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When pilots lose it...

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For years, airlines, and military air forces around the world have attempted to improve safety and pilot performance by implementing a sterile cockpit policy to one degree or another. Pilots are asked to refrain from unnecessary or irrelevant conversations. Flight crews are deliberately shuffled on each flight, so that so as to avoid forming habits that diverge from SOP. Ideally the airlines would probably prefer that all crews interact in precisely uniform fashion with as little emotion as possible.One may argue the pros and cons of this idea, but with human nature being what it is, one can only assume that the system is far from perfect. I am interested in learning more about situations in which the cockpit environment breaks down. For those real world airline/mil pilots out there, tell us about instances you have experienced, observed, or heard of involving pilot conflict or other inappropriate behavior on the flight deck. Obviously, please avoid identifying the airlines or names of individuals involved, unless the incident has already been documented in the press.A typical example would be the CRJ crash in 2004 in which the crew took the plane up to its ceiling of FL 410 just for the #### of it and then crashed after both engines stalled and could not be restarted. While it they did not technically violate any rules, the CVR revealed that the pilots at the very least, appeared to be acting carelessly, and did what they did for no other reason than to have some fun.

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do you talk unnecessarily in school/work? i'm betting the answer is yes.common sense can dictate this. saying, "wow its nice up here" at 5,000' isn't going to kill someone. the problem is when to "shut up", here is where common sense comes in.the crj crash you mention that they took it up for the #### of it is not an example of sterile cockpit violations or procedures. the CRJ 200 is certified to FL410. huh? yup. it's CERTIFIED to FL410. they unfortunately were not properly trained in high altitude aerodynamics, a problem of the company's trianing department, but alas it's easier to blame 2 dead pilots who f'd up, than a whole training department for an airline run on the cheap.the ntsb uses this sterile cockpit concept way too much as a blame. take the recent jetstream accident in kirksville, mo. they, along with the news media, declare with headlines about the sterile cockpit violations, but really the simple fact was they were both looking OUTSIDE and not inside in IMC at 300' agl. duh! their lack of situational awareness led to this, that and again the cheapskate airline working them like dogs day in and out, but once again two pilots are easier to blame then the company.don't believe the ntsb on its magical "pilot error" every time. they will SELL the pilots out. look at the poor american airbus fo who was blamed for the airbus rudder separation. he followed exactly what he was trained to do, but rather than blame a major aircraft manufacturer for a bad design lets blame him.

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Perhaps I expressed myself unclearly. I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes with this, nor am I trying to suggest anything bad about pilots in general. I like pilots, and indeed am one myself. However, surely you cannot suggest that pilots do not ever make mistakes, become tired, or have conflicts with one another? We are all only human. I am simply interested in learning more about what happens when such incidents do occur, and what typically leads to this?

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>However, surely you cannot suggest that pilots do not ever>make mistakes, become tired, or have conflicts with one>another? We are all only human. I am simply interested in>learning more about what happens when such incidents do occur,>and what typically leads to this?low pay + high hours + delays + ungrateful pax who pay $100 for a ticket yet demand everything = crankiness.ask hornit how the morale at delta has gone from say 7 years ago.on top of that the public perception that every pilot works 8 days a month, makes $250k/yr and are spoiled brats.sure they have plenty of conflicts, etc, however the majority are professionals, they suck it up and get over it and do their job.the majority of sterile cockpit violations are usually complaints directed at their employer.

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pilots have to deal with an insane amount of stress in their workplace. those 2 pilots were relieving stress by trying to enjoy themselves. unfortunately when you are stressed out, most of the time you lack the common sense and critical thinking to realize "hey wait a second, we are bleeding airspeed, but lets keep climbing to 410 anyway and stay there"I think keeping a crew that knows each other and can talk about anything is better for everyone. being able to hold conversations is a great stress relief. if you are in the cockpit with some man or woman you dont know, it is harder to talk to them and thus harder to relieve the stressful situation

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I go to work to RELIEVE stress! Seriuosly, I like my work a lot and I have fun while Im there. It can get stressful, but it rarely does. If your competent and comfortable in your aircraft its actually fun. There are lots of things which can get you in trouble though, and doing things with the aircraft which aren't normally done or to "have fun" are not things you do with the companies property. Sterile cockpit is a good rule but it doesnt mean quite cockpit. Talking about the latest paycuts and how ###### you are at management for taking thier latest bonus while the company is bankrupt isnt an appropriate topic when your on an ILS to minimums or working with a difficult crosswind on a marginal runway. Its pretty much common sense.Hornit

