Go to ...

The Newspapers

News from Russia

RSS Feed

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Aviation Lindbergh and Chkalov thing of the past

Reaction to the scandal caused by the report of the USA Ministry of transport of the low level of training of pilots of civil aviation, was the discussion of how justified the total computerization of the aircraft. Meanwhile, despite the fact that automation has given pilots the opportunity to “relax” that the state of emergency entails sacrifices, the alternatives of computerization is simply no.

“Rocked! Failure? A sharp roll to the left. Bernice barely holds the car: first one hand, then two, then the whole weight of the body. Damn! The plane with all the fluff rushes to the ground. He died! Another moment and he was thrown forever from this tilted upside down house with whom he had just begun to live… “yeah, so I chickened out.” Knock the heel on the rope – I suppose, it’s stuck. Now check out the tie rod. Refused? Hell: all right! Kick to leg – and the world exists on.

“Statistics, absorbing episodes, when the pilots lost control because overly relied on the automation, quite biased”

In these lines of the famous work of Antoine de Saint-exupéry’s “southern mail” aptly reflected the nature of the work of the pilot when the pilot had to literally “grow” the nerves and the body in the plane to feel the air and rule over it like a bird. Another way to fly simply did not work – the plane was a direct continuation of the hands and feet of the pilot, which turned into air rudders on the wings and empennage.

In the days of the author of “the Little Prince” pilots were the representatives of a special breed of people who set a romance of the challenge that they were left unexplored and danger, higher personal well-being and even their lives. It determines the similarity of the characters of the pilots, and “suffering”, as noted Exupery in his works, “Military pilot” and “Night flight”, “forever bound” pilots, turning them into “great brotherhood, and gets rid of the need to pronounce big words”. But since the day when Saint-Ex, as he was called by friends, never returned from a flight, it took more than seventy years. And looking back at the path traversed by the aircraft during this time, you know that along with the imperfection of the aircraft “pre-computer” aviation gone professional and human qualities of the pilots called this imperfection to compensate.

This is what, according to the Washington Post, stated in the letter of the inspector General of the U.S. Department of transportation sent to them in January 2016, “Federal aviation administration”: “while the airlines have long and safely used automation to improve the efficiency of the pilots and at the same time to facilitate it, several recent accidents, including the crash of Asiana Airlines flight 214, show that pilots who normally fly the plane in automatic mode, can make mistakes when faced with an unexpected situation or go into the manual mode of piloting”.

We will remind that “Boeing-777” flying this flight, made a hard landing at the airport in San Francisco due to the fact that the work of machine traction engines there is a problem and he did not maintain a given speed on a landing straight line. Nothing would have happened if the pilots noticed a drop in speed and switched to manual mode traction control, but they, too relying on the automatics, have not followed the readings of the speed indicator. Killing three passengers of the liner.

Characteristics of the aircraft Sukhoi SuperJet-100″We encourage pilots to practice more in manual control of the aircraft,” – said on this occasion, the member of “National Council for transport safety”, States Robert Sumwalt, who has been a airline pilot for 32 years. But it is the recommendation of the Supervisory authority. And what answer gives incident type what happened to Asiana Airlines flight, the aviation industry?

“Yes, many pilots “classic” flight schools have questioned the accuracy of the maximum computerization of the aircraft, – said the newspaper VIEW test pilot “Airbus”, a former astronaut Philippe Perrin. – Well, when all this electronics works, but what happens if you fail? As a pilot, not having proper manual piloting skills, will be able to cope with the situation?”

“Well, and thus,” continued Perrin, ” that we are specifically going to do the worst aircraft so that the pilots could maintain their flying skills? Nothing of the sort! We will do even better “manned-by-wire” aircraft, to reduce the probability of failure to almost zero”.


All large modern passenger planes anyway equipped with computers that control the engines and onboard systems, but “manned-by-wire (fly-by-wire) is a special case.

When many unrelated to aviation people are thinking about how it is to fly a plane involuntarily compare the winged cars of the vehicles that surround us in everyday life and are accessible to almost everyone. It is not difficult to guess comes to cars. A fairly common view is that the plane is in General a car with wings. Not at all. Comparing the two, we can say that if driving a car is to walk the earth, the plane – to walk a tightrope. It is clear that the tightrope Walker need to learn, and not everyone is given the art – you need to have a good sense of balance and restraint. Often, walkers take up pole-balancer, which helps to keep the vertical position. But in order for a pole to walk a tightrope, too, need a long time to train.

