gordonsmall
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Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Dec 17, 2003 9:22 pm

Hi Guys,

This topic has come up on other aviation forums lately and in the past, but there never seems to be a solid answer as to what the best course of action is - and since it's apparently a popular interview question I think it deserves another airing.

So ......

You're on approach and the captain is pilot flying, the weather is poor (gusting winds, rain etc) and as you call minimums the runway still isn't in sight, but the captain continues to descend, and ignores you're repeated calls to go-around .... so what's your plan now bearing in mind that if you're minimums were 200' that with a descent rate of 700-800 fpm you've got less than 10 seconds from your first call before terra firma starts re-arranging your facial features?

Do you let the captain continue on his merry way hoping that he'll pull it off, or do you try to wrestle control of the aircraft from him creating a possibly equal or more dangerous situation?

Any thoughts from current F/O's, captains, aspiring/student pilots?

Regards,
Gordon.
Statistically, people who have had the most birthdays tend to live the longest.
 
zak
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Dec 17, 2003 10:48 pm

thats a good one, for sure not "wrestle control" from anyone.
but on airbus i'd press the red control override on the sidestick and initiate go around with clear vocal announcements to the captain
10=2
 
KYIPpilot
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:17 am

If he has repeatedly ignored your go around comments, I guess I would yell my plane and go full throttle and do a go around to avert a potential crash and to save the lives of everyone onboard.

I am intersted to hear what the airline pilots would do, beause I'm sure there must be reprocussions for doing that w/o the captain saying ok.
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
 
Guest

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:41 am

Interesting question with no correct answer - the proper response would be "situational dependent". (I remember that I was asked a similar question on one of my airline interviews.) The bottom line is you don't let the captain kill you, whatever the potential ramifications. If you're junior and force a go around you'd better be prepared for the consequences. In my humble opinion, proper SOPs will cover situations like the one mentioned above. In our operation, we assume that if a crew member doesn't respond after 3 tries then he/she is to be considered unresponsive and the other crew member may take command.

Jetguy

 
XFSUgimpLB41X
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:59 am

You can also call tower and say "Constipated 3281 is going missed"... that automatically cancels your landing clearance.
Chicks dig winglets.
 
musang
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 3:24 am

Difficult one. You risk souring your relationship with the captain if you're right and he's wrong, and there's always the worry that you've had a brainfart (call the wrong minimum, I've seen that) and he's in the right.

Obviously though, if the FO is sure of his/her ground and the GA call is valid, don't worry about the consequences. In the heat of the moment though, I agree it would take a lot of guts.

I can't remember being on either side of that situation.

One bit of advice I picked up somewhere if a captain is deviating from SOPs is to address him/her firmly and clearly as "CAPTAIN........." followed by what you have to say. In this case - go around.

The use of a term other than what you've been calling him/her up to now
(a) gets their attention and (b) lets them know you mean business.

Assuming you survive the encounter, you could start the subsequent conversation (after you get to the gate and shut it down of course) with something like "...that put me in a difficult position, and I don't appreciate your forcing me to go along with your decision to ignore SOPs.."

It could be a lengthy chat, and you'll either end up enemies or, if he apologises, pals. He'll know never to pull that one on you again, and will respect your speaking up and not just sitting there. He/she also knows you feel so strongly about it you might turn him in if he does it again.

And if he does, I would!

But definitely be insistent, its one of the the non-handling pilot's jobs.

Regards - Musang
 
avt007
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 7:44 am

It's better to be unemployed than dead, obviously! Just think of the accident reports you've read where the F/O lets the Captain crash the plane. As Musang said, it's your job to challenge and take over if necessary.
 
