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Author Topic: Mechanical Pilots
extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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Once upon a time, a long while ago, one of TWA’s greatest pilots (and instructors) stood in front of a class of our pilots in Kansas City. It was probably about 1970. Someone had just determined that jet airliners performed best (under certain conditions) at “predetermined attitudes”. Captain “Jake the snake”, Ward, as he was affectionately called, was very much aware that those in his classroom had been flying for almost as long as himself and ended a short time on the subject with: “Well, that’s enough about “Attitude Flying”. (The subject was part the company’s training program and he fulfilled his obligation to include it in the discussion flawlessly)

However, somehow, I got the impression that Captain Ward wasn’t really too convinced that this “additional tool in the toolbox of how to fly” was that big of a deal or even desirable. In fact, it was my impression that other than reminding us of the approximate eleven (11) degree max nose high on take off or landing to avoid dragging the skid (727) and that anything over 6 & 1/2 degree wing low during cross-wind operations would/could cause flap damage, (727)... engine pod damage 707. the rest of the “Attitude Flying” program appeared to be a crutch for those with limited flying skills......and yes, even a prelude to our more recent years of automated flight

Never to be forgotten is a story about an old time instructor giving another old time instructor (Buddy Haiggens (sp) his first 707 check ride. Check Captain: “You’re gonna loose an engine on T.O. How much rudder are you gonna use?” Captain Buddy: “Whatever it takes”.

So much for “MECHANICAL FLYING”

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Capn Eddie Ricketyback
Post Captain
Member # 3010

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I think this may be only slightly germane to Capt. Randy's post, but it reminded me of my MD-80 initial line check (when they were still DC-9-80s).

The check pilot said at the outset that, "I want to see maximum use of autoflight equipment," and I replied something like, "I'll use it when I consider it appropriate."

During the flight there was a lot of thunderstorm deviation, and several ILS's weren't suitable for autoflight approaches, so I never did one. When we finally were going to land at STL he said plaintively, "Can I please see an autopilot approach?" Although the runway's ILS we were landing on (I forget the number) was infamous for an abrupt right turn and equally abrupt return to the centerline on short final, and this was well known to all the pilots I knew, he apparently wasn't aware of this. Nevertheless I agreed to start one. Sure enough, as I knew would happen, the ILS abruptly started to turn the aircraft to the right at the same point it always did. Don't remember the altitude but it was pretty low. I immediately disconnected the A/P and continued the approach and landing manually. I explained to him on the ground that that always happened on that ILS and I was surprised he didn't know about it. He was not pleased.

I passed.

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extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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Captain Billy,

You and Captain Haigens had much in common. [Smile] He must have also passed his check ride as it was my great pleasure to fly co-pilot for him on an early 707 flight. (Early in my jet career)

It was prior to the restriction of 250 knots below 10,000 feet. Clear weather in New York..Believe it or not, he crossed the outer marker on the barber pole, cleared for a visual, and with idle power, circled for a beautiful NW landing.

It has been said that: The most important wings on the plane are on the pilot.

Well, maybe the same goes for “ATTITUDE FLYING”

signed,
Ol’ iron ass

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Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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Sadly by the late 1990s. TWA was preaching automation, automation, automation. Those of us who were there can attest to that fact.

It was such a relief when I went though AA certification transition training.

I nearly stood up and cheered when we were given this presentation.

It is 25 min. long. A lifetime of wisdom!

http://n631s.blogspot.com/2011/11/children-of-magenta-line.html

Posts: 1936 | From: Warren County, Missouri  |  IP: Logged
dave carr
Post Captain
Member # 783

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Interesting topic. I retired in 2000 and continued on as a NSLI in the training center teaching first on the B767 and then transitioning to the B717, two aircraft with advanced automatic capabilities. Many of my students came off less automated aircraft. Most were very adept at flying manually but had some real learning pains dealing with the glass cockpits. I had to really stress the use of automatics in the training to prepare them to use such complicated auto capabilities and be able to execute the low vis approaches that required automatic system usage.

Strangely enough I had similar experiences with students when I was an instructor and 890 on the MD80 in the 80s. Remember the common statements by new MD80 pilots. "Where's this thing taking me now?" At that moment the common statement by the instructor--- "click click"--auto throttle and auto pilot disconnect and fly the airplane. But we had to emphasize auto flight as the pilot must be able to use automatics. As an instructor I could not approve a student that could not very competently use the auto flight systems. Obviously the student also had to be able to avigate, navigate and communicate.

