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ThirtyWest
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Air France 447: 13 years on

Tue May 31, 2022 12:55 pm

Tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of the crash of AFR447. The tragedy was one of those watershed moments in aviation safety and not only revealed hidden shortcomings in human factors understanding and training, but also stirred a fascinating and at times somewhat forensic debate around the role of automation: whether, on balance, the widespread, full use of autoflight systems around the world has saved more lives than would otherwise have been lost in accidents due to pilots' flightpath mismanagement during manual flight (e.g., Asiana 214).

As regards automation use, most airline pilots around the world (AFAIK) are trained to use the minimum level of automation necessary to unload themselves for other flight management tasks. That of course varies across individuals and situations. Most seem satisfied with the amount of discretion given to pilots under these policies.

As a member of the US aviation safety community, my impression is that US attitudes toward automation usage on the whole are somewhat insular and, to use one example, do not account for the fact that, worldwide, airline pilots aren't routinely and frequently hand-flying visual approaches using visual separation into LHR, ICN, AMS, DXB, etc. And then there's the fact that many RNAV/RNP SIDs, STARs, and even the newest approach procedures, now and in the future, are expected to be flown with the higher levels of automation because the airplane is better than the pilots at maintaining a precise lateral track at the required navigation performance.

I've covered a lot of ground here* But ultimately here are two things for discussion:

(a) I'd love to hear from the tech community here on your views as to how the industry has implemented the various human factors and other lessons learned from the AFR447 tragedy specifically. Will we ever completely close the book on AFR447? Or have we already?

(b) What are your thoughts on any divergence between US and global perspectives on automation use and human factors, among both airlines and regulators?

Thanks in advance!

*I think it's probably best not to bring the 737 MAX into this discussion, as that situation involved much, much more than what I've outlined above, although it too produced extremely valuable human factors lessons regarding the design of flight decks and airplane systems, highlighted in the NTSB's safety recommendations report on the accidents.
 
djpearman
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Tue May 31, 2022 2:16 pm

IMHO, we need to strike a balance between automation, where it provides significant benefits, and airmanship. Overall, considering the number of daily commercial flights that occur are performed without incident, I would say the aviation industry is in a very good spot right now. The exceptions are thankfully relatively few and far between, which is why they tend to be globally reported. Far, far, far more injuries and deaths occur on roads and yet we don't seem to care.

As to automation, there are flight phases that just make sense to fly automatically, specifically cruise. Keeping constant flight heading and level is just something that machines excel at and we humans do not.

However, when it comes to other flight phases, particularly take off and landing, I still prefer it if they are flown manually. My main argument is that pilots should have good airmanship, so that when, not if, when, things go wrong, they have a routine of performing these tasks, even under difficult circumstances. The only way to do achieve this is practice. Hence, I'm not too keen on automatic take off or landing systems.

Most importantly, though, is to never stop questioning whether we can do better. I do not think that there is an absolute right or absolute wrong. We should continually evaluate and discuss the current state of affairs and hopefully avoid major catastrophes that way.
 
LabQuest
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:12 am

Bonin was a bone head from the get go.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:34 am

a) AF447 changed the way we train. There is an added focus on high altitude upsets and upsets in general. We are much more aware of just how finicky hand flying at high altitude can be.

The method with which we handle upset and recovery has also changed. We have a "mantra" of memory actions that we go through, making things easier if you're fatigued.

The first item in the unreliable airspeed checklist is "If the safe conduct of the flight is impacted", meaning if the aircraft is flying fine, don't mess with it. This is emphasized in training.

Looking at the design side, if we see the A350 as the next generation A330, the air data system is redesigned and even more robust, and the autoflight system can handle more malfunctions. If the AF447 malfunction happened on the A330, you'd still have speed data.

b) Appropriate use of automation is key. Manual handling is important but not more important than other key skills, such as application of procedures and communication. We certainly train for emergencies without the use of automation, but we also train for them with maximum automation. Knowing when and how much automation to use is an essential skill.

In some cases, we will hand fly the departure until, say, clean or 5000 feet. However in some cases that may not be appropriate. If you're going out of Taipei on 05L at night, with a bit of rain and gusty winds, you might want to plonk in the autopilot soonest to make sure you nail the speed and altitude restrictions on the early initial turn, and also expand your situational awareness about the incoming traffic from the south. Sure, you could handfly that, but is it good airmanship?

We need to be good at decision making first, and many of our decisions are concerned with automation use.

Flying visual approaches with visual separation is great, but in many of the places we fly to, you won't be able to do it. ;)
Last edited by Starlionblue on Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:48 am

LabQuest wrote:
Bonin was a bone head from the get go.


While certainly crew decisions were less than optimal, eventually leading to the loss of the aircraft, I try not to judge them too harshly.

It was the middle of the night over the ocean. They were fatigued. They had not trained for anything like this. Looking at the CVR transcript, it seems clear that disorientation set in rather quickly.

Did they make very poor decisions? Certainly. It is easy to judge them sitting here at zero airspeed and zero altitude. Tired and bored in the cockpit, back of the clock, with not much going on, is a different situation. The brain does funny things to you.
 
dunkelfalke
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:28 pm

Might have been an Air France specific issue:
https://www.aerotime.aero/articles/3086 ... bea-update
 
Etheereal
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 01, 2022 6:13 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
LabQuest wrote:
Bonin was a bone head from the get go.


While certainly crew decisions were less than optimal, eventually leading to the loss of the aircraft, I try not to judge them too harshly.

It was the middle of the night over the ocean. They were fatigued. They had not trained for anything like this. Looking at the CVR transcript, it seems clear that disorientation set in rather quickly.

Did they make very poor decisions? Certainly. It is easy to judge them sitting here at zero airspeed and zero altitude. Tired and bored in the cockpit, back of the clock, with not much going on, is a different situation. The brain does funny things to you.


And that was precisely the problem: Nobody believed an airbus could stall like that. This accident, and later 8501 would show that an Airbus can definitely stall in ALT LAW.
 
N1120A
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 01, 2022 8:13 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
We need to be good at decision making first, and many of our decisions are concerned with automation use.


And this shows that a well meaning, but poorly taken mentality still exists. If you lose everything, you hand fly a known pitch and attitude and let the other pilots fix anything else. Expecting George to do it all is just a recipe for disaster and flying a perfectly flyable airplane into a 30000'+ stall like this one. Sriwijaya 182 involved a similar mentality - and in a much older airplane with a much less robust autopilot. The first instinct should be to revert to the most difficult case - hand flying the airplane with nothing but a compass and maybe an AI.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 02, 2022 12:13 am

N1120A wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
We need to be good at decision making first, and many of our decisions are concerned with automation use.


And this shows that a well meaning, but poorly taken mentality still exists. If you lose everything, you hand fly a known pitch and attitude and let the other pilots fix anything else. Expecting George to do it all is just a recipe for disaster and flying a perfectly flyable airplane into a 30000'+ stall like this one. Sriwijaya 182 involved a similar mentality - and in a much older airplane with a much less robust autopilot. The first instinct should be to revert to the most difficult case - hand flying the airplane with nothing but a compass and maybe an AI.


I don't think the AF447 pilots expected George to take care of things. The autopilot disengaged and they were aware of this. (If memory serves, it was mentioned in the transcript.) If nothing else, the red flashing light in front of their eyes and rather loud aural warning would have done it.

The first instinct in their case should have been to do nothing. The aircraft was in trim and flying straight and level. Basic airmanship would tell you not to mess with it. If they'd just kept it there for just under a minute, they would have gotten speed data back. But with no exposure in training, even in the form of discussion, there was no background for the crew to fall back on. The transcript shows clearly that they were confused from the start.

For what it's worth, the very first section of the Airbus FCTM concerns flying philosophy. I'll summarise and paraphrase.

Airbus Golden Rules:
- Fly the Airplane
- Navigate
- Communicate

Importantly, right after that:
- If the automation isn't behaving like you expect, go from managed modes to selected modes.
- If the automation still isn't behaving like you expect, fly manually.

The crew of AF447 were of course flying manually. But they weren't doing a very good job of it. And their communication was poor as well, with no clear picture of who was actually flying. The poor aircraft kept trying to tell them this (DUAL INPUT!) but by then disorientation was so deeply set it was too late. Training now also includes taking control from an incapacitated pilot. I'm not sure if it did back then. (If the other pilot was making irrational inputs and not listening to me, that would make me judge him as incapacitated, and I would mash and hold the takeover button until his still was locked out.)


Etheereal wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
LabQuest wrote:
Bonin was a bone head from the get go.


While certainly crew decisions were less than optimal, eventually leading to the loss of the aircraft, I try not to judge them too harshly.

It was the middle of the night over the ocean. They were fatigued. They had not trained for anything like this. Looking at the CVR transcript, it seems clear that disorientation set in rather quickly.

Did they make very poor decisions? Certainly. It is easy to judge them sitting here at zero airspeed and zero altitude. Tired and bored in the cockpit, back of the clock, with not much going on, is a different situation. The brain does funny things to you.


And that was precisely the problem: Nobody believed an airbus could stall like that. This accident, and later 8501 would show that an Airbus can definitely stall in ALT LAW.


I think that's a bit simplistic. We are definitely aware that the aircraft can stall in alternate law. I think it was more a question of not thinking that anyone would find themselves with that particular malfunction and then react like that. Of course, there was a knowledge that the aircraft is near the envelope limits in the cruise, but no practical exposure for crew to this, as we have now.

