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Malcolm

Lion Air Down

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As of last week Boeing identified the problem to be a faulty AOA sensor on the Max. No info on the part supplier or what other 737 series have this same unit installed. 

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1 hour ago, Vsplat said:

Kip, I think there is a general move toward lower automation segments in sim sessions industry wide, that's more being driven by the go around decision and started before this.

That said, understanding what is happening at the root of an undesired aircraft state seems important no matter what the conditions.  While we assume 'looking out the window' would have helped, there is no reason to think a crew would not remain in manual flight after departing IFR.  Many of the olde guard still believe in doing this on a regular basis.  If I read this right, that manual flight and AOA disagree on this aircraft can result in this bad situation, then the crew is going to have to deal with it in IFR as well as VFR, potentially at a very low altitude.

It is an interesting thing - every time we add layer to this cake, no matter how well intentioned, there are side effects and risk of the new layer playing badly with the old.  Sometimes the side effects can be worse than the original issue.

Vs

I understand what you are saying and if more attention is going to be paid to manual flight while in sim sessions I think that is a good start.

What I have always been concerned about was that there seems to be a dangerous lack of ability with some  "new gen" pilots  to handle an aircraft without all the technology working at 100 %. Transitioning from Play Station or MS Flight Simulator to real world handling of an aircraft  does not include the basics, the theory of flight , basic aerodynamics,  and because in the real world, there is no "pause" button, I think pilots are becoming so dependent on glass and gadgets that few can  handle a non "magic" aircraft and revert back to manual flight at any crucial point of a flight.

In my mind, the greatest example of that was AF over the Atlantic. The understanding of basic aerodynamics was certainly absent from that flight deck and as we accept the fact that more low time pilots who know little about the basics of manual flying and are so dependent on nothing but technology enter the work force, more incidents/accidents are going to happen.

I can remember  flying the A310 with "senior-in-age" pilots who had trouble with the technology but for the most part they have all  been "punted through the goal posts" ...but they could revert back to basic manual flying in an instant and many did when they could not understand what the aircraft was doing. In fact, initially  WD felt it was OK to fly from T/O to 10000 feet in manual mode, if you wanted to, but TC got in the game and wanted us on the glass as soon as safe and possible to do after T/O.

A small true story...My initial line check on the A310 was YYZ-YYC-YYZ. I was the FO and PF on the sector from YYC to YYZ. For some reason YYZ radar kept us high during the approach mode and finally cleared us for the ILS......We had all the nav aids set up and I just intercepted the localizer and the aircraft turned final when I realized that the GP was below us. Whaaaat ??? How come the aircraft was not going to catch the GP.....well it couldn't in the magic mode, not from above, and we were getting closer to the runway....What to do ?????

I disconnected the auto thrust, disconnected the autopilot and descended rather rapidly down onto the GP and then manually  flew the ILS in for a landing. I should have gone to V/S and got the aircraft down to the GP and did a magic approach but bear in mind I had about 12 hours on glass and when it didn't look right I went manual...All the check pilot said is...."you can't argue with success".

Now the above  is not an earth shattering story but I was presented with  something we were never taught in Toulouse, (the correct procedure for intercepting GP from above using only magic), but at the time, I felt when it didn't look right so felt  I would revert back to basic flying. 

That in a nutshell is what I worry about........some young pilots relying so much on what they see on the glass  that their mind can't ignore what they see so they will not ignore the magic, and go back to basic aircraft handling.

I'm pretty sure that, unfortunately, this recent incident, (Lion Air),  will NOT be the last.

 

 

 

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That's a good story.  And a good point.  Stable approaches are a major focus right now.  Interesting, how many times a crew that gets slam dunked tries to recover through automation when they are way outside the effective realm of that mode.  What would be simple in a low or no automation state morphs into this hair-on-fire flurry of hands and fingers and sucks the crews SA down the drain. 

My own funny story.  On approach the other day, we expected a tailwind from around 4000 feet till 500 feet or so.  I was PF, down early, on speed, but no tailwind materialized.  Hmmm.  Nice low altitude tour of the boonies!  Grinding our way onto the glideslope, as soon as we pitched over, the wind made its appearance and our speed shot up with a trend arrow past our max speed for our flap selection.  I took the easy road - AP off, shallow the descent, get the speed trending where I wanted it as we got the gear down and worked our way back into the slot (visual conditions) reference the PAPI and keeping the vertical speed somewhere sensible.  While we met all of the gates, my partner (new-ish), mentioned on the taxi in, 'I thought we were going around. I have never seen what you did, done".  I was concerned, did I miss something, were we not stable?  'Oh no, everything was bang on.  I just have never actually seen that done.  Neat!".

