Delta and APS Upset Training Featured in AeroSafety World

APS Global Airline UPRT

APS Global Airline UPRT

Delta Airlines has partnered with Aviation Performance Solutions (APS) to prepare 16 flight simulator instructors to design fleet-specific UPRT for 8 jet airplane types. Delta is the first major US carrier to integrate this specialized training from APS. This training will eventually provide more than 11,000 pilots with skills and knowledge to prevent an upset from developing as well as ensure correct recovery in the event of an upset. Jon Tovani, a Delta Captain and managing director of Delta flight training, defends the necessity of UPRT for US-based professional airline pilots who believe the reliability of electronic and automated flight control systems are sufficient to overcome the loss of control in-flight (LOC-I) threat. He cites scenarios from all over the world as evidence, as well as Delta specific examples, to defend his case to pursue industry-vetted and approved training as pioneered by APS, the global leader in upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) solutions. The IS NOT a reproduction of the original article.

AeroSafety-World-June-2015-Tight_Fit-ArticleCaptain Tovani has been in the industry for 20 plus years, and he has had a hand in developing upset training previously. He tells his instructors leaving to take the course at APS “you will be the stall/upset recovery experts.” This pre-training cultivation of UPRT expertise within the airline is achieved through three forms of technology-based training methodologies; foundational academics, instructor-to-instructor explanations and optimized instructional delivery to line pilots. Included in the Train-the-Trainer program for simulator delivery of UPRT is preparatory academic training via tablet based apps, on-aircraft stall / all-attitude training, and advanced flight simulator training.

Paul BJ Ransbury, APS President, states “We take [Delta Instructors], we calibrate them, and by the end of the five-day program, they are all on the same page. They understand the threat of negative training. They understand industry UPRT principles. They understand that there are things they should teach and that they shouldn’t teach in the simulator.” Tovani says that Delta embraces the importance of training to maintain air travel with Delta Air Lines as the safest means of transportation; this on-going partnership with APS will ensure that a training program is built to maintain that reputation.


AeroSafety World-June 2015 CoverFrom the APS Corporate Administrator: “The above summary was written by Malina ‘Molly’ Dallmann, at APS Texas, in reference to the above-cited AeroSafety World Magazine Article. The original article is available to AeroSafety World members and, in approximately 8 weeks, it will be released to the general public. We’ve provided a link at the end of the article for those with AeroSafety World memberships.”

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: “Tight Fit” By Wayne Rosenkrans for AeroSafety World Magazine, June 2015

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UPRTA Paper Addresses ICAO Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has created Document 10010, Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training outlining broad principles for the delivery of Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (UPRT). UPRTA congratulates ICAO on the creation of this much needed guidance document, and on the coming Loss of Control In-flight Symposium to be held in Montreal on May 20-22, 2014.

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While ICAO has made great strides in their initial attempt at defining UPRT standards, the Mission and Goals of UPRTA go beyond the boundaries laid out by the new ICAO Manual. The following paper identifies the principles of UPRTA as UPRT moves into the mainstream of civil pilot training worldwide.

Addressing On-Aeroplane Upset Prevention & Recovery Training

Primary Considerations for the Safe and Effective Delivery of UPRT

by Randy Brooks, Paul BJ Ransbury, and Rich Stowell

Upset Prevention & Recovery Training Association, UPRTA.org

ABSTRACT

Background: Loss of control in flight (LOC-I) was the leading cause of fatalities in commercial aviation between 2001 and 2011. Consequently, reducing the number of LOC-I accidents is now a priority of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). ICAO and other stakeholders have developed harmonized training requirements to address LOC-I events, and ICAO recently published the Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training. With emphasis on tightly integrating academics with flight simulation training device (FSTD) and on-aeroplane tracks, the manual provides guidance to developers and providers of upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT) programs.

Experiences acquired during the early stages of a pilot’s development shape that pilot’s approach to operating aeroplanes. Those experiences, however, can produce positive or negative results. To maximize the UPRT learning experience, this paper provides additional guidance on three core issues related to the on-aeroplane training track: On-Aeroplane Training Considerations, Aeroplane and Equipment Considerations, and Instructor Considerations.

Although this paper was prepared in response to the ICAO initiative for commercial aviation, the considerations offered apply equally to UPRT programs for general aviation, where LOC-I was identified as the top fatal accident category in that sector as well.

Conclusions: The framework of academics, FSTDs, and on-aeroplane training, coupled with consistency of language, concepts, techniques, and application across all stages, will provide pilots with the strongest and most enduring UPRT experience possible. Achieving the stated goals of UPRT ultimately will require trainees to have on-aeroplane training that includes:

  1. Maximizing the effects of adrenalized learning by integrating academics, practical training, and instructor competencies with a structured experience throughout the flight envelope and stall/spin upset red zones.
  2. Hands-on experience beyond 45 degrees of bank, and more importantly, to 180 degrees of bank. At some point, on-aeroplane UPRT must therefore make use of aeroplanes capable of operation in the acrobatic category.
  3. Hands-on experience at high angles of attack, including full aerodynamic stalls and spin departures. At some point, on-aeroplane UPRT must therefore make use of aeroplanes approved for intentional spins.
  4. Instructors who have been qualified to deliver UPRT by well-developed and enforceable standards.

The next steps in the evolution of UPRT program standards should include expanding the considerations presented in this paper into the detailed requirements necessary for the safe and effective delivery of on-aeroplane upset training, using mission-appropriate aeroplanes and equipment, under the tutelage of professional and qualified instructors.

 ***FULL PAPER***

Addressing On-Aeroplane[1] Upset Prevention & Recovery Training

Primary Considerations for the Safe and Effective Delivery of UPRT

by

by Randy Brooks, Paul BJ Ransbury, and Rich Stowell

Upset Prevention & Recovery Training Association

20 February 2014

Frightened human beings will only do what they’re trained to do….

You don’t rise to the occasion. You sink to the level of your training.[2]  

INTRODUCTION

Loss of control in flight (LOC-I) was found to be the leading cause of fatalities in commercial aviation between 2001 and 2011.[3] An aeroplane upset, defined in part as “an in-flight condition by which an aeroplane unintentionally exceeds the parameters normally experienced in normal line operations or training,” often preceded fatal LOC-I events. Responding to the findings, numerous aviation organizations undertook initiatives to investigate LOC-I phenomena, examine current training practices, and develop mitigating strategies.

Reducing the number of LOC-I accidents is now a priority of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Working with other stakeholders, ICAO has developed harmonized training requirements for flight crews to address and mitigate LOC-I events, and recently published the Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training (ICAO Manual) to provide guidance to developers and providers of UPRT programs. The ICAO framework employs an integrated approach that identifies training resources “to provide pilots with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to reduce the probability of an upset encounter and to maximize their ability to recover from such an event.”[4]

UPRT resources are divided into two training tracks: academic and practical. Practical training is further subdivided into two parts: on-aeroplane and flight simulation training device (FSTD). It is also well understood that experiences acquired during the early stages of a pilot’s development shape that pilot’s approach to operating aeroplanes, and equally important, that the lessons learned are perishable. The application of upset prevention and recovery skill sets, therefore, not only needs to be reinforced continually throughout a pilot’s career, but also needs to be framed continually within the proper context.

ICAO’s recognition of the importance of tightly integrating academics with practical experience is consistent with models designed to help participants achieve peak performance. In this case, helping pilots achieve peak performance during an impending or full aeroplane upset. The literature, particularly as it relates to sports, is replete with information on the effects adrenaline has on new learning.[5] Unfortunately, the effects can produce positive or negative results; therefore, it is imperative for training providers to guard against the introduction of negative training at all stages in the process.

The framework of academics, on-aeroplane, and FSTDs, coupled with consistency of language, concepts, techniques, and application across all stages, will provide pilots with the strongest and most enduring learning experience possible. Cementing the training to maximize the stated goals of UPRT, however, will require pilots to have an adrenalized, on-aeroplane experience. It is the on-aeroplane experience where academics become reality; where techniques practiced in FSTDs can be applied under real-time constraints and with more accurate aerodynamic behavior; and where pilot stress levels can be manipulated to levels comparable to those of real-life upsets, but in a controlled environment where skill sets can be perfected, bonds to mental models for recovery strengthened, and confidence gained.

