WN787
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Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:10 am

An interesting article on CNN. This topic has been debated often, however I have never heard of a flight attendant as a possible backup pilot if the UAV link doesn't work.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/24/travel...ot-airlines/index.html?hpt=hp_bn10

Will we see UAV's in the freighter industry in the next 30 years?

In our lifetime will there be debates on how safe will the general public would feel in a pilotless aircraft? And your flight attendant is your backup?
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
PHX787
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:19 am

One of the articles on the recent B6 diversion mentioned a flight that landed with a flight attendant with "flight experience" at the controls....
IMO I think it could be a good idea if at least one of the FAs knew some sort of aeronautics. Could save lives potentially.
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BMI727
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:25 am

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 1):
IMO I think it could be a good idea if at least one of the FAs knew some sort of aeronautics. Could save lives potentially.

I think that it's probably okay the way it is since 1) there is some number of flight attendants who have a genuine interest in flying and may do so themselves for fun and 2) I think that the basic FA training and experience probably gives them enough experience to take care of a modern airliner in a pinch.
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HAL
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:32 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
2) I think that the basic FA training and experience probably gives them enough experience to take care of a modern airliner in a pinch.

Are you talking about helping a busy single-pilot in the cockpit, or performing a bad-weather hand-flown ILS approach at night while dodging thunderstorms with multiple system failures? I'm just wondering what part of the FA training gives them the experience to fly a plane, because I certainly didn't see any FA's in my Airbus training during the past two months.  

HAL
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Superfly
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:42 am

This happened in the movie Airport 1975.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV18ISPtVIk
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airtran737
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:49 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
1) there is some number of flight attendants who have a genuine interest in flying and may do so themselves for fun and

In which case if they may have a pilots license, which would qualify them to sit in the seat and work the radios (which are much more complicated in an A320 than a 172).

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
2) I think that the basic FA training and experience probably gives them enough experience to take care of a modern airliner in a pinch.

Really? Go rent yourself a 172, shoot an ILS approach down to minimums at 75 kts. I bet you'll feel your ass clench up as you do it. Now imagine doing that in a turbojet aircraft landing around 135 kts with gear, slats, flaps, speed brakes, TR's and radios to operate. Flight attendants are trained for safety tasks in the back, not flying airplanes. I personally would rather do it on my own than have a f/a next to me who has no clue what they are looking at or doing. Flight attendants are not trained in aeronautics, systems, avionics or any other function that has to do with flying the plane.
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oldeuropean
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:06 am

That must be Michael O'Learys wet dream.

No seats for the 250 pax in a 737! And who needs a pilot?  Yeah sure

[Edited 2012-03-28 00:07:45]
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BMI727
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:17 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 3):
I'm just wondering what part of the FA training gives them the experience to fly a plane, because I certainly didn't see any FA's in my Airbus training during the past two months.

It's impossible to be around an airline that much and not pick up something of how the whole thing works. Probably enough to be useful in an emergency but not enough to fly by themselves without guidance.And considering the remoteness of such training being called into action, I just don't think it would be that practical to give flight attendants any flight training. Maybe when single pilot airliners start coming into existence the calculations will change significantly.

Quoting airtran737 (Reply 5):
Flight attendants are not trained in aeronautics, systems, avionics or any other function that has to do with flying the plane.

...and yet planes aren't falling from the sky. There's no reason to give them that training - too much time, money, and effort for a situation that is highly unlikely.
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wilco737
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:19 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 7):
It's impossible to be around an airline that much and not pick up something of how the whole thing works.

Well, during an 14 hour flight only 2-3 FA's come into the cockpit and pay us a visit from a total of 14 FA's on board.

They do not pick up a lot, sorry to say that, but not a lot know about the stuff we do up front. They see us sitting there, chatting, talking on the radio and that's it.

No offense to any FA out there. There are several who are interested in our work, but most are not.

wilco737
  
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:29 am

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
2) I think that the basic FA training and experience probably gives them enough experience to take care of a modern airliner in a pinch.

When I trained as a FA many years ago at a legacy airline, there was no such training. Except to mention that Cabin Crew do not enter the flight deck, for any reason, without specific authorization from the Flight Crew, during flight. Not really sure how you'd learn to land a plane that way...

Quoting HAL (Reply 3):
Are you talking about helping a busy single-pilot in the cockpit, or performing a bad-weather hand-flown ILS approach at night while dodging thunderstorms with multiple system failures? I'm just wondering what part of the FA training gives them the experience to fly a plane, because I certainly didn't see any FA's in my Airbus training during the past two months.  

