User avatar
KaiGywer
Posts: 11183
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2003 9:59 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:45 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 8):
They see us sitting there, chatting, talking on the radio and that's it.

You forgot about drinking coffee and reading the newspaper  
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
MountainFlyer
Posts: 501
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:00 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 45):
The kind where you have no more pilots. Or one rather busy pilot.

Okay, I think we might be crossing our arguments a bit here.

I replied to your post about F/A's being able to take over in a pinch, while at the same time thinking in terms of the original statement about F/A's being a "backup" pilot for a pilot-less aircraft. I took your (and others') statements to mean, "Who needs a pilot when you have F/As who could probably do the job just fine as it is now?"

Let me clarify.

Yes, I agree that if help is needed in the cockpit, an F/A could be an excellent resource. If there is a knowledgeable pilot up front who can give orders and could use the assistance, then most certainly yes. However, the point seems to have gotten across (at least to me, apologies if this wasn't intended by anyone), that F/As could fly a pilot-less aircraft in an emergency simply by knowing how to do a few things like run the autopilot or getting some help over the radio. That may be the case in a scenario where everything is working properly, but if it were a pilot-less airplane, there would be no emergency to begin with in that case.

The more likely scenario is what Boeing747_600 mentioned in Reply 34.
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
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:19 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 43):
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.

It makes no sense to me either. Either retain professional dedicated pilots on the flight deck or move towards full automation - this hybrid measure is ridiculous.

Quoting steex (Reply 49):
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.

I would submit that none of the "feel" available to the pilots of PL 603, Birgenair 301 and AF 447 helped in any of those flights.
 
nws2002
Posts: 864
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:04 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:21 pm

Quoting Flight152 (Reply 35):
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.

Probably a bad choice of words on my part, but yes I'm not going to leave without letting the pilot know I disagree. Policy requires two people up front, which is why a FA stays there if a pilot leaves for a break.
 
steex
Posts: 1428
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 8:45 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:27 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 52):
I would submit that none of the "feel" available to the pilots of PL 603, Birgenair 301 and AF 447 helped in any of those flights.

Right, it won't in every case, and it won't help every pilot the same amount. But it would in some cases with some pilots and we'd have no way of knowing for sure in advance how it would impact the outcome.

Regardless, "pilotless" systems would also have inherent safety (and efficiency) advantages over the human element, so a lot of that would end up a wash at worst. The real challenge to implementing the system would/will certainly be public acceptance, not safety.
 
Oshkosh1
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Nov 16, 2009 8:48 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:56 pm

Aviate/Navigate/Communicate...

A SINGLE pilot SHOULD be able to carry out AT LEAST the first two with proficency under all but the most unlikely scenario.

A F/A could easily tune in a radio and take care of cursory communication if need be.

It's a radio...tune it, PTT...not that compllicated.
C-150/2, 172, 177, 182, 209, Beech King Air, Convair 580, Twin Otter, RJ, CRJ, ERJ B717,27,37,47,57,67,77. DC8,9,10. MD8
 
26point2
Posts: 1079
Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Wed Mar 28, 2012 11:54 pm

But if the FA is flying who will serve the coffee and later conduct the evac?
 
User avatar
NWAROOSTER
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:19 am

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 53):
Probably a bad choice of words on my part, but yes I'm not going to leave without letting the pilot know I disagree. Policy requires two people up front, which is why a FA stays there if a pilot leaves for a break.

I may be wrong. But if I remember right there are certain circumstances when a flight attendant is required in the cockpit of an aircraft flown with a two man/woman crew.
One may be when there is only one pilot in the cockpit.   

[Edited 2012-03-28 17:19:46]
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
BMI727
Posts: 11300
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 12:20 am

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 51):
However, the point seems to have gotten across (at least to me, apologies if this wasn't intended by anyone), that F/As could fly a pilot-less aircraft in an emergency simply by knowing how to do a few things like run the autopilot or getting some help over the radio.

I think they could, if the plane were smart enough to operate without a pilot in the first place.

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 51):
That may be the case in a scenario where everything is working properly, but if it were a pilot-less airplane, there would be no emergency to begin with in that case.

A pilotless plane is going to have to deal with pretty much every reasonable emergency basically by itself in the first place before it would ever get certified. You'd have to get into some very remote scenarios to find one that a UAV couldn't conceivably handle with a reasonable amount of effort and technology and even more remote to find a scenario that it couldn't handle at all.

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 52):
I would submit that none of the "feel" available to the pilots of PL 603, Birgenair 301 and AF 447 helped in any of those flights.

GIGO applies to computers and people.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
tattvc
Posts: 81
Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2005 11:49 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:03 am

Please, don't relegate the future to pilot-less planes. Some of us (student pilot in my case) are devoting our lives to those thousands of hours needed to just get the interview, and hopefully have the privilege of being able to fly, thousands of feet above the ground, in the mechanical wonder that is an aircraft. This whole discussion, to me, is really, really sad. Yes, there are things that robots and unmanned vehicles can, and should do- defusing bombs, for example. Dig mines. Dangerous jobs that put human beings at risk. Aircraft should not be a job for a computer (and I promise, I'm not even a union member!). Some of us truly love being up front, and controlling that amazing machine that is an airplane. Are we really so concerned with the bottom line that we're ready to up and leave pilots behind as soon as the technology is profitable?

Furthermore, what role will humans play in this brave new world, if all tasks conceivably imaginable are done by computers, robots, etc? Where is the adventure, the challenge, and the triumph of victory if all is done by machines while we sit and watch? I would humbly put forward that it is not achievement to reach a place where we have engineered our species to a point of uselessness. If a UAV will fly us, why not let un-manned busses drive us, or automated cars, let our food come precooked and our homes prebuilt by some factory, and reduce a species that has defined ourselves by our momentous achievements into one that merely sits and lets robots and computers feed us our primal urges, ignoring the irony of the situation we have created?

There are some human skills that are not replicable by computer, now, or (in my humble opinion), ever. Perhaps some of you discussing this here are old enough to pre-date computers, but for those of us who have grown up with them, there are some things that should be considered. I would never let a computer drive my car, with me in it or not, down a highway (on the ground!) at any speed. To let a fallible system, regardless of the testing, fly an aircraft where human lives are at stake, seems to me ludicrous. Especially when mass-produced, computers fail as quickly as we feed them bad information, or what if quality was forsaken when constructing them- I would never put my life in the hands of my laptop, built in some factory in China by someone making less than a dollar a day. On a similar point, my flying club's Cessna 162 (two or so years old) recently had a door blow off due to quality issues- the latch was just poor workmanship. Or should I blame auto-cad, or the machine that tested the integrity of the part, or the factory in China?

I guess in some respects, there are those that are passionate about things that are destined to disappear, l just pray that my dream isn't one of them. In a way, I guess that's selfish, but if should be emotionless, then why not just replace us with computers as well?

