MSNBC: For some airline pilots, flying is boring

tonyw

Well-Known Member
Here is a link to the full article.
Washington Post Article on Pilots

Cohen, who also trains other 747 pilots, said he has no trouble staying engaged in the cockpit because he loves to fly. He instructs his co-pilots not to read and tries to keep them engaged in conversation. He scans the instruments frequently. "Yes, the plane will tell you when something is wrong," he said, but there is no substitute for remaining constantly alert.

"There's always something going on," he said. "There are passenger problems. Not five minutes goes by without a call from downstairs. There's a city down there. You're also looking at the wonders of the world."

But Cohen's job satisfaction is far from universal. A 1999 confidential survey by Australia's Bureau of Air Safety Investigation found that 32 percent of the pilots reported that they had inadvertently fallen asleep in highly automated cockpits. And 36 percent said they were bored with the low workload at cruise level.

Yet that same survey showed that 48 percent ("higher than expected") had experienced abnormal or emergency situations -- flight control problems, engine failures, instrument malfunctions, hydraulic and electrical failures. These are the moments when a pilot must use every bit of training and expertise and manually assume control of the aircraft.


Seems like the guy who wrote the article just contradicted himself. But hey, that's the media for you. Make it seem like anyone who doesn't do reporting is an overpaid idiot and then bury the facts that show that maybe, just maybe, those people actually do some things that are more important than putting ink on a piece of paper.

And I bet you that Don Phillips, the author of the article, has spent exactly zero hours in the cockpit. The only flying he does is when his butt is in a seat paid for by the Washington Post.
 

sorrygottarunway

Well-Known Member
it freaks me out that they are already discussing pilot-less planes. Thats what my mom tells me everyday, that in 20 years I'll have no job, planes will be fully automatic (just like the pax terminal shuttles in Orlando). Heck, I'd never step on a plane without a pilot, dollars to donuts I can handle a gusty crosswind better than the computer can.

On a global point of view, couldn't everything one day be automated- we could be a society of lazy sit-ins, having all daily activities programmed and carried out for us.
 

tonyw

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
it freaks me out that they are already discussing pilot-less planes. Thats what my mom tells me everyday, that in 20 years I'll have no job, planes will be fully automatic (just like the pax terminal shuttles in Orlando). Heck, I'd never step on a plane without a pilot, dollars to donuts I can handle a gusty crosswind better than the computer can.

[/ QUOTE ]

You probably can't, my friend. Not that I'm putting down your flying skills, but I believe there was a test of a military airplane and they had a bunch of fighter jocks watching the test. At first, they were saying, oh, hell, I can fly better than any computer can, but after watching what the computer can do, they were amazed.

However, I think that we will always have pilots on commercial airplanes. You can't hit control-alt-delete when you're at 35,000 feet.

And if anyone tells you that aviation is a career where you can lose your job so easily, just point out to them that there are thousands of people who had 100K plus jobs who lost their jobs to people in Bangalore or Poland or the Ukraine.
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
[ QUOTE ]
But Cohen's job satisfaction is far from universal. A 1999 confidential survey by Australia's Bureau of Air Safety Investigation found that 32 percent of the pilots reported that they had inadvertently fallen asleep in highly automated cockpits. And 36 percent said they were bored with the low workload at cruise level.

Yet that same survey showed that 48 percent ("higher than expected") had experienced abnormal or emergency situations -- flight control problems, engine failures, instrument malfunctions, hydraulic and electrical failures. These are the moments when a pilot must use every bit of training and expertise and manually assume control of the aircraft.


[/ QUOTE ]

It's not because they're bored that the pilots are "inadvertently falling asleep" its because they're working 16 hour duty days with, at best, six hours of sleep. But they don't mention that. They don't mention that the ATA fights the FAA and ALPA at every turn when ALPA and the FAA try to increase rest hours. They blame it on "automation."

I recently read an article that made a good point. The more automation that creeps into the cockpit a) the more chance of something bad happening (simple law of averages) b) the more knowledge pilots must know (and remain current on) in order to identify and rectify any kind of problem has increased ten-fold. Automation hasn't reduced workload it's increased it in some ways!

There will always be a pilot because at the very least someone needs to be there to watch over the system.
 

chperplt

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
Some of the best landings — the smooth ones that leave passengers applauding — are executed by "autoland."


[/ QUOTE ]

I love this part... They have no idea. Most autolands are quite firm and not very passenger friendly.

I've only witnessed one nice autoland... It was a very heavy 734 and neither of the two pilots could believe it landed so well. I've been on the jumpseat for many others....
 

airplay

Well-Known Member
[ QUOTE ]
Thats what my mom tells me everyday, that in 20 years I'll have no job, planes will be fully automatic (just like the pax terminal shuttles in Orlando).

[/ QUOTE ]

And in the 70's and 80's my mom was telling me we'd be flying around like the Jetson's in the year 2000
 

Virusss

New Member
[ QUOTE ]
it freaks me out that they are already discussing pilot-less planes. Thats what my mom tells me everyday, that in 20 years I'll have no job, planes will be fully automatic (just like the pax terminal shuttles in Orlando).

[/ QUOTE ]
I have a solution. KILL ALL THE PROGRAMERS.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Some more wrong stuff in this article

"During periodic training -- usually twice a year for captains, annually for first officers - - realistic cockpit simulators subject crews to many hours of the tedium of automated flight, with trainers assessing the psychological stress. It is rare, but to the consternation of the trainers -- and even though they know they're under surveillance -- pilots occasionally fall asleep in the simulator."

First of all. My airline and probably a lot of the other big ones got the FAA to buy off on SVT (Single Visit Training). With SVT, Capts only see the sim once a year instead of twice in the old days. It just so happens that this "new and improved" recurrent training system saves the airlines a lot of money and productivity. Who cares about safety...it's all about money....

Should Capts be subject to two sims a year instead of one? I'd say once a year is okay for some but I'd like to see the option for a program where Capts can come in every six months if they want to at no personal expense or hassle.

Secondly, the author has no idea what's going on during a recurrent training sim session if he thinks we are falling asleep. I don't think I'm more awake all year long than during my two days of recurrent training.....
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
[ QUOTE ]
(just like the pax terminal shuttles in Orlando).

[/ QUOTE ]

First hand, those shuttles break down a LOT. I've seen them stuck half way between the airside and the terminal full of people. I've seen one stuck in the station, and the doors wouldn't open. If I didn't have to go through security everytime, I would run downstairs, grab a tug, and beat the darn thing from the terminal to airside by quite a ways.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
Re: Some more wrong stuff in this article

[ QUOTE ]
Secondly, the author has no idea what's going on during a recurrent training sim session if he thinks we are falling asleep. I don't think I'm more awake all year long than during my two days of recurrent training.....

[/ QUOTE ]

Hmmm, and here I thought recurrent training was so you could practice and learn emergency procedures without doing them for real. I guess I was wrong. Little did I know that it's just nap time for the pilots. </sarcasm>

Did this guy do ANY research at all? Drop in on a couple of training sessions, watch flight crews fly singe engine approaches to ILS minimums, land with an engine (or two) on fire, something! Why on EARTH would airlines waste the money on a sim to simulate the tedium of cruise flight? This guy should have used at least a LITTLE common sense instead of setting FS2004 on autopilot while he cooks dinner.
 

mastermags

Well-Known Member *giggity*
[ QUOTE ]

And in the 70's and 80's my mom was telling me we'd be flying around like the Jetson's in the year 2000


[/ QUOTE ]

I dont see flying cars coming within the next 100 years. Just think of all the street/runway incursions due to cell phone usage!!
The common man flying... scary thought!!
 

FL270

New Member
Re: Some more wrong stuff in this article

One of my favorite aviation stories is from Continental CEO Gordon Bethune's book. Gordon was talking to a reporter who didn't think pilots did much or worked hard, and anybody could do it ... so he decided to teach the guy a lesson. He took the guy to the 757 simulator, started up and took off (he's typed on the 757/767), climbed up to cruise ... the whole time of course, the reporter is thinking "looks easy to me" ...

Well, then Gordon throws the thing in to a spin, bells and alarms going off all over the place, falling out of the sky, and Gordon folds his arms in his lap and tells the reporter, "Save us."

The reporter gets a look of utter panic, admits he has no idea what to do, and maybe flying is harder than he thought. Gordon recovers the airplane and takes the quaking little toad back to the office.

FL270
 

Kristie

Mama Bear....
Staff member
Re: Some more wrong stuff in this article

[ QUOTE ]
setting FS2004 on autopilot while he cooks dinner.

[/ QUOTE ]

hehehe... oh so true....it's amazing how many inconsistencies and idiotic remarks you guys can find... we all know "who" the pilots are now don't we?! haha
 

sorrygottarunway

Well-Known Member
Re: Some more wrong stuff in this article

haha! in college I set the autopilot on in FS2002, then head to the library for study time. Trans-atlantic flight? Set up the autopilot before bedtime, wake up just before landing!

AS REAL AS IT GETS FOLKS </blatant sarcasm>
 

JDMcFly

New Member
Re: Some more wrong stuff in this article

You mean that's not real?


I thought pilots put the airplane on 'cruise' and went to hang out with the F/As in back during flight.


(Zzz)

On a slightly related note: Nobody can be blamed for leaving MSFS on autopilot and walking away, there is absolutely nothing to do between take off and approach! If real flying was 1/100th as boring as MSFS is at times, nobody would fly!
 
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