crash airbus     crash irkoutsk     crash a310


AIRBUS: L'adieu aux concierges


Lors de la mise en service de l'A320, en 1988, Bernard Ziegler, le principal concepteur de ses commandes de vol électriques pilotées par ordinateur, affirmait que son avion était si simple à piloter qu'il empêchait même les mauvais pilotes de faire des erreurs. Mieux encore affirmait-il : "Même ma concierge pourrait le piloter!".

Officiellement en conséquence du crash du B777 d'ASIANA en juillet 2013 et de la formation insuffisante de ses pilotes sur les systèmes de l'avion, mais plus probablement à la suite de plusieurs incidents graves et accidents d'Airbus ces dernières années, le principe de l'avion indécrochable et qui empêche les erreurs des pilotes semble bel et bien abandonné par Airbus.

Un cinglant démenti pour la concierge de Bernard Ziegler!



Airbus veut plus de compétences en manuel chez les pilotes

Le 28 Jun 2014 - Washington (District de Columbia/USA)

L'information est passée relativement inaperçue lors d'une récente conférence sur la sécurité avec le constructeur aérien européen Airbus mais ceux qui étaient présents, on bien entendu que le fabricant d'avion souhaitait dans un avenir proche que les pilotes de ses avions soient moins confiants dans l'automatisation de ceux-ci et disposent de plus grandes compétences en pilotage manuel.

William tauzin, directeur aux Affaires Réglementaires Internationales chez Airbus, a confirmé que l'Airbus A350 serait le premier appareil pour lequel de meilleures notions de pilotage manuel seraient nécessaires, ainsi qu'une meilleure supervision du déroulement du vol, et que ces nouvelles directives seraient inscrites dans les procédures d'entrainement. Ces demandes d'améliorations comportementales proviendraient d'un officiel de la compagnie Qatar Airways qui déploraient que les pilotes sont en train de perdre toutes les notions de vol manuel au détriment d'un plus grand asservissement aux automatismes.

Ces inquiétudes répondent aux récents accidents survenus à San Francisco, en Australie ou en Atlantique avec le crash de l'Airbus A330 d'Air France où les rapports d'accidents indiquent clairement que les pilotes ont trop fait confiance aux systèmes automatisés de l'appareil et n'ont pas été capables d'identifier une perte de vitesse ou un décrochage avant qu'il ne soit trop tard. Airbus entend redonner une plus grande place au pilotage, une approche que son concurrent Boeing, a déjà intégrée dans le développement de ses nouveaux appareils.





Airbus wants more manual and monitoring skills in pilots

Airbus makes a case for better hands on flying skills for pilots, starting with those required for its forthcoming A350 series

Earlier this month Airbus told a high level but low visibility safety conference in America that the European plane maker was taking steps to overcome the risks of pilots becoming too reliant on automated flight control systems.

The only general media report on this vital issue is this one by Andy Pasztor on the Wall Street Journal, which begins by saying Airbus is revising its pilot training priorities to emphasise manual flying skills more than ever.

In it William Tauzin, director of international regulatory affairs for Airbus, says its new A350 series of wide body jets will be the first on which the re-emphasis on manual flying, as well as enhanced monitoring of  the circumstances and progress of every flight,  will be found in the approved training procedures.

The story quotes a safety official for Qatar as saying the A350 training changes are prompted by “ the growing realization that pilots are losing their manual skills”.

Qatar Airways will be the first to put the A350 design into service in the last quarter of this year, as well as being its largest customer with 80 of the jets on order.

Both men were speaking in Washington DC days before the NTSB made its criticisms of the flying skills and failure to understand or correctly use automation by the pilots of the Asiana Boeing 777-200ER that crashed on landing at San Francisco airport last July.

Much more detail is carried by the WSJ report, and a search for articles by Andy Pasztor will bring up many reports he has filed on the automation issues in the years since the Air France A330 disaster in the mid Atlantic in 2009,  and the subsequent near loss of an Air France 777-300ER near Charles de Gaulle airport more recently, although other serious matters of competency and standards arise in each of these cases for those who carefully and exhaustively study the official BEA reports into them.

These issues are as relevant to airline operations in this part of the world as anywhere else.  Air Asia X’s over reliance on automation was identified by the ATSB as a serious factor in an incident involving one of its A330s on approach to Gold Coast airport.

More recently a Jetstar A320 whose pilots did not monitor the state of their approach to the same airport found themselves hundreds of feet closer to the ground than they should have been because of the entering of incorrect barometric settings, even to the point of not seeing a systems alert drawing attention to the error before a ground proximity warning went off  prompting a go around.

Other recent events in which inadequate or not existent monitoring of crucial elements of the conduct of a flight included a botched approach to Melbourne airport by a Virgin Australian 777-300ER, which is a fourth generation aircraft with flight envelope protections, and an  incident in which a third generation Virgin Australia 737 was left too long in a mode in which the jet climbed to its intended altitude while its air speed decayed toward minimum maneuvering speed, causing the pilots to dive the jet to a lower altitude to recover proper control speed.

These incidents and others which are similar have given rise of numerous ATSB and NTSB and European safety agency reports that reference a level of complacency or misunderstanding of a newer generation of pilots and their employers of the need to monitor, and intervene in manually,  where necessary, in the progress of a flight.

But is anyone in airline managements in general paying attention? The writer has been told directly and in no uncertain terms by three senior executives in different Australian airlines in the past 12 years that automation has made flying safer, so much so that pilots need to be instructed to use it as much as possible to achieve leaner, better, more efficient flight and save on wear and tear to engines and so forth.

The statistics make those points convincingly. Yet disasters like Asiana at SFO show that when for whatever reason automation is relied upon to cover for a crappy approach to a landing, or fails to work as intended for whichever reason,  it means that this dependency has taken the aircraft to a place where only an alert and manually skilled pilot or pilots can bring it back.

When they fail to realise where the flight is, or to bring it back,  the loss of life can be massive, and the damage to an airline’s brand value and reputation can take longer to repair than it may have the cash balances needed to survive or restructure.

Plane Talking has seen the Airbus presentation.

What stands out in that presentation, and which wasn’t underlined in the WSJ report, is the renewed emphasis that the European plane maker wants to see reflected in an improved regulatory environment on the monitoring or ‘resilience’ skills of pilots working together in an effective cockpit culture to remain alert to and able to respond to those rare moments that are the equivalent of your computer suddenly showing the blue screen of death (Windows) or revolving beachball of Doom (any Apple computer above OSX 10.6.8).

This isn’t a matter of concern to Airbus alone. Those who follow the safety writing of David Learmount at Flightglobal will know that Boeing has been proactive and convincing in voicing its concerns about a loss of manual flying skills among pilots, notwithstanding its differences in approach to the applications of automation compared to its main competitor.

There is a narrative those who follow airlines will have picked up that the legacy costs of old fashioned flying cultures are both too high and in the light of improved automation, unnecessary today.

It is a narrative, which if not sensibly and constructively and responsibly corrected, ends in butchery.