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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Automation Challenges

Friday's Fabulous Flyer!

Framepool and Right Smith

A Pilot interested in Performance and Safety...

A pilot sent me a message and was curious what we all thought. I'm on the way to Paris, so will write my response sometime this weekend. But... here are some things to think about concerning missed approaches.

WSJ Go Around research at SFO:


"Shortly after the SFO Asiana accident, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal which looked at Go Arounds at the SFO airport. The article compared Go Around statistics across domestic and foreign carriers inbound to SFO during the studied period, which included a period of time when SFO ILS 28L & 28R Glideslope were OTS.


Shortly after the WSJ article a Flight Safety Group member Cathy Pok-Poy (formerly with the Civil Aviation Authority of Papau New Guinea) and I each reached out to the WSJ reporters, who offered insight as to how they derived the data and tabulated the results.


ATC Tracon data for 341,000 flights inbound to KSFO during a 12 month period were filtered using an algorithm written to identify 'flights' which met specified criteria.


A total of 991 Go Arounds were identified by the algorithm.


Prior to the Glideslope Outage:
  • Foreign Carriers executed Go Arounds at a rate of 3.7 per 1,000 approaches
  • Domestic Carriers executed Go Arounds at a rate of 2.7 per 1,000 approaches


During the Glideslope Outage:

  • Foreign Carriers executed Go Arounds at a rate of 11.1 per 1,000 approaches
  • Domestic Carriers executed Go Arounds at a rate of 4.3 per 1,000 approaches


It is unclear whether this reinforces the premise 'Pilots of foreign carriers are more reliant on automation' or the premise 'Pilots of domestic carriers are more reluctant to execute a Go Around.'

Botched Go Arounds:

There have been several cases of botched Go Arounds which were executed from a high-energy state and resulted in flap overspeeds or worse.

I have learned that Airbus has developed a 'Soft Go Around' designed to be utilized in such a high energy situation. You may have been exposed to this prior to switching to the 777.

I have also learned that UPS, for it's Airbus fleet, has developed a 'Discontinued Approach' procedure, which is included in every Approach Briefing.

I am interested to learn whether other carriers have implemented similar such standardized procedure for high energy Go Arounds.


Could a Challenge & Response Checklist be the answer? 
 Is this a universal Human Factors challenge?


Going around from a "non-practiced" point in space creates stress and confusion....and perhaps fear in the mind of the pilot who needs to execute this very maneuver from this unfamiliar position. Could this be another reason why PF's are hesitant to execute a Go Around?

Earlier this year, after my (first) Recurrent, I may have communicated to you the difficulty I experienced performing a high energy Go Around in the Sim.


As you know, commanding a Go Around from this high energy state is quite complex and demanding, especially given the already high-workload Approach phase of flight. The usual triggers (triggering the standard flows and callouts) are absent and one is relying on one's own (and the PMs) memory to complete time critical and essential tasks outside of (the well-practiced) sequence.

Could it be that this type of Go Around might warrant the development of a Challenge & Response checklist? I am told the US Air Force has a different philosophy regarding what gets memorized in a flow, what gets 'read and done,' and what gets 'challenged & responded to.' I have been unable to get any concrete examples of how a Go Around is be executed in the C-17 or C-5.




What are the issues with the Go-Around?

  1. PF reluctance to Go Around (despite rationale/conditions supporting a Go Around)?
  2. A lack of training/practice performing high energy Go Arounds higher/faster than DH/DA/DDA and Vref+?
  3. The question as to whether a Go Around under non-normal conditions might be so unpracticed and complex as to justify the development of a challenge and response checklist to ensure items are performed and so done in the correct sequence?"
Your Thoughts are Appreciated!!

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene



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