lmml 14/32
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Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 5:58 am

I mean can you actually switch off all 5 (?) computers, the FADEC, Alpha floor etc and fly the aircraft the old fashioned way? If so how do you switch off the computers?
 
futureualpilot
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 6:16 am

Given that the A320 is a FBW aircraft, Id say no. If you off the computers, how will the FBW work?
Life is better when you surf.
 
prebennorholm
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 6:24 am

Not the oldfashioned way. With all FBW systems inoperative the following controls is available.

- Cable control of the rudder - gives some roll control in non-turbulent weather.
- Engines will give some pitch control. Differential engine thrust can also be a control input.

A friend on mine, who is an A320 driver, has tested it for fun in the sim, and he claims that in most cases they would bring a plane down in one piece. But it takes the power of strong legs from both flight crew members.

The A380 doesn't have the wire backup on the rudder. It would be useless since all four legs of the flight crews couldn't move the rudder. No way.

That's nothing special for FBW planes like "busses" and B777. The hydraulics are in any case by far the most prone to fail, and they are in principle identical on all large airliners. A couple of DC-10's have been "landed", or at least not crashed vertically, with all three hydraulic systems inoperative.
Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs
 
B744F
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 9:43 am

Hydraulics may fail, but computer systems are always error free! That is an accident waiting to happen unfortunately if you can't control the bird by hand
 
nwafflyer
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 9:53 am

Again, I am not a pilot, nor an engineer -- however, I feel strongly that on all major airlines, there are adequate safety devices to cover for all but human failure
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 12:50 pm

Since its FBW.There would be no Cables around the Aircraft.
Can Anyone confirm this.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
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IFixPlanes
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 3:29 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 5):
Since its FBW.There would be no Cables around the Aircraft.
Can Anyone confirm this.

Hi MEL, did you read Reply 2  Confused

Ingo
never tell an engineer he is wrong ;-)
 
XXXX10
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 4:26 pm

As I understand it you can switch off all of the computers, the aircraft will go into Direct law where the side-stick inputs directly control the control surfaces as they would in a normal plane.

Fadec, I'm not sure if you can disable this although I would guess that some redundancy is built in.

The above of course assumes that the hydraulics are working. If there were a failure of all systems then you are in trouble but then you are in trouble on any large plane with no hydraulics.
 
HAL
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 5:03 pm

To clear this up:

Switching off the computers (and there are seven of them) would not result in direct law, but mechanical reversion. Direct law results if you did switch off some of the computers, and also if certain combinations of them fail, or certain components in the plane. Lesser failures result in Alternate law. There are switches on the overhead panel for all seven computers.

If ALL the computers failed (or were switched off), you still have cable control of the rudders as mentioned above for lateral control, and also cable control of the stabilizer trim through the trim wheel for vertical control.

I am an A320/319 pilot for America West, and they make us go through that scenario during training. It's a pain in the a$$ to control, but it can be done.

HAL

[Edited 2005-05-19 10:05:34]
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 7:48 pm

Quoting IFixPlanes (Reply 6):
Hi MEL, did you read Reply 2

I did.Just wanted confirmation from someone who worked on the Type.
Cheers.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
cactusTECH
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 19, 2005 10:28 pm

Hi all I owrk on A320's and it is possible to fly it manually. Its called direct law and in case you lose your Air Data Inertial Reference Units you can use the joystick to fly it. Its actually a procedure at the simulator for checkrides at America West.
 
lmml 14/32
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Fri May 20, 2005 2:59 am

So, if I understand correctly, if you loose the ADIRU an A320 can be flown manually using the joysticks. If that is so what drives the servos when there is no direct command? The joystick only provides electrical input and this cannot be termed as direct law. What am I missing?
 
HAL
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Fri May 20, 2005 8:51 am

LMML 14/32,

I think there are some misconceptions going on here with terminology.

The ADIRU's are inertial navigation computers. They just tell us where we are and which way we are going.

The seven (7) flight control computers are the 3 SEC's (Spoiler Elevator Computers), the 2 ELAC's (Elevator Aileron Computers) and 2 FAC's (Flight Augmentation Computers.

Their uses:

ELAC = Normal elevator and stabilizer control. Aileron control.
SEC = Spoiler control. Standby elevator and stabilizer control
FAC = Electrical Rudder control.

It is through these seven computers and their associated software that programs like Alpha Floor and speed & attitude protection work. If one or more of those computers fail or are switched off, you may lose some of the protections thereby going into alternate or direct law. But if all seven fail or there is a complete electrical failure or if you switch all seven off, then you are in mechanical reversion as I described above. At that point you only have cable operated rudder and cable operated stabilizer trim available for control. The sidestick would be so much useless plastic because you need at least one of those computers running for it to work.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Gasman
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Fri May 20, 2005 9:06 am

Thanks HAL - for the benefit of us without your obvious high degree of technical knowledge, what is alpha control?
 
