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Poor cockpit design blamed for Air France 447 crash
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driven
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May 10, 2012, 11:53 PM
 
The argument in this article is that more tactile feedback would have prevented the crash.

How Lousy Cockpit Design Crashed An Airbus, Killing 228 People | Co.Design: business + innovation + design
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subego
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May 11, 2012, 12:13 AM
 
I heard about this last week.

That sounds like horrible design.
     
driven  (op)
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May 11, 2012, 12:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I heard about this last week.

That sounds like horrible design.
I'm sort of agreeing. Perhaps the A330/340 are a bit too automated. But I wonder, will Airbus update the design to rectify this?
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subego
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May 11, 2012, 12:36 AM
 
Sadly, I'm going to guess how much liability such an act would open them up to will entree in to the decision.
     
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May 11, 2012, 12:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Sadly, I'm going to guess how much liability such an act would open them up to will entree in to the decision.
How much liability would NOT doing it open them up to needs to be considered as well.
     
subego
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May 11, 2012, 12:57 AM
 
Originally Posted by Person Man View Post
How much liability would NOT doing it open them up to needs to be considered as well.
Dunno. There's an argument to be made these planes have made plenty of trips without incident, and that the pilots haven't been complaining about it.

One has to presume this wasn't the plane's fault directly, since (I hope) they have a protocol to decide who's flying the frigging thing.
     
driven  (op)
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May 11, 2012, 01:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Dunno. There's an argument to be made these planes have made plenty of trips without incident, and that the pilots haven't been complaining about it.

One has to presume this wasn't the plane's fault directly, since (I hope) they have a protocol to decide who's flying the frigging thing.
The cockpit and data recorders would seem to indicate that that's not the case. At least not for Air France pilots. :-(
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subego
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May 11, 2012, 01:36 AM
 
I also didn't know the Airbus doesn't display angle of attack.

Maybe it's because I'm used to flight simulators where you aren't getting any gravitational feedback, but, umm... I need that.
     
driven  (op)
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May 11, 2012, 01:45 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I also didn't know the Airbus doesn't display angle of attack.

Maybe it's because I'm used to flight simulators where you aren't getting any gravitational feedback, but, umm... I need that.
Yeah, I can' t think of a good justification for not having that sort of visual feedback. It would seem to be useful in a dark environment over an ocean, esp. when you can't tell sky from sea.
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subego
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May 11, 2012, 02:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
Yeah, I can' t think of a good justification for not having that sort of visual feedback. It would seem to be useful in a dark environment over an ocean, esp. when you can't tell sky from sea.
Even in a situation which is chock full of supposedly obvious feedback, people can still get disoriented. I figured this was a given.
     
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May 11, 2012, 06:47 AM
 
Air France was a terrible case of pilot and crew error. In my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with Airbus' cockpit design philosophy. As with most endeavors, design involves tradeoffs. Coupling the controls on the right and left sides of the cockpit adds complexity, weight, and adds potential for new failure modes.

The other major manufacturer, Boeing, adds the mechanical pieces to connect the controls, yet they still crash. In the mid-90s, an Egyptian co-pilot intentionally crashed a plane full of people into the sea and the Captain was powerless to override him because of the mechanical linkage. In the Airbus, the Captain could have taken full authority by pushing a button.
     
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May 11, 2012, 08:03 AM
 
I'm not an expert, I'm not a pilot. But I don't share the conclusion of the article, because it leaves out a very crucial piece. To me, it's like claiming »wearing seat belts is a bad thing, because in this particular instance, it lead to catastrophe« while missing that in many other instances, they save lives. Even if as a conclusion of this accident, some improvements to Airbus' fly-by-wire cockpit are deemed necessary, the author uses too broad (e. g. by saying »In this case, fly-by-wire steering obviously has shortcomings in its human feedback.« – the problem is not fly-by-wire, but its implementation).

New planes (e. g. Boeing's 787) all use fly-by-wire, so there is no question where the industry is heading. So you have to make up your mind how to implement this: either you can pretend everything is mechanical (which seems to be Boeing's approach) or you accept that fly-by-wire potentially opens the door for other improvements (e. g. Airbus limits control inputs to what the computer deems »legal«). From what I can tell, statistically, Airbus' approach is not less safe than when comparing it to older planes (traveling by plane has become safer over the years). And that means you have to train pilots to react properly to certain situations.
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May 11, 2012, 08:36 AM
 
Though the plane was no longer stalling, it began the “stall” alerts again, in essence, causing Bonin to pull back on the stick and force a stall.
What?

The lesson here is: Don't trust the French.
     
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May 11, 2012, 11:29 AM
 
While what is talked about in the Article MIGHT have helped a bit, I don't blame that. The major design flaw is the pitot tubes icing over cutting off reliable sensor data. As for the flight, the captain left for a nap leaving 2 less experience co-pilots at the helm. They didn't use the unreliable airspeed procedure. They didn't know they where at maximum altitude which is why everything they attempted to do failed. Near the end when the Captain had returned he tried to pitch the nose forward to increase speed but the other co-pilot still had his stick back to pull up. The computer system averages the commands from both meaning it was not pitching forward enough to gain speed as the captain wanted. At 2000ft the Captain knew it was all over.

