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  • What is it doing now?

    1st act: What is the Pilot Monitoring doing now?
    2nd act: What is the A320 doing now?
    3rd act: What is the Pilot Flying doing now?

    Poor passengers....

    In the end, the PF eventually succeeded to control the plane in a very confusing situation, my sympathies for that.
    But apparently they only understood "why the plane was doing that" only after everything went back to normal. Which is fine in principle.
    But, in hindsight, the pilots should have FULLY clicked-clacked it (AP off, AT off, FD off) the instant that they started to wonder "what is it doing now". If you don't understand what the automation is doing, remove the automation, control the plane manually, fully stabilize the situation, and only then analyze "why was it doing that".

    http://avherald.com/h?article=49de3dbc&opt=234

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

  • #2
    Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
    1st act: What is the Pilot Monitoring doing now?
    2nd act: What is the A320 doing now?
    3rd act: What is the Pilot Flying doing now?

    Poor passengers....

    In the end, the PF eventually succeeded to control the plane in a very confusing situation, my sympathies for that.
    But apparently they only understood "why the plane was doing that" only after everything went back to normal. Which is fine in principle.
    But, in hindsight, the pilots should have FULLY clicked-clacked it (AP off, AT off, FD off) the instant that they started to wonder "what is it doing now". If you don't understand what the automation is doing, remove the automation, control the plane manually, fully stabilize the situation, and only then analyze "why was it doing that".

    http://avherald.com/h?article=49de3dbc&opt=234
    What a fabulous sh*tshow! I might have to add Wizz Air to my no fly list.

    Continuous, detailed overviewing and full understanding of the operation of such heavily automated systems like an Airbus A320 aircraft typically exceeds the possibilities of an average operator.
    Nonsense! In this situation, any confusion over "What's it doing now?" could have been instantly answered by glancing at the FMA, located as we all know on the Primary Flight Display, which is called 'Primary' for a reason. Because it's right in front of you and gives you a continuous, detailed overviewing and full understanding of the operation of the automated systems on the Airbus A320.

    If you aren't monitoring the FMA, you might as well let go of the other controls as well. You are no longer flying the plane.


    Upon initiating a go-around on the A320, both the PF and the PM must verify that the modes are MAN TOGA/SRS/GA-TRK. That's the job in 2021. If they aren't MAN TOGA/SRS/GA-TRK (and you've confirmed that the thrust levers are fully in the TOGA detent), then click-clack the automation off (not armed) until you understand why they aren't.

    And EVERY A320 pilot must know instinctively that returning the thrust levers into the A/T range with the A/T armed will engage the A/T to follow the current AP vertical mode, which is displayed in the FMA right TF in front of you!

    And yet the IC (whois the IC?) wants to blame the aircraft. The hero of this story is the aircraft, which ignored the command to retract slats below a safe airspeed, thank god.


    FMA____ANNOUNCE:

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Screen Shot 2021-03-23 at 5.37.51 PM.png Views:	0 Size:	131.2 KB ID:	1112315

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    • #3
      "The hero was the Aircraft"? I guess Airbus designed the aircraft to be flown by idiots.

      One of my last trips in the Citation X descending into Las Vegas, 1500 overcast, tops about 15,000. I turned off the autopilot at FL180 as I usually did, to hand fly to the airport. My new, young, FO says "what was that, what was that". I asked "what did you see?" He says "did you turn off the autopilot?" I said yes. Then he says "are going to hand fly the airplane in the clouds?" I said "yes". Then he says "but that means I have to watch you and everything". I said yes that's what it means PM, pilot monitoring. Not to long after that I retired.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by kent olsen View Post
        "The hero was the Aircraft"? I guess Airbus designed the aircraft to be flown by idiots.
        That's just the thing, they didn't design it to be flown by idiots. They designed it to catch the errors of competent pilots. So, in this case, the PF would observe, "The minimum safe airspeed is rising very oddly for the current configuration" but the airplane has prevented the situation from becoming critical while he reacts appropriately. It keeps the airplane in the safe envelope when competent pilots make the occasional error. The design does not make the aircraft idiot-proof. You put incompetent people in there and anything can happen.

