Don Hudson

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  1. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    For the purposes of sharing aviation safety information only: https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-and-regulators-delay-jetliner-fixes-prompted-by-lion-air-crash-11549821489 Wall Street Journal Boeing and Regulators Delay Jetliner Fixes Prompted by Lion Air Crash Software update, initially expected in January, now likely pushed until April or later A Lion Air Boeing 737-800 aircraft on Oct. 10, 2018. The Oct. 29 crash of Lion Air Fight 610 has raised fundamental questions about the limits and potential downsides of cockpit automation. Photo: adek berry/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images 34 Comments By Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel, WSJ Updated Feb. 10, 2019 4:12 p.m. ET Engineering and regulatory complications are expected to delay safety fixes covering hundreds of Boeing Co. BA 1.68% 737 MAX jets until at least April, according to industry and government officials familiar with the details. Boeing is developing revised software for an automated flight-control feature that can forcefully push down the nose of MAX aircraft and was implicated in a high-profile Lion Air crash in Indonesia this past October. But the work has dragged on months longer than initially anticipated following the accident, these officials said. In addition to engineering challenges, they said, another reason for the delay stems from differences of opinion among some federal and company safety experts over how extensive the changes should be. Originally, software updates were expected to be fairly straightforward and slated to be announced in early January. But since then, there have been discussions about potentially adding enhanced pilot training and possibly mandatory cockpit alerts to the package, according to one person briefed on the details. There also has been consideration of more-sweeping design changes that would prevent faulty signals from a single sensor from touching off the automated stall-prevention system, officials said. But at this point, they said, such options appear to be losing favor among regulators. The 35-day partial government shutdown—during which consideration of the fixes was suspended—also created further delays. Over the weekend, a Boeing spokesman said the company “continues to evaluate the need for software or other changes as we learn more from the ongoing investigation.” He declined to elaborate on specifics. Since the accident, the Federal Aviation Administration has said it is considering taking action depending on the results of the investigation and reviewing certain issues related to its certification of 737 MAX aircraft. The Oct. 29 crash of Lion Air Flight 610 roughly 11 minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, killing all 189 on board, has raised fundamental questions about the limits and potential downsides of cockpit automation. The tragedy has highlighted the hazards when automated flight-control features fail or misfire, and pilots aren’t able to respond properly. Boeing has faced criticism from some airline officials, aviators and pilot union leaders for omitting details about the new stall-prevention system in the 737 MAX’s manuals or training requirements, which were approved by the FAA. The Chicago-based plane maker has said the process to create its manuals and training for the 737 MAX was consistent with developing previous airplanes, and that it provided information needed to safely fly the airplane. Boeing has said the airplane is safe and noted it is in operation around the world. Boeing favors a relatively simple solution that would primarily reduce the power and, under some circumstances, probably the repetitive nature of the flight-control system in question, called MCAS, according to these government and industry officials tracking the process. That appears to be the most likely outcome, they said, though no final decisions have been made. And the timing for an announcement remains fluid. The FAA is poised to mandate changes to the 737 MAX once there is a company-government consensus about the overall package. The stakes in the current debate go beyond skirmishes over arcane engineering judgments or Boeing’s design philosophy. The upshot, according to some industry officials and outside safety experts, could affect future suits filed by lawyers representing families of victims. The accident probe will take months to complete, as investigators look at factors ranging from maintenance to operations to aircraft design. The Indonesian-led investigation has tentatively concluded that sensor-calibration issues during maintenance touched off the fatal sequence of events, according to people familiar with the process. Investigators also have said the automated