OPNLguy
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 8:14 am

If the PIC doesn't respond it could be argued that you should suspect a case of subtle incapacitation, and CRM would dictate that you take over and go missed....
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
Mr.BA
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 8:16 am

In the first place, the captain is in the wrong to continue the approach when the runway is not in sight by the minimums. But is it right to challenge and take control of the plane from him after he doesn't respond to your go around calls? I mean what comes to mind is the KE incident where the F/O was initiating the G/A I believe but the captain insists that the plane could be stopped. I mean if you are to challenge him, safety would be at of a higher risk isn't it?

Thanks!
Boeing747 万岁!
 
Woodreau
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 11:54 am

It depends....

Just my opinion on the matter...

FAR 91.175c does allow you to descend below minimums (DH/MDA) without the runway in sight in a normal Cat I ILS approach or a non-precision approach, not the special Cat II/III no DH ILS approaches. So the Capt may have his reasons for going below minimums.

But I do think the Captain does need to say something to let you know what is going on, so that you can assist. It's part of keeping the rest of the crew informed of what is going on. Otherwise you are kept in the dark watching the raw data, wondering what is going on. and leaving you in the position of wondering whether you need to take control, execute the go around, etc...

He may have the approach lights in sight, so he's allowed to continue the approach to 100ft above touchdown zone elevation. (or just continue down another 100ft if DH was 200ft.) By then you should have the runway lights in sight to meet the criteria to land. At 100ft altitude, you're only 900ft short of the runway threshold (or at 150kts, 7.6 seconds from touchdown) and should be well over the approach lights (even the cheap ones) which are flashing at you.

So as I see it, this is a CRM issue with the PF/Capt keeping his crew informed. Your announcement to the Capt that the aircraft is at DH and at minimums, is a challenge, that requires a reply. If there's no response, then you need to force a reply or take the appropriate action, but in this particular situation there's really not a lot of time to make a decision and execute it.

At least that's my answer. And I'm not saying that it's okay to go below minimums. I don't think there's very many times you'll be in a position that I described to go below minimums and be legal.

Woodreau


[Edited 2003-12-18 04:02:08]
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:10 pm

I would like to think that this would NEVER ever happen in my airline, especially if the scenario raised by 'Gordonsmall' had me telling the Captain to go-around several times already. It is my responsibility to be a member of the crew and I have a responsibility to my passengers and crew as well as myself. I would assume the Captain was incapacitated, or at least unable to make rational decisions and take control of the aircraft.

As 'Mustang' has said, I would address the captain by his name (First name basis at our airline), and tell him firmly to go-around, and if he doesn't react, I will take control and fly the go-around myself. I also have a P1 rating on the 777 and although I may not be as experienced as the Captain, I damned well know when we should and should not be going around and if I felt we needed to go-around I would not hesitate in making that known, or doing it. Even on a gin clear day if either of us wants to go around, we do it. No questions asked, untill we are at a safe altitude and established in the missed approach procedure.
 
Mr.BA
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:27 pm

Cx flyboy,

Let's say the captain is the PF and you called for the go-around due to runway not in sight by minimums and he doesn't respond. Like you've said you would take control of the aircraft and initiate a go around. But what if the captain refuses? I mean he has his hands on the yoke and thrust levers and either one of you push the yoke to the extreme of each end wouldn't it be very dangerous?

But I guess these things don't realy happen.

Thanks!
Boeing747 万岁!
 
fly727
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 1:50 pm

Musang and OPNLguy have it right...

Remember the rule of three calls. If he doesn't seem to react to the mandatory "go-around" command then it is suspected that he is incapacitaded or blocked. It is the PM -pilot monitoring- (aka PNF o pilot non-flying) obligation to take control of the aircraft and initiate the missed approach procedure.

If I'd be the PNF, after giving the call outs and realizing the failure to missed or the break in the proper CRM/SOP environment I would clearly try to get his/her attention by saying something like "Don't!" or "We must go around!" in order to make him aware of the potential danger and to get them recorded in the CVR while simultaneously taking the control of the aircraft. Sounds very very hard to do but when it comes to safety we must we are all prone to develop any of the following hazardous attitudes:

- Macho. I can do it. Remember that taking chances is stupid.
- Impulsivity. Do something quickly!. Think first!.
- Antiauthority. Don't tell me!. Follow the rules, regs and instructions. They are usually right.
- Resignation. What's the use?. You're not helpless. You can make the difference!
- Invulnerability. It won't happen to me. It could happen to you!

