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  1.  
    "To the question of why, the facile answer — that they happened to be three unusually incompetent men — has been widely dismissed. "

    Not by professional pilots, it hasn't. What more definition of (hopefully unusual) incompetency is required, than to have a couple of pilots using the controls in a deliberate manner to hold a fully functional big airliner in a full stall for over three minutes?
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: oakTo put it briefly, automation has made it more and more unlikely that ordinary airline pilots will ever have to face a raw crisis in flight — but also more and more unlikely that they will be able to cope with such a crisis if one arises.

    *
    The only possible answer lies in extensive exposure to very realistic simulation training. Again and again and often. Expensive and annoying but if it will be solved, that is how. And of course, even better systems which have enough redundancy and backup to prevent the catastrophic loss of situation awareness to start with. One possibility lies with increased use of the GPS for independent backup of ground speed, calculated air speed based on immediate past history and best projections incorporating radar and other data, and of course for determination of other variables as well.

    I can conceive of a program which would have set off an audio on the AF flight which said loudly, "WARNING! Loss of pitot signal! Probable icing! Press MORE NOW!" ... then on pressing a "more" switch... "CAUTION: Nose is high! Altitude is adequate for terrain. Suggest level flight, 80% power [or whatever], and oxygen masks in the cockpit until cause is remedied. Suggest reference to computed GPS for speed checks."

    And it is important to note that this type of situation, like the probable sabotage cause of the Malaysian flight's demise, is very rare. Nothing will make flying accident proof.
    •  
      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: alsetalokin"To the question of why, the facile answer — that they happened to be three unusually incompetent men — has been widely dismissed. "

    Not by professional pilots, it hasn't. What more definition of (hopefully unusual) incompetency is required, than to have a couple of pilots using the controls in a deliberate manner to hold a fully functional big airliner in a full stall for over three minutes?
    I'm going to guess they were highly complacent and lulled into a near stupor by the long flight, the quiet airconditioned comfort and luxury of the cockpit and reliance on the automation. They were possibly distracted by irrelevant conversation about spouses, children, real estate, stocks, whatever. They didn't come to full awakeness in time. And they panicked before they did. Just a guess of course.

    All three being exceptionally incompetent and all on the same flight seems odd despite their weird behavior.
    •  
      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014 edited
     
    AF358
    AF296
    AF343 upset
    etc etc

    If it's Air France... don't take the chance.

    (And everything your previous post suggests was indeed told to the pilots by the airplane but they weren't listening, and it is basic instrument flying, taught (formerly) to every 100 hour pilot, to use pitch and power to control the airplane when instruments fail.)
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinAF358
    AF296
    AF343 upset
    etc etc


    You sure you mean those? They're either mostly survivable or not recent (1960). Here's what Wikipedia says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_accidents_and_incidents

    It's a lot but then, try UAL or AA or TWA or Air Africa or Aeroflot, LOL.
    •  
      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: alsetalokin(And everything your previous post suggests was indeed told to the pilots by the airplane but they weren't listening, and it is basic instrument flying, taught (formerly) to every 100 hour pilot, to use pitch and power to control the airplane when instruments fail.)
    I think it's fair that they COULD have gotten that information if they had not clutched up and freaked. But maybe a very loud and precise, repeating audio warning would have helped. Also some very prominent totally "indipendent" backup instruments of adequate type and scope. I don't know, obviously, for sure.
  2.  
    Sounds like a case of Freaking Flying Frogs
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014 edited
     
    Posted By: alsetalokin"To the question of why, the facile answer — that they happened to be three unusually incompetent men — has been widely dismissed. "

    Not by professional pilots, it hasn't. What more definition of (hopefully unusual) incompetency is required, than to have a couple of pilots using the controls in a deliberate manner to hold a fully functional big airliner in a full stall for over three minutes?
    There was panic in the cockpit. Bonin kept retaking control of the side stick and pitching the plane further and further up. An angle of attack indication or warning might have been helpful, but basically I don't think Bonin knew how to fly, and the other two did not have the presence of mind to take control away from him.
  3.  
    Posted By: joshsI don't think Bonin knew how to fly
    Well, that appears to raise a couple of serious issues!
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014
     
    Posted By: Andrew Palfreyman
    Posted By: joshsI don't think Bonin knew how to fly
    Well, that appears to raise a couple of serious issues!
    The article really addresses it both from a policy standpoint and from the voice recorder data. Bonin kept pitching the nose up and up and up even when Roberts attempted to take control and get the nose down.