flight-control system was central to the crash, and they have publicly identified a number of pilot slip-ups that appear to have played an important part. The stall-prevention system was designed just for the 737 MAX, a variant of Boeing’s workhorse single-aisle jet that Boeing made its debut in 2015. U.S. operators of the new plane include Southwest Airlines Co. , American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. Among measures the FAA has considered was whether to require all 737 MAX airplanes to be outfitted with indicators that alerts pilots when sensors that feed into the stall-prevention system disagree, the officials said. So-called angle of attack sensors essentially reflect the angle of the plane’s nose versus level flight. Cockpit alerts that show when such sensors disagree are currently optional on the fleet. Preliminary data released by Indonesian investigators points to the MCAS feature misfiring when incorrect signals from a single angle-of-attack sensor prompted the system to repeatedly push down the plane’s nose. In the Lion Air crash, investigators have indicated the pilots fought the MCAS system as it strongly and repeatedly pushed down the plane’s nose, but didn’t follow an existing procedure to deactivate it. Indonesian authorities have recovered, and more recently downloaded data from, Lion Air Flight 610’s cockpit-voice recorder. But they haven’t indicated what clues it may provide about the crew’s understanding of the system, and why shortly before the fatal dive the co-pilot apparently eased back on his nose-up commands. On MAX 8 models, under certain conditions, pilots may be unable to pull the plane out of a dive unless they react quickly and proceed to the most relevant portion of their emergency checklist. Outside safety experts have questioned how the FAA gave the green light for such a design lacking redundant software or hardware safeguards. One malfunctioning sensor or a single stream of faulty signals—called a “single point failure” in engineering lingo—can lead to a catastrophic dive, if pilots react improperly. As part of the overall Lion Air probe, the FAA has said its experts are reviewing that and other issues around how the aircraft was certified to fly passengers. Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com and Andrew Tangel at Andrew.Tangel@wsj.com Appeared in the February 11, 2019, print edition as 'Boeing, Regulators Delay Jetliner Fixes.'
  2. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    I see that a correction to the emergency AD that was issued on November 07 was issued on December 11, 2018. I may have missed it but in a search I don't see a link to it on the thread so here it is: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgad.nsf/0/fe8237743be9b8968625835b004fc051/$FILE/2018-23-51_Correction.pdf The AD includes operating procedures for a Runaway Stabilizer: (h) AFM Revision: Operating Procedures Within 3 days after the effective date of this AD, revise the Operating Procedures chapter of the applicable AFM to include the information in figure 2 to paragraph (h) of this AD
  3. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    Hi conehead - I'll have a look at past posts but I think it was in reference to the notion of "decidability" in systems with 3 inputs. The B737 type has just two AoA sources on either side of the lower nose so I'm wondering if I was referring to pitot system which does have 4 sources, (three on the nose, and one on the vertical stabilizer for the elevator trim system). I'm not an engineer and certainly not a scientist but I have wondered about "voting systems" and the tolerance (or resiliency) of auto-flight systems since the AF447 accident. The problem is how computers come to a decision about the correctness of data (and the implicit "correctness" of the response), when there is significant disagreement. As far as I know, this kind of problem hasn't been resolved yet and computers can only make a "best guess", which usually defaults to "majority rule". But a simple majority is problematic between 3 data sources in that two can indeed be wrong and only one correct, (Perpignan A320 accident, QF72 'dive' due data spikes in a flight control computer). This is a far more complex and difficult problem than it first appears. The matter of decidability sometimes comes under the interesting heading of the "Byzantine General's" problem*. It turns out that for complete decidability, one requires seven independant sources of data. I am not about to inflict an explanation on anyone here, particularly because I only have a half-baked, very limited comprehension of why this is so in the first place! But the problem is real and has real and crucial implications for safety/reliability of systems in which software must decide about the correctness of the inputs received and then act accordingly. (I think