Showing posts with label FLIGHT CREW. Show all posts
Showing posts with label FLIGHT CREW. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


G R Mohan | 1:47 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

As we move towards an era of diverging job functions assigned to cabin crew and flight crew, a single barrier that catalyses this divide is the cockpit door.  Increasingly, this door has served to alienate and undermine the bonding that existed between the two sets of operating crew on board. During pre-flight briefing we go through the motions of communication and cockpit access protocol during normal and conditions where security of the cabin is breached.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Srinivas Rao | 12:06 AM | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Key to conducting a flight efficiently and safely is to effectively manage the workload one is faced with during different phases of the flight.
Flight crew workload is typically shared between a Captain and a First Officer.Whilst one takes up the mantle of pilot flying, the other crew carry out the pilot not flying/ pilot monitoring duties.
Workload management is regulated within the frame work of operations by promulgating standard operating procedures, task sharing principles,time management and so on.

Workload is the highest for flight crew during preflight, taxi out, take off and climb to cruise level, before top of descent, during descent, approach, landing and taxi in to bay.
Procedures detailed ensure that they clearly define various tasks carried out during these times and by whom it is executed to regulate the workload and lessen the burden.

Not withstanding the above, during emergency and multiple emergency situations, despite the crew being trained in handling situations in various scenarios, one is faced at times with situations wherein the crew need to dig deep and face occasionaly tremendous increase in their workload, also termed as task saturation. Only way to manage highly increased loads is to prioritise the tasks, work  with fellow crew,share the work  load and seek similar assistance from cabin crew, ground control and others , to manage the emergency to ensure a safe landing.
Workload management forms part of Crew resource management(CRM) training and equips one with dealing in situations which he hasn't dealt before.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


G R Mohan | 12:17 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips
Stall speed is defined as the minimum airspeed required to maintain 1g level flight. Any further reduction in speed will result in the lift produced by the wings to be less than the weight of the aircraft and leads to a loss of altitude. The increase in angle of attack will in turn cause flow separation from the upper surface of the wing . In a swept back high speed aerofoil, this flow separation and associated pitch down will not be a marked phenomenon. Instead the aircraft enters into a descent. The descent rate further tilts the relative airflow downwards and leads to an increase in angle of attack further driving the aircraft into the stall regime. Any attempt by the pilot to raise the attitude by aft pressure on the elevator will cause a further increase in angle of attack and further loss of altitude.

The lift, however, depends on both air density (kg/m³) and on the plane’s velocity, and air density decreases with altitude. So, the higher you go, the faster you have to fly to stay above the stall speed. As you go higher, temperature also decreases, at least in the troposphere were commercial planes are flying. As the temperature decreases, so does the speed of sound.
Similarly, the critical Mach number is the maximum speed at which the airflow can sustain over the wings without losing lift due to flow separation and shock waves,. Any increase in speed in will cause the airplane to encounter stall effects. When the critical Mach number is exceeded, there is an abrupt rise in drag rise as well as a pitch down due Mach tuck. This can result in aircraft upset, altitude loss and loss of control. As the aircraft descends, the airspeed increases. Excessive pull forces during recovery may lead to further loss of control or structural damage to the airplane.
Modern commercial jet aircraft may suffer both high and low speed stall buffet. The associated boundaries are depicted in the FCOM of the aircraft.  The high speed buffet is caused by flow separation from the wings as occurs behind a shockwave at high altitudes and/or Mach numbers. The low speed buffet is caused by the same airflow separation as the aircraft approaches the stall angle of attack. With stall speed increasing with altitude and sound speed decreasing, the velocity window in which an aircraft can operate becomes narrower and narrower.
Turning manoeuvres at these altitudes increase the angle of attack and results in stability deterioration with  a decrease in control effectiveness. The relationship of stall speeds to critical     Mach number (Mcrit) narrows to a point where sudden increase in angle of attack , roll rates and disturbances cause the limits of the airspeed to be exceeded.

The Coffin corner or the Q corner is the altitude at or near which a high speed fixed wing aircraft’s stall speed is equal to the critical Mach number.  Coffin corner exists in the upper portion of the manoeuvring envelope of an aircraft, for a given gross weight and G – Force.
VMO is an aircraft’s indicated airspeed limit. Exceeding the Vmo may cause aerodynamic flutter and G load limitations to become critical during recovery. Structural design  integrity is also not predictable at airspeeds greater than Vmo.
A deeper understanding of the stall characteristics and recovery procedures are important proficiency issues.  When flying at high altitudes, the crew needs to be aware of the margins of safety available, especially when manoeuvring and while riding out turbulence.
To recover from a stall, the attitude needs to be decreased to reduce the angle of attack. The old maxim of Power for ROD or altitude control and Attitude for airspeed control holds good. A burst of power is not the solution for a stall recovery. In all cases, remember  “attitude before power” when you are in a stall.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


G R Mohan | 7:32 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

Today's cabin crew are highly trained, highly skilled, and centre on safety as the core of their job function. And, just like the pilots, many have been trained in crew resource management principles. However, some recent findings have uncovered some disturbing facts about the division of responsibilities and safety issues between the cockpit (pilots) and the cabin crew (Cabin crew). The underlying goal for both the pilots and Cabin crew is the safe and efficient completion of a flight. Yet, there has been an unrelenting division of these groups in times of emergencies as well as routine operations. How could this be? As a layperson, you would assume that these groups would be highly cohesive by nature, and yet the opposite has been shown to be true.

The problem with pilot and flight attendant teamwork, particularly in the area of communications, has its roots in the disparate job functions of both groups. When speaking of pilots, it is a mostly male dominated profession. Conversely, when speaking of Cabin crew, it is a mostly female dominated profession. It should be noted, however, that there has been an increased percentage of "gender balancing" over the last few decades for both groups. Theoretically speaking, and this comes from basic innate gender characteristics, male and female thought processes could be somewhat divergent. This is not to say that there is an abundance of testosterone in the cockpit or that females may be influenced by their inherent affective nature, but the gender differences do have to be considered when groups are segregated into mostly male versus mostly female categories.

Besides gender influences, the most salient reason for division in these groups appears to lie in the division of job functions and responsibilities. The cockpit crew is separated from the cabin crew by not only physical barriers (the door), but also communicative barriers (most communication is conducted through an impersonal interphone). Until relatively recently, pilots considered the cockpit "their territory" while the Cabin crew considered the cabin "their territory." Typically, the only times that these two groups would interface was when the pilots needed to be fed, or in the event of an emergency.

"the basic problem is that these two crews represent two distinct and separate cultures, and that this separation serves to inhibit satisfactory teamwork."

Well, we have - the pilots and the Cabin crew have respect amongst one another as friends but when it comes to working as a crew, we don't work as a crew. We work as two crews. You have a front-end crew and a back-end crew, and we are looked upon as serving coffee and lunch and things like that.

By now you have seen the magnitude of the problem; two groups, two cultures, and two completely separate job functions. The pilots, who work in the small but highly complex cockpit—and the Cabin crew, who come from the service-oriented and spacious cabin—having difficulties bringing their environments closer together and working in harmony.

Pilots and Cabin crew need to understand the basic psychology of group dynamics and the positive effect that pre-flight briefings can have between groups. Many pilots and Cabin crew may have never worked together before and yet both of these groups tend to remain isolated before, during, and after a flight. Some captains are better with an introduction and a briefing than others. But overall, there tends to be a "chill in the air" during pre-flight routines.