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> I go to work to RELIEVE stress! Seriuosly, I like my work a>lot and I have fun while Im there. It can get stressful, but>it rarely does. If your competent and comfortable in your>aircraft its actually fun.>> There are lots of things which can get you in trouble though,>and doing things with the aircraft which aren't normally done>or to "have fun" are not things you do with the companies>property.>> Sterile cockpit is a good rule but it doesnt mean quite>cockpit. Talking about the latest paycuts and how ######>you are at management for taking thier latest bonus while the>company is bankrupt isnt an appropriate topic when your on an>ILS to minimums or working with a difficult crosswind on a>marginal runway. Its pretty much common sense.>>Hornithornit,is Delta still planning to recall their pilots, in lieu of recent developments?

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That is up in the air right now. My guess is we lose some junior F/O's to better jobs/military if another pay cut happens. More furloughs are not planned at the moment, and I believe they are still recalling but its not many. Dont have any numbers for you.Hornit

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I agree with what you say, but in general, the job of a pilot is a high stress high intesity job, which requires split second decision making, and any mistake can lead to the deaths of you and numerous other people. The job is extremely stressful, even if you are comfortable and enjoy it to relieve stress, it creates and can cause so much stress whether you realize it or not

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>I agree with what you say, but in general, the job of a pilot>is a high stress high intesity job, which requires split>second decision making, and any mistake can lead to the deaths>of you and numerous other people. The job is extremely>stressful, even if you are comfortable and enjoy it to relieve>stress, it creates and can cause so much stress whether you>realize it or noti disagree (or perhaps am wired differently). flying on a day to day basis (even down to minimums) is no different in my mind than driving to work everyday. it is literally second nature and requires no extra thought. flying down to mins requires no more thought process than driving in the fog compared to normal driving.a lot more people drive and get killed by far. do you get nervous when you drive? i don't.your training makes you a robot to the situation. the checklist rules the situation. in general there is no "split second decision making". you reach mins, runway not insight, go around! there's no "decision" to be made. something breaks, what does the checklist state? no decision to be made.BY FAR the most stressful part of an airline job is outside of the flying environment. gate to gate is the EASIEST part of my job. you can have all the other stuff.

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I did some asking around on the phone about this crash a few months ago. I talked to a senior pilot whom I know personaly who works for their parent company.In this particular case it is and will become apparent that the crew were unecesarily screwing around.It will also be clear that the investigation will show that there was an unwritten thing running around this airline between RJ pilots and the 410 club.It is not recommended at ALL to fly at this flight level for any length of time in the CRJ from what I've been told by RJ pilots and other active line pilots.It is also supposed to be clear that their 'attitudes' were the main cause of the crash.It's a simple case of screwing around.We can go on and on about the actual mechanical procedures leading to failure of the restart, etc., but I think we all know the actual cause.I can also shead some light on the famous Airbus incedent at LAX recently if anyone's interested.

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"don't believe the ntsb on its magical "pilot error" every time. they will SELL the pilots out. look at the poor american airbus fo who was blamed for the airbus rudder separation. he followed exactly what he was trained to do, but rather than blame a major aircraft manufacturer for a bad design lets blame him."That goes just as much to the companies training department, like you said about the CRJ. The FO did as he was trained, but the training itself was incorrect as Airbus pointed out in their defense. In the end, both sides are responsible for that accident.

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>It is not recommended at ALL to fly at this flight level for>any length of time in the CRJ from what I've been told by RJ>pilots and other active line pilots.>>It is also supposed to be clear that their 'attitudes' were>the main cause of the crash.agreed the FL410 club. this was all released in the NTSB meeting. the problem still is these dummies had NO CLUE how to figure out IF the airplane could MAKE it to FL410. that problem solely lies in their training department. from the CVR their basic understanding was, "hey we're empty no problem to goto FL410". no concept of nonstandard temperature effects, etc. to add on top of that their "attitude" of trying to cover up their initial screw up (they forgoodness sakes FOUGHT the stickshaker 3 times!). but proper training would not have put them in that position. most regional airlines, before this accident, taught high altitude aerodynamics with a 1hr VIDEO.also please keep in mind the CRJ200 is a DOG and is underpowered from around FL180 and up (500fpm climbs, etc). the CRJ700 & 900 are not. they, provided they operate within their operating envelope, can fly easily above FL370 up to FL410. the 700 will climb at M.77 all the way up to FL410 at about 1000fpm. we fly in the 40's (FL400 and FL410) as much as we can to save gas.