CaptOveur
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Fri May 20, 2005 3:22 pm

Quoting Gasman (Reply 13):
what is alpha control?

Correct me if I am wrong but isn't that angle of attack control?
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
HAL
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Fri May 20, 2005 4:52 pm

Quoting Gasman (Reply 13):
Thanks HAL - for the benefit of us without your obvious high degree of technical knowledge, what is alpha control?



Quoting Captoveur (Reply 14):
Correct me if I am wrong but isn't that angle of attack control?

Thanks for your optimistic opinion of my abilities, but I'm just another Airbus pilot that's been through the ground school.

Alpha Floor is one of the many 'protections' provided by the multiple & redundant flight control computers. What it does is protect the plane from getting into a high angle of attack/low power situation that might cause a stall. The computers are constantly assessing things such as the current angle of attack, current airspeed, airspeed trend and much more to judge when the plane may be getting close to a low speed stall situation. When that high angle of attack is sensed, the computers automatically set TOGA thrust (full power) no matter what the thrust levers are set at. It is trying to power the plane out of a possible stall configuration.

To answer Captoveur, the word Alpha refers to the engineering term describing the angle of attack of the wing of the plane. Airbus uses Alpha Floor to label the protection I described above.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sat May 21, 2005 7:01 am

Quoting B744F (Reply 3):
Hydraulics may fail, but computer systems are always error free! That is an accident waiting to happen unfortunately if you can't control the bird by hand

Pfft. Decades of FBW history with not a single fatal crash due to computer failure says you're wrong. I can't prove it will never happen, but you're more likely to be hit by a meteor.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
lmml 14/32
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sat May 21, 2005 6:43 pm

Thanks, HAL, for your informative posts. Many happy landings!
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sat May 21, 2005 8:34 pm

HAL....Interesting article about Alpha Floor.
BTW why HAL......reminds me of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited BLR.  Smile
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
Pihero
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sun May 22, 2005 2:52 am

No.
HAL is the computer gone rogue in 2001 "A space oddyssey".
Some wise ass said it was IBM short one letter to each initial.

Ain't it, Hal?
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AussieAMEgirl
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sun May 22, 2005 8:58 am

Yeah the good old scarebus has 2 cables...it was so much easier to do a cable lube on the A320 than the 727!!....Oh and heres another interesting little titbit....next time any of you you ever has the chance to play in an A320 sim...get the motion turned off and turn off ELAC1 and ELAC2 and the bird handles like a fighter!! (It makes for a fun nightshift buzzing and rolling in an A320!) Although I wouldnt try that with a real one as the thing starts screaming error messages at you in the cockpit.

Another safety bit added was the manual fuel off/on. When I was an apprentice I remember one of the LAME's on type telling me that the pilots were not too impressed with Airbus's original plans of having the engines totally controlled by computer, including fuel input so they had to add a manual fuel shutoff switch in the centre console, so in the event of emergency they can manually shut off fuel.

Cheers!
 
HAL
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sun May 22, 2005 7:01 pm

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 18):
BTW why HAL......reminds me of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited BLR.

When I first started posting on this board, I was flying for Hawaiian Airlines (HAL). The nickname seemed pretty obvious. Of course I didn't count on getting furloughed and going to work for a couple more airlines in the process - but such is the life of the airline pilot these days.  Smile

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Pihero
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sun May 22, 2005 8:45 pm

AussieAMEgirl :"Another safety bit added was the manual fuel off/on. When I was an apprentice I remember one of the LAME's on type telling me that the pilots were not too impressed with Airbus's original plans of having the engines totally controlled by computer, including fuel input so they had to add a manual fuel shutoff switch in the centre console, so in the event of emergency they can manually shut off fuel"

That guy was telling you stories. There's a lot more functions to that ENG MASTER switch than just fuel s/o.

Regards
Contrail designer
 
HAL
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 23, 2005 6:03 am

Quoting Pihero (Reply 22):
That guy was telling you stories. There's a lot more functions to that ENG MASTER switch than just fuel s/o.

I think he's right. Remember, we have to shut off the engines when we arrive at the gate, so there has to be some way of turning the darned things off besides politely asking the computer.

I can just imagine a conversation like that in 2001 a Space Odyssey:

"Hal, shut off the engines please"
"No Dave, I can not do that"
"Hal, shut off the engines. We're at the gate now"
"Dave, I think you need to take a stress pill, sit down, and think things over"
"Hal, the jetbridge is at the door. Shut down the engines"
"Dave, I have the upmost enthusiasm for the mission"
"Hal, don't make me pull your circuit breaker again"
"Stop Dave, stop dave, stop...."

 Wink

HAL (Not the computer)
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Pihero
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 23, 2005 7:49 am

Love it, Love it ! Big grin

And I don't really want to add more.
My previous post had to do with a perceived joke from some rather biased people :Everything was ok as long as it could add to the 'Bus bashing that was fashionable.
Having since early in the 320 program been kept "au fait" of the tech specs, I've never heard of a full Fadec control over the engine including the start-up and the shutting down.
My biggest problem is I fell in love nineteen years ago with a plane people call "scarebus" in 2005, which I find at least unfair. But that's just me.