Sincerely, a 20-something student, dreaming what I hope aren't senseless dreams,

-Tim (TatTVC)

P.S.- No offense, malice, or malcontent for those who contest what I've posted above- I wasn't intending to post, but in the process of reading the discussion, I felt obliged to humbly insert my own opinion, and mention what I did...
"Your time is limited- don't waste it living someone else's life" -Steve Jobs
 
BMI727
Posts: 11300
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:28 am

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
Are we really so concerned with the bottom line that we're ready to up and leave pilots behind as soon as the technology is profitable?

Yes.

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
Furthermore, what role will humans play in this brave new world, if all tasks conceivably imaginable are done by computers, robots, etc?

Build them, maintain them and monitor them. A likely pilotless system would probably take the form of one operator monitoring multiple flights and only intervening if something is abnormal.

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
If a UAV will fly us, why not let un-manned busses drive us, or automated cars,

We already have automated trains and automated cars are coming faster than unmanned airliners.

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
I would never let a computer drive my car, with me in it or not, down a highway (on the ground!) at any speed.

I'm inclined to agree, but just because I kind of like driving rather than a safety issue. I can see out the windows, hear some of what is going on around me, feel the movements of the car through the seat, and feel the road through the steering wheel in addition to seeing speed, rpm, etc. information via the instruments. But there is no way in hell I or any other human could sense the traction and torque levels of each wheel or even begin to modulate individual brakes many times per second or vary the torque splits in real time to help turn corners and keep the car under control. Computers can process so much more information incredibly quickly than a human driver can.

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
To let a fallible system, regardless of the testing, fly an aircraft where human lives are at stake, seems to me ludicrous.

What system is more fallible than people? Even the fallibility of automation ultimately is caused by the fallibility of people.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:29 pm

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
Please, don't relegate the future to pilot-less planes. Some of us (student pilot in my case) are devoting our lives to those thousands of hours needed to just get the interview, and hopefully have the privilege of being able to fly, thousands of feet above the ground, in the mechanical wonder that is an aircraft.
Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
Furthermore, what role will humans play in this brave new world, if all tasks conceivably imaginable are done by computers, robots, etc? Where is the adventure, the challenge, and the triumph of victory if all is done by machines while we sit and watch?

First of all, your career as an aviator will be very secure! It's your grand-kids that may have to consider another profession. Secondly you are romanticising commercial aviation way beyond it's current potential for such adventure, challenge and triumph, to use your words. Flying a commercial jetliner these days is a highly procedural activity with about a minute or two of actual hand flying (takeoff and landing) in the course of a several hour flight. And even the landing is heavily guided by instrumentation these days.

To get the sort of thrill from aviation you're seeking, you should continue to pursue recreational aviation. That's what I did. I'll bet you I did more actual aviating while flying VFR from far North Houston down to Galveston chasing a VOR and landing a Cessna 172 in some fairly strong crosswinds, than your B744 captain on a normal day. (Oh! And I had my share of procedural activity dealing with Houston Center!)

Good luck with your interview!
 
MountainFlyer
Posts: 501
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:02 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 58):
A pilotless plane is going to have to deal with pretty much every reasonable emergency basically by itself in the first place before it would ever get certified. You'd have to get into some very remote scenarios to find one that a UAV couldn't conceivably handle with a reasonable amount of effort and technology and even more remote to find a scenario that it couldn't handle at all.

That's my whole point. If we have pilot-less airplanes, they will be advanced enough to fly themselves or with assistance from ground based monitor pilots. There will be no need for having a "backup pilot" in the form of F/As trained as fully qualified pilots on board. It would be an inefficient use of resources. Either have true pilots in the cockpit, or go fully automated, UAV style.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 60):
Computers can process so much more information incredibly quickly than a human driver can.
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 60):
What system is more fallible than people? Even the fallibility of automation ultimately is caused by the fallibility of people.

I agree. There are, however, rare cases where technology is limited. In the case of US Flight 1549, some sources cite Capt Sully as describing the A320's computerized control limitations actually preventing him from making an even smoother landing in the Hudson.

Granted, as you said, the limitation was ultimately because the people who designed the system could not foresee a need for an essentially "full-stall" landing in a passenger airliner, so the system was trying to prevent what it saw as an impending stall.

It is possible, that an automated airliner might have fared well in the same situation, especially with a well-trained pilot controlling from the ground, as well, but for now, at least, US 1549 serves as an excellent example of how humans are still very integral to flying the plane, contrary to what much of the public may think.

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
Furthermore, what role will humans play in this brave new world, if all tasks conceivably imaginable are done by computers, robots, etc?

We will all sit reading discussion forums and running the world as armchair CEOs while computers laugh at us.   I jest.

Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
I guess in some respects, there are those that are passionate about things that are destined to disappear, l just pray that my dream isn't one of them.

In all seriousness, I agree with you. I do not deny the inevitability of change, but I, for one, enjoy the adventures of old. There is something so satisfying about flying through the soup, hand flying with nothing but steam gauges and VORs, and knowing exactly where you are at without a GPS, and ultimately completing the flight by flying an ILS and breaking out just before minimums to see the runway stretched out before you. For those on this board who have never experienced that, it is such an amazing feeling, I can't even describe it.

However, I don't think you have to worry too much, as those who truly love something will never let it die. Yes, the mainstream job might (probably will) become more and more computerized, but there are still people who drive horse carts and plows even just for hobby; those who sail on wooden ships propelled by the wind; those who shoot muzzle loading muskets; those who can start a fire with nothing but some kindling and flint rock; those who drive cars that are older than the life expectancy of the nation; those who fly airplanes that their grandparents flew; the list could go on and on.
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
 
BCEaglesCO757
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:16 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:10 pm

Single pilot cockpits ? Full Automation ? FA's taking over and doing IFR landings in low ceilings and cross-winds ? Because it's not always sunny out there.

No offense,but some of the stuff put foward on this forum is truly scary. Namely because some people are dead serious.

So if the same situation arises as with this past JetBlue incident with a single pilot,what does anyone propose happen ? Who's going to fly the plane ?

If a fully automated cockpit computer encounters a glitch, who's going to overrride it ?

Do you really want a FA to be asked to land in thunderstorms over Dallas at the last minute ?

Flight Attendants should not be back ups. Plus if that's the case, don't you think they're going to want to be paid like a pilot. At least an partial raise. But significant nonetheless . I'm guessing the argumernt can be made If you're going to put the responsibility on me,pay me accordingly.

I see these ideas posted,but are they truly thought out ?
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:47 pm

Quoting BCEaglesCO757 (Reply 63):
If a fully automated cockpit computer encounters a glitch, who's going to overrride it ?

Additional Overrides could always be built in as the technology develops. I'm the one that pointed out that pilot-less planes would be inevitable, but I also set a timeframe of 50 years, in which time, the systems ought to be discussed and analysed to encounter all scenarios within a one-in-a-hundred-million chance of occurrence, If this timeframe needs to be 75 years, so be it.