Keep the blue side up
RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
POSITIVE RATE
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:32 pm

I had a lecturer in college who was an ex- QANTAS pilot. He was rated as a F/O on the 767-300ER and S/O on the 747-400 and he once told us that in the above situation you would have to use the correct terminology. You would say something like "Captain you must listen", "Captain we must Go-around". If no response after 3 calls then he would initiate a go-around himself.
 
fly727
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:59 pm

The 744 doesn't have a FE or SO station. Anyway., I completely agree with you. Proper terminology is better.

RM  Smile
There are no stupid questions... just stupid people!
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:14 pm

Fly727,

Outside of the US, a Second Officer is the 4th crew member on a long haul flight, there as cruise pilot. It is the cheaper alternative to carrying 3 F/Os. The S/O can operate a control seat during the cruise, but not for takeoff or landing. Nothing to do with being a flight engineer.

Dragonair have SOs for their shorthaul operation, and they do sit in the control seat for takeoff and landing, but I believe they cannot be PF, or something like that. The Second Officer is just a name for a job the airline can create as they like. There is no industry standard as to what an SO is.
 
fritzi
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:26 pm

CX flyboy,

I remember that you used to be a SO for CXs 747-400s so you can then answer this.

Is it correct when I say that a SO would trained to be able to command land the aircraft in emergeny situations if one or several crew members would be incapable of flying. (ex: Fedex 705 hijacking attempt).
 
broke
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Fri Dec 19, 2003 12:52 am

This is a story that was related to me by a captain, who was one of the best pilots I have ever flown with.
At the time, he was a F/O on a DC-7B (long time ago) and they were making approach into Miami where you come down the Gulf coast and then go straight across the peninsula into MIA. The captain had a reputation for being very dogmatic and overpowering.
The captain was flying and as they approached MIA, he had yet to call for the landing gear to be extended. My friend and the F/E were exchanging glances on who would try to "bell the cat".
Finally, my friend suggested "Captain, do you want the gear?"
The captain responded, "I'll tell you when I want the G-- D--- gear!!". A pause and then, "Gear down!!"
With crew management training being more and more emphasized, cases like this are probably fewer and fewer, but they can still happen. Just don't get hurt or kill anyone because the possible reaction maybe intimidating.
Good luck and God bless.
 
Guest

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Fri Dec 19, 2003 3:08 am

Friends -
xxx
Tough question to answer, but here is what we do when we fly "tight approaches" with visibility/ceiling at or near ILS minimums...
xxx
Monitored approach...
xxx
The PNF is handling the aircraft on autopilot during the approach, the autopilot is armed for autoland if permitted at that facility.
The PF is a "passenger" during the approach handled by the PNF using the autopilot. He announces 1,000 feet (above TDZE) then he announces "approaching minimums" 100 feet above minimums.
The PF at that time looks outside for runway lights etc. He said "approaching minimums" which means he is "still alive"...
xxx
Then at minimums -
The PF says "LANDING - I GOT CONTROL"...
If the PF says nothing, the PNF says "GO AROUND" and executes a go around/overshoot immediately, autothrottles have been "clicked" to the go around EPR, attitude goes to 10 then 15 degrees nose up. Standard procedures apply thereafter...
xxx
The monitored approach was fostered 25+ years ago by British Airways and Pan American... I introduced the procedure in Argentina. I understand that among other air carriers, United, Lufthansa have that procedure in their books.
xxx
With the monitored approach - there is no confusion for decision, the PNF handles the approach, and "intends" to go around at minimums, except if the PF says "LANDING - I GOT CONTROL" as he sees the runway environment. Once I flew a monitored approach, and busy looking for lights, I started to see lights and intended to say I was landing... result is, the F/O started a go around immediately... my mistake... I owed him a beer after landing...
xxx
Realize that sometimes you have been flying for 12 hours, and up since 16-18 hours ago... so George is a welcome help for approaches...
xxx
Happy contrails -  Smile
(s) Skipper
 