Well, now he has....

Vs

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The conversation was more, he had never seen an intercept from above done visually, without an autopilot capturing an ILS glideslope.  The notion of referencing the runway and PAPI and removing automation rather than fight it was still foreign.  Admittedly, that is an artifact of the sim world, where everything is geared toward understanding the automation.  Line indoc may or may not offer an opportunity to see a manual intercept.  It's the luck of the draw.

Vs

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My version - cleared a visual 33R YYZ, no guidance. Just a nice bright sunny day. Very young FO flying fresh from line indoc. About 10 miles back he says "so is this where I activate the approach?" Caught me off guard for a sec. I said "No. See the runway?" He says "yup". I said "Hit it with the wheels." He said something like "Huh. Really."

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And where does this leave the two  Canadian Operators of this aircraft type? 

Airlines

  • Business strategy
  • Airline industry rushes to understand nuances in 737 Max systems

Airline industry rushes to understand nuances in 737 Max systems

 

  •  
  • 13 November, 2018
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: Jon Hemmerdinger
  • Boston

Airlines, unions and regulators are working to understand the 737 Max's flight systems while unions uncover seeming errors in emergency "runaway stabiliser" checklists.

The work comes amid reports that the US industry was unaware Boeing had equipped the 737 Max with a new system that has been linked to the 29 October crash of a Lion Air 737 Max 8.

"We are working at an extraordinarily positive pace to share information," says a spokesperson for the Allied Pilots Association (APA), which represents pilots at American Airlines, a 737 Max operator.

"We are looking at differences between the Max and the non-Max aircraft" in an effort to understand nuances in stall prevention and notification systems, the union adds.

The issue apparently rests with the 737 Max's Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), which is not on earlier-generation 737s. The technology automatically trims the aircraft's stabiliser, dropping the nose, to avoid stalls, according to American Airlines memo to pilots.

However, the system can also cause aircraft to dive if computers receive incorrect angle-of-attack data – a scenario called a "runaway stabiliser". Investigators have suggested faulty angle-of-attack information played a role in the Lion Air crash.

The APA says inclusion of the MCAS systems seems to have been accompanied by slight changes in how pilots should response to runaway stabilisers.

Pilots have long been taught that pulling back on a 737's control column can arrest that condition – a fix pilots call a "breakaway", says the APA.

Indeed, American's runaway stabiliser checklist, dated 10 July, says, "stabiliser trim commands are interrupted when the control column is displaced in the opposite direction".

But the APA has now learned that the 737 Max is apparently different.

The APA cites a 7 November memo from American to pilots, in which the airline says that pulling the control column on a 737 Max will not arrest stabiliser movement if the dive was caused by faulty angle-of-attack data. "Control column force will not stop electric trimming", the memo says.

"On the 737NG, they had this breakaway system," says the APA. "On the Max, the company note says [that] pulling up on the stick doesn't work."

The union stresses that American's checklists also tell pilots to switch off the stabiliser system, which should fix the problem.

It adds that differences between 737 Max and 737NGs are not a problem – so long as pilots know about the changes.

The APA was not the only organisation caught unaware.

Also in the dark were American, Southwest Airlines, and, reportedly, Southwest's pilot association.

"We value our partnership with Boeing, but were unaware of some of the functionality of the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) installed on the Max 8," American tells FlightGlobal. "The work with the FAA and Boeing is ongoing, and we will continue to keep pilots informed of any updates."

"The MCAS was not mentioned in the manuals that Boeing provided to Southwest," Southwest says in a statement. "Therefore, MCAS is not mentioned in the Southwest Max 8 manuals."

The Dallas-based carrier's pilot union did not respond to requests for comment.

Boeing declines to comment about the MCAS, saying it is working to understand circumstances related to the Lion Air crash, which killed 189 people.

"We are taking every measure to fully understand all aspects of this incident, working closely with the investigating team and all regulatory authorities involved," it says. "We are confident in the safety of the 737 Max."

