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Emergency Decent

Flyingdutchman

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Emergency Descent

I was having a discussion with a few guys.

Would you during a em. descent (lets say from FL370 to 10.000 feet like that Helios 737 in Greece)

A) Have the A/P fly ?

or,

B) Fly manual ?

Why A or B ? and what does your company say?

FD
 
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atrdriver

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Personally I would rather let the AP fly. If I'm doing an emer descent there is a reason for it, and I'm going to be trying to take care of the other things that are going wrong. Company also says let the AP fly if it's available.
 

Butters

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Flyingdutchman said:
I was having a discussion with a few friends..

Would you during a emerg. dec. (lets say from FL370 to 10.000 feet like that Helios 737 in Greece)

A) Have the A/P fly

or,

B) Fly manual ?

Why A or B ? and what does your company say?

FD

I choose B. Too critical of a time to let the AP fly. I would want to have the control at that point. Company doesn't dictate either way where I work.

While we are on the subject, if the reports of freezing temps are true, does anyone know why they didn't try to get down earlier?
 

Flyingdutchman

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Ok boys.

This is a good and interesting discussion. I would fly manual, unless it's IMC.

What does your company manual say about this? Manual or A/P?

FD
 

J32driver

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With the A/P on, set 10,000, select IAS mode, power to idle, boards out. Nothing else to do other than deal with the problem. I'd let the autopilot do the work.
 

Butters

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J32driver said:
With the A/P on, set 10,000, select IAS mode, power to idle, boards out. Nothing else to do other than deal with the problem. I'd let the autopilot do the work.

Just be careful someone is still watching the autopilot. Nothing like making a bad situation worse. ;)
 

Flying_Corporal

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Flyingdutchman said:
Ok boys.

This is a good and interesting discussion. I would fly manual, unless it's IMC.

What does your company manual say about this? Manual or A/P?

FD

Manual. I believe some autopilots' max rate of descent is 3000 fpm, which is probably not enough when you need to get down from to 10K quickly.
 

LegacyDriver

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If you have oxygen on and can breathe then there isn't a whole lot out there that requires an incredible descent rate. If you can't get down in time at 3,000-4,000 fpm you are probably dead any way. That's my thinking.


Ditto the above: Masks, Idle, Boards, Gear (if it's that bad), 10,000 Feet/MSA, IAS mode, Checklists. Let the A/P take the workload from you--there are bigger fish to fry at this point.
 
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LowlyPropCapt

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Suit up and communicate and let the AP fly it down. Thats company policy and I agree with it. A high workload time and no pilot, especially on which may be impaired has any business hand flying if he can help it.
 

Flyingdutchman

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Is that in the Dash? isn't your max. service ceiling FL 250 anyway?

Keep 'm comming.

(Are you Den based?? getting junior sp*nked a lot last few days?? ;) )
 

PositiveRate

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AP on, Idle, boards out, Vmo or Mmo if no damage. With the masks on and 1 person handflying, it's very easy to stop working effectively together and task saturation for both people would be more likely (IMO).

Obviously, no two emergencies are created equal and I'm sure there are situations where the AP is either unavailable or maybe just not immediate enough for the need. Even in the later case, though, if it was avail and once the descent was established, I would prob turn it back on.

It seems the life and death line is drawn more by getting the mask on fast enough than it is by the time it takes to get to 10k or thereabouts.
 

LowlyPropCapt

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Flyingdutchman said:
Is that in the Dash? isn't your max. service ceiling FL 250 anyway?

Keep 'm comming.

(Are you Den based?? getting junior sp*nked a lot last few days?? ;) )

The Dash it is, Just not in DEN. The e-descent thing is more if I'm on fire and need to hit a runway directly below me. Which the dash can do, in grand style.
 

FreedomAList

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Easy. Autopilot on. When it's crunch time, you want to do everything you can to reduce the workload. Crew resource management means using every resource at your disposal, and the autopilot is a very powerful tool.

Remember, you're a systems manager, not Chuck Yeager. Save the heroics when for when you take your sweetie-pie up in the 172 for a spin recovery demonstration. You already proved you knew how to fly back in your last PC check.
 

DirkkDiggler

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Auto pilot all the way. What happens if you're hand flying and then you both pass out? If the A/P is on and 10,000 is commanded, then at least the aircraft will level out at a breathable altitude and you can wake up before you run out of fuel.
 

flyer172r

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DirkkDiggler said:
Auto pilot all the way. What happens if you're hand flying and then you both pass out? If the A/P is on and 10,000 is commanded, then at least the aircraft will level out at a breathable altitude and you can wake up before you run out of fuel.

The only problem I see with that scenario is what happens when the AP levels the plane at 10,000, and nobody is awake to advance the thrust levers?

Sadly, I think the recent crash in Greece and the Payne Stewart accident a few years ago would seem to indicate that we are more susceptible to a loss of pressurization and ensuing unconsciousness than we'd care to admit. Has anyone out there experienced a real emergency descent and lived to tell about it? Please share what happened and what you did, it would probably benefit us all.
 

LegacyDriver

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I think a G-String of some sort has an auto-descent profile for cabin pressure loss. That's cool stuff.
 

bigboy

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J32driver said:
With the A/P on, set 10,000, select IAS mode, power to idle, boards out. Nothing else to do other than deal with the problem. I'd let the autopilot do the work.

I agree. Let the AP do the job for you.
 

Flyingdutchman

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Ok.. About 60/40 so far..


FD
 

DirkkDiggler

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flyer172r said:
The only problem I see with that scenario is what happens when the AP levels the plane at 10,000, and nobody is awake to advance the thrust levers?

I agree. That would be a problem, but you can only hope to have regained consciousness by the time you level off. I'd rather take my chances doing this rather than pass out without the autopilot on while performing a high speed descent with the boards out! I think at that point you'd have a lot more to worry about than the thrust being at idle when you leveled at 10,000!

Not to mention you'll be putting on your O2 mask and declaring an emergency at some point. Who's flying while you put your masks on?
 
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