FrequentFlyKid
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Fri Dec 19, 2003 8:04 am

Skipper, that sounds like great procedure to use, however I still have a question. What if the PF says "I HAVE CONTROL," but the runway is not in sight? What's the procedure or recourse at this point?
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Fri Dec 19, 2003 9:30 am

Fritzi,

You are correct, the S/O still holds a valid licence, Aircraft Rating and Instrument Rating, and are fully capable of continuing with the flight and landing. It may not be the best descent profile for efficiency, or the smoothest landing, but they'll get it there safely.
 
musang
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Sat Dec 20, 2003 9:02 pm

Everyone's leaning towards the concept of the FO initiating a go-around if the captain's incapacitated. If he's not obstructing the controls, and the FO can fly it without hindrance, consider the possibility of landing.

This will depend on a number of factors of course, but our company ruling is that if the Captain goes under on an autoland, the FO allows it to land. You know its going to land successfully, if something prevents it the system tells you, and then you have to go around.

Its considered an emergency, minutes may be vital for the Captain, and if the FO does go-around he's going to be incredibly busy setting up for the next approach, trying to get the cabin crew in (via all the security door procedures etc) to attend to the captain, request emergency cover for him on landing etc. etc. only to end up doing a solo approach pretty much as he was on the first attempt, ten minutes previously.

It just requires the FO to quickly adapt to the concept of an un-natural solo autoland, and the next consideration is deciding whether it can be safely driven to the gate IF its one of the aircraft without a FO's steering tiller.

Regards - Musang (no "t"!)
 
saab2000
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Sun Dec 21, 2003 2:40 am

This is a very interesting question. Since I lost my job at SWISS I have been doing training at FlightSafety in Florida and have started to read the books on the selection and hiring processes at various US companies. I have read that exactly this question is a favorite.

At SWISS, the situation was such that we briefed each other and were making the other pilot aware that we might come out near minimums. On the Saab 2000 we were certified for Cat 2 and Cat 3a approaches. The Cat 2 was a monitored-coupled flown but the F/O. It was considered a silent approach, except for the callouts of altitudes and minimums. The callouts allowed the pilots to keep each other "in the loop" and to increase general situational awareness. The Cat 3a approach was hand-flown by the captain with the Head-up display and monitored by the F/O. Again, there were callouts and you could see if the pilot was doing something wrong.

I do not have the experience of the other airline pilots here, but I did get to fly for a semi-major airline for 2+ years and saw what goes on. Because we had some safety issues in the past few years, there has been a huge emphasis on CRM at SWISS. This includes very senior captains being very inclusive in the flying and communication process with junior F/Os like myself. Four eyes are better than two and most of the good captains I was fortunate enough to fly with would have said the same thing.

Now, as far as going below minimums? Well, I guess Jetguy said it correctly when he said that there is no right answer. It is "situationally dependent". But with proper CRM (communication) and proper following of SOP's it is hard to imagine this situation occuring. But it is obviously something to be taken seriously. But I must say that in my 2+ years I never saw a captain who, while making an approach in low visibility conditions, even come close to doing something stupid.

