Re: Airbus - fly by wire

From: (Brian A. Reynolds)
Organization: Rockwell Avionics - Collins
Date:         07 Jul 95 14:26:26 
References:   1
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  or MIME structure writes:

>The facts speak loudly:
Could you indicate the source of your facts please?

	>- most pilots flying the A320 et al, can't wait to return to
	  'normal' aircraft.
The A320 pilots which I have spoken to find it an easier airplane to fly
and seem to like it.

	>- the aircraft exhibits what most A320 et al pilots simply
	  refer to as 'unexplained phernomina'
This is a common complaint of any aircraft which includes systems which are
capable of making decisions.  I have the same complaint from time to time
about my Jeep Grand Cherokee (limited) which has several computers in it.

	>- from the first A320 flight, things have gone sque-if, if you
	  can recall the first public A320 flight crashed. Airbus
	  blamed the pilot, who ended up flying in outback Australia,
	  speaking with him the first flight experienced 'unexplained
A complacent pilot, grandstanding, put a perfectly good airplane into the
ground.  He forgot his basic flying skills including energy management.

	>- the current adoption of automation takes the pilot out of
	  the 'operating loop' and is rise to the increase in pilot
	  fatigue - through bordom , and lack of control
Would you like to have a pilot manually flying your airplane for up to 20 hours?
The issue is better put as 'lack of situational awareness during critical
and abnormal events.'

	- Airbuses 'common cockpit' philosophy, if put into practise
	  as fully as AI claims, a lot of problems are bound to
	  arise.  The fact is that pilots are under extreme demands
	  today (extra flying hours long shifts etc) give rise to
	  accidents (such as the incorrect application of engine
	  reverses on a BA's 737 a few years back).  The extra
	  complications may prove to ultimately prove to be quite
The Airbus common flight deck is a great economic encentive to operators.
Common type ratings allow greater flexibility in crew scheduling, and more
economical crew training.  The common flight deck also lowers maintenace
and maintenance related schedule changes as maintenance technicans also
can take advanage of this commonality.

Could someone help me out here re the referenced 737 incident?  I'm not sure how
it is germane.

I will (and have) take issue with some aspects of Airbus Industries flight
deck design, but feel that such wholesale condemnation of Airbus is unwarranted.

In almost any incident there are always two questins to ask:
	1)	What did the aircraft design do make the incident possible?
	2)	What did the flight crew do to make the incident possible?

The Airbus flight deck philosophy effects the way SOME information is
presented to the flight crew.  In extreme circumstances, SOME information might
be presented in a manner which might help the flight crew in recognizing what
is happening and what they can do to break the accident chain.  But this does
not warrant the condemation of the aircraft, and by inference the regulatory
agencies who approved the type design and the companies who purchase and operate
the aircraft.

Brian Reynolds