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Tom Allensworth

Asiana B-777 Reported Down At KSFO

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I can tell you from experience that relief is almost more tiring than actually flying the airplane

I see this opinion is echoed by pilots in other forums. So is the only difference when flying 10+ hours that you end up with four dangerously tired pilots instead of two dangerously tired pilots?

 

Also, the Asiana flight had four pilots but, in the ITVV video of Virgin 19 London to San Francisco, which is the same duration, there were three pilots. Are there guidelines for determining the number of relief pilots or is it just up to each company policy?


Dugald Walker

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This will never happen and passengers will never go for it. Here you have 3 guys in the cockpit and still couldn't get it right. Going down to one is not an option when flying passengers as everyone on board has a vestige interest in living.

Sorry, but the trend line is headed in that direction. We have gone from pilot, copilot, navigator, engineer, to just pilot and copilot in just a few years. There's probably at least 30 years of piloting as a profession left. However you are going to start seeing cargo operators be the first to start removing pilots from the cockpit. Once experience is gained there, you will see that technology migrate to passenger aircraft. No amount of protesting from flightsim enthusiasts is going to stop the forces of technology advancement and economics.

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I see this opinion is echoed by pilots in other forums. So is the only difference when flying 10+ hours that you end up with four dangerously tired pilots instead of two dangerously tired pilots?

 

Also, the Asiana flight had four pilots but, in the ITVV video of Virgin 19 London to San Francisco, which is the same duration, there were three pilots. Are there guidelines for determining the number of relief pilots or is it just up to each company policy?

Company rules, regulating body, union rules, currency reasons, training reasons, examining reasons and more.

 

Likely in this case there was a crew of 3, but with the monitoring FO there as the third pair of eyes while the Training Captain taught the Captain, so effectively the crew consisted of Capt, Training Capt, Relief Capt and then a FO to monitor the Captain when he was being taught.

 

Regards,

Ró.


Rónán O Cadhain.

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JUst read that another, 3rd victim has suffered fatal injuries in the crash and has died. =( 


Kacper Nowotynski

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This will never happen and passengers will never go for it. Here you have 3 guys in the cockpit and still couldn't get it right. Going down to one is not an option when flying passengers as everyone on board has a vestige interest in living.

 

That depends on how you look at it. How many accidents, especially fatal ones, in the past decade or two were caused by flight crew errors (or where pilot error was a major factor)? Air France (both AF447 and AF358), Colgan, and now Asiana are a few examples. Few airliners crash from design or mechanical reasons anymore (unless maintenance is done incorrectly or the static ports are covered). If this trend continues, and fully automated cargo flights have little trouble, I don't think it would be too hard to convince people to give it a go. It will certainly be some time before it happens, but I wouldn't entirely rule it out. Plus, many here saying no to the idea grew up without the same level of technology in their lives as the current generation is growing up with. For a future generation, it may not be so hard to imagine. After all, once upon a time there were many people, and probably still are a few, that would not fly across oceans on a plane with less than 3 or 4 engines. Now 2 engines are almost the standard.

 

The US Navy already has a UCAV landing itself on an aircraft carrier. Unlike the Reaper and Predator drones, this one does fly itself on its own.

 

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/354160

 

Then there was the Russian Buran shuttle. It's one, and only, flight was fully automated.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buran_(spacecraft)#Flight_into_space

 

Don't know that I would be comfortable if I was to get on a pilotless airliner tomorrow, but a few decades down the road it may not be so scary.

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Few airliners crash from design or mechanical reasons anymore

 

After all, once upon a time there were many people, and probably still are a few, that would not fly across oceans on a plane with less than 3 or 4 engines. Now 2 engines are almost the standard.

 

 

On the first point, that's what I was referring to earlier. It's not that airplanes have suddenly become much better and less prone to breaking, it's just that pilots stop them developing into crashes. Aircraft still have the tendency to break and do stupid things on their own, but pilots are just stopping them before they do anything that makes the news.

