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  • TomcatViP
    Rank 5 Registered User

    Let's bring back the Stuntman

    The present topic is the result of a reflection following AF447, MH370, MH17 and the last QZ8501 incidents. A similar post can be seen in the topic dedicated to Flight QZ8501.

    Let's debate here of this long trend to pull away pilots from their basic core of competencies as if it was a shame in the modern world.




    I think that the prob does not rely simply on the pilot's laps (for once!). If we speak in general terms, from the AF447, MH370, MH17 and the last QZ8501, planed were manned by crews that had at least one pilot with an un-contestable experience.

    What can be finger pointed are the procedures: the ones used during the design, the management decision from aircraft manufacturer, the training flow of new pilots and the day to day procedure ruling the security parameters in flights.

    This what is worry some. We are now converging on the habits of having a severe accidents occurring at regular period of time thanks to the rules of statistics and the increase in the number of flight when we should rely instead on the capacities of the human factor to break the rules of statistics where it matter: dealing with an abnormal surge of occurrences (see the X-15 prog safety).

    A pilots is now treated as the weak part of the FCS when it shld be the other way around: the human in board shld be treated as a circuit breaker in the plausibility of an incident occurrence. Let's look at the Drones and how they are used and manned. If you input an human onboard with full pilots skills, you annihilate the probability of a serious incident. When it happens, Drones are falling down mainly because they are not manned.

    This is where I think the single human policy pushed frwd by the NASA has all its meanings. What remains to be seen is: will economics habits rules out the possibility to pay a professional, trained at huge cost and maintained proficient on a costly manner, to be tasked only to monitor screens and systems for years before a true meaning of that investment can be proved, if any ? Won't the temptation be too great for Airlines manager to dual task such an individual (flight attendant/piloting?)

    We see that everyday in the security industry. We have the commune image of the fat guard standing in front of screens security camera seemingly incapable anymore to run after an intruder). Most have administrative task to fill for example. The problem here is to maintain that guard fit and alert as an athlete when the awareness in the public is low (public includes the arlines industry). Human/machine interface is the key obviously. But still, are we capable and ready, us all, member of a competitive society, to see a dedicated professional doing nearly nothing for years ?

    This happens in the Nuclear industry (Military and Civil) and those have to cope with the motivations and remaining proficient. But those individuals are rarely exposed to the public attention.

    Obviously maintaining that "Pilot" pro-efficient would means letting him taking ctrl of the flight once in a while. But still we will face the wall of incomes and personal motivation where the perception of the general public (again that includes the airline industry) that being active means looking as if you are doing something.

    The pilot will turn away from piloting and managing the flight to be ready and trained to deal with the most serious incidents; those that are not envisioned or too difficult to recover with onboard systems (this is needed with global warning and unknown meteorological occurrence encountered first by the airline industries for example (nbr of flight / routes above ocean etc...)).

    A pilot with a stuntman background... A one trained to land every time his plane in the Hudson river, glide a 242 tones aircraft for hundred of miles or recover from a spin at night in the most severe thunderstorm...

    Let's let the Engineer deal with the day to day routines of flight. Let's grd operator manage the flight routes, the schedules, the administrative tasks. Let's the airlines Manage the flow of passengers in front of the increase number of administrative and legal procedures. Let the Software deal with the expected, the attended, the known situations...

    And let the pilot be a flyer, unsophisticated, rough, Cocky if possible but the one that can handle the most serious, sever and unexpected situation. Yep , that one will certainly have to be alone in the "cockpit" for obvious economic reason (cost of training), but let's bring back the Stuntman!


    Last edited by TomcatViP; 28th January 2015, 00:25.
  • Moggy C
    Moderator

    #2


    I don't normally appear here, but just had to say what a great thread-starter post.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

    Comment

    • topspeed
      Get on uppah !

      #3
      I agree 100% with Moggy.

      I also bear a concern that the Google car and the Mercedes concept cars have no streering wheel and people dont even look at the road.
      Last edited by Moggy C; 29th January 2015, 05:57.
      If it looks good, it will fly good !
      -Bill Lear & Marcel Dassault


      http://max3fan.blogspot.com/

      Comment

      • charliehunt
        Nearly there!