Following the crash, Boeing issued a service alert and the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive requiring airlines to revise flight manuals to specify how pilots should response to runaway stabilisers.

American and Southwest have complied with the order, they say.

 

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"We value our partnership with Boeing, but were unaware of some of the functionality of the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) installed on the Max 8," American tells FlightGlobal. "The work with the FAA and Boeing is ongoing, and we will continue to keep pilots informed of any updates."

Wow! And here I thought it was just me that was unaware. When I first learned of this incident, and read about MCAS, I thought to myself “Self, I didn’t know that Boeing incorporates a Stall Protection System in this machine. Huh!”.  I’ve never worked on any version of the 737, but I do know about Stall Protection Systems on various other types.  Was it just “some of the functionality” they neglected to pass along to their customers?

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And I am sure that all of the mixed fleet operators just put out a ‘differences’ bulletin and that constituted required training.

Eliminating the ‘opposed pitch input’ control column stab trim cutout feature is not an insignificant difference.

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35 minutes ago, rudder said:

And I am sure that all of the mixed fleet operators just put out a ‘differences’ bulletin and that constituted required training.

Eliminating the ‘opposed pitch input’ control column stab trim cutout feature is not an insignificant difference.

But yet the first time I and anyone else I have spoken to saw mention of MCAS was in the emergency AD. 

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When CAAs certify a new aircraft, they conduct an operational evaluation. One of the outputs of those activities is the creation of a Operational Differences Report - commonly called the ODR table. These tables include guidance on how pilots should be trained about the differences. So far, only the Brazilian CAA seems to have identified the MCAS on their ODR table.

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FAA Statement on Boeing Model 737-8 and -9 Airplanes

FAA Statement on Boeing Model 737-8 and -9 AirplanesThe existing FAA Airworthiness Directive (AD) (PDF) identifies existing flight crew procedures to be used in those circumstances. The FAA and Boeing continue to evaluate the need for software and/or other design changes to the aircraft including operating procedures and training as we learn more from the ongoing investigation. The FAA is not doing a safety probe separate from the ongoing Lion Air Accident investigation of which we, the NTSB and Indonesian officials are a part.

Page last modified: November 14, 2018 1:28:38 PM EST

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November 15, 2018 / 9:20 AM / Updated 38 minutes ago

Explainer: Unraveling the Boeing 737 MAX Lion Air crash

 

5 Min Read(Reuters) - The crash of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet in Indonesia on Oct. 29 has raised questions on whether the manufacturer shared enough information with regulators, airlines and pilots about the systems on the latest version of its popular narrow-body plane.

The jet operated by budget carrier Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea shortly after take-off from Jakarta, killing all 189 people on board.

WHAT IS NEW ON THE 737 MAX?

The most hyped features of the 737 MAX compared with its predecessor, the 737NG, are more fuel-efficient engines.

But as a result of the larger engines, which are placed higher and further forward of the wing, the jet’s balance changed. To address that, Boeing put in place more anti-stall protections, Leeham Co analyst Bjorn Fehrm said in an online post.

An automated protection system called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) kicks in when the angle of attack is too high, when the plane’s nose is too elevated, threatening a stall.

 

WHAT IS ‘ANGLE OF ATTACK’?

On paper, it measures the angle between the air flow and the wing. But it is so fundamental to flight that historians say the only instrument on the Wright Brothers' first aircraft was a piece of yarn designed to measure it. (bit.ly/2KcBlVT)

If the angle of attack is too high, the airflow over the wing is disturbed, throwing the plane into an aerodynamic stall.

One of two angle of attack sensors on the Lion Air jet was faulty, according to Indonesian investigators.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week warned airlines that erroneous inputs from those sensors could lead the jet automatically to pitch its nose down even when autopilot is turned off, making it difficult for pilots to control.

WHICH AIRLINES OPERATE THE 737 MAX?

Boeing has delivered 241 of the jets to customers since it entered service last year, according to its website.

Major operators include Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Norwegian, Lion Air, Air Canada, China Southern, China Eastern and flydubai.

Another 4,542 have been ordered but not yet delivered.

WHAT DID AIRLINES AND PILOTS KNOW ABOUT THE SYSTEM?

Lion Air’s flight manual did not contain information about the new anti-stall system, according to investigators and an airplane flight manual seen by Reuters. U.S. pilots were also not made aware in training courses, pilot unions say.

