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Old 27th March 2015, 19:02   #76
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

Here is another interesting thought, based on lots of empircal evidence that has been growing over the years:

If you want to improve the safety in the cockpit from the human point of view, you might want to look at having at least a male / female crew, or better yet, an all female crew. As the other gender is making it into the worlds civilian and military cockpits more and more evidence is beginning to appear that female pilots have fewer (fatal) incident and accidents than male pilots. (Source: amongst others Flying Magazine March issue)

Simply put; it appear that female pilots are bettter/safer pilots then male pilots.

Jeroen
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Not sure about male versus female thing, but in a serious emergency females have been known to panic, freeze at the controls, which has been amply proven in routine sim sessions, that is the reason why majority of the world's air forces don't allow female fighter jet pilots yet. I believe when the flight versus fight syndrome exists, females may not be exactly on the ball in terms of quick judgement and reactions. Having said that, I am all for male/female flight deck crews, keeps the CRM better
Cannot resist to chime in here. Agree 101% with Jeroen. In my business I employ a few dozen pilots and several dozen engineers of both genders. While I don't have statistics I know from experience that women pilots are as good as the male ones and in some areas usually better - less ego, less puffery, less over confidence, less attitude, more attention to careful snag reporting at end of flight.... God I could go on. As a businessman I would hire only female pilots if enough were available which in a decade or so they will be. As for panic - in many years and I don't know how many tens of thousands of flights I have never ever had to address a situation of panic by a women pilot employee of mine. While I have, at times, had trouble created by over egoistical male pilots. No offense meant to any of the fine commercial pilots on Team BHP. Simply stating facts as I have experienced it. From a gut perspective having a male/female mix is good - balance the Yin and Yang or the Shiva and Shakti.
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:07   #77
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

Just happened to read this new article in BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32087203

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

One fundamental part of the ADS-B data stream that FR24 gets is whats called intent. Intent gets the positions of certain switches on the MCP (Commanded Altitude for one), the active waypoint and Next WP and Next WP + 1, and a whole bunch of other parameters. They can also see if the aircraft has one of the emergency codes set in their transponder. In this case this data shows somebody dialling , in about 3 secs, down the knob from 380 to 96 ft.
Jeroen
That is about 3 rotations of the knob per second. It would be hard to believe that this would have been done by somebody who is unconscious! So doesn't this confirm that it was an intentional act of the co-pilot? Shouldn't this be enough evidence to conclude to a certain degree of accuracy what might have happened?

Last edited by joe1980 : 27th March 2015 at 19:19.
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:28   #78
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

One thing that I am still not able to convince myself is about the suicide/homicide theory. If the co-pilot wanted to crash the plane, why take 8 minutes to do it? After all like Silk Air 185, PSA 1771, Fedex 705 or EgyptAir 880 he could have disabled autopilot and used the yoke to put the plane nose down. The slow 8 min fly down makes no sense at all in that case.
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:33   #79
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

This is sickening. It turns out, the pilot had a medical condition and was deemed unfit to fly. He hid all of it from his employer. So, this indeed was a deliberate action by the pilot.

I am pretty sure, if he wanted to take his life, he could've done it without harming so many people.

So, new rules are being enforced that ensure that there are two people always in a cockpit. This is a lesson learnt in a bad way.

There is no doubt that air is the safest way to travel. I am in disbelief, how easy it is for a man to take away the life of hundreds of unrelated innocent people. This is nothing less than terrorism. May their souls rest in peace.
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:39   #80
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

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Originally Posted by V.Narayan View Post
. From a gut perspective having a male/female mix is good - balance the Yin and Yang or the Shiva and Shakti.
Thanks, really appreciate the comments. My business isn't necessarily about (aviation) safety, but I do employ somewhere around 15-17.000 people here in India, directly and as subcontractors in a very high tech environment (telecom). For the three years I have been here I have been driving gender diversity into my teams as a big topic and we have been increasing our gender diversity every year with several procreant. Makes a huge difference, although I'm still facing challenges from my teams. Not surprisingly, the challenges are with the men, not women.

The women are concerned about being safe when working late at the office and how do they get home. So we ensure we cater for that. In India that is a very fair and understandable concern.

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Originally Posted by joe1980 View Post
That is about 3 rotations of the knob per second. It would be hard to believe that this would have been done by somebody who is unconscious! So doesn't this confirm that it was an intentional act of the co-pilot? Shouldn't this be enough evidence to conclude to a certain degree of accuracy what might have happened?
From my own experience having dialled these knob hundreds of times, yes, it can not be done other than deliberately. Next you still need to push another button to execute the actual descent. But again it requires pushing a specific button.

