"*******, we're dead!"

Southern Dad

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"*******, we're dead!"

Those were the pilot's words on the cockpit flight recorder of Air France Flight 447. It now seems that two of the pilots were asleep and a junior pilot was flying the airplane.

288 people lost their lives on that airplane. When we are flying commercial, our lives are in the hands of those in the cockpit. As passengers, we believe that there is a competent captain in the seat, flying the airplane. Should we, as passengers have a right to know what is going on up front?

Body cams for pilots with a monitor in the back?
 

quagmire

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I say fire the pilots and automate the job.
They would still be dead in AF447 case because the automation failures is what overwhelmed the pilots( and that automation failures was caused by an iced over pitot tube). If there was no pilots at all in AF447's situation, the automation would have failed and they would still have crashed. There are a lot more factors that lead to the crash then simply the pilots screwed up( part of it is the way Airbus sets up their systems which I dislike).

This is just another overreaction by the masses not understanding anything about the industry. Just like with the Colgan aircrash. The captain crashed the plane, but people seemed to focus on the fact the FO lacked an ATP( while also ignoring both pilots had more than 1500 hours). But also ignored the reason why the FO flew sick( low pay, long hours, etc). I don't care if the FO had 10,000 hours. That Colgan crash would still have happened. The captain kept raising the nose, didn't apply power, etc as airspeed bled off and the angle of attack increased. Then when the plane stalled he still pulled back on the yoke instead of properly nosing down to break the stall. The captain crashed it and now future FO's feel the brunt of it because the masses don't know anything and got fed by the media.

Fact of flying: Captains and FO's take turns flying the aircraft. One leg the captain is the pilot flying and the FO is the pilot monitoring. Another leg the FO is the pilot flying and the captain is pilot monitoring. Of course in an emergency the captain as PIC has the authority to take controls if he so deems it, but often enough the FO's are the ones flying in an emergency so the captain can concentrate on making the decisions instead of focusing on flying a wounded bird and trying to make the decisions. But you will never have those experienced captains you all want if FO's never fly the plane because the only way FO's upgrade to captain is to have enough SIC time and at the controls. And the pilot monitoring is just as critical to the pilot flying. If the PM doesn't catch the PF's mistakes, they can still crash and die. If the PM slacks off monitoring the aircraft systems, they can crash and die.
 
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quagmire

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Monitoring? Is that what you call it? It appears two out of three people capable of flying that plane were sleeping.
And you think they were still asleep when the **** hit the fan? The captain was behind the FO's in the seats when this was occurring.
 

Southern Dad

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Air France 447 Crash: Final Report Points to Pilot Error, Confusion

As the captain rested outside of the cockpit, one of the two remaining copilots took manual control of the aircraft and made nose-up inputs that caused the aircraft to exit the flight envelope less than one minute later and enter a stall that caused it to lose altitude at a rate greater than 10,000 fpm.

Despite multiple stall warnings, including one that lasted continuously for 54 seconds, neither of the copilots acknowledged them nor the appearance of stall buffet.
Final Air France crash report says pilots failed to react swiftly

"Despite these persistent symptoms, the crew never understood they were in a stall situation and therefore never undertook any recovery maneuvers."
The pilots responded to the situation by pointing the nose upward, rather than downward, to recover.
Marc Dubois recorded saying: 'I didn't sleep enough last night' and then when just before the crash...

'So, is he coming?' Mr Robert is heard muttering, even swearing in frustration when Mr Dubois takes a full minute to get back to the cockpit.
'Hey, what are you...' Mr Dubois is heard to say when he gets back, to which Mr Robert replies: 'What's happening? I don't know, I don't know what's happening.'
 

iBlazed

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It's creepy that two years later they were pulling bodies out of the ocean. At the time I read a report that some of the bodies were still sitting in their seats at the bottom of the ocean. I would NOT want the job of the people retrieving them.
 

daflake

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Just going to add that you should believe very little out of the Daily Mail as well. They are a tabloid rag like the National Enquirer, complete and utter crap.
 

Huntn

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This crash was discussed in depth a while back, but I'm too lazy to find it. :p

Automation is a known issue with all human endeavors. The danger is known and can be mitigated.