Training now includes recoveries from high altitude upsets in both Normal and Alternate Law. Training back then did not. I just did some of these recoveries the other day, as well as wingovers at altitude to get a feel for how the aircraft behaves. During a stall recovery in Alternate Law at FL350, you can get into a secondary stall with a minute twitch of your wrist as you pull back up. It's finicky but manageable if you are aware of it. Don't rush the recovery to level flight. There's plenty of empty air below you to use. The pilots of AF447 had no exposure to this situation, and stall recoveries before AF447, all done at low level, emphasized minimising altitude loss.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 02, 2022 8:19 pm

IIRC, the AF447 started a rather abrupt and high rate of climb above FL350; .at one point, momentarily nearly 7,000 fpm. This is not a normal maneuver and caused all the Mach and airspeed to “go away”. That’s how they entered the stall and, not coincidentally, how to put an F-16 in a nearly identical condition. You’ve forced the plane into an attitude outside its normal envelope and putting in a position the flight control laws hadn’t anticipated. It wasn’t “George”; it was the crew and I’d submit, they were outside their envelope. Why they entered this climb is beyond me.
 
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Boeing757100
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 02, 2022 10:16 pm

There was one other incident which relates to pilots lacking training in high altitude upsets; China Eastern flight 583. This was apparently caused when someone in the cockpit accidentally nudged the flap handle and unknowingly brought out the slats. This caused the plane to enter several dives and steep climb oscillations which caused many people who were not strapped in to bounce around in the cabin. I also may have heard that a wrong CI value was entered though I don’t really remember. While the upsets on 583 were triggered by a different reason than AF447 and the upsets themselves followed a different path, both could have been avoided given proper training for high altitude upsets.

Only reason china eastern 583 went relatively unnoticed was because 2 people died compared to 228 on AF447. Could it be possible that had training for high altitude upsets been introduced earlier, that AF447 could have been avoided? I don’t know since the pilots on AF447 seemed to make more blunders than accidentally nudging a flap handle.
 
rigo
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 12:05 am

ThirtyWest wrote:
Tomorrow marks the 13th anniversary of the crash of AFR447. The tragedy was one of those watershed moments in aviation safety and not only revealed hidden shortcomings in human factors understanding and training, but also stirred a fascinating and at times somewhat forensic debate around the role of automation: whether, on balance, the widespread, full use of autoflight systems around the world has saved more lives than would otherwise have been lost in accidents due to pilots' flightpath mismanagement during manual flight (e.g., Asiana 214).

As regards automation use, most airline pilots around the world (AFAIK) are trained to use the minimum level of automation necessary to unload themselves for other flight management tasks. That of course varies across individuals and situations. Most seem satisfied with the amount of discretion given to pilots under these policies.

As a member of the US aviation safety community, my impression is that US attitudes toward automation usage on the whole are somewhat insular and, to use one example, do not account for the fact that, worldwide, airline pilots aren't routinely and frequently hand-flying visual approaches using visual separation into LHR, ICN, AMS, DXB, etc. And then there's the fact that many RNAV/RNP SIDs, STARs, and even the newest approach procedures, now and in the future, are expected to be flown with the higher levels of automation because the airplane is better than the pilots at maintaining a precise lateral track at the required navigation performance.

I've covered a lot of ground here* But ultimately here are two things for discussion:

(a) I'd love to hear from the tech community here on your views as to how the industry has implemented the various human factors and other lessons learned from the AFR447 tragedy specifically. Will we ever completely close the book on AFR447? Or have we already?

(b) What are your thoughts on any divergence between US and global perspectives on automation use and human factors, among both airlines and regulators?

Thanks in advance!

*I think it's probably best not to bring the 737 MAX into this discussion, as that situation involved much, much more than what I've outlined above, although it too produced extremely valuable human factors lessons regarding the design of flight decks and airplane systems, highlighted in the NTSB's safety recommendations report on the accidents.


I'm by no means an expert but my understanding is that on AF447 the FBW system switched off due to a frozen Pitot tube and left two inexperienced pilots fly manually, without them realising what was actually happening. Had the FBW been functional, it would have prevented the stall and thus saved the aircraft and everyone on board.

So from this point of view, the accident was due to a lack of working automation, not excessive automation.
 
hitower3
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 6:57 am

rigo wrote:

I'm by no means an expert but my understanding is that on AF447 the FBW system switched off due to a frozen Pitot tube and left two inexperienced pilots fly manually, without them realising what was actually happening. Had the FBW been functional, it would have prevented the stall and thus saved the aircraft and everyone on board.

So from this point of view, the accident was due to a lack of working automation, not excessive automation.


Dear Rigo,

Just a small correction: The A330 operating AF447 did never "switch off FBW". The only change vs. normal operation of the flight controls was the degradation of the envelope protection from Normal Law to Alternate Law, reducing the level of protection. The aircraft will remain controlled "by wire" even in this situation.

BR Hendric
 
rigo
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 8:47 am

hitower3 wrote:
rigo wrote:

I'm by no means an expert but my understanding is that on AF447 the FBW system switched off due to a frozen Pitot tube and left two inexperienced pilots fly manually, without them realising what was actually happening. Had the FBW been functional, it would have prevented the stall and thus saved the aircraft and everyone on board.

So from this point of view, the accident was due to a lack of working automation, not excessive automation.


Dear Rigo,

Just a small correction: The A330 operating AF447 did never "switch off FBW". The only change vs. normal operation of the flight controls was the degradation of the envelope protection from Normal Law to Alternate Law, reducing the level of protection. The aircraft will remain controlled "by wire" even in this situation.

BR Hendric


Thank you for the correction. That's what I tried to say: the envelope protection system that would have saved the aircraft was not working (or not fully). It was just my 2 cents on the debate about whether there should be more or less automation.
 
gloom
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 9:31 am

rigo wrote:
That's what I tried to say: the envelope protection system that would have saved the aircraft was not working (or not fully). It was just my 2 cents on the debate about whether there should be more or less automation.


I guess your answer emphasizes two approaches to automation. Not only in plane FBW, but as a wider question, perhaps for automotive industry and also other.

Do we want the computers to offload work and allow humans to concentrate on non-standard situations, or should the computer assist be there always?

So far both the experiences and reliability point out to work offload. We are not yet ready to go further. I guess AF447 faith, and subsequent upsets with MAX for example made us learn that.

That's also why everyone above underlines importance of high-alt training.

The computers are here to help pilots through boring phases of flight, not to help them in difficult cases. Computers will be ready for that in a few years. Maybe 10, maybe 40, I guess we're not quite sure when. But definitely computer will not help you now, in every possible situation.

This is the real lesson we all learned, I guess. And still learning.

Cheers,
Adam
 
rigo
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 10:10 am

gloom wrote:
rigo wrote:
That's what I tried to say: the envelope protection system that would have saved the aircraft was not working (or not fully). It was just my 2 cents on the debate about whether there should be more or less automation.


I guess your answer emphasizes two approaches to automation. Not only in plane FBW, but as a wider question, perhaps for automotive industry and also other.

Do we want the computers to offload work and allow humans to concentrate on non-standard situations, or should the computer assist be there always?

So far both the experiences and reliability point out to work offload. We are not yet ready to go further. I guess AF447 faith, and subsequent upsets with MAX for example made us learn that.

That's also why everyone above underlines importance of high-alt training.

The computers are here to help pilots through boring phases of flight, not to help them in difficult cases. Computers will be ready for that in a few years. Maybe 10, maybe 40, I guess we're not quite sure when. But definitely computer will not help you now, in every possible situation.

This is the real lesson we all learned, I guess. And still learning.

Cheers,
Adam


That's a question I have no answer for in general. I'm not sure the comparison to the automotive industry is actually relevant, however systems like ABS, stability control, traction control etc., which are the car equivalents of envelope protection, are commonplace and it's unthinkable to sell a modern road car without them (driving enthusiasts like being able to disable them, but certainly not in the context of professional driving, e.g. driving a taxi or a bus).

One of the lessons learnt from AF447 was inadequate training at AF. The interesting question would be, did say 737 pilots at AF undergo better high alt/stall recovery training than Airbus pilots because that aircraft has no envelope protection? If no, then the automation is an objective benefit. If yes, on the assumption that Airbus pilots didn't need it because they had the computer watching, then it's a wholly different debate.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 10:53 am

gloom wrote:
rigo wrote:
That's what I tried to say: the envelope protection system that would have saved the aircraft was not working (or not fully). It was just my 2 cents on the debate about whether there should be more or less automation.


I guess your answer emphasizes two approaches to automation. Not only in plane FBW, but as a wider question, perhaps for automotive industry and also other.

Do we want the computers to offload work and allow humans to concentrate on non-standard situations, or should the computer assist be there always?

So far both the experiences and reliability point out to work offload. We are not yet ready to go further. I guess AF447 faith, and subsequent upsets with MAX for example made us learn that.

That's also why everyone above underlines importance of high-alt training.

The computers are here to help pilots through boring phases of flight, not to help them in difficult cases. Computers will be ready for that in a few years. Maybe 10, maybe 40, I guess we're not quite sure when. But definitely computer will not help you now, in every possible situation.

This is the real lesson we all learned, I guess. And still learning.

Cheers,
Adam

I would say a hard no.
Do we want the crew to be able to fully take over control in a most challenging situation? OK, we need a standby navigator, flight engineer and radio operator to share workload with the pilots. Otherwise, automation must do the best it can to keep limited crew within workload limits. Increased productivity is one of big point of an automation.

I would describe AF447 situation as computer becoming disoriented. That can totally happen with the human pilot as well. What happened next is disoriented computer passed control to an equally - if not worse - disoriented human. Computer probably still had an idea about the pitch going too high.
Could computer save AF447? Yes, if there was no reliance in general on humans as being superior, and computer kept control in an emergency, being "aware" of its degree of disorientation. Can computer fly flying pitch and trim in such situation? sure it can be programmed, and it would "know" if pitch data is good. But we still believe humans are better in emergencies. There is a lot to be said about that...

