Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by Sierra Mike, Jul 7, 2012.
Pilot Error and Confusion Did in the Steed.
Started with technical issues though. You made it sound as if they got confused and down went the plane.
Yeah, but even *I* know you don't pull back on the yoke when there's a stall warning!
I've posted about this extensively elsewhere--technical issues shouldn't have downed the plane. They even encountered buffeting from the vortex generators on the wings losing airstream, and they responded to an overspeed situation. They flew it into a stall and held it there, despite all the warnings. So yeah, they did it to themselves.
I am not defending the pilots, they did screw up at the end. Just taking an exception of your lead OP post making it look like they were running around all confused out of no where.
Rule number one in any crisis: fly the plane. These guys didn't do that, and a bunch of people died. The flight crew of Eastern 401 didn't do that in 1972 as another example, and they crashed a perfectly function aircraft into the Everglades over a burned-out lightbulb.
Sully Sullenberger knew that rule, and 155 people went home.
Fly the plane.
To be honest that "running around all confused" is much closer to the truth, by far, than they weren't.
The two pilots in the cockpit during the entire crisis were totally dysfunctional. The airplane loudly and repeatedly told them they were in a stall; they were losing altitude rapidly; they were at max or near max power; and the final nail in the coffin that the nose of the airplane was pitched up, way up. In other words the plane was falling all most straight down.
When the third pilot came back from break and entered the cockpit shortly before the crash he seemed to have a clue, but whatever he actually knew and wanted to do was too late to save them. The last or near to last words were the statement from the cockpit that they were going to crash. It was stated not as a warning but a pronouncement of the certainty that was about to happen.
In fairness to the crew their situation was hardly comparable to Captain Sullenberger's. He actually was in a mentally easy situation where the danger was totally clear with the action required by him also totally clear and not rushed or confusing and or conflicting. His only job was to keep his head and make an optimal water landing on a large expanse of calm water on a bright clear day with plenty of visibility plus a co-pilot that was in perfect sync with him. He certainly showed a lot of skill in making a perfect landing. A bad landing could have doomed them all.
The mitigation for the Air France guys is poor training by Air France and probably most of the carriers for the pilots. The top end planes basically run themselves in a Hal 9000 mode. When things go wrong suddenly it is all most like the pilots have been awaken from a deep sleep as the computer as been flying the plane so the degree of their immediate situational awareness is simply things seem OK or they don't. I'm guessing one of the lessons that will come out of this is for pilots to be trained to shut down a lot of the automatic controls and take as much manual control of the aircraft as is practical under the circumstances.
Check this out, and pay close attention to Point #2. This was a tragedy brought on by a cascade of failures, starting with the decisions of the aircrew. As often is the case in accidents like this, their heads weren't in the game--the decision to fly through a storm cell is just retarded.
Don't glass cockpits still have a separate artificial horizon indicator that is not part of the glass display? I thought they had to have a couple of normal instruments as backup.
They do, and they're present in every A330 flight deck photo I've seen.
All the more baffling as to why they didn't realize they were climbing
They had working: flight controller sticks, throttles, and an artificial horizon. They had stall warnings both audible and stick shakers--one warning blared for 54 seconds. They also had in relation to the time from when they first realized they had a problem until it was to late to avert a crash plenty of time to figure it out. They stalled the aircraft and lost control of it. They never recovered from the stall, something that was simple to do and well within their control. They screwed the pooch, plain and simple.