Now imagine that this pole is a computer that responds to the smallest deviations of the body of the tightrope Walker from the vertical position, decides in which direction and how far you need to tilt the pole, moreover, he himself does it. Then all you need is just to hold the pole in his hands. Everything else will do for you computer.

That is a ship, “manned by wire”. The pilot, the Manager of such aircraft, is not necessary, in the words of Saint-Exupery, carry it in his hands, barely holding in balance, like a too full bowl”. For him, it makes the computer to which the pilot simply gives commands either with the buttons and kremler on the control panel or by using steering wheel or joystick (or rather, sadstia), which creates the illusion of manual control.

Technically it looks so: sidestick or the wheel is not connected directly to the air rudder of the liner, as is done in conventional aircraft. They only transmit impulses to the computer that already decides how fast and at what angle to reject these handlebars below the liner accidentally made a dangerous maneuver.

Take a look again at the car as an example. Imagine you (for inexperience or for any other reason) decided at high speed to sharply turn the steering wheel. A regular car will turn over, but if the actions of the driver will be computer-mediated, as in flying “by wire” aircraft, then the front wheels, regardless of your actions, will turn with only the rate and only at that angle that will help to avoid capsizing.

Why create these planes? For two reasons. The first is security. According to statistics, 50% of air accidents in the world are related to the so-called human factor, i.e. are the result of human error (in Russia this indicator reaches 80%). Hence the conclusion: the more you remove the human from the control loop the aircraft, the safer the flight.

Statistics, absorbing episodes, when the pilots lost control because overly relied on the automation, quite biased. It does not take into account how many aircraft accidents and incidents were prevented thanks to automation. However, the latest accounting is not conducted in principle, and therefore the cases when the crew could not find a common language with automation, which led to the crash (type of disaster A-330 air France over the Atlantic ocean in 2009), always have a good chance to turn into an argument against “computer” aircraft.

Cheap and easy

“Manned-by-wire” Airliners allow management of the airlines to increase the load even for dual crew, acting in accordance with the logic: “Yes, they are there in the cockpit doing? Only devices following Yes button is pressed”

The key to the second cause of flying “by wire” is the economy. Maximum computerization of the aircraft allows to reduce the number of flight crew members. If the crew of the Il-62 consisted of five men (commander, copilot, flight engineer, Navigator, radio operator), the crew in excess of it as tonnage and passenger capacity A-330 or Boeing 777″ consists of only two – the commander and co-pilot. The other three functions performs computer.

However, if we are talking about the long flight, the crews of these vessels may be introduced as the third member of the shift commander. In Russia it occurs, if the daily flight takes more than 12 hours (if greater than 9), or night if the flight lasts more than 11 hours (if more than 8). Let not surprised those who noticed that the crews of aircraft flying from Moscow to the United States, consist of three pilots. Despite the fact that these flights fall short in duration to “three-membered” rules, the crews of aircraft engaged on flights over the ocean, shall, at the request of the American authorities, be equipped with three pilots.

But the benefit to a carrier does not end with the reduction of the salary costs of the crew. “Manned-by-wire” Airliners allow management of the airlines to increase the load even for dual crew, acting in accordance with the logic: “Yes, they are there in the cockpit doing? Only devices following Yes click on a button”. Therefore increased not only the duration of the flight changes, but the number of “reversal” of flights. This is when the crew arrives at any airport and instead of staying there on vacation (handing over the aircraft to another crew, which arrived from the previous flight) is the aircraft in the opposite way. The benefit is obvious – no need to spend money on hotel and travel for crews, and the number of pilots in the company can be reduced. However, by the end of some of these “reversal” flight pilots feel, for the apt remark of one of them, “as the boxers after a knockdown”.

However, aircraft manufacturers are not resting on our laurels and with the full support from the airlines continue to work towards even greater reduction in flight crew members – one pilot. With this purpose was designed the new control system type ACROSS (Advanced Cockpit for Reduction Of Stress and Workload), which translates as “Advanced cockpit for reduction of stress and workload”. Creators ACROSS bluntly pointed out that the main purpose of its development is the transition to oznacenom the crew of passenger ships.