I hope that if I get hired here in the US I get on with a company with good SOP's and a good reputation for CRM. Working in that type of environment makes the job much nicer!!
smrtrthnu
 
Guest

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Sun Dec 21, 2003 2:47 am

Dear FrequentFlyKid -
xxx
I agree with your note -
xxx
In our situation with our 747s, all equipped for autoland, and we fly an ILS for more than 90% of our approaches... the only "bust" would be the regulations, since the airplanes are capable of landing safely - all is "automatic"... brakes, spoilers... except reversers...
xxx
I have a friend of mine who "had no choice" - flying a Tower Air 747-100 into Roma... his alternate was Milano, both went below minimums, and he was running out of fuel - and ideas... so he declared an emergency, and performed an autoland with an old 2 autopilot - no LRCU system... all was fine, it took 20 minutes for the "follow me" vehicle to locate the airplane on the runway...
xxx
To answer the question "what to do if your captain does not observe the minimums set for the approach" (in the USA) - I would say, the F/O to file a NASA report (violation of regulations) - this would protect him from any certificate action against him... then have a talk with that captain, and if necessary, the chief pilot, and even the FAA inspector in charge of that operation (POI)... with a copy of the NASA report in hand... I doubt that any "airline" would attempt to terminate his employment...
xxx
I have to say that in nearly 20,000 hours of airline flying, for over 30 years, I never had such situation of having a captain intentionally disregarding minimums. Yes, I can recall some approaches that were "tight" (mostly ILS) where the visibility or ceiling reported was quite questionable... i.e. having the runway lights all in view at DH, then. while in the flare, suddenly running into ground fog... too late to initiate a go-around...
xxx
Happy contrails  Smile
(s) Skipper
 
Jawed
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:30 am

Wasn't Swissair Flight 111 a case where the pilot was ignoring pleas from the First Officer to land ASAP?
 
David L
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 9:19 am

Quoting Jawed (Reply 24):
Wasn't Swissair Flight 111 a case where the pilot was ignoring pleas from the First Officer to land ASAP?

As I recall, that Captain insisted on following the SOP rather than ignoring it - not quite the same thing. Whether or not they should have cut short the emergency procedures and landed immediately was hotly debated, of course.
 
L-188
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:32 am

Depends, if you crash and die, you did the wrong thing by not doing anything, if you live you get canned for taking over from the captain.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
BoeingOnFinal
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:04 am

Seeing this is an old thread, and many has answered, I'll take the opportunity to complicate the question even further:

Example says that DH is 200 feet, you have very little time to argue with the captain. Many seconds are going to pass by before commanding him three times to follow SOP, before you as a F/O can take the controls.

So if you, before managing to convince/tell the pilot three times to initiate a go-around, have the runway in sight at 150 or 100 feet, and everything seems ok to continue with the final approach, what are you suppose to do?
norwegianpilot.blogspot.com
 
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flylku
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:18 am

Quoting Avt007 (Reply 6):
It's better to be unemployed than dead, obviously! Just think of the accident reports you've read where the F/O lets the Captain crash the plane. As Musang said, it's your job to challenge and take over if necessary.

The Korean Air flight into the mountain at the end of the runway in Guam comes to mind. As I recall, the transcripts reveal the S/O the F/E and perhaps a pilot in the jump seat questioning what the instruments were telling them but none had the courage (easy in hindsight, I know) to force the issue with the 'Old man'.
...are we there yet?
 
thegreatchecko
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 12:29 pm

Quoting BoeingOnFinal (Reply 27):
So if you, before managing to convince/tell the pilot three times to initiate a go-around, have the runway in sight at 150 or 100 feet, and everything seems ok to continue with the final approach, what are you suppose to do?

Chances are in that situation, you had the approach lights in sight by 200 feet anyways.

But, if the captain if flying and elects to go below DH and you see the runway, he's flying the plane, its pretty low to start arguing about landing. Land and talk to the captain about it on the ground.

This is all situational, most captains won't just go pushing the DH. But to be realistic, does it happen yes. As much as I'm not a fan of the practice, I'm not going to start fighting for controls at 200 ft above the ground in the middle of nowhere.

I get paid to fly by the flight hour, I'm in no rush to get on the ground and I'm not going to get killed in the process.