this is a significant challenge for those who believe that true AI is possible...another thread!) I'm very interested in the architecture of the system as well but schematics for the MAX either are generic block diagrams in aircraft manuals without sufficient detail or the kind that would be useful (AMM diagrams) aren't available online, but I have some leads. Edit to add: Conehead, to your question & comment on faults, "Why wasn’t the faulty input ignored? Seems to me that this is a HUGE design fault.", and after further looking: The AoA input to the MCAS was a single input with no voting incorporated due no matching data source with which to compare. The assumption, one supposes (so far, without evidence), one increment of MCAS movement was not a safety issue and that the crew would bring the aircraft back into trim prior to prior to MCAS activation, source: https://www.pprune.org/tech-log/615709-737max-stab-trim-architecture-3.html#post10335193 * If you're really having trouble sleeping, here's a link on fault tolerance...https://www.cs.indiana.edu/classes/p545/post/lec/fault-tolerance/Driscoll-Hall-Sivencrona-Xumsteg-03.pdf
  4. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    boestar...I can't imagine what the crew thought and experienced as they dealt with elevator forces that continued to increase even as they countered by trimming nose-up every time. The data traces make clear the roughly-5-second intervals between their attempt to maintain a trimmed aircraft and how the MCAS fought them every time, until a control transfer to the right seat when, for a few seconds more, the MCAS increased control forces beyond the ability of the crew to sustain resistance. The runaway stab drill has been around since the sixties when stabilizers gained their enormous power, and everyone knows the drill. But this was not a "runaway". This was a system operating "correctly" with data input that was incorrect. Up until this accident, no pilot could have known about the MCAS or how it worked because there was no practical information in the FCOM, no information about what information it used or why the system was necessary. There are lots of "what-if's" in this terrible tragedy but they parallel alongside a direct line between cause and effect. This is a single point of failure which resulted in the loss of the mission and all on board. The questions about organizational failures are Boeing's. In the end there is no other way to assess it.
  5. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    It remains to be examined and stated by the NTSB whether Boeing actually did the testing required. Whether they knew this was a potential single-point-of-failure, (like "O-rings"), made an assessment and felt they had accounted for the potential, or knew about the potential and satisfied themselves that the risk was in the neighbourhood of 10-9 , is a question that must be answered by the investigation. Even though they are contributory I don't think that this is primarily a "human-factors" accident. Airline training issues, reasons why a crew didn't write up a snag that mentioned the continuous stall warning and the control difficulty which they resolved by using the stabilizer cut-off switch and so on, cannot be cited as primary causes. In my view as a retired pilot, Boeing was not forthright in their work. Given the underlying fundamental design change in a primary flight control system which behaved differently than expected by B737 pilots, should the airplane have been declared a new type rather than falling under the same rules that governed the issuing of the original B737-100 type certificate? The question is a natural one to submit, and is intended to point to an area of investigation that should be part of the overall examination of the Lion Air accident. I hope it will be. (text in blue is edited)
  6. Understand thrust being reduced either manually or by the autothrust system - experienced it - once right back to idle then slowly up again, also seen it in data but the headline of this article and thread leaves one believing that the aircraft suffered an engine problem because of "mountain wave". Thrust coming back on the A320 due speed is the way it, (or the pilot) is supposed to work. An uncommanded, non-recoverable engine roll-back which does not respond to thrust lever movement is an internal, mechanical issue which has nothing to do with winds, temperatures or pressures outside the airplane. On a temporary basis the A330 required the engine anti-ice be ON just prior to descent due to thrust reduction scheduling causing internal pressures to change such that the blades could potentially stall. Placing the anti-ice on relieved some of the pressure while a fix was engineered. I don't believe this was ever a requirement on the A320.
  7. Don Hudson

    An old pilots reflections...

    Great memes!