American Airlines said it was “unaware” of some of the functionality of the MCAS system. [L4N1XQ23Q]

Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg told Fox Business Network on Tuesday that Boeing provides “all of the information that’s needed to safely fly our airplanes”.

HOW WOULD A PILOT SHUT OFF THE SYSTEM?

Pilots can stop the automated response by pressing two buttons if the system behaves unexpectedly, the FAA says.

That action is set out in a checklist used by Lion Air pilots for in-air troubleshooting, an instructor said. It is also required to be committed to memory by pilots.

 
Western envoys push for meeting on Xinjiang camps

Pilots on a flight from Jakarta to Bali the day before the crash experienced a similar sensor issue but managed to land safely by turning off the system, the New York Times reported.

HOW WAS THE SYSTEM APPROVED?

The FAA holds the main responsibility for certifying Boeing jets and training programs for pilots, but local regulators also issue approvals for airlines based in their countries.

An unresolved question is how Boeing measured the system’s reliability and on what basis the FAA certified it as safe.

HOW ARE PILOTS TRAINED?

An FAA document on training requirements for 737 MAX pilots transitioning from the older 737NG, available online (bit.ly/2B8qhG5), has no reference to the new anti-stall system.

Lion Air says it followed a training regime approved by U.S. and European regulators. The training was restricted to three hours of computer-based training and a familiarization flight.

However, Brazil’s regulator told Reuters that it had required specific training for pilots on the anti-stall system.

WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THE CRASH?

Boeing last week issued a bulletin to airlines reiterating existing procedures and advising them to add information on the anti-stall system to flight manuals, which was quickly followed by an FAA directive making that mandatory.

The FAA and Boeing are studying the need for software changes, as well as revisions to training and operating procedures on the 737 MAX, the regulator said.

WHEN WILL THE FIRST REPORT ON THE CRASH BE RELEASED?

A preliminary report will be released on Nov. 28 or 29, according to Indonesian investigators. However, divers have yet to locate the airline’s cockpit voice recorder, which would shed light on pilot interactions that are important for gaining a fuller picture of the circumstances of the crash.

 

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Latest from ALPA (US).

  • News
  • Airlines
  • Ops & safety
  • ALPA asks regulators to address 737 Max safety concerns

ALPA asks regulators to address 737 Max safety concerns

  • 15 November, 2018
  • SOURCE: Flight Dashboard
  • BY: Jon Hemmerdinger
  • Boston

The largest US pilot union is urging US officials to address what it calls a significant aviation "safety deficiency" related to a new flight control system on Boeing's 737 Max.

In a letter to the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) requests help in ensuring pilots receive all relevant information about Boeing's 737 Max.

The letter references a new flight control system Boeing reportedly did not disclose.

 

"We are concerned that a potential, significant

aviation system safety deficiency exists, and we are writing to ask for your immediate help and assistance in clarifying the issues with respect to the pitch control system of the aircraft," says the 15 November letter from ALPA, which represents some 61,000 pilots.

"Reports indicate that information regarding the normal and non-normal operation of this system was not provided to… flight crews and maintenance technicians," it adds. "The lack of critical safety information being provided to the air carriers and frontline operators is concerning."

The letter cites reports that Boeing did not tell airlines that it equipped the 737 Max with the so-called "manoeuvring characteristics augmentation system" (MCAS).

That technology pitches the aircraft's nose down at high altitudes if flight data tells the system the aircraft is close to stalling. But the system might also send the aircraft diving if it receives incorrect angle-of-attack data – a scenario implicated as a factor in the 29 October crash of Lion Air flight 610, which killed 189 people.

Boeing reportedly created the system because the 737 Max behaves slightly different in flight from earlier-generation 737s, and the technology nullifies some of those differences.

The FAA declines to comment about ALPA's letter, saying it is assisting international counterparts with the Lion Air investigation. The agency also says it is not separately investigating Boeing, countering a recent media report.

Boeing also declines to comment about the letter but says it is working to understand the Lion Air crash and remains confident in the 737 Max's safety.

The NTSB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Following the Lion Air crash Boeing issued a service alert calling attention to established cockpit procedures for countering uncommanded stabiliser movements.

The FAA responded with a similar airworthiness directive.