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>That goes just as much to the companies training department,>like you said about the CRJ. The FO did as he was trained, but>the training itself was incorrect as Airbus pointed out in>their defense. >In the end, both sides are responsible for that accident.well the airbus accident in 2001 in ny was the example i was using.when the airplane is banked 90deg the ONLY elevator you have is the rudder (especially at how low they were). airbus built a weak one, plain and simple. what i'd like to ask airbus is "what else could they have done being that low?" just allow the nose to drop and crash? uh no, their only recourse is to use the elevator available (ie the rudder). just one of those "d@#$ed if you do......." situations, but the ntsb coldly states, "pilot error".

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I won't ask what regional you work for...lol. I know someone who also is working for a well known regional flying RJ's from the, let's say, the Eastern half of the US, but I haven't spoke with him in quite a while. I have a feeling anything above 400 is going get nixed pretty quick by air carriers.I understand the controllers were also a bit surprised to receive the request for 410 from the aircraft.I think Bombardier also has some issues about the aircraft at 410, if I'm not mistken.My theory on that whole situation was that they burned out the generators giving them no chance for a restart to begin with, but that's just my opinion. I think they would have needed an APU assist if I'm not mistaken? and by the time they got lower the batteries were probably burned out and it was too late to go for anything but a dead stick.From that altitude though I often wondered why they couldn't even make KC or even STL...lol.

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>I won't ask what regional you work for...lol. I know someone>who also is working for a well known regional flying RJ's from>the, let's say, the Eastern half of the US, but I haven't>spoke with him in quite a while. I have a feeling anything>above 400 is going get nixed pretty quick by air carriers.>>I understand the controllers were also a bit surprised to>receive the request for 410 from the aircraft.>>I think Bombardier also has some issues about the aircraft at>410, if I'm not mistken.>>My theory on that whole situation was that they burned out the>generators giving them no chance for a restart to begin with,>but that's just my opinion. I think they would have needed an>APU assist if I'm not mistaken? and by the time they got lower>the batteries were probably burned out and it was too late to>go for anything but a dead stick.>>From that altitude though I often wondered why they couldn't>even make KC or even STL...lol.jeff,no theory i thought. the airplane stalled and the airflow reduction in the engine flamed them out. they did not maintain adequate speed to keep the core spinning and it "locked" up. at that point they could not get the engine started. from experience, the airplane (CRJ700) has NO problem at FL410, provided you keep the airplane within the deemed envelope (ie take into account weight, speed, SAT, etc). usually what limits us up there is the ozone timing charts in the winter.

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Yeah, rgr that. I thought they were in the 200. Speaking of which...on the 700. Could FADEC have helped them by preserving electrical power maybe. I don't have enough knowledge in that area obviousley.I didn't know they locked up either.It's a weird deal that we can all learn from that's for sure.Edit: Sorry for speaking about 300 diff things at once here but I think you're following ok.

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>Yeah, rgr that. I thought they were in the 200. >>Speaking of which...on the 700. Could FADEC have helped them>by preserving electrical power maybe. I don't have enough>knowledge in that area obviousley.>>I didn't know they locked up either.>>It's a weird deal that we can all learn from that's for sure.>>Edit: Sorry for speaking about 300 diff things at once here>but I think you're following ok.the accident airplane was a CRJ200. the CRJ series, 2/7/9, has electrical power upon a dual engine failure through an ADG (air driven generator) - known as a RAT (ram air turbine) on some other a/c types. it is a little propeller that falls out of the right nose area into the airstream. the prop turns and generates electricity. obviously, it does not produce as much as the IDG's on the engines so certain noncritical items are "shed". being a prop (ie an airfoil moving through the air) it has a "stall" speed that must be maintained. to my knowledge they were above this speed the entire time down. the APU (at least in the 700, i dunno about the 200) cannot be restarted until FL370. the engines cannot be attempted to restart until the low 20's.FADEC helps by sensing a loss of airflow into the engine and automatically turns on the ignitors. i don't know if the 200 (which does not have FADEC) has this stall protection built into it.

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I believe part of the reason the engines "locked up" (core lock) is due to the fact that they never got into the restart envelope which was causing overtemps on the restarts and they basically melted one of them and the other never got enough rpm for start due to the fact that they didnt get nose low enough for the required IAS. Doesnt really matter though in the end, they did EVERYTHING WRONG. It will get you killed.Hornit

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That's what I was thinking. I don't think the -200 has it either.

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rgr that, Jim. It's not just one thing that does it, it's usually a chain of things.