  8. A mountain wave "causes" an engine roll-back? What am I missing?
  9. Don Hudson

    2018 IN REVIEW: Search for MH370

    Some news regarding a new MH370 flight-path theory, now positing a position much further north and west. There may be something to this; the SW111 impact resulted in a seismic signal as well. I wouldn't count the sources quoted below as primary or official but it's an interesting turn to the mystery. https://news.yahoo.com/missing-flight-mh370-took-different-route-new-sound-wave-study-suggests-151313613.html?guccounter=1 https://news.yahoo.com/mh370-underwater-sound-wave-analysis-101421908.html?guccounter=1 https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/mh370-mystery-missing-wreckage-theory-13931848
  10. Don Hudson

    Ten Years Ago Today

    Sully never saw himself as special or as a hero. He was called upon to exercise the very best of his profession and everyone lived. That's as far as he would recognize his contribution. His next most important contribution was his and his crews' presentations to the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security of the U.S. Senate Committee of Commerce, Science, and Transportation, just under six years later on April 28, 2015 http://www.sullysullenberger.com/my-testimony-today-before-the-senate-subcommittee-on-aviation-operations-safety-and-security/ Under USAirways' "restructuring", he retired about a $40,000/year pension, stating: STATEMENT OF CHESLEY B. “SULLY” SULLENBERGER III Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation April 28, 2015 Thank you, Chairman Thune, Ranking Member Nelson, Chair Ayotte, Ranking Member Cantwell, and other members of the committee. It is my great honor to appear today before the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security. I have dedicated my entire adult life to aviation safety. I have served as a pilot for more than 40 years, logging more than 20,000 hours of flight experience. In fact, just last month marked the 48th anniversary of my first flying lesson. I have served as an airline check airman (flight instructor) and accident investigator, and continue to serve as an aviation safety expert. And on January 15, 2009, I was the Captain on US Airways Flight 1549, which has been called the “Miracle on the Hudson.” On that flight, multiple bird strikes caused both engines to fail and, in concert with my crew, including of course our First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, I conducted an emergency landing on the Hudson River saving the lives of all 155 people aboard. And Jeff is with us today in the hearing room. Jeff, I could not have had a better colleague that day or since. I saw the birds just 100 seconds after takeoff, about two seconds before we hit them. We were traveling at 316 feet per second, and there was not enough time or distance to maneuver a jet airliner away from them. When they struck and damaged both engines, we had just 208 seconds to do something we had never trained for, and get it right the first time. The fact that we landed a commercial airliner on the Hudson River with no engines and no fatalities was not a miracle, however. It was the result of teamwork, skill, in-depth knowledge, and the kind of judgment that comes only from experience. As a result of all of this, I deeply understand what is at stake in questions of aviation safety; and I am uniquely qualified to talk about what works, what doesn’t, and why it is so important that we get these rules right. The traveling public, whose lives we literally hold in our hands, deserves and expects nothing less. I appear before you today knowing that the airline industry has their lobbyists and trade associations, but the traveling public does not. I consider it my professional responsibility and my personal duty to be an advocate for the safety of all air travelers. And as you consider the FAA Reauthorization Bill, I want to say it is critical that you maintain the requirement that newly hired commercial pilots—at both major and regional airlines—have an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate and a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight experience, as Congress has mandated in Public Law. Public safety absolutely demands it. There are some who seek to roll back this requirement. They want to weaken it by allowing more credits for some non-flying activities or hours spent in flight school simulation to be counted as a substitute for real-world experience. They also claim that this safety standard is causing a pilot shortage among regional carriers and restricting flights to smaller cities. They could not be more wrong. There are no shortcuts to experience. There is no shortcut to safety. The standards are the standards because they are necessary. There are some in the industry who look upon safety improvements as a burden and a cost when they should be looking at them as the only way to keep their promise to do the very best they can to keep their passengers safe. As airline professionals, aviation regulators, and legislators, we must have the integrity and courage to reject the merely expedient and the barely adequate as not good enough. We must not allow profit motives to undermine our clear obligation to do what is right to ensure public safety. And I assure you that public safety demands that every newly hired pilot have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flying experience before they are entrusted with protecting the lives of the traveling public. I have seen first-hand the real costs—the human costs—of having inadequate levels of safety. These are costs that no family should ever have to bear. And no one knows this better than the families here with us today. These are some of the families of the victims of Continental Connection/Colgan Air Flight 3407, a regional flight from Newark, NJ, which crashed on approach to Buffalo, NY, on February 12, 