That said, Hal, you just demonstrated in a way I could never have achieved the fallacy of certain assumptions, and whether you're my favourite computer or one of the few on this forum to have the experience of CWS - AND could tell of it- welcome to my respected list!

Regards  bigthumbsup 
Contrail designer
 
kaddyuk
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 23, 2005 8:11 am

It is true that in the Airbus cockpit, the Master Fuel Cut Off Switch is the only physical connection between pilot control and the engine...
Whoever said "laughter is the best medicine" never had Gonorrhea
 
Pihero
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 23, 2005 8:35 am

Kaddyuk,

Sorry but you're wrong too.You just forgot there is a fire P/B for each engine on the overhead panel, and among other things ,it controls the engine fuel LP valve.

Regards
Contrail designer
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 23, 2005 1:26 pm

Quoting Pihero (Reply 19):
HAL is the computer gone rogue in 2001 "A space oddyssey".
Some wise ass said it was IBM short one letter to each initial.

And Arthur C. Clarke said it was just a fluke. Nobody wanted to believe him for years.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AussieAMEgirl
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 26, 2005 12:49 pm

er why do I fell I was taken out of context? I love the A320, I think it beats the Boeing fleet from a maintenance standpoint hands down. I dont partake in Airbus bashing as was mentioned, and was only going off information I was told several years ago when I did my training. The guy is licenced on the A320 and I have all bar 50 something hours of my schedule of experince (airframe and engine) on type full. Mind you it has also been 5 years since I worked on one.

But then not being a pilot I can only tell you from a maintenance perspective. I mean we played with things like, having ext. pwr on and moving the throttles forward...you get a lovely message saying "retard...retard" good for those moments when someone you dont like walks into the cockpit...
 
lmml 14/32
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu May 26, 2005 4:10 pm

On the newer 'busses two horizontal magenta lines appear equidistantly (I think 15 knots either side) from the speed bug during descent. From what I have been observing I think that these are the limits between which no power changes are made by the autothrust to correct the profile. Instead corrections are made by pitching. Am I correct?
 
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longhauler
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Sun May 29, 2005 10:33 pm

Quoting LMML 14/32 (Reply 29):
On the newer 'busses two horizontal magenta lines appear equidistantly (I think 15 knots either side) from the speed bug during descent. From what I have been observing I think that these are the limits between which no power changes are made by the autothrust to correct the profile. Instead corrections are made by pitching. Am I correct?

You are correct with the lower speed limit. If when maintaining the profile descent path, the airspeed drops to the lower limit, trust will be added to maintain bug speed. If however the upper limit is reached, the aircraft will adjust pitch and maintain the upper speed, and the profile descent path will fall below the aircraft. Depending on the FMS software, the pilot will get a "more drag" or "airbrakes" message, both on the MCDU and on the PFD, indicating a method of returning the aircraft to the profile within speed restraints.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
WindowSeat
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 30, 2005 7:08 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 8):
they make us go through that scenario during training. It's a pain in the a$$ to control, but it can be done.

HAL,

do you know if there have been instances that this has actually happened in the past, and not just simulated in the sim??

Quoting AussieAMEgirl (Reply 28):
you get a lovely message saying "retard...retard" good for those moments when someone you dont like walks into the cockpit...

ROFL! If anyone has the sound file, would you please send it to me? I will need to use it in the office pretty frequently!

cheers
I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.
 
HAL
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Mon May 30, 2005 8:09 am

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 31):
HAL,

do you know if there have been instances that this has actually happened in the past, and not just simulated in the sim??

As far as I know, there hasn't been a complete failure of all seven computers in flight in an Airbus - at least on a flight with passengers. It's possible a ferry flight or maintenance flight had one and we might not have heard about it.

HAL

P.S. We always get a kick out of the 'retard, retard' bit. It sounds like the plane is trying to tell us "Pull the thrust levers back.....stupid!". I'll look around to try and find a sound file of that.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
lmml 14/32
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 4:53 am

Quoting WindowSeat (Reply 31):
ROFL! If anyone has the sound file, would you please send it to me? I will need to use it in the office pretty frequently!

LOL !! That reminds me. Someone I know has recorded the callouts on his cell phone and now uses them as a ring tone.
 
dan2002
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:24 am

Quoting LMML 14/32 (Reply 33):
Someone I know has recorded the callouts on his cell phone and now uses them as a ring tone.

Hope he isnt a pilot  Wink


-Dan
A guy asks 'What's Punk?'. I kick over a trash can and its punk. He knocks over a trash can and its trendy.
 
WindowSeat
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RE: Can An A320 Be Flown Manually?

Thu Jun 02, 2005 5:41 am

Does anyone have the damn sound file? I would so love to have it. Thanks
I'm all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with keyboards.

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