Automation is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Once certain things become automated, humans inevitably start loosing those skills. Automation is generally designed for the existing set of skills, maybe with some discount for the loss. Looks like loss often goes deeper than expected. Training can partially mitigate that - but only that much.
It goes way beyond airplane handling. Try handing 11.25 to a store clerk for a 6.21 charge. The younger the clerk is, the higher their chance to turn into a blanket stare. Yes, they passed those math classes in school - but yet...
 
phugoid1982
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 5:25 pm

Poor training at AF which seemed to a systemic problem, and French arrogance wrt the investigation played a role just like with the AF 4590 Concorde crash which we'll coming up on the 22nd anniversary on in less than two months. Yeah, nothing wrong with taking/off into a tailwind, with less than a fully useable runway, missing spacer, and oh...overweight!
 
FGITD
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 8:30 pm

phugoid1982 wrote:
Poor training at AF which seemed to a systemic problem, and French arrogance wrt the investigation played a role just like with the AF 4590 Concorde crash which we'll coming up on the 22nd anniversary on in less than two months. Yeah, nothing wrong with taking/off into a tailwind, with less than a fully useable runway, missing spacer, and oh...overweight!



…none of which would have brought that plane down, without the introduction of the metal strip.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Fri Jun 03, 2022 11:57 pm

kalvado wrote:
gloom wrote:
rigo wrote:
That's what I tried to say: the envelope protection system that would have saved the aircraft was not working (or not fully). It was just my 2 cents on the debate about whether there should be more or less automation.


I guess your answer emphasizes two approaches to automation. Not only in plane FBW, but as a wider question, perhaps for automotive industry and also other.

Do we want the computers to offload work and allow humans to concentrate on non-standard situations, or should the computer assist be there always?

So far both the experiences and reliability point out to work offload. We are not yet ready to go further. I guess AF447 faith, and subsequent upsets with MAX for example made us learn that.

That's also why everyone above underlines importance of high-alt training.

The computers are here to help pilots through boring phases of flight, not to help them in difficult cases. Computers will be ready for that in a few years. Maybe 10, maybe 40, I guess we're not quite sure when. But definitely computer will not help you now, in every possible situation.

This is the real lesson we all learned, I guess. And still learning.

Cheers,
Adam

I would say a hard no.
Do we want the crew to be able to fully take over control in a most challenging situation? OK, we need a standby navigator, flight engineer and radio operator to share workload with the pilots. Otherwise, automation must do the best it can to keep limited crew within workload limits. Increased productivity is one of big point of an automation.

I would describe AF447 situation as computer becoming disoriented. That can totally happen with the human pilot as well. What happened next is disoriented computer passed control to an equally - if not worse - disoriented human. Computer probably still had an idea about the pitch going too high.
Could computer save AF447? Yes, if there was no reliance in general on humans as being superior, and computer kept control in an emergency, being "aware" of its degree of disorientation. Can computer fly flying pitch and trim in such situation? sure it can be programmed, and it would "know" if pitch data is good. But we still believe humans are better in emergencies. There is a lot to be said about that...

Automation is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Once certain things become automated, humans inevitably start loosing those skills. Automation is generally designed for the existing set of skills, maybe with some discount for the loss. Looks like loss often goes deeper than expected. Training can partially mitigate that - but only that much.
It goes way beyond airplane handling. Try handing 11.25 to a store clerk for a 6.21 charge. The younger the clerk is, the higher their chance to turn into a blanket stare. Yes, they passed those math classes in school - but yet...


The flight control system become "disoriented", in so far as it lost a critical input, speed, and thus could no longer provide give reliable guidance.. The logical automated action then is to disengage the autopilot, since the autopilot cannot give reliable guidance without speed data.

The three ADIRUs would have known very well what the pitch angle was. Could it be programmed to fly pitch and power? Sure. But there are a lot of variables there. Since speed is already lost, can the flight control system be certain that other inputs are good? It's that old computer thing: Garbage In Garbage Out.

Since we can't be sure of data, we can't be sure that the protections are functioning properly either. And so we end up in Alternate Law. It is important to emphasize that in Alternate Law, we're not in some sort of life-threatening situation per se. It's just a normal plane with the loss of envelope protection.
 
phugoid1982
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sat Jun 04, 2022 12:23 am

FGITD wrote:
phugoid1982 wrote:
Poor training at AF which seemed to a systemic problem, and French arrogance wrt the investigation played a role just like with the AF 4590 Concorde crash which we'll coming up on the 22nd anniversary on in less than two months. Yeah, nothing wrong with taking/off into a tailwind, with less than a fully useable runway, missing spacer, and oh...overweight!



…none of which would have brought that plane down, without the introduction of the metal strip.


The metal strip from the Continental DC-10 was only a small piece of the puzzle. As has been repeated ad nauseum, aircraft accidents are a result of a chain of events. A posteriori, the mistakes made by shutting down a good engine thanks to following non-standard procedure as well as what I said before contributed enormously to the tragic outcome. For a great analysis check out former Concorde Captain John Huthinson's analysis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqOcYhzWUZY
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sat Jun 04, 2022 12:53 am

Starlionblue wrote:
kalvado wrote:
gloom wrote:

I guess your answer emphasizes two approaches to automation. Not only in plane FBW, but as a wider question, perhaps for automotive industry and also other.

Do we want the computers to offload work and allow humans to concentrate on non-standard situations, or should the computer assist be there always?

So far both the experiences and reliability point out to work offload. We are not yet ready to go further. I guess AF447 faith, and subsequent upsets with MAX for example made us learn that.

That's also why everyone above underlines importance of high-alt training.

The computers are here to help pilots through boring phases of flight, not to help them in difficult cases. Computers will be ready for that in a few years. Maybe 10, maybe 40, I guess we're not quite sure when. But definitely computer will not help you now, in every possible situation.

This is the real lesson we all learned, I guess. And still learning.

Cheers,
Adam

I would say a hard no.
Do we want the crew to be able to fully take over control in a most challenging situation? OK, we need a standby navigator, flight engineer and radio operator to share workload with the pilots. Otherwise, automation must do the best it can to keep limited crew within workload limits. Increased productivity is one of big point of an automation.

I would describe AF447 situation as computer becoming disoriented. That can totally happen with the human pilot as well. What happened next is disoriented computer passed control to an equally - if not worse - disoriented human. Computer probably still had an idea about the pitch going too high.
Could computer save AF447? Yes, if there was no reliance in general on humans as being superior, and computer kept control in an emergency, being "aware" of its degree of disorientation. Can computer fly flying pitch and trim in such situation? sure it can be programmed, and it would "know" if pitch data is good. But we still believe humans are better in emergencies. There is a lot to be said about that...

Automation is a bit of a chicken and egg situation. Once certain things become automated, humans inevitably start loosing those skills. Automation is generally designed for the existing set of skills, maybe with some discount for the loss. Looks like loss often goes deeper than expected. Training can partially mitigate that - but only that much.
It goes way beyond airplane handling. Try handing 11.25 to a store clerk for a 6.21 charge. The younger the clerk is, the higher their chance to turn into a blanket stare. Yes, they passed those math classes in school - but yet...


The flight control system become "disoriented", in so far as it lost a critical input, speed, and thus could no longer provide give reliable guidance.. The logical automated action then is to disengage the autopilot, since the autopilot cannot give reliable guidance without speed data.

The three ADIRUs would have known very well what the pitch angle was. Could it be programmed to fly pitch and power? Sure. But there are a lot of variables there. Since speed is already lost, can the flight control system be certain that other inputs are good? It's that old computer thing: Garbage In Garbage Out.

Since we can't be sure of data, we can't be sure that the protections are functioning properly either. And so we end up in Alternate Law. It is important to emphasize that in Alternate Law, we're not in some sort of life-threatening situation per se. It's just a normal plane with the loss of envelope protection.

"logical" is a billion-dollar statement here. There are many logical solutions one can come up with, and designers need to choose a single strategy to cover all the cases. Whatever they choose, there will be situations their choice is incorrect.
Is it logical to hand over control to the pilot? Yes, if there is a Chuck Eager in a flight deck watching every tiny detail of the test flight. Handing over control to
Starlionblue wrote:
Tired and bored in the cockpit, back of the clock, with not much going on, is a different situation. The brain does funny things to you.

We know how that ended for AF447. Besides, pilots would have to rely on the same set of data...

I would say that more training is not the solution here. It wouldn't hurt, but what strikes me as odd is that certain types of training are introduced after accidents. Which is a reactive, not a proactive approach, and that is a red flag...

There is also a lot to be improved in automation world. There are definitely ways to make control system more of a self-checking one, not crude force. Smarter to give earlier warnings whenever possible,. And I would question philosophy that human control is an ultimate response to any problem. But handwaving is certainly way easier than certifying the actual code.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sat Jun 04, 2022 6:45 am

You don't need to be Chuck Yeager to deal with unreliable airspeed, especially if, as in this case, you know it is unreliable. You do need training.

The pilots would also not have speed data. But they did have a methodology to deal with the issue that the flight control and autoflight systems lacked.

Training was "reactive" in this case, because the need hadn't been seen before. We do plenty of "proactive" training as well. The objective of an accident investigation is to prevent future accidents. In some cases this means changing training methods.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sat Jun 04, 2022 1:18 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
You don't need to be Chuck Yeager to deal with unreliable airspeed, especially if, as in this case, you know it is unreliable. You do need training.