        One of my last trips in the Citation X descending into Las Vegas, 1500 overcast, tops about 15,000. I turned off the autopilot at FL180 as I usually did, to hand fly to the airport. My new, young, FO says "what was that, what was that". I asked "what did you see?" He says "did you turn off the autopilot?" I said yes. Then he says "are going to hand fly the airplane in the clouds?" I said "yes". Then he says "but that means I have to watch you and everything". I said yes that's what it means PM, pilot monitoring. Not to long after that I retired.
        Since RVSM requirements are based on the fact that modern avionics are far less fallible than human behavior, I can see his point. Monitoring a human pilot could be more difficult and stressful than monitoring automation. But if he actually lacked the confidence and skill to hand-fly in IMC I think that would be a good time to retire.

        But I'm talking about monitoring automation. We have seen too many incidents caused by pilots with plenty of skill and confidence in manual flying who have failed to monitor their automation.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by kent olsen View Post
          "The hero was the Aircraft"? I guess Airbus designed the aircraft to be flown by idiots..
          Yes, as they should. Is not that pilots are idiots, but idiot pilots, or pilots that are in general good but have one particularly idiot day, do exist.

          Would you rather have an airplane designed for the average pilot and let the 50% that is below average crash them on a daily basis? Because there will be ALWAYS ro% of pilots that are below the average, that's the very definition of "average" (actually, it is de definition of median, but I digress).

          So yes, designing a plane to be flown by the worst pilots that will ever fly them (or for good pilots in their worst day) is the way to go.
          Now, we can discuss, agree, or disagree with how it was implemented. But again I digress.

          --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
          --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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          • #6
            Originally posted by kent olsen View Post
            He says "did you turn off the autopilot?" I said yes. Then he says "are going to hand fly the airplane in the clouds?" I said "yes". Then he says "but that means I have to watch you and everything". I said yes that's what it means PM, pilot monitoring.
            Didn't you explain to him that he has to watch you and the instruments even if the automation is flying the plane?

            --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
            --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Evan View Post
              Since RVSM requirements are .....
              Irrelevant. 18000 ft and below is not RVSM airspace.

              --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
              --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gabriel View Post

                Irrelevant. 18000 ft and below is not RVSM airspace.
                Exactly. If it makes sense above 18,000ft, why doesn't it make sense below 18,000ft?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan View Post

                  Exactly. If it makes sense above 18,000ft, why doesn't it make sense below 18,000ft?
                  I didn't say that it makes or doesn't make sense. I said that bringing RVSM is irrelevant.

                  I could ask you why does it make sense now but not before when RVSM was not a thing.

                  (And RVSM starts at 29,000 ft and ends at 41,000 ft, not 18,000 ft. I mentioned 18,000 ft only because that's the altitude where Kent said he disconnected the AP, and they were descending not climbing, so RVSM was not a thing there).

                  --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                  --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gabriel View Post

                    I didn't say that it makes or doesn't make sense. I said that bringing RVSM is irrelevant.
                    I didn't bring up RVSM because of the altitude. I brought it up as an example of something all airlines pilots have accepted about human error. Autoflight does it (a lot) more reliably up there.

                    I could ask you why does it make sense now but not before when RVSM was not a thing.
                    Because RVSM wasn't a thing until autoflight became ultra reliable in the digital age. It would not have been safe enough.

                    But here we are, in the digital GPS age. No human pilot can fly a flight path more reliably than automation. I recognize the need to do it at least occasionally for the purpose of retaining skills that might be needed if the automation fails. But it comes with added workload and stress for the PM because human performance is inconsistent and prone to errors, distractions and illusions.

                    I think Capt Olsen is lucky to have flown in a more exciting age of flight and to have retired before it becomes entirely automated. But I also think the rest of us are lucky to fly in a far safer age.

                    (Recklessly designed automation and reckless cowboy improvisation excepted, of course).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Acronyms galore (and crazy woven automatic systems)
                      I’m sure Evan is tingling...

                      I dunno- I kind of like the 6 basic instruments, and power levers that directly control power...if you want to put automatic crap ON TOP of that, fine...

                      I find it disturbing that the pilots never really took
                      control of the airplane, but conversely, it SEEMS that El Capitan was aware of a lot of stuff...just a bit short on how the acronyms weave together with flaps up.

                      [Footnote- not calling for a return to steam gauges- the flat screen reports similar data in similar relative positions]

                      Click clack paddy whack give a pilot a plane, this ole pilot used airmanship to get us home...
                      Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 3WE View Post

                        I’m sure Evan is tingling...

                        I dunno- I kind of like the 6 basic instruments, and power levers that directly control power...if you want to put automatic crap ON TOP of that, fine...