Given the powerful role adrenalized learning will have on the UPRT experience, and ultimately on the reduction in LOC-I accidents, this paper provides guidance on three core issues concerning the on-aeroplane stage, namely:

  1. On-Aeroplane Training Considerations
  2. Aeroplane and Equipment Considerations
  3. Instructor Considerations

1. ON-AEROPLANE TRAINING CONSIDERATIONS

While Flight Simulation Training Devices (FSTDs) are an essential part of UPRT, ICAO notes, “current FSTDs have limitations that render them incapable of providing the complete exposure to conditions synonymous with preventing or recovering from [an] LOC-I event…. These areas of missing experience provide gaps in pilots’ understanding and proficiency when confronted with an actual upset.” Consequently, on-aeroplane UPRT is seen as necessary to fill the gaps. ICAO further acknowledges that on-aeroplane training provides experience and confidence in the psychophysiological domain of upsets that cannot be fully realized in FSTDs alone.

The value of properly delivered on-aeroplane UPRT is undisputed. Further, the UPRT framework relies on three interlocking levels of mitigation and intervention: awareness, prevention, and recovery. This section addresses the degree of on-aeroplane exploration of the flight envelope necessary for an optimal UPRT experience, particularly as it relates to recovery.

Capitalizing on Adrenalized Learning

UPRT pushes trainees beyond their normal comfort zones to increase their awareness of upset causes, ability to initiate preventive actions to mitigate a developing upset, and capacity to apply appropriate recovery techniques should they be required. Most trainees will associate the prospect of on-aeroplane UPRT with higher levels of risk, and therefore, stress. Tight coordination between academics, practical training, and instructor competencies is essential to manage trainee stress to a level that permits positive learning to take place despite the potentially debilitating human factors identified in the ICAO Manual. These include startle factor, disorientation, overreaction, fixation, and cognitive bias.

Consistently achieving peak performance will be made possible in the UPRT environment by developing new understandings through academics and practical training. It is equally important for trainees to understand the connection between body, mind, and emotion; practice awareness, prevention, and recovery skill sets; and recognize the importance of trust and teamwork in both the training and operational environments. The ability to internalize and continuously integrate these elements is optimized when learning takes place in the intense, adrenaline-rich environment of the cockpit. Such an experience can also jump start a continuous process that allows trainees to achieve peak performance not only in the short term (i.e., during UPRT itself), but also thereafter by applying the knowledge and experience gained to the operational context.[6]

The powerful and enduring effects of adrenalized learning are maximized when five key conditions are met:[7]

  1. Training is delivered in a consistent and regimented manner across all stages;
  2. Trainees are exposed to the full range of roll and angle of attack (AOA) envelopes;
  3. Trainees are confident they can learn UPRT skills quickly;
  4. Trainees see that UPRT techniques work, and experience them personally; and,
  5. Trainees have a positive training experience.

Critical Considerations

Not all learning is beneficial; it can be a positive or negative experience. Adrenalized learning in particular has the most profound and lasting effects on one’s perceptions, psyche, and ability to perform in similar situations. For example, pilots will always remember their first spin. Adrenaline permanently etches the experience in memory, and it can be recalled in vivid detail long after the event.

If that first experience occurs inadvertently, or in an unstructured environment, fear will be exacerbated and confidence eroded. The result will be a strong desire to avoid similar situations in the future. So much so that the pilot might give unnecessarily or unacceptably wide berth to the perceived threat, or may become overly stressed even in normal situations. On the other hand, if that experience is provided in a methodical, controlled environment, the trainee will come away from it with a strong sense of accomplishment and confidence. Equally important, the likelihood that the trainee will be able to perform the exacting physical movements required for recovery, even though understandably stressed, will be greatly improved.

* *

Consistent with the Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid – Revision 2, the ICAO Manual defines an upset as “an in-flight condition by which an aeroplane unintentionally exceeds the parameters normally experienced in normal line operations or training. An upset is generally recognized as a condition of flight during which the pitch of the aeroplane unintentionally exceeds either 25 degrees nose up or 10 degrees nose down; or a bank angle exceeding 45 degrees; or flight within the aforementioned parameters but at inappropriate airspeeds.” This definition identifies flight envelope and airspeed excursions as core training regions for the mitigation of LOC-I threats.

Core Training Region: Pitch & Bank Envelopes

Using the pitch and bank parameters that define an upset, Figure 1 depicts in green the normal (i.e., non-upset) envelope. Superimposed in yellow is the envelope commonly explored during training for commercial licensing. Highlighted in red, the remaining flight envelope represents not only the domain of real-life upsets, but also the region where on-aeroplane UPRT can yield the greatest dividends.

Although most commercial pilots will necessarily spend the majority of their time in the green zone, it represents just five percent of the potential flight envelope. And their experience in the yellow zone typically will have been limited only to the hours needed to qualify for commercial licensing and represents a stretching of the pilot’s envelope to just eleven percent of the potential flight envelope. As upsets leading to fatal LOC-I events have revealed, the awareness, skills, and discipline reinforced by many hours of operation in the green zone do not adequately prepare pilots for excursions into the much broader red zone.

Figure 1. Pitch and Roll Envelopes - Normal, Commercial and UPRT OperationsFigure 1: Pitch and Roll Envelopes – Normal, Commercial, and UPRT Operations

The Role of On-Aeroplane UPRT Beyond 45 Degrees of Bank

Just as ICAO acknowledges that FSTDs leave gaps in a pilot’s understanding and proficiency when confronted with an actual upset, incomplete exposure to the full red zone UPRT envelope will leave similar critical gaps in a pilot’s ability to deal with an upset. This does not at all suggest that pilots must only be exposed to 180 degrees of bank; escalation and recovery from the UPRT red zone can and indeed should be progressive. For instance, trainees might be exposed to escalating bank angles with roll recovery techniques applied at the following increments: 60 degrees, 90 degrees, 135 degrees, and ultimately, 180 degrees. This approach offers several key benefits to trainees, including:

  1. Experiencing red zone excursions coupled with appropriate mitigation strategies initially while at lower angles of bank and reduced levels of stress;
  2. Reinforcing the concept of prevention and the critical importance of bridging the gap between escalation and recovery paths with prompt, effective action (i.e., roll recovery techniques in this case);
  3. Instilling the notion that intervention must be taken regardless of the upset bank angle, rather than at some artificially set point on the escalation path (Figure 2).

The true exponential relationship between bank angle and the G-load required for steady flight is revealed only as bank angle exceeds 60 degrees. The truly adverse effects of instinctive reactions by the pilot, on the other hand, are revealed only as bank angle exceeds 90 degrees. Hence, red zone bank angles up to 180 degrees must be experienced not only to mitigate the potential cascading of unfavorable aerodynamic and psychophysiological factors, but also to maximize the effects of adrenalized learning. Proper and improper recovery actions could be demonstrated to reinforce the mental discipline and physical precision needed to work through proper recovery techniques under the duress of an upset, regardless of the bank angle encountered.

Figure 2. Mitigation Bridges between Escalation and Recovery Paths - Roll UpsetsFigure 2: Mitigation Bridges between Escalation and Recovery Paths – Roll Upsets

Critical Considerations

Academic knowledge regarding what recovery technique to apply in a given situation, and how to apply it, is an important and necessary part of UPRT. The ability both to recall techniques and to perform effective control movements while under duress, however, is an altogether different-yet-critical issue. As the ICAO Manual recognizes, only on-aeroplane experience is capable of accurately replicating the psychophysiological difficulties associated with recovering from an upset. Whether simulated on-aeroplane or real during routine operations, the aerodynamic, aeroplane performance, and human factors of an upset can conspire—in real time and against real constraints—to reduce the probability of a successful outcome. On-aeroplane training is vital to the integration of the pilot’s mental and physical capabilities even though in an adrenalized state. This integration, however, will be incomplete if the UPRT experience fails to escalate fully into the UPRT red zone.

As it pertains to recoveries from upset bank angles, for example, “push-then-roll” is an important UPRT technique (i.e., mitigation bridge) not only in terms of the sequence of the inputs, but also in terms of their magnitudes. “Push” beneficially reduces AOA and G-load, de-escalating from aerodynamic red zones and nominally reducing stress on the pilot. This precursor action also results in an improved “roll” response. The magnitude of the “push” on the elevator control, however, is generally notably smaller compared to the aileron input applied during the “roll.”

