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Pilots need to know how to Fly . . . Opinion

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ANCFlyer (netAirspace ATC & Founding Member) 23 Nov 22, 11:46Post ... 9d4ae29330

So Ladies and Gents . . . what say you?

I concur with the FAAs opinion that pilots should really know how to fly - I mean FLY - not just turn a dial, punch some data into the FMC and sit listening and watching.

I may be up an otter's behind, but this just makes sense. I use cruise control but I also know how to use the tall skinny pedal and the one next to it in the NBAFDT.

Could some mishaps with aviation have been averted in the last decade had a pilot relied on "doing some of that pilot shit" (movie reference), or has that skill been lost in the wave of automation.

Recently saw news where airlines wants to reduce commercial cockpit crews to a single person. No fail safe there.

Have at it folks.
paul mcallister 26 Nov 22, 12:45Post
I think pilots are forced to rely far too much on technology, and they should be doing more "real" flying.
Things may be a bit different here in the UK, I know a few commercial pilots that go to a local flying club at least once a month and take a light aircraft out for an hour or two to keep their manual skills sharp.
Seems like a fine plan to me.
DXing 27 Nov 22, 17:09Post
ANCFlyer wrote:

So Ladies and Gents . . . what say you?

Recently saw news where airlines wants to reduce commercial cockpit crews to a single person. No fail safe there.

Have at it folks.

Most airlines have an SOP that requires the crew to engage the autopilot shortly after takeoff. The FMC doesn't get distracted or inattentive. You wouldn't want the crew to be hand flying at cruise altitude and an autopilot is required above FL290 due to RVSM airspace restrictions. Most crews will fly the final unless weather prevents it.

As to the one person flight deck, it would be predicated on a ground based pilot being able to take over in an emergency. Drones are already flown around in airspace occupied by commecial and private aircraft so seperation isn't a problem. In addition, Cirrus offers the "panic" button option that will automatically divert and land an aircraft with a disabled pilot at the nearest suitable airfield.

Considering a CAT III approach is a hands off, verify equipment working at 100ft, autolanding it's not that much different. I've been fortunate to witness several autolands and it's as smooth as one the pilot would make. Commercial airliners are required to make an autoland every 100 hours or so to test the equipment. We used to have to stress to the long haul crews that the aircraft needed to make an autoland to stay current. Their argument was that they did so few takeoff and landings that they needed it just as much as the aircraft did.
What's the point of an open door policy if inside the open door sits a closed mind?
mhodgson (ATC & Photo Quality Screener & Founding Member) 28 Nov 22, 18:10Post
Ryanair used to be very well regarded for hand flying as so many airports they flew to relied on non-precision approaches. These days modern aircraft can autofly even NDB approaches, and most small airfield have upgraded to RNP so I'm not sure how much hand flying they really do any more.

It must depend on SOPs - there is a Eurowings captain who publishes approach and landing videos with multiple camera views ( well worth a view, and it shows that with sensible procedures pilots can be trusted to fly manually. This guy will fly full VFR approaches on manual thrust when conditions permit, and clearly loves disengaging the autopilot as soon as he can
There's the right way, the wrong way and the railway.
DXing 29 Nov 22, 14:04Post
Two different approaches in South and Central America really show the difference in needing to know how to fly both ways. Old Tegucigalpa's Toncontín airport is an example of an airport that basically had to be hand flown on the approach. I was lucky enough to ride the jumpseat in there on a CO flight in 2010. They had already shaved the big hill that you see on some youtube videos back aways so it was even less dramatic than just a few years earlier but the prelanding brief still included the admonition that if the wheels weren't firmly planted on the ground by the first taxiway, a go around would be initiated. Coming down the final the "sink rate" vocal alarm sounded a couple of times but for the life of me, I don't see how it could be avoided. I give the crews that flew in there big kudos, especially the 757 crews.

The second example was the old Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Ecuador, it was located at 9200ft. That made for some interesting flying. Towards the end of its life there was an RNAV approach that airlines had to fly. Equipment onboard commercial aircraft got so precise that every 6 months or so the airport would shut down every night for a few hours so, just like an aircraft carrier, the aircraft tire rubber could be scrubbed off the runway since the aircraft were landing in a pretty concentrated area. Nobody I ever talked to liked hand flying that approach because of the terrain and altitude. They were quite happy to monitor the approach and let the aircraft do the flying.
What's the point of an open door policy if inside the open door sits a closed mind?

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