                        I find it disturbing that the pilots never really took
                        control of the airplane, but conversely, it SEEMS that El Capitan was aware of a lot of stuff...just a bit short on how the acronyms weave together with flaps up.

                        [Footnote- not calling for a return to steam gauges- the flat screen reports similar data in similar relative positions]

                        Click clack paddy whack give a pilot a plane, this ole pilot used airmanship to get us home...
                        It seems that they never realized of the flaps mistake that set the crap in motion until after the plane was fully stabilized after the incident. That possibly triggered the "what is it doing now".
                        Even if they looked at the FMA (Flight Mode Annunciator) and realized that the GA (Go Around) mode had not engaged, they probably would have not understood why not (i.e. they would have still been in the "what is it doing now mode"). I am not sure that looking at the FMA and realizing that the vertical mode was not in GA mode would have helped them realize of the full situation and break the chain of events.

                        I would say that the worst part is that they did no FULLY clicked clacked Otto out of the game. They stayed with the autothrust on even when the thrust was doing crazy things like idling the thrust when they were climbing and had "climb" selected (you know that the automation doesn't move the pilot controls like it does in the Boeing, neither the sidestick nor the thrust levers, so leaving the levers in "climb" with the AT on doesn't mean that the thrust is in climb, but Airbus pilots surely are absolutely aware of that and used o fly that way, because they do that in every single flight).

                        --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                        --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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                        • #13
                          What we have here is one of those 'blended automation' scenarios. This is where we have seen a lot of 'what's it doing now'.

                          Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                          I am not sure that looking at the FMA and realizing that the vertical mode was not in GA mode would have helped them realize of the full situation and break the chain of events.
                          No, but it would have made it perfectly clear that there was an automation problem and that a go-around wasn't happening. That should have led to a complete reversion to manual flight.

                          I would say that the worst part is that they did no FULLY clicked clacked Otto out of the game. They stayed with the autothrust on even when the thrust was doing crazy things like idling the thrust when they were climbing and had "climb" selected (you know that the automation doesn't move the pilot controls like it does in the Boeing, neither the sidestick nor the thrust levers, so leaving the levers in "climb" with the AT on doesn't mean that the thrust is in climb, but Airbus pilots surely are absolutely aware of that and used o fly that way, because they do that in every single flight).
                          I would say the worst part is that one of the pilots carelessly moved the flaps into the 0 position without either pilot noticing. If you want to talk about airmanship, start there.

                          When you move the thrust levers beyond CL you are no longer in active autothrust. You are in manual thrust. The pilot also disconnected the autopilot. This is what I mean by blended automation. The pilot has full manual authority, but, since he left the autothrust armed and the FD's on, he was heading for a 'what's it doing now' moment when he returned the thrust levers to CL and unintentionally reactivated the autothrust in GS mode. That is why there is procedure for autoflight shutdown that includes things the crew might overlook, things that might leave the automation armed and set to confuse them. That is why there is recurrent training.

                          But, from a training perspective, let's start with that flap lever....

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Gabe
                            ...I would say that the worst part is that they did no FULLY clicked clacked Otto out of the game. They stayed with the autothrust on even when the thrust was doing crazy things like idling the thrust when they were climbing and had "climb" selected (you know that the automation doesn't move the pilot controls like it does in the Boeing, neither the sidestick nor the thrust levers, so leaving the levers in "climb" with the AT on doesn't mean that the thrust is in climb, but Airbus pilots surely are absolutely aware of that and used o fly that way, because they do that in every single flight).
                            Indeed.
                            Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Evan View Post
                              I would say the worst part is that one of the pilots carelessly moved the flaps into the 0 position without either pilot noticing. If you want to talk about airmanship, start there.
                              I don't disagree but that is something that is going to happen every once and then. You are never going to get rid of that no matter how good the pilots.
                              Selecting flaps up instad of down.
                              Selecting the gear lever instead of the flaps lever (or vice versa).
                              And even turning the rudder trim switch instead of the cockpit door switch.

                              These are human mistakes of the most basic type and happen from time to time to everybody no matter how skillful or professional, and some times they are not immediately detected or recognized.

                              But, from a training perspective, let's start with that flap lever....
                              Really? Do you think that the pilot was not properly trained in moving the lever back when he wanted to increase the flaps setting? Or didn't have enough experience doing just that?

                              --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                              --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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