So, I'm pretty convinced that up to this time, the pilot was conscious and fully coherent in terms of being able to control his physical movements. Whether he lost conscious a second after, I just don't know. But resetting the MCP altitude and executing the descent can only be done deliberately, consciously and it requires a certain degree of physical fitness as well. lots of knobs and buttons, you have to hit the right one, turn it the correct way, observe the altitude displayed etc.

Jeroen
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Old 27th March 2015, 19:53   #81
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-32087203

Alps crash co-pilot Andreas Lubitz hid the details of an existing illness from his employers, German prosecutors say.
They said they had found torn-up sick notes in his homes, including one covering the day of the crash.
In their report, prosecutors in the city of Duesseldorf did not disclose the nature of Mr Lubitz's illness.
German media have said internal aviation authority documents suggest he suffered depression and required ongoing assessment.
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Old 28th March 2015, 13:44   #82
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

I read somewhere, that if pilots seek help for coping with depression, their is risk of being grounded which means they will lose their salary etc.,
Due to this they turn to the bottle.
I guess, if this guy did this because he was mentaly stable, part of the responsibility lies with the system which penalizes those who want to be honest, and saves those who hide.
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Old 28th March 2015, 14:30   #83
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

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I read somewhere, that if pilots seek help for coping with depression, their is risk of being grounded which means they will lose their salary etc.,
Due to this they turn to the bottle.
I guess, if this guy did this because he was mentaly stable, part of the responsibility lies with the system which penalizes those who want to be honest, and saves those who hide.
I have pointed this out in one of the other threads on aviation. This is of course for all we know a very extreme case. But ask yourself this question, do you want to be flown by someone who is going through a messy divorce, who just lost one of his parents etc. etc?

Some airlines are pretty good and have policies in place where pilots can take themselves of the active roster and it won't affect them in any way. Not sure how it works here in India, but in the USA and Europe, especially with the low-cost carriers none of the pilots are directly employed by the carrier. They are self-employed, which also means if the don't fly they don't get paid.

So who's going to call in sick when you are not feeling that great? You could loose several days of work. And most of the young pilots have huge debts from their pilot trainings and they don't earn very much to start with. Every pilot knows you should not fly when you have a simple cold. But when the decision to fly or not to fly also affects your income, your ability to pay of your loan, it must blur the line of making the distinction between being just a bit sniffly and having a cold.

Pilots are just human beings. Some will be able to deal very well with certain situations. But you should not underestimate what the basic human behaviour does to anybody. To date, more accidents happen on inbound then outbound flights. Which suggest when pilots are flying home, they are likely to take slightly bigger risks. Not on purpose, not deliberately, it is just how humans are hardwired apparently. No amount of training, automation, legislation or policies have managed to change that. In Dutch we say; het paard ruikt de stal. (the horse smells the stable) and nothing is going to stop it getting home.

We know for a fact that for instance, when a pilot's partner is ill, or about the give birth, he or she is very likely to take unconsciously, bigger risks. It (likely) played a role in the the largest aviation disaster to date, Teneriffe_Panam_KLM accident. You won't find it mentioned in the accident reports, because in those days nobody was aware of this. But it is highly likely that a compounding factor in the KLM Captain pressing on during take off, was because he wanted to go home to be with his wife (who had medical issues).

Having said all of that, aviation does remain the safest mode of transportation with a very large margin. Nothing, even this Germanwings tragedy, will change that.

As we can see in all the media, everybody is "demanding this never happens again". We forget this is a anomaly. If you take a few steps back, as society at large you might want to reconsider how many millions we are going to spend to bring an incredibly safe industry to an even slightly more incredible level of safety or whether we might want to spend the money and energy somewhere else?

Just to illustrate this point some figures from the USA:

In the chart below you can compare the average number of airline fatalities per year (not including commuter airlines) from 1981 to 1994 with the most recent figures for other forms of accidental death.

100 on commercial flight
850 by electrical current
1000 on a bicycle
1452 by accidental gunfire
3000 by complications to medical procedures
3600 by inhaling or ingesting objects
5000 by fire
5000 by drowning
5300 by accidental poisoning
8000 as pedestrians
11,000 at work
12,000 by falls
22,500 at home
46,000 in auto accidents

You could draw up such a table for any nation. In a very small nation like the Netherlands (just over 17 million population) more people die every year in simple house hold related accidents (e.g. falling of a ladder whilst replacing a light bulb) then globally on all commercial flights. There is no (social) media outcry on these deaths. And most likely they are easier and cheaper to prevent too!