Checko
"A pilot's plane she is. She will love you if you deserve it, and try to kill you if you don't...She is the Mighty Q400"
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 2:13 pm

Since both pilots, in the US, might be carrying firearms, the resolution is obvious. High Noon.

I cannot imagine an airline Captain busting minimums deliberately in the absence of incapacitation. Gas is cheap compared to human life, especially when one of the lives is your own.

Your question is a spurious hypothetical. You might as well ask about what one should do if the Captain elects to roll inverted when established or make the approach dead stick inbound from the marker.
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 3:12 pm

Interesting questions. Many situations would call for different alternatives I'm sure. At Air NZ there is the 'Captain you must listen' Campaign as well (Like the one at QF mentioned above).

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 30):
I cannot imagine an airline Captain busting minimums deliberately in the absence of incapacitation. Gas is cheap compared to human life, especially when one of the lives is your own.

I agree.
 
SB
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 5:21 pm

Quoting L-188 (Reply 26):
As I recall, that Captain insisted on following the SOP rather than ignoring it - not quite the same thing. Whether or not they should have cut short the emergency procedures and landed immediately was hotly debated, of course.

If my memory serves the TSB had determined that even if the aircraft would have made the runway the result would probably have been a big bonfire off the other end.

What would I do if a Captain descended below minima without sharing his intentions? ... Well I think the radio call is rather ingenious, I would see myself using it.

S.
"Confirm leave the hold and maintain 320kts?!"
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:36 pm

Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 30):
Your question is a spurious hypothetical.



Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 30):
cannot imagine an airline Captain busting minimums deliberately in the absence of incapacitation

I agree; I've never seen it.
 
mandala499
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:25 pm

Quote:
I agree; I've never seen it.

Oh God... this sorts of DO happen... UNFORTUNATELY... And many go unreported, even if damage was caused... and too many get away with it!
We call it "stealing the minima"...

Let's see what has happened to several "minima thefts" in the region.... Some are ILS approaches, and others were non-precision...

1 was an unstable approach resulting in a write off and the aircraft resting in the swamp after turning 180 degrees.
Another led to a nose first landing with a hefty repair bill.
A few others led to overruns.

One spectacular one was a non-prec at night with the ceiling smack on the minima. At MDA, they were still in cloud, the captain told the F/O (as PF) to descend just a little bit more, and they were visual with the ground. However, when the runway came into sight, they were too high. The Captain asked the F/O who then tried to descend, upon realising it was not possible to conduct a safe landing, the F/O offered the Captain of a Go-Around, the Captain however, took control instead. The aircraft chased the visual slope down at >1000fpm and engines at idle, aircraft unable to recover onto the slope and then the Captain called the go-around. Visual reference with the ground was lost and a thud was recorded, and the aircraft climbed up. The flight crew thinking they contacted the runway decided to continue the go-around, then decided to divert. Upon diverting, cabin altitude warning came on, and they initially spent time checking the aircraft configuration. After confirming it was not a config error, they realised that cabin pressure has been lost, and they arrested the climb and continued to the diversion airfield at a low altitude. Upon landing, the flight crew were asked by the ground engineers to follow them, and there it was revealed, the thud was not runway contact, but contact with the airport perimeter fence, leaving a nice rip on the fuselage.

Glad to say that that incident lead to both pilots being grounded... and "retrained".

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
PhilSquares
Posts: 3371
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2004 6:06 pm

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Tue Jan 02, 2007 11:43 pm

Quoting FlyLKU (Reply 28):
The Korean Air flight into the mountain at the end of the runway in Guam comes to mind. As I recall, the transcripts reveal the S/O the F/E and perhaps a pilot in the jump seat questioning what the instruments were telling them but none had the courage (easy in hindsight, I know) to force the issue with the 'Old man'.