HAL

There was none that I ever saw, lol. But of course that was over a decade ago. I doubt, however, that things have changed.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 7):

It's impossible to be around an airline that much and not pick up something of how the whole thing works.

I know people who've worked on my ramp for decades and refer to certain planes only as "The Airbus", because concepts like there being 319s, 332s, 380s, etc are just to tough to tackle. Hell, one of our guys insisted that there are such things as "Quad engined" 777s just a few hours ago.

It is quite possible...
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PanHAM
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:34 am

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 8):
talking on the radio and that's it.

you forgot watching TV on the many screens you have... 

I miss the suggestion that interested a.netters could step in. There is so much expertise assembled here, one could give it a try. A.net should issue IDs qualifying members for stand-by duties.  

There are a couple of old jokes about the topic which I do not have to repeat here, I have to feed my monkey now.
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ZuluAlpha
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:36 am

There was another thread, when Michael O'leary, owner of Ryan Air also suggested this.


Michael O'Leary Says 'Let Stewardesses Land Planes' (by ZuluAlpha Sep 3 2010 in Civil Aviation)?threadid=4919628&searchid=4926661&s=MOL+one+pilot#ID4926661

Where he suggested the same thing. Now I know that comparing the two, CNN and MOL is well, Comparing the Harvard medical school with a methadone clinic.

For what my two cents is worth, I would say that it will never happen.
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milesrich
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:22 am

Doris Day, playing a flight attendant, landed a DC-4, at SFO, in the 1956 movie, Julie. The aircraft was supplied by Trans Ocean Airways (TOA), the OAK based non sked.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXDfnvyn3q4

[Edited 2012-03-28 04:38:10]
 
tonystan
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:24 am

Did someone say "Michael O'Leary"?????
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lucce
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:01 pm

The procedure on European carriers for pilot incapacitation is shown here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVBJ0qyIQjA
The cabin crew basically get trained on how to secure and remove the incapacitated pilot and then read check lists and provide an extra set of eyes in the flight deck. They do not get trained to touch any controls.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:17 pm

Quoting lucce (Reply 14):
They do not get trained to touch any controls.

better said, they get trained NOT to touch any controls...  

(
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GT4EZY
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:52 pm

Lots of cabin crew have an interest in flying and aircraft and in an instance of pilot capacitation they can, and are trained to, assist with checklists etc. That is quite different to actually flying the plane though but if suddenly an airline trained F/A's sufficiently (key word) as 'back up' pilots then I wouldn't have a problem.

As things stand, an FA (unless they have any pilot experience as some do) can't land an aircraft, simple as... but the notion that someone who is an FA couldn't possibly be trained to be a pilot is another thing.
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tjwgrr
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:00 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
there is some number of flight attendants who have a genuine interest in flying and may do so themselves


There are some are out there, albeit probably not too many. A number of years ago I struck up a conversation with a young, rather attractive, female FA on a CoEx ERJ flight. She held a private pilot's license with multi-engine rating and was working on her commercial rating with the goal and ambition of someday flying mainline ATP after working her way up through the ranks.

Even if someone like her were essentially hands off in the cockpit, with her knowledge base and training, I would think she could certainly be able to work the radios and read the check list to the PIC.
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fxramper
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:47 pm

I'd rather have the guy in 40D with a ppl up front assisting the pilot than a flight attendant. No offense. Even the Anet member that plays FSX would be okay with me. Your UAV commercial a/c article or comment is a pipe dream. However fractured unions are they'll never allow that to happen for commercial aviation. Military is a different story.
 
GT4EZY
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:50 pm

Quoting fxramper (Reply 18):
I'd rather have the guy in 40D with a ppl up front assisting the pilot than a flight attendant. No offense. Even the Anet member that plays FSX would be okay with me. Your UAV commercial a/c article or comment is a pipe dream. However fractured unions are they'll never allow that to happen for commercial aviation. Military is a different story.

No offence taken but bear in mind that alot of F/A's are on airliners.net, a fair few play FSX and a few have ppl's/flying experience.
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GT4EZY
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:52 pm

Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 17):
Even if someone like her were essentially hands off in the cockpit, with her knowledge base and training, I would think she could certainly be able to work the radios and read the check list to the PIC.