2009, killing all 49 people onboard and one person on the ground. It was a terrible tragedy that resulted from the performance of the crew and safety deficiencies. But even more concerning, the federal investigation into this crash revealed that these safety deficiencies reflected a systemic problem among some regional carriers that lacked the robust safety systems of major airlines. This investigation confirmed what many of us know: that we have a two-class system in the airline industry. Major airlines reflect the gold-standard in best practices, training, and safety management programs while some regional airlines, in a race to the bottom that they seem to be winning, take shortcuts to save money wherever they can, often potentially negatively impacting safety. Early this year, my wife, Lorrie, and I visited the site of the crash in Buffalo and met with the families of the victims, many of whom—in the wake of these findings, went to Capitol Hill, to advocate for improved safety measures. Knocking on doors at major federal agencies and meeting with hundreds of people, including President Obama, their goal was to strengthen safety rules on behalf of all members of the traveling public because they didn’t want anyone else to ever again pay the terrible price they did for lapses in regional airline safety. Against insurmountable odds, they succeeded—inspiring an overwhelming number of the 111th Congress to pass the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010. Every member of the flying public owes them a debt of gratitude. We also owe you, the members of Congress, our thanks for getting this right. One of the most important elements of this Act was the establishment of the 1,500-hour standard for airline pilots. Yet just two years since this safety standard went into effect, airline lobbyists are trying to weaken the provision because they consider it a burden or cost. With the immediacy of that 2009 tragedy having passed, they also are appealing to new members of Congress and staffers who may not remember the Buffalo crash. Putting self-interest over public safety, they are trying to gain your support in rolling back the essential progress that has been made for airline safety. Some lobbyists would like you to significantly roll back the 1,500-hour minimum. Short of that, they want the FAA to allow simulator and academic training hours to count toward meeting the 1,500-hour minimum. They see this as an easier, more convenient, less expensive path to getting young pilots into regional airline cockpits. But there are no shortcuts to experience. There is no shortcut to safety. The standards are the standards because they are necessary. Throughout the entire 112-year history of powered flight, one thing has been true. The most important safety device in any airliner is a well-trained, experienced pilot. That is even more true today, especially as we transition from my generation of pilots to the next. We must make sure that each generation of pilots has the same well learned, deeply internalized fundamental flying skills, the in-depth knowledge, experience, and judgment. And that is why pilot preparation, qualifications, screening, training—and experience—are so important. On behalf of traveling Americans, I want to thank you for the Airline Safety and Federal Aviation Administration Extension Act of 2010. You got it right, and I urge you and all members of this committee to continue to uphold these essential safety standards now and reject the claims of those who would urge you to put profits over the safety of the American people. We must all behave as if the victims of the Continental Connection/Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash are watching and judging our integrity and courage this very moment—as their families are. I now want to more specifically address the arguments that some have made for undercutting these essential safety regulations—and why each one is wrong, dead wrong. First, lobbyists are seeking to roll back the experience requirement that Congress wisely mandated in 2010 to protect the safety of the traveling public. This is preposterous. Let me tell you why we cannot have pilots with less than the required experience flying passengers. Pilots with less than the required experience may only have seen one cycle of the seasons of the year as a pilot —one season of thunderstorms, one winter of ice and snow. He or she may never have had a plane de-iced before, may never have landed with a gusty crosswind exceeding 30 knots, and may never have had to land on a rainy night when the glare off a wet surface makes it difficult to tell exactly where you are. And if they received all their flight training in a warm dry climate, they may never even have flown in a cloud before! I would not want my family members in a plane operated by someone with as little experience as that, and I don’t think you would either. Some of these lobbyists go on to say there is nothing magical about the 1,500-hour standard because, to earn the hours, pilots waste their time, merely drag banners by the beach. This is a catchy sound bite but it is a big lie. In the whole country, perhaps a few hundred pilots fly banners; it is a miniscule percentage of the commercial aviation industry. There are, and always have been, good and valuable pathways to develop the experience required to fly a commercial airliner under a variety of conditions, such as flight instruction, charter and cargo operation, and corporate flying. Those who argue to reduce the flight hours required of newly hired pilots also imply that First Officers do not need to have the same level of competence as the Captain. But it has been 80 years since the airline industry has had apprentices in the right seat of airliners. For all that time, we have had qualified pilots in both seats, and we absolutely must continue to do so. The safety systems that the industry has developed