 

On the second point, no one is going to want to go across the ocean with only one engine, infact most people won't want to fly anywhere with only one. For the same reason people won't want to fly with only one pilot. Then the point comes, would you fly on an airliner with two engines, if only one was turned on at any one time and the other was only turned on if the other failed. This other one would only be used every now and then, it couldn't be relied on to perform, but if it was used all the time would only result in a negligible cost impact? No, you'd have both running to make sure the backup is always ready to kick in at the last minute and is used to being used, it's costs next to nothing, so why risk it.

 

That's the mentality that'll prevail into the future.

 

Regards,

Ró.


Rónán O Cadhain.

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How many accidents, especially fatal ones, in the past decade or two were caused by flight crew errors (or where pilot error was a major factor)? Air France (both AF447 and AF358), Colgan, and now Asiana are a few examples. Few airliners crash from design or mechanical reasons anymore (unless maintenance is done incorrectly or the static ports are covered).

 

Ok, but how many fatal accidents have been avoided in the past decade thanks to pilots actions, after some on-board system/automation malfunctioned?

 

I say it again: can you figure an autonomous, pilot-less airliner experiencing a total loss of thrust and deciding to ditch in the Hudson River, saving all the passengers? I'm pretty sure no on-board computer will be capable of taking decisions like that for many, many decades.


"The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." [Abraham Lincoln]

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On the second point, no one is going to want to go across the ocean with only one engine, infact most people won't want to fly anywhere with only one. For the same reason people won't want to fly with only one pilot. Then the point comes, would you fly on an airliner with two engines, if only one was turned on at any one time and the other was only turned on if the other failed. This other one would only be used every now and then, it couldn't be relied on to perform, but if it was used all the time would only result in a negligible cost impact? No, you'd have both running to make sure the backup is always ready to kick in at the last minute and is used to being used, it's costs next to nothing, so why risk it.

 

That's the mentality that'll prevail into the future.

 

Regards,

Ró.

Except that even though there is only one person on the flight deck, it is that person and the ground controllers who are flying that aircraft. The advancements that are making the removal of the second pilot possible is not just the automation of the aircraft, but the communications technology that allows aircraft to be controlled from the ground halfway around the world. That is the key technological advancement that is allowing manufacturers to explore the single pilot cockpit. Not automation nor artificial intelligence. It is due to the advancement in remote control and communications pioneered by the US military for its uav programs. If the ground control fails, then the onboard pilot assumes full control. If the pilot fails, the the ground control takes over. Either way, there is redundancy and requires the odds of total failure of both sides for a tragic outcome. Which is not that different than flying a 2 engined A330 across the ocean.

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I say it again: can you figure an autonomous, pilot-less airliner experiencing a total loss of thrust and deciding to ditch in the Hudson River, saving all the passengers? I'm pretty sure no on-board computer will be capable of taking decisions like that for many, many decades.

 

I didn't say it would happen any time soon either, but I don't see it as impossible either. How would one handle this situtation? Why not load up the flight computer with a database of all terrain, cities (basically landclass data as used in FSX), and give the computer a ranking system as to where to land? Airports are number one, large open fields next, bodies of water third, and urban and mountainous areas last (for example). If the plane calculated that it was impossible to reach the airport, it could very well decide that the river is the next best thing. Yes, it would be far more complicated than this to implement, but I don't see it as insurmountable in the long run.

 

 


On the first point, that's what I was referring to earlier. It's not that airplanes have suddenly become much better and less prone to breaking, it's just that pilots stop them developing into crashes. Aircraft still have the tendency to break and do stupid things on their own, but pilots are just stopping them before they do anything that makes the news.

