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Old 10-27-2014, 04:44 PM   #6  
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Joined APC: Apr 2013
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Originally Posted by bedrock View Post
Thank you for posting that!

I have to give a lot of credit to the author, he really did his research and avoided stupid speculations. He also aired the dirty laundry which needs to be aired--though not enough, IMHO.

Airlines want MPL, they want 300 hr pilots flying jetliners and the aircraft manufacturers are saying we can give a plane so safe, that a marginally competent pilot can fly it with no problem. The Airbus design philosophy has been that you can take a guy from the developing world who never even drove a car, and put him at the controls.

This accident proves there is no substitute for experience. It also highlights, in my view, the importance of flight instructing for a while. As a CFI you learn to be very precise with your words and how to convey instructions and concepts well (if you care about your students).

There seems to be a whole lot misunderstanding about the word "speed" amongst the crew. A/S, VSI, what? Also, they had the knowledge, but did not correlate it well. I think it also shows the problem wit the rote style of instructions espoused by airlines nowadays. Everyone of us is programmed to read a checklist. This is what Robert was doing, instead of making sure the aircraft was stabilized first. It seems Bonin was terrified and was begging for Robert to take control.

Finally, how did they know that Capt. Dubois only got one hour of sleep the night before, since everyone perished in the crash?

This article also bravely tackled the problem at Asian airlines, with over reliance on autopilot and cultural issues of CRM implementation.
Originally Posted by rightside02 View Post
I think it's a great article , missing some information but overall a good read , very scary stuff. Makes me wonder how many guys in that exact scenario would have screwed up . It's easy for everyone to play Monday night quarterback and say oh just pitch for 2 1/2 degrees and set 1.4 ish EPR...

Another sh*tty part is the GPS ground speed read the correct ground speed the whole time , clearly they didn't catch that for a clue , which I think many would have missed as well.

I also agree , can't replace experience with anything other than experience .
Respectfully, I don't I agree with you two.

Yes, there is value in being an instructor. But clear communication is not only relevant to instruction. The article was very painful for me to read. The author did speculate, as if reading the minds of the folks involved, instead of just laying out the facts. This is Vanity Fair, and the author needs the drama and speculation in order to capture the normal VF reader, not a group of industry insiders who expect a just-the-facts accident report.

I don't believe this crash is much about experience because pilots with experience also make mistakes and kill. There's plenty of flying entities who put 300 hour pilot wonders into complex aircraft and they're not crashing airplanes. The Captain was experienced, and from the time he entered the cockpit there was plenty of time for him to analyze and correct the situation. In my opinion, this crash is a referendum on the Airbus flight deck design and perhaps the training program at Air France for "Company Babies."

The FO was a company baby, lacking prior legacy experience. This by itself is not dangerous. The situation depends on what type of training Bonin received. Likewise, the RFO was also a company baby but more importantly lacked proficiency due to flying a desk for the company. They probably should not have been flying together, at least until after the aircraft passed the bad weather. Lastly, the Captain was fatigued because he had no rest prior to the flight. Every one of these issues are relevant and casual. However, I think the Airbus design is mostly at fault.

As the article said, we'll never know why Bonin kept the stick aft during most of the event. Was it because he falsely believed the Airbus was in Normal Law and wouldn't let him stall?

The lack of repeating tactile or visual feedback to the opposite stick is in my opinion directly causal to this accident.

"But worse—far worse—was what Bonin did in the vertical sense: he pulled the stick back. Initially this may have been a startle response to the false indication of a minor altitude loss. But Bonin didn’t just ease the stick back—he hauled it back, three-fourths of the way to the stop, and then he kept on pulling."

Anyone flying a yoke and column aircraft would have immediately questioned a pullback and climb like Bonin initiated, especially with a yoke/column in your lap while flying at or near your maximum altitude. Worse, in conjunction with the unusual climb, the aircraft warned of a stall and neither pilot reacted properly.

Although they initially corrected the situation, Bonin once again stalled the aircraft and a proper stall recovery was not flown by Bonin nor directed by Robert. Worse, Bonin kept pulling the nose up while Robert kept trying to reach the Captain. Once the aircraft got so slow, a correct stall recovery led to confusion because of the Airbus design rejecting slow airspeed as invalid, lowering the nose and attaining airspeed triggered the stall warning. Bonin was incorrectly flying the airplane and Robert couldn't immediately determine that from the lack of tactile or visual feedback. Then both of them were fighting for control of the aircraft while not understanding was in control.

Then enter the Captain. He's fatigued and was probably startled from a sleep. He too can't see that Bonin had the stick pegged to the aft position. All he knows is that they've lost control, they're descending, and their airspeed (which by then was correct) was way too slow, but the aircraft was not properly warning them of a stall.

You can sum it up to this; Bonin made a mistake, Robert didn't direct and ensure a correction, the mistake worsened and went outside the design parameters for a stall warning, the lack of feedback to the other control stick kept the other pilot(s) ignorant of Bonin's incorrect inputs, worse the stick design led to them overriding/neutralizing the other's input leading to more confusion.

The author is correct. Had Bonin let go and not touched the controls for 2 minutes, they'd be alive. Knowing pitch and power settings was important in handling legacy aircraft. They gave you a target to shoot for and help lessen pilot induced oscillations. However, in glass aircraft, they're absolutely vital when the autopilot/autothrottles decide to give up and the information presented on the displays doesn't make sense.

My two cents!
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