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Vsplat last won the day on May 26

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  1. After listening to that recording (thanks AIP), all I can say is "wow". Here we are trying to break the pattern of unstable approaches leading to landings when the crew should go around, and this one controller decides everyone gets one shot. Nav Can had better sort this out immediately. And all the better if they make a public statement affirming their policy. Otherwise, I can just see word spreading that YYC is 'land or else'. Vs
  2. Just getting some anecdotal reports from a crew who had to go around in YYC a couple of days ago, pretty strong Xwinds on the 35 operation, approach destabilised. When they asked for a second approach, the story goes that YYC replied negative, unless they were declaring min fuel, mayday or pan, they were required to go to their alternate. Such a directive would be wrong on so many levels, I have to think there is a large piece of the story missing. Can anyone here, more familiar with YYC ATC shed some light on this? Urban myth? Real? Local policy perhaps? Thanks Vs
  3. Looks like fun. I don't think it will survive in very hot, sandy or cold, icing-prone climates in its current design. That said, you have to start somewhere and this looks like an innovative assembly of some already pretty low risk components. Like just about everything else, it will come down to the operation. For all of the airline pressures we face, it is still thankfully nothing on the scale of a ground taxi cab. Having a stressed-out cabbie take a wrong turn today doesn't usually result in a mid air.... Vs
  4. I certainly agree, the efforts that go into making a cloud breaking procedure feel more precise than it is, can feed loss of situational awareness, or perhaps more accurately, reduce the crew's level of caution regarding threats to that awareness. I think had the PAPI been visible it might have been a game changer. Had the lights been the next order of magnitude brighter as promised, perhaps the crew would have adjusted intuitively and not this flight, but another one would have spawned, what I think was an inevitable look at the lighting and approach ban limits. All that to say that, IMO, this accident, or one like it, was going to happen, it was just a question of where or when. The TSB report does seem to indicate that the crew continued to process visual inputs as they became available, right up the point they realised that they were dangerously low and commenced a go around. So I don't think they would argue with your logic, or even necessarily found their approach at odds with it. FWIW Vs
  5. DEFCON, that descent is, unfortunately, exactly per Airbus SOP. FPA is activated 0.3 NM prior to the expected descent point. No adjustment is offered for headwind or tailwind. And yes, a large portion of the flight path offset started right at the FAF. Vs
  6. Pilots are paid to exercise judgement, Kip. Just not of others. You started down this dead end when you tried to forge a link that the TSB had weighed and discounted - and answered questions as to why that was the case in their briefing. That has been explained to you. Yet you elected to persist with the autopilot as though it was a causal factor, despite the TSB clearly saying otherwise. Your further comments distancing yourself from the decision of that crew, suggesting you would have avoided the threat that got them, your personal standard for the decision to land, is frankly whistling past the graveyard. None of us were there or saw what they saw. We know they were convinced carrying on was the safe thing to do. Which of us would have been equally comfortable? I see absolutely no sign that they pushed limits. The entire thread of speculation is wrong. I am perhaps not as experienced as you. I've only been trying to learn this trade for 40 years or so, But I look at this accident and say, 'there but for the grace go I'. We all see it our own way, but when I look at the accident record, some of the greatest out there have been involved. Tenerife comes to mind as I write this. I honestly don't think there is such a thing as immunity from accidents, so perhaps on that point we will agree. These were two professional pilots, the TSB did not hang the accident on them, and we should at the very least not try to do so here. Pilot error is still a term. Just not a very accurate one, and not really reflective of the findings in this case. Nuff said. Vs
  7. The weeds are starting to get pretty thick. The crew applied the SOP. They clearly thought they had the required visual reference as set out in the SOP . They discussed it. To suggest that a personal standard of visibility would then be applied is really opening the pandora's box of intentional non-compliance with SOP. The causal factors are set out in the report and the network laid out the way it is, likely on purpose. The 'lights only' SOP is gone, the minimum visibility requirements have been improved, other changes have been put in place so, hopefully, another crew does not arrive to see a compelling, but incorrect, visual reference. Those are all good solutions. Applying a personal standard to an SOP operation, well, not so much. Vs
  8. kip. it is important to note that, at the time of the accident, "lights only" was a valid call. Like so many accidents, the crew had sufficient confidence in what they saw to conclude they had met the criteria to enter the visual segment. The AP angle really doesn't factor in here, at least from what I see, I don't know anyone at this end of the industry who would intentionally abuse it to push below minima, particularly on a night such as that one. While we are left to form our own conclusions as to why the AP was not cancelled on time, the most common conclusion, including that directly provided by the TSB, is that the extended use of the AP below the expected altitude did not change the threat level faced by that flight. To say the crew should have gone around based on what they saw, knowing all of what is now known is, well, hindsight... Vs