Security measures at the airport (click to enlarge)it is Easy to foresee panic questions like: “what if one pilot anything happens, then who would fly the plane?”. You may recall how in the mid 1970-ies of the metro in the USSR was passed with train control by the two-person crew (driver + helper) for the control of a single engineer. Then, too, there were many fears about the possible failure of the one person in the cockpit, resulting in uncontrollable train rushed through the tunnel, destroying everything in its path. However, during 40 years of operation of trains of this type is nothing of the sort happened. Moreover, on some underground lines in France and some other countries, trains are operated at all without drivers.

As for aviation, Aeroflot was the experiment: the senior stewardess Tatyana Baturina on the machine with the help made when tips experienced instructor successfully landed the plane in automatic mode. This shows that the level of automation and the associated ease of management of modern ships it will allow to a flight attendant in a critical situation to land the plane by ground service.

The algorithm of the interaction of pilots with “manned-by-wire” airliner is increasingly beginning to resemble the actions of the operator of the drone the only difference is that the first sit in the cockpit and the other in the bunker. No wonder the USAF is now to decide whether to equate the drone operators from the point of view of merits, benefits and incentives to the regular pilots or not?

The window of opportunity for fraudsters

The younger generation of Russian civil aviation pilots jokingly referred to as “boys with sticks”. Indeed, the current boys and girls who grew up among electronic gadgets, much better adapted to work on modern “manned-by-wire” Airliners than the “classic” flight school, for which the main tool of interaction with the winged cars were the steering wheel and pedals. Computerized youth fairly quickly develops electronic “brains” of passenger aircraft is significantly faster and Matures to the post of commander of the ship.

In “Aeroflot” there are times when the captains of the vessels of type A-320 with capacity up to 200 people stood in 25-27 years, and co-pilots on the same technique – almost immediately after flight school. This was virtually impossible to “Ilah”, “Tu” and “Anahita”, the majority of pilots had grown to a heavy jet commanders of ships to forty years, not before. The reason for this lay in the fact that the experience necessary for managing large ships in as co-pilot or commander, the pilot could only accumulate over many years. And now this experience is embedded in on-Board computers and navigation systems, and pilots just need to learn how to work with them. A fresh graduate from flight school quite mastered it within a few months of self-training (the main method of training in flight training group “Aeroflot”) with the help of textbooks type FCOM (Flight Crew Operating Manual) and computer programs, where the “fingers”, with illustrations and explanations to them it is told about the plane and how to exploit it. All the knowledge and then practiced on the simulator, which imitates the flight (Full Flight Simulator – FFS). And all in the sky.

Interestingly, this feature is “manned-by-wire” aviation creates a lot of temptations for fraudsters to impersonate pilots and look for a job in major airlines. Knowing that you can “samopodgotovka” the pilot of the airliner in flight training detachment (of the STREET) and that the liner is a little different from “flying” on the computer simulation available to every student, they come in a airline flight with fake diplomas. In “Aeroflot” there have been many attempts such liepaloto to get into the STREET, that there is “podnataskal” on the pilots and take over sidestick “Airbus”.

The end of the “great brotherhood”

“The only phase of flight where there is no alternative to automatic control, is from the beginning of the movement of the liner along the platform, including run-up, takeoff and climb 30 meters”

The changes in modern aviation that have impact on the characters and relationships in a flight environment. The pilots had already been flying long in with adjacent carriages, the composition of which is formed on the lottery principle. There are cases when the commander and co-pilot to see each other for the first time in my life, or at least meet immediately before the flight.

In this raskreplenija are two reasons. The first is economic. In fixed carriages, which were practiced in the Soviet times, a temporary failure of one of its members of the disease has led to the fact that the entire crew has been dormant, waiting, until he will recover. The second is security. It is believed (though this view is not undisputed) that when the pilot and copilot are not familiar, they largely adhere to instructions than rely on human understanding, which can be wrong. In the past and prior training when the crew is in full force the day before the flight studied the new track along with a new airport where he was due to fly.

As a result of the aircraft left the “great brotherhood”, about which he wrote Exupery and which can be seen in the cult film “the Crew”. “Of course, now the relationships within the flight crew are not the same as before, – said the newspaper VIEW one of the most experienced pilots of “Aeroflot” Vyacheslav Gavrilov, after about 20 000 hours and commanded all heavy “Elah” – from “the eighteenth” to “ninety-six”. – When there were five people in the cockpit, it was possible to relax a little, talk, get to know each other. This contributed to the emergence of intimacy. Now the commander and co-pilot, especially on medium-haul flights, is constantly loaded with work. To talk heart-to-heart just no time left”. Arrived, handed flight papers and sold as casual companions in the bus.