Remember, when ground-based expert intervention is called for, it will ALWAYS involve someone of the caliber of Captain Sullenberger. No offense to the rest of the junior Airbus 320 captains, but I would not be as confident that most of them would have handled the situation with the calmness and proficiency as Sully, given of course that this was a highly unusual situation, that they would not have been prepared for, or trained to handle.
 
BMI727
Posts: 11300
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:02 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 62):
There will be no need for having a "backup pilot" in the form of F/As trained as fully qualified pilots on board. It would be an inefficient use of resources. Either have true pilots in the cockpit, or go fully automated, UAV style.

Having a partially trained backup would really only be necessary for single pilot flying since there wouldn't be a cockpit in a UAV for anyone to use.

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 62):
. In the case of US Flight 1549, some sources cite Capt Sully as describing the A320's computerized control limitations actually preventing him from making an even smoother landing in the Hudson.

There is no reason that a computer could not have ditched the plane. Really, a computer could have almost instantly determined that a return to a runway was possible, but if a ditching were necessary I don't see why a computer could not vector the plane to the water via GPS and automatically guide it to the proper angle of attack and airspeed at touchdown. Avoiding boats could be a problem, not because of technical feasibility, but rather carrying the necessary equipment isn't worth it for such an unlikely event.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6313
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:11 pm

Quoting GT4EZY (Reply 20):
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.

Don't forget the AA flight attendant who assisted the Captain in landing a 763 at ORD a few years ago when the other pilot became incapacitated. Several other people posted on A.net that some airlines give training on how to read the QRH and other tasks to assist a single pilot in such situations.
 
MountainFlyer
Posts: 501
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:19 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:25 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 65):
There is no reason that a computer could not have ditched the plane.

I think if you read my entire reply, and quote my entire reply, you would see I essentially said the same thing you did.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 65):
rather carrying the necessary equipment isn't worth it for such an unlikely event.

Tell that to the people who walked away from US 1549 little more than cold and wet.
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
 
User avatar
NWAROOSTER
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:30 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 65):

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 62):
. In the case of US Flight 1549, some sources cite Capt Sully as describing the A320's computerized control limitations actually preventing him from making an even smoother landing in the Hudson.

There is no reason that a computer could not have ditched the plane. Really, a computer could have almost instantly determined that a return to a runway was possible, but if a ditching were necessary I don't see why a computer could not vector the plane to the water via GPS and automatically guide it to the proper angle of attack and airspeed at touchdown. Avoiding boats could be a problem, not because of technical feasibility, but rather carrying the necessary equipment isn't worth it for such an unlikely event.

There will NEVER be a replacement for a pilot in the cockpit on a commercial airliner. A pilot can may real time decisions that NO computer or remote controller can. The pilot is able to see EVERYTHING that is happening and be able to react and make the correct decisions in a more timely and correct method than any computer ever will in a difficult critical situation.   
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
BMI727
Posts: 11300
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:42 pm

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 67):
Tell that to the people who walked away from US 1549 little more than cold and wet.

There's no technical reason why airliners couldn't be fitted with radars that could distinguish and guide an aircraft around small boats when ditching, but you have to consider the costs and benefits.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 68):
The pilot is able to see EVERYTHING that is happening and be able to react and make the correct decisions in a more timely and correct method than any computer ever will in a difficult critical situation.

That's the thing though, they can't. The pilot can see out the windows (a relatively limited field of view), hear what's going on, and see all of the basic flight parameters and process all of that. A computer can keep track in real time of many, many more streams of information and make calculations and decisions even quicker than people. It's mostly a matter of making the systems robust and reliable enough.

Go back to what I said about driving a car. A driver can feel the car skid, and maybe feel the front or back end losing grip and then take action to bring the car under control. Computers track the grip of each individual tire in real time and vary the torque and braking between them to maintain control before the driver would even notice a change.

The power of the human mind lies in creativity and the ability to deal with curveballs on the fly (computers can't handle a situation until we tell them how), but computers can gather, track, process, and act on much more information much more quickly than we can.

[Edited 2012-03-29 10:47:11]
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6313
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:51 pm

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 68):
There will NEVER be a replacement for a pilot in the cockpit on a commercial airliner. A pilot can may real time decisions that NO computer or remote controller can. The pilot is able to see EVERYTHING that is happening and be able to react and make the correct decisions in a more timely and correct method than any computer ever will in a difficult critical situation.

Yeah, but with bean counters running the world they'd think more of any short term cost savings. That is until the inevitable accident caused by a computer failure that ends up costing far more than it would have to have had the pilot in the first place.
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:01 pm

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 68):
A pilot can may real time decisions that NO computer or remote controller can.

Not true. This may have been true in the early 60s, but certainly not today.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 68):
The pilot is able to see EVERYTHING that is happening and be able to react and make the correct decisions in a more timely and correct method than any computer ever will in a difficult critical situation.

Again, simply and demonstrably untrue. Some experienced and competent pilots will and many sadly wont - Birgenair 301 and AF 447 come to mind, to name just a few. A ground-based expert pilot can also see everything that the pilots see. The DOMINANT cause of air crashes in the recorded history of aviation is pilot error. This is even more so with the increased procedural nature of commercial aviation these days. Procedural tasks are best handled by a computer not a human being.
 
m11stephen
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:16 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:06 pm

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
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.

You're kidding me right? I've met F/As who didn't know what things like a "yoke," "rudder," and "ailerons" were. A ramp agent probably has more knowledge about aircraft parts and systems then an F/A does...

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 8):
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


  

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 15):
better said, they get trained NOT to touch any controls...

Exactly... Most carriers have a statement in their F/A manual to the effect of, "Flight attendants are expressly forbidden from operating and flight deck switches, systems or controls. Non-compliance with this regulation is grounds for immediate termination. Operating the aforementioned items would only be justified under the most extraordinary circumstances."

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 43):
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.

F/As already make more then some pilots at some airlines... Sad isn't it?

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 66):
Don't forget the AA flight attendant who assisted the Captain in landing a 763 at ORD a few years ago when the other pilot became incapacitated. Several other people posted on A.net that some airlines give training on how to read the QRH and other tasks to assist a single pilot in such situations.

Reading a checklist and actually flying a plane are two completely different things.

I'm sure most of us remember the Helios 522 crash. The flight deck crew was completely incapacitated and a male F/A, with 260 hours of flight training, attempted to land the aircraft however even he was unable to save the plane. If he couldn't do it then an average F/A definitely couldn't... Pilots and F/As are both vitally important to the safe operation of an aircraft however they have two COMPLETELY different jobs and two completely different skill-sets.
My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:29 pm

Quoting BoeingGuy (Reply 70):
That is until the inevitable accident caused by a computer failure that ends up costing far more than it would have to have had the pilot in the first place.