        #4
        I cannot contribute with knowledge but my instinct is to agree wholeheartedly with the thinking! As a passenger I know with which type of pilot I would feel safer. It would be interesting to hear the opinions of our renowned warbird pilots with high hours commercial experience as the day job.
        Charlie

        Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

        Comment

        • ~Alan~
          Rank 5 Registered User

          #5
          Originally posted by TomcatViP View Post

          And let the pilot be a flyer, unsophisticated, rough, Cocky if possible but the one that can handle the most serious, sever and unexpected situation. Yep , that one will certainly have to be alone in the "cockpit" for obvious economic reason (cost of training), but let's bring back the Stuntman!
          I assume you don't mean for commercial aviation ?
          Engine Failure:.... A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.

          Comment

          • TomcatViP
            Rank 5 Registered User

            #6
            Originally posted by ~Alan~ View Post
            I assume you don't mean for commercial aviation ?
            Alan, I am afraid that it what my post is all about. I also have drafted the main point that draw such a conclusion and this can be debated more in detail. But yes, this is what I mean.

            I want to see such experienced flyers in the "cockpit" . I want to see them tested, selected and promoted in function of their abilities to recover from an awkward flight situation and lessen the train of errors leading the a catastrophic incident. I want to see them make a career out of that capabilities, I want to see them tested and their abilities refined through a life long training program (what about "in-flight" training/classes instead of a back couchette and a hangover from the night before?).

            3D space awareness (what is used in flight) is a form of intelligence in front of which none of us are equal. It's an ability that is seldom the point of selection in colleges or universities. Hence those individuals have often, either a very good diploma or either a relatively low grade that in both case pushes them out of the selection and promotion process of the airlines industry. Sadly, those are the one that we are in need now again.

            No more do we need a "flight manager" when their very own capabilities are fielded by the a combination of a new generation of softwares and remote operator. General Atomics drones have been cruising for a decade and flown hundreds of thousands of hours at altitude were their low power, large span and cross winds make them barely flyable. Automation software are now there to take the burden of 99.99% of the task during a flight. What is needed now are reactive professionals capable to surpass the capability of a machine in a matter of seconds when catastrophic or unexpected conditions are encountered. This is called flight awareness...

            ... And those are the ones I am talking about.

            @Moggy, thank you for your comment. Very much appreciated coming from you.

            @TopSpeed, I am not sure that a direct view is needed. I think that there is enough of space related or Mil related studies that show that flight is not imparted by a remote display like a digital screen or an helmet with a 3D view (unveiling here the quote mark around my use of the word Cockpit ).
            Last edited by TomcatViP; 28th January 2015, 21:42.

            Comment

            • ~Alan~
              Rank 5 Registered User

              #7
              I can see where you are coming from, but I don't see it happening.
              As you say, commercial airliners are getting more and more automated. So much so, that it is possible for
              an airliner to get from point A to B without any control input from the captain or first officer. I'm not sure if
              I'd be happy to be a passenger in an aircraft not having a qualified pilot up front. Although it has been achieved
              in controlled experiments.

              The flight deck of a passenger aircraft isn't the place for individuals, with a number of accidents not helped by
              the fact that the first officer felt subordinate to the captain, and didn't question their actions.

              There's no substitute for experience. Most of us have watched the Air Accident documentaries, and seen this
              proven any number of times. The training manuals can never cover every eventuality, but an experienced crew
              working as a team, stand the best chance of averting an accident. Or at least minimising it's severity.
              Engine Failure:.... A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.

              Comment

              • TomcatViP
                Rank 5 Registered User

                #8
                I think you didn't get it. I am not advocating the substitution of what you call a pilot by another kind of non qualified individual.

                What I am saying relative to you answer is that the focus is put on system specialist instead of their flying abilities. I have even mentioned the fact that there are some discrepancies among individuals regarding their abilities to cope with a problem in 3D geometry such as those encountered during a flight. And such qualities are not today what can help a professional to be successful in their career or during their syllabus.

                It should...

                This despite the fact that automation of FCS have nearly reached the point where a flight can be done point to point in a secure manner Without any human inputs or Dedicated crew member monitoring closely (and on board) their systems.

                What can be seen then is that there is an increased divergence in the role attributed to a today pilots and what will be needed tommorrow (please see posts above). Even more nasty is the fact that the step back in flight manager competencies open a door to the irrational (selection) during the Flight officer syllabus (see AF447 or MH370 but we all have our own example in mind).

                Given the raising number of plane flying and hence crews, this is not a good trend.

                The problem I am pushing frwd today is multiple. Please don't see it through the old lens of contesting the place of men in the cockpit. This is not about that. Not at all. On the contrary...

                For example you mentioned that "Most of us have watched the Air Accident documentaries". This is where the problem lie (even if we shld be more thinking at Incidents reports). Most being no more justifiable today.

                A pilot should now be an incident specialist. A manager of catastrophic failures. A trapezist with skills selected and refined everyday trough such a hard training. Someone able to survive (with all of us behind) the most daring flight situations when it may occurs. Because, at an increased rate (in term of linear time given the multiplication of the number of flights) with for example the increased pace of tailored sophistication or global warming and the tremendous time crew are spending in flight, when things will go bad they will go Really bad. The irony of the sophistication of flight is now that it has reached... the departure of controlled flight situations.

                And there there is no FCS, checklist or monitoring system to cope with. There there is only the unexpected, the non-computed, the unattended and hopefully, should we wish, the good old stuntman.
                Last edited by Moggy C; 29th January 2015, 05:56. Reason: Quote of entire post directly above deleted

                Comment

                • Grumman Tomcat
                  Beloved Turkeybeast

                  #9
                  I agree 100 percent. Computers do not possess the decision making skills that pilots have. Neither can a drone maneuver like an aircraft can in the hands of a skilled pilot. The piloted plane will gun down the drone every time. The stuntman and his metal steed will always have the edge.
                  sigpic
                  "All the thrust in Christendom couldn't make a fighter out of that airplane".----Vice Admiral Thomas Connolly on the F-111B

                  Comment

                  • charliehunt
                    Nearly there!

                    #10
                    All of which is why I made reference to the opinion of renowned warbird pilots who spend their day jobs on the flight decks of commercial airliners.
                    Charlie

                    Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

                    Comment

                    • ~Alan~
                      Rank 5 Registered User

                      #11
                      Originally posted by TomcatViP View Post
                      I think you didn't get it. .
                      I think you may be right
                      Either way, I don't see any major changes on the horizon. The system we have now works very well.
                      Engine Failure:.... A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.

                      Comment

                      • charliehunt
                        Nearly there!

                        #12
                        Does it? I would have thought there is considerable room for improvement, as implied by other posts above.
                        Charlie

                        Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

                        Comment

                        • Moggy C
                          Moderator

                          #13
                          I think the Air France debacle jolted us all out of any complacency that the current system works well

                          Moggy
                          "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

                          Comment

                          • ~Alan~
                            Rank 5 Registered User

                            #14
                            The system works well until an unforeseen set of problems arise. How do you plan for something
                            which has never occurred before ? Flying at night into a dense ash cloud, or running out of fuel ?
                            You can only train air crews up to a certain level. They rest must surely come with experience ?

                            I'll duck out of this debate now, as there are those far more experienced than me to answer these questions.
                            Engine Failure:.... A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.

                            Comment

                            • topspeed
                              Get on uppah !

                              #15
                              Originally posted by TomcatViP View Post

                              @TopSpeed, I am not sure that a direct view is needed. I think that there is enough of space related or Mil related studies that show that flight is not imparted by a remote display like a digital screen or an helmet with a 3D view (unveiling here the quote mark around my use of the word Cockpit ).

                              Sorry I am just trying to see the dangers that lurk ahead not just the ones that are already in the system but not happened yet.

                              The KLM / PAN AM incident that took place in the Canary Islands was a sum of the three major factors and few smaller factors.

                              Pilot was experienced, but a dickhead...there will be plenty of dickheads flying aeroplanes in the future too whether you have a system that flies without a pilot or not.

                              I bet a STUNTMAN is one solution, but you also need to have a person who is thrustworthy flying but also as a human.

                              Going through the Neil Armstrong book you see what is demanded outside the 100% flying skills...a dude who never looses his grip !
                              Last edited by topspeed; 29th January 2015, 11:54.
                              If it looks good, it will fly good !
                              -Bill Lear & Marcel Dassault


                              http://max3fan.blogspot.com/

                              Comment

                              • charliehunt
                                Nearly there!

                                #16
                                But Alan isn't that exactly what those who know more than you or me, are suggesting? Aircrew need to have a different and less "automated" training regime? They need to be able to "fly by the seat of their pants" - intuitively, if necessary. My understanding of what has been posted is that aircrew no longer have these attributes so rely 100% on the computers, which as we have seen all too starkly, are not to be relied on. My instinct tells me these thoughts have great currency.
                                Charlie

                                Keep smiling - it's never as bad as you think!!

                                Comment

                                • Paul F
                                  Retired Lawnmower Racer

                                  #17
                                  pprune has been considering very similar thoughts as part of their ongoing thread debate on the Air Asia QZ8501 A320 accident.

                                  http://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/5...singapore.html

                                  While you can never tell which posters are true commercial pilots and which are simply armchair MS Flight Sim "experts", a number of posters have asked much the same question(s) regarding the need for suitably trained/experienced crew who can take over quickly when the "uncrashable" aircraft suddenly seems to be in an unexpected, but decidely "crashable" situation.

                                  As with the Air France A330 case, there are people on pprune suggesting that too much CPL training emphasis may be placed on "Systems Operator" type training, with less emphaisis on manual/traditional hand flying skills, or even careful, but swift "logical assessment" of what the systems data tells you is an apparently "impossible" scenario.

                                  Its a bit like driving a modern car, I guess, far too many people have fallen into the trap that airbags, seatbelts and ABS means cars are not going to hurt you anymore, and fail to realise that however good the "software" and "systems" are, get outside their safe operating envelope (e.g. tail-gateing on the motorway), or have them fail mechanically, and you may get a very unpleasant suprise... and it's how people identify and deal with that suprise that may be critical factor.

                                  If someone on aflight deck has had "common sense" trained out of them or has become so used to relying on the 99.9999999999999999999% reliable systems tha they are (unconciously) complacent, when that 0.0000000000000001% improbability turns up, they may not be able to react quickly enough, or in a suitable manner to recover the situation.

                                  People are also asking questions regarding why "full stall training" on the simulator (if not the real aircraft), seems to be rarely taught - the trining schedule logic presumably being that the aircraft FBW algorithms will never let you stall it, so you don't need to worry about what happens in stall situations (!). And, of course, if the aircraft has never been stalled in real life, the simulator programmers probably have insufficient hard data to build realistic stalling/stalled airframe behavour into the sims anyway....so how can the sim teach you when it doesnt know what will happen when the systems play up and you make inappropriate, but possibly instinctive, control inputs anyway?

                                  Few are questioning the argument that FBW is great, per se and that it probably saves more lives than it exposes to severe risk, but in those few cases when mechanical failure/sensor failure or human failure (lack of correct situtaional awareness) is thrown in then FBW logic may just take you to places you don't expect, haven't ever experienced, and perhaps cannot quickly recognise, especially when assorted (possibly apparently "illogicially matched" ) audible or visual alarms and warnings are going off all over the "office" too.

                                  As ever, statistics wll show that FBW is 999.9999999% reliable - problem is, when it goes wrong, or its failure is misunderstood or misinterpreted, the end result may well be 100% failure for those aboard :-( .

                                  Then again, in an aircraft which still has mechanical linakeges between stick/rudder and control suraces, a pilot can also make errors of judgement, so neither full-FBW (or "fly by algorithm" as test pilot John Farley calls it), nor manual control are failproof. In both cases, pilots can still get into serious trouble if they fail to recognise what's going on when the unexpected situation arises.