Cabin Crew are trained to read check lists etc, some airlines also go as far as giving basic radio training albeit not at my airline.
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DashTrash
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:16 pm

Quoting GT4EZY (Reply 20):
Cabin Crew are trained to read check lists etc, some airlines also go as far as giving basic radio training albeit not at my airline.

Never heard of it in the US. The closest thing I know of is FA's getting a cockpit jumpseat ride during initial and another ride every so often. I've heard of some have a little stick time on ferry flights but I know nothing of that personally.   
 
flipdewaf
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:21 pm

I think the main reason is that they aren't smug enough don't have the right tone of voice to calm the pax at the top of decent etc.

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Rara
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:30 pm

This seems to be a solution to a nonexisting problem. How many incidents in the past could have been averted if an FA had been trained as a pilot?
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GT4EZY
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:33 pm

Quoting Rara (Reply 23):
This seems to be a solution to a nonexisting problem. How many incidents in the past could have been averted if an FA had been trained as a pilot?

Just one off the top of my head.
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Acey559
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:30 pm

At my airline flight attendants and pilots are required to sit in on CRM classes together and ask each other about different parts of our respective jobs and how we can better assist each other. Not to say that every flight attendant would do a great job, but if things hit the fan and the captain couldn't perform his/her duties, if no other options were available I wouldn't hesitate to bring a flight attendant up to swing the gear. With an adequate briefing they could perform simple tasks in the cockpit. I don't care if they know how the hydraulic or electrical system works, but I'd bet they can use a checklist and turn a couple knobs and use the gear/flap handles, which is all you'd realistically need them for.

Edit: I am NOT advocating for single-pilot airliners and in no way believe a flight attendant could ever take the place of a fully trained flight deck crew, my scenario above is set in current times and equipment and is an absolutely last resort scenario.

[Edited 2012-03-28 08:32:35]
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ROSWELL41
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:37 pm

In most cases an untrained person would be more of a hindrance than a help in those situations. Not only would one pilot have to do the job of two, but would also have to look after the untrained person to make sure they do not mess up. If there isn't another 121 airline pilot onboard, I'd rather have the FA help the incapacitated pilot and leave the flying part to me. In fact, that is what would happen. Modern airliners can be flown by one pilot most of the time, especially assuming the aircraft is mechanically sound.
 
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LOWS
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:02 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 4):
This happened in the movie Airport 1975.

Also, to a lesser extent, and I think more within the bounds of what we're talking about here (an extra set of hands to work the radio or something) in the movie Airplane.
 
Birdwatching
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:03 pm

Quoting ROSWELL41 (Reply 26):
In most cases an untrained person would be more of a hindrance than a help in those situations.

I'm a hobby pilot (glider and motor glider) and I think I can say that in case one pilot is out or dead, me in the cockpit with the other pilot would increase the chances of a safe landing compared to if the pilot was alone.
Now I know quite a bunch of FAs holding a PPL.
Sure, "it's an entirely different kind of flying, altogether" but I hate the arrogant opinion frequently propagated here on A.net (often by pilots) that a passenger or FA couldn't be of help with landing an airliner.

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ROSWELL41
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:18 pm

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 28):
I'm a hobby pilot (glider and motor glider) and I think I can say that in case one pilot is out or dead, me in the cockpit with the other pilot would increase the chances of a safe landing compared to if the pilot was alone.
Now I know quite a bunch of FAs holding a PPL.
Sure, "it's an entirely different kind of flying, altogether" but I hate the arrogant opinion frequently propagated here on A.net (often by pilots) that a passenger or FA couldn't be of help with landing an airliner.

Why the need for the personal attack? Arrogant opinion? Really?

Your experience could prove useful in a one in a trillion chance that both pilots are incapacitated. I would prefer that you do something rather than a flight attendant certainly in that case. As someone who has sat in the seat of light GA aircraft for years before flying transport category jets, the two are very different. I didn't realize how different until I was actually sitting in the seat of my first transport category jet (BE-400 Beechjet if it matters). Now flying the A320, I can tell you that most non-FAR 121 pilots would be more of a risk to introduce into that situation assuming the aircraft is mechanically sound. If it were another UA232 situation, exceptions may need to be made. This is not a slight to GA pilots, but an airliner cockpit is considerably different than a 152 or a glider.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:21 pm

A flight attendant (female) with a commercial pilot's license assisted the captain during the diversion to SNN on an AC 763 en route from YYZ to LHR in November 2008 after the first officer had a mental breakdown and had to be removed from the cockpit and restrained.