Pilot error has been the dominant cause of air crashes over the ages and has cost carriers and insurers billions already. With multiple redundant systems and independent mechanisms that use a combination of GPS and alternative altimetry probes, airspeed errors caused by faulty Pitot probes could reduced the potential for error with pilot-less aircraft to less than one in a hundred million which is practically zero.
 
User avatar
NWAROOSTER
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:38 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 71):
Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 68):
A pilot can may real time decisions that NO computer or remote controller can.

Not true. This may have been true in the early 60s, but certainly not today.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 68):
The pilot is able to see EVERYTHING that is happening and be able to react and make the correct decisions in a more timely and correct method than any computer ever will in a difficult critical situation.

Again, simply and demonstrably untrue. Some experienced and competent pilots will and many sadly wont - Birgenair 301 and AF 447 come to mind, to name just a few. A ground-based expert pilot can also see everything that the pilots see. The DOMINANT cause of air crashes in the recorded history of aviation is pilot error. This is even more so with the increased procedural nature of commercial aviation these days. Procedural tasks are best handled by a computer not a human being.


Pilots have been flying aircraft for over 100 years. So, yes pilot error may be the dominant non mechanical cause of aircraft crashes. Also, dead pilots can not defend themselves, so sometimes it is easier to assign the fault to a dead pilot. Remember flying an aircraft is NOT like flying in a simulator. A simulator is a teaching device and is NOT capable of simulating ALL problems that may occur in flight. A pilot in a simulator can walk away from a crash, where a pilot and the passengers in an aircraft may not walk away or survive an aircraft crash. It is possible to have multiple computer system failures or disagreements. What are you going to trust? The pilot or the computer. Sometimes, a computer problem can be corrected by reseting a circuit breaker. Can a computer or someone on the ground do that?
Yes, computers are handling more and more operations of an aircraft in flight. But that also increases the likelihood of a failure in the system. Computers are only as good as the people who design, build and operate them. If there is no pilot in the cockpit, who is going to operate and oversee the computers and fly the aircraft?   

[Edited 2012-03-29 12:40:10]
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:55 pm

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
Remember flying an aircraft is NOT like flying in a simulator. A simulator is a teaching device and is NOT capable of simulating ALL problems that may occur in flight.

Except that the ground-based system would NOT be a simulator but an actual fully functioning cockpit that receives ALL inputs from and transmits ALL outputs to the aircraft in the air. From the perspective of the expert pilot(s) in the cockpit, it would be as if they were in the aircraft.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
It is possible to have multiple computer system failures or disagreements.

Sure, but the odds of this are several orders of magnitude lower than the possibility of pilot error which is in fact demonstrably amplified in an emergency.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
Sometimes, a computer problem can be corrected by reseting a circuit breaker. Can a computer or someone on the ground do that?

With robotics as advanced as it is today, I don't see why not. And 50 to 70 years from now, absolutely.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
Computers are only as good as the people who design, build and operate them. If there is no pilot in the cockpit, who is going to operate and oversee the computers and fly the aircraft?

I agree on the first part - this is why I wouldn't want such a system to be enforced even in the next decade. This has to be a VERY carefully deliberated, analysed and debugged system whose development should span several decades.

As to the second part, no one would need to operate the computers as such - they would get information from a flight plan that's been cross-checked and verified by both human and machine oversight. And the option of pilot intervention in an emergency (should it even be necessary) will always remain.

The issues you (and others) pose are VERY important and cannot and should not be taken lightly. This is why my responses are merely a skeleton of the actual deliberations that would be involved in addressing every minute detail prior to even an Alpha implementation.
 
BMI727
Posts: 11300
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:41 pm

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
It is possible to have multiple computer system failures or disagreements.

It's also possible for humans to make mistakes and poor decisions.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
Can a computer or someone on the ground do that?

Possibly.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
But that also increases the likelihood of a failure in the system.

Of course the system would have to be reliable. That's the major reason why it hasn't happened yet, not because it isn't possible.

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
If there is no pilot in the cockpit, who is going to operate and oversee the computers and fly the aircraft?

Operators on the ground, and the system would have to be robust enough be autonomous in all but the most extraordinary situations.
Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
 
HAL
Posts: 1773
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:38 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 75):
Except that the ground-based system would NOT be a simulator but an actual fully functioning cockpit that receives ALL inputs from and transmits ALL outputs to the aircraft in the air. From the perspective of the expert pilot(s) in the cockpit, it would be as if they were in the aircraft.

Yeah, having someone one the ground running a 'sim-like' cockpit would be better than anything, except, a real human in that same cockpit, getting the same inputs as the guy on the ground!! Why do people believe that a pilot on the ground is as safe (or safer) than the guy in the actual airplane? Boeing747_600, it says on your profile that you are an engineer. Are you an airline pilot too? Do you understand that, as one of my co-workers put it recently, "every engine failure I've had I noticed before the instruments told me anything, because of the changes in engine sound & vibration." Did you get the part about 'before the instruments indicated any problems'? Having a pair of living, breathing, functioning & well trained pilots in the cockpit is the ultimate in safety device. There are way too many subtle things that the human in the airplane can feel (g forces, bumps, vibrations, subtle changes in sound) that can not be transmitted to the ground, no matter how sophisticated the 'sim'.

Years ago mechanical malfunctions and limited technology (doing without advanced navigation, TCAS, GPS, GPWS, etc) were far and away the leading cause of crashes. Good engineering (thank you engineers) has eliminated almost all of those failures. At the same time, the cause of human-related accidents has fallen too, thanks to ideas like sim training, CRM, and more. Both mechanical and human related accident causes have fallen dramatically over the past few decades, with the mechanical rate falling to almost zero. Therefore, even though the human-caused reasons have fallen, they now outnumber the mechanical, and suddenly the pilots are treated like pariahs, and people who don't understand the overall picture are calling for 'unmanned' airliners. We are safer now not only because of the engineering advances, but the advanced training, and presence, of the pilots in the airplanes. If thae day comes that passenger planes become pilotless, I'll be driving, or taking a boat.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
CaptainKramer
Posts: 281
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 8:12 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:10 pm

Hi m11stephen,

Regarding Helio's 522, IIRC the aircraft ran out of fuel before the FA had a chance to make an attempt at landing the aircraft.
 
User avatar
NWAROOSTER
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 12:53 am

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 75):

Quoting NWAROOSTER (Reply 74):
Remember flying an aircraft is NOT like flying in a simulator. A simulator is a teaching device and is NOT capable of simulating ALL problems that may occur in flight.

Except that the ground-based system would NOT be a simulator but an actual fully functioning cockpit that receives ALL inputs from and transmits ALL outputs to the aircraft in the air. From the perspective of the expert pilot(s) in the cockpit, it would be as if they were in the aircraft.

