Single Pilot Airbus

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Single Pilot Airbus

Postby GAHorn » Fri Jun 18, 2021 6:08 pm

Well….Cathay Pacific and Airbus has an answer now to prevent another Air France 447 (in which the two pilots counteracted each others’ flight control inputs long enough to keep the Airbus in a deep stall from 38,000’ until it hit the ocean.)…. Cathay Pacific is working on approval to operate Airbus A350 aircraft Single Pilot:
https://www.avweb.com/aviation-news/air ... 18%2C+2021


Excerpt from cash sequence at Wikipedia: “ At 02:11:10 UTC, the aircraft had climbed to its maximum altitude around 38,000 ft (11,600 m). At this point, the aircraft's angle of attack was 16°, and the engine thrust levers were in the fully forward takeoff/go-around (TOGA) detent . As the aircraft began to descend, the angle of attack rapidly increased toward 30°. A second consequence of the reconfiguration into alternate law was that the stall protection no longer operated, whereas in normal law, the aircraft's flight-management computers would have acted to prevent such a high angle of attack.[72] The wings lost lift and the aircraft began to stall.[4][page needed]

Confused, Bonin exclaimed, "[Expletive] I don't have control of the airplane any more now", and two seconds later, "I don't have control of the airplane at all!"[29] Robert responded to this by saying, "controls to the left", and took over control of the aircraft.[73][32] He pushed his side-stick forward to lower the nose and recover from the stall; however, Bonin was still pulling his side-stick back. The inputs cancelled each other out and triggered an aural "dual input" warning.

At 02:11:40 UTC, Captain Dubois re-entered the cockpit after being summoned by Robert. Noticing the various alarms going off, he asked the two crew members, "er what are you (doing)?"[32] The angle of attack had then reached 40°, and the aircraft had descended to 35,000 ft (10,700 m) with the engines running at almost 100% N1 (the rotational speed of the front intake fan, which delivers most of a turbofan engine's thrust). The stall warnings stopped, as all airspeed indications were now considered invalid by the aircraft's computer due to the high angle of attack.[74] The aircraft had its nose above the horizon, but was descending steeply.

Roughly 20 seconds later, at 02:12 UTC, Bonin decreased the aircraft's pitch slightly. Airspeed indications became valid, and the stall warning sounded again; it then sounded intermittently for the remaining duration of the flight, stopping only when the pilots increased the aircraft's nose-up pitch. From there until the end of the flight, the angle of attack never dropped below 35°. From the time the aircraft stalled until its impact into the ocean, the engines were primarily developing either 100% N1 or TOGA thrust, though they were briefly spooled down to about 50 percent N1 on two occasions. The engines always responded to commands and were developing in excess of 100 percent N1 when the flight ended. Robert responded to Dubois by saying, "We've lost all control of the aeroplane, we don’t understand anything, we’ve tried everything".[32] Soon after this, Robert said to himself, "climb" four consecutive times. Bonin heard this and replied, "But I've been at maximum nose-up for a while!" When Captain Dubois heard this, he realized Bonin was causing the stall, and shouted, "No no no, don't climb! No No No!"[75][32]

When Robert heard this, he told Bonin to give him control of the airplane.[3] In response to this, Bonin temporarily gave the controls to Robert.[32][75][3] Robert pushed his side-stick forward to try to regain lift for the airplane to climb out of the stall. However, the aircraft was too low to recover from the stall. Shortly thereafter, the ground proximity warning system sounded an alarm, warning the crew about the aircraft's imminent crash with the ocean. In response, Bonin (without informing his colleagues) pulled his side-stick all the way back again,[32][3] and said, "[Expletive] We're going to crash! This can't be true. But what's happening?"[75][32][3][76][29] The last recording on the CVR was Dubois saying, "(ten) degrees pitch attitude."
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby Bruce Fenstermacher » Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:44 am

Here is the thing they haven't thought of. It took one pilot in that aircraft to crash it. The side sticks without feed back to the other sticks a contributing factor cause the other pilots couldn't tell or understand what the confused pilot was doing. Now they are planning to ONLY have one pilot. If the one remaining pilot get confused there is no one else to straighten out the first. I also have to believe neither of these guys at the controls had a second of basic stick and rudder experience. I can not and I don't think any of us can, understand riding a A350 from 38000ft in a nose high attitude and not figure out you got to push the dam nose over.

As a single pilot IFR Captain, of a MedEvac helicopter with as much automation as was available, I always felt we would have been better in a two pilot configuration. It is very easy to screw up a programing sequence of the Garmin and the auto pilot and your not likely to find that out until it doesn't work which is not a good time to find out as you blow past your course change, fail to descend on the glide slope or a myriad of other things. The answer for us was we simply did not accept more challenging flights because the comfort level of no backup and the resulting pressure was too much.

One of my friends, thought to be an extremely confident SIFR Captain was killed in a training flight of which he was the only sole on board. He had no patient dying in the back or pressure to deliver that patient to a hospital. He departed on a IFR training flight in VFR conditions flying into IFR conditions and he could have easily simply returned to VFR. The NTSB did not have a conclusive reason for the crash on approach to Wilmington DE, under radar and control from Philadelphia. He didn't descend on the glide slope when he should have. He basically rode the EC-135 to the ground in a spiral from 2100ft after a brief climb after GS decent was not initiated.

The response from the company then and still is, no more single pilot IFR training, you must always have a safety pilot. Though, of course, you are expected to except and fly real flight requests, single pilot IFR.

My first response to the news of a single pilot Airbus 350, was shivers from head to toe.
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby DaveF » Sat Jun 19, 2021 3:23 pm

A second pilot looks expensive until you compare it to the value of what’s in the cabin. Typical short-sighted corporate cost-cutting.
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby ghostflyer » Sun Jun 20, 2021 12:15 am

It will be argued “thats the cost of doing business” and airlines have this philosophy . Plus the general public have short memories . Eg. How many DC10 crashes were there and why and where ? I would say the issue with the Airbus crashes and lack of pilot skills will be lost to the general public interest in 12 months.
Just to keep the argument going look how much Qantas spent in the restoration of that 747-400 in Bangkok . They didn’t simply run off the runway as all the media suggested. There were back room deals done with the media by qantas. The cost of rebuild exceeded the cost of a new 747-400 . This was done so qantas can say in the history of the airline it’s never had a hull loss. It’s my belief that if a single pilot airline loss occurs ,it would take only 5 years for that accident to be wiped from the minds of the general public that fly with those cheap tickets .
There will be back room deals done with the media to down play the issues of single pilot operation, remember those cheap tickets and those freebies to the media.
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby GAHorn » Sun Jun 20, 2021 2:05 am

The Atlas Air 3591 (an Amazon Prime B-767 cargo flight) crash reminded me of the level-of-competence (or rather the LACK of competence) which I witnessed with ever-increasing frequency from 2005-2015 as I was an I.P. at Simuflite on various jets. My fellow instructors and I often engaged in disbelief-conversation in the instructors private offices, at the coffee pot, and in the lunchroom or at the cocktail lounges…. as we were amazed at the unbelievable lack of basic flying skills we witnessed in so many new-hires of various commercial operators with whom we were contracted to train their pilots.
The number of times we repeated to each-other “I will Never fly with Such-and-Such Air Line and I will never let my family etiher.”. … after having witnessed the complete lack of basic skills in so many applicants who have been taken-on-board many commercial operators.

Atlas Air 3591 took a Dive from 6,000 feet straight into the water of Trinity Bay because the PF (Pilot Flying) FO had a habit of wildly punching buttons whenever he became confused….. he had a history at previous jobs of taking inappropriate actions in the cockpit. His training records were replete with such comments that were either ignored or hidden from view… which resulted in him one-day being the PF…. inadvertently hitting the “Go Around” button on the throttle which sent the airplane into a nose-high attitude (while the weak Captain was handing radios and not monitoring the FO actions.

So Two B-767 pilots crash into salt water from 6K’ for no good reason.

Makes me want to cancel our vacation flight coming up in August.

https://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/Acc ... AR2002.pdf
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby IA DPE » Sat Jun 26, 2021 1:31 am

I was a new Regional Airline Capt. in 2008, when we were hiring 250 hr. FOs. Some had amazing situational awareness and airmanship for their experience level. Others? I was flying single pilot in a jet out of Chicago O’Hare.

When the “1,500 Hr. Rule” came out, many flight schools, low time pilots, and airlines protested loudly, and still do quietly. One of their arguments (that does have SOME merit) is that roaring around the pattern in a Cessna isn’t the same as building experience in a complex airplane in complex airspace. All their arguments are financially motivated. In times past, after instructing you built experience flying questionable light twins single pilot before moving “up.” Those jobs don’t exist anymore.

Nonetheless I’ve always supported the change because instructing for 1,000 hrs does teach basic airmanship, learning the edges of the envelope (usually unintentionally by the student), AND, to say “no.” The airlines prefer their pilots don’t learn that last one.

Agreed on the point that the traveling public doesn’t care. All they want is low ticket prices and multiple flights to their intended destination.
Last edited by IA DPE on Sat Jun 26, 2021 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby IA DPE » Sat Jun 26, 2021 1:38 am

Slight thread drift, but still funny.
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby GAHorn » Sat Jun 26, 2021 2:22 pm

That’s an excellent observation Richard…. those jobs many of us had early in our careers…(the ones which taught us that “risk management” really IS a worthwhile skill…LOL ), not being commonly available anymore..
As a TCE/DPE myself it was deeply-concerning when all the little boxes were filled-in on the training record with “Satisfied” or “Proficient”…. but often I was left with concern as to what a particular applicant might do in a non-training environ. Adherence to SOPs are important…but won’t guarantee outcome if critical skills are lacking.
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Re: Single Pilot Airbus

Postby IP076 » Wed Jun 30, 2021 4:50 am

“a superior pilot is one who uses superior knowledge to avoid situations which require the use of his/her superior skill”

While one who often argued against the 1500 hour ATP changes post-colgan, I’d say my justification was not financial. Simply put, any number is arbitrary…whether 1500 or 250. The quality of the experience is far more important than the quantity.

I went to college with the pilot sitting in the jumpseat of the Colgan Q400 at Buffalo, and I did a commercial multi engine end-of-course test with the pilot sitting in the Atlas jumpseat in Texas. I’m not a fan of sitting in the jumpseat much…
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