and implemented over the last twenty years are based on the assumption of two fully trained, capable and experienced pilots in the cockpit, with each pilot able to be the absolute master of the aircraft in every possible situation at every moment. The value of these practices cannot be questioned. The last fatal accident of a U. S. carrier fully adopting these practices was in November 2001. We have had fourteen years of perfect safety from major carriers employing two fully trained and most importantly, experienced, pilots. The intent of the 2010 safety language was to raise the level of safety in the regional airline industry by requiring the adoption of proven safety systems. Raising the basic requirement for pilot experience was central to this effort. I can tell you that US Airways Flight 1549 would have had a very different ending had my First Officer Jeff Skiles been a less experienced pilot. Like me, Jeff had more than 20,000 hours of flying experience when we lost the engines on that flight. His extensive experience is what enabled him to intuitively know what he needed to do in that emergency, when the work load and time pressure were so extreme that we did not have time to talk about what had just happened and what we needed to do about it, or for me to direct his every action. If he were a relatively inexperienced pilot, we could not have had the same outcome and people likely would have died. Experience is what made the difference between death for some and life for all. Recent events have also made tragically clear why it is so important that newly hired pilots have a minimum of 1,500 hours of flying experience. The First Officer on the Germanwings flight that crashed in the Alps last month had only about 600 hours of flying time. Under existing standards, he would not have qualified as an Air Carrier pilot in the United States and would not have been in a position to accomplish his dark and heinous act. By requiring more experience there is an opportunity to evaluate a prospective candidate over time and in many cases among several employers. The point is this: Any reduction in today’s standard reduces the time a pilot can be observed as a competent, reliable, and trustworthy person before being entrusted with the controls of a commercial airliner full of passengers. With a 1,500-hour standard, employers are able to know more about new pilots, able to have more people screening and observing them over a longer period of time, and able to make a more informed decision about whether they have proven themselves worthy of the public’s trust. When I served as a check airman (an instructor responsible for evaluating pilots) sometimes their performance would be just at the threshold of acceptable. In those cases, I would ask myself this question: When he or she is in the 14th hour of his or her duty day, flying at night in bad weather into an airport he or she has never seen before, would I want my family on that airplane? If the answer was yes, then he or she met the standard. If the answer was no, he or she did not. Those are the kinds of judgments that can only be made when there is adequate time to observe someone in an operational environment. And that is the kind of judgment that Congress made in mandating the ATP with 1500 hours. A second tactic lobbyists are using to try to weaken the standard is by suggesting that more non-flying training count toward the 1,500 hours in place of actual flying experience. Here’s what’s wrong with this line of thinking: Training experiences are highly scripted, highly supervised, and sterile environments where you know what is coming. Real world experiences are not. They are messy and ambiguous and you don’t have anyone holding your hand every step of the way. To propose that training situations are a substitute for real world experience is like saying that studying driving in a classroom is the same as having driven on a busy highway in inclement weather. There is just no substitute for real world experience. Third, lobbyists who want to weaken today’s safety standards say that they are creating a pilot shortage because regional carriers cannot find enough qualified applicants. They also say that the 1,500-hour requirement is threatening air service to small communities and imposing an economic hardship. The implication is that you should reduce the safety requirement so that they can hire less qualified applicants. This flies in the face of logic. Would we allow some airlines to buy jet fuel that is below specification because it was too inconvenient or costly to buy jet fuel that fully met all the critical safety standards? Would we allow some airlines to underinsure because they didn’t want to pay so much for insurance? If there were not enough doctors to serve rural areas, would we advocate a two-year medical degree? Why would we ever allow less qualified pilots to serve small communities? Are the lives of those from rural areas worth less than passengers in large cities? People traveling to small communities deserve to be no less safe than people traveling to large cities. They must not be forced to entrust their lives to less experienced pilots, or airlines that make smaller investments in training or safety management programs than those serving metropolitan areas. What is really going on is this: There is not a pilot shortage, but there is a shortage of pilots willing to enter, or continue employment in, the airline industry under the current economic model. The standard for entry to the airline cockpit is rightly a high bar and requires significant personal and financial investment to achieve the standards necessary to serve and protect the safety of the traveling public. Currently the rewards of an airline career don’t match the investment required. This in turn makes other careers—in and outside of aviation—more attractive, exacerbating airline pilot recruitment. Worse yet, this untenable