Im my opinion
- Design Flaw with the sensors
- Design Flaw in the cockpit (more related to the un-linking of controls between the 2 sticks and no feed back on what the other pilot is doing) the averaging of inputs
- Failed to apply Procedures
- Captain with the most experience not being at the controls in bad weather conditions.

The article is incorrect because they can't do anything about it. Plans that big can not have true feed back systems. The only possible system is a fly by wire. A artificial feed back system that applies pressure on the stick would still not have given the pilots correct information because it relays on sensors to simulate the feedback. It could have in this situation made things worse.
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mduell
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May 11, 2012, 11:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I also didn't know the Airbus doesn't display angle of attack.

Maybe it's because I'm used to flight simulators where you aren't getting any gravitational feedback, but, umm... I need that.
Gravitational feedback doesn't tell you much about AoA.

Originally Posted by Athens View Post
While what is talked about in the Article MIGHT have helped a bit, I don't blame that. The major design flaw is the pitot tubes icing over cutting off reliable sensor data.
I think you're putting too much emphasis on the unreliable airspeed which lasted for less than a minute.

Originally Posted by Athens View Post
The article is incorrect because they can't do anything about it. Plans that big can not have true feed back systems. The only possible system is a fly by wire. A artificial feed back system that applies pressure on the stick would still not have given the pilots correct information because it relays on sensors to simulate the feedback. It could have in this situation made things worse.
The 747 is much larger, and flies without FBW. Rods, cables, pulleys, and hydraulic assistance.
     
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May 11, 2012, 01:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Face Ache View Post
What?

The lesson here is: Don't trust the French.
Pulling back on the stick is completely opposite to the correct response to an approach to stall condition. The better lesson is: Don't trust Bonin!
     
subego
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May 12, 2012, 01:07 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Gravitational feedback doesn't tell you much about AoA.
Even worse then.
     
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May 12, 2012, 06:23 PM
 
Somehow every other A330/A340 crew hasn't had an issue with the cockpit design.
     
subego
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May 12, 2012, 07:06 PM
 
That's a good point.

I know this because I made it already.
     
driven  (op)
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May 16, 2012, 04:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by chabig View Post
Air France was a terrible case of pilot and crew error. In my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with Airbus' cockpit design philosophy. As with most endeavors, design involves tradeoffs. Coupling the controls on the right and left sides of the cockpit adds complexity, weight, and adds potential for new failure modes.

The other major manufacturer, Boeing, adds the mechanical pieces to connect the controls, yet they still crash. In the mid-90s, an Egyptian co-pilot intentionally crashed a plane full of people into the sea and the Captain was powerless to override him because of the mechanical linkage. In the Airbus, the Captain could have taken full authority by pushing a button.
What potential new failure modes?
The EgyptAir crash was intentional.
If the over-ride potential exists, why didn't it happen? It should have.
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driven  (op)
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May 16, 2012, 04:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Gravitational feedback doesn't tell you much about AoA.



I think you're putting too much emphasis on the unreliable airspeed which lasted for less than a minute.



The 747 is much larger, and flies without FBW. Rods, cables, pulleys, and hydraulic assistance.
In all faireness, hydrolic failure can have it's own issues. (See Korean Air 007)
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chabig
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May 16, 2012, 04:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
What potential new failure modes?
Jammed mechanical linkages.
Failed parts.

Originally Posted by driven View Post
The EgyptAir crash was intentional.
Yes it was.

Originally Posted by driven View Post
If the over-ride potential exists, why didn't it happen? It should have.
My statement was that a mechanical system doesn't have override potential. The controls are linked and you can only override another crew member by applying stronger force. When the controls are electronic, as with Airbus, you can take complete control with the press of a button.
     
mduell
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May 18, 2012, 01:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by driven View Post
In all faireness, hydrolic failure can have it's own issues. (See Korean Air 007)
What does being shot down have to do with hydraulic failure?
     
chabig
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May 18, 2012, 03:12 PM
 
He was probably thinking of United Airlines 232.
     
subego
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May 18, 2012, 09:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
What does being shot down have to do with hydraulic failure?
I knew I wasn't crazy.
     
mduell
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May 19, 2012, 09:31 PM
 
French investigators are advising that simulator training should incorporate shock effects after a pilot's startled reflex reaction to an overspeed alarm sent an Air France Airbus A340-300 into a rapid climb, unnoticed by the crew.

The A340 reached climb rates of 5,700ft/min (30m/s), powering from its assigned transatlantic cruise level of 35,000ft (10,700m) to a maximum altitude of 38,000ft as the first officer - the non-flying pilot - reacted to the sudden alarm with a nose-up input to the side-stick.


The PNF yanking on the controls had 2400 hours in type.
     
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May 20, 2012, 03:07 PM
 
Air France again. I'm beginning to see a trend.
     
   
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