Pilots under the duress of a roll upset can encounter significant difficulty recalling this seemingly simple technique. And once recalled, pilots will typically make one or a combination of the following errors:

  • Reversing the “push-then-roll” sequence
  • Attempting a dangerous rolling pullout (i.e., “pull-and-roll”)
  • Freezing on the controls
  • Over pushing and under rolling
  • Stopping the roll too soon and transitioning into a spiral

Many of these and other correctable pilot errors do not manifest until beyond 90 degrees of bank and will exacerbate as bank angle approaches 180 degrees. Consequently, progressively escalating into the red zone will allow the pilot to practice the “push-then-roll” technique at lower bank angles and reduced stress levels. Training can then proceed beyond 90 degrees where potentially debilitating effects such as startle can be worked through while simultaneously executing “push-then-roll” actions. Thus on-aeroplane exploration of bank angles from 90 up to 180 degrees (the worst-case scenario) will be critical to the success of recovering from real world upsets.

Core Training Region: Inappropriate Airspeeds / AOAs

References to exceeding the parameters “normally experienced in normal line operations or training” and “inappropriate airspeeds” contained in the definition of an upset point primarily to the mismanagement of angle of attack (AOA). Figure 3 shows a generic plot of Coefficient of Lift versus AOA. The green part of the curve represents the range of normal operating AOAs and, by inference, appropriate airspeeds. The yellow section represents the region of AOAs usually associated with slow flight, including stall warning. The red section represents the aerodynamically stalled condition; this is the domain of real-life upsets and is where on-aeroplane UPRT can yield the greatest dividends.

Figure 3: AOA Envelopes – Normal, Slow Flight, and UPRT OperationsFigure 3: AOA Envelopes – Normal, Slow Flight, and UPRT Operations

Most commercial pilots will spend the bulk of their careers operating along the green portion of the Lift curve. Intentional operations along the yellow section will be rare, and will generally occur only as part of initial and perhaps recurrent training. Intentional operations along the red portion of the curve will be extraordinary. Exposure to the yellow and red portions of the Lift curve in the current training environment tends to be cursory at best, non-existent at worst. And in the U.S., only those pilots who seek flight instructor certification are mandated to receive spin training. Studies have shown that even that training has been inadequate.[8],[9]

Nearly 50 percent of fatal LOC-I accidents occur as a result of an aerodynamic stall. This clearly demonstrates that the awareness, skills, and discipline reinforced while on the green portion of the Lift curve do not adequately prepare pilots for higher AOA excursions. It is also important to acknowledge that high AOA excursions can lead to inappropriate pitch and bank excursions as well, and vice versa. Hence, on-aeroplane UPRT must include escalation into, and recovery from, both flight envelope and AOA red zones.

The Role of On-Aeroplane Stall/Spin UPRT

On-aeroplane UPRT will provide a much-needed opportunity to address many of the gaps in understanding and proficiency concerning stalls and spins. Coupled with the guidance provided in Advisory Circular 120-109, the stall training now mandated in the U.S. at the Part 121 air carrier level is a step in the right direction and has set the standard for stall training in FSTDs for the foreseeable future. The ICAO Manual also provides for stall awareness, prevention, and recovery training as a central part of the UPRT initiative.

Analogous to the discussion about training in the flight envelope red zone, incomplete exposure to the red portion of the Lift curve will similarly leave holes in a pilot’s ability to deal with an upset involving high AOA. Pilots can and should be exposed to the yellow and red portions incrementally as well. For instance, trainees might be exposed to escalating AOA with stall recovery techniques applied to approach-to-landing and departure stalls, progressing to turning and cross-controlled stalls, then escalating to spin recovery techniques applied to incipient and developed spins. As discussed earlier, the benefits associated with such an approach include:

  1. Experiencing red zone excursions coupled with appropriate mitigation strategies initially while at lower angles of attack and with more docile roll-off behavior, slower yaw rates, and reduced levels of stress;
  2. Reinforcing the concept of prevention and the critical importance of bridging the gap between escalation and recovery paths with prompt, effective action (i.e., stall/spin recovery techniques in this case);
  3. Instilling the notion that intervention should be taken regardless of the upset AOA, rather than at some artificially set point on the escalation path (Figure 4).

Undesirable changes in flight characteristics and their ramifications on controlled flight only reveal themselves during high AOA flight. The aggravating effects of instinctive reactions by the pilot are revealed only as control effectiveness decays at high AOA and the airplane begins to exhibit post-stall behavior. Red zone AOAs must therefore be experienced not only to mitigate the potential merging of unfavorable aerodynamic and psychophysiological factors, but also to maximize the beneficial effects of adrenalized learning. Proper and improper recovery actions could also be demonstrated to reinforce the mental discipline and physical precision needed to work through proper stall and spin recovery techniques (i.e., mitigation bridges). The effects of high AOA flight while in coordinated and uncoordinated flight should be explored as well.

Critical Considerations

Many of the same critical considerations discussed for the pitch and bank envelopes apply to the need for UPRT in the stall/spin red zone as well. Similarly, many of the detrimental-yet-correctable pilot errors observed during UPRT will not manifest until well into the stall/spin red zone. These include:

  • Attempting to use ailerons to correct roll-off
  • Reluctance to push the elevator control forward for stall recovery due to the nose-down attitude
  • Freezing on a misapplied rudder, inducing roll/yaw coupling and rotation
  • Over-controlling the amount of forward elevator needed for stall recovery
  • Inducing a secondary stall/spin by applying too much aft elevator too quickly
  • Increasing power during spin recovery, rather than reducing it

Again, progressive escalation into the stall/spin red zone will allow the pilot initially to practice stall/spin recovery techniques at reduced stress levels before experiencing and working through the potentially debilitating human factors associated with more aggravated scenarios. On-aeroplane exploration of cross-controlled stalls and incipient and developed spins will be critical to the success of recovering from a real world upset.

Figure 4: Mitigation Bridges between Escalation and Recovery Paths – Stall/Spin UpsetsFigure 4: Mitigation Bridges between Escalation and Recovery Paths – Stall/Spin Upsets

2. AEROPLANE & EQUIPMENT CONSIDERATIONS

Aeroplane

According to the ICAO Manual, UPRT takes an integrated approach that identifies academic and practical training resources “to provide pilots with the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to reduce the probability of an upset encounter and to maximize their ability to recover from such an event.”

Practical training resources include the use of aeroplanes and FSTDs. It is the on-aeroplane experience, however, where theory truly becomes reality; where pilot stress levels can be manipulated to levels comparable to those of real-life upsets, but in a controlled learning environment where techniques can be perfected and the bonds to mental models for recovery can be cemented. It is the on-aeroplane component where pilots gain necessary confidence in the training methodology and where the recurrent training mindset is fostered.

The on-aeroplane component includes, among other things, intentional training operations near and above critical AOA and to extreme bank angles not encountered during routine flight. Regardless of the aeroplane being used, the safe and legal delivery of UPRT requires due consideration of the training aeroplane’s approved operating limitations, design limits, and available margins of safety. The success of UPRT will also depend on buy-in from both aircraft manufacturers and insurance underwriters—without their support, efforts to deliver practical UPRT will be stymied. With this in mind, let’s look at the practicalities of providing UPRT in the normal, utility, and acrobatic categories.

Figure 5: Part 23 Airworthiness Envelopes – Normal, Utility, and Acrobatic Categories
Figure 5: Part 23 Airworthiness Envelopes – Normal, Utility, and Acrobatic Categories

Approved Maneuvers

Airworthiness standards for normal, utility, and acrobatic category aeroplanes are provided in 14 CFR Part 23. Section 23.3 stipulates the following regarding the normal category:

(a) The normal category…is intended for nonacrobatic operation. Nonacrobatic operation includes:

(1) Any maneuver incidental to normal flying;

(2) Stalls (except whip stalls); and

(3) Lazy Eights, chandelles, and steep turns, in which the angle of bank is not more than 60 degrees.

Thus in the normal category, operating limitations prohibit intentional maneuvers that exceed 60 degrees of bank. Intentional spins are prohibited as well. Consequently, an accidental spin in the normal category would have a slim, one-turn margin of safety wherein recovery can be assured, provided proper spin recovery actions are implemented immediately and sufficient altitude remains in which to recover.

Regarding the utility category, Section 23.3 stipulates:

(b) The utility category…. may be used in any of the operations covered under paragraph (a) of this section and in limited acrobatic operation. Limited acrobatic operation includes:

(1) Spins (if approved for the particular type of airplane); and

(2) Lazy eights, chandelles, and steep turns, or similar maneuvers, in which the angle of bank is more than 60 degrees but not more than 90 degrees.