You fail mention that this "fully functioning cockpit" is attached to the ground. Try doing a "Dutch Roll" in one of those.
I know a pilot is not supposed to do a "Dutch Roll" in a flying aircraft, but it has happened in the past. I know Boeing had a 707 crash, when the pilot attempted to perform a Dutch roll on test aircraft. I am sure this is not the only time a passenger aircraft has done a Dutch Roll. Anything can happen with an aircraft in flight. Try doing this in your ground based fully functioning cockpit.
Also remember your cockpit would be up to several thousand miles from the aircraft it is controlling. Satellite transmission of signals would be required. There could be interference with the signals sent and received due to many circumstances such as electrical, weather and anomalies that we can't think of.
Just recently, the US government had a remotely operated super secret stealth spy aircraft, that resembled a small B-2 Bomber, crash in Iran because of technical problems which may have been "Computer Problems."
Better keep a pilot in the cockpit, maybe two.   

[Edited 2012-03-29 17:54:53]
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
OB1504
Posts: 3733
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 5:10 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:33 am

Quoting Acey559 (Reply 25):
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.

I agree. In the event of an emergency that leaves only one pilot flying, it's good CRM for him or her to delegate minor tasks to a flight attendant so he or she can focus on the primary goal of flying the airplane.

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.

Furthermore, a pilot in the airplane has a much more vested interest in completing the flight safely—they'd be going down with you.
 
DTWPurserBoy
Posts: 2374
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:33 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:31 pm

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 72):
Quoting BMI727 (Reply 2):
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.

You're kidding me right? I've met F/As who didn't know what things like a "yoke," "rudder," and "ailerons" were. A ramp agent probably has more knowledge about aircraft parts and systems then an F/A does...

This is factually incorrect. All f/a's are taught how to use the cockpit O2 system, how to slide the seats back and how to operate the cockpit windows and escape ropes.
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
 
JoeCanuck
Posts: 4704
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2005 3:30 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:19 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 77):

Ironically, while living, breathing trained pilots may be the ultimate safety device, they are also the leading cause of accidents.
What the...?
 
abba
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mon Jun 06, 2005 12:08 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 3:51 pm

Quoting JoeCanuck (Reply 82):
Ironically, while living, breathing trained pilots may be the ultimate safety device, they are also the leading cause of accidents

The question remain, whether or not the next generation NBs might have even more automation than today's aircrafts and might be piloted by only one pilot. A specially educated and trained FA might - in case the pilot gets incapacitated for one reason or another - bring such a plane safely to the ground. Of cause this will not be in the middle of a thunderstorm - as in such a rare situations, the flight will diverted to an airport with better weather.

I mean, we all accept driving in cars and buses with only one driver!
 
User avatar
DarkSnowyNight
Posts: 2373
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:59 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:19 pm

Quoting abba (Reply 83):

I mean, we all accept driving in cars and buses with only one driver!

Apples to Oranguatanges. We also accept that cars have only one engine, single rotor brakes, no legal mx standards, and nothing like the traffic regulation that commercial a/c utilize.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 81):

This is factually incorrect. All f/a's are taught how to use the cockpit O2 system, how to slide the seats back and how to operate the cockpit windows and escape ropes.

Nope. Such things vary greatly from airline to airline. Most do not train for that sort of thing, as it is unneccesary.

Quoting OB1504 (Reply 80):

I agree. In the event of an emergency that leaves only one pilot flying, it's good CRM for him or her to delegate minor tasks to a flight attendant so he or she can focus on the primary goal of flying the airplane.

Yes and no. It's good CRM to have an extra set of eyes and hands. It is very, very poor CRM to have someone who needs even the simplest tasks explained to them. I've trained many people to many things over my career, and a fundamental of this is that you must make time (and often patience) to bring folks "up to speed," so to speak. An in flight emergency is no place for this to happen.

As the occurrence of these situations is quite very rare, I'm pretty sure this article presents a solution in search of an actual problem. From an insurance and wage standpoint (no FA in their right mind should be ok with being even semi qualified but still paid the same), this makes less than zero sense as a procedure/SOP.
"Ya Can't Win, Rocky! There's no Oxygen on Mars!"
"Yeah? That means there's no Oxygen for him Neither..."
 
DTWPurserBoy
Posts: 2374
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:33 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 7:26 pm

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 84):
Yes and no. It's good CRM to have an extra set of eyes and hands. It is very, very poor CRM to have someone who needs even the simplest tasks explained to them. I've trained many people to many things over my career, and a fundamental of this is that you must make time (and often patience) to bring folks "up to speed," so to speak. An in flight emergency is no place for this to happen.

As the occurrence of these situations is quite very rare, I'm pretty sure this article presents a solution in search of an actual problem. From an insurance and wage standpoint (no FA in their right mind should be ok with being even semi qualified but still paid the same), this makes less than zero sense as a procedure/SOP.

I cannot more strongy disagree. If a pilot becomes disabled during the flight it is imperative that we get him/her out of the seat and into the cabin. We administer CPR and first aid and page for a physician. If you are lucky and have me onboard, as a licensed registered nurse, I can contact the Univerity of Pittsburgh Medical Center and be given permission to administer live saving drugs--either intrvavnously or imtramuscularly. And sometimes, the cockpit windows are OUR only way out of the airplane in a disaster. This is Airplane 101 stuff. If we are in the cockpit distributing meals or coffee and the cabin depressurizes suddenly we HAVE to know how to use the cockpit O2 systems. And we practice it every year.

You are correct--it happens very rarely. But in 40 years I have had two captains die at the controls and it was imperative that we get their weight off the yolk. So we are all trained how to move the seats back to remove the disabled pilot.

We are NOT idiots. Our lives are at stake, too. So we do our best to be prepared. It is often said that the FAA legislates by "accident" and this shows a great example.
Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
 
User avatar
DarkSnowyNight
Posts: 2373
Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 7:59 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 8:55 pm

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 85):

I cannot more strongy disagree. If a pilot becomes disabled during the flight it is imperative that we get him/her out of the seat and into the cabin.

Yes, but that's not what we're talking about. The "debate," if you will, is over the utility of having an untrained or undertrained FA operate a/c controls in any circumstance. Moving a dead or incap pilot out of position is indeed best left to someone who is not flying the plane. But that isn't the same as operating an aircraft.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 85):
This is Airplane 101 stuff. If we are in the cockpit distributing meals or coffee and the cabin depressurizes suddenly we HAVE to know how to use the cockpit O2 systems. And we practice it every year.

I know. I did your job for about three and a half years, so there isn't much required in recurrencies that I'm unfamiliar with. Most airlines, however, really don't want you up front anymore unless the situation specifically calls for it. Particularly in instances where you may be by yourself or with only one other FA in a smaller aircraft, as your skill would be required aft during any emergency.