economic model turns away the best and brightest at the door when they are first considering a career in aviation. Like doctors, pilots make a significant financial investment in their education and training, in some cases upwards of $200,000; and like doctors, they should see a career path worthy of that investment. Doctors, however, only hold one life in their hands at any given moment. As the tragedy of the Germanwings accident shows, pilots hold the responsibility for many more. Passengers entrust their lives to pilots. Why would they not expect the same training and professional experience from their pilot as they would from their surgeon? The First Officer of the ill-fated Continental Connection/Colgan Air Flight 3407 earned $16,400 a year before taxes, clearly an unbelievably low salary for someone who literally holds the lives of their passengers in their hands. Traditionally an airline career has attracted applicants with experience well in excess of even today’s minimum required hours. In fact, pilots applying for a job with a commercial airline would typically have had several thousand hours of flight experience. Only recently have some regional carriers lowered their experience requirements to meet the dictates of an unsustainable economic model. As Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines said, “You can make a pizza so cheap, nobody will eat it. You can make an airline so cheap, nobody will fly it.” Since the regional airline industry has insisted on trying to use this broken economic model, they have created their own problems. We must not lower the required standards to enable them to continue to do so. It is not in anyone’s best interest—not regional airlines, not major airlines, and certainly not the traveling public—to have the aviation industry lower commonsense safety requirements to meet an unsupportable business model. Regional carriers often compete on the basis of cost to be the affiliate of major airlines. Let me tell you what that means to you as a passenger: It means you are flying on the lowest bidder. Would you want your surgeon to be the lowest bidder? But there is no shortcut to safety. That is what FAA minimums have been designed to ensure. And since many operators have lowered their standards to the FAA minimum, we must make sure that those minimum standards are genuinely adequate to protect our passengers. Quality vs. quantity is a false dichotomy. When it comes to airline safety, we need not and must not choose between quality and quantity, because we can and must have both. There are existing methods for pilots to get the requisite experience. There always have been. And since the 1,500-hour standard has been put in effect, flight schools, regional airlines and major airlines have been working together to create a true career path that benefits the industry and most importantly, the traveling public. This is being accomplished by creating partnerships between aviation training academies and regional carriers such as the career program at the aptly named ATP Flight School where a beginning pilot is interviewed and provisionally hired by a regional carrier early in their career. Once an airline makes an offer of employment the pilot continues on at the flight school as a flight instructor building time and experience while training the next generation of pilots to enter the field. The regional carrier even contributes financially to the pilot’s education, and most importantly, the prospective airline pilot can be observed, evaluated, and nurtured while they attain the required flight time necessary for a restricted ATP. The second piece of the pathway is Flow Through agreements between regional carriers and major airlines allowing pilots from the regional to matriculate upwards to a major airline cockpit. Today a person considering a career in aviation can see a defined path forward worthy of the necessary personal and financial investment. The industry has created these healthy pathways—not in spite of the 1,500-hour standard–but because of it. It allows airlines the time to make good judgments regarding the skills and temperament of a pilot that are good for both pilots’ career and for the safety of the traveling public. Finally, as aviation has become safer, some people seem to think that being a pilot has become an easier job, requiring less skill, knowledge, training, experience, and judgment. Nothing could be further from the truth. In spite of how commonplace air travel is today, we must never forget that what we are actually doing is pushing a tube filled with people through the upper atmosphere, seven or eight miles above the earth, traveling at 80% of the speed of sound, in a hostile environment with outside air pressure one-quarter that on the ground, and outside temperatures to 70 degrees below zero; and we must return it safely to the surface every time. Professional pilots make it look easy but it’s not. It’s hard. If it were easy, anyone, everyone could do it. And that is just not the case. It takes deeply internalized well-learned fundamental skills, in-depth knowledge, and the kind of judgment that comes only from experience. When pilots enter this noble profession that I consider a calling, they make a tacit promise to all their future passengers that they will keep them safe. And every airline executive, every aviation regulator, every legislator who oversees aviation should feel the same obligation and keep that same promise. Honoring that promise requires us to acknowledge that there are no shortcuts to experience. There is no shortcut to safety. The standards are the standards because they are necessary. And, the traveling public deserves and expects one level of safety: not one level for major airlines, and another for regional airlines. I urge you to stand with me in showing the right judgment by upholding the 1,500-hour standard for the safety of all Americans. Thank you.