Thus in the utility category, operating limitations prohibit intentional maneuvers that exceed 90 degrees of bank. Intentional maneuvers with bank angles in excess of 60 degrees, however, will require approved parachutes to be worn by the trainee and the instructor.

Whether or not intentional spins are approved in the utility category depends on the particular aircraft. For example, the Cessna 152 is approved for intentional spins within its utility envelope (notwithstanding Airworthiness Directives or Supplemental Type Certificates that may affect the spins-approved status), whereas intentional spins are not approved in the Beechcraft A36 within its utility envelope. When intentional spins are prohibited, an accidental spin would have a slim, one-turn margin of safety wherein recovery can be assured, provided proper spin recovery actions are implemented immediately and sufficient altitude remains in which to recover.

Regarding the acrobatic category, Section 23.3 stipulates:

(c) The acrobatic category is…intended for use without restrictions, other than those shown to be necessary as a result of required flight tests.

Thus in the acrobatic category, the only maneuver restrictions are those imposed following flight testing. Intentional maneuvers with bank angles in excess of 60 degrees, however, will still require approved parachutes to be worn by the trainee and the instructor.

Intentional spins are approved in the acrobatic category (notwithstanding Airworthiness Directives or Supplemental Type Certificates that may affect the spins-approved status). An accidental spin in the acrobatic category could have up to a six-turn margin of safety wherein recovery can be assured, provided proper spin recovery actions are implemented and sufficient altitude remains in which to recover.

Design Limits

Aeroplane structural design limits vary not only between the various categories, but also in the same aeroplane depending on its configuration (flaps up or down) and on how G-load is applied (symmetrically or asymmetrically). Unless specified otherwise, the default design limit with the flaps deployed is considerably lower than it is with the flaps retracted: +2.0 G with flaps down and symmetrical G-loading (i.e., pulling only). Additionally, asymmetrical design limits (i.e., pulling and rolling simultaneously) are required to be two-thirds of the symmetrical limits.

In the normal category, design limits with flaps up and symmetrical G-load are +3.8 and -1.52 G. The design limit when simultaneously rolling and pulling, however, drops to +2.5 G. Thus the structural margin of safety in the normal category during an inadvertent rolling pullout would only be +2.5 G provided the flaps were retracted.

In the utility category, design limits with flaps up and symmetrical G-load are +4.4 and -1.76 G. The design limit when simultaneously rolling and pulling, however, is +2.9 G. Thus the structural margin of safety in the utility category during an inadvertent rolling pullout would be +2.9 G provided the flaps were retracted.

In the acrobatic category, design limits with flaps up and symmetrical G-load are +6.0 and -3.0 G. The design limit when simultaneously rolling and pulling, however, drops to +4.0 G. Thus the structural margin of safety in the acrobatic category during an inadvertent rolling pullout would be +4.0 G provided the flaps were retracted.

Structural Fatigue

Design limits denote points beyond which structural deformation or catastrophic failure is possible. Often overlooked yet equally important is the cumulative effect of repeated G-loads on aeroplane components. There is an exponential relationship between G-load and the fatigue life of wing structures, engine mounts, seat frames, windows, and other major components, namely: relatively small increases in G-load can result in dramatically reduced life cycles.

While perhaps not the deformation or catastrophic failure concern associated with design limits, structural fatigue definitely impacts the cost of, and comfort with, the delivery of UPRT. Higher G-loads can lead to increased aircraft maintenance and downtime—translating into increased delivery costs—as well as increased risk to pilots flying the subject aeroplanes.

Note: Although pilots may casually refer to an aeroplane’s capability as beingacrobatic or utility, aeroplanes can be certificated in multiple categories. The Standard Decathlon, for example, looks and is considered to be acrobatic, yet it is actually a dual category aeroplane: it has both normal and acrobatic operating envelopes. Consequently, the aeroplane’s intended use, approved maneuvers, and design limits will depend on how it has been loaded.

Research into aeroplane fatigue life along with practical experience have shown that conducting UPRT-type flight operations at approximately two-thirds of the design structural limit will result in routine wear and tear, whereas repeated operations closer to design limits will accelerate wear and tear.[10],[11] Considering fatigue life for the “flaps up, pulling only” case, the practical (i.e., operational) G-load should be limited as follows: +2.5 G normal category, +2.9 G utility category, +4.0 G acrobatic category. This also provides a suitable safety margin to the design limits in the event of an unplanned or trainee-induced situation.

Equipment

Consideration must also be given to on-aeroplane equipment that may be important to, or legally required for, UPRT operations.

Parachutes

With the exception of spin training, 14 CFR Part 91, Section 91.307 stipulates that no pilot of a civil aeroplane carrying any person (other than a required crewmember) may execute an intentional maneuver that exceeds 60 degrees of bank or 30 degrees of pitch relative to the horizon, unless each occupant is wearing an approved parachute that has been repacked at specified intervals.

G-meters

Aeroplanes approved for use in the acrobatic category are typically equipped with G-meters. This instrument not only allows the monitoring of the stresses imposed on training aeroplanes, but it also provides important context during UPRT to calibrate trainees to acceptable load factors vis-à-vis design structural limitations. Aeroplanes restricted to normal and utility category operations typically are not equipped with G-meters.

Emergency Egress

Aeroplanes approved for use in the acrobatic category are typically equipped with doors, canopies, and windows that are capable of being jettisoned for in-flight emergency egress. Aeroplanes restricted to normal and utility category operations, by comparison, typically are not equipped to facilitate in-flight emergency egress.

Seatbelts

Aeroplanes approved for use in the acrobatic category are typically equipped with dual lap belt systems. This redundancy provides a greater margin of safety should a lap belt attach point fail, or a pilot inadvertently unlatch a lap belt during UPRT. Aeroplanes restricted to normal and utility category operations typically are not equipped with redundant lap belts.

Critical Considerations

In order for pilots to achieve peak performance during an impending or full upset, they must have hands-on UPRT experience in an aeroplane. And while elements of on-aeroplane UPRT are feasible in all three categories, such training will not be complete unless and until the pilot can experience on-aeroplane training in the acrobatic category. Training in the acrobatic category offers the widest range of possible maneuvers, the greatest aerodynamic and structural margins of safety, and access to important ancillary equipment. The following table summarizes the considerations presented in this section.

Table 1: Summary of Aeroplane Limitations and Typical Equipment
for Normal, Utility, & Acrobatic Categories

Table 1: Summary of Aeroplane Limitations and Typical Equipment for Normal, Utility, & Acrobatic Categories

3. INSTRUCTOR CONSIDERATIONS

According to the ICAO Manual, UPRT “will require departures from traditional flight training parameters with recovery executed by students undergoing training while under the direct supervision of a qualified instructor. This form of training imposes a heightened level of risk, which should be mitigated by thorough flight planning and pre-flight briefings, and by only permitting UPRT-qualified aeroplane flight instructors to deliver the in-flight training.”

A qualified instructor is arguably the single greatest asset to UPRT, not just for the delivery of the requisite academic and practical training, but also for the mitigation of risks associated with the training itself. Conversely, an unqualified instructor will quickly become the greatest liability to the success of the UPRT initiative. The qualifications of on-aeroplane instructors in particular require special consideration if the benefits envisioned from UPRT are to be realized.

Figure 6: Competency Envelopes – Typical and UPRT-Qualified Flight InstructorsFigure 6: Competency Envelopes – Typical and UPRT-Qualified Flight Instructors

Transitioning to the UPRT Mindset

Previously, general knowledge of UPRT concepts and principles has not been required of pilots, including instructors. As the UPRT initiative expands and evolves from an unregulated to a regulated state, however, new concepts will be injected into the aviation lexicon and new knowledge and skills will become a core competency for all professional pilots. The specific competencies demanded of UPRT instructors do not exist in current instructor training and certification requirements. Even current stall and spin awareness training mandates for flight instructor applicants have proven inadequate, resulting in demonstrable—and almost universal—deficiencies in both instructor understanding of high AOA dynamics and instructor competency relative to providing adequate stall and spin instruction.[12]

The on-aeroplane UPRT environment necessitates high levels of instructor competency in, and comfort with, flight regimes well beyond normal operations, the performance and operating limitations of different training aircraft, and the ability to respond appropriately to inadvertent upsets encountered in the training environment. A failure to adequately qualify UPRT instructors from the outset could have dire consequences on safety and thus on broad acceptance of the UPRT philosophy.

