There’s a bit more to this..than four crew taking off with ‘0’ on the MCP
My understanding is that the previous crew selected ‘0’ in the MCP after landing to protect the next crew from leaving 3000 in the MCP (previous MAP) instead of the usual 4000 SID altitude.
FCOM SOP on Capts MCP pre flight is left to right…if one turns on the FD the FMA Vert window automatically displays ‘ALT’ - the airport elevation 75’ is now close enough to zero to capture said mode. next the Capt pre flight moves right and in DXB usually selects 4000 - regular SID altitude
So you now have correct altitude (4000) but the FMA is not in TOGA/TOGA (LNAV/VNAV armed) - Its in ALT capture to ‘0’…in other words the FDs will pitch down. All looks reasonably normal as the color coding on FMA same, MCP altitude correct…but the FMA mode is incorrect.
EK removed the TAKE REVIEW verbal call out SOP prior to before the BEFORE TAKE OFF C/LIST - a number of years ago, to underscore ‘quiet Flt Deck’ philosophy much to the annoyance of the pilot group. The verbal ‘out loud’ Take Off review would include “TOGA/TOGA….” And if this was not heard - error trapped.
As to why these pilot did not fly it correctly…root cause FEAR. The ME3 and in particular EK have a track history of firing pilots for human error.
So now you have pilots who dont want to risk hand flying in case of error - and so become overly dependent on automation...and thus a depletion of ability to go to basic pitch / power flying.
Vicious circle. They have had four serious incidents as a result of poor flying skills - one of which resulted in a crash. The other two were A380 near CFITs in DME and JFK respectively and now this incident. FZ in Rostov is another example - same boss, so now five.
The training dept in EK has a particularly poisonous local pilot manager who over rules TRI/TRE grading on a regular basis, usually to the detriment of the trainee.
This adds to the fear.
Any buzz word that catches the said managers attention can result in his personal audit of the session. So now you may have trainers who see something they dont like in the trainee that can be improved with training - but are reluctant to point it out because they realize the severity of this managers intervention…does not fit the regular remedial training that is required.
Its like a jury conviction of accidental manslaughter -then having the judge hand down a death sentence.
The conjecture is - the jury in EK training dept know this…dont think the death sentence is appropriate and hence aquit.
And that ladies and gents is a problem.
This. That's the explanation of how the 777 FD's work. The FD's were armed whilst Zero was still set on the MCP - which put the FD's in Alt Cap mode. When they set the correct SID Altitude of 4000'in the MCP, the FD was already locked. Had they cycled the FD's at that point, no issue, no incident.
There's a couple of questions about that glitch in the 777 FD software as its a known issue. Also, there's the question of why the inbound crew set Zero in the MCP, which is not an FCOM or EK procedure..
As for employment - This is how EK works and for certain QR too. There's a Blame Culture - not a safety culture.
There's no such thing as a contract of employment in the Middle East unless it benefits the employer. There are no worker rights or comeback on any management decision. Yes, I've seen the employment contracts at EK as I was there for 9 years so I speak from experience.
These incidents will become more commonplace now - the reason is simple.
EK alone made over 2500 pilots redundant across both fleets - not just low hours, but highly experienced guys, including trainers with upto 35 years of service. That's a huge amount of experience to lose on a flight deck. Despite attempts to get them back, the majority of us won't return to that culture. EK are now struggling to find pilots at all and are mostly getting low hours people from Africa and India. EK used to set a minimum hours requirement of 4000 hours to be able to apply - now that's the minimum requirement for Command upgrade. See the difference?
The fear culture that pervades makes everything a problem. The guys at Domodevedo who nearly had a CFIT spent the entire Go Around talking about how they were going to be called into the office - no dealing with the problem they had and rebriefing the approach. Its all on the CVR.. That's where the midset of EK pilots is.