  9. kip, I think the TSB has answered your question. SOP would be to disconnect no lower than corrected MDA. Their report indicates when they believe it was actually disconnected, which seems not to line up with our expectations at this point. I watched the press briefing where they addressed this pretty well, I thought. I think that briefing is still available as a link somewhere. The memory I took from it, perhaps incorrectly, is that, in the TSB's view, the AP simply continued on the trajectory the crew themselves would have chosen had they been hand flying, so that aspect was not pivotal. Bottom line, for a whole host of reasons, the crew lost situational awareness at some point during final approach and thought they were somewhere other than where they truly were. It took a number of conjoint threats to defeat them, the removal of any one might have made the difference. Again, my paraphrasing, so look to the TSB document and briefing for more, Vs
  10. Defcon, I think seeker has captured the specifics, I won't hammer further. I will speak to your comment directed at me personally. First off, I don't think we disagree that there were opportunities missed in this report. After this long a wait, frankly I expected more too. Am I defensive of the crew? You bet your butt I am. But you will recall from my other posts on the forum that I have been just as adamant regarding the crews of other airlines whose misfortunes have been discussed here. It's not an AC thing. It is a pilot thing. And yes, I am old fashioned, getting older fashioned by the day if the mirror tells me anything. What I read in your posts about the FO suggests that you are frustrated with the gaps in the report, in fairness about more than just the FO. While it is natural to want to bridge the gaps with theory, I draw a line between theories about facts and those about people, especially those who are living with the memories of an event like this one. It is just my opinion, but strongly held, that they deserve understanding and a bit of elbow room, especially here, on a forum of fellows. The report notes both crew were qualified and fit. They followed SOP. There is nothing, and I repeat, nothing in the report that suggests crew experience or currency undermined their compliance with SOPs. That, to me, is a summative statement. Far from taking the interpretation that something got missed, it says to me that, having looked at everything, there was nothing remarkable about the crew's ability to do the job, so rather than distract from the meat of the findings, no more space will be devoted to the matter. Do I have questions left unanswered having read the report? You bet I do. But you and I have kicked this can around the block enough to know there are better ways to get answers than to float theories about real people on a forum. I know this won't settle the matter, but I felt I owed you a response. Vs
  11. Kip, I did a bit of looking. I don't know the mod status of the aircraft involved. Indeed, AP auito disconnect at MDA-50 feet is not fitted on all serial numbers or modes. It may be, and again with deference to the TSB, that in the absence of FINAL APP mode, an aircraft already in an FPA descent with AP on could continue in descent below MDA without the autopilot kicking off. Some aircraft will flash an FMA warning, others will simply carry on silently. Not sure this clears it up, again, not sure what the mod status of that aircraft was. Vs
  12. Kip, AP disconnects 50' below MDA . Not sure about the rest of your calculations. Edited to correct, checking Airbus FCOMs, the auto-disconnect of the AP is not on all serial numbers or approach modes. Without knowing specifics, it may be that this particular serial number, when flying selected FPA mode, did not have auto-disconnect enabled. Vs
  13. DEFCON, that post is below your usual standard. I don't know why you are so obsessed with the FO, but if you think that your read through of a sanitized report gives you insight beyond that of a two year investigation by professionals with unfettered access to information none of us have, then rather than calling our intellect into question, please feel tree to provide something more substantial than corrosive innuendo and extrapolation. Vs
  14. Kip, the AP disconnect rules I referenced come straight out of the FCOM/AOM. Can't post them verbatim here. The MDA is not pulled from a database, it is a crew entry, so would reflect the additive. (BTW I think the TSB got that wrong, normally it is MDA + 50 feet then correct it all for temp) I really can't answer for the TSB or what they said about autpilot engagement. If it remained engaged more than 50 feet below the value set in the MCDU as MDA, that would require some further explanation. More likely to me is that this is unclear wording from the TSB. As far as I can read, they don't reference the actual altitude where the autopilot disconnected, nor would they have that precisely, as there is some lag between data samples on the FDR. 50 feet in descent would be hard to pinpoint unless you got lucky with the sample rate. FWIW Vs
  15. Several things that really stand out for me in this report: 1) Halifax's terrible weather has been known forever. The opposite end of this same runway has a CAT II. 2) The lighting system was weak, and this too has been known forever. Yet everyone allowed it to continue. Classic normalization. 3) Below charted minima. Canada's shame. Hang this on the lobbyists and the TC mandarins that ceded power to them. 4) NAV CAN's SMS allowed a controller to be multi-tasking in ridiculous weather and workload circumstances such that they forgot to set the lights appropriately 5) The regulator allowed all of this. Ref 3) above, shame. The autopilot disconnect is inconsequential. It self cancels at 50' below MDA, which for this airline, is set 50' above published minimum to ensure the aircraft doesn't descend below MDA in the event of a go around. So, based on my few read throughs, the AP would have cancelled right at charted MDA. Ditto the above comments on crew performance. They flew it as instructed. WRT this speculation over the FO... I'm not sure the extrapolation of hours over time is a valid approach. Things like parental leave, short term disability due to an injury or some rather innocuous medical procedures can chew up months without flying. Not saying it is the case here, but when pilots are posted to supervisory roles, flight deck hours can often drop below 35 per month on average. At AC, hours alone as a measure doesn't really mean much. A 777 pilot can put in 60 hours a month and get two approaches, both in YYZ. whereas, a 320 pilot can put in 20 hours a month and get 10-15 LGA or ORD arrivals or departures, or play in the fog down east with YHZ-YYT legs and CAT IIs at both ends. There are pretty strict currency rules in place, tracked automatically. Those are the better measures IMO. Vs