Two things like to say engineers and pilots-instructors of the company “Airbus” could not be better talking about the role of the computer in the control plane. The first – “the designers took the computer and built it around the liner, the second – “you have to ask the computer to do some action”, thus emphasizing the primacy of the electronic “brain” on Board. Of course, we are not talking about oral request, in the everyday sense of the word. Its pilots convey to the computer using the buttons, and kremler systemow.

Computer philosophy that permeates “manned-by-wire” aircraft, and has an impact on relationships within the crew. Communicating with each other spelled out in the instructions, standard phrases, pilots like be a continuation of computer. Probably, from the point of view of exploitation is correct, but this style of interaction contributes to the cooling of the human content in the communication between the commander and the second pilot.

Faded glamour

Pilots of modern civil aviation sometimes I compare myself with drivers of the trams. Indeed, something in common there. In the on-Board computer FMGS or FMS before the flight loaded flight path, after which the liner follows it to the destination airport, like on rails. Of course, the Manager can adjust the track, but in General within the “rail” way.

Almost the entire flight is fully automated. Of course, the pilots can manually control the aircraft, but “Aeroflot”, for example, is not encouraging, and instructing his pilots to make maximum use of automation. At one time the airline had a requirement: every fourth landing must be performed in “automatic”, so the pilots didn’t forget how to do it. But this innovation was not accepted by the pilots, for manually piloting the aircraft from the moment of entry into the glide path and landing to touchdown was for them almost the only opportunity to feel themselves pilots, and not just operators of on-Board equipment. In fact, the only phase of flight where there is no alternative to automatic control, is from the beginning of the movement of the liner along the platform, including run-up, takeoff and climb 30 meters. After passing the 30-meter mark you can turn on autopilot and keep it on until the plane landed. Thus, modern ships just don’t leave room for opportunities to show “classic” pilot’s quality.

Stopped civil aviation to be “purely masculine”. It is known that because of the nature of psychical activities of men are easier to track spatial-temporal changes (what is required in “classic” aircraft), while women are more likely to pay attention to details. But “computer” aircraft deprive men of this advantage, giving women the opportunity to succeed in the flight profession.

The idea of the work of civil aviation pilots as a kind of tourism at public expense, when the pilots got acquainted with the life and culture of those countries where we were flying, too, in the past. Most flights, at least on the medium-haul lines, topping. You can circumnavigate the whole of Europe and to believe that you are very lucky if you managed just to get out of the cockpit and walk into the airport. Parking at the airport simply will not allow you to do more.

In aviation it has long been noticed: “the better the plane, the worse pilot”. Have in mind that the machine lighter and easier to pilot, the pilot requires less art to manage it. The appearance of modern aircraft “brain” has led to the fact that the pilots just put them in a flight mission, after which the liners themselves “decide” how to implement it. This, in turn, changes the requirements for the training of pilots.

So, Deputy transport Minister and former General Director “Aeroflot” Valery Okulov has proposed to reduce the period of initial training of flight personnel of civil aviation from five to two years, at the same time transferring this training from higher education to secondary. “There is no need to teach for five years. Quite two years, and, in good, 18 months, – he told in interview to Agency “Interfax”. – During this period, when sufficient intensity of training can prepare a qualified pilot, and in the future, just to raise his qualifications in the course of re-training on different types of aircraft.

When you think about what’s going on with modern aircraft, then the mind involuntarily comes from the analogy of navigation. A couple of centuries ago to make a career in sailing, I had to be able to turn the sails. Now, as said the newspaper VIEW former captain of the icebreaker “Krasin” Vladimir Repin, “went on Board the ship, and pressed the button “go”.

About the same path it took and aviation. The ability to “classic” to pilot the plane will soon be the lot of the pilots just as the ability to handle the sails in demand only in yacht-clubs or, in extreme cases, a few training sailing ships. Classics and romance of Valery Chkalov aviation and Charles Lindbergh, as the sails of the caravels, forever go beyond the horizon that separates the last century from the present.

Related posts:
The modern cosmonaut: Russian hero or highly paid specialist?
The largest public "Vkontakte" trying to rise again after closing
The Imam "Tatar mosque found the justification of terrorism
Russia promised to return to Kazakhstan from the Cabinet of curiosities skull a national hero


More Stories From Society