American Airlines and Southwest Airlines – both 737 Max operators – have since said Boeing never told them about the existence of the MCAS.

The Allied Pilots Association, which represents American's pilots, and the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association have said they were in the dark, too.

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"That technology pitches the aircraft's nose down at high altitudes if flight data tells the system the aircraft is close to stalling."

It's interesting to see how the addition of one letter can skew the message. 

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1 hour ago, DEFCON said:

"That technology pitches the aircraft's nose down at high altitudes if flight data tells the system the aircraft is close to stalling."

It's interesting to see how the addition of one letter can skew the message. 

What letter?

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The 'L' in altitude shouldn't be there; it replaced the 'T' that should.

I think the sentence should have read; 'nose down at high attitudes if flight data tells' ...  

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13 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

The 'L' in altitude shouldn't be there; it replaced the 'T' that should.

I think the sentence should have read; 'nose down at high attitudes if flight data tells' ...  

Well... maybe. Or maybe it’s not supposed to be active at low altitudes.  I’m sure there is an altitude input to the logic, but we don’t really know, because apparently Boeing didn’t tell anyone how it works.

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The word should be atttiude. More on the MCAS:

The control feature — known as the maneuvering characteristics augmentation system, or MCAS — is designed to guard against a stall by automatically pushing down the plane’s nose under potentially hazardous aerodynamic conditions.

The MCAS system relies on readings from sensors on the plane, including devices that monitor how air is flowing over the wings. The problem is that erroneous data from those angle-of-attack sensors, or AOA sensors, could cause an unwarranted nose-down condition, putting the plane into an aggressive dive

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I don't know Conehead, but the system 'may' be inhibited below a specified 'low' altitude?

Altitude is one piece of an equation that determines the angle of attack of the aircraft.

I don't know, but I think it's likely the system operates by constantly calculating 'angle of attack' and when a predetermined value is sensed, a 'nose down' pitch over occurs?

 

 

  

Edited by DEFCON

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The first of

Lion Air crash: Boeing sued by victim's family over aircraft design

  • 1 hour ago
Investigators examine a turbine engine from the Lion Air flight JT 610 at Tanjung Priok port in Jakarta, 15 November 2018Image copyright Reuters Image caption Investigators examine one of the engines from the doomed Lion Air flight JT 610

The family of a passenger killed when a Lion Air flight crashed into the sea near Indonesia are suing Boeing over an alleged fault with the jet's design.

The lawsuit accuses the US aircraft manufacturer of failing to inform pilots and airlines of a feature with its new 737 Max plane system that could "push the nose down unexpectedly".

Investigators have been looking into reported technical issues.

Boeing maintains that it is "confident in the safety of the 737 Max".

Lion Air flight JT 610 was carrying 189 people when it crashed on 29 October.

 

It plummeted into the Java Sea following a request from the pilot for permission to turn back to the airport just moments after taking off from Jakarta.

It was later established that the aircraft had had an airspeed indicator problem on its final four flights.

What does the lawsuit say?

On Thursday, a complaint was filed by a Florida-based law firm on behalf of the parents of Rio Nanda Pratama, who was on board the ill-fated flight JT 610.

The lawsuit focuses on the 737 Max's new automated flight control system, which it says was designed to help prevent pilots from raising the aircraft's nose "dangerously high".

However, the lawsuit adds: "Under certain conditions [the system] can push the nose down unexpectedly and so strongly that the pilot cannot pull it back up in time to avoid a crash.

"This automated feature can be triggered even if pilots are manually flying the aircraft and don't expect flight-control computers to kick in.

"It is particularly surprising to hear from safety experts and the heads of pilots' unions that Boeing failed to warn its customers and the pilots of its new 737 Max aircraft about this significant change in the flight-control systems."

Boeing, meanwhile, has said that it is not able to "discuss specifics of an ongoing investigation".

many I suspect:

 

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39 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

I don't know Conehead, but the system 'may' be inhibited below a specified 'low' altitude?

Altitude is one piece of an equation that determines the angle of attack of the aircraft.

I don't know, but I think it's likely the system operates by constantly calculating 'angle of attack' and when a predetermined value is sensed, a 'nose down' pitch over occurs?

 

 

  

That’s the way most Stall Protection Systems work that I’m familiar with. I guess we’ll learn more in time...

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