The pilots would also not have speed data. But they did have a methodology to deal with the issue that the flight control and autoflight systems lacked.

Training was "reactive" in this case, because the need hadn't been seen before. We do plenty of "proactive" training as well. The objective of an accident investigation is to prevent future accidents. In some cases this means changing training methods.

A bigger objective of investigation should be a contribution to an overall safety system - influencing training, operations, design, and whatnot. Part of AF447 seem to be

Proactive approach would be understanding why this training deficiency occurred and patching all the similar ones. People like to speculate that lack of manual flying is root cause - more stick time would make pilots more aware of aircraft behavior and handling, so specific training would not be needed. probably there is at least some truth in this, and implications are pretty complex.

Another thing to think about is a human-machine interface and its core assumption that human is the best possible solution. Which may or may not be the case. Bored, sleepy, with the sudden inrush of adrenaline when alarm sounds.... It's well known that people do fail under stress. This is not to blame any pilot in particular, this is to say they are still mammals.

A common approach for emergency management is to place the system into a safe state and deal with everything from there. It is a bit difficult for an aircraft in the air; what I hear so far is that pitch and thrust may be the closest to the safe state in a aerodynamically intact aircraft with engines running. Or you think about anything else for unreliable airspeed? Pitch and trim is certainly programmable. Yes, all computer inputs may be corrupted - but they would also be affected for pilots as well...

I suspect "human is superior" assumption is the biggest design flaw here, the root cause which has to be dealt with - and trainings cannot fix that.
 
gloom
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sat Jun 04, 2022 7:53 pm

kalvado wrote:
I suspect "human is superior" assumption is the biggest design flaw here


I myself don't feel "superior", and I think it would be the case for most of pilots as well.

But we, as humans, have an ability to assess large amounts of data and predict an outcome - a thing I refer to as intuition (of any kind).

Computers are faster than us, and make less errors. And will ultimately be superior. But technology today, they run linear and are much less capable in critical situations.

Airlines (and pilots) were smart enough to understand and use to the benefit of all of us.

Cheers,
Adam
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sat Jun 04, 2022 9:06 pm

gloom wrote:
kalvado wrote:
I suspect "human is superior" assumption is the biggest design flaw here


I myself don't feel "superior", and I think it would be the case for most of pilots as well.

But we, as humans, have an ability to assess large amounts of data and predict an outcome - a thing I refer to as intuition (of any kind).

Computers are faster than us, and make less errors. And will ultimately be superior. But technology today, they run linear and are much less capable in critical situations.

Airlines (and pilots) were smart enough to understand and use to the benefit of all of us.

Cheers,
Adam

You don't have to feel superior, I am referring to the fact that pilot is supposed to take over in case things become nonstandard. Yes, older generation computers are not setup for anything else; they possibly could have more authority, though. Next generation could definitely be more capable. Would it?
There are many issues here. One is that human error is an accident, computer error is a liability. That alone is enough to accept a few crashes...
Process more information... In case of AF447 computer and pilot had same information from same instruments. And pilot could not digest that information.
I agree that human can think out if the box. AF447 situation could be handled within the box, though. Actually having checklist, memory items and SOPs means pilots are forced to stay inside the box most times...
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 3:14 am

Give computers more authority and the risks grow rapidly. AF447 was in trim and at a usable thrust setting for the conditions. If the pilots did nothing, they’d have landed at CDG. The “computers” were fine until the pilots added inputs which were not designed for—large pitch up beyond the performance capability of the plane. Physics got ‘em.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 2:18 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Give computers more authority and the risks grow rapidly. AF447 was in trim and at a usable thrust setting for the conditions. If the pilots did nothing, they’d have landed at CDG. The “computers” were fine until the pilots added inputs which were not designed for—large pitch up beyond the performance capability of the plane. Physics got ‘em.

You are saying that computers getting too much authority would cause problems, but then describe how humans caused the problem once they got too much authority without computer oversight. Doesn't add up!

Overall, the more authority someone (something)gets, the more problems they can cause. Question is about balance of powers. (Sorry for going into politics)
There should be a sweet spot of human vs computer. Did A3xx family hit that spot? Did that spot moved in past years?
One thing for sure, computers change rapidly. Humans maybe do, but not as fast...
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 2:23 pm

The “computers” had the all the authority they needed to do their task—straight and level, in trim. When they lost a vital piece of information, they said “we can’t do our task any longer, you try it human”. Human only had do nothing, leave the thrust at cruise setting, maintain attitude, wait until air data returned as it would. But, no humans untrained in handling the plane, started a rapid climb, which was the exactly wrong thing. Automation is there is assist pilots, not get pilots out of a jam they got themselves into.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 2:51 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
The “computers” had the all the authority they needed to do their task—straight and level, in trim. When they lost a vital piece of information, they said “we can’t do our task any longer, you try it human”. Human only had do nothing, leave the thrust at cruise setting, maintain attitude, wait until air data returned as it would. But, no humans untrained in handling the plane, started a rapid climb, which was the exactly wrong thing. Automation is there is assist pilots, not get pilots out of a jam they got themselves into.

Perfectly agree on all facts. Now lets look at things from the other perspective - glass half empty vs glass half full type (tongue in cheek a bit):
Computers were programmed to surrender authority after loosing vital piece of information. It would be possible for computers to do same things pilots were supposed to do, but designers assumed pilots would be better.
But humans were not as bright as believed, couldn't recognize that vital piece of information is lost or process large amounts of data as they were supposed to; but still started messing with controls.
Automation is there not to assist pilots, but to keep them out of trouble by keeping hands off those shiny knobs and buttons! **pilot and a dog joke**
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 3:48 pm

Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 4:19 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.

I totally hear you. However, everything and everyone fails once in a while (says a guy who accidentally tore 5/8" hardened steel bolt in halves). And people may not appreciate what those failure rates are for a regular person under stress - especially compared to - what is it, 1 in 10 million currently? - crash rate of commercial flights.
So a general question - absolutely not unique for aviation - is how to maximize the reliability of the system built of unreliable components. HUmans being one of those unreliable components, of course.
Old school thinking is perfectly understandable, and probably was unavoidable in the days of early electronics and active technology development.
There is a pretty interesting book, "the right stuff" by Fred Wolffe - a lot of things clicked into place for me thanks to that. Not that I agree, but I do understand (I think).
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Sun Jun 05, 2022 11:49 pm

kalvado wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
You don't need to be Chuck Yeager to deal with unreliable airspeed, especially if, as in this case, you know it is unreliable. You do need training.

The pilots would also not have speed data. But they did have a methodology to deal with the issue that the flight control and autoflight systems lacked.

Training was "reactive" in this case, because the need hadn't been seen before. We do plenty of "proactive" training as well. The objective of an accident investigation is to prevent future accidents. In some cases this means changing training methods.

A bigger objective of investigation should be a contribution to an overall safety system - influencing training, operations, design, and whatnot. Part of AF447 seem to be

Proactive approach would be understanding why this training deficiency occurred and patching all the similar ones. People like to speculate that lack of manual flying is root cause - more stick time would make pilots more aware of aircraft behavior and handling, so specific training would not be needed. probably there is at least some truth in this, and implications are pretty complex.

Another thing to think about is a human-machine interface and its core assumption that human is the best possible solution. Which may or may not be the case. Bored, sleepy, with the sudden inrush of adrenaline when alarm sounds.... It's well known that people do fail under stress. This is not to blame any pilot in particular, this is to say they are still mammals.

A common approach for emergency management is to place the system into a safe state and deal with everything from there. It is a bit difficult for an aircraft in the air; what I hear so far is that pitch and thrust may be the closest to the safe state in a aerodynamically intact aircraft with engines running. Or you think about anything else for unreliable airspeed? Pitch and trim is certainly programmable. Yes, all computer inputs may be corrupted - but they would also be affected for pilots as well...

I suspect "human is superior" assumption is the biggest design flaw here, the root cause which has to be dealt with - and trainings cannot fix that.


There is no assumption that humans are superior. The autopilot can fly the plane more accurately than we can. However, the autopilot can only do so with valid inputs. If the inputs are not valid, keeping the autopilot is very dangerous. As my first flight instructor said, "Remember, the autopilot will kill you quickly".

You can certainly add more and more logic to the autoflight system for edge cases, but that means more cost and more potential for misprogramming and other edge cases. Note that we're talking early 90s computer tech for the A330. A generation later, the A350 is more robust when it comes to autoflight edge cases. For example, if the aircraft slows to alpha prot on the A350, the autopilot will not disengage. It will go into "AP IN PROT" mode.



The assumption is that humans can keep the aircraft stable, then troubleshoot the issue. This should not be too much to ask.


GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.


Spot on. And we train for this. The aircraft also needs to be certified to permit "average pilots" to control it without the autoflight system. What's the point of alternate law, direct law, and backup if the aircraft is not controllable in those laws? ;)


kalvado wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.

I totally hear you. However, everything and everyone fails once in a while (says a guy who accidentally tore 5/8" hardened steel bolt in halves). And people may not appreciate what those failure rates are for a regular person under stress - especially compared to - what is it, 1 in 10 million currently? - crash rate of commercial flights.
So a general question - absolutely not unique for aviation - is how to maximize the reliability of the system built of unreliable components. HUmans being one of those unreliable components, of course.
Old school thinking is perfectly understandable, and probably was unavoidable in the days of early electronics and active technology development.
There is a pretty interesting book, "the right stuff" by Fred Wolffe - a lot of things clicked into place for me thanks to that. Not that I agree, but I do understand (I think).


I think you mean Tom Wolfe. First of all, "The Right Stuff" is a fictional retelling of real events. Secondly, it does not accurately represent the mindset of modern pilots. That gung ho, Skygod attitude is long gone. We are taught to be methodical, follow checklists, slow down. SOP will save your life.

There is a checklist for the AF447 situation. The difference today is that we train for high altitude upsets, discuss in class and so forth.

Even for something as simple as turning off an engine for single-engine taxi, we are required to pull out the checklist and follow it.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Mon Jun 06, 2022 1:49 pm

Starlionblue wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
You don't need to be Chuck Yeager to deal with unreliable airspeed, especially if, as in this case, you know it is unreliable. You do need training.

The pilots would also not have speed data. But they did have a methodology to deal with the issue that the flight control and autoflight systems lacked.

Training was "reactive" in this case, because the need hadn't been seen before. We do plenty of "proactive" training as well. The objective of an accident investigation is to prevent future accidents. In some cases this means changing training methods.

A bigger objective of investigation should be a contribution to an overall safety system - influencing training, operations, design, and whatnot. Part of AF447 seem to be

Proactive approach would be understanding why this training deficiency occurred and patching all the similar ones. People like to speculate that lack of manual flying is root cause - more stick time would make pilots more aware of aircraft behavior and handling, so specific training would not be needed. probably there is at least some truth in this, and implications are pretty complex.

Another thing to think about is a human-machine interface and its core assumption that human is the best possible solution. Which may or may not be the case. Bored, sleepy, with the sudden inrush of adrenaline when alarm sounds.... It's well known that people do fail under stress. This is not to blame any pilot in particular, this is to say they are still mammals.

A common approach for emergency management is to place the system into a safe state and deal with everything from there. It is a bit difficult for an aircraft in the air; what I hear so far is that pitch and thrust may be the closest to the safe state in a aerodynamically intact aircraft with engines running. Or you think about anything else for unreliable airspeed? Pitch and trim is certainly programmable. Yes, all computer inputs may be corrupted - but they would also be affected for pilots as well...

I suspect "human is superior" assumption is the biggest design flaw here, the root cause which has to be dealt with - and trainings cannot fix that.


There is no assumption that humans are superior. The autopilot can fly the plane more accurately than we can. However, the autopilot can only do so with valid inputs. If the inputs are not valid, keeping the autopilot is very dangerous. As my first flight instructor said, "Remember, the autopilot will kill you quickly".

You can certainly add more and more logic to the autoflight system for edge cases, but that means more cost and more potential for misprogramming and other edge cases. Note that we're talking early 90s computer tech for the A330. A generation later, the A350 is more robust when it comes to autoflight edge cases. For example, if the aircraft slows to alpha prot on the A350, the autopilot will not disengage. It will go into "AP IN PROT" mode.



The assumption is that humans can keep the aircraft stable, then troubleshoot the issue. This should not be too much to ask.


GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.


Spot on. And we train for this. The aircraft also needs to be certified to permit "average pilots" to control it without the autoflight system. What's the point of alternate law, direct law, and backup if the aircraft is not controllable in those laws? ;)


kalvado wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.

I totally hear you. However, everything and everyone fails once in a while (says a guy who accidentally tore 5/8" hardened steel bolt in halves). And people may not appreciate what those failure rates are for a regular person under stress - especially compared to - what is it, 1 in 10 million currently? - crash rate of commercial flights.
So a general question - absolutely not unique for aviation - is how to maximize the reliability of the system built of unreliable components. HUmans being one of those unreliable components, of course.
Old school thinking is perfectly understandable, and probably was unavoidable in the days of early electronics and active technology development.
There is a pretty interesting book, "the right stuff" by Fred Wolffe - a lot of things clicked into place for me thanks to that. Not that I agree, but I do understand (I think).


I think you mean Tom Wolfe. First of all, "The Right Stuff" is a fictional retelling of real events. Secondly, it does not accurately represent the mindset of modern pilots. That gung ho, Skygod attitude is long gone. We are taught to be methodical, follow checklists, slow down. SOP will save your life.

There is a checklist for the AF447 situation. The difference today is that we train for high altitude upsets, discuss in class and so forth.

Even for something as simple as turning off an engine for single-engine taxi, we are required to pull out the checklist and follow it.

Skygod attitude maybe became a bit milder, but is still doing very well. In fact "not too much to ask" is exactly that type of thing. Especially if we're talking about really tiny number of accidents occurring today. That is especially bad approach as it is not actionable. Better training, extra tasks in the sim... Is there more total sim time after all that is added? Increase of drop off rates for unfit newcomers?

A better approach is asking "it's not too much to ask - but if they screw up, then what?" And looks like industry's answer is SOPs, checklists, memory items - which is all great for everyday tasks and "routine" emergencies. But what about unknown unknowns? Disoriented, lost, stressed pilot mistakes? It is a really difficult question as there is often only that much time until things go irreversable... Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?
 
gloom
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Tue Jun 07, 2022 8:31 pm

kalvado wrote:
Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?


No - it never is. Most of the progress is we don't accept that. Back in the 50s, no one dreamed of 1 in a million. We're now over it, and still have ideas where and how to improve.

Starlionblue said every generation of AP goes further. I've said we can see AP taking full responsibility, no matter when exactly. But it's not now.

Past experiences show the best in the reliability section is advanced AP taking duty most of the flight, pilots taking duty on specific flight sections/situations, and pilots trained of (among others) possible mishups between automation and pilots. This works best.

If you say perfecting automation is worth another crash (even one), you are as wrong as possible. Do you really think we can learn something from a crashed plane, instead of having one that landed safely with the pilots? Or perhaps you think with pilots having their run mostly when something is essentially wrong with AP, they will crash the plane and AP will not (or will do it much more often)? Sorry to say, but - I don't think so.

I strongly advise to read a short story from Stanislaw Lem, one called Ananke. It's an SF - a good one - where Earth-Mars cargo spaceliner crashes. Sort of SciFi detective story. Eye-opener, and many parallels can be drawn. Strongly advised.

Cheers,
Adam
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 12:14 am

kalvado wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
kalvado wrote:
A bigger objective of investigation should be a contribution to an overall safety system - influencing training, operations, design, and whatnot. Part of AF447 seem to be

Proactive approach would be understanding why this training deficiency occurred and patching all the similar ones. People like to speculate that lack of manual flying is root cause - more stick time would make pilots more aware of aircraft behavior and handling, so specific training would not be needed. probably there is at least some truth in this, and implications are pretty complex.

Another thing to think about is a human-machine interface and its core assumption that human is the best possible solution. Which may or may not be the case. Bored, sleepy, with the sudden inrush of adrenaline when alarm sounds.... It's well known that people do fail under stress. This is not to blame any pilot in particular, this is to say they are still mammals.

A common approach for emergency management is to place the system into a safe state and deal with everything from there. It is a bit difficult for an aircraft in the air; what I hear so far is that pitch and thrust may be the closest to the safe state in a aerodynamically intact aircraft with engines running. Or you think about anything else for unreliable airspeed? Pitch and trim is certainly programmable. Yes, all computer inputs may be corrupted - but they would also be affected for pilots as well...

I suspect "human is superior" assumption is the biggest design flaw here, the root cause which has to be dealt with - and trainings cannot fix that.


There is no assumption that humans are superior. The autopilot can fly the plane more accurately than we can. However, the autopilot can only do so with valid inputs. If the inputs are not valid, keeping the autopilot is very dangerous. As my first flight instructor said, "Remember, the autopilot will kill you quickly".

You can certainly add more and more logic to the autoflight system for edge cases, but that means more cost and more potential for misprogramming and other edge cases. Note that we're talking early 90s computer tech for the A330. A generation later, the A350 is more robust when it comes to autoflight edge cases. For example, if the aircraft slows to alpha prot on the A350, the autopilot will not disengage. It will go into "AP IN PROT" mode.



The assumption is that humans can keep the aircraft stable, then troubleshoot the issue. This should not be too much to ask.


GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Then we have a disagreement—pilots should be perfectly capable of flying the plane without the autopilot system keeping them out of trouble. An old school position, possibly.


Spot on. And we train for this. The aircraft also needs to be certified to permit "average pilots" to control it without the autoflight system. What's the point of alternate law, direct law, and backup if the aircraft is not controllable in those laws? ;)


kalvado wrote:
I totally hear you. However, everything and everyone fails once in a while (says a guy who accidentally tore 5/8" hardened steel bolt in halves). And people may not appreciate what those failure rates are for a regular person under stress - especially compared to - what is it, 1 in 10 million currently? - crash rate of commercial flights.
So a general question - absolutely not unique for aviation - is how to maximize the reliability of the system built of unreliable components. HUmans being one of those unreliable components, of course.
Old school thinking is perfectly understandable, and probably was unavoidable in the days of early electronics and active technology development.
There is a pretty interesting book, "the right stuff" by Fred Wolffe - a lot of things clicked into place for me thanks to that. Not that I agree, but I do understand (I think).


I think you mean Tom Wolfe. First of all, "The Right Stuff" is a fictional retelling of real events. Secondly, it does not accurately represent the mindset of modern pilots. That gung ho, Skygod attitude is long gone. We are taught to be methodical, follow checklists, slow down. SOP will save your life.

There is a checklist for the AF447 situation. The difference today is that we train for high altitude upsets, discuss in class and so forth.

Even for something as simple as turning off an engine for single-engine taxi, we are required to pull out the checklist and follow it.

Skygod attitude maybe became a bit milder, but is still doing very well. In fact "not too much to ask" is exactly that type of thing. Especially if we're talking about really tiny number of accidents occurring today. That is especially bad approach as it is not actionable. Better training, extra tasks in the sim... Is there more total sim time after all that is added? Increase of drop off rates for unfit newcomers?

A better approach is asking "it's not too much to ask - but if they screw up, then what?" And looks like industry's answer is SOPs, checklists, memory items - which is all great for everyday tasks and "routine" emergencies. But what about unknown unknowns? Disoriented, lost, stressed pilot mistakes? It is a really difficult question as there is often only that much time until things go irreversable... Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?


Never accept. Always strive for excellence.

Memory items are few and far between nowadays. SOPs and checklists are not really increasing in number. They're just changing. Knowing there is an SOP or checklist for a given situation is important. As CaptainJoe says, "a checklist also gives us hope ". We know this is solvable. Knowing that there is a procedure means that even tired and stressed we can fall back on it and work through it.

Sim time isn't really changing in magnitude. It just changes in nature. As things come into focus in the industry, you may find them in your next recurrent training sim.

There are vanishingly few "unknown unknowns".The industry plans for even the most gnarly "non-routine emergencies", and we have procedures for those. Examples would be unreliable airspeed and cargo fire.

We don't go flying every day risking some "out there" scenario that we have neither trained for nor foreseen. The 737MAX crashes were really an outlier there. And even then, you could argue that they would have been prevented with a proper design.


gloom wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?


No - it never is. Most of the progress is we don't accept that. Back in the 50s, no one dreamed of 1 in a million. We're now over it, and still have ideas where and how to improve.

Starlionblue said every generation of AP goes further. I've said we can see AP taking full responsibility, no matter when exactly. But it's not now.

Past experiences show the best in the reliability section is advanced AP taking duty most of the flight, pilots taking duty on specific flight sections/situations, and pilots trained of (among others) possible mishups between automation and pilots. This works best.

If you say perfecting automation is worth another crash (even one), you are as wrong as possible. Do you really think we can learn something from a crashed plane, instead of having one that landed safely with the pilots? Or perhaps you think with pilots having their run mostly when something is essentially wrong with AP, they will crash the plane and AP will not (or will do it much more often)? Sorry to say, but - I don't think so.

I strongly advise to read a short story from Stanislaw Lem, one called Ananke. It's an SF - a good one - where Earth-Mars cargo spaceliner crashes. Sort of SciFi detective story. Eye-opener, and many parallels can be drawn. Strongly advised.

Cheers,
Adam


Your point about learning from planes that landed safely is very valid, and consistently implemented in the industry.

A few years ago my company introduced no jeopardy reviews of events where things didn't go as planned, in order to learn from them and investigate if changes are needed.

Also, management looked at statistical information regarding events such as higher than normal sink rate on approach. Why were these occurring much more frequently at certain ports? Instead of punishing the pilots for not being consistently excellent, a revised approach policy was implemented to asssist our decision making.
 
e38
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:01 am

kalvado wrote:
Skygod attitude maybe became a bit milder, but is still doing very well. In fact "not too much to ask" is exactly that type of thing. Especially if we're talking about really tiny number of accidents occurring today. That is especially bad approach as it is not actionable. Better training, extra tasks in the sim... Is there more total sim time after all that is added? Increase of drop off rates for unfit newcomers?

A better approach is asking "it's not too much to ask - but if they screw up, then what?" And looks like industry's answer is SOPs, checklists, memory items - which is all great for everyday tasks and "routine" emergencies. But what about unknown unknowns? Disoriented, lost, stressed pilot mistakes? It is a really difficult question as there is often only that much time until things go irreversable... Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?


kalvado (reply # 34), the "skygod" attitude is very rare these days due to emphasis on Crew Resource Management (CRM). I wouldn't say it is doing very well--those pilots with such an attitude are the exceptions. Not only is CRM an integral part of our daily operational flying, but it is also emphasized and evaluated in training.

Training time is not "unlimited." When new situations or concepts are introduced in the training environment, other training events are either deleted or repeated less frequently. For example, at my operator, at the time we developed Upset Recovery training, slow flight was eliminated from the recurrent curriculum, although it is still practiced in initial qual. When we develop the training footprint, we allow time for pilots to have additional training should that be required; however, there is a finite limit to how many additional training periods we can offer. If a pilot cannot attain proficiency within the constraints of the training footprint, that pilot is removed from further training and either assigned to other duties or terminated. They must meet the prescribed standards of training.

In the training environment, it is not possible to replicate every abnormal or emergency that may occur. However, we have found that optimum training is not predicated on specific events, but on proper application of procedures and processes--memory items (if applicable), ECAM procedures (Airbus series), use of the QRH, CRM, and consultation with company dispatcher, maintenance control, air traffic control, and/or aviation medical professionals (as appropriate). There are certain emergency situations (as well as normal procedures, of course) that we practice in the simulator. For example, the V1 cut and engine out approach and landing; introduction to RNAV (RNP) procedures and CAT II/III certification.
However, in theory, we don't train "events;" we train processes and procedures, although specific abnormals serve as the catalyst to initiate those processes. I have found that with many of the abnormal/emergency situations I have had, they did not manifest themselves exactly as in the simulator. Nevertheless, using the above techniques, I had the confidence and ability to safely navigate my way through the various process to achieve a satisfactory outcome. Training specific emergencies is not completely necessary; training processes and procedures is key. Therefore, with proper training, when faced with the "unknown unknowns," in most cases it is still possible to safely recover the aircraft even if the pilot has not previously experienced that abnormal / emergency in a training situation.

e38
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:21 am

We don’t fly loops because we’ll challenge an enemy aircraft to an acro contest; we teach them to train pilots to handle the plane under rapidly changing AOA while under G stress. Same concept—know how to use process and procedure to deal with unplanned events/failures. CRM is a tool.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 3:22 am

Starlionblue wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:

There is no assumption that humans are superior. The autopilot can fly the plane more accurately than we can. However, the autopilot can only do so with valid inputs. If the inputs are not valid, keeping the autopilot is very dangerous. As my first flight instructor said, "Remember, the autopilot will kill you quickly".

You can certainly add more and more logic to the autoflight system for edge cases, but that means more cost and more potential for misprogramming and other edge cases. Note that we're talking early 90s computer tech for the A330. A generation later, the A350 is more robust when it comes to autoflight edge cases. For example, if the aircraft slows to alpha prot on the A350, the autopilot will not disengage. It will go into "AP IN PROT" mode.



The assumption is that humans can keep the aircraft stable, then troubleshoot the issue. This should not be too much to ask.




Spot on. And we train for this. The aircraft also needs to be certified to permit "average pilots" to control it without the autoflight system. What's the point of alternate law, direct law, and backup if the aircraft is not controllable in those laws? ;)




I think you mean Tom Wolfe. First of all, "The Right Stuff" is a fictional retelling of real events. Secondly, it does not accurately represent the mindset of modern pilots. That gung ho, Skygod attitude is long gone. We are taught to be methodical, follow checklists, slow down. SOP will save your life.

There is a checklist for the AF447 situation. The difference today is that we train for high altitude upsets, discuss in class and so forth.

Even for something as simple as turning off an engine for single-engine taxi, we are required to pull out the checklist and follow it.

Skygod attitude maybe became a bit milder, but is still doing very well. In fact "not too much to ask" is exactly that type of thing. Especially if we're talking about really tiny number of accidents occurring today. That is especially bad approach as it is not actionable. Better training, extra tasks in the sim... Is there more total sim time after all that is added? Increase of drop off rates for unfit newcomers?

A better approach is asking "it's not too much to ask - but if they screw up, then what?" And looks like industry's answer is SOPs, checklists, memory items - which is all great for everyday tasks and "routine" emergencies. But what about unknown unknowns? Disoriented, lost, stressed pilot mistakes? It is a really difficult question as there is often only that much time until things go irreversable... Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?


Never accept. Always strive for excellence.

Memory items are few and far between nowadays. SOPs and checklists are not really increasing in number. They're just changing. Knowing there is an SOP or checklist for a given situation is important. As CaptainJoe says, "a checklist also gives us hope ". We know this is solvable. Knowing that there is a procedure means that even tired and stressed we can fall back on it and work through it.

Sim time isn't really changing in magnitude. It just changes in nature. As things come into focus in the industry, you may find them in your next recurrent training sim.

There are vanishingly few "unknown unknowns".The industry plans for even the most gnarly "non-routine emergencies", and we have procedures for those. Examples would be unreliable airspeed and cargo fire.

We don't go flying every day risking some "out there" scenario that we have neither trained for nor foreseen. The 737MAX crashes were really an outlier there. And even then, you could argue that they would have been prevented with a proper design.


gloom wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Maybe accepting that 1 in few million flights crashes is the ultimate answer after all?


No - it never is. Most of the progress is we don't accept that. Back in the 50s, no one dreamed of 1 in a million. We're now over it, and still have ideas where and how to improve.

Starlionblue said every generation of AP goes further. I've said we can see AP taking full responsibility, no matter when exactly. But it's not now.

Past experiences show the best in the reliability section is advanced AP taking duty most of the flight, pilots taking duty on specific flight sections/situations, and pilots trained of (among others) possible mishups between automation and pilots. This works best.

If you say perfecting automation is worth another crash (even one), you are as wrong as possible. Do you really think we can learn something from a crashed plane, instead of having one that landed safely with the pilots? Or perhaps you think with pilots having their run mostly when something is essentially wrong with AP, they will crash the plane and AP will not (or will do it much more often)? Sorry to say, but - I don't think so.

I strongly advise to read a short story from Stanislaw Lem, one called Ananke. It's an SF - a good one - where Earth-Mars cargo spaceliner crashes. Sort of SciFi detective story. Eye-opener, and many parallels can be drawn. Strongly advised.

Cheers,
Adam


Your point about learning from planes that landed safely is very valid, and consistently implemented in the industry.

A few years ago my company introduced no jeopardy reviews of events where things didn't go as planned, in order to learn from them and investigate if changes are needed.

Also, management looked at statistical information regarding events such as higher than normal sink rate on approach. Why were these occurring much more frequently at certain ports? Instead of punishing the pilots for not being consistently excellent, a revised approach policy was implemented to asssist our decision making.

Let me put it so: there is no one size fits all solution.
There are cases when skygod grabbing controls is the only way to save the day as hardware wasn't performing. UA 777's loosing chunk of engines, for example, or landing with differential thrust control story. Maybe not the skygod but properly trained professional.
There are cases when keeping wannabe-skygod away from controls could save the day. Asiana 214, for example, or - to a different extent - any investigation mentioning "human factor"
There are cases when pilots are forced into skygod situation, but come short of being lucky guys. MAX saga.
There are definitely many cases when pilots could diagnose problems correctly and went home without making the news. On the same page are the cases when wannabe-skygod is timely restrained by SOP and lands in one piece.

There is a need to take 'one size fits all" solutions at the design and policy making stages - and those have to be balanced approaches, but sometimes it is still "yes or no".
Right now, that choosen balance is to give the pilot authority over everything - but at the same time restrain the pilot with SOPs as much as possible. Ideally, this should mean that pilot is required to understand the problem (correctly understand, I may add) and apply proper action. AF447 is the case when the pilot understood the problem incorrectly applied wrong solution - and the rest is history.
For me the question is - is there a way to limit wrong decisions even further? SOPs for typical non-standard conditions are an established part of the answer, we're talking about what is left after all those SOPs are written. More and better training is only a small part of the answer as we're talking about type-rated pilots who completed all required trainings, checkrides etc; and all those procedures were reviewed and made better after the previous crash. We're talking about what is still happening despite training programs.
My impression is that balance between computer authority and human authority is the biggest knob to tweak by now. And it doesn't have to be more power to one or the other, it has to be about using the best sides of both - which also means understanding weak sides of both.

And no, of course there is an acceptable failure rate. Pure economics - there is a cost of human life for engineering purposes, and there is a cost of applying the solution. So far, 1 crash in a billion is an officially acceptable number for certification - and the industry is actually 100 times worse than that. Still, that means even for crews who fly 100s sectors a year, the chances of dying from a crash are tiny compared to an unfortunate medical condition.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 6:19 am

What is "still happening despite training programs" is that many regulators and operators don't seem to train in a very rigorous fashion, and adopt punitive approaches to non-normal events

Right now, that choosen balance is to give the pilot authority over everything - but at the same time restrain the pilot with SOPs as much as possible..

The SOPs don't restrain us. They are our tools to do things correctly.


My impression is that balance between computer authority and human authority is the biggest knob to tweak by now. And it doesn't have to be more power to one or the other, it has to be about using the best sides of both - which also means understanding weak sides of both.

Hence why mode awareness is a key skill for a modern pilot.
 
bluecrew
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 9:07 am

Starlionblue wrote:
What is "still happening despite training programs" is that many regulators and operators don't seem to train in a very rigorous fashion, and adopt punitive approaches to non-normal events

Right now, that choosen balance is to give the pilot authority over everything - but at the same time restrain the pilot with SOPs as much as possible..

The SOPs don't restrain us. They are our tools to do things correctly.


My impression is that balance between computer authority and human authority is the biggest knob to tweak by now. And it doesn't have to be more power to one or the other, it has to be about using the best sides of both - which also means understanding weak sides of both.

Hence why mode awareness is a key skill for a modern pilot.
Did you regularly do upset recovery prior to AFR447, or only once the recommendations were made after the accident?

In the US it's been pretty common for 20+ years (might not be 100% sure - I'm not that old yet) - basic premise has always been to kick the airplane down to the lowest possible automation or all automation off, and focus on flying the airplane and recovering. I would say, when well taught, it helps you even better understand the basic physics of how an airplane flies, and makes you a better pilot.

Of course you still see people fiddling with the autopilot VS when they get a TCAS RA, so I'm not thinking that the philosophy has truly been absorbed by the community,

Something sudden and unexpected like AFR447 - the airplane just shouldn't do that, so you're not going to see it coming - is entirely the reason we have maneuvers we commit to memory and focus on flying the airplane. I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback the dead, and it was obviously confusing to both pilots, but they had all the automation kick off on them, ended up banking all over the place, and somehow ended up at 40 degrees AOA. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to fly for pitch and figure out the clearly innacurate airspeed issue. This was just really bad airmanship - the automation didn't get in front of them (it turned off), their control inputs were backwards (climbing into a stall), and they showed a total inability to recover from the mistake. The accident report reads like a LionAir crash in French. Plenty of accidents in far less capable aircraft, correspondingly with almost certainly a much higher body count, in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, which is why we have upset recovery programs.

I have no idea if that philosophy extends outside the US - in my limited experience abroad it definitely did not. (Also if anyone references the A300 that went down in JFK and would like to indict the AAAMP for that, that's a non-sequitir - they never told pilots to go out there and kick the rudder in wake turbulence, guidance has always been smooth, gradual rudder inputs in the right direction until the airplane starts to respond)

I've always viewed this accident as an unfortunate series of events that would have had all of those threats mitigated, maybe not neutralized, by a competent, well trained crew; they couldn't fly the airplane when the automation was off.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 10:47 am

bluecrew wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
What is "still happening despite training programs" is that many regulators and operators don't seem to train in a very rigorous fashion, and adopt punitive approaches to non-normal events

Right now, that choosen balance is to give the pilot authority over everything - but at the same time restrain the pilot with SOPs as much as possible..

The SOPs don't restrain us. They are our tools to do things correctly.


My impression is that balance between computer authority and human authority is the biggest knob to tweak by now. And it doesn't have to be more power to one or the other, it has to be about using the best sides of both - which also means understanding weak sides of both.

Hence why mode awareness is a key skill for a modern pilot.
Did you regularly do upset recovery prior to AFR447, or only once the recommendations were made after the accident?

In the US it's been pretty common for 20+ years (might not be 100% sure - I'm not that old yet) - basic premise has always been to kick the airplane down to the lowest possible automation or all automation off, and focus on flying the airplane and recovering. I would say, when well taught, it helps you even better understand the basic physics of how an airplane flies, and makes you a better pilot.

Of course you still see people fiddling with the autopilot VS when they get a TCAS RA, so I'm not thinking that the philosophy has truly been absorbed by the community,

Something sudden and unexpected like AFR447 - the airplane just shouldn't do that, so you're not going to see it coming - is entirely the reason we have maneuvers we commit to memory and focus on flying the airplane. I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback the dead, and it was obviously confusing to both pilots, but they had all the automation kick off on them, ended up banking all over the place, and somehow ended up at 40 degrees AOA. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to fly for pitch and figure out the clearly innacurate airspeed issue. This was just really bad airmanship - the automation didn't get in front of them (it turned off), their control inputs were backwards (climbing into a stall), and they showed a total inability to recover from the mistake. The accident report reads like a LionAir crash in French. Plenty of accidents in far less capable aircraft, correspondingly with almost certainly a much higher body count, in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, which is why we have upset recovery programs.

I have no idea if that philosophy extends outside the US - in my limited experience abroad it definitely did not. (Also if anyone references the A300 that went down in JFK and would like to indict the AAAMP for that, that's a non-sequitir - they never told pilots to go out there and kick the rudder in wake turbulence, guidance has always been smooth, gradual rudder inputs in the right direction until the airplane starts to respond)

I've always viewed this accident as an unfortunate series of events that would have had all of those threats mitigated, maybe not neutralized, by a competent, well trained crew; they couldn't fly the airplane when the automation was off.

And yet there are human error events in the US as well. Miami air float and Amazon crash as recent examples.
And yes, that is exactly what I mean by "skygodness is still here"...
 
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zeke
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 11:23 am

Can we stop with the skygod references, it seems like an underhanded insult against people who have acquired different skills.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 11:39 am

zeke wrote:
Can we stop with the skygod references, it seems like an underhanded insult against people who have acquired different skills.

Point I am trying to test is that "human as the ultimate solution" approach is the biggest philosophical problem in flight control flow. It doesn't matter how you call it. "lack of trust into automation" is even less accurate way to describe it as it implies this is an "A or B" type of a problem.
Everything I hear so far only reinforces my impression that changing that paradigm may be a good idea, but possibly well in the area of diminishing returns.
 
744lover
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 12:40 pm

No finger pointing, at all thrust me. But having in mind the following: Concorde crash in CDG, AF447 and lastly AF11 all show pilots either deviating from SOP (Concorde) or a very bad CRM culture (447 and 11) where pilots did not communicate and gave dual inputs into the commands...

Shouldn't the concorde crash and 447 have enforced CRM training, and adherence, for this company? Why are people doing the same mistake again and again?

Again - no finger pointing or bashing one company - Just stating one fact I see that concerns me.


Thanks
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Wed Jun 08, 2022 11:38 pm

bluecrew wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
What is "still happening despite training programs" is that many regulators and operators don't seem to train in a very rigorous fashion, and adopt punitive approaches to non-normal events

Right now, that choosen balance is to give the pilot authority over everything - but at the same time restrain the pilot with SOPs as much as possible..

The SOPs don't restrain us. They are our tools to do things correctly.


My impression is that balance between computer authority and human authority is the biggest knob to tweak by now. And it doesn't have to be more power to one or the other, it has to be about using the best sides of both - which also means understanding weak sides of both.

Hence why mode awareness is a key skill for a modern pilot.
Did you regularly do upset recovery prior to AFR447, or only once the recommendations were made after the accident?

In the US it's been pretty common for 20+ years (might not be 100% sure - I'm not that old yet) - basic premise has always been to kick the airplane down to the lowest possible automation or all automation off, and focus on flying the airplane and recovering. I would say, when well taught, it helps you even better understand the basic physics of how an airplane flies, and makes you a better pilot.

Of course you still see people fiddling with the autopilot VS when they get a TCAS RA, so I'm not thinking that the philosophy has truly been absorbed by the community,

Something sudden and unexpected like AFR447 - the airplane just shouldn't do that, so you're not going to see it coming - is entirely the reason we have maneuvers we commit to memory and focus on flying the airplane. I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback the dead, and it was obviously confusing to both pilots, but they had all the automation kick off on them, ended up banking all over the place, and somehow ended up at 40 degrees AOA. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to fly for pitch and figure out the clearly innacurate airspeed issue. This was just really bad airmanship - the automation didn't get in front of them (it turned off), their control inputs were backwards (climbing into a stall), and they showed a total inability to recover from the mistake. The accident report reads like a LionAir crash in French. Plenty of accidents in far less capable aircraft, correspondingly with almost certainly a much higher body count, in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, which is why we have upset recovery programs.

I have no idea if that philosophy extends outside the US - in my limited experience abroad it definitely did not. (Also if anyone references the A300 that went down in JFK and would like to indict the AAAMP for that, that's a non-sequitir - they never told pilots to go out there and kick the rudder in wake turbulence, guidance has always been smooth, gradual rudder inputs in the right direction until the airplane starts to respond)

I've always viewed this accident as an unfortunate series of events that would have had all of those threats mitigated, maybe not neutralized, by a competent, well trained crew; they couldn't fly the airplane when the automation was off.


Caveat: I didn't fly aïrliners yet in 2009, so I can only speak from what I've heard that the training was like.

AFAIK upset and recovery training definitely happened before 2009. However, high altitude upset and recovery training was not performed or emphasized. Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Modern airliners have quite a narrow speed range at high altitude. The performance envelope in general is narrow. The aircraft is finicky to handfly. Therefore awareness and practice are required.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 09, 2022 12:55 am

I learned high altitude upset in the F-100. Came off the tanker, full of gas on a night trainer. Lead for AB, requests F350. We make it there, requested F390. Make it there, but the ole gal, isn’t happy. Center says, “how ‘bout 410 or 430?” “Yeah, why not”. One by one we stall out and start back toward Earth. Controller thought it was pretty, but took most of 8,000 feet to start flying again. Young and foolish.

Nothing like a 1,000 hours in a fighter to learn hand flying. Didn’t have an autopilot for my first couple thousand hours.
 
kalvado
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 09, 2022 1:13 am

Starlionblue wrote:
bluecrew wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
What is "still happening despite training programs" is that many regulators and operators don't seem to train in a very rigorous fashion, and adopt punitive approaches to non-normal events

Right now, that choosen balance is to give the pilot authority over everything - but at the same time restrain the pilot with SOPs as much as possible..

The SOPs don't restrain us. They are our tools to do things correctly.


My impression is that balance between computer authority and human authority is the biggest knob to tweak by now. And it doesn't have to be more power to one or the other, it has to be about using the best sides of both - which also means understanding weak sides of both.

Hence why mode awareness is a key skill for a modern pilot.
Did you regularly do upset recovery prior to AFR447, or only once the recommendations were made after the accident?

In the US it's been pretty common for 20+ years (might not be 100% sure - I'm not that old yet) - basic premise has always been to kick the airplane down to the lowest possible automation or all automation off, and focus on flying the airplane and recovering. I would say, when well taught, it helps you even better understand the basic physics of how an airplane flies, and makes you a better pilot.

Of course you still see people fiddling with the autopilot VS when they get a TCAS RA, so I'm not thinking that the philosophy has truly been absorbed by the community,

Something sudden and unexpected like AFR447 - the airplane just shouldn't do that, so you're not going to see it coming - is entirely the reason we have maneuvers we commit to memory and focus on flying the airplane. I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback the dead, and it was obviously confusing to both pilots, but they had all the automation kick off on them, ended up banking all over the place, and somehow ended up at 40 degrees AOA. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to fly for pitch and figure out the clearly innacurate airspeed issue. This was just really bad airmanship - the automation didn't get in front of them (it turned off), their control inputs were backwards (climbing into a stall), and they showed a total inability to recover from the mistake. The accident report reads like a LionAir crash in French. Plenty of accidents in far less capable aircraft, correspondingly with almost certainly a much higher body count, in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, which is why we have upset recovery programs.

I have no idea if that philosophy extends outside the US - in my limited experience abroad it definitely did not. (Also if anyone references the A300 that went down in JFK and would like to indict the AAAMP for that, that's a non-sequitir - they never told pilots to go out there and kick the rudder in wake turbulence, guidance has always been smooth, gradual rudder inputs in the right direction until the airplane starts to respond)

I've always viewed this accident as an unfortunate series of events that would have had all of those threats mitigated, maybe not neutralized, by a competent, well trained crew; they couldn't fly the airplane when the automation was off.


Caveat: I didn't fly aïrliners yet in 2009, so I can only speak from what I've heard that the training was like.

AFAIK upset and recovery training definitely happened before 2009. However, high altitude upset and recovery training was not performed or emphasized. Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Modern airliners have quite a narrow speed range at high altitude. The performance envelope in general is narrow. The aircraft is finicky to handfly. Therefore awareness and practice are required.

Isn't that high altitude usable condition space what to get call a "coffin corner"?
 
e38
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 09, 2022 1:31 am

Obviously training has evolved, and continues to do so, based upon advances in avionics, equipment, automation, and what can be learned from prior accidents and incidents, among other influences.

Upset recovery, as we refer to it today, was previously called "Unusual attitude recovery," and generally only involved nose high and nose low attitudes, often with bank included (45 - 60 degrees) in the scenario. We generally positioned the aircraft in the simulator profile to 5,000 - 10,000 feet AGL.

Unusual attitude recovery expanded to Upset Recovery Training sometime around 2012 at my operator. We still practice basic recovery from unusual attitudes in certain training programs, but Upset Recovery really takes unusual attitude recovery to a higher level (no pun intended) and expanded the realm of scenarios--from wake turbulence encounter to pilot inattention, distraction, and/or disorientation; to equipment failure.

Upset recovery may involve increased bank attitudes (up to 135 degrees) but we also practice the recoveries at various altitudes from 5,000 feet AGL up to around FL350. Furthermore, since control inputs need to be smoother at higher altitudes and since thrust response is also slower at higher altitudes, we also practice stall recovery at various altitudes up to approximately FL350 to demonstrate the increased amount of time and altitude needed to recover under varying conditions.

Not only are these maneuvers practiced and evaluated in the simulator, but we also spend considerable time discussing them during the simulator pre-brief and post-brief sessions.

Many of these enhancements to training resulted from aircraft accidents involving control issues--AA587 (2001), AF447 (2009), Colgan 3407 (2009), for example.

These improvement to training tend to reinforce CRM and enhance pilot awareness and aircraft control.

e38
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Air France 447: 13 years on

Thu Jun 09, 2022 6:18 am

Thanks for that, e38!

kalvado wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
bluecrew wrote:
Did you regularly do upset recovery prior to AFR447, or only once the recommendations were made after the accident?

In the US it's been pretty common for 20+ years (might not be 100% sure - I'm not that old yet) - basic premise has always been to kick the airplane down to the lowest possible automation or all automation off, and focus on flying the airplane and recovering. I would say, when well taught, it helps you even better understand the basic physics of how an airplane flies, and makes you a better pilot.

Of course you still see people fiddling with the autopilot VS when they get a TCAS RA, so I'm not thinking that the philosophy has truly been absorbed by the community,

Something sudden and unexpected like AFR447 - the airplane just shouldn't do that, so you're not going to see it coming - is entirely the reason we have maneuvers we commit to memory and focus on flying the airplane. I'm not going to Monday morning quarterback the dead, and it was obviously confusing to both pilots, but they had all the automation kick off on them, ended up banking all over the place, and somehow ended up at 40 degrees AOA. It really doesn't take a rocket scientist to fly for pitch and figure out the clearly innacurate airspeed issue. This was just really bad airmanship - the automation didn't get in front of them (it turned off), their control inputs were backwards (climbing into a stall), and they showed a total inability to recover from the mistake. The accident report reads like a LionAir crash in French. Plenty of accidents in far less capable aircraft, correspondingly with almost certainly a much higher body count, in the US in the 1980s and 1990s, which is why we have upset recovery programs.

I have no idea if that philosophy extends outside the US - in my limited experience abroad it definitely did not. (Also if anyone references the A300 that went down in JFK and would like to indict the AAAMP for that, that's a non-sequitir - they never told pilots to go out there and kick the rudder in wake turbulence, guidance has always been smooth, gradual rudder inputs in the right direction until the airplane starts to respond)

I've always viewed this accident as an unfortunate series of events that would have had all of those threats mitigated, maybe not neutralized, by a competent, well trained crew; they couldn't fly the airplane when the automation was off.


Caveat: I didn't fly aïrliners yet in 2009, so I can only speak from what I've heard that the training was like.

AFAIK upset and recovery training definitely happened before 2009. However, high altitude upset and recovery training was not performed or emphasized. Please correct me if I'm wrong about that.

Modern airliners have quite a narrow speed range at high altitude. The performance envelope in general is narrow. The aircraft is finicky to handfly. Therefore awareness and practice are required.

Isn't that high altitude usable condition space what to get call a "coffin corner"?


Coffin corner indeed....

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