The KAL Guam accident was a little more comples than that. There was a loss of situational awareness caused by a whole list of factors. You might want to look at http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2000/aar0001.pdf

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 33):
Quoting ThirtyEcho (Reply 30):
cannot imagine an airline Captain busting minimums deliberately in the absence of incapacitation

I agree; I've never seen it.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen...however, I have been flying since I was 16 (39 years) and I've never seen it happen. Most pilots I know don't feel any pressure to "get in" or bust minimums since it's just not worth it. There's always another approach or a divert and try later. The risks are just too great and the rewards non-existant
Fly fast, live slow
 
CosmicCruiser
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:43 am

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 34):
1 was an unstable approach resulting in a write off and the aircraft resting in the swamp after turning 180 degrees.

The post referred to going below mins without proper visual cues. this statement and the following paragraph was really examples of continuing an app. in an unstable config. An the above accident you site was in vfr conditions and was TOTALLY an unstable situation
 
SlamClick
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 1:14 am

I think we could have a two-day conference on this. On the first day there would be only one session and the keynote speaker would say this:

Quoting Jetguy (Reply 3):
The bottom line is you don't let the captain kill you

Then we'd dismiss. The bar is closed. Everyone goes back to their rooms to consider the day's message.

Second day, with the first day's message on a huge banner on each of the walls of the auditorium we could discuss the fine points of CRM, of subtlety, of polite respect for your elders/superiors and so forth. Each opinion, each statement must end with:

Quoting Jetguy (Reply 3):
The bottom line is you don't let the captain kill you

A long time ago I flew with a guy who was the object of the Slammer's last-ever case of hero-worship. I'll change a lot of the details to protect the guilty SOB and his stupid copilot but let me assure you, if you had been my age and background you would have stood in awe of this guy as well. Just think in terms of every kind of honor and achievement you could imagine in your childish daydreams. He'd done it.

One day in really horrid weather we did a GCA to a hilltop airfield. We got to the 200 foot mins, him flying, and there was nothing but rain in front of us. He continued. I put one hand near the yoke and one near the throttles. The GCA controller said to "take over visually or execute the published missed approach" but he kept the course and glidepath calls coming.

In a moment I realized that we were AT field elevation and there was NOTHING outside those windows. I shoved the throttles forward and gave a tug at the control column. As he began the rest of the missed approach procedure I saw a runway light flash by just off my right wingtip and slightly ABOVE it. If he'd remained on centerline we would have cratered at the lip of the runway! Stupid! Stupid!

We didn't talk on the way to the alternate but I vowed I'd never again let someone, anyone, do that to me. I further vowed that I'd never put a copilot in that position.

One of the few vows I've kept.
Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
 
amtrosie
Posts: 273
Joined: Thu Jan 06, 2005 6:44 am

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:00 am

Thank-you for offering your experience to this discussion SLAM.

I have been waiting to hear your input. Your example is CLEARLY transferable to other areas of our craft.

THANK-YOU, THANK-YOU
 
mandala499
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:02 am

Cosmic cruiser,
That accident was the aircraft doing a non-prec ALREADY in landing config, he "stole the minima" and was visual with the runway a bit late... this led to rapid correction of the approach, departing the stable approach, touched down, then swung over somewhere and ended up in a swamp facing the direction it approached from.

It was a non-Prec at <1000m vis... it was not in VFR conditions!

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
CosmicCruiser
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Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:35 am

Quoting Mandala499 (Reply 39):
It was a non-Prec at <1000m vis... it was not in VFR conditions!

It sounded as another accident that I know of that was a non-prec app in VFR conditions and the jet was never stable and overshot the rnwy and ended up in a bay facing 180 from the ldg direction.
 
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flylku
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 2:59 am

Quoting PhilSquares (Reply 35):
The KAL Guam accident was a little more comples than that. There was a loss of situational awareness caused by a whole list of factors. You might want to look at http://www.ntsb.gov/publictn/2000/aar0001.pdf

I should have been more specific in suggesting that it was a contributing factor. Thanks for the link.
...are we there yet?
 
