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smartt1982
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Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Sun Jul 17, 2011 11:35 am

Hello

Hoping for any feedback people are willing to provide. I am a current airline pilot myself and I am currently undertaking a research project for a course I am doing, I am doing the research on training in the airline industry but specifically manual flying in the industry. I have collected an amount of material on it already and I will be doing a survey on it from willing pilots in the industry in the next stage but if anyone has any info on the subject in general ie articles, opinions, your companies polIcy in particular on manual flying( don't have to mention names if you do not wish to). I have come across a number of articles and accident reports were it has been mentioned as the cause but if anyone has/knows of any particular related ones to the that topic I would love to hear about them in case there is any I have missed

Many thanks in advance
 
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tb727
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:55 am

Are you talking about hand-flying the airplane versus using the autopilot?
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ILUV767
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:09 pm

I fly a Beech 1900 without an autopilot installed in airline service. It doesnt get any more hands on than that.
 
n6238p
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Wed Jul 20, 2011 12:24 am

I've talked to plenty of freight dogs out there that hand fly everything. There's an outfit in the Southwest US flying metroliners manually and they'll do 4-5hr + legs some times.
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lowrider
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:35 am

Company policy is mandatory use of autopilot in RVSM airspace, and "to use automation to the maximum extent possible consistent with safe, efficient, flight". Everything else is left to our discretion.
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Lemmy
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:28 am

Quoting lowrider (Reply 4):
Company policy is mandatory use of autopilot in RVSM airspace

Is flight in RVSM always done by autopilot? I seem to remember something in the regs stating that a functional autopilot was a requirement for RVSM flight. If that's the case, then I'd imagine that there aren't many jet flights cruising without AP engaged.
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tb727
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:59 am

Quoting Lemmy (Reply 5):

Is flight in RVSM always done by autopilot? I seem to remember something in the regs stating that a functional autopilot was a requirement for RVSM flight. If that's the case, then I'd imagine that there aren't many jet flights cruising without AP engaged.

True. I've also heard the interpretation as it had to be functioning but not necessarily used from someone although that is not how I personally see it. We always use it in RVSM airspace. Back when I was teaching guys how to fly jets I made them hand fly the airplane all the time, we weren't above FL280. It was usually their first jet experience and I thought it was important that they knew how to hand fly, a monkey could fly a plane by pushing buttons. We washed out a guy because he couldn't fly the plane without the AP and Flight Director. I'd school them on how to use the AP if they started making me sick or needed a break. I've done coast to coast and back with no AP and it can be a long, tiring day. I even went to Europe and back without one in a Learjet, that was the suckiest trip ever.

Personally, I turn it on in the climb somewhere above 10,000' because we are speeding up to 320+KIAS and it's smoother and more efficient to use it. Down low it depends on my mood and the particular airplane along with the weather. The companies policy is much like was said before, it's really our discretion.
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B747FE
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:29 am

Automation is there to help you reduce workload and increase safety of the operation.
Having said that, I hand fly as much as I can. Depending on weather, traffic conditions, etc I normally hand fly the plane all the way to/from FL 290. No A/P, A/T & F/D.

Quoting lowrider (Reply 4):
Company policy is mandatory use of autopilot in RVSM airspace, and "to use automation to the maximum extent possible consistent with safe, efficient, flight".

Same for us.

Regards,
B747FE.
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lowrider
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Wed Jul 20, 2011 5:52 pm

Quoting Lemmy (Reply 5):
Is flight in RVSM always done by autopilot?

By policy, at my company it is. Since it is not my name on the tail, I tend to stick pretty close to that. We need to dispatch with the autopilot operational if we plan to operate in RVSM.
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tb727
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Thu Jul 21, 2011 1:08 am

Quoting lowrider (Reply 8):
By policy, at my company it is. Since it is not my name on the tail, I tend to stick pretty close to that. We need to dispatch with the autopilot operational if we plan to operate in RVSM.

And it sucks when it decides to go Tango Uniform once you level off at altitude like what happened to me last month! Luckily it just needed to dry out and started working after about 30 minutes, it was about to be a really long day.
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lowrider
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Thu Jul 21, 2011 2:12 am

Quoting tb727 (Reply 9):
And it sucks when it decides to go Tango Uniform once you level off at altitude like what happened to me last month!

yeah, that would make for a long day. Haven't had all of the A/Ps give up on me, but in that case I think I might split the flying into 1 hour shifts. It would still be a tedious especially on a 8 or 9 hour leg.
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tb727
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Thu Jul 21, 2011 4:20 am

Quoting lowrider (Reply 10):

yeah, that would make for a long day. Haven't had all of the A/Ps give up on me, but in that case I think I might split the flying into 1 hour shifts. It would still be a tedious especially on a 8 or 9 hour leg.

Yeah it was at the start of a 5 hour leg with 2-3 hour legs and a short hop to follow right after the Captain said I could fly as many legs as I wanted and I said I'd take all of them lol. It was the first time I hand flew an airliner up at altitude and it wasn't bad at all but I could do the normal things I do like look out the window.
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smartt1982
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:19 pm

In your companies then, is it encouraged to do a lot of manual/non auto pilot flying as long not in RVSM/bad weather, are captains or the other guy/gal usually ok with you doing it?. When hand flying do you prefer to have flight directors and A/T in or completely raw data with no A/T or combination of them?

I do realize that this has as been discussed in other forums that the automatics in airliners have become a lot more sophisticated and reliable and as such there is less of a need or necessity for pilots to actually hand fly the aircraft. As such I believe the average hands/raw data skills of pilots in the industry is less than it was a number of years ago(especially considering low hour pilots going straight to jet airliners and lot less people coming from military flying). Considering recent crashes and possibly even the recent Air France crash(I say possibly as the final report is not issued and I also believe there were a number of factors involved) were lack of basic piloting skills may have been a factor.

Do you believe this is a concern? If so what can be done about it, considering that airspace is getting more and more dense and sophisticated at all stages of flight. Training is expensive and airlines although of course want a safe operation probably don’t see the point in having you spend more time in the sim than is needed that to do the required checks that is required by the authority. At our airline every second scheduled OPC/LPC we have an extra day which is set aside for training which is normally used to high light some trend that has developed in the company i.e. incorrect QNH on non precision approaches or double engine failure which was done to be similar to the BA crash. Even with this there is less and less manual flying being done and I tend to think of raw data with no automatics in at all.

Thoughts?
 
lowrider
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RE: Manual Flying In The Airline Industry

Thu Jul 21, 2011 12:51 pm

Quoting smartt1982 (Reply 12):
is it encouraged to do a lot of manual/non auto pilot flying

No. Use of automation is encouraged, for economic reasons, to reduced fatigue, and help maintain situational awareness to the maximum extent possible.

Quoting smartt1982 (Reply 12):
Do you believe this is a concern?

Yes. Any skill decays if you don't use it. I try and mitigate it by hand flying a reasonable amount. I know this increases the workload on the non-flying pilot, so I try and pick situations where they won't become saturated. I think some it is up to the individual pilot to determine how much of this they need and how to tackle it. I don't see the need for extra sim time for something they can get in everyday ops. I come from a mostly non-automated background, so I might value the hand flying skill set more than some.

Quoting smartt1982 (Reply 12):
As such I believe the average hands/raw data skills of pilots in the industry is less than it was a number of years ago

I agree. It becomes a question of how much skill is enough. The skill level is lower because the demand is lower. As with many other professions, more advanced tools have replaced the need for raw skill. The problem is when these more advanced tools go awry. I think this will continue to be a challenge as the job moves more towards systems management and away from actual hands on flying.
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