|Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 2):|
It amazes me how a Russian airplane can require 4-5 people in the flight deck whereas no western jets required more than three. However that might be a product of the different levels of infrastructure.
You half answered your own question. As I see it there are a couple of reasons for the large flight deck crews:
- Lack of domestic navigation aids.
- Lack of language skills. A comms officer who speaks English is needed for international flights.
- Flight Engineer was eliminated later than in the West.
- Many aircraft were designed to do double duty as military transports. This forced a certain design ruggedness. Up to a point, it's easier to just add a person than design more complex systems.
- The ability to do field repairs independently was a design consideration. So the F/E and possible loadmaster become important people.
I would also note that unless I'm much mistaken modern Russian airliners like the Il-96 have two man flight crews.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo