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You are a passenger on a B737-800NG and both pilots are unconscious. Could you land it?

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The massive number of variables that "could" be a factor would probably cause this hypothetical situation to turn out badly. The sheer inertia that occurs during an emergency would probably blow whatever time was left in arguing over who should take the controls, gaining access to the flight deck, trying to raise ATC, then waiting for a qualified pilot instructor to come online. After all of that, you have a person trying to save his/her own life and the lives of all the other souls aboard in an extremely stressful situation. As we saw with the HELIOS crash, all it takes to fail is one wrong setting on one panel - and ignoring the warning horns (perhaps they were shut off?). Put someone in there who has flown only a desk - it doesn't take much to think it could end badly. Yes, miracles CAN happen - and that would be required, along with salubrious weather, no severe terrain issues around the airport, and all systems operating normally. Much as I would love to really fly a 737, I would never want to experience it within this scenario, unless I was starring in the sequel to Total Recall.

 

Perhaps the more realistic scenario would be: You're seated in the back row in a full-motion 737 Level-D simulator. Both the student and instructor had the McDonald's Fish Sandwich and have left the flight deck for the restroom. As luck would have it, you had the Big Mac. Could you land the Level-D unassisted?


 R. Scott McDonald  B738/L   Information is anecdotal only-without guarantee & user assumes all risks of use thereof.                                               

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Perhaps the more realistic scenario would be: You're seated in the back row in a full-motion 737 Level-D simulator. Both the student and instructor had the McDonald's Fish Sandwich and have left the flight deck for the restroom. As luck would have it, you had the Big Mac. Could you land the Level-D unassisted?

 

Excellent ! :lol:

 

But then, just as you are about to slip in the left hand seat, you hear a voice behind you saying :

 

- Hi , I am the FAA chief test pilot for Level-D simulators. Can I help? :o

 

Bruno

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I'm a bit surprised that the topic is purely focused on the skills of doing the job.

 

Remember those situations where you've learned for the test, knew all the formulas, could cite Albert Einstein by just being asked for a date, had those pencils in place, in case some of them fails, had a good breakfast most of the time and enough sleep?

 

Yeah, school and university, that was it. Now the day of the test arrives. Still so confident? Oh, the test is getting closer and you won't write it where you usually do, they had to change the room and the new one is a bit cold now.

 

Still so fit on the knowledge? Just asking because I saw even the most skilled folks running into blockades at times or just a lower performance than outside of the test situation where they knew it all. Even if the circumstances weren't changed and if folks sat in the very same room as usual, the sheer knowing of 'this is it!' altered a lot. Not for you?

 

And even calm personalities are affected and annoyed by others, being not so calm, spreading their upset state in the thinking it helps. Screams from the cabin?

 

 

So now we imagine the situation in the cockpit. With Rónán being a professional and stating about being very humble at just grabbing a new plane's yoke or sidestick. So while he is in the more known situation (flying a plane with passengers, 'just' a new one), perhaps already thinking about after landing and later being home at the family, you are the FSX pilot, thinking.. most likely nothing, because those two professionals normally steering the plane just died, got sucked out because the front window was lost or are in the hands of evil people.

 

'This is it!', that voice in your head speaks and you are the calm person, sitting at the now real yoke, handling the communication, minding all the sim values you once were so good at? Ok, this could happen, but since I doubt that you are a machine, but a human, we may assume that there is some pressure forming up, being called stress.

 

And on stress, that's the part where even professionals struggle at times. Yes, the folks then forget about a pressurization switch, even the warning, the spoilers, the gear or just judge some dangerous situation being under control while the time it actually is runs out one second at a time. Ask professionals about the education on human factors, the ones outside of the skill scope. They had some of that, for good reason.

 

This even includes things like 'remain calm, to allow others to remain calm'. As you know, some cabin announcements can several impact the outcome of the very same emergency. You don't want the cabin to start screaming, just from the 'selfish' viewpoint of keeping the pilots calm. Humans interact, inevitably.

 

But still, the same skilled folks, sometimes, forget about the right runway to start and land on, pick up the radio chatter in the wrong way or are just what you are. Still human. That's not from a loss of skill, not even from a loss of professional behaviour, but from any form of stress hitting an individual, especially if the situation is unknown. The outcome differs from person to person, but it always is different to what is performed at non stress levels.

 

That's where even logical steps, learned ones, trained ones, get ruled out by e.g. fear, doubt, uncertainty or over-confidence. The more special the situation is, the more unlikely it was before it took place, the more of that mental power of the professional is reduced to be just instinctively driven. You can't prepare for feelings.

 

So pilots pull up into a stall condition or bank the plane so hard that it stalls, although they do know that the stable flight condition would have been the only one allowing to survive. But, in that situation, there wasn't much left of what's called logic. This is just in case you ask for flight envelope protections and their intended use.

 

So I don't see the biggest problem in being skilled or not (it is a big problem though, as people have pointed out), but I'd look at the forces of stress acting on the now new pilot. That's where any regular flight crew member has an advantage by the way, acting within a more known, more comfortable situation.

 

So even if the level D sim gave you good results, you won't fly the plane that good with the real pilots being 'offline', with your wife and kids in the back and with the pressure on you, to do it right or, most likely, forcing the people in the back to die or at least receive severe injuries.

 

Not sure that extra pencil helps. ^_^

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Perhaps adding to some of those real incidents. Oh, I see Rónán giving a current example for another pilot being used.

