I often hear that Human pilots are superior to machines. Apparently there are thousands of Engine failures caused by ingesting birds; since I know birds can be detected by radar hundreds of feet away, it would be possible for an autopilot to avoid birds - while it is hugely difficult for pilots to "see and avoid" birds.

This is to say nothing about bringing disabled airplanes back to their airport safely rather than resorting to a statistically fatal water landing.

One of the features of a peer to peer autopilot/autoATC is the ability to 1. reroute multiple planes to avoid enemy aircraft (ie birds) in real time, and 2. reroute multiple planes to prioritize the landing of distressed planes.

It is my opinion that on second analysis, this lucky landing will be criticised as a series of poor choices, and point to 1. the inability of the tower to route traffic around a flock it should have seen, and 2. the inability to react within the time demands of a predictable event. (Since the climbout for this plane is higher than the glideslope, the pilots best choice was return to origin; he appears to have had about twice as much speed and altitude as he needed to land at la Guardia.)


Are avoiding birds, and prioritizing dead stick landings strong arguments for increasing the role of machines in the ATC?

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Well, I'm trying to be as respectful as I can - but I admit, I'm having trouble buying into the zietgiest of "crash a plane = hero".

He really didn't get very much right. 1. Failed to throw Ditch Switch. 2. Ordered an unqualified Evacuation of the Plane without taking stock of the situation - resulting in flooding through the rear exit. 3. Decided on a risky landing when the plane was capable of making the safer landing at LG.

I'm not buying the theory that hours in a plane or ex-fighter experience is the best history for a passenger flight. Let's wait until we get the FSB report, but I'd wager any accomplished pilot could land that plane with no Engines at LG.

People will say what if he crashed into buildings - That is the risk of every flight, and if his plane was out of control, that is a consideration, but my sense is the plane was in full control - absent the engine, and that LG was well within range. I have math to support the theory and I'll be content to accept scorn in exchange for scientific view.

I find it little better than superstition to assume that a lucky landing = good strategy.
I'm waiting for one reason he could not have made LG. Absent one, that was the best choice. Saying its so hardly makes it so. I have heard the Pilot felt it was too far. I think the math suggests this is rarely true - as quite simply airplanes climb much steep than their 1/20 glide ratio. It's the math plain and simple, and until someone can un-explain the math, then it's so much touchy-feely hero worship. I've made plenty of dead stick RC landings.
Right before this story became old & the news outlets dropped it, they had just about nailed the cause on the combination of faulty compressors & bird strike. The engine compressors stalled 1 week earlier but were restarted. The bird strike pushed them over the top. Heaven forbid it rains. Air busses really need 3 engines. 2 on the wings & 1 spare.
It's not about the math, it's about the risk to human life. You say you want one good reason that he says he couldn't make it back to LG. Maybe he could have, but maybe on the way a smaller plane cuts across his path and causes avoidance maneuvers wich cause him to loose too much spead and require a landing in the middle of an interstate, neighborhood, or garbage dump.

The people involved use operational risk assesment proceedures to make decisions.

The replies to your email have less to do with the pilot being a great pilot w/tons of experiance and more to do with ... Well I'll be nice...
There really isn't a lot of experience in flying commercial aircraft under less than ideal conditions. I'm pretty sure you can fly the A320 under power for many years and not learn very much about gliding it in for a dead stick landing. Simulators (ie not real planes) are the only way to achieve something approaching that experience. RC planes are a different kind of simulator which permit the pilot to push the flight envelope way past the safe limit. You want this landing to be a heroic achievement - which perhaps only one in a hundred pilotc could have achieved? I suggest it is no such thing, and that of a 100 pilots, some number would have chosen to dry land at LG, and I would put my money on that group for highest probability of safe outcomes.
It appears to me that he had twice the speed needed to return to La Guardia. I don't buy your reason to avoid LG. I would bet LG had zero GA planes, and every other plane was in communication with LG and would have cleared the runway. You're assertion of procedure to make decisions is an assertion. It is my opinion that the pilot had trouble believing in the glide slope of the airplane; that in short he didn't trust the plane to fly without power, and opted to crash rather than accept the task of flying the plane in without power.
It used to be said in politics that when your in a hole, STOP DIGGING!
Obviously you're not a pilot yourself?!
Math isn't politics. The facts, such as they can be known at this point - suggest to me that LG was quite reachable (with a fudge factor of ~2x), that landing in the Hudson is statistically fatal (thankfully this was a rare, improbable, and likely unrepeatable exception), that every feature of the plane intended to facilitate a water landing was borked.

A "Heroic" pilot might be expected to know about the ditch switch feature of his airplane, and use it to protect the passengers in the event of a water landing. A "Heroic" crew might be expected to understand how airplanes float (or sink), and prevent the scuttling of a (boat) by opening an underwater hatch. If this crew were running the titanic, they would have sunk before they hit an iceberg - 3 minutes after they left the dook, and close enough that every passenger could walk back to shore.

Death count is not the only way to measure success.
Dave Lettermen cracked: Thank god Airbuses float better than they fly.
In other words:
This is a dead horse, Stop beating it.


PLEASE!
Here's a similar mass-psychosis case in which science is trumped by "unbridled celebration".

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28902137/


As the world marvels over the miracle births of eight seemingly healthy babies in California, medical ethicists and fertility experts argue that the media is sending the wrong message with its focus on the creation of an instant Brady-Bunch like family.

It’s fine to celebrate the healthy delivery, said Sean Tipton, spokesperson for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. But, a pregnancy resulting in this many babies is “clearly is not a medical triumph. Eight babies is not an outcome anyone should want.”

Unbridled celebration of these multiple births ignores the risks that this type of pregnancy can bring and the huge costs to the medical system and the parents, say experts.
Story continues below ↓advertisement | your ad here

“I think when the press goes googoo and gaga over these multiples, they don’t seem to understand that it’s really risky for the mothers and for their fetuses,” said Arthur Caplan, chair of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania and an msnbc.com contributor.

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