Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Soul of an airline plane

No matter what emergency exists on board an airline aeroplane in flight, the pilot of that plane does NOT, no, never ever tell the passengers on board to PRAY for a safe landing, be that done in a calm or joking or humorous or serious manner.

What the AirAsia pilot did on the D7237 flight from Perth to (planned destination) KL before returning to Perth because of an engine vibration, that in asking the passengers to pray, was very very very UNPROFESSIONAL.

No professional airline pilot would or will ever do that.

The pilot should have just kept the passengers informed of the problem and his intentions, and with a calming assurance a safe secure landing (or even an emergency ditching) would be conducted on arrival at Perth.

Leave appeals for divine intervention to individuals and definitely out of the captain's briefing please.

Zaid Ibrahim was absolutely spot on in criticising the pilot for a most unprofessional conduct.

But because Zaid is from the DAP, Nik Abduh of PAS just has to jump up to defend the pilot.

Naturally you would expect the 'establishment', to wit, the Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai, the AirAsia Bosses and even one or two clueless passengers who have no idea what the responsibilities of a plane or ship captain are, all to come out to defend the pilot's bizarre action.

We shouldn't expect Air Asia to ever admit the pilot's action had been unbecoming because that would be commercially damaging to its image.


  1. U can teach a monkey to pilot a plane after 1000 times of repeated paplovian​ trainings.

    If NOTHING goes wrong, the monkey can take-off & land the plane without problem, especially in this days of flight-by-wire control system.

    The moment something extraordinary happens, the monkey would ask everyone on board to pray for miracle.

    The supposely ingrained repetitive training procedure just goes out the window.

    There r pilots & there r pilots!!!!

  2. Read the book "The Right Stuff" by Tom Wolfe , or the movie by the name, and you will understand the history of the aircraft pilots's creed.
    Part of the Captain's job is to remain calm, collected and reassuring even in the midst of the most dire emergencies.
    In the old days , before fancy live digital data links , test pilots had to read out over the radio what was happening to the aircraft, and the status of his instruments. In the book, there is a scene of a pilot calmly describing his plane's situation and status even as he attempted to regain control of a plane heading for a crash at supersonic speed.

    An A330 can fly and land on one engine. It would have been standard procedure to shut down the defective engine and it should not have been a life-threatening situation. One remaining engine is trickier to fly because of the unbalanced engine power but Captains, especially, should be fully trained on how to handle it.
    I suspect either there was something far more seriously wrong with the plane, or the pilot was seriously out of his depth to handle the situation.

    Anyway, the incident will be investigated by Australian Air Safety authorities, and I am confident it will not be covered up. Unlike Bolehland, the Land of CoverUps where practically nothing the Federal Administration says can be trusted at face value.

    The investigation report into the Air Asia Flight 8501 revealed major problems with Air Asia safety practices. That aircraft had a long history of intermittent, unsolved technical faults, which were ultimately traced to a broken solder join on a circuit board controlling the rudder. That plane was questionable to fly. On that fatal night, the Captain had resorted to a completely unapproved method (apparently done before in Air Asia) of resetting the fuse to the aircraft's electronic systems, basically doing a reboot in mid air.

    The other major criticism arising is Air Asia pilots even including Captains, only received "Adequate" standard flight training, able to fly the plane under normal circumstances, but insufficient to prepare them for unusual emergencies.

    1. my experts told me it's NOT difficult to fly on one engine in a two engine aircraft like the Airbus 330.

      Yes, there would be asymmetric forces on one engine running but which could be neutralised by rudders. Modern rudder contraption are amazing so the pilot would not be subjected to difficulties in flying.

      The question to ask is: was the defective engine shut down? If it wasn't because the pilot did not realize the danger of not doing so, that could explain the very severe vibrations which could, as I wrote earlier, tear of the wing of that engine. As an airline expert also pointed, it the vibrations caused the engine itself to tear off, it would have ripped lots of electrical wiring and fuel plus hydraulic lines, causing fire to break out on that wing.

      Someone pointed out a turbine engine even if shut down would continue windmilling, meaning freely rotating as a result of airflow.

      But if shut down and without live power the windmilling would NOT have caused so severe a vibration which plagued that aircraft to an extent that some passengers said the airline aircraft was shaking like an unbalanced washing machine. That was severe and could have been disastrous.

      My suspicions is that the pilot might NOT have shut the damaged engine down because he wanted the power (of the damaged engine) in addition to the good engine (on other side of plane) to fly over the sea back to Perth.

      If that was the case, then the pilot did not realize the severe vibrations caused by the damaged engine still running was humongously perilous, while flying on only one engine (with the damaged engine shut down but nevetheless windmilling) was safe and a piece of cake for a trained pilot to handle.

      If AirAsia claimed that damage engine was shut down, then we need to know why there existed severe vibrations - it just didn't add up.

      The above is on top of the flabbergasting lack of professionalism of the pilot in calling on the passengers to pray - for f**k sake.

      And Tony Fernandez has of course been supporting the pilot not because the pilot did the right thing but Tony as AirAsia Boss has no choice but to support his captain's reputation.

    2. I forgot to add, that the pilot himself must have been so shaken by the events (just like his plane was shaken up by the damaged engine) that he made a bad Freudian slip to call for prayers. It's so unprofessional but I suspect he was scared himself.

  3. There is a further sting to this.
    The A330 is a very safe and reliable plane, which is certified to fly on routes up to 180 minutes (3 hours) from the nearest airport able to handle it. This comes under ETOPS approval.

    The airline operator (Air Asia in this case) must also be certified for ETOPS. If the investigation turns out that the Air Asia pilot was inadequately trained to safely manage a 1-engine loss emergency , Air Asia's ETOPS certification may be at risk. This would make its long-haul Air Asia X flights questionable.

    There have been a few rare cases where all engines on a modern jet aircraft failed in flight.
    One was traced to an error by ground crew loading incorrect amount of fuel into the plane (liters vs gallons) , which the pilot also failed to detect. (Air Canada 1983)
    Another case was a plane on holding pattern, and the pilot faied to notice he was running out of fuel (Colombia 2016 - Budget Airline).

    In 2008 , a Qantas 747 approaching Bangkok airport suffered total electrical system failure, which led to the engine's electronic controls to fail as well, and total loss of power.
    Luckily the plane was already close to Bangkok airport , and the huge 747 actually landed as an unpowered glider.

  4. In my younger days, my day job dealt with Turbines - big, heavy, land-based turbines, nothing to do with aircraft engines, but the physics involved is not that far different.

    A jet engine contains rows upon rows of airfoil-shaped blades. They serve to either compress incoming air, or absorb energy from the hot jet exhaust to drive the compressor up in front.
    In a situation where the engine fuel has been cut-off in a shutdown, the air continuing to rush at the engine at hundreds of kilometres per hour would cause the turbine to continue to rotate.
    In this case, Absorbing energy from the forward motion of the aircraft.

    It is entirely possible , if the original damage to the engine was really severe, this continuing rotation could lead to heavy vibrations.
    Let the authorities investigate.

    I tend to agree the pilot should not have spooked the passengers by talking about prayer....make it sound like a potentially fatal situation. Unless...maybe it was..

    A defective turbine spinning at very high speed can cause a tremendous amount of damage. I once had the experience of a blade which detached from its mounting, pierced the casing (the design was not supposed to allow that to happen, but it did) and went straight through the roof of the building. The turbine went into automatic emergency shutdown, but in the few seconds it took to slow down, major damage was done to the bearings and even the main shaft.

    Luckily no one was injured or killed.
    Money is replaceable, but not human life.

  5. terbang dgn 1 enjin tidak ada masalah.

    1. "terbang dgn 1 enjin tidak ada masalah"
      Memang benar kalau juruterbang cukup terlatih.
      Tapi kalau dilatih sekadar "Malaysia Boleh" saya kurang yakin....

      Saya banyak terdengar kabar angin mekanik dan juruteknik Air Asia hanya tahu tukar minyak dan tukar filter sahaja. Kalau masaalah jentera kapalterbang yang lebih rumit, memang tak berkemampuan.

      Asalkan kapal terbang masih baru, tak bermasaalah, sama macam kereta baru - tukar minyak, tukar filter sudah mencukupi. Kalau kapal terbang dah tua...apa jadi ?

      MAS mempunyai hangar besar dan struktur penyelenggaraan yang cukup canggih...apa jua masaalah teknikal dengan kapalterbang MAS dapat ditangani.

      Air Asia ? Tak ada pun....Major Scheduled Maintenance dihantar ke kontraktor di Singapura. Tapi kalau kapalterbang ada masaalah teknikal yang tak ikut jadual ?...

      Tony F. ahli perniagaan yang cukup licik. Dia tahu satu-satu kos terbesar syarikat penerbangan ialah penyelengaraan and pembaikan (Maintenance and Repairs).

      Saya dengar, banyak masalah kecil lansung tidak di baiki...tunggu scheduled maintenance di Singapore. Tapi kadangkala masalah kecil boleh tiba-tiba bertukar jadi masaalah besar ditengah perjalanan, sama macam kereta....

  6. Mkini article...
    "Health Ministry director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said as a practising surgeon, he would ask his patients and family to pray before a surgery".....

    Now Zaid's criticism of the pilot's prayer call is being turned against him.

    Zaid unfortunately has a past reputation, deserved or undeserved, of being overliberal and being a lousy Muslim ....Ktemoc blames PKR for the story, but they have actually been floating around for ages, even before he had anything to do with PKR...its Zaid Ibrahim's political Achilles' Heel...

    1. A practising surgeon's recommendation about praying for the best in a surgery is a humanely preparatory comforting word in times of discouragement or worry.

      Mind u for a small, closed kindred who might have been informed about all the possible outcomes.

      It's NOT the same as in the Perth/KL flight.

      The REAL assurance then was the pilot, whom the passengers have put their lifes in his professional skill, SHOULD be trying all out to calm the situation.

      Not telling the passengers to pray, ie putting their surviving hope in the hand of Almighty!

      A VERY irresponsible act!

      Just imagine if the passengers r not been totally enclosed in the plane high in the sky, there WILL be stampede, liking to rushing out from a stadium with hundreds of people via a single exit le!

      This is a case of unprofessional conduct, in the case of emergency!