Excerpt below from the Irish accident investigation authority report. Link to the complete report here.
http://www.aaiu.ie/upload/general/11139-0.pdf

The Commander reported to the Company Flight Dispatch via data-link on what had taken place. After verifying good weather at Shannon, Dublin and Manchester the Commander decided to divert the flight to Shannon. This decision was made in conjunction with the Company Flight Dispatch in Toronto. At point MALOT, where the flight was back under VHF control, the Commander advised his intent to divert due to a medical emergency on board. After making a PAN (distress) call, Shannon ATC were informed that the medical emergency was due to a pilot incapacitation (the First Officer) and the flight was now a single pilot (Captain only) flight for descent, approach and landing. Prior to descent, the Commander asked the Incharge Flight Attendant to go the Passenger Information List (PIL) to see if there were any flight crew on board who might be available to assist on the Flight deck for the remainder of the flight. In the event no line pilots were on board, but one of the Cabin attendants held a Commercial Pilot’s Licence, with a Multi-engine Rating, and a non-current Instrument Rating. The Commander requested that the Flight Attendant occupy the right-hand (First Officers) seat for the remainder of the flight to assist as necessary. The Flight Attendant provided useful assistance to the Commander, who remarked in a statement to the Investigation that she was ‘not out of place’ while occupying the right-hand seat.
 
WN787
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:30 pm

Ok, did anyone read the article on CNN? This was not the argument I was trying to bring up. My question to all was mainly focused on the future of airline travel and a PILOTLESS aircraft where the model suggests that an FA could be the backup to the Unmanned Aerial 777, 380, 747, 787, 330, 320, 737, etc...... and whatever else we will see in the future.

-"At an aeronautical conference last August, James Albaugh, a Boeing president and CEO, announced that a "pilotless airliner is going to come; it's just a question of when. You'll see it in freighters first, over water probably, landing very close to the shore,"

-"There's another model where you might have a flight attendant sufficiently trained," said Hansman, to act as a backup pilot on automated or remote-controlled airliners.

-Yes, you read that right.

These quotes came from the article. A lot of what I've read was considering the past history of flight, and I was looking towards the future with this topic.

But thanks for the info
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
flyfree727
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:53 pm

An AA f/a WAS in the right seat for final/landing years ago on an F100 when the f/o became incapacitated. I know her personally. She is STL based. I do know she read a check list for the captain, lowered the gear. There were no other pilots on the flight and she entered the cockpit at the captains request. Of course, those were the days when AA F100 frequently had 1 or 2 fas above FAA minimums. The chief pilot in ORD made a big deal over it with her. She received flowers, letters of praise from the captain, and was mentioned in many letters from passengers (positively) who wrote to AA commenting on the situiation.

Many times, rules are written by the crew "along the way" as was the case on the AA CDG MIA flight with Richard Reid. Many of the decisions made during that flight are actual procedures for AA today.

I am sure the B6 crew made decisions/rules as the events escalated during their situation. There are many procudures in place for the "expected." Its the unexpected situations that tests the resilience of crews (and passengers) when the integrity of the aircraft is subjected.

AA ORD
 
nws2002
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:55 pm

Quoting DashTrash (Reply 21):
Never heard of it in the US. The closest thing I know of is FA's getting a cockpit jumpseat ride during initial and another ride every so often. I've heard of some have a little stick time on ferry flights but I know nothing of that personally.

One airline I worked for had us play around in the sim for a day. It was not really designed to teach us how to land an aircraft though. The training was designed so we would have some clue about what goes on up front. Most of us ended up being able to complete a basic landing, with a pilot sitting in the other seat helping, but I wouldn't want to ever do that myself.

I'm not going to allow a pilot to be alone on the flight deck, but I will stay out of the way unless they specifically ask me to complete a task (checklists, etc.).
 
Boeing747_600
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:00 pm

Pilot-less planes will be the future of aviation in about 50 years. In the event of an emergency, ground-based experts in full-motion simulators receiving inputs from the aircraft's controls will be able to remotely guide the plane, if necessary. Yes, a comm failure coupled with an emergency is a remote possibility, but (a) multiple redundant systems can alleviate this problem and (b) pilot-less planes will result overall, in a significant improvement in aviation safety.
 
flight152
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:12 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
2) I think that the basic FA training and experience probably gives them enough experience to take care of a modern airliner in a pinch.

Most ridiculous thing i've ever heard.

