Autopilot issue causes LAX emergency landing

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by tom911, Apr 18, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. tom911
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    tom911 Gold Member

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    http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=8079275
     
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  2. Eloy Fonseca Neto
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    Eloy Fonseca Neto Silver Member

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    Wow.... They should use the Autopilot to land at LAX or SFO than via CAT 3 ILS!!! No need to turn it off then!!!
     
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  3. FrequentlyFlying
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    FrequentlyFlying Silver Member

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    Looks like it might have been Flight# 494. Originally scheduled at 6:40p, but did eventually fly again at 9:11pm. The United Cargo flight status checker isn't working for that flight, so can't see if it had a RTFL (return to field) identifier.
     
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  4. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    I'm not a pilot, but something tells me that if Otto has malfunctioned to the point where he can't be shut off, it may not be safe to make a precision approach using him. :eek:
     
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  5. adambadam
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    adambadam Silver Member

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    Yeah, like when it realizes it is now on a runway after landing and wants to take off. That would not be very fun.
     
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  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    Nice to have Otto commenting on this...rare to have first-hand cockpit crew postings here.
     
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  7. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    I'm surprised there's no 'kill' switch for the autopilot when the normal processes fail.
     
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  8. Art234
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    If this was an Airbus it would be more difficult to turn of the autopilot, but it should be possible in either case.

    The Airbus fly-by-wire system gives final authority to the airplane, so there are rare instances where a pilot cannot override certain commands. That said, Boeing gives the pilot final authority, so the pilot can ALWAYS override systems on the airplane. Of course the 777 is the only Boeing fly-by-wire airplane currently in service...

    The crash of an A320 demo at the Paris Airshow 20-some years ago was due to the inability of the pilots to override the aircraft control systems attempt to keep the airplane within the flight envelope.

    Luckily this story has a happy ending.
     
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  9. Infinite1K
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    Infinite1K Silver Member

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    According to FlightAware it was a 752.
     
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  10. Art234
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    In which case one could imagine pulling the breaker for the autopilot would eventually work....the 757 is not a fly by wire aircraft...

    Thanks for the update.
     
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  11. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The A320 crash was not at the Paris Air Show, it was at a local air show in Toulouse. The pilots dropped to 100ft altitude in slow flight and did not apply power soon enough to ascend above trees beyond the end of the runway. There was no role of automated systems other than that the FCS would not allow the pilot to stall. There was zero role of "inability to override..." in this accident. The pilots went too low and too slow so the aircraft could not recover altitude. They did apparently commit some fraud to try to blame systems, but the courts were unsympathetic.

    Sorry to be so abrupt about this, but the facts were very clear that this was totally pilot error.

    n Sunday June 26, 1988, the airclub at the airfield of Mulhouse-Habsheim in Alsace/France had organized with Air France a low approach of a brand new Airbus A320 in landing configuration. Michel Asseline was the pilot in command of F-GFKC, Pierre Mazière was his first officer, when the aircraft overflew the airfield at 2 pm in wonderful sunny weather. Some seconds later the aircraft touched the tops of the trees behind the runway and crashed into a forest. 3 passengers died in the accident and about 50 were injured. The accident was filmed by a video amateur and has been shown dozens of times on TV. F-GFKC was the first of a couple of aircraft of this type to be lost in the next few years (see below).
    The Black Boxes were taken undamaged from the aircraft 2 hours after the crash, but unfortunately they have been out of control of justice for 10 days, and since May 1998 it is proven that the Flight Data Recorder was substituted during this period. The Lausanne Institute of Police Forensic Evidence and Criminology (IPSC) comes to the conclusion that the Black Boxes used in the trial to declare the pilot guilty are NOT the ones taken from the aircraft.
    The aircraft was new, Airbus was waiting for commands, a lack of confidence in the highly computerized aircraft would have meant a commercial disaster - not only for the manufacturer, but also for the French administration, which has a share in the European Airbus consortium.
    There are long arguments about design philosophy, but they have been resolved in favor of automated systems in almost all new designs, some of which (especially military designs) would be unstable were the automated systems not in operation.
     
  12. AtoZ

    AtoZ Silver Member

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    Talking about FACTS: This took place near Mulhouse (N of Basel airport) - quite a ways from Toulouse. :)
     
  13. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The article I quoted even said that. Duh! I was thinking Toulouse because a similar non-fatel even took place there under nearly identical conditions. If I stop making geography mistakes I will also remember that the operating procedures for all these aircraft were modified to caution pilots about low, slow flight. IIRC the problems were deemed to result from the temptation to pull back all the way on the stick and let the normal rules protect from a stall. It worked, but low and slow did not work to easily gain altitude.

    I am embarrassed about my airport error. Doubly so since the correct location was in the next paragraph.:oops:
     
  14. Art234
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    Sorry to disagree, while pilot error got them into the mess, the Airbus logic in its flight control system which gives the airplane the final word over the pilots contributed as well. This has been a long standing debate within the pilot community almost since the beginning of the A320, and it is one of the advantages (to pilots) that the 777 and subsequent Boeing designs offers - pilots have the ability to override the flight control system...in the Airbus that is not the case.
     
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  15. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    And thus it is, the debate can rage on. For each argument on one side there is another on the other. I won't engage on that debate because I have done it too many times before. I will say that the fault for those two accidents was attributable 100% to pilot error. No amount of manual override would help a pilot who chooses deliberately to good to low and too slow. The argument I would have expected would have said the automated systems can breed over confidence that can then produce disaster. That argument, IMHO, has merit. No manual systems could have helped them once they made those awful decisions. I imagine we agree about that, and the overconfidence.
     
  16. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Couldn't they just punch a hole into the autopilot and deflate him?
     

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