Even so, the apparent indignation and call for "this is never allowed to happen again" seems, to me, out of proportion. Anybody demanding anything never happening again, is properly venting a totally unrealistic demand anyway.

Of course, if any of my loved ones were on the Germanwings plane I would probably be thinking very differently. I can't begin to fathom what the relatives and friends of those who perished are going through.

I don't have the solution going forward but these days what gets (social) media attention and where society at large should be really focussing on, spending and investing money, pouring resources into is out of whack in my opinion.

Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 28th March 2015 at 14:34.
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Old 28th March 2015, 14:40   #84
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

Fully agree Jeoren. If a fraction of money is put into fixing issues such that pilots are not penalized for not flying, this will actually be better!
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Old 28th March 2015, 15:17   #85
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

I wonder why not flight manufacturers put inexpensive cameras to monitor pilots inside the cockpit. The voice recorder is already present and 3 - 4 cameras could also aid the voice recording inside the cockpit. Voice + Video will be stored in same device "Cockpit Voice Recorder".

It would solve many doubts and clear many misunderstanding when team investigate the flight accidents. Many times pilots are blamed. It could be other issues as well.
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Old 28th March 2015, 15:38   #86
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

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I wonder why not flight manufacturers put inexpensive cameras to monitor pilots inside the cockpit.
It was recommended by BEA in 1972 after one of their planes crashed due to conflict between pilots prior to taking off near Manchester, UK.

Captain of that plane probably was not in "right frame of mind" to fly that day and eventually he did a mistake of engaging droop at a low altitude. This resulted in to drop in air speed and further started a chain of wrong decisions.

But it took lot of efforts for investigators to come to a conclusion and that too was not 100% convincing. Hence post the investigation, it was recommended that cameras be installed in cockpit to monitor pilot actions to speed up the process.

Few airlines adopted it but most of them did not.

However, good to see, Lufthansa to be quick in adopting "always-two-people-in-cockpit" rule post this accident.

But this unfortunately does not bring back the lost lives. RIP
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Old 28th March 2015, 18:23   #87
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

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It was recommended by BEA in 1972 after one of their planes crashed due to conflict between pilots prior to taking off near Manchester, UK.
The camera in cockpit debate has been going on in the aviation industry for decades. Pilots don't like it and even accident investigators are not convinced they would bring much new evidence to the table.
Quoting from various sources:

Quote:
Cockpit Image Recorders (CIR) refers to the use of video cameras to record events in cockpits. Some proponents, including the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), advocate the installation of CIRs in commercial airliners. NTSB states that CIRs will benefit accident investigations and improve safety by providing new information for investigators.

While on the surface these may appear to be reasonable and justifiable claims, closer examination proves otherwise.

Current technology already provides investigators with the tools they need to determine the causes of airline accidents. The digital flight data recorder (DFDR) can record hundreds of parameters ranging from basic values such as altitude and speed, to details such as rudder pedal position, the position of every switch, and even the onset of smoke alarms in the lavatory. The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) provides an audible recording of voices, radio transmissions, and sounds in the cockpit. Investigators have a wide array of analytical techniques to tease information out of forensic evidence from the wreckage and other sources. While any accident will leave unresolved questions, the fact is that it is extremely rare for investigators not to be able to reach the findings and conclusions necessary to determine the cause of an accident. Video imaging would add virtually nothing of real value to the investigative process, and could, due to its subjective nature, actually lead investigators down the wrong path.

Contrary to popular opinion, compared to the precise data provided by the DFDR and forensic evidence, video imaging is an imprecise form of information. If an image shows a pilot’s hand moving toward a switch or moving his or her leg, that does not prove that he/she activated that switch or made an input to the rudder, whereas the DFDR will show the exact state of each switch, the exact amount of rudder input. Given the proper sensors, the DFDR can even distinguish between the pilot pushing on the pedal and the pedal pushing on the pilot–a distinction impossible to determine with video.

The goal of accident investigation is not to solve accidents for its own sake, but to improve safety by preventing accidents. Recent developments in data analysis (from accidents, from analysis of data recorded in a separate data recording system used primarily for maintenance, and from voluntary event reporting systems) have shifted the emphasis in accident prevention toward proactive "data mining" methodologies that are far more effective in accident prevention. Again, the precise accident data combed from DFDRs and other sources is far more useful than the problematic, subjective interpretation of video recordings.

