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Thread: Beware of the Gap

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    Beware of the Gap


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    AA 1897 tried to shoot through a gap over West Texas last night. It closed up on them causing substantial damage to the aircraft.
    They declared and landed in ELP with the front windshield panels and nose cone destroyed. All aboard were ok.
    Let the Monday morning quarterbacking (literally) begin.

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    Jesus! The Captain and FO were video’d doing a Q&A at the gate just after deplaning in ELP. This event is cringeworthy on so many levels.

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    Guessing they'll get in trouble. Pretty sure FM1 says to avoid thunderstorms by 20 miles.

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    Nah, they are aa pilots, thwy will give them an award for airmanship, just like the last time. Where at envoy you would be lucky to get away with just focus training.

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    Until you’ve sat behind the radar on those ancient 319’s that LUS and AWA operated and tried to decipher what you’re looking at, none of you judging this crew, or AA pilots in general, have any idea.

    Having spent 10 years and 8,000 hours on the ERJ, I never thought I’d fly behind a lower quality, more dangerous radar than the one installed on that airplane. Well, I was wrong. The radar on the ERJ was/is an order of magnitude better/safer than that on those ancient “Basic” Airbuses. Most of us at AA who’ve flown those airplanes are far from surprised it finally happened. Most of us have expressed the opinion that it wasn’t going to be “if”, but rather “when” something like this would happen. It’s really THAT bad.

    The radar image is weak and smudged on an ancient CRT that can barely be seen clearly during the day. It’s not much clearer at night. Most of us have looked out the window at a severe cell and wondered “how the hell is this damn radar NOT painting the cell, or barely painting it, when it’s RIGHT there in front of us.” At night, in clouds, it’s chilling when you know weather is lurking out there, but is unseen by your awful radar.

    Trust me. We ALL know how to use a radar at AAL - tilt, gain, radar shadows, interpretation, etc., are nothing new to any pilot I’ve ever flown with in my nearly five years here. However, when it’s night, you’re in IMC in cloud, and you’re headed toward severe weather, you expect that the radar on your Airbus should at least be able to reasonably paint the severe weather ahead. With those airplanes, the answer is very likely going to be that it will not.

    We are hopeful that AA will finally realize the jeopardy the airline is subjecting the passengers and crew to by not addressing the serious deficiencies with these worn out radar/CRT combos.

    This could have ended much worse than it actually did.
    Last edited by 450knotOffice; 06-08-2018 at 01:34 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eaglepilot View Post
    Guessing they'll get in trouble. Pretty sure FM1 says to avoid thunderstorms by 20 miles.
    It clearly does say that. However, the crew has to actually be given a reasonable chance to interpret the weather picture in front of them while in IMC, especially at night. That’s almost never possible with the ancient “Basic” LUS and LAWA 319’s/320’s/321’s with their burned out CRT’s and awful radars. Therefore, trying to stay 20 miles from any weather returns while above the freezing level (that’s the policy) often becomes a nearly impossible challenge if the weather is all around you.

    With that said, the newer “Advanced” Airbuses with the Multiscan radar are more than up to the challenge of displaying weather clearly and crisply at amazing distances - red returns at 320 miles are not uncommon, for example.
    Last edited by 450knotOffice; 06-08-2018 at 01:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 450knotOffice View Post
    It clearly does say that. However, the crew has to actually be given a reasonable chance to interpret the weather picture in front of them while in IMC, especially at night. That’s almost never possible with the ancient “Basic” LUS and LAWA 319’s/320’s/321’s with their burned out CRT’s and awful radars. Therefore, trying to stay 20 miles from any weather returns while above the freezing level (that’s the policy) often becomes a nearly impossible challenge if the weather is all around you.

    With that said, the newer “Advanced” Airbuses with the Multiscan radar are more than up to the challenge of displaying weather clearly and crisply at amazing distances - red returns at 320 miles are not uncommon, for example.
    For dead headers and non-rev’s, is there any way to identify an older Bus ?

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    Yes, if not wrong the old ones registration ends with AW and US I believe and all the new ones have winglets, again if I am not wrong.

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    It was daylight, and the dumbest thing they did afterwards was the Q&A at the gate with the passengers filming them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirsnacksalot View Post
    It was daylight, and the dumbest thing they did afterwards was the Q&A at the gate with the passengers filming them.
    It was late evening and they were IMC afaik. Daylight makes those displays even harder to see/interpret.

    The older planes all have the little winglets. The newest have the tall “sharklets”. However, some of the LUS 321’s are Advanced models yet do not have the Sharklets.

    Who knows about why the CA would do a Q and A. Maybe he felt he needed to explain the how and why to the terrified passengers. I don’t know.
    Last edited by 450knotOffice; 06-08-2018 at 05:33 PM.

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    Well he violated another part of AA's fmp-1, which basically says STFU. That guy is on a roll.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ardvark View Post
    Well he violated another part of AA's fmp-1, which basically says STFU. That guy is on a roll.
    There’s nothing in the AA FM-1 prohibiting him from talking to his passengers and answering questions. All FM- says is refer media inquiries to Corporate Communications. As for the company’s social media policy, he didn’t violate that either because it was not HE who posted the video. Someone else did. With all that said, I listened to 2:30 of that video, and he answered very basic questions with very basic answers. It’s pretty obvious he just wanted to calm the nerves of his passengers while they were all in the terminal together.

    On a broader note, why are some here so eager to cast blame all over this crew without having been in that jet in that cockpit at that time? I’ve tried to illustrate that the radar installed in the jet he was in is horrible - almost worthless. He’s been characterized by those who’ve flown with him as being very conscientious with regard to severe weather. He’s not known as some weather cowboy willing to shoot tight gaps willy nilly. I and others who know that radar are fairly certain he was led down the primrose path by it and did the best he could given the situation he found himself in.

    Let’s not crucify these two guys please.

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    This ^^^

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