 

I think another example would also be that Sioux City DC-10 crash, resulting in a 'landing' with surely less fatalities than any attempt to do it alone. Look it up if you like, there was

Dennis E. Fitch, an off-duty United Airlines DC-10 flight instructor, was seated in the first class section and, noticing the crew were having trouble controlling the airplane, offered his assistance to the flight attendants. Upon being informed that there was a DC-10 instructor on board, Haynes immediately invited him to the cockpit, hoping his instructional knowledge of the aircraft would help them regain control.

Upon entering the cockpit and looking at the hydraulic gauges, Fitch determined that the situation was beyond anything he had ever faced.

http://en.wikipedia....ines_Flight_232

 

The main skill of that crew not only was handling switches and levers, but to keep in control and also allow for extra help and really, actively, managing their human resources. Managed stress levels.

 

Edited. Erm, I admit, not really on topic with that example of mine. :blush: No pilot passed out, they actually got more. B) Anyway, impressive CRM.

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Excellent ! :lol:

 

But then, just as you are about to slip in the left hand seat, you hear a voice behind you saying :

 

- Hi , I am the FAA chief test pilot for Level-D simulators. Can I help? :o

 

Bruno

 

That's funny, Bruno, I don't care WHO you are!


 R. Scott McDonald  B738/L   Information is anecdotal only-without guarantee & user assumes all risks of use thereof.                                               

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Click here for my YouTube channel

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From the report:

 

"The French BEA reported on Aug 7th 2012, that food poisoning is suspected as cause for the first officer's incapacitation."

 

They should BAN fish on all flights... Dangit man!

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There's a chance of all fish served flights now incorporating a higher percentage of flight sim enthusiasts among the passengers. :spiteful:

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After reading through this thread, I'm left with the impression of a redneck going "Here, hold my beer. I got this!"


"No matter how eloquent you are or how solidly and firm you've built your case, you will never win in an argument with an idiot, for he is too stupid to recognize his own defeat." ~Anonymous.

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"Here, hold my beer. I got this!"

 

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL... OMG that's He-Lary-Us.

 

Just by chance, I caught "The Bell Boy" on TV the other night (Jerry Lewis, 1960... yes.. very old movie, but funny). I have no idea what the plane was, but he's told to take some bags there... he looks in the empty cockpit... gives that Jerry Look... and next thing you know... he's flying it over the hotel he works at. Lands perfectly, and walks away as all the emergency crew look at him dumbfounded.... classic "what's the matter? no big deal!" exit he does had me cracking up.

 

Now that I think about it... after I save the day, and get the girl in this little scenario... That's exactly how one should exit the plane.

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I would say I might be able to, but...

 

In all honesty, I wouldn't risk it due to the potential Liability factor involved. You can rest assured there would be someone on that Passenger Manifest that would end up with a wrenched back or smudged mascara who would JUMP at the chance to file a lawsuit and/ or initiate Litigation against the 'brave soul who volunteered to set the plane down', ruining your life and livelihood trying 'to do a good deed'. Also, whether I was successful or not I would not want to subject myself and my family to the onslaught of the Media or outside agencies, especially in the event I was unsuccessful. If this means leaving my fate in the hands of someone who might not be successful, then that's the decision I have to live with. Think about that before you say "Yes" and punch in that Emergency Code to gain access to the FD; if you fail, what are you leaving your family to deal with?


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I would say I might be able to, but...

 

In all honesty, I wouldn't risk it due to the potential Liability factor involved. You can rest assured there would be someone on that Passenger Manifest that would end up with a wrenched back or smudged mascara who would JUMP at the chance to file a lawsuit and/ or initiate Litigation against the 'brave soul who volunteered to set the plane down', ruining your life and livelihood trying 'to do a good deed'. Also, whether I was successful or not I would not want to subject myself and my family to the onslaught of the Media or outside agencies, especially in the event I was unsuccessful. If this means leaving my fate in the hands of someone who might not be successful, then that's the decision I have to live with. Think about that before you say "Yes" and punch in that Emergency Code to gain access to the FD; if you fail, what are you leaving your family to deal with?

 

You're right, of course. Better die right away in a great ball of fire than risk a lawsuit in a few months ! :smile:

 

Bruno

 

edited

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You're right, of course. Better die right away in a great ball of fire than risk a lawsuit in a few months ! :smile:

 

Bruno

 

edited

 

Yeah, I thought it was a ... 'clever' conclusion, as you put it originally. Oh well; guess I don't have enough of an ego to tell me I CAN land the plane.

Doesn't matter... it's just a response to a theoretical scenario, from someone (me) of little merit or importance.


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Yeah, I thought it was a ... 'clever' conclusion, as you put it originally. Oh well; guess I don't have enough of an ego to tell me I CAN land the plane.

Doesn't matter... it's just a response to a theoretical scenario, from someone (me) of little merit or importance.

 

Well, at least it is a refreshing change from the "I could land this thing single-handed" gang.

 

And who knows what would happen in a real-life situation?

 

I can see the titles in the press : "Hero lawyer changes his mind and saves everyone, marries stewardess and makes a fortune in Hollywood." :smile:

 

Bruno

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"I could land this thing single-handed"

 

Who said anything about HANDS?? I thought we were talking about just using your feet... ONE foot for that matter... need at least one for the rudder.

 

 

... now that I think about it... that would be the preferred way... no need to hand your beer off that way.

 

 

If you can't get unedge-u-may-tated redneck girls after that... your doing it wrong.

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