 

Actually my point was that aircraft have become far more reliable. Older 4 engine aircraft had that many engines in part because the engines simply weren't as reliable. Also, we have a far better understanding of aircraft design in general, preventing problems such as those that caused Electras and Comets to come apart in midair. At this point most accidents have a larger portion of human error involved (maintenance done wrong etc.). Yes, pilots do typically prevent these turning into accidents, but how many of these cases would a computer not be able to handle at all? With today's technology, probably too many, but down the road, maybe a computer would be better. Pilots have caused accidents by focusing too hard on one problem and completely missing something else, resulting in a fatal crash.

 

Having one vs. two engines is a little different as having two engines is definitely a good thing. One could say that having two, or more, flight computers (that are more advanced than what we currently have), would just the same as having a pilot and flight computer.

 

On the other hand one case that having a crew onboard was a good thing was the QANTAS A380 that lost an engine.

 

I am not trying to say it will happen for sure, but I don't think it is nearly as impossible as many here are claiming it to be.

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In our hypothetical computerised/autonomous aeroplane, how many hulls might be lost due to software glitches caused by humans before they were found? The vast majority will be found and crisis averted. But then again, the vast majority of flights currently end in a shutdown at the gate. People aren't going to be removed from the loop - just moved. So the risk remains. Sorry, wandering further OT.


Mike Dryden

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It looks like she actually got run over. The macabre questions are whether she was already dead when the "second incident" happened and, if not, whether she might have survived without the runover or not.

 

This tragedy should never have happened ... (It seems to have been avoidable anyway.)

 

That is horrible :( A tragedy that should have clearly been avoidable....I also read that the pilot mentioned something about a bright light obscuring his view during the approach but nothing else was mentioned after that and they were still investigating.


Aaron

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That is horrible :( A tragedy that should have clearly been avoidable....I also read that the pilot mentioned something about a bright light obscuring his view during the approach but nothing else was mentioned after that and they were still investigating.

 

 

The latest information on the light:

 

"On Jul 11th 2013 the NTSB reported in their final press conference, that the pilot flying described the bright source of light at 500 feet as a probable reflection from the sun straight ahead of the aircraft but not on the runway."

 

Taken from:

 

http://avherald.com/h?article=464ef64f&opt=0

I see this opinion is echoed by pilots in other forums. So is the only difference when flying 10+ hours that you end up with four dangerously tired pilots instead of two dangerously tired pilots?

 

(...)

 

 

Tired, for sure, but not necessarily dangerously tired. As long as you're aware of limitied capabilities due to tiredness and act accordingly, it should work out fine.

 

It's a different story if you have to cope with an emergency in exactly that condition: That's where you will need the maximum of your capabilities.

 

And, of course, psychological factors like "Gotta-get-home-itis" don't improve safety, either.


What happened to AVSIM

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It looks like she actually got run over. The macabre questions are whether she was already dead when the "second incident" happened and, if not, whether she might have survived without the runover or not.

 

That will probably be clear in about two weeks:

"The passenger was underneath the fire retardant foam and when the fire truck repositioned itself to battle the flames aboard the fuselage, the passenger victim was discovered in the tire track of the fire truck," said Albie Esparza, public information officer at the San Francisco Police Department.

"It is unknown if the passenger was deceased at the time or if the passenger died as a result of the fire truck going over the victim," Esparza said.

The coroner in San Mateo County, where the airport is located, has said he will release results of the girl's autopsy in about two weeks.

Source:http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-usa-crash-victim-idUSBRE96B0R220130712'>http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/07/12/us-usa-crash-victim-idUSBRE96B0R220130712


Marc ter Heide

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Also, the Asiana flight had four pilots but, in the ITVV video of Virgin 19 London to San Francisco, which is the same duration, there were three pilots. Are there guidelines for determining the number of relief pilots or is it just up to each company policy?

Hi Dugald,

 

As mentioned by others, depending on flight duration, 2, 3 or 4 pilots are needed.

 

My guess is that, if there was no training or line check involved, you would have had a captain and two FOs.

 

Now on the really long flights, I understand that some airlines will prefer a captain and three FOs while others will have two different crews (ie two captains and two FOs).

 

Rgds,

Bruno

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