As for flight deck issues, window evacs specifically, most companies do not feel the need to familiarize you with that beyond a general level covered with a given type's EE GenFam. If a cabin depressurizes, as you say, what you actually need to know is where the O2 connects are in the main cabin, along with the O2 PBAs. The aparatii up front are prioritized for flight crew as it is anyway. Most flight crews will familiarize you with those items if you are sitting up front for the SOP reasons with which you are undoubtedly familiar. But I've never heard anyone at the company I worked for say we had to know that stuff. In fact, sits only ever occurred in training, as even then, meal services up front were already becoming somewhat frowned upon.

My main point, in any case, remains that any airline interested in staying in business will consider the expense of training Cabin Crew for Flight Deck emergencies to be out of the question. Even if they had you foot the bill for your time and tickets, there is still the question of what to pay you. Skilled time is not, nor should be, cheap.

You say that the FAA legislates by "accident", and this is true. But for airlines, it is even more so. For them to decide it's worth it to allow the operational premiums associated with underwriting the risk involved with having a certificated or "semi"certificated FA at the ready, the incident rate whereby such is actually necessary would have to be vastly more so than it now is. Likely to the point that the public is already "concerned" about the safety of flying in the first place. By then, it is unlikely that running any airline would be a worthwhile venture.

This is how we come full circle to the conclusion that what might seem like a cool idea, doesn't have much basis in utility. And that's the way it is, folks.



Good on you for being a Nurse though. Though I never bothered with that level of medical, I could see how that would have a return for a given company.
"Ya Can't Win, Rocky! There's no Oxygen on Mars!"
"Yeah? That means there's no Oxygen for him Neither..."
 
User avatar
NWAROOSTER
Posts: 1245
Joined: Mon Feb 14, 2005 2:29 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Fri Mar 30, 2012 9:37 pm

I remember about 30 years ago a Northwest/Republic Airlines DC-9 made a landing for a stupid or unknown now reason at an airport late at night which was closed for the day. One of the pilots left the cockpit and attempted to open the front left passenger door. He was unable to do so, as the aircraft was not fully depressurized. The pilot attempted to break the window in the door with the fire ax. A mechanic, who was non revving, intervened by moving the lollipop handle in the cockpit which depressurized the aircraft and then opened the forward cabin door.
This shows that errors can be made by the flight crew and another knowledgable individual needs to intervene.   
Procrastination Is The Theft Of Time.......
 
L1011Lover
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:16 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:17 am

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 84):
Nope. Such things vary greatly from airline to airline. Most do not train for that sort of thing, as it is unneccesary.

That statement is incorrect.

I've worked at three different carriers (US and European) and went through initial and recurrent training with all three and that sort of training was required at all three. It actually is a federal requirement to familiarize F/A's with certain systems and functions in the cockpit. O2 system, pilot seats, jump seats being some of them.

Now I teach/insruct both new hire (during initial) and senior (during recurrent) FA's in CRM and emergency procedures myself. So I know what we are required to teach them. It's mandatory!

Best regards

L1011Lover
 
m11stephen
Posts: 372
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 12:16 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Sat Mar 31, 2012 12:35 am

Quoting Darksnowynight (Reply 86):
Yes, but that's not what we're talking about. The "debate," if you will, is over the utility of having an untrained or undertrained FA operate a/c controls in any circumstance. Moving a dead or incap pilot out of position is indeed best left to someone who is not flying the plane. But that isn't the same as operating an aircraft.

  Exactly... Knowing how to operate a couple pieces of flight deck emergency equipment is completely different then being able to fly the plane in an emergency. At most airlines F/As are expressly forbidden from occupying either of the pilots seats or the flight deck jumpseat during routine flight deck visits. Airlines only want F/As up there when absolutely necessary and even then they are told, "Don't touch anything but the flight deck door."
My opinions, statements, etc. are my own and do not have any association with those of any employer.
 
L1011Lover
Posts: 736
Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:16 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:33 am

Quoting m11stephen (Reply 89):
Airlines only want F/As up there when absolutely necessary and even then they are told, "Don't touch anything but the flight deck door."

We are not told: "Don't touch anything but the flight deck door." and we are not forbidden to sit in the cockpit jump seats during the flight. However FA's are not allowed to take one of the pilot seats (during the flight) unless absolutely necessary... that's correct. But let me point out that every FA out there knows exactly what they are allowed to touch in the cockpit and what not and when and under which circumstances! Be sure about that.

I see this debate heading into the wrong direction. It's so funny that on a.net often discussions end up being black vs. white, when there is so much more to it.

Now let me give you my idea of what we are talking about.

Having FA's trained as back-up pilots is nonsense. FA's are FA's and pilots are pilots. Every commercial airline flight is operated with - at least - two well-trained and highly skilled pilots (many longhaul flights are also staffed with relief pilots) who officially aren't even allowed to eat the same meal (I say officially because unfortunately I've seen otherwise) so I'm not saying it is impossible but at least highly unlikely that both pilots will be incapacitated at the same time. So after all it's their duty to fly the plane while it's the FA's duty to ensure a safe and comfortable flight for passengers AND crew. That's what either group is trained for and highly skilled in.

However most airlines instruct and train their FA's in basic flight deck systems and instruments, radio operation, pilot and flight deck jump seats, windows/escape paths, O2 system, pilot/cockpit terminology, aeronautrics etc. ... And that certainly is a good thing. The quality and the amount of training FA's do receive on cockpit related items may vary from airline to airline and is up to each airlines individual training standards, but certain basic knowledge is required by the authorities and by law worldwide in order for FA's to get qualified and licensed to operate a commercial flight. This is important both for every day, normal routine operation as well as for abnormal situations and accidents/incidents. After all every FA is a fully licensed member of an aircraft's crew. And while being a pilot is a completely different job than being a FA it is important that each group has a basic knowledge of the other group's duties, skills, work environment, equipment and responsibilities.

So while the majority of FA's doesn't have any experience in flying an a/c (some do, as we know), and should certainly not be trained as pilots (as being a FA requires a lot of other skills and is a completely different job description after all), they should at least be able to assist one pilot in case the other pilot gets incapacitated. It happened in the past and most FA's did an excellent job in assisting the pilot flying under his command and instruction, that's what we as FA's are trained for. Not MORE and not LESS! And that's the way it should remain!

Interestingly enough just recently during one of my CRM recurrents the question came up (by the FA group) if - in case one pilot gets incapacitated - the remaining pilot would rather have a FA occupy the other seat and assist him or a commuting/deadheading pilot from another airline being paged and brought up front for assistance. If you believe it or not, the concurrent opinion and answer from every pilot in that training class was that they much rather have one of the FA's up front! Makes sense, as they know company procedures, company terminilogy, work ethic... etc. and our pilots know exactly what amount of training our FA's received concerning cockpit related items and systems! I think that might answer a lot of questions.

As for the original question of FA's being back-up pilots on pilotless a/c - No Thanks. I would rather quit my job and certainly would most certainly rather take a ship, train, car or Try Walking Across... lol...  
I really hope I never get to experience a pilotless a/c!