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 33):
I'm not going to allow a pilot to be alone on the flight deck

Really? I don't really think that's up to you, or any other flight attendant but rather the remaining pilot up front. We are trained well enough to complete a flight on our own without a flight attendant getting in our way.
 
Gingersnap
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 6:54 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 34):
Pilot-less planes will be the future of aviation in about 50 years. In the event of an emergency, ground-based experts in full-motion simulators receiving inputs from the aircraft's controls will be able to remotely guide the plane, if necessary. Yes, a comm failure coupled with an emergency is a remote possibility, but (a) multiple redundant systems can alleviate this problem and (b) pilot-less planes will result overall, in a significant improvement in aviation safety.

That's the easy part. Good luck getting the general public to accept flying on aircraft without anyone up front.
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tjwgrr
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:03 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 34):
(b) pilot-less planes will result overall, in a significant improvement in aviation safety.


Wow, that's a bold statement. A living breathing flight crew might recognize something that may not quite feel right- slight vibration or unusual noise for example- long before the parameters set on computer of a fully automated flight deck recognize the symptom which may have already progressed to become a serious issue at that point.

Any ground based PIC would have a large degree of disconnect. As a passenger I would much prefer to have real flesh and blood pilots up front using their experience, skill, knowledge, judgement, and situational awareness to get me safely to my destination.
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Fabo
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:37 pm

Quoting WN787 (Reply 31):
-"There's another model where you might have a flight attendant sufficiently trained," said Hansman, to act as a backup pilot on automated or remote-controlled airliners.

Any ideas why they choose to word it this way, rather than the other way round?

"There will be a pilot on-board, who will also function as a flight-attendant during non-critical phases of flight" sounds much safer IMO even if I understand that there would be no real difference between the cases.
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PHX787
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:37 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 3):
Are you talking about helping a busy single-pilot in the cockpit, or performing a bad-weather hand-flown ILS approach at night while dodging thunderstorms with multiple system failures? I'm just wondering what part of the FA training gives them the experience to fly a plane, because I certainly didn't see any FA's in my Airbus training during the past two months.

I honestly think if the FAs learned about some of the basic controls they could definitely be a good resource to have in case of an emergency

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 8):
but most are not.

haha well you may be right there, I have a neighbor who really wants to become a flight attendant because she said it's "cheap and easy access to world travel." When I talk to her about aviation she yells at me for being boring.
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Fabo
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:44 pm

Quoting PHX787 (Reply 39):
"cheap and easy access to world travel."

Oh well, one week on the line and ask her again. Cheap and (especially) easy my ass...
The light at the end of tunnel turned out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:47 pm

There was a plan passed around a number of years ago the f/a's would be taught how to work the radios in an emergency. Most of us know to get on 121.5 and scream HELP! But it never came to fruition but it would be a good safety backup.
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:17 pm

Quoting tjwgrr (Reply 37):
Any ground based PIC would have a large degree of disconnect. As a passenger I would much prefer to have real flesh and blood pilots up front using their experience, skill, knowledge, judgement, and situational awareness to get me safely to my destination.

While that is a concern that I would not dismiss lightly, I would personally prefer that the pilot on the ground be an expert at handling abnormal flight situations. After all, the flesh-and-blood pilots in the AF-447 incident quite badly botched the handling of the aircraft in a manner inconsistent with the documented procedure for the situation in question.

Quoting Gingersnap (Reply 36):
That's the easy part. Good luck getting the general public to accept flying on aircraft without anyone up front.

Oh, you're right! That's why I postulated a time frame of about 50 years from now, even though for all intents and purposes, the technology exists today.

[Edited 2012-03-28 13:18:10]
 
MountainFlyer
Posts: 501
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:13 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
I think that the basic FA training and experience probably gives them enough experience to take care of a modern airliner in a pinch.

Shhh, don't tell the airlines that or the next thing you know they'll be paying pilots less than F/As. I mean, someone must have forgotten to tell all the pilots of the world that they really didn't need to spend countless thousands of dollars for training to be a pilot, not to mention the endless recurrent training and qualifications they must do.  
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 7):
It's impossible to be around an airline that much and not pick up something of how the whole thing works. Probably enough to be useful in an emergency

What kind of emergency are you talking about? It seems to me, everyone saying F/As could fly the plane in an emergency are thinking that the only emergency would be no pilots up front.