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flylku
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 3:06 am

Hey, this thread also reminded me about a human factors study I recall the FAA doing a number of years back regarding differences in the way men and women deal with authority and approach flying, and gasp, it determined that we really are different. How politically incorrect! Anobody remember this study? Have a link? Maybe instead of an A v B battle we could have an M v W battle. My guess is that women are too sensible to hang out on a web site like this.
...are we there yet?
 
Bellerophon
Posts: 516
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RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 7:05 pm

Gordonsmall

An interesting question, which frequently comes up on airline selection interviews, because it does tend to show an interviewer just how much, and how carefully, the candidate has thought about their future role, how much they know about that particular airline’s SOPs, and their general aviation knowledge and experience.

Jetguy summed it up well when he said …The bottom line is you don't let the captain kill you, whatever the potential ramifications…

That is a good answer that no-one could argue with, and has met with general approval from many posters.

However, if we assume you are asked this at interview, consider the following points, that a candidate might also mention, either in their answer or during the ensuing discussion, in order to improve their answer and their chances of being hired! Some of these points have already been made by other posters.

Firstly, try to avoid this common mistake.

…the captain is in the wrong to continue the approach when the runway is not in sight by the minimums…

No, not necessarily. I can think of several types of approaches where I don’t have to see the runway in order legally to continue below DA/DH. Woodreau has mentioned one of them.

The fact that the F/O cannot see the runway at DH/DA is not necessarily a sign that something is amiss.

Secondly, separate the Captain’s actions in descending below minimums from the Captain’s actions in ignoring the F/O’s call of Go-Around.

They are two separate actions, and, assuming that both actions were unbriefed, whilst the first might be reasonable or correct, the second, in an airline context, will not be. It is the second of his actions, a serious breach of SOPs, either deliberate or due to incapacitation, that gives the F/O the authority to act, and act quickly.

Thirdly, don’t be misled into believing that there is an FAA/CAA/JAA regulation that requires “three calls” in order to determine incapacitation.

Whilst this may well be a company procedure at some airlines, many airlines have procedures where a single failure to respond, at a critical time, is enough to assume incapacitation. Three attempts, in the cruise, to find out whether the captain wants tea or coffee is fine, but you shouldn't be taking three attempts at DA/DH to find out whether he wants to go-around. You decide which company procedures you think are the most appropriate.

Fourthly, many airlines arrange their SOPs specifically to prevent this situation occurring. B747skipper (welcome back! wave  ) has posted some details on this topic. Some knowledge of the SOPs at the airline you are applying to would give you an edge at interview.

Lastly, there may be very rare occasions where it can be foreseen that an approach must be continued regardless of warnings or breaches of SOPs. I hope that you never find yourself in one, but they generally involve either having very few engines, a very little fuel, or a very large fire!

However, even in these situations, as Saab2000 has said, good CRM principles require that the F/O should be pre-briefed about your intentions, and their input sought. Your actions should never take the F/O by surprise.

As an interview question, those would be my suggestions.

As a real life question, in the absence of any over-riding emergency, take-over, physically if necessary. I refer back to Jetguy …The bottom line is you don't let the captain kill you, whatever the potential ramifications…


Best regards

Bellerophon
 
David L
Posts: 8552
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 2:26 am

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Wed Jan 03, 2007 8:13 pm

Quoting Bellerophon (Reply 43):
B747skipper (welcome back!)

That's what I thought until I realised that the thread had been revived from 2003. Unfortunately, it's still the case that "There is no such username registered in the Airliners.net discussion forum".

Nevertheless, it's an interesting discussion, as is often the case when there isn't one simple answer.
 
Bellerophon
Posts: 516
Joined: Thu May 09, 2002 10:12 am

RE: Capt Descends Below Minimums - What Would You Do?

Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:39 pm

David L

 Embarrassment Ooops... you're right.

I didn't spot the date of B747skipper's post!

It is a pity he hasn't come back.


Best regards

Bellerophon

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