Monday, March 30, 2009

Daniel Asuncion said...
A question for your blog, Doug:World War II pilots (e.g. thosewho flew Flying Fortresses) learned by experience wnat theywere probably never taught inflight school... how to flyseverely damaged aircraft.I imagine that this involvesusing your skills in ways thatcompensate for damaged or evenmissing control surfaces etc.I'm wondering, were these hardearned skills incorporated intothe training for modern, commer-cial pilots? Or have these oldskills been lost to the ages?)P.S. On the Discoveryprogram, Mayday,I noticed that evenmodern, commercialpilots face suchextreme challenges(e.g. mid airexplosion due tofuel leak coupledwith transferringfuel from one wingtank to the other)
March 28, 2009 3:37 PM

From the Flight Deck said...
Daniel. Our flight simulators can simulate about 500 different scenarios. However, the public assumes we pilots train for the scenario which is one in a billion.A case in point was Jet Blue's emergency landng in 2005 at LAX.The nosewheel was cocked 90 degrees. Many media types at the time thought pilots trained for these scenarios. We do train in case the landing gear won't extend but not much beyond that as far as different configuartions.As far as flying and handling severely damaged airplanes, a pilot is all on his own.


Daniel Asuncion said...

Doug: Thanks for your very frank
and honest answer. Even though air-
line pilots don't train for the one
in a billion scenario, I think their
chances would be quite good anyway.

Because they train for the one in a
million scenarios. 500 of them. I'm
reminded of a documentary about the
Apollo 13 crisis. What happened was
totally unexpected. But their train-
ing and experience (and that of
the ground team) gave them the
skills and the nerve to improvise.