While CIR will be of minimal value in analyzing and preventing accidents, it represents a major invasion of privacy for pilots. Having your every move recorded by video cameras is bad enough. Despite strong U.S. laws protecting CVR and CIR tapes from public access, they can be played in court in some circumstances. Tort lawyers will find video recordings to be an irresistible gimmick to increase damage claims for pain and suffering and for alleged negligence. Far worse, though, is the prospect of an accident outside U.S. territory. A CVR tape from a U.S. accident in Colombia has already been played in the US media after the network obtained a copy from sources there. Despite proposals to encrypt images, no encryption scheme is 100 percent secure, especially with continued advances in computer technology. Once out in the open, a video recording can be made available on the Web from anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day, forever. As one pilot bluntly stated, "I don’t want my spouse and children and grandchildren and a million strangers to be able to watch me die."

Pilots accepted cockpit voice recorders because they have proved to be valuable, and sometimes indispensable, additions to accident investigation and prevention. The combined data from CVRs, DFDRs and other forensic evidence has proved to be the right solution for modern accident investigation and prevention. CIR provides no significant additional benefits, while inflicting a far greater invasion of privacy than CVR recordings.

While onboard video cameras may prove to be of some limited use, such as allowing pilots to see exterior views of the aircraft, ALPA is opposed to any use of video recording in the cockpit.
Note: Various planes do have external cameras these days. For instance 777.

This is one of those cases where the public at large sees something as an obvious solution, whereas they don't really understand what a video would bring over data already available to investigators. Although it does happen, nearly all aviation accidents get solved with the information available from current sources. Of course, during the last decade both voice and flight data recorder have been tremendously improved in how much data they store. You would be surprised what investigators can deduct from the voice recorder only. I have seen reports where they can actually trace which switches were thrown, purely based on sound. As there are multi microphones in a cockpit they can even triangulate (i.e. position) the source of the sound.

So it goes partially back to my earlier point, how much more should the aviation industry spend on additional safety measures?


Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 28th March 2015 at 18:29.
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Old 28th March 2015, 19:09   #88
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post

We know for a fact that for instance, when a pilot's partner is ill, or about the give birth, he or she is very likely to take unconsciously, bigger risks. It (likely) played a role in the the largest aviation disaster to date, Teneriffe_Panam_KLM accident. You won't find it mentioned in the accident reports, because in those days nobody was aware of this. But it is highly likely that a compounding factor in the KLM Captain pressing on during take off, was because he wanted to go home to be with his wife (who had medical issues).
I didn't know this was one of the reasons.
From what I have read, he was one of the senior pilot in the airlines and maybe his arrogance took over.
Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of the same.
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Old 29th March 2015, 08:07   #89
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Default Re: Germanwings Airbus A320 with 150 people onboard crashes in the French Alps

As per Aunty (BBC) the chap had boasted to his ex-Girlfriend that his name will be (in)famous worldwide pretty soon. So he had suicidal tendencies for quite some time. Also, he was familiar with the area, so having the pilot take a loo break, he may have deliberate triggered the crash this time round, knowing that the area was very rough and rugged.
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Old 29th March 2015, 20:04   #90
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I didn't know this was one of the reasons.
From what I have read, he was one of the senior pilot in the airlines and maybe his arrogance took over.
Yesterday was the 38th anniversary of the same.

He was indeed one of the senior pilots. He did not listen to his co-pilot, who should have been more forceful. This very unfortunate accident did spur a lot of investigations and subsequent actions and adjustment in the aviation industry. Many see this accident as the trigger to current CRM (Crew Resource Management) as we know it today. Only about a decade later the industry started looking into the mental state of their pilots and began to understand some of the intrinsic human behaviour. They re-visited some accidents, this was one of them.

I remember this particularly accident, obviously as it involved KLM and hundreds of my fellow countryman and hundreds of American. At the time my dad was one of the senior partners of one of the top lawyers offices in the Netherlands.

The accident happened on a Sunday afternoon. When he got to his office on Monday morning, all of the telex machines had run out of pater. Dozens and dozens American lawyers, had left instructions for my dad and his partners to start suing KLM. Remarkably, as nobody at that point in time had any clue what had happened.

We absolutly loved our three years in Kansas City, but this sue first, ask question later attitude I have never been able to understand or appreciate.

Jeroen
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