  11. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    Wall Street Journal By Andy Pasztor and Andrew Tangel Updated Nov. 13, 2018 1:56 p.m. ET . . . . "Boeing marketed the MAX 8 partly by telling customers it wouldn’t need pilots to undergo additional simulator training beyond that already required for older versions, according to industry and government officials. One high-ranking Boeing official said the company had decided against disclosing more details to cockpit crews due to concerns about inundating average pilots with too much information—and significantly more technical data—than they needed or could digest. " . . . . https://www.wsj.com/articles/boeing-withheld-information-on-737-model-according-to-safety-experts-and-others-1542082575
  12. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    When I joined AC a hundred years ago, we got a day's groundschool, (initial course) on snag-writing. Garth emphasized the importance of clear communication and taking the time. Sometimes hanging around for a conversation with maintenance is a good thing. Here, a thoroughly-written snag almost certainly would have saved lives.
  13. The representations by pilot groups, study groups, scientists and even laymen are to be congratulated on 40 years of tireless presentations, negotiations and dogged persistence. While other countries dealt with the problem by recognizing and developing fatigue risk management processes, Canada was increasingly, embarassingly alone with its inappropriate regulations. Minister Garneau, it is a good start.
  14. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    Hi conehead; It is difficult to accept that a primary flight-control system would have only one sensor and that a run-on failure mode associated with bad data hadn't been envisioned in the original design of the MCAS. That's fundamental so there has to be more to this than that.
  15. Don Hudson

    Lion Air Down

    Blues - and the poor log-book snag writing led, in my view, to not communicating the entire problem, in turn diagnosing the fault thoroughly enough and permitted release of the airplane without the perceived need for a test flight. The behaviour of the trim system probably in this accident likely did not resemble anything the crew had experienced in recurrent sim sessions. Normally, you see the trim wheel rotating, (generally at the faster, 'manual' rates than the slower autopilot trim rates). Either way, the rotating wheel with its white marks going round and round without obvious input is an eye-catcher. Here, the wheel rotated for about 2.5 seconds then stopped. A slight control heaviness would have been felt and manually trimmed out. That scenario repeated itself and was moderately under control, (the confusion & question & likely cockpit conversation would be, "Why does it keep doing that?, or "What's it doing now?"), until a handover of control, (Capt. to F/O) took place. Manual trimming to counter the MCAS "subtle runaway") was not applied and physical control forces got too heavy. Likely they split the control columns (as designed, to cater to an elevator jam), in the last few moments. If they had known about the MCAS system, and how it behaved and how it was controlled, (apparently single-source, No. 1 pitot), they may have made the leap to using the cut-out switches, but it wasn't "a loud bang", so to speak and there was no attention-getting warning to indicate how serious the problem really was. The previous crew will be interviewed extensively I should think. We may find out what they thought and why, when they decided to use the cut-out switches. Probably a quiet, insightful moment that was responding to a system that wasn't behaving so they stopped it, probably without going through any checklist. I've looked in NG & Max FCOMs. Very little information in Boeing manuals generally - even below a minimum NTK level in my view. To that point, there isn't a single mention of how the MCAS system actually works and why it exists, such that a crew could make an informed decision about the system. Their control columns just got heavier and heavier until they couldn't hold them back anymore.