Safety of Flight

Among the many responsibilities accepted by an on-aeroplane instructor, ensuring the safety of flight is the most critical—even above delivering the planned training. The nature of on-aeroplane UPRT demands that these instructors must not only be capable of delivering the training, but must also be expert practitioners of UPRT techniques themselves. In contrast to upsets encountered during normal operations, on-aeroplane UPRT presents scripted upset scenarios (imminent and full) to the trainee. This is necessary to highlight the escalation of attitudes, aircraft and control characteristics, and other warning signs that precede an upset, as well as the process for recovery should the aircraft depart controlled flight. Guided by a qualified instructor, the trainee is introduced to available warning cues and behaviors, while simultaneously gaining confidence in recovery methodology and techniques.

Should an unplanned upset occur, the areas of intervention for the UPRT instructor are the same as for any aircraft upset: awareness, prevention, recovery. The main difference during UPRT is that unplanned upsets will likely be driven by improper reactions on the part of the trainee. As noted previously, margins of safety will depend on the type of upset encountered vis-à-vis the aeroplane category in which the training is being conducted. The UPRT instructor must maintain situational awareness and the composure to intercede before safety margins evaporate.

Awareness for the UPRT instructor involves continual cognizance of the aeroplane’s attitude and energy state; the rate of potential and kinetic energy gains and losses; and the margins to aeroplane, airspace, and procedural operating limitations. Prevention for the UPRT instructor involves establishing and adhering to predetermined abort points to avoid situations that could infringe on flight safety. Recovery for the UPRT instructor involves the initiation of the prescribed transfer of controls followed by the correct application of the appropriate recovery techniques. It is equally educational for trainees to observe their instructors exercising such awareness and prevention (and if necessary, recovery) to avoid training hazards—the real-life application of UPRT principles and compliance with standards demonstrated by the instructor can convey a powerful message.

The use of qualified UPRT instructors will largely mitigate the immediate risks associated with on-aeroplane training, and will mitigate the longer-term consequences of misapplied UPRT concepts and techniques or a poor training experience, all of which have the potential for disastrous results. Instructors also need to appreciate the overarching purpose of UPRT: to introduce general principles and techniques that are applicable to a wide range of aircraft and that are not in conflict with commercial air transport aeroplane recovery techniques. As stated in the UPRT Manual, “A comprehensive UPRT program encompasses the entire operating envelope of commercial aeroplanes.”

Experience and Proficiency

Applying the knowledge gained during academic and FSTD training to the on-aeroplane experience allows trainees to practice UPRT techniques in a controlled environment that will closely resemble that of an actual upset. There may be instances when trainee attempts at recovery are incorrect or not prompt enough to maintain a suitable margin of safety. In such instances, the instructor will have to intervene, possibly while having to deal with time or other dynamically changing constraints. In addition to having a command of UPRT material and skills, this is added reason to insist that UPRT instructors possess a high level of experience in the all-attitude/all-envelope domain. The ICAO Manual correctly points out, however, that UPRT is distinctly different from acrobatic training; it would be a mistake, therefore, to assume that acrobatic instructors would automatically qualify as UPRT instructors.

The only way to ascertain a level of “experience” appropriate to UPRT is through an in-flight demonstration of proficiency in situations approximating those that might be encountered in the training environment. UPRT instructional proficiency for the trainer is just as perishable a skill as upset training is for the trainee; thus, standards for UPRT instructors can only be maintained through periodic demonstrations of proficiency.

Critical Considerations

The issues touched on in this section underscore the capabilities that should be demanded of UPRT instructors. This includes standardizing the transmittal of accurate information along with practical skills. The instructor will be the lynchpin to the success of UPRT programs; this important and noble initiative will fail if viewed otherwise.

Trainees will come to the UPRT program from different backgrounds and with different levels of experience. With them will come their biases, attitudes, misunderstandings, and flying habits, good or bad. The instructor’s job will be manifold, including:

  • Motivating trainees to want to get the most out of their UPRT experience
  • Reinforcing proper techniques, while correcting improper ones
  • Being consistent, precise, and clear in the use of terminology and application of techniques
  • Offering constructive criticism to foster improvement
  • Acting professionally and in the best interest of trainees
  • Maintaining a learner’s mindset to help with perfecting instructional technique and being able to creatively resolve learning difficulties encountered by trainees

Exposure to one inept instructor can be far more detrimental to a pilot’s development than exposure to a dozen quality ones. In the context of UPRT for pilots at the commercial and air transport levels, inept instruction can have very far reaching implications. Good instructors will be indispensable; establishing and maintaining high standards for them, imperative.[13]

Formalizing the initial qualification and re-evaluation mechanisms for UPRT instructors is a logical next step. So, too, is developing mechanisms to ensure standardization of terminology, principles, and applied techniques across the academic and practical training tracks. The Airplane Upset Recovery Training Aid is accepted as a leading reference for UPRT information and should be consulted as UPRT instructor requirements are further developed.

CONCLUSIONS

ICAO and its partners are to be commended for taking a proactive approach to address the serious issue of loss of control. The Manual on Aeroplane Upset Prevention and Recovery Training is an historic document, representing a significant step toward the reduction of fatal LOC-I accidents. To advance the framework developed therein, this paper has laid out the primary considerations for the safe and effective delivery of the on-aeroplane training component.

The considerations presented herein support the following conclusions regarding the most effective on-aeroplane training strategies to help pilots mitigate the persistent, complex, and often lethal problem of LOC-I upsets:

  1. The powerful effects of adrenalized learning during on-aeroplane UPRT will be maximized by closely integrating academics, practical training, instructor competencies, and structured on-aeroplane experience throughout the flight envelope and stall/spin red zones.
  2. On-aeroplane UPRT must involve hands-on experience beyond 45 degrees of bank, and more importantly, to 180 degrees of bank. At some point, on-aeroplane UPRT must make use of aeroplanes capable of operation in the acrobatic category.
  3. On-aeroplane UPRT must involve hands-on experience at high AOA, including full aerodynamic stalls and spin departures. At some point, on-aeroplane UPRT must make use of aeroplanes approved for intentional spins.
  4. A qualified instructor is arguably the single greatest asset to the success of ICAO’s UPRT initiative. Hence, extreme care should be exercised in the development and enforcement of UPRT instructor standards.

The next steps in the evolution of UPRT program standards should include expanding the considerations presented in this paper into the detailed requirements necessary for the safe and effective delivery of on-aeroplane upset training, using mission-appropriate aeroplanes and equipment, under the tutelage of professional and qualified instructors.

* * *

About the Authors

Randy Brooks is a Master Instructor, member of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE), UPRT instructor, and VP of Training with a background in many facets of business aviation. His airshow acrobatic experience includes formation team demonstrations, jet aircraft, and sailplanes. He has delivered more than 3000 hours of flight instruction and is President of UPRTA.

Paul ‘BJ’ Ransbury is the President of Aviation Performance Solutions, a multi-national flight school that trains more than 1000 professional jet pilots annually in integrated UPRT. He is a four-time Master Instructor, SAFE member, former airline pilot, military fighter pilot and fighter weapons instructor course graduate with more than 4500 hours of flight instruction in piston and jet aeroplanes.

Rich Stowell is an eight-time Master Instructor, SAFE member, the 2014 National FAA Safety Team Rep of the Year, and the 2006 National Flight Instructor of the Year. He has been a full-time instructor specializing in spin and emergency maneuver training since 1987, has provided more than 8600 hours of flight instruction in light aeroplanes, and is the author of three aviation textbooks.

Download this Paper in PDF: Addressing On-Aeroplane Upset Prevention & Recovery Training


http://UPRTA.org

Copyright Aviation Performance Solutions, LLC and Richard Loren Stowell, 2013, 2014.

All rights reserved.

 


[1] To be consistent with language used by ICAO, the authors have used “aeroplane” in lieu of “airplane” throughout this paper.

[2] Sgt. Jim Heuston, “’Vaccine’ touted for combat stress,” quoting Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Marine Corps News, September 20, 2004.