Best regards

L1011Lover
 
apodino
Posts: 3598
Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2005 2:11 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Sat Mar 31, 2012 2:38 am

I actually knew of a captain who learned to fly when she was a flight attendant by riding in the cockpit on non revenue moves for a charter company and watching what the pilots did. She was one of the better captains I ever knew too.
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Mon Apr 02, 2012 11:04 am

Quoting HAL (Reply 77):
Did you get the part about 'before the instruments indicated any problems'? Having a pair of living, breathing, functioning & well trained pilots in the cockpit is the ultimate in safety device.

I would argue that the converse is actually true. Computers pretty much fly the plane these days, and when pilots do, they rely heavily on instrumentation. Pilots take over almost invariably only in an emergency or in the event of equipment failure and the record has been a mixed bag at best.

Quoting HAL (Reply 77):
There are way too many subtle things that the human in the airplane can feel (g forces, bumps, vibrations, subtle changes in sound) that can not be transmitted to the ground, no matter how sophisticated the 'sim'.

All of these forces, bumps etc are trivial distracting features. Focusing attention on them in an emergency rather than on primary flight parameters is probably what results in more accidents than would otherwise occur.
 
HAL
Posts: 1773
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:17 pm

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 92):
I would argue that the converse is actually true. Computers pretty much fly the plane these days, and when pilots do, they rely heavily on instrumentation. Pilots take over almost invariably only in an emergency or in the event of equipment failure and the record has been a mixed bag at best.
Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 92):
All of these forces, bumps etc are trivial distracting features. Focusing attention on them in an emergency rather than on primary flight parameters is probably what results in more accidents than would otherwise occur.

I 'almost invariably take over only in an emergency or equipment failure'??? I'm afraid you have a lot to learn about what pilots actually do. Also, I never said that we would only concentrate on g-forces, bumps etc. What I did say was that those precursors of trouble help us by alerting us to trouble - alerts that a remote pilot wouldn't know about.

The whole idea that everything would be safer if we just took the pilots out of the equation is ridiculous. The safety record of the past few decades shows that flying is extremely safe, because of the improvements in the airplanes AND in pilot training. Take away the pilots and the safety record will plummet again.

Here is some more information to digest: http://flyingforeveryone.blogspot.co...t-myth-what-your-pilot-really.html

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Boeing747_600
Posts: 605
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 1999 4:01 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:56 pm

Quoting HAL (Reply 93):
What I did say was that those precursors of trouble help us by alerting us to trouble - alerts that a remote pilot wouldn't know about.

And again, I'll say that these are phantom precursors - noise that should be ignored. If there is a deeper underlying cause, it will be more than adequately manifested in flight parameter variation that an expert system or an expert ground-based pilot will pick up immediately.

Quoting HAL (Reply 93):
The safety record of the past few decades shows that flying is extremely safe, because of the improvements in the airplanes AND in pilot training.

I'm not denying the latter, but as I mentioned before, the factual record proves that in critical emergency situations, (AF 447, PL 603, TK 1951, SQ-006, Birgenair 301) none of the much vaunted pilot-training paid off. If you can provide factual information showing that statistically, these incidents were proven outliers and that in 99.9% of identical instances (I'm being overly generous in the description of an outlier in the context of aviation!), the pilots handled such scenarios as routine deviations from the normal flight envelope, I'll stand corrected. Please note however, that I do not subscribe to the theory that no one keeps statistics of incidents that don't result in crashes. Of course they do - not having access to them and therefore inability to make a convincing argument does not constitute a suspension of disbelief on my part.

Quoting HAL (Reply 93):
Take away the pilots and the safety record will plummet again.

Demonstrably false. Most documented air crashes have been due to pilot error and this has NOT diminished over the ages. If anything, automation has resulted in minimising the effects of pilot error. By the way, kindly note that I am NOT in ANY way blaming pilots for errors that are caused by relegating their flying skills mostly useless in the context of the procedural clerical rigmarole that constitutes present day command of a commercial jetliner.

Quoting HAL (Reply 93):
Here is some more information to digest: http://flyingforeveryone.blogspot.co...t-myth-what-your-pilot-really.html

The article, if anything, proves my earlier point - pilots dictate a series of procedural instruction to an autopilot system during descent which is best suited to a computer, not a human being. I will repeat what I said in a previous article:

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 61):
I'll bet you I did more actual aviating while flying VFR from far North Houston down to Galveston chasing a VOR and landing a Cessna 172 in some fairly strong crosswinds, than your B744 captain on a normal day. (Oh! And I had my share of procedural activity dealing with Houston Center!)
 
planemaker
Posts: 5411
Joined: Mon Aug 25, 2003 12:53 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Tue Apr 03, 2012 12:38 am

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 61):
First of all, your career as an aviator will be very secure!

Not neccessarily for several reasons. One is that before we go to UAV airliners we will go to Single-Pilot airliners and that will roughly halve the number of airline pilots. BTW, the industry is already working on this and there is a good probability that we will have SP cargo flights across the Atlantic by the end of the decade.

Second, there are going to be a lot fewer airlines and they are going to be global. I remember when AW&ST came out with an article about a decade ago that there were only going to be 6 legacy carriers and the posters on here howled with disbelief. Just about everyone said it was preposterous. Now how many do we have?

Quoting MountainFlyer (Reply 62):
There are, however, rare cases where technology is limited. In the case of US Flight 1549, some sources cite Capt Sully as describing the A320's computerized control limitations actually preventing him from making an even smoother landing in the Hudson.

Actually... when the FAA duplicated the flights in the sims in France they discovered that Sully should have turned back since he had enough altitude and energy to make it back to the runway.

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 64):
Remember, when ground-based expert intervention is called for, it will ALWAYS involve someone of the caliber of Captain Sullenberger. No offense to the rest of the junior Airbus 320 captains, but I would not be as confident that most of them would have handled the situation with the calmness and proficiency as Sully, given of course that this was a highly unusual situation, that they would not have been prepared for, or trained to handle.

That is a very valid point... not all pilots are of the same calibre and experience.

Quoting HAL (Reply 93):
I 'almost invariably take over only in an emergency or equipment failure'??? I'm afraid you have a lot to learn about what pilots actually do. Also, I never said that we would only concentrate on g-forces, bumps etc. What I did say was that those precursors of trouble help us by alerting us to trouble - alerts that a remote pilot wouldn't know about.

Computers are orders of magnitude better at detecting than humans.

Quoting HAL (Reply 93):
Take away the pilots and the safety record will plummet again.

No it won't.

People on here simply do not grasp or understand the implications that infomation technology is advancing exponentially and not in a linear fashion.

By the end of the decade information technology will not be 8 times more powerful but over 65,536 times more powerful. And by the mid-2020's it will be over 340,282,366,920,936,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than today.