                                  Not sure I agree with the "Stuntman" suggestion as such, but yes, it does perhaps seem time to reconsider the degree to which commercial crews are been trained in flying by the seat of the pants, in flying at the edges of the envelope (and possibly beyond in the case of stalling), and to recognise the "real situation" no matter what the fancy gizmo's and systems may be telling you.

                                  Paul F (Not even a PPL, let alone a CPL - just someone with some training and experience in all sorts of "systems" )
                                  Last edited by Paul F; 29th January 2015, 16:21.

                                  Comment

                                  • TomcatViP
                                    Rank 5 Registered User

                                    #18
                                    PPrune is good. But there is so many inputs by poster from so different background that it is time consuming to found any info.

                                    Also "Stunt" refer to the origin of aviation, the opening of flight envelope, the "barn flyer", the flying circus, when each day was a day of discovery, when speed, G, flight attitude were everyday a life threatening unknown to be solved by the feet, the eyes, the hands and the fill of the body.


                                    There was no way that a plane could have been designed to be flown against its pilot. It would have been a non sense. Engineers, Pilots, Test Pilots were in line: the same breed, the same brittle, the same objectives: performances and safety.


                                    Is that a commune acceptance now among the airliner industry that the formations are too weak, too uncertain to let the pilots fly the plane even when all the systems are down ? No.
                                    If a plane can't be manned, it simply never have to be manned. Simply. Pilots are not there to be only the warranty of an intermediate software release.

                                    A FCS that have been shown failing should be no more a FCS in charge of flying an airplane. EoA

                                    Hand over of ctrl to the pilots should be immediate or in matter of seconds, through a simple switch, inside a range of parameters known to be adequate for a safe flying (Frwd CG, Neutral sensitivity of bank,roll and yaw, Pitch down moment, adequate damping ...).

                                    Today technologies exist that would allow a switch back from the days of hard engineered aft CG trick and and supercritical airfoils trim built in the airframe and hence not cancelable. A plane built with safety in mind but turned more efficient by the trick of technologies (software, fluidic ctrl, plasma) but capable to be handed over back in normal flying behavior should the unattended happens.

                                    The budget are there. The structure exist for such tech to be derisked. Money should be routed where it matters the most: Performances and flight safety. Again. It's always the same story.
                                    Not to assume the erroneous decision or a past team of a failing Management (3.4B$ lost again on the A400 today).

                                    This is what is probably needed: a new set of regulation.

                                    The stuntman could have saved them. The hundreds of them...





                                    Sources:
                                    EncyclopediaBritanica

                                    The San Diego air&Space Museum Archives
                                    Last edited by TomcatViP; 16th November 2018, 16:26.

                                    Comment

                                    • nJayM
                                      Rank 5 Registered User

                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Moggy C View Post
                                      I think the Air France debacle jolted us all out of any complacency that the current system works well

                                      Moggy

                                      Hi Moggy

                                      Touche -

                                      The Air France AF447 catastrophe has resulted in many good airlines making mandatory, training with simulated faulty instruments.

                                      It does not beat the real thing (training) of coming in with one engine, and/or some instruments covered with the obvious risk that you may bend/break the aircraft and kill everyone. Bl..dy expensive but effective.

                                      It's all about human logic and 'real' experience of pilots being still better than any sim.
                                      Jay

                                      Comment

                                      • nJayM
                                        Rank 5 Registered User

                                        #20
                                        On the topic of Topcat Vip's "Stuntmen" .

                                        Anyone remember Matt Elliot - Eurofighter display pilot around 2005.

                                        I first met him at RAF Leuchars since they had "meet the pilots and autograpgh signing" after displays.

                                        I then watched him display at East Fortune (outside Edinburgh) - it's a display only as there is no suitable field to land anything large.

                                        It was a great display and at the end of the display line there were a large clump of trees. He came in low and made a sharp steep port turn on full afterburn to avoid the trees. It singed the hairs on my arm as I was as close to the crowd line as I could get.

                                        I then met him at Duxford and we spoke about it with smiles on our faces and he agreed that those trees were ominous at East Fortune.

                                        I was later told he had joined BA - There's a good Captain for BA. Call him a stuntman and I am sure he will not mind.
                                        Jay

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