sure this is a variable that changes dependent on the individual airline, but here's the deeply concerning part of the article to me -

"Opportunities to fly manually are especially limited at commuter airlines, where pilots may fly with the autopilot off for about 80 seconds out of a typical two-hour flight, Coffman said."

Yeah, I have also heard it is really bad overseas with policies like this! Maybe someone with more experience with foreign carriers can chime in! I think it is a horrible and ridiculous policy to have in place. What is the purpose of hiring pilots with thousands and thousands of hours, only to tell then when the can and cannot fly the plane (barring certain circumstances, CATIIIC, RVSM, etc..) The pilot flying should have the say as to when they want to hand fly or not!

[Edited 2011-08-31 23:36:55]
ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming
 
catiii
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:08 pm

Quoting Lemmy (Reply 27):
An excellent and nuanced take on cockpit automation from a professional: http://flightlevel390.blogspot.com/2011/08/automation.html.

I always make a point to read the Flight Level 390 blog. Great writer who gives us duffers an entertaining and instructive peek into what life as a professional pilot is really like.

Let me second this. Dave is, from what I can tell, an Airbus 320/319 Captain for US (although he never mentions his carrier). The writing is superb, the stories interesting, and his viewpoint is reasoned and is from someone with a vast wealth of experience. Can't recommend it enough.
 
maxpower1954
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 2:38 pm

Quoting apodino (Reply 33):
That is not entirely true. RNAV departures do require the use of a flight director to ensure that the departure routes are being flown precisely, but the pilot can still choose to hand fly the departure if he or she chooses. A flight director is not the same thing as an autopilot.

No, I'm afraid it is true at my airline - it's a company procedure that RNAV departures are auto-pilot flown. We don't have the option of hand flying them.
 
LuisKMIA
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:20 pm

When "Airways Magazine" published a special issue dedicated to Southwest, I remember a paragraph talking about how the airline asked Boeing for the option to "disconnect" some automation features from the 737-700s to stress the pilot role during flight. Does anyone have details on this. I found that to be very creative. I am actually "flying" the 737NG recently released by precisionmanuals.com on Microsoft Flight Simulator and it gave me a great amount of appreciation on how much automation there is, as well as the option to hand-fly the aircraft (Yes, I know this sentence belongs in another forum, but I'm simply blown away by what these guys released).

At the end of the day, the media likes to sensationalize, but as Capt Sully demonstrated, the training is working well, and he is fighting to reduce hours to avoid fatigue.

Cheers!

Luis
KMIA
 
catiii
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:36 pm

Quoting LuisKMIA (Reply 37):
Capt Sully demonstrated, the training is working well, and he is fighting to reduce hours to avoid fatigue.

To clarify, his viewpoint is in conflict with ALPA's views on the flight and duty time rule.
 
tdscanuck
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:49 pm

Quoting sandyb123 (Reply 32):
This has always Been a question of mine. So the EICAS prompts for a response from the crew at random times through a flight. What happens if it doesn't get a response?

It's not a random time but it is an airline programmed time and, due to the way it's tied into the reset logic, it looks random to the flight crew.

After an initial period of no flight crew inputs you'll get a CREW RESPONSE advisory message with matching beeper. If you ignore that for a predetermined period it will be replaced by a CREW RESPONSE caution message (different aural plus illumination of the Caution light on the glareshield). If you keep ignoring it you'll get a CREW RESPONSE warning (red, different very loud aural, illumination of the Warning light).

A warning-level message is one that requires immediate flight crew action to protect safety of the flight (e.g. fire, cabin decompression) so, if the crew ignores that, you've got more problems than just them being complacent.

Quoting LuisKMIA (Reply 37):
When "Airways Magazine" published a special issue dedicated to Southwest, I remember a paragraph talking about how the airline asked Boeing for the option to "disconnect" some automation features from the 737-700s to stress the pilot role during flight.

For a long time Southwest didn't use autothrottles as a matter of procedure. I think they requested that Boeing disable it but I don't know the details.

Tom.
 
cbphoto
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RE: AP IMPACT: Automation In The Air Dulls Pilot Skill

Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:39 pm

Quoting tdscanuck (Reply 39):
For a long time Southwest didn't use autothrottles as a matter of procedure. I think they requested that Boeing disable it but I don't know the details.

Ya, I believe that is correct, however I am pretty sure they have been re-connected (or re-established in procedures)! Just a few weeks ago, I jumpseated on SWA, and they did do an auto-throttle take off! I think their are a few other things SWA disabled, but I am not sure what they pertained too!
ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming