Air France Captain Was Out of Cockpit During Crash

May 28, 2011 Full story: Fox News 8

Brazil's Navy sailors recovering debris from the missing Air France jet at the Atlantic Ocean.

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OldCapt

UK

#1 May 29, 2011
This reminds me of NWA Flt 6231. Similar scenario of iced up pitot probe and all three pilots fixated on the ONE inoperative system. The plane stalled and crashed with only the pilots on board. I think it was 1973.
TinkersDam

Fort Myers, FL

#2 May 29, 2011
So what if the chief pilot was on a break, the two who were at the controls were fully qualified.

This was not just fixation, but a training induced fixation. Manual adjustment of the trim wheel is not taught in Europe or permitted in European simulation sessions.

Pilots were suddenly receiving an overwhelming number of error messages and suddenly were dumped into Alternate Law. Instead of pushing input buttons on a computer they suddenly had to fly the airplane and didn't really know how to do it.
Say the Truth

Wallingford, PA

#3 Jun 2, 2011
TinkersDam wrote:
So what if the chief pilot was on a break, the two who were at the controls were fully qualified.
This was not just fixation, but a training induced fixation. Manual adjustment of the trim wheel is not taught in Europe or permitted in European simulation sessions.
Pilots were suddenly receiving an overwhelming number of error messages and suddenly were dumped into Alternate Law. Instead of pushing input buttons on a computer they suddenly had to fly the airplane and didn't really know how to do it.
Great. Remind me not to fly on a European carrier.
Have a long hot bath

Mount Morris, MI

#4 Jun 2, 2011
I bet the pilot was doing one of the flight attendants.
TinkersDam

Fort Myers, FL

#5 Jun 7, 2011
Say the Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
Great. Remind me not to fly on a European carrier.
Some European pilots refuse to fly on Air India even when their ticket is free.

Think of the Gimli Glider incident. Gimli is the small town in Canada where the airliner wound up and Glider lets you know just how many engines were working at the time.

The pilot of that airliner was suddenly called upon to fly a plane that had not been designed as a glider. He was carrying over a hundred passengers in a plane for which there were no performance charts available. The reason he did so well with this sudden emergency was that as a hobby he flew gliders and had hundreds of hours of flying them. So he performed well in an emergency.

The AF447 pilots were suddenly tossed into an emergency situation of overwhelming numbers of error messages and alarms, instruments going out and the instruments remaining being unreliable. Those pilots might have done very well if they had ever had any experience flying an airplane. They didn't have it. Most pilots these days do not have flying experience. They have computer input experience in an environment of high reliability and high redundancy. They are not even permitted to do the simple tasks by hand. A pilot who climbs ten thousand feet by hand costs the company money, a pilot who climbs ten thousand feet by computer saves the company money. So when something happens to that computer and the pilot has to do the right thing and do it pretty darn quick, don't blame him if he gets it wrong. It was his first time!!

It appears they were at 10k before they may have figured out what was wrong and by the time they were down to 10,000 feet, it was too late to do the right thing.

Since: Sep 09

Location hidden

#6 Jul 29, 2011
Say the Truth wrote:
<quoted text>
Great. Remind me not to fly on a European carrier.
Are you kidding me??? I ALWAYS fly to the EU on European carriers....anytime you are flying out of the USA on an American carrier you may as well be flying with a target on the plane.
umm

Santa Clara, CA

#7 Jul 29, 2011
Out of cockpit and out of his mind.

Since: Nov 11

Location hidden

#9 Nov 27, 2011
TinkersDam wrote:
<quoted text>
Some European pilots refuse to fly on Air India even when their ticket is free.
Think of the Gimli Glider incident. Gimli is the small town in Canada where the airliner wound up and Glider lets you know just how many engines were working at the time.
The pilot of that airliner was suddenly called upon to fly a plane that had not been designed as a glider. He was carrying over a hundred passengers in a plane for which there were no performance charts available. The reason he did so well with this sudden emergency was that as a hobby he flew gliders and had hundreds of hours of flying them. So he performed well in an emergency.
The AF447 pilots were suddenly tossed into an emergency situation of overwhelming numbers of error messages and alarms, instruments going out and the instruments remaining being unreliable. Those pilots might have done very well if they had ever had any experience flying an airplane. They didn't have it. Most pilots these days do not have flying experience. They have computer input experience in an environment of high reliability and high redundancy. They are not even permitted to do the simple tasks by hand. A pilot who climbs ten thousand feet by hand costs the company money, a pilot who climbs ten thousand feet by computer saves the company money. So when something happens to that computer and the pilot has to do the right thing and do it pretty darn quick, don't blame him if he gets it wrong. It was his first time!!
It appears they were at 10k before they may have figured out what was wrong and by the time they were down to 10,000 feet, it was too late to do the right thing.
That was a very good post and very instructive. A friend of mine whose uncle, now retired, was a senior training captain with BA told me almost what you have written Tinkersdam. How long before there will be nobody in the cockpit or would the conservatism of the travelling public never allow such a thing?

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