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  • Pilot Incapacitation

    This week alone American has lost 57-year-old Michael Johnston to a heart attack and United has suffered a F/O incapacitation that forced a diversion. These things are uncommon but not unheard-of occurrences. I hope this silences those who have been calling for the single-pilot cockpit. A minimum of two pilots must be the rule as long as technology is not fail-proof.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/06/us...out/index.html

  • #2
    This idea of a single pilot cockpit has always struck me as the most stupid idea ever.
    An aircraft is required to have double and triple redundancy control systems yet some pillock thinks that having just one of the "Control Systems" that is most likely to fail is a good idea.

    Lunacy !
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

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    • #3
      Originally posted by brianw999 View Post
      Lunacy !
      Two words: Cape Airways.
      Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 3WE View Post
        Two words: Cape Airways.
        We can afford to loose you and other 5 in a small GA plane.
        We cannot afford to loose a big turboprop or a jet with 50+ souls.

        Your Grey Hound is also single-pilot.

        --- 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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        • #5
          Originally posted by 3WE View Post
          Two words: Cape Airways.
          Actually when I flew Cape Air, there was a paying passenger in the copilot's seat!

          In general one pilot seems like a bad idea to me, what worries me much more is those advocating zero.
          Be alert! America needs more lerts.

          Eric Law

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
            We can afford to loose you and other 5 in a small GA plane.
            We cannot afford to loose a big turboprop or a jet with 50+ souls.

            Your Grey Hound is also single-pilot.
            But if necessary, anyone else on board a Greyhound can access the controls even if just to throw the handbrake lever.
            If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
              We can afford to loose you and other 5 in a small GA plane.
              We cannot afford to loose a big turboprop or a jet with 50+ souls.

              Your Grey Hound is also single-pilot.
              A bus driver experiencing chest pains can pull over a bit more quickly than an Airbus driver. But it's a good analogy because Michael O'Leary, who wants to do away with the F/O, is basically running Greyhound of the skies up there.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                We can afford...
                Are you saying my safety is affected by an economic decision?

                (PS, I think they seat 8 to 11 folks)
                Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 3WE View Post
                  Are you saying my safety is affected by an economic decision?
                  Yes.
                  (PS, I think they seat 8 to 11 folks)
                  Right. I didn't think that a C-402 piston twin would seat 10 (including one pilot)

                  --- 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 ---

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    And that's not the only reason to have two pilots in a cockpit, when things get messy, and you have abnormal-emergency situations, being alone there isn't fun at all.
                    Juan Felipe Arango Pérez
                    FAA Commercial Multi-Engine Pilot
                    C172 PA44 JS32 B767F A332F

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                    • #11
                      Let me throw out two thoughts unrelated to each other but hopefully pertinent here...

                      1) Am I the only one who suspects in some cases, particularly years ago when social norms were different, that some accidents attributed to "pilot incapacitation" could actually have been pilot suicide? BEA 548 comes to mind immediately, but I've seen a few others where pilots took sudden definitive action with no obvious cause that resulted in a crash and it was blamed on nebulous medical issues.

                      2) Do pilots ever train for this (the other pilot becoming incapacitated) in the simulator?
                      Be alert! America needs more lerts.

                      Eric Law

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by elaw View Post
                        2) Do pilots ever train for this (the other pilot becoming incapacitated) in the simulator?
                        That seems like a waste of sim time to me. In any sim scenario, you have a pilot flying and a pilot monitoring. If one pilot becomes incapacitated, you only lose the pilot monitoring. This increases the workload for the pilot flying but doesn't impede his ability to fly the plane. AFIAK the SOP is simply to divert to the nearest serviceable airport and request medical services.

                        The danger lies in the potential for something unexpected to arise that involves CRM procedure and now must be improvised by a lone pilot. That increases the risk of pilot error but, as 3WE will reassure us, can also be dealt with using basic airmanship in most cases where pilot error does not play a fatal role. And in most jets these days, there is ECAM or EICAS to help you along...

                        I have a question: in this scenario is it permissable (or advisable) to have one of the cabin crew sit in the observer seat to run checklists with the remaining pilot? I think it is always good to have a pair of minds checking off the essentials and it would take some stress off the isolated pilot.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Evan View Post
                          That seems like a waste of sim time to me. In any sim scenario, you have a pilot flying and a pilot monitoring. If one pilot becomes incapacitated, you only lose the pilot monitoring.
                          Uh, what? Are you saying you know in advance that the pilot that's going to expire is always the one monitoring?

                          Okay yes I understand your point. Once the situation is identified and corrective action taken, you'll have a PF and no PM in the cockpit. But consider that in the BEA accident I reference above, only 19 seconds elapsed between when the first "inappropriate pilot action" took place and the a/c entered an unrecoverable stall. That's not much time for the PM to identify that there's a problem, gain an understanding of the nature of the problem, possibly deal with something like a person slumped over the controls, orient himself to the sudden change in role, and assume control of the airplane.

                          For comparison, I was recently reading a report about a DC-8 accident in 1970. Due to a jammed elevator, the aircraft began rotating by itself at about 80 knots, the tail hit the runway at 91 knots (Vr was computed at 124 kt.), the plane lifted off, pitched upward until it stalled, and crashed back onto the runway with 11 deaths. In spite of there being a very clear problem (airplane not responding to elevator control) and a very obvious solution (cut power, hit the brakes), in the 13 seconds between when the plane began rotating and when it left the ground, the pilots did not take the appropriate corrective action. If anyone's interested, the report for that accident is here: http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/A...ts/AAR7112.pdf

                          Originally posted by Evan View Post
                          I have a question: in this scenario is it permissable (or advisable) to have one of the cabin crew sit in the observer seat to run checklists with the remaining pilot? I think it is always good to have a pair of minds checking off the essentials and it would take some stress off the isolated pilot.
                          That's actually a really interesting idea!

                          Other things someone could do that would require little skill & training (although not none) would be watching for traffic and tuning the radios.

                          I can't remember what it's called but I think there's a program out there for people who are not pilots but frequently fly in light planes. It teaches them the basics of what to do if the pilot is incapacitated. Perhaps they could create something along the same lines for FAs.
                          Be alert! America needs more lerts.

                          Eric Law

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Evan View Post
                            ..m3WE will reassure us, can also be dealt with using basic [email protected]
                            I find 150 lbs of limp humanity slumped over the controls a bit disturbing, potentially interfereing with the grand ultimate fundamental memory checklist item #1: Aviate. (Type specific exceptions for the B-737-236A acknowledged)

                            Maybe the air Bus auto pilot can disregard 'all' control inputs- a potential plus for the tactile feedback killer.
                            Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by elaw View Post
                              ....
                              I can't remember what it's called but I think there's a program out there for people who are not pilots but frequently fly in light planes. It teaches them the basics of what to do if the pilot is incapacitated. Perhaps they could create something along the same lines for FAs...
                              The AOPA pinch hitter course...

                              (Or MSFS for the modern snot-nosed wannabe...)
                              Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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