The issue with the insideous nature of pitot tube failure has been known for at least 4 decades. A NWA 727 crashed in the 70s for the same reason. Airlines train crews for this, but I flew for 30 years and never saw it.

And as I said, in the other thread, it's insideous. The key to success is recognition of the problem. Yep a pilot screwed up. But there is an issue with the Airbus having seperate controls that cancel each other out, even if there is a button that transfers control to just one joy stick. If one minute every thing is normal, and the next minute alarms are going off, and one pilot puts in a nose up input, if the problem is not quickly recognized and the pilot who figures it out does not take control of the aircraft, ie say "I got it," then you get this crash. Training and remembering this can happen is the key to success.

To illustrate, you've been in stable cruise for some time. All of a sudden an over speed alarm goes off. The autopilot might click off. Power has been set at a normal setting since cruise was established, the aircraft is level. Based on this circumstance, aircraft like this just don't accelerate into an overspeed condition. A warning flag should go off in the pilot's head. The proper response might be to reduce the power a little. If the speed does not slow, you've got a pitot system failure producing erroneous airspeed indications. The wrong response is to pull the nose up. This is what happened. The proper response is to fly known power settings and attitudes and ignore the airspeed. Because the pitot tube was iced over, at lower Warner altitudes, it probably would have cleared itself. Sounds simple, doesn't it. :p
 
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aaronvan

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There's a Kindle book on this crash, written by a commercial pilot: Understanding Air France 447, by Bill Palmer. He is a retired Airbus 330 pilot. It was very informative.

It was so enlightening as to make me nervous, especially the descriptions of the software that flies these airplanes.

(Incidentally, all U.S. commercial avionics software must be written in Ada; it'e the law.)

Link to book: http://www.amazon.com/Understanding-Air-France-Bill-Palmer-ebook/dp/B00E5W9YZG
 
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vrDrew

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That is an interesting read, and a lot better than the quick on on Daily Mail.
I cannot overstate how repellant I find the Daily Mail's use of the Vanity Fair piece. In the tradition of the absolute worst of the British tabloid press they cherry pick irrelevancies to such an extent as to fundamentally alter the meaning of the article.

Referring to 'the flight-rest compartment, a small cabin containing two berths just behind the cockpit', the piece describes how Robert was also 'dozing there'.
If anyone is actually learning more about the complex set of institutional, technological, aeronautical, regulatory, and meteorological circumstances that led to this accident, take twenty minutes of so and read the Vanity Fair piece in its original.

Complexity means you have a large number of subcomponents and they interact in sometimes unexpected ways. Pilots don’t know, because they haven’t experienced the fringe conditions that are built into the system. I was once in a room with five engineers who had been involved in building a particular airplane, and I started asking, ‘Well, how does this or that work?’ And they could not agree on the answers. So I was thinking, If these five engineers cannot agree, the poor pilot, if he ever encounters that particular situation . . . well, good luck.”
If you prefer to spread alarm and anger by believing that this crash was caused by careless, sex-crazed French incompetents - the Daily Mail is your source.
 

Happybunny

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Just going to add that you should believe very little out of the Daily Mail as well. They are a tabloid rag like the National Enquirer, complete and utter crap.
I think the report from the Daily Mail originated with this story in Vanity Fair. It's an interesting read.
What I also find slightly worrying is that the Daily Mail is the UK's second largest circulation newspaper.:p
 

Huntn

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Air France 447 Crash: Final Report Points to Pilot Error, Confusion



Final Air France crash report says pilots failed to react swiftly



Marc Dubois recorded saying: 'I didn't sleep enough last night' and then when just before the crash...

'So, is he coming?' Mr Robert is heard muttering, even swearing in frustration when Mr Dubois takes a full minute to get back to the cockpit.
'Hey, what are you...' Mr Dubois is heard to say when he gets back, to which Mr Robert replies: 'What's happening? I don't know, I don't know what's happening.'
The system is designed with 3 pilots rotating out of 2 seats for rest.
 