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But the A300 wasn't in a 90 degree angle of bank at the time and from the sounds of what your saying, I don't think you aware of how the rudder was actually used in that case. Airbus were more than happy to demonstrate infront of the video cameras in their simulators how the aircraft should have been recovered, with just the ailerons, but American Airlines training stated that the rudder was to be used to assist the aircraft. American Airlines training for dealing with wake turbulence centered around smaller aircraft of the DC-9 size which are far more vunerable to its effects and the same training was applied to all their aircraft.The tail actually stood up to forces well beyond its maximum design limits and performed well in a situation it was never meant to be put in. A series of full rudder reversals in fairly rapid succession as it was being used in conjunction with the ailerions to counter roll. (the aircraft was not on its side with the rudder being used to try to keep the nose up like an elevator). No airliner is designed to withstand multiple full rudder reversals. Right after the accident all manufacturers of large airlines, especially Boeing, issued a safety bulletin stating as much. No, the A300's tail was not weak, that's a misunderstanding on your part. Airbus' contribution to the disaster was the way the rudder limiter worked ie becoming very sensitive at high speed compared to lower speeds, meaning less input was needed to move the rudder to maximum deflection. That's a terrible bit of design on their part, though they won't admit it. Airbus' responsibility lies in their lack of making sure the airlines and pilots knew how to fly the aircraft properly. Though this lack of responsibility applied to many airline manufacturers.At the end of the day, a B767 in the same situtation and flown the same way was just as likely to have its tail break off.Anyway, I know the point you're making about it not being pilot error, you're quite right there. It wasn't the sole fault of the pilot.But it isn't the sole fault of Airbus either and certainly not the the fault of the aircrafts structural strength.

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you, like most pilots, have the ability to control your stress levels. that doesn't mean it isn't there. it just means you have it under control

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>But the A300 wasn't in a 90 degree angle of bank at the time>and from the sounds of what your saying, I don't think you>aware of how the rudder was actually used in that case. Airbus>were more than happy to demonstrate infront of the video>cameras in their simulators how the aircraft should have been>recovered, with just the ailerons, but American Airlines>training stated that the rudder was to be used to assist the>aircraft. American Airlines training for dealing with wake>turbulence centered around smaller aircraft of the DC-9 size>which are far more vunerable to its effects and the same>training was applied to all their aircraft.>>The tail actually stood up to forces well beyond its maximum>design limits and performed well in a situation it was never>meant to be put in. A series of full rudder reversals in>fairly rapid succession as it was being used in conjunction>with the ailerions to counter roll. (the aircraft was not on>its side with the rudder being used to try to keep the nose up>like an elevator). >No airliner is designed to withstand multiple full rudder>reversals. Right after the accident all manufacturers of large>airlines, especially Boeing, issued a safety bulletin stating>as much. >No, the A300's tail was not weak, that's a misunderstanding on>your part. >Airbus' contribution to the disaster was the way the rudder>limiter worked ie becoming very sensitive at high speed>compared to lower speeds, meaning less input was needed to>move the rudder to maximum deflection. That's a terrible bit>of design on their part, though they won't admit it. Airbus'>responsibility lies in their lack of making sure the airlines>and pilots knew how to fly the aircraft properly. Though this>lack of responsibility applied to many airline manufacturers.>At the end of the day, a B767 in the same situtation and flown>the same way was just as likely to have its tail break off.>>Anyway, I know the point you're making about it not being>pilot error, you're quite right there. It wasn't the sole>fault of the pilot.>But it isn't the sole fault of Airbus either and certainly not>the the fault of the aircrafts structural strength.i still like blaming the giant euro-subsidized airbus. the 300 is a dog. :-)my bad. just watched the ntsb animation. a/c was dutch rolling due to wake and tail came off.

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This is several years old, but probably the best example of lousy CRM I've ever seen:http://www.airdisaster.com/reports/ntsb/AAR97-01.pdfThe wheels-up landing of Continental 1943 at Houston a while back. Bloody miracle nobody was seriously hurt considering the plane touched down on the runway wheels up at 190 knots and slid 7,000 feet.If you wade through the entire NTSB report, including the CVR transcript, you'll be blown away at all the things that are wrong in there. Sterile cockpit violations, checklist shortcutting, a F/O that was too cowed to speak up to the Captain, a Captain that had a recto-cranial inversion and thought it normal to continue a final approach despite the fact that the gear warning horn was blaring, the flaps were showing 0 degrees, and the plane was doing TWO HUNDRED KNOTS...you get the idea.Then there's the JAL Cargo DC-8 that crashed out of Anchorage many years ago because the Captain was allegedly falling-down drunk...Lewis "Moose" GregoryRichmond, Virginia

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