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Thread: Air France Off the Hook on AF447

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Default Air France Off the Hook on AF447

    The French magistrates have dropped charges against Air France and Airbus. It was just one of those existential things that happen in life when you place inadequately trained pilots in a commercial transport cockpit with no procedure for a known failure scenario. C'est la vie.

    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-49598838

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    The French magistrates have dropped charges against Air France and Airbus. It was just one of those existential things that happen in life when for no known reason a highly-trained pilot executes a how to stall procedure when continuing to fly fat dumb and happy was better. Something that a even a dumbass, poorly-read inactive private pilot like 3BS knows better. C'est la vie.
    Fixed.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    From that statement:

    The disaster highlighted an important public concern as to whether pilots are too dependent on technology and whether they retain the knowledge required to fly complex commercial aircraft. This concern continues to exist today.
    I believe the answer to this concern is:

    Complex commercial aircraft are dependent on technology and therefore pilots must be trained to retain the knowledge required to fly complex commercial aircraft.
    The concern I have is: how will we achieve this? Will it be voluntary or will it be required? If it is required, how will we enforce it? If a company violates the requirement, will the punishment fit the crime?

    One lesson we should all have learned by now is that, when the punishment falls short of the crime, industry does not change its ways.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    The concern I have is: how will [italics]we[/italics] achieve this?
    1. Fixed.

    2. I suggest that during a pilots first 40 to 60 hours of flight instruction, part the training covers that excessive pull ups can cause stalls and that a great fundamental rule is if things go bad (especially technological things) continue to fly the plane. Perhaps these items can be briefly reviewed when the pilot gets new ratings and recurrent trainings, and maybe an occasional competency check. From occasionally listening to ATL, it's possible that this is already done in some places and some airlines have no incidents of inexplicable, relentless pull ups.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    That makes a lot of sense. But... I'm gonna say it's 99.99% likely that during their first 40 to 60 hours of flight instruction, the pilots *were* trained that excessive pull ups can cause stalls. And I bet if you could communicate with the dead and ask them, they'd insist they *were* flying the plane.

    The problem is what constitutes "flying the plane". It seems likely here that what happened is they realized that some of the information presented by their instruments was inaccurate, and for whatever reason jumped to the conclusion it was *all* inaccurate. They then proceeded to fly the plane as one would with no instruments, relying on visual cues and their own senses. The problem being of course that the few visual cues they may have had were misleading, and their senses were providing information that was even less accurate than (some of) the instruments.

    I think there are a lot of people here (myself included) that think that "fly the plane" should have meant P+P=P, but these guys apparently felt differently. So IMHO the area of question is not "flying the plane" but the decision-making process (and the stress that may have affected same) that resulted in them using a faulty technique to fly the plane.
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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    From occasionally listening to ATL, it's possible that this is already done in some places and some airlines have no incidents of inexplicable, relentless pull ups.
    So what are you saying? This is not done in France? This is not done at the nation's flag carrier airline?

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    So what are you saying? This is not done in France? This is not done at the nation's flag carrier airline?
    I don't know. I have never been a pilot for Air France.

    There is part of me that agrees with you- what in the hell were the guys thinking, what in the hell were they taught, why did they do something so totally against such super incredible basic rules...training must be adjusted.

    Eric is dead on 99,99% chance that training DID happen somewhat as I describe- but also, the crash DID happen.

    Pure ass-hat speculation (where you and I strongly diverge) is that the pilots brains WERE full of type specific memory checklist QRH acronym stuff, so that when the warnings went off you get a geometric mental overload- 3 warnings, 3 possible failures per warning 3 possible solutions, 3 possible checklists, 3 types of startle factor and of the 243 things they had going through their mind, the basics of the stall got lost.

    Lots of very smart people spent lots of time developing very good training scenarios- and yet, sadly, excrement transpired

    And yes, factually, there are many airlines that have not had crashes from pilots pulling up in relentless, logically-defying matter.