To Bob's comments about use of automatics. Yes, TWA did stress using automatics but left how much up to us as pilots. I never remember being pressured to operate automatically other than when it was required by regulation. With that said I do remember a line in the MD80 flight handbook encouraging pilots to fly manually to the extent needed to do so to maintain full manual flying expertise.

Fifteen years retired and I'm still fascinated by these topics. Hope you're all doing well.

Dave Carr

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extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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Concerning Attitude Flying

Possibly I was alluding to the belief that there are times when the attitude of the pilot(s) may be more important than the attitude of the plane.

Do whatever it takes (by the book).

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Rocky Dollarhide
Post Captain
Member # 546

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I've always believed in Attitude!
Posts: 141 | From: Aberdeen Golf Club  |  IP: Logged
Bob Ritchie
Post Captain
Member # 1035

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CA Carr tells it like it was. The emphasis was on autoflite...with required manual proficiency.

By the time I got to AA training in 2002...American had decided that the emphasis on automation, at their airline, had become a safety issue. Still some at AA, especially in the training department failed to get the memo.

When I took my qualification flight on the B-767 at AA my check airman was the Manager of Flight for the 777/767 program.

I was a bit concerned when he showed up...saying "I decided to give this ride and evaluate how we are doing with the TWA guys" Adding to my concern was a new "training academy" instructor serving as my FO, a man I had not met before. Looked like a "set up" to me.

Anyhow the ride went quite well and I quickly lost any concern about fair treatment. The last maneuver was the classic...hand flown,single engine approach, with a missed, circle to land, single engine landing with the weather going VFR.

When I executed the missed approach and the weather cleared I asked my FO to request a left downwind for RWY 14L at ORD, which he did. Then my FO went heads down and started typing feverishly.

I tuned and identified the ILS, rolled in the inbound course, set minimums, quickly briefed my FO who was still heads down and punching buttons.

Suddenly the Flight Manager check airman froze the sim. "CA Ritchie" he said "You have the ILS tuned identified, inbound course set, minimums set." "Do you need any thing else to keep you out of tomorrow's headlines"? "No sir" I answered.

He then slapped the sweating, training instructor FO on the shoulder and said "Leave that damned box alone, sit up here and help your captain"!

I felt sorry for the poor guy as sweat was poring down his temples and I am sure that he was trying to do what he thought his boss wanted to see.

I asked for a visual, cleared to land, touched down without incident.

Handshakes all around. Warm congratulations from the Flight Manager. Job well done.

I knew I had found a soulmate and a home. Enjoyed every minute of the remaining 5 years of my career.

Bob. Grateful and lucky!

[ 03-05-2016, 16:44: Message edited by: Bob Ritchie ]

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Robert Dedman
Post Captain
Member # 366

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Bob. Grateful and lucky!
I beg to differ. I would say well trained and very on top of the situation. Planning ahead is a life saver and you pretty much proved it. Nice write up. [Smile]

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extwacaptain
Prop Wash
Member # 381

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Maybe this automated flight stuff began before we even were aware.....It was after/during our TWA pilots strike when three of our fellow furloughed F/Os were applying for employment with the Flying Tigers. Being a Military ATC type operation, our check pilot was a Major and the aircraft being flown, the most automated at the time..(a C-54 with automatic “gear up & gear down locks” plus an automatic latch on the “john” door.)

Even the check ride was automated. Finding myself the first in the co-pilot.s seat, the Major handed over an approach plate for Long Beach airport, saying (with the point of his finger) “You’re tuned to the Long Beach range. Here we are. Intercept that leg. Proceed over the range and let down to minimums”. (It should be mentioned that the airline, having just received the contract was operating on a rather limited, cost saving budget.) Anyway, after one “listening” to the radio range signal, there was cause for a bit of concern. HEY, KRAMER, listen to that damn thing again. “Is the good Major playing tricks on a dumb little “Ex- Army Air Corps Instrument Flight Instructor?” Confirming that the radio was not properly tuned, this was brought to the attention of the check pilot....Insisting that he had properly tuned the radio and showing a bit of aggravation, his original instructions were repeated to which he received my polite refusal to comply........Gentleman that he was, after determining HIS mistake he motioned for me to vacate the seat and said: “Next”

Now, that was an “Automatic” check ride

P.S. Although the instructor didn’t call any of us Lindberg, [Big Grin] all three of us were hired thanks to our TWA training.

signed: just an average fly boy

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