Plane crash in French Alps
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27-03-2015, 01:04 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(27-03-2015 01:00 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(27-03-2015 12:45 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes.

EDIT:
But I'd still point out that that is literally how modern militaries operate combat drones. And one would think they, if anyone, might be a little concerned with things like security, no?

Yes they would but one would imagine that a system for operating all commercial flights would be much much larger and therefore much more vulnerable to a sustained attack.

I can't see it being distributed on anything greater than a national or per-airline basis, though, if that, even were such a thing implemented.

But yeah, obviously centralisation has its own security risks, but there are, just as naturally, concomitant advantages. Since it's not a thing anyone's seriously proposing for the immediate present there's not much more comparison can actually be done one way or the other.

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27-03-2015, 02:49 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(27-03-2015 01:00 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  
(27-03-2015 12:45 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Yes.

EDIT:
But I'd still point out that that is literally how modern militaries operate combat drones. And one would think they, if anyone, might be a little concerned with things like security, no?

Yes they would but one would imagine that a system for operating all commercial flights would be much much larger and therefore much more vulnerable to a sustained attack.

Not to mention that the military isn't worried about turning a profit, and doesn't scrimp on such things as security.....

A corporation? You think they MIGHT just cut a few corners to save a buck - and at YOUR risk????

If not - apparently you've never heard of Union Carbide - and Bhopal India..

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27-03-2015, 03:30 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(27-03-2015 02:49 PM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(27-03-2015 01:00 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Yes they would but one would imagine that a system for operating all commercial flights would be much much larger and therefore much more vulnerable to a sustained attack.

Not to mention that the military isn't worried about turning a profit, and doesn't scrimp on such things as security.....

A corporation? You think they MIGHT just cut a few corners to save a buck - and at YOUR risk????

If not - apparently you've never heard of Union Carbide - and Bhopal India..

Should we compare that to the number of chemical plants that haven't exploded? Versus one that did? 31 years ago?

My laconic point by that example was to show proof of concept. Which was a response to the "it's not possible" vibe. "It's too expensive" is a different argument.

But, in any case, almost all military contracts are performed by the lowest bidders when it comes to it. Cutting corners is a human impulse, not exclusive to a specific sphere of endeavour, and intelligent management is precisely the set of practices that best counteract the known shortcomings we'd otherwise be prone to.

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28-03-2015, 01:18 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
The digital systems used by the aircraft of today can and have failed their design purpose and simultaneously defeated cockpit crew manual override attempts to regain control of the airplanes. The results have been partial and total losses. Nothing new here. The British RAF Chinook helicopter crash of 1994 is one of the higher profile cases where the FADEC system failed outright killing all aboard. It's still under debate because the British MoD is ardently defending its original decision to cite the pilot and co-pilot (pilot error) as the cause.

FADEC (full authority digital engine control) means exactly that: Full authority. The crew have no manual override authority. The engines can shutdown to idle power or go into over-speed (self destruct) depending on the error code the FADEC is responding to. If a crankshaft speed sensor fails sending a low-speed signal to the FADEC, it will pump more fuel into the the engine sending it into over-speed. Conversely, if the sensor fails in a manner that sends an over-speed condition the FADEC will retard the throttle(s) bringing the engines to a rotational speed that provides inadequate power to maintain sustained flight. This believed to have happened to the RAF Chinook helicopter noted above leaving the cockpit crew helpless to avoid disaster.

The Air France Airbus crash into a wooded area at the air show in Toulouse a few back represents an identical situation where the FADEC could not be manually over-ridden. That was supposed to be a low altitude fly-past but the only way the pilot could execute it was to enter a landing command into the flight computer. He did and the airplane made a landing approach. At the necessary moment he needed to raise the engine rotational speeds to take-off power the computer would not release the airplane to him and it landed itself into the wooded area destroying the airplane and killing the crew.

Another situation occurred when the FADEC lowered engine rotational speeds, creating a loss of airspeed during final approach of a British Airways airplane causing it to land short of the designated runway. No fatalities were experienced but the airplane was a total write-off.

I'm an aircraft mechanic and have worked on the components of these FADEC systems. They respond to commands sent to them by the FADEC computer. When a failure occurs the typical response is to remove all the components associated with the system including the computer, it's electrical harness and related valves and controls and send them to competent shops for airworthiness checks. In many instances I've received components with no faults found (NFF) and send them back to the operators. That means the system is not simple enough to know itself and where it's hurting (what failed). When that kind of system is used in any means of transportation - where the technology is not adequate to the purpose of interrogating itself for failures - someone has pushed through its use despite the lacking safeguards ensuring total airworthiness (effectiveness) through development and maturing of the technology.

That's what the MoD did with the above Chinook crash and is trying to pin it on the pilots.

FADEC has been developed further and considered operationally adequate to its design purpose but only after much gravestone mentality had to be fought showing it to be otherwise.

People create and program digital aircraft systems. These same creatures designed and programmed gods.

I'm of the opinion that only pilots should be in full authority control of aircraft.
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28-03-2015, 04:19 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(28-03-2015 01:18 PM)pitar Wrote:  I'm of the opinion that only pilots should be in full authority control of aircraft.

You and I probably share equivalent qualifications (I'm a pilot and an A&P IA) but have diametrically opposite opinions as to whether humans or computers should steer commercial equipment. Evidence that the same evidence seen by two pairs of eyes does not always produce identical perspectives.

I used to have your opinion. But after reading William Langenweische's "Fly By Wire" and observing the unequivocal improvements in safety made by increased automation, not just in aviation but across many fields, I've "joined the dark side" and champion getting man off the button pushing stool, and, to some extent, getting him out of the decision loop too.