Southern Dad

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I am wondering how many of the passengers didn't have a clue what was happening until the plane plunged into the sea. Not like they could do anything about it, any way. But imagine how different cockpit crew would act if everything heard by the voice recorder was also on one of the channels of the headsets.
 

bradl

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I am wondering how many of the passengers didn't have a clue what was happening until the plane plunged into the sea. Not like they could do anything about it, any way. But imagine how different cockpit crew would act if everything heard by the voice recorder was also on one of the channels of the headsets.
Word of advice for you: If you are so worried about this, please don't fly on any heavy jet on an overseas flight (Heavy jet = MGTOW of 300,000lbs; primarily, B747, B767, B777, B787, A330, A340, A380). depending on duration of flight, they have entirely different crews to take over parts of the flight.

There's no bloody way you could or should expect a pilot to fly all 15 hours of a flight from LAX to Sydney, or LAX to London. You would be asking too much and putting the rest of the passengers at risk of the same thing by making the pilot fly the aircraft while fighting their own fatigue.

Or better yet, fly United, and have them turn on Ch. 9. That way you can hear everything that goes on. Better yet: LiveATC

BL.
 

quagmire

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To illustrate, you've been in stable cruise for some time. All of a sudden an over speed alarm goes off. The autopilot might click off. Power has been set at a normal setting since cruise was established, the aircraft is level. Based on this circumstance, aircraft like this just don't accelerate into an overspeed condition. A warning flag should go off in the pilot's head. The proper response might be to reduce the power a little. If the speed does not slow, you've got a pitot system failure producing erroneous airspeed indications. The wrong response is to pull the nose up. This is what happened. The proper response is to fly known power settings and attitudes and ignore the airspeed. Because the pitot tube was iced over, at lower Warner altitudes, it probably would have cleared itself. Sounds simple, doesn't it. :p
If that is all that happened, they probably would have recognized a blocked pitot tube. But that blocked pitot tube knocked out the autopilot and kept on giving them warning alerts, master cautions, etc saying this was failed, that was failed. They kept on getting bombarded of system/automation failures they couldn't process anything. They saw what was going on, but they couldn't process it.

Yes it was ultimately pilot error. Not disputing that. But Southern Dad ignores the casual factors that lead to the accident. The crew being overwhelmed by the Airbus systems going, " **** it, I'm out". The fact the control sticks are not coordinated and the plane listened to the pilot inputting the wrong command while ignoring the other pilot who was pushing forward on his stick. So a break down of communication there. Though if it was a Boeing the pilot in the left seat would have realized the pilot in the right was pulling back because the yokes are coordinated and would helped reestablish communication since the pilot in the left seat would realize what the pilot in the right seat was doing. Not to mention in an overspeed situation, the Airbus flight laws have the plane pitch up to help slow down. That may also have contributed to the confusion of what was going on( how much who knows).

Frankly either Southern Dad is just being over reactionary just because or he made this thread mocking another discussion on putting cameras on cops with his repeating of putting cameras on pilots statements.....
 

Southern Dad

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Word of advice for you: If you are so worried about this, please don't fly on any heavy jet on an overseas flight (Heavy jet = MGTOW of 300,000lbs; primarily, B747, B767, B777, B787, A330, A340, A380). depending on duration of flight, they have entirely different crews to take over parts of the flight.

There's no bloody way you could or should expect a pilot to fly all 15 hours of a flight from LAX to Sydney, or LAX to London. You would be asking too much and putting the rest of the passengers at risk of the same thing by making the pilot fly the aircraft while fighting their own fatigue.

Or better yet, fly United, and have them turn on Ch. 9. That way you can hear everything that goes on. Better yet: LiveATC

BL.
No, but if the passengers heard the pilot say that he didn't get any sleep last night it probably wouldn't do the airplanes any favors. I rarely fly United but I'll have to check out channel 9, if I do.
 

vrDrew

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I am wondering how many of the passengers didn't have a clue what was happening
If you read the Vanity Fair article, it tells you that the plane was descending at 10,000 vertical feet per minute, and rolled sharply to the right. It think the passengers knew something was very wrong for at least the last two or three minutes of flight.

There is such a thing as too much information. Airline passengers don't know what 99% of the jargon used by flight crew means, and even if they did, they aren't in a position to do anything about it.