    I agree with the author. While one could try and address these issues by taking measures to insure that pilots can actually fly a plane, that is expensive, and probably overall less certain than getting the computers to become better and better at flying the plane under any conditions. The assumption of the 330 design was that the humans were better equipped to fly the plane than the computer once the pitots iced-up. Obviously, in this case that was not true. Like Al, I am shocked that an airline handed the controls to an individual who seemed little more experienced at operating them than a kid off the street. If airlines are going to continue to have people on board who can take the controls, those people should at least have minimal skills that Bonin seemed to lack.
  4.  
    That to me seems to be an incredible state of affairs. Straight out of Kafka. Professional pilots in charge of hundreds of lives who cannot fly.

    @Al: Do they have heating boots on the pitot tubes?
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeOct 1st 2014
     
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanThat to me seems to be an incredible state of affairs. Straight out of Kafka. Professional pilots in charge of hundreds of lives who cannot fly.

    @Al: Do they have heating boots on the pitot tubes?
    But that is just what is happening. Pilots get very little time at the controls on the job. That trend is accelerating.

    And yes, pitot tubes have heaters. Rossi has been borrowing them as safety devices for his eCats.
  5.  
    Posted By: Andrew PalfreymanThat to me seems to be an incredible state of affairs. Straight out of Kafka. Professional pilots in charge of hundreds of lives who cannot fly.

    @Al: Do they have heating boots on the pitot tubes?


    Not boots but internal electric heating coils, drain holes, etc.

    Read this... and be afraid, very afraid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447#Pitot_tubes

    @MY: the point of my selected flight numbers was to emphasize that there seems to be a culture of pilot incompetence (defined my way) at Air France. The Toronto "survivable" overrun in a storm is a great example.
    But it's not just AF and it seems to me to be due to complacency and overreliance on automation, combined with a failure to understand and act appropriately during one of the myriad of automation "failure" modes... most of which are caused by the pilots themselves, like the Asiana crash at SFO.
    Children of the Magenta Line. The solo x-c student navigating by her cellphone. It's a tragedy looking for a place to happen and it happens far too much. Automation is great and a modern airliner would be impossible to operate without it. Pilots who know how to fly, first, are also great, and even if they only need to do it once every twenty years, they need to be ready and capable of doing it.

    Power, attitude, configuration. Aviate, navigate, communicate. Speed is life. The pilot who does not understand these things is just a taxi driver taking you to the scene of the crash.
    • CommentAuthorjoshs
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2014
     
    I prefer to call them: Concierges of Doom.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 2nd 2014
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinThe solo x-c student navigating by her cellphone


    Aaaargh!!! tell me it never happened. Matter of fact I am having a family issue at present regarding the use of GPS equipment in commercial IFR.
    •  
      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2014 edited
     
    Nobody tells a story like Keith Morrison.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IbrcnN8xN8
    •  
      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2014 edited
     
    What a story (though strung out far too long for the material. Being a Canadian, Morrisson is very gabby). You'd think she might notice the sun beginning to set in the east? Still, it's easy to second guess when you're comfy sitting in front of your computer.
  6.  
    That was a really good show. I just wonder how she avoided looking at the compass all that time!
  7.  
    Posted By: AngusYou'd think she might notice the sun


    Posted By: Andrew Palfreymanshe avoided looking at the compass


    Exactly. A child of the magenta line, and not even aware of it. A defect in training, set up to fail by the flight instructor and the flight training non-program. I am just flabbergasted by this story, I guess you can tell. An aviation-oriented family, a community of pilots, and a flight training program so deficient that a student is sent on a long solo x-c apparently without the least clue about actual navigation by looking out the window at the scenery, correlating it with the sectional chart and the magnetic compass, and _knowing for sure_ where one is at all times... it just boggles the mind.
    And trying to walk out ... utter stupidity, she should have been eaten by a bear.
  8.  
    what's "x-c" please?

    I don't want to seem unduly unsympathetic, but if she was screaming while attempting to land it - well, I can't relate (American girls have exported their screams to the world now). I do get the emotional break with the video, though.

    She could I think have done a steep U-turn in that canyon, no? Take it high, drop a wing, come around. No need to get to the ridge and get flipped by high winds. Power stall it around.