    ...C'est la vie.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elaw View Post
    ...for whatever reason jumped to the conclusion it was *all* inaccurate. They then proceeded to fly the plane as one would with no instruments, relying on visual cues and their own senses...
    Since we have beaten this crash to death many times over, please be prepared for Gabriel to chime in shortly to re re re re re re repeat comments regarding significant nose-up pitch, significant extra G-forces, stall warnings, and the comment "but I've been pulling up the whole time" which are not particularly consistent with the basic skill of flying on visual clues and senses.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elaw View Post
    It seems likely here that what happened is they realized that some of the information presented by their instruments was inaccurate, and for whatever reason jumped to the conclusion it was *all* inaccurate. They then proceeded to fly the plane as one would with no instruments, relying on visual cues and their own senses. The problem being of course that the few visual cues they may have had were misleading, and their senses were providing information that was even less accurate than (some of) the instruments.
    This paragraph is absolutely baseless. There is no evidence or hint whatsoever than any of that transpired up there (all the way to down there). I would say it is not even likely. I will only concede a "not impossible" grade.

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    Yes it's baseless in terms of supporting facts, and I would never claim otherwise.

    But let me ask this: we have tons of facts relating to what the pilots did, and what the result was. Are there any facts available that show conclusively *why* they did what they did? I'm pretty sure there aren't, so speculation is all we're left with. And that's what I did... speculate.
    Be alert! America needs more lerts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3WE View Post
    Pure ass-hat speculation (where you and I strongly diverge) is that the pilots brains WERE full of type specific memory checklist QRH acronym stuff...[/B]
    But, in beating this crash to death, we've stumbled upon the realization that no appropriate 'memory checklist QRH acronym' thing exists for this scenario. It's improv time baby. In a minefield of misleading indications.

    Problem is, these guys weren't taught how to improv without stepping on a mine. A simple, memorized and practiced DO THIS/DON'T DO THIS procedure for the first 1-2mins (DO FLY THIS PITCH, DO MOVE POWER LEVERS TO HERE, DO TURN THESE OFF, DO NOTHING ELSE, DO NOT FOLLOW THE ADR CHECK PROCEDURE, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MAINTAIN ALTITUDE OR VERTICAL SPEED, DO NOT CHANGE FLIGHT LEVEL) would have defended against human factors until airspeeds returned and would have saved the day.

    The thing is, we can't really blame Air France when no other airline was doing this training either. The scenario and the danger were clearly known, documented and discussed, prior to the crash, yet no CAA took action to provide such training and procedural guidance. All they did was address the probe design.

    I truly believe this could have happened to the crew of any airline flying through the ITCZ at night. And probably still can.

    Unless we can prosecute the BEA for manslaughter...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    But, in beating this crash to death, we've stumbled upon the realization that no appropriate 'memory checklist QRH acronym' thing exists for this scenario. It's improv time baby.
    Wheee!!!! Im-prov-time, im-prove-time!!! I know, I know! Let's pull a 1.5 G 7000 fpm 2500 ft climb and when the stall warning starts shouting "stall stall" let's "pull up all the time" all the way to the ocean!!!! In a minefield of misleading indications, including 3 attitude indicators, 3 altimeters, 2 vertical speed indicators, a stall warning and a bio-G detector that were all sending consistent messages.

    I could think 250 other ways to improvise that are more compatible with basic airmanship, common sense, and survival.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Wheee!!!! Im-prov-time, im-prove-time!!! I know, I know! Let's pull a 1.5 G 7000 fpm 2500 ft climb and when the stall warning starts shouting "stall stall" let's "pull up all the time" all the way to the ocean!!!!
    [Special to Eric- Told ya so ]

    [Specific to Gabe's comment]: Yeah, that's what I'd do...not

    [deletion]

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel
    I and 99.99% of pilots, many whom are better trained than me could think 250 other ways to improvise that are more compatible with basic airmanship, common sense, and survival.
    Reasonably extrapolated and concur.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    3 altimeters, 2 vertical speed indicators... that were all sending consistent messages.
    Consistent perhaps. But misleading.

    the stall warning starts shouting "stall stall" let's "pull up all the time" all the way to the ocean!!!!
    But that's not what happened.

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    Senior Member 3WE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    But, in beating this crash to death, we've stumbled upon the realization that no appropriate 'memory checklist QRH acronym' thing exists for this scenario.
    Yes, we have established that a 'memorychecklistqrhacronymthing' does not exist.

    However, there is a cute mnemonic called "Aviate, Navigate Communicate" that I was taught in 172 school, and which I believe is (or has been) sometimes uttered by ATL, Bobby, VNav, RCL, Snyder Snapshots, Eric, Gabriel, 3BS, JetCaptain, Guammanite, Saint Donald, MikeD, ITS and many others.

    It works in almost all types of aircraft for a very wide set of circumstances.

    Again we diverge- I think it is extremely adequate- perhaps even preferable.

    BUT

    Because it is not type specific, not black and white (Edit- I see you used red and green to disguise your black and white thinking...cute) and devoid of acronyms, you find it woefully inadequate.

    We (most of us, that is) maintain it would have been extremely likely to have prevented the crash.

    ...C'est la vie.

    AND, as long as we are speaking French: Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.
    Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    I could think 250 other ways to improvise that are more compatible with basic airmanship, common sense, and survival.
    Can you provide a list?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Wheee!!!! Im-prov-time, im-prove-time!!! I know, I know! Let's pull a 1.5 G 7000 fpm 2500 ft climb and when the stall warning starts shouting "stall stall" let's "pull up all the time" all the way to the ocean!!!! In a minefield of misleading indications, including 3 attitude indicators, 3 altimeters, 2 vertical speed indicators, a stall warning and a bio-G detector that were all sending consistent messages.
    It's funny... this thread got me to thinking about something and it is this: in an airliner, is it *ever* appropriate to hold the column/stick at its rearward stop for more than 5 or10 seconds? Ever? Ever? I mean when flying of course, maybe there's some reason to do it on the ground.

    The only time I can think of where that would make sense is if you have a trim problem (insert reference to MCAS issue here)... which of course would not happen on an A330 as it doesn't have a "trim system" per se.
    Be alert! America needs more lerts.

    Eric Law

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    Quote Originally Posted by elaw View Post
    But let me ask this: we have tons of facts relating to what the pilots did, and what the result was. Are there any facts available that show conclusively *why* they did what they did? I'm pretty sure there aren't, so speculation is all we're left with. And that's what I did... speculate.
    Is it that hard, really?
    1. He was used to pull up (precisely the same way?), and the plane was always doing the right thing (arguably, but it wasn't stalling at least). Wonder what FDR showed for his previous flights.
    2. The plane started to fall from the sky and none of them recognized why. Perhaps they didn't know what a stall really is? There is, or at least (hopefully) was, a common misconception involving airspeed and maybe attitude.

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    Senior Member Gabriel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evan View Post
    Consistent perhaps. But misleading.
    Yes... the altimeters did go down a bit when the almost-totally-static-pressure ports lost the fine-tuning correction of the total-pressure ports (i.e. the difference between the almost-totally and totally). But overall? All 3 altimeters showed clear climb from A to B, where the accuracy error in A and B was so much smaller than the distance between A and B, and the 2 vertical speed indicators showed a climb speed that pretty much matched the speed at which the numbers in the altimeter were passing by, all while the attitude indicator showed a pitch that was more consistent with a take-off than a standard cruise climb but was however very consistent with this non-standard skyrocketing climb.

    I'd say that, overall, the 3 AI, 3 ALT and 2 VSI and 2 bio-G were not only consistent among themselves, but pretty much consistent with reality too, and hence pretty much NOT misleading.

    But that's not what happened.
    It's close to what happened.

    Ok, who am I fooling? This discussion has zero chance to lead somewhere.

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    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabriel View Post
    Yes... the altimeters did go down a bit when the almost-totally-static-pressure ports lost the fine-tuning correction of the total-pressure ports (i.e. the difference between the almost-totally and totally). But overall? All 3 altimeters showed clear climb from A to B, where the accuracy error in A and B was so much smaller than the distance between A and B, and the 2 vertical speed indicators showed a climb speed that pretty much matched the speed at which the numbers in the altimeter were passing by, all while the attitude indicator showed a pitch that was more consistent with a take-off than a standard cruise climb but was however very consistent with this non-standard skyrocketing climb.
    Yes, but they were misleading at 2h 10min 05. When the idea to pull up first came to mind.

    It's close to what happened.

    Ok, who am I fooling? This discussion has zero chance to lead somewhere.
    Not if you refuse to look carefully at the FDR and see how very far from 'pulling up the whole time' it really was. Then the discussion can't be had.

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