Chaos in the Cockpit—Botched A350 Go-Around at Paris Orly

The video observes that long haul airline crews make so few landings that five years may elapse between their having to perform a go-around in the real world (as opposed to the simulator).

As a moderately-experienced pilot - albeit without type ratings in any heavy aircraft - and frequent simulator flyer, I was shocked at the failures of the copilot (the “pilot flying”) in this episode. Even more shocking to me was the official analysis, which never even considered the possibility that this is someone who may - for whatever reason, simply lack the requisite skills to be flying commercial aircraft. It seems incompetence has been analyzed out of root causes which can be considered in diagnosing airline mishaps. I would not knowingly get on a plane with that person at the controls.

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The report:

Interestingly, the pilot (captain) was 41, the copilot (first officer) was 45, and the relief pilot was 50. The pilot and copilot had about the same experience and the relief pilot a moderate amount more.


This is a common theme in a lot of these big aviation crashes. Air France 447 are Atlas Air 3591 are two prime examples of this. Its a crazy thing

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Several thoughts come to mind. I don’t know if it is the same in Europe, but in US schools, awards and trophies are given to everyone who shows up for an activity, regardless of performance. Just maybe, possibly, incompetence in the cockpit is one of the results of such radical egalitarianism to the exclusion of objective merit. Air France 447, similarly, beggars the imagination - that a type-rated pilot would manually hold an aircraft in a stall for its entire 3+ minute descent to destruction. I came away from the analysis of that crash, where automation failed because of ice-blocked pitot tubes, with a clear idea: in the event of failure of automation and loss of airspeed information - in IMC (instrument meteorological conditions = no visual reference to the horizon), a safe outcome is far more likely if one neutralizes the control surfaces, puts on cruise power and waits.

In that crash, the artificial horizon was even working and ignored, as it does not rely on airspeed information. It seems clear that failure or partial failure of automation has a tendency to overwhelm pilots who are no longer selected or trained based on their ability to execute the fundamentals of flying a non-automated aircraft.


Agreed with everything here. I just don’t understand why Airbus created such a dangerous control interface.