[3] Aviation Safety – Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Statistical Summary of Commercial Jet Airplane Accidents – Worldwide Operations 1959–2012, The Boeing Company, August 2013. [Original Source: CAST/ICAO Common Taxonomy Team (CICTT), available at http://www.intlaviationstandards.org/]

[4] According to the U.S. General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, during the period 2001–2010, LOC-I was the top category for fatal accidents in general aviation as well. In fact, LOC-I alone resulted in a greater number of fatalities than in the next five occurrence categories combined. Broken down by phase of flight, LOC-I events in general aviation occurred most often while maneuvering. Although the focus of the ICAO Manual is on UPRT for pilots at the commercial and air transport levels, the concepts presented therein and the considerations advanced herein apply equally to the general aviation flight environment. See also “Maintaining Aircraft Control” by Brooks, Edwards,
et al., June 20, 2012, available at http://www.safepilots.org/documents/Maintaining_Aircraft_Control_20Jun2012.pdf

[5] See for example “Mechanisms of emotional arousal and lasting declarative memory” by Cahill and McGaugh (TINS Vol. 21,
No. 7, 1988) and “Adrenal Stress Hormones and Enhanced Memory for Emotionally Arousing Experiences” by McIntyre and Roozendaal (Neural Plasticity and Memory: From Genes to Brain Imaging, Chapter 13, Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2007, available at

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK3907/).

[6] Adapted from the Take Flight Workshops Program Theory developed by Castner, Stafford, and Stowell. Available at http://www.takeflightworkshops.com/index.php/tfw-program-theory/program-theory

[7] Adapted from Bruce K. Siddle’s Sharpening The Warrior’s Edge, 1995, pp. 18–23.

[8] Patrick R. Veillette, “Re-Examination of Stall/Spin Prevention Training,” Transportation Research Record, No. 1379, National Research Council, Transportation Research Board, 1993.

[9] David Lee Bagby, “A Study to Determine Basic Aerobatics as a Requirement for the Commercial Pilot Certificate,” Sky Harbor Resident Center: Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Extended Campus, August 1997.

[10] Paul Bertorelli, “Yank-Bank Limits,” Aviation Safety, September 2005.

[11] Malcolm White, “Dear Pitts Owner,” Letter from Aviat, Inc., September 1995.

[12] For example, see The Light Airplane Pilot’s Guide to Stall/Spin Awareness by Stowell, in particular “Who’s Spinning In,” pp. 80–87.

[13] This applies with equal force to UPRT for general aviation pilots.

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WSJ: Air France Crash Report Likely to Alter Pilot Training

French accident investigators on Friday are expected to release a report confirming their initial findings and offering new details of how pilot errors, combined with a fluke of cockpit automation, led to the 2009 crash of an Air France jet into the Atlantic Ocean, air-safety experts said.

By Andy Pasztor
Visit Original Article at: WSJ – Air France Crash Report Likely to Alter Pilot Training

The latest revelations, according to safety experts and others familiar with them, are likely to add to pressure to revamp training practices to help both new and experienced pilots cope with high-altitude stalls, upsets and faulty airspeed sensors. Such changes are bound to include more emphasis on manual flying techniques.

Safety experts said the new report backs initial conclusions that airspeed sensors malfunctioned, and that pilots stalled the twin-engine Airbus A330 shortly after making the plane climb unusually steeply. The pilots then disregarded extensive stall warnings and—for more than three minutes—failed to realize the cause of their dangerous predicament.

The cockpit crew was distracted by fluctuating airspeed indications and—contrary to standard practice—kept pulling back on the controls and raising the nose of the plane while reducing engine thrust, as the roughly 200-ton airliner plummeted toward the water.

All 228 people aboard the June 2009 night flight to Paris from Rio de Janeiro died, and the accident has prompted a broad reappraisal of pilot training and the potential dangers of undue reliance on automation.

Increasingly, aviation experts believe the tragedy of Air France Flight 447, with all of its engines and basic flight-control systems operating normally, could have been avoided if the pilots had received more training, particularly in manual flying and recognizing stalls at high altitudes.

“It’s not just an Air France issue, but rather an industrywide problem” according to Bill Voss, head of the Flight Safety Foundation of Alexandria, Va., a global independent safety advocate. If the crew of Flight 447 had followed basic airmanship and kept the plane flying level until airspeed indications returned to normal, “it would have been a log entry, instead of a crash,” Mr. Voss said Thursday in an interview.

Based on the anticipated findings by investigators, “we really have to overhaul the way pilots are trained” because now “they typically aren’t taught how to react to a stall at high altitude,” Mr. Voss said.

Air France declined to comment.

Previously, a French judge ordered the carrier to pay €126,000 ($177,000) in compensation to the families of each victim, according to a lawyer for the victims’ families. The sums, which will be paid out by Air France, and its insurer, AXA SA, amount to a provisional payment against possibly higher compensation to passengers on the flight, said lawyer Marc Fribourg.

A spokesman for one of the airline’s unions defended the actions of the pilots, and largely blamed the crash on erroneous airspeed indications. “Airbus said their aircraft could never stall, so clearly pilots were not trained for this situation,” according to Geoffroy Greneau de Lamarliere, a representative of the ALTER Air France pilots’ union. Since the accident, he said Air France pilots have received roughly two hours of training focused on dealing with a stall without the use of speed indicators.

An Airbus spokesman wouldn’t comment on details of the new report, but said the company is “hopeful it will provide additional information.”

Before the crash, relatively few commercial pilots practiced high-altitude stall-recovery techniques in simulators. Even fewer spent much time familiarizing themselves with the handling characteristics of big jets when autopilots suddenly disconnect during cruise, as occurred with the Air France flight.

Now, Airbus, the Air France unit of Air France-KLM group, other big airlines around the world and various study groups are specifically pushing to introduce and expand such training.

“There’s definitely a need for additional training in the high-altitude environment” because “pilots have so little experience hand flying in that regime,” according to Bryan Burks, a U.S. airline pilot participating in a training initiative sponsored by Britain’s Royal Aeronautical Society.

Aircraft respond much differently to engine-thrust changes and other commands at high altitudes—where the air is thin and planes almost always cruise on autopilot—than they do below 10,000 feet.

The latest interim report from the French Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses is expected to underscore some of those differences, and also seek to at least partly explain the seeming confusion among the pilots, and the extreme inputs to their flight controls.

Disregarding a fundamental rule of airmanship that calls for lowering the nose of a plane to gain speed in the event of an aerodynamic stall, the 32-year-old co-pilot at the controls of Flight 447 continued to pull up the nose of the plane, despite extended stall warnings.

During the final minutes, the cockpit-voice recording doesn’t indicate any dissension among the pilots, nor a discussion of possibly lowering the plane’s nose to halt the rapid loss of altitude, according to people familiar with the details.

In addition to the airspeed fluctuations, the cockpit crew may have became further confused during later stages of the descent when the slow speed and loss of lift caused the plane’s automated stall-warning system to behave in unexpected ways, according to safety experts and others familiar with the latest findings.

The jet’s flight-control computers disregarded airspeed measurements and turned off automated stall-warnings at certain points, because the plane had decelerated so dramatically. The result, these experts said, was that during part of their struggle to regain control of the plane, the pilots didn’t get the stall warnings that would have been common as a consequence of raising the jet’s nose.

When the computers and airspeed indicators temporarily recovered, however, pushing down the nose of the jet sometimes prompted stall warnings. That was the opposite of how the warning system usually behaved, according to the air safety experts. The confused crew continued to pull the nose up and remained in a deep aerodynamic stall, finally falling at a rate of more than 10,000 feet per minute, until hitting the water, the experts said.

Investigators believe the distracted crew didn’t pay attention to, or didn’t trust, airspeed readings from the standby airspeed indicator, further complicating their situation.

Previously, investigators said they would release the third interim report about the high-profile crash on Friday, presenting “the exact circumstances of the accident with an initial analysis and some new findings.”

Beyond training issues, investigators also have delved into how the crew worked together. One big question remains unresolved: Why did the most junior pilot stay at the controls for nearly the entire time? Two more-senior pilots apparently failed to aggressively trouble-shoot problems or provide clear-cut commands, experts said after release of the previous update in May.

The captain of the flight, who was on a routine rest break in the cabin when the trouble started, rushed back to the cockpit. But that didn’t happen until the pilot who wasn’t flying–but was supposed to be closely monitoring the junior co-pilot– tried “several times to call the captain back,” investigators previously said. The roughly one minute it took the captain to return after the first call, safety experts said, could have added to the crew’s distraction during critical early phases of the accident sequence

Regarding automation, the plane’s design and the specifics of the upset meant that the crew no longer had the benefit of certain stall-protection systems Airbus pilots routinely are trained to rely on during normal operations.

The crash illustrates “another aspect of automation confusion,” according to Greg Feith, a Colorado-based industry safety consultant and former crash investigator for the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.” The A330’s automated systems were “based on the concept that pilots would never get themselves into the position” in which they ended up on Flight 447, Mr. Feith said. So the sequence of events “defies all the logic built into the automation.”

The maneuvers initially used by the crew probably would have been acceptable at a lower altitude, according to Mr. Voss of the Flight Safety Foundation. But pilots need to be taught that “it was the wrong reaction, and turned into a deadly procedure at high altitude.”

—Max Colchester and David Pearson contributed to this article.

Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com

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WSJ: Major Changes Building In Commercial-Pilot Training

LE BOURGET, France –Calling for fundamental changes in aviator training, a group of international experts has recommended that new airline pilots practice certain emergency maneuvers while flying small planes rather than sitting in simulators, which is the current practice.

Original Article at: Major Changes Building In Commercial-Pilot Training
24/06/2011 01:46

By Andy Pasztor
Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The proposals, already embraced by some air-safety organizations, could set the stage for the biggest shift in commercial-pilot training in decades, according to industry officials here at the Paris Air show.

Before new airline pilots receive their licenses or get behind the controls to fly passengers, according to the recommendations, they should receive instruction in small, aerobatic aircraft about how to recover from stalls and flight upsets. Today, those maneuvers normally are taught in simulators.

By stressing real-world flying skills instead of those learned in simulators, the changes also could partly reverse increasing reliance on cockpit automation by pilots, regardless of experience level.

The recommendations come from a blue-ribbon group of experts established two years ago by Britain’s Royal Aeronautical Society, an influential air-safety body. Comprising more than 80 members representing pilots, instructors, researchers, training organizations and others, the study group’s conclusions have sparked a global debate over proper training procedures.

In addition to the notion of putting starting pilots through their paces in real-life aerobatic aircraft, the group recommended more academic training for pilots about the laws of aerodynamics. It also urged stepped-up efforts to improve the realism of simulators in mimicking stall scenarios.

The study group was formed due to “a growing need to address the issue of loss of control in flight,” according to Sunjoo Advani, its chairman. “We want to learn from the past,” Mr. Advani said in an interview shortly before the air show, “not point fingers of blame.”

Bryan Burks, an Alaska Air Group Inc. (ALK)pilot and another of the group’s participants, stressed the game-changing nature of the recommendations. “If we continue to train as we always have, we won’t move the needle on safety,”

A few airlines, mainly in Europe, have voluntarily implemented parts of the recommendations, and U.S. regulators also are moving to embrace some of the group’s findings.

More broadly, recent crash reports and safety studies are pushing airlines and regulators world-wide to consider sweeping training changes. The focus is teaching pilots advanced maneuvers so they can recover from stalls and sudden flight upsets, often at higher altitudes, and confronting more-complex automation problems than typically found in earlier training courses.

The U.S. Congress passed legislation mandating more stall-recovery training in the wake of the high-profile crash of a Colgan Air turboprop near Buffalo, N.Y. in 2009, which killed 50 people. Investigators determined the plane stalled because the captain mistakenly pulled back on the controls.

Until recently, classic stall-recovery training called for pilots to first add power and then regain control with minimum loss of altitude. Revised procedures issued by the study group–and echoed by many other safety advocates–call for initially pushing the plane’s nose down, then adding power and worrying less about altitude loss.

The study group is expected to continue its work to refine some of recommendations, and persuade other air-safety experts to spread the same message.

Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor@wsj.com

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NTSB Chairman Cites Loss of Control In-Flight as a Primary Threat to Air Safety

Deborah A.P. Hersman, Chairman
National Transportation Safety Board

The video below shows the recorded opening remarks to the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Flight Simulation Group meeting on 9 November 2011 in London, UK. The NTSB chairman encourages the enhancement of flight simulator technology and the prioritization of mitigating the loss of control in-flight threat in aviation safety developments.

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GAJSC 2011, Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) Leading Cause

The following accident analysis information was presented in the June 2011 Issue of Sport Aviation magazine …

10-Years of Accidents and Causal Factors

THE GENERAL AVIATION JOINT STEERING COMMITTEE (GAJSC) and Safety Analysis Team (SAT) continues to focus on data-driven risks and solutions. To begin that process, the fatal GA accident range of 2001—2010 was selected for analysis, resulting in 2,472 total events. Accidents were categorized using the common codes such as loss of control—in-flight (LOC—I), controlled flight into terrain (CFIT), system/component failure—powerplant (SCF—PP), etc. Additionally, the type of aircraft was also categorized, using homebuilt, turbine, and reciprocating non-homebuilt, resulting in the chart seen here.

Loss of control (LOC) was identified far and away as the most prevalent type of fatal GA accident with 1,190 fatal accidents followed by controlled flight into terrain, with 432. A risk reduction working group has been formed that will study LOC accidents, beginning with those occurring during the approach and landing phase of flight, determine contributing factors, and develop intervention strategies. EAA staff is actively participating in the GAJSC, SAT, and a newly established working group in our continuing efforts to reduce the fatal accident rate.

Sport Aviation, June 2011 (www.eaa.org), Page 9

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AF447 Update Implies Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I)

For official information, download the 27 May 2011 update report titled ACCIDENT TO THE AIRBUS A330-203 FLIGHT AF 447 ON 1ST JUNE 2009

NEW FINDINGS FROM ABOVE REPORT

At this stage of the investigation, as an addition to the BEA interim reports of 2 July and 17 December 2009, the following new facts have been established:

  • The composition of the crew was in accordance with the operator’s procedures.
  • At the time of the event, the weight and balance of the airplane were within the operational limits.
  • At the time of the event, the two co-pilots were seated in the cockpit and the Captain was resting. The latter returned to the cockpit about 1 min 30 after the disengagement of the autopilot.
  • There was an inconsistency between the speeds displayed on the left side and the integrated standby instrument system (ISIS). This lasted for less than one minute.
  • After the autopilot disengagement:
    • the airplane climbed to 38,000 ft,
    • the stall warning was triggered and the airplane stalled,
    • the inputs made by the PF were mainly nose-up,
    • the descent lasted 3 min 30, during which the airplane remained stalled. The angle of attack increased and remained above 35 degrees,
    • the engines were operating and always responded to crew commands.
    • The last recorded values were a pitch attitude of 16.2 degrees nose-up, a roll angle of 5.3 degrees left and a vertical speed of -10,912 ft/min.
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FAA to Seek Major Changes in Pilot Training

Original Wall Street Journal Article

By ANDY PASZTOR

Federal regulators on Wednesday are slated to propose enhanced pilot-training rules to ensure cockpit crews can maintain control of airliners in the event of stalls, cockpit-automation failures and other flight emergencies.

The Federal Aviation Administration’s latest proposal, coming more than two years after an earlier version sparked sharp opposition from airlines based on projected costs, also seeks to more effectively track pilots who repeatedly perform poorly on mandatory proficiency tests, according to people familiar with the details.

If adopted, the package would usher in the most sweeping changes in nearly three decades to make pilot training more stringent and realistic. Like the earlier proposals, the FAA also wants to update safety-awareness training for flight attendants and airline dispatchers.

The proposed changes are partly aimed at complying with stepped-up requirements ordered by Congress after a fatal 2009 turboprop crash near Buffalo, N.Y., exposed major shortcomings in pilot training. But the proposal, these people said, also reflects the agency’s efforts to temper its tough new safety agenda by reducing projected compliance costs for the nation’s financially hard-pressed airline industry.

Wednesday’s proposal will be the first of three far-reaching regulatory updates the FAA is poised to release in coming months. The other two deal with reducing pilot fatigue and establishing higher minimum qualifications for new first officers.

Wednesday’s proposals—intended to refocus the techniques, timing and goals of pilot-training across the industry—could set the pattern for how the FAA will maneuver between calls for stepped-up safety and airline officials increasingly balking at costs and looking to House Republican leaders to deflect some of the most expensive pending rule changes.

The latest proposal, among other things, is expected to satisfy some earlier industry complaints by allowing airlines to tailor their pilot-training programs based on routes, equipment, crew experience and other specific operational factors.

Some of the proposed changes first surfaced in 2004, when the FAA created a government-industry committee to look at training requirements and related issues. Other elements of the proposal are intended, in part, to respond to longstanding safety recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board targeting inadequate or misguided training practices.

The FAA, for example, wants to update stall-recovery training by getting pilots to focus more on regaining control of their aircraft while paying less attention to traditional goals of strictly maintaining altitude during the recovery.

The FAA’s original proposal also envisioned carriers emphasizing the dangers of runway collisions and other ground hazards. In 2009, the agency also called for giving co-pilots more frequent recurrent training than they typically receive, and the proposal stressed training to help captains and co-pilots work more closely together as a team by sharing flying and monitoring duties. Many airlines already follow such practices and principles.

But the revised proposal is expected to break new ground partly by mandating some techniques all airlines need to use to track pilots who perform poorly or demonstrate a lack of skills during certain types of simulator sessions.

Initially, the agency also proposed requiring flight attendants to complete “hands on” performance drills using emergency equipment and procedures annually, versus the current two-year training period. Some of that language is expected to remain part of the package

According to the FAA’s earlier assessment of the likely benefits of the proposed changes, agency officials projected industry savings of about $530 million as a result of avoiding accidents and incidents over a 10-year span.

But in a sharply worded August 2009 response, the Air Transport Association, an industry group representing the nation’s largest airlines, complained that the initial proposal contained “numerous unworkable specifics, internal conflicts…[and] inaccurate assessments of current industry standard practices.”

The ATA’s response also said that the FAA’s analysis of historical accident data was faulty, and that the likely projected benefits of the initial proposal amounted to roughly $25 million, far less than the agency’s estimate.

Update the next day below …

FAA Seeks Dramatic Revamp of Pilot Training

By Jerry Zremski
NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF
Original Article

Updated: May 12, 2011, 1:13 PM

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday proposed a dramatic revamping of airline pilot and crew training, a move that would turn many of the lessons learned from the February 2009 plane crash in Clarence Center into law.

Under the FAA proposal, for the first time, pilots would have to be trained to recover from the kind of stall that sent Continental Connection Flight 3407 plummeting into a house, killing 50 people.

They would have to be familiar with the stall-recovery equipment in the planes they fly, which the crew of Flight 3407 was not.

Unlike Capt. Marvin D. Renslow, pilot of the doomed plane, pilots could no longer fail flight tests and then receive no remedial training to make up for their deficiencies.

In addition, the rule would address many of the training problems pointed out in an award-winning Buffalo News series in December 2009, “Who’s Flying Your Airplane?”

For example, pilots would have to be trained to fly in the weather conditions they are likely to experience in their jobs and would get simulator training on sudden emergency “upsets” and be required to recover from them.

“The FAA is proposing the most significant changes to air carrier training in 20 years. This is a major effort to strengthen the performance of pilots,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

Members of the Families of Continental Flight 3407, who pushed passage of a law that requires many of the changes in training, said the FAA proposal looks good to them, at least so far.

“While we are not in a position to give our wholehearted endorsement as of yet, at first glance, we are very pleased to see many of the deficiencies that contributed to Flight 3407 addressed,” said Scott Maurer, of Moore, S.C., whose daughter, Lorin, was killed in the crash.

In general, the rule spells out a much more comprehensive training regimen that will better reflect real-world situations.

“Rather than just have a pilot execute a skill in isolation, the new training will require a more realistic and coordinated effort by the crew, as if they were on a real flight,” Babbitt said. “It will be a lot more lifelike.”

For one thing, crews will have to work together in their training regimens, just as they would in a flight.

And they will have to have additional experiences in the simulator that echo what could, in the worst-case scenario, happen in the cockpit of an airplane.

The FAA had long questioned the notion of training pilots in recovering from aerodynamic stalls, where a plane loses so much speed that its wings can no longer keep it aloft.

That’s because pilots are supposed to never allow a plane to reach a stall in the first place, and because earlier-generation simulators were not able to mimic a full stall.

But thanks to new simulator technology, “now you can put someone in a stall scenario and let them recover,” Babbitt said.

The National Transportation Safety Board blamed pilot error for the Clarence Center crash, and the biggest pilot error of all involved stall recovery.

Investigators found that Renslow pulled back on the plane’s yoke when he should have pushed forward — which could have been related to the fact that he had never received simulator training in the plane’s stall-recovery system.

Such training would be required, though, under the FAA proposal, and Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, said that only makes sense.

Practical training encompassing potential emergency scenarios will help to better prepare skilled pilots entrusted with the lives of hundreds of people at 35,000 feet in the air,” Higgins said.

Babbitt also stressed that the proposal requires remedial training for pilots such as Renslow, who show during test flights that their skills are lacking.

In addition, airlines will have to tailor their training to their flight routes. For example, airlines that fly in the Midwest would have to put a greater emphasis on flying in thunderstorms, while airlines flying in Alaska would have to pay more attention to training in flying in wintry conditions.

And throughout the new training regimen, there would be a new element of surprise. Sudden upsets will be included at unexpected times.

Crew members “are going to train as a team,” Babbitt said. “They will have had real-life exposure.”

The new rules are a rewrite of a proposal the FAA put forth a month before the Clarence Center crash.

The agency has spent more than two years rewriting the proposal to incorporate industry feedback, react to the lessons of Flight 3407 and respond to the new congressional mandates.

While generally lauding the proposal, the Flight 3407 families warned that it is by no means set in stone.

The airline industry will still have a chance to press regulators for changes that could weaken the proposal.

“This rule-making has been in progress for nearly a decade, which shows what a strong grip that the airlines and the industry already have on this process,” said Susan Bourque of East Aurora, whose sister Beverly Eckert, a 9/11 activist, was killed in the crash.

The proposal also faces a potential threat from Congress in the form of an amendment by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. The amendment, which would place new burdens on the FAA rule-making process, passed the House on April 1.

While the amendment’s prospects in the Senate appear to be dim, Bourque warned that if passed, the Shuster amendment could stand in the way of several FAA regulatory efforts stemming from the crash of Flight 3407.

The FAA is still working on a separate rule that would boost the number of flight hours that pilots must have to get a commercial license, and on a proposal aimed at curbing pilot fatigue.

Asked about the timing of the proposed rules, Margaret “Peggy” Gilligan, associate administrator for aviation safety, said: “We are pushing as fast as we can for as much as we can.”

With so many new safety rules being drawn up at once, both the families and their congressional advocates stressed that they will have to continue to press for their completion.

“These new training proposals are an important step forward toward fixing the flaws in pilot training that contributed to the crash,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., “but our work is far from over.”

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NBAA Upset Recovery Industry Update CASS 2011

The following presentation was recorded live …

Summarizing 2 years of focused industry effort on systematically identifying and addressing the Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) problem, the Royal Aeronautical Society’s International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (ICATEE), as well as the international non-profit Upset Prevention & Recovery Training Association (UPRTA), will be presenting a short independent 30-minute industry update on recent advancements in commercial aviation upset recovery training efforts. A report issued by Boeing in July 2010 identifies Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) as the cause of the most crash-related fatalities in commercial aviation worldwide over the past 10 Years.

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Speaker:
Paul BJ Ransbury
UPRTA – Vice President, Global Integration
ICATEE – Co-Leader, Training Matrix Development Team
APS Emergency Maneuver Training – President

  • Under Mr. Ransbury’s direct management and supervision of both US-based and foreign academies, more than 4,000 professional jet pilots have been successfully trained in standardized upset prevention & recovery training techniques and mitigation strategies
  • Former F/A-18 Hornet Fighter Pilot and Instructor
  • Former Airbus A320 Airline Pilot
  • Gold Seal Flight Instructor / Master CFI – Aerobatic
    CFI / CFII / MEI / AGI

 

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Istanbul, Turkey: Upset Recovery / ICATEE Briefing

Please click PLAY below to view this video … Flash Player is required.
Note to Viewers: The audio for this presentation was recorded from the audience so is not ideal. Please adjust your volume to a higher than usual level. Also, the slides are being advanced to estimate the position of the speaker during the presentation (based on a provided audio recording from Turkey). The slides shown in the video are accurately aligned with the audio most of the time but jumping around here and there is required. We apologize if it is a bit distracting.

Loss of Control In-Flight: Training Foundations & Solutions

Presented by:
Randall Brooks, Senior Director of Training at Opinicus Corporation

This presentation in Istanbul, Turkey, at the European Airline Training Symposium in November 2010 addresses the Loss of Control In-Flight (LOC-I) Threat to commercial aviation worldwide. The presentation makes a brief overview of historical advancements and how the very effort of streamlining technological commercial aviation training may have reduced the typical line pilot’s ability to mitigate LOC-I on the line. The progress of RAeS’ international ICATEE initiative is presented to provide an ‘as of today’ update on it’s progress. In addition, the fundamental concepts around which ICATEE, and the aviation industry, is using to address LOC-I through a graduated approach to flight training augmentation is presented.

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