Let's look at two cases of aviation decision making that question our competence to be in that role. The first was a mid-air between military fighters during combat practice. The collision tore an entire wing off one of the jets. Yet it remained controllable, and its pilots stayed with the aircraft, bringing it to a safe landing. Happy ending? Only by luck. The prudent decision would have been to point the jet where it wouldn't hurt anybody and punch out of it. It may have been controllable immediately following the collision, but it would have been impossible to determine whether it would shed some vital component in the next five seconds and/or blow up from an electrical arc in fuel spray produced by trying to control it through severed wiring.

The other is the Alaska Airlines MD-80 that plunged out of control into the Pacific west of LAX. Its stabilizer jackscrew had stripped its threads for lack of lubrication and over the course of the flight from Mexico overstressed a stop nut that fully freed the jackscrew and put the stabilizer all the way nose down. The problem was not INITIALLY the pilots' making, but instead of landing immediately upon finding they had no pitch trim, they continued flight, confident they could overcome the difficulty. Their futzing with it during flight caused the final fatal failure. They SHOULD have recognized, using calm logic, that if BOTH trim motors weren't functioning the problem was most likely NOT electrical but mechanical, and therefore potentially lethal. Actually, ANY pitch trim problem is potentially lethal, and a pilot having trouble with pitch trim should get on the ground ASAP, ESPECIALLY a pilot carrying a hundred passengers with him.

There are many other examples of bad decision making, including, incidentally, the Toulouse Airbus crash, which was NOT an un-overridable autopilot but poor airmanship that put the aircraft in a configuration that not even full command authority could have recovered from (See MacArthur Job Air Disaster Volume 3).

The modern flight deck is down to two seats from three because automation is safer than people. The flight engineer's job has been completely taken over by computers and automatic equipment.

Yes, automation introduces problems unique to automation. ANY technology introduces problems unique to the technology. But where a technology is superior to a person in terms of reaction times, rapid evaluation of multiple data inputs, imperviousness to distraction, lack of delusional bias, lack of fatigue, etc. etc. the overall result is improved safety, even if the occasional disaster is one that would not have happened had the technology been absent.

To cjlr - thanks for your cogent thoughts herein.
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28-03-2015, 04:34 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
Let's simply considers things from a given assumption: people will find ways to fuck up. Humans are fallible and statistics are real. This applies to all cases - whether they are piloting aircraft "directly" (though I can't see how fly-by-wire counts as "directly" flying, but whatever) or whether they are designing the software to pilot aircraft. The only rational thing to do is compare the costs and benefits. What combination of practices leads to the best possible safety record?

The one attitude that I find utterly insane, though, is blind projection of the status quo. Because, sure, let's say that right now, world-class automation is still inferior to the best human pilots. I don't know whether that's true, even though I doubt that it is, but that's irrelevant for now. The nonsensical part comes from taking that observation and asserting that it will always be so. We can, after all, improve software a hell of a lot more easily than we can improve human beings.

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28-03-2015, 06:32 PM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(27-03-2015 08:50 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  
Quote:Documents in the apartment showed Mr. Lubitz received a note from his doctor excusing him from work for a period covering the day of the incident, according to the statement. Other such notes were also found.

“The fact that [such documents] were found, including sickness notes that were torn up, still valid, and that covered the day of the act, supports…the assumption that the deceased had concealed his condition from his employer and colleagues,”

Link

Couldn't accept that he shouldn't be flying planes?

^^^^ This!!!! ^^^^^


It's not the door. It's not the number of people needed in the cockpit. It's not the need for robotics.


Here's a novel idea. How about psychiatrists inform the airlines, immediately and directly, that their patient is unfit to fly planes? I think that should be the number one change needed in their protocol. What? Give the patient a note to hand to his boss? Are you fucking serious?? Wow!
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29-03-2015, 05:46 AM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(28-03-2015 06:32 PM)TheBear Wrote:  
(27-03-2015 08:50 AM)undergroundp Wrote:  Link

Couldn't accept that he shouldn't be flying planes?

^^^^ This!!!! ^^^^^


It's not the door. It's not the number of people needed in the cockpit. It's not the need for robotics.


Here's a novel idea. How about psychiatrists inform the airlines, immediately and directly, that their patient is unfit to fly planes? I think that should be the number one change needed in their protocol. What? Give the patient a note to hand to his boss? Are you fucking serious?? Wow!

Devil's Advocate ---

If the shrink turns in his patients - the patients will quit seeing the shrink.......

...

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29-03-2015, 06:27 AM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
(29-03-2015 05:46 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(28-03-2015 06:32 PM)TheBear Wrote:  ^^^^ This!!!! ^^^^^


It's not the door. It's not the number of people needed in the cockpit. It's not the need for robotics.


Here's a novel idea. How about psychiatrists inform the airlines, immediately and directly, that their patient is unfit to fly planes? I think that should be the number one change needed in their protocol. What? Give the patient a note to hand to his boss? Are you fucking serious?? Wow!

Devil's Advocate ---

If the shrink turns in his patients - the patients will quit seeing the shrink.......

...

Psychological testing every 6 months or annually, should be required of all commercial pilots, no exception.
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29-03-2015, 07:27 AM
RE: Plane crash in French Alps
The psychological test, like any test, can be passed if you know what to look for whether you're fit for duty or not. I'd go so far as to say that it's easier for a psychopath who spends his or her life trying to understand and rationalize the minds of normal people in an attempt to fit in to pass these exams than it is for a psychologically healthy person to pass. A psychologist can't force you to answer honestly.

Hell, even I pass those tests with flying colors.

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