An emergency, especially that of a system malfunction, is exactly the time that a highly trained/qualified pilot is absolutely needed. What if it is the autopilot that has failed? How about a gear malfunction? How about another Capt. Sully scenario? How is an F/A who's just been "around an airline that much" going to handle that kind of emergency if they aren't fully trained in all the systems and how to handle the aircraft when the automation isn't working?

I mean absolutely no offense to any F/A, and I'm sure many of them are pilots themselves and fully capable of performing assistance, and they could even become qualified to fly the very airliners they now work on, but coming from a commercial (not airline) pilot myself, I can tell you that just "being around" it that much isn't going to cut it without the proper training.

Seriously, your statement marginalizes pilots.

Quoting Acey559 (Reply 25):
I don't care if they know how the hydraulic or electrical system works, but I'd bet they can use a checklist and turn a couple knobs and use the gear/flap handles, which is all you'd realistically need them for.

Again, in an emergency other than the rapture of the pilots on a perfectly good airplane, knowing how the systems work is critical in an emergency.

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 34):
Pilot-less planes will be the future of aviation in about 50 years. In the event of an emergency, ground-based experts in full-motion simulators receiving inputs from the aircraft's controls will be able to remotely guide the plane, if necessary.

While I am still skeptical of completely pilot-less passenger airplanes, this is a far more likely scenario.

So my question is, if this MIT academic thinks there is just going to be a pilot/FA on-board every flight, will they still have to be as qualified as today's pilots? Will they spend countless thousands of dollars on training and earning a pittance to bounce around traffic patterns for hundreds or thousands of hours to become qualified as an "airline pilot" only to be able to serve coffee and be on board, "just in case?" This makes no sense to me.

[Edited 2012-03-28 14:21:14]
SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
 
PHX787
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:20 pm

Quoting Fabo (Reply 40):
Oh well, one week on the line and ask her again. Cheap and (especially) easy my ass...

hahaha that's what I keep telling her. I've met a lot of the DL FA's and when you talk to them, they are rather worn out from work. A labor of love, more like it.
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BMI727
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:24 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 43):
What kind of emergency are you talking about?

The kind where you have no more pilots. Or one rather busy pilot.

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 43):
It seems to me, everyone saying F/As could fly the plane in an emergency are thinking that the only emergency would be no pilots up front.

Well yes. Any situation where the plane is having serious technical issues in addition to two incapacitated pilots is likely a sufficiently remote possibility that it doesn't warrant consideration.

Whenever the subject of single or pilotless operations comes up, those in favor of retaining a two man cockpit seem to fall over themselves trying to present a scenario where one pilot or remote operator/sensors/computers would not be sufficient. Like "what if the nose gear won't come down, a swarm of horseflies splat on the camera, it's low on fuel, gremlins chew through the wire and a yeti crosses the runway?"
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
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skygirl1990
Posts: 58
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:25 pm

I'm just going to throw my 2 cents in here, but what about for FA's that have CPL's - I know of a few and I myself may become one...
 
DTWPurserBoy
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RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:32 pm

For some reason airlines are very funny about hiring former flight attendants as pilots. I knowmany that had the required flying hours and tickets but could not get through that door. I only know of two or three that have made the transition successfully and at least one of them had to go to another airline to do it. One of the guys that I went through initial f/a training with is now a 777 captain with American.
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
 
Oshkosh1
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:48 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:36 pm

Quoting Gingersnap (Reply 36):
That's the easy part. Good luck getting the general public to accept flying on aircraft without anyone up front.

In the future, the cockpit will still be manned by two crewmembers. There will be one human captain, and one first officer...a dog.

The Captain will be there to monitor the systems, the dog will be there to bite the Captain if he touches anything! 
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steex
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Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:45 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:44 pm

I have a couple (relatively uninformed) concerns on this subject:

1) As others have stated, there is benefit to things that an experienced pilot can sense before a computer might acknowledge a problem. Further, I would be concerned that a pilot on the ground won't have the same abilities to assess a critical situation as one in a cockpit might - sure, he can probably sit in a simulator and receive all the indications (assuming communications are working properly), but I fear that some "feel" can be lost by not having the ability to look/move around quite as freely as flight crew would if they were sitting in the cockpit.

2) Not a dealbreaker, but I think you'd need to have at least one additional F/A on each flight (obviously this would still be cheaper than the flight crew). If some emergency is transpiring that requires an F/A to now be at the controls, we'd need to ensure that it doesn't leave the cabin with insufficient direction should that emergency require evacuations or other action.

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