By the end of the decade we won't "need" two pilots in airliner cockpits but we will have them because of the timing of new aircraft models (all current models are designed for two crew). However, all future new models after will be designed for optional Single-Pilot operation and it will be up to the airlines how many pilots they want to put up front.
Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
 
HAL
Posts: 1773
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:17 am

I can't sway those who believe that computers will replace humans in the cockpit, just as they will not sway my belief that having people (at least 2 for airliners) controlling the aircraft from onboard is safer than remote (or computerized) control. Planemaker and I have been round and round about the subject in past threads, and neither of us have budged. I disagree with his point of view, and he with mine.

Discussion is great here, but little movement happens. As a safety expert (accident investigation trained, and human factors trained) I will only say that I think I have a pretty broad view on the subject, not only in favor of the human side but the mechanical side too. After all, I do fly an Airbus!   Going too far either way, meaning either removing the computerized equipment or the pilots from onboard the airplanes, will result in a reduction in safety.

And what so many here seem to forget, is that we are still talking about stuffing several hundred living, breathing people into a pressurized aluminum tube, launching them into the stratosphere, and sending them around the globe by burning thousands of gallons of flammable kerosene inside a turbine engine, while along the way they have to contend with rapidly changing weather, traffic, and occasional mechanical & human unreliability. Nothing, ever, is going to make flying 100% safe. What we have done is to turn it into the safest mode of transportation in the history of mankind. Could it be safer? Yes. Will it be 100% safe? No. Blaming the pilots for the few mistakes made today and removing them from the cockpit does ignore the huge safety assets they bring to the flight: The human mind, there, at the pointy end of the plane. Removing that asset reduces safety.

HAL

P.S. I will say that Boeing747_600 needs to check his history. Up to the 1960's, mechanical problems far outstripped the number of human ones in the causes of airline crashes. It was the reduction in those factors, as well as human factor mitigation, that brought the accident rate to its present, low, rate.
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
aeroflop
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:12 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:48 am

LOL. Read through the thread looking for "planemaker". Nearing the end I thought "Wow its amazing planemaker hasn't posted anything with his single pilot, we have the technology, you pilots don't do anything, glorified bus drivers, computers fly the plane, blah blah...... oh wait..... here it is." Like clockwork. Do you have a filter set up for these kind of threads?

 
 
larspl
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Apr 05, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:44 am

First of all;
nice discussion, but this will remain hypotheticall, when the technology is there to do unmanned flights, we'll be flying in space first.
Second; the majority of accidents may have been to human factors i.e. pilot error;
as long as pilots keep preventing planes from crashing more than we crash them; we are ok.
Third; if you think you'll remove pilot error with a pilotless airplane; you are wrong. That airplane has to be programmed. that takes a human. Humans are well known to err.

I've got some comments after quotes..

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.

Soren

Dear Soren, i'm a atpl licensed pilot, i've flown C152/172, Piper archer, arrow, DA40, Beech Baron, Saab, Fokker100, Fokker70, Emb190, A330 and DC-3. I have a few thousand hours. Now to illustrate; not long ago I was sitting next to the captain of a single pilot Pacific Aerospace P-750 XSTOL with a beautiful PT6 turboprop. I thought; let's sit next to that guy, if he breakes down the only other pilot in the aircraft will at least be on the flight deck. After the 30 minute flight I still couldn't figure out what all the engine instruments showed. The only thing I understood was the garmin430 comm set. Because I worked it before. If the trained guy would get incapacitated, I would have had a real hard job landing it safely.
You might be a hell of an aviator. Your no use to me when my colleague is down. Because in that circumstance I am trained to do it on my own. I am not trained to fly with an untrained hobby pilot or flight attendant next to me.

Quoting Oshkosh1 (Reply 55):
Aviate/Navigate/Communicate...

A SINGLE pilot SHOULD be able to carry out AT LEAST the first two with proficency under all but the most unlikely scenario.

A F/A could easily tune in a radio and take care of cursory communication if need be.

It's a radio...tune it, PTT...not that compllicated.

Dear Oshkosh1; you are wrong. A single pilot is trained to aviate/navigate/communicate on its own. We do that in the simulator; fly the aircraft with the other guy incapacitated. If you don't know how to tune a radio, you can't. On the embraer you couldn't find the place where to do it, if you didn't know the radios are tuned in the fms.
PTT-ing; you first need to listen to a frequency to know if you can ptt. And most controller frequencies are very busy..
Most pilots in their first few weeks working the radio wright down what they are about to say or what they get instructed.

Quoting BMI727 (Reply 60):
Quoting TatTVC (Reply 59):
If a UAV will fly us, why not let un-manned busses drive us, or automated cars,

We already have automated trains and automated cars are coming faster than unmanned airliners.

All automated trains etc have a few thinks missing from an automated airplane; dimensions.
A train can go forward or aft on track, not sideways, up and down. If a train gets in to problems; it can brake, you can get out. That is the difference between a bus driver and a pilot; a bus driver, hits the break, stops the bus, people get out. Pilots don't have the luxury of that.

Quoting Boeing747_600 (Reply 71):
Again, simply and demonstrably untrue. Some experienced and competent pilots will and many sadly wont - Birgenair 301 and AF 447 come to mind, to name just a few. A ground-based expert pilot can also see everything that the pilots see. The DOMINANT cause of air crashes in the recorded history of aviation is pilot error. This is even more so with the increased procedural nature of commercial aviation these days. Procedural tasks are best handled by a computer not a human being.

Dear Boeing747-600.. A few problems come to mind; after the AF447 crash a lot of discussion was raised if we shouldn't real time remotely back up the black box. Problem is; the world can't handle that much data transmissions.
And a black box has limited data. And those transmissions would only be one way.
To transmission ALL data needed for a pilot-on-the-ground to get the same picture as the pilot IN the aircraft would be impossible (for now at least) especially with millions of airplanes in the sky at the same time.
A remote pilot can only see what is send to him. To get him the same information as a pilot IN the airplane would get would mean we need to think of sensors we don't have yet. A 'is this smell a bird which went through the engine' sensor.
O.. and what about terrorism? You don't need to die in a crash if you are a damn good hacker. And most hackers are better than the guys preventing the hack..
As long as it is cheaper to have pilots than to develop ALL the technology (which will also fail at some times, because it is developed by humans), i'll keep reading the newspaper and drink my coffee with my colleagues up front.
facebook.com/ddaclassicairlines
 
aeroflop
Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:12 am

RE: Flight Attendant As A Back Up Pilot?

Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:06 am

Quoting larspl (Reply 98):
A single pilot is trained to aviate/navigate/communicate on its own. We do that in the simulator; fly the aircraft with the other guy incapacitated. If you don't know how to tune a radio, you can't.

To be honest if you are in single pilot situation with the other pilot incapacitated you are going to be in PRIORITY. The controller is going to baby you back home and might even impose radio silence on all other traffic on the frequency.

Who is online

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos