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Faro
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Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:21 am

What are the reasons for the non-automation of the following functions:

    Flap deployment
    Landing gear deployment
    Reverse thrust deployment

It is conceivable that such functions may one day be fully or partially automated?


Faro
The chalice not my son
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:31 am

Those three functions (and you can add spoilers/speedbrakes) involve significant reconfiguration of the aircraft. Keeping the fleshbags in the loop gives an additional layer of checking whether it is appropriate to actuate said function.

The reason it is pilot+systems instead of just systems is that pilots can think strategically in ways the systems alone cannot. Sometimes it may be inappropriate to actuate certain surfaces due to concerns further down the projected flight timeline than the systems "look".

I fly highly automated airliners and I inherently trust the automation, but there's trust and there's "I trust the automation with the reversers". No thanks.

Side note: Some flap functions are automated, for example on Airbus auto flap retraction and flap load relief.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Flow2706
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 04, 2017 12:51 pm

There are many factors involved that the automation can not "know". Maybe you are slightly fast on the approach and want to get the speed down - you would probably extend the flaps just below the limit speed to generate additional drag to help the aircraft to slow down (or possibly you want to give yourself some margin to limits in very bumpy conditions and therefore extend the flaps at a different speed). This is even more true about reversers - possibly you plan to leave the runway at the end to reduce taxi time and therefore you will only need reverse idle or for noise abatement. Also, automation is not always correct (or can not cope with a situation) and has to be monitored closely. Recently we started our descend into Munich from FL360 just to experience a massive wind shift on the way down - if we did not intervene by downgrading the automation from managed mode (DES) to selected (in this case vertical Speed +-0 for a short while to keep the speed trend under control) we would probably ended up in an overspeed condition. Or recently we planed to fly a RNAV Approach into one airport - apparently there was some database error which resulted in the computation of a totally incorrect vertical profile, so we also had to intervene and use selected vertical guidance.
 
achutchison
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:32 pm

It’s quite upsetting that the OP doesn’t realize that a massive portion of the airman’s job is decision making, planning, and critical thinking. Compared to this, handflying, which is the other basic airmanship skill that we like to talk about when discussing automation, is a small and relatively simple task. Critical thinking is something that computers will never be able to do, and is the real reason why automation can never really automate the flight process, but only augment it.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:20 pm

The F-16 does the flaps automatically, as I understand it.

GF
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:25 pm

Flow2706 wrote:
There are many factors involved that the automation can not "know"... ...Or recently we planed to fly a RNAV Approach into one airport - apparently there was some database error which resulted in the computation of a totally incorrect vertical profile, so we also had to intervene and use selected vertical guidance.


Excellent points here.

Many years ago and after installing GPS/FMS's in our fleet, but prior to beginning GPS approaches, the Chief Pilot asked me to audit the approaches in the database (a big job that took several days). Out of all the airports that we regularly flew to, plus alternates and the occasional charter destinations, I found that there were only 6 approaches in the entire database that had no errors - ALL others had an error to one degree or another.

For more automation to occur, all of these mistakes have to be eliminated. Yet every revision cycle introduces more errors which don't get corrected until the next cycle (and so on and so on). There are far more errors of this sort than the general public realizes and it's the action of the humans in the flight deck that can over ride, bypass or supersede the errors.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
Max Q
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:28 am

Flow2706 wrote:
There are many factors involved that the automation can not "know". Maybe you are slightly fast on the approach and want to get the speed down - you would probably extend the flaps just below the limit speed to generate additional drag to help the aircraft to slow down (or possibly you want to give yourself some margin to limits in very bumpy conditions and therefore extend the flaps at a different speed). This is even more true about reversers - possibly you plan to leave the runway at the end to reduce taxi time and therefore you will only need reverse idle or for noise abatement. Also, automation is not always correct (or can not cope with a situation) and has to be monitored closely. Recently we started our descend into Munich from FL360 just to experience a massive wind shift on the way down - if we did not intervene by downgrading the automation from managed mode (DES) to selected (in this case vertical Speed +-0 for a short while to keep the speed trend under control) we would probably ended up in an overspeed condition. Or recently we planed to fly a RNAV Approach into one airport - apparently there was some database error which resulted in the computation of a totally incorrect vertical profile, so we also had to intervene and use selected vertical guidance.



Agree with most of what you say with the
exception of extending flaps ‘just below the
limit speed’ this is poor practice and very
hard on the flap mechanism, flaps are to be
used to fly at slower speeds not to slow you to those speeds, that’s what the speed
brake is for

I see this bad habit all the time unfortunately, flaps / slats
should be extended
just above the maneuvering speed for
that setting while decelerating (10 knots is
above is a good guide)


This places minimum stress on the flaps
and slats and minimum vibration and air loads on the structure

Your passengers will also appreciate that
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
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Classa64
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:37 pm

Is Auto braking a hybrid of Automation and pilot input then... If Auto brakes are set to 2 on a 777 and its not enough can you just push on them harder?
"Freedom is the miles i'm rolling on"
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Sun Dec 10, 2017 2:35 pm

Classa64 wrote:
Is Auto braking a hybrid of Automation and pilot input then... If Auto brakes are set to 2 on a 777 and its not enough can you just push on them harder?


I don't know for Boeing but I assume it is the same as Airbus. Just press on the pedals for manual braking, which also disengages autobrake.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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rjsampson
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:16 pm

Unless decades from now, should airlines make it SOP and lose sufficient trust in their pilots to land their equipment, and decide automate all landings: You're not going to see that level of automation. And all airports would need to be equipped with CAT-III ILS systems (or advanced WAAS, or whatever it could be).

Which actually brings me to a question: When doing a CAT-III autoland: Are those functions even automated? (Flaps, gear, etc.)?
"..your eyes will be forever turned skyward, for there.." yeah we know the DaVinci quote. But GA is so dang expensive these days! :(
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Sun Dec 10, 2017 11:31 pm

rjsampson wrote:
Unless decades from now, should airlines make it SOP and lose sufficient trust in their pilots to land their equipment, and decide automate all landings: You're not going to see that level of automation. And all airports would need to be equipped with CAT-III ILS systems (or advanced WAAS, or whatever it could be).

Which actually brings me to a question: When doing a CAT-III autoland: Are those functions even automated? (Flaps, gear, etc.)?


Flaps and gear are not automated when doing an autoland, or any other landing. The only automated high lift functions are limited things like flap load relief, auto-retraction from 1+F to 1 on Airbus, and auto speedbrake retraction at high alpha on Airbus.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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7BOEING7
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Re: Non-Automated Cockpit Functions

Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:05 am

Classa64 wrote:
Is Auto braking a hybrid of Automation and pilot input then... If Auto brakes are set to 2 on a 777 and its not enough can you just push on them harder?


You can either manually push on the brake pedals thereby disconnecting the auto brakes or select a higher auto brake setting.

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