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Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

(OP)
I don't see how military or UAV are relevant. Those aircraft have very different objectives/inherent risk than a commercial aircraft.

Computers can be used to improve technology. That much is obvious. They can also be a detriment if they are abused or overly relied upon. That part is less obvious and also the point.

Brian
www.espcomposites.com

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Commercial airliners are almost all FBW, and as such, the computer is flying the plane.  Plane design decisions are based on "fighting the last war" so almost all the things that the article gripes about are related to previous pilot failures.

And again, my point is that there is no comparison; if a pilot wants to fly a commercial jet, it's computerized FBW and he has no choice.  Engineers are freer to choose their poisons.  

What makes the current crop of pilots weak is the limited amount of training, since training doesn't generate revenue, not to mention that previous generations of pilots flew in less reliable planes and were more likely to have had to deal with actual emergencies, unlike many of today's pilots who have never experienced any sort of major crisis in flight.

TTFN

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RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

I made my living for 20 years from pilots who forgot how to fly ( even for a couple of seconds) by picking up the pieces and patching them together, and ninety percent of them did not have a computer to help them.
 With the degree of automation coming now, the odd landing incident will become a thing of the past, unless it is a minor hardware failure. A catastrophic accident with nothing to salvage is going to be the more likely scenario.
B.E.
 

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Here's an example of unintended consequences.

The "electronic" clearing of checks has just about killed the "time building" job of flying physical bank checks around the country for clearing.

Many thousands of pilots have honed their skills doing this grueling job. All kinds of bad weather, mechanical difficulty, crappy equipment, low pay, et al.

This experience pool has dried up.

I would hate to think I had to fly a vor these days.

God created the Garmin 530, and that changed everything!

 

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

(OP)
Perhaps my wording could have been better. Nonetheless, is boils down to this:

- "The airline industry is suffering from "automation addiction," Kay said."

- The same might be said about trends in engineering.

Brian
www.espcomposites.com

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Quote:

"The airline industry is suffering from "automation addiction," Kay said."

- The same might be said about trends in engineering.  

You have made a parallel based on personal experience and general consensus. I will have to agree with you for the most part. However, if you look more deeply into it we may find that these "new grads" that display the FEM addiction may be in fact the same fellows that never wanted to be an engineer or the so called "lower caliber stock".
At least I hope so smile

btw, FEM is a great tool. But it should be utilized with analytic methods which can decrease error potential and allow for some "feel".   

peace
Fe

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

it happening Everywhere (i think you need to live in Toronto to understand that emphasis).  anyways, most of us don't learn latin any more (or greek, or much of the "classics").

so too in our business ... people ar being taught to run FEA without getting a grounding in the basics.  often, with experience, you can look at one of the pretty pictures (that tries so hard to impress) and say "well that can't be right" or at least "that doesn't look right".

and just as i think that anyone doing stress should be able to solve a SS beam using no more than a pencil and paper (and a small part of their brain), so too "older" pilots lament the loss of basic piloting skills.

and maybe hockey players too experience a similar thing ... too few skilled players chasing too many jobs paying too much money, which opens the gate to lesser skilled players ...

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

rb1957,

   Ah, the good ol' days of the six team NHL.  Now many people on this site have the vaguest clue of what I am talking about?

   Automated cockpits and remotely piloted jet liners are a big issue with Patrick Smith at Salon.com.

               JHG

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

and the leafs won ... occassionally ... ahh, the good ol' days.

as for automatically polited people carriers, i'm not so sure.  whilst i accept that they cause/aggravate many situations that produce "-ve outcomes", i like the idea that the guys up-front are really invested in not having that outcome.  a remotely polited plane wouldn't have the same "comfort" ... consider the last 'com from the flight deck "... oops ... sorry, suckers"  

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

I am in TO as well. haha. Damn those leafs :P. I now cheer for the Canadiens.  

peace
Fe

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

rb1957,

   I just re-read Deep Water recently.  The book has very little to do with engineering, but I was thinking of Eng-Tips when I read it.

   Basically, in june 1978, a tough-love school for boys ran a canoe trip up lake Timiskaming, and capsised all their canoes.  Twelve boys and an adult leader died of hypothermia.  Lakes in northern Ontario are very old in the spring.  The trip leaders were found to be incompetent.

   One of the adult leaders, fresh over from England, pointed out that he had not ever been in a canoe, and that therefore, he was not qualifed to take charge of one.   He was told not to worry, he would pick it all up on the trip.  He survived, but all seven of his boys died.  

   This was a Christian group, so the parents forgave him and the rest of the group.  No one got sued.

   Imagine carrying that one with you for the rest of your life.  

   In a lot of airplane crashes, something goes wrong.  Indicators flash and alarms sound, but the pilots cannot figure it out.  I am surprised that airliners do not have cameras aimed at the engines, or rear view bubbles in the cockpit.  Imagine trying to debug a non-functioning aircraft by remote control.   

               JHG

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

they (the lakes in NorOnt) can be dam'd cold in summer too ...

i agree, many accident reports imply that the pilots are overwelmed by the multitude of alarms they get in a crisis, so it's hard to decide which ones are priority.

when the QANTAS A380 had their engine explode on them, it took them hours to figure it all out.   

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

"Indicators flash and alarms sound, but the pilots cannot figure it out.  "

That sounds like a basic lack of training, which we know is the case.  It used to be that all pilots had a certain number of hours on the simulator, specifically to get trained on things like that.

TTFN

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RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

it's easy to be an armchair pilot.

 

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

One might also argue that up until 15 years ago or so you had a dedicated member of the crew that was worrying about the state of many essential systems.  Automation did away with that guy, however maybe the level of automation isn't high enough/correct..., or the remaining crew need extra/different/better training or maybe really and truly, when all hell breaks lose that extra set of eyes, ears, hands.... really helped?

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RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

IRstuff,

   Think about that 747 crash in Japan quite a few years ago when the aircraft flew around for 20minutes to half an hour with the vertical stabilizer off.  Over 500 people died.

   All the crew knew is that their controls were not working.  We have had a number of incidents where the crew flew around trying to figure out what control actions worked and didn't work.  A bubble window or a video camera would have shown them what part of the aircraft had come off.  Now you have a better change of solving the problem.

   What sort of feeback would a remote control system provide to the pilot, especially after most of the instruments, possibly including the remote control, fail?

               JHG

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

I know use of aircraft surveillance systems by hijackers has been raised as a concern before - that they may see rescue attempts etc.

Overall hasn't flight safety improved with increased automation/technology, if so then arguably the trade of has been worth while.

However, I suppose the point is maybe the trade off didn't need to be made.  Perhaps by requiring pilots to spend X hours running simulated emergencies on simulators per Y flying hours or similar, this effect could have been minimized.

 

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RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

(OP)
Right, automation/computers are certainly a good thing as a whole. The key is that "over reliance" may not be.

Over reliance tends to offset their benefit. We may still be at a net positive, but not where we can/should be.

Brian
www.espcomposites.com

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Planes computers should be taking the next step and working as a member of a team- basically AI. They can be involved in pilot management and informing pilots of information considered to manage indicators.  

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly


This is an interesting treat:
http://www.powershow.com/view/13b0ff-OTMwY/Lateral_flash_ppt_presentation


it is about algorithms to improve motion cueing fidelity of Full Flight Simulators to such an extent that training manual flying skills becomes possible.  Conventional wash-out filters generate spurious side forces. These are apparently minimized with this approach and on-top it delivers matching visual- and vestibular cues with no phase shift.
Today pilots do need to train their manual flying skills in a safe environment (a simulator). Today, even state-of-the-art simulators do not provide motion fidelity.  Learning to react on vestibular cues in the right way in case of abnormals, crap weather,  X-wind landings, etc...  could save lives and aluminum.
David Learmount from Flightglobal wrote a few interesting articles about it:

http://www.flightglobal.com/cgi-bin/mt/mt-search.cgi?search=Lm%C2%B2&IncludeBlogs=166

some of the PPT movies you can find back on their webite:
www.sfa-d.be

Dre

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

The experimental aircraft association recently did a survey on the problem of pilot skills being dulled by gadgets.
here are their findings:
"" In response to recent discussions about air crew becoming too dependent on their gadgets, we asked you last week if you thought GA pilots were at risk of becoming "addicted to technology." Apparently, a lot of you are concerned about this very thing, as 79 percent said yes.""

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

If you look at a plot of fatalities per PAX mile flown decade by decade, this argument vanishes.

Planes /as systems/ are enormously safer than they have ever been been before, and are still getting safer.

The blobby things at the pointy end may be having their failings recorded and revealed more often, which annoys them. And good news doesn't sell.

 

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

(OP)
I don't think we are trying to compare with or without automation (that is a different matter). Rather, compare proper use of the benefits of automation to over reliance upon automation.

The other thing to consider is the long term effect. Some believe that over use of automation will dull skills. If so, then progress may stall or a competitive edge may be lost.

Brian
www.espcomposites.com

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

This is a hugely complex issue.  Which skills, which aircraft?  The human factors side adds to the enormous complexity.  

As someone that has worked on and around aircraft for 30 years, been working with airline cockpit avionics every day for the last 15, and a novice pilot with about 350 hours, my imagination literally explodes with possibilities every time the subject comes up.  

Of course, skills are forgotten if not exercised. Just migrating from one airplane type to another, even with simple airplanes does that. With small single engine piston aircraft; you start to forget you have rudders migrating from a tail dragger to a tricycle gear aircraft.

In a complex multi engine airliner or a fighter (wildly different universes) there are similarities but hugely more variability.

GA pilots love to point out instances where an airline pilots seems to have forgotten stick and rudder, short field landing and upset recovery skills.  

In addition, the human brain likes to assume an activity performed hundreds of times in exactly the same manner will be just like all those previous times to the point the brain may mask an irregularity to the conscious human, when it's observed.

So to some point, even checklists don't work to 10E-19 failure rate, much less sophisticated cockpit automation.  

At fault are humans in the loop, which IMO is also fairly presented to the public.  Pilots get blamed and are responsible  for a lot of the problems.

But, that needs to be put in perspective.  Any airplane is a useless pile of materials without a pilot.  It is capable of doing nothing, nada, zero that is useful or fun without a human at the controls.  The most important system on any airplane is the pilot!  It is required for everything to work.  

Yes there are some primitive automated flight routines, but it's still at it's infancy.

Humans aren't reliably logical either.  Training has a lot to do with it.  

I believe we train people to ensure they go through some pre-defined process before they emotionally feel good about taking an action. Academic training alone is not effective.

Humans respond by impulse and emotion.  That's why scientists believe in supernatural creatures and bankers live in debt, it's their emotions and impulses runing the show.

I went to an FAA pilot training seminar a couple weeks ago.  They show a recording of a pilot safety briefing filmed at American Airlines.  I've tried to find a copy to share with coworkers (other Avionics Engineers).  It's sometimes called Automation Dependency and the speaker is Warren Vanderberg. Some times it's also called Children of the magenta. It is a real eye opener.  I recommend it to everyone in the business.

If anyone knows where to obtain a copy of the video, I'd sure like to get one.  In fact, I think I'll call the FISDO and ask today.    

I'm not sure how someone distills any subject so complex down to a few root causes. It's certainly an area that is worthy of  serious research.


  
 

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Typo on the previous post,

I wanted to say,  At fault are humans in the loop, which IMO is also NOT fairly presented to the public."

My poor proofreading skills are at fault.  

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

"The most important system on any airplane is the pilot!  It is required for everything to work."

Well, except for the aforementioned UAV's.  Now some are true 'Remotely Piloted Vehicles' such that there a 'pilot' or 'operator' located somewhere other than on the vehicle.  However, others are pretty autonomous as I recall.

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RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

I believe there limited autonomous systems but they are limited.

I don't think they handle:

the decision to go or not go

where to go if there is a sudden change in weather

how to address on board or ATC surveillance failures



 

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Maybe to put it better, autonomous vehicles dispatch even if it means they will be destroyed.

Sometimes good, sometimes not.

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Kenat
  You said " "The most important system on any airplane is the pilot!  It is required for everything to work."

Can I quote you on that?
B.E.

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Kenat,
You are right, it was Konti who said that.
B.E.

The good engineer does not need to memorize every formula; he just needs to know where he can find them when he needs them.  Old professor

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

Pretty good video on Automation Dependency.  

It illustrates how human factors, training and automation all come together for better or worse in a modern cockpit.

http://vimeo.com/29642656  

RE: Pilots Forgetting How to Fly

kontiki99 thanks for sharing that vimeo, it was good to see how the aviation community is trying to correct the idea from the 90's that pilots would become automation managers instead of pilots.

I recall seeing a cartoon in the 90's that illustrated this intent in a funny way.  It showed two cockpits side by side, one labeled Douglas and one labeled Airbus.  The Douglas cockpit was crammed with controls, dials, buttons and levers and the Airbus cockpit had two buttons - one for UP and one for DOWN.

I always referred to it as the "George Jetson" cockpit.  clown

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