to ASRS often confirm the popular wisdom, "Nobody is perfect."
However, in the following reports it would appear that "Nobody"
is not perfect. Things can go wrong when Nobody takes over.
this report, Nobody did a little sight-seeing and then headed for the
golf course... with two pilots along for the ride.
was a test flight and proficiency check after a condition inspection.
A pilot-rated A&P mechanic was in the back seat (two-place, tandem).
When I was finished with the test maneuvers, I asked the other pilot
if he wanted to fly. I misunderstood him and relinquished control.
The airplane flew a random sight-seeing track, but then descended
to approximately 500 feet AGL over a golf course. I asked the other
pilot to climb. He replied that he thought I was flying. Nobody was
advantage of poor cockpit communication is one of the most common ways
for Nobody to take control.
I was attempting to dial in the ATIS, I was having trouble clearing
the current frequency on the radio and [my passenger] said he would
fly the airplane while I tuned the radio. After entering the frequency,
the ATIS came on and I said, "Got it." As I continued to
listen to the ATIS, I noticed that we had begun a shallow, descending
turn to the right. The airplane began to pick up speed and I told
[my passenger] that we were getting a little fast. There was a stand
of trees coming up quickly and I said, "We need to pull up."
He pulled the plane out of the shallow dive.... We had a long discussion
afterward and it was clear that he misunderstood "got it"
to mean that I had control of the airplane. We each thought that the
other was flying when actually nobody was flying the plane. We agreed
that we would be more certain of cockpit communications in the future.
Get Relief - Nobody Takes Over
this B757 crew was busy playing musical chairs, at least the autopilot
stayed on the job. Nobody was at the controls.
cruise flight, I needed to leave my seat and go to the forward lavatory....
I exited the cockpit as a flight attendant entered to secure the cockpit
door behind me, per company policy. [When I returned], I cleared the
area and knocked on the cockpit door for re-entry. Instead of the
flight attendant opening the door, I was very surprised to see the
First Officer at the cockpit door. We passed each other as he let
me in and exited to use the facility himself. I knew instantly that
nobody was "flying" the plane (of course, the autopilot
was on and we were in level flight). I quickly jumped into my seat.
Nobody was at the controls for maybe 5-10 seconds.... In his zest
to be efficient and minimize the opening of the cockpit door (for
security reasons), the First Officer forgot he was leaving the airplane
unattended when he got up to let me in and himself out.... To make
matters worse, when the First Officer opened the cockpit door, we
were both in the doorway at the same time in view of the first class
passengers. Additionally, since the flight attendant had apparently
retreated momentarily to the Captain's seat to let the First Officer
get by her (the jump seat was folded up), she may have been perceived
by passengers to be "at the controls" when the door was
opened. This was an embarrassing and misleading situation.
Busts an Altitude
Falcon 50 crew learned that Nobody takes over when both pilots are busy
doing other things.
receiving a clearance to FL280, we left our assigned altitude. During
the descent, we were doing some HF radio checks, and forgot to arm
the altitude select mode on the flight director. As a result, we descended
through our altitude.... We promptly returned to FL280.
a crew, we are very diligent and disciplined about altitude assignments.
But in this case, because our attention was diverted from the task
at hand, we flew through our assigned altitude. It was that classic
trap: both crew members distracted by something and nobody flying
this report, a busy air traffic controller was expecting some assistance,
but Nobody provided it.
an MD11 leveled at 12,000 feet, the conflict alert activated with
traffic to the southwest of him climbing northeast. The tag (radar
display of an aircraft's tracking and flight information), which showed
the traffic climbing out of 11,700 feet, switched to an "M"
tag (a tag which indicated that an approach sector took the handoff).
Nobody coordinated with me to allow this VFR Beech Jet to climb through
my airspace. By the time the conflict alert activated, there was nothing
I could do. Somehow the aircraft was radar identified, allowed to
climb, and handed off to another sector without approval, or traffic
issued.... I don't know if the VFR aircraft had the MD11 in sight....
I was focused mainly on the aircraft on my tags and not as much on
the other tagged and untagged aircraft on my scope.
Does the Documentation
reported by an A320 maintenance technician, when Nobody documents a
job, trouble follows.
gave clearance to close the #1 and #2 engine fan cowls. I did not
know that the deactivation pins for the reversers were still installed.
Nobody had documented that the pins were installed as required by
our maintenance procedures. On the test flight the reversers did not
deploy. The job card for removing these pins had been accomplished
prior to the first test flight the day before, however the pins were
reinstalled without documentation. Our policy for clearance to close
the cowls does not include looking for deactivated engine components.
Knew There Was a Problem
maintenance crew should have informed their supervisor rather than let
an aircraft depart with a known problem.
aircraft went to the run-up area for an engine run, and was towed
back to the hangar pad. The gear doors were up and locked at this
time. A tug then took the aircraft to the gate where the ramp crew
said they saw the nose landing gear door droop. After two attempts
to push the gear door up at the gate, they told nobody about the problem
and left the aircraft. On takeoff, the nose landing gear door departed
the aircraft causing an air turn back....
Answers, but Everybody Wins
don't always have to go wrong when Nobody is around. In this case, a
cabin crew's training and teamwork prevailed when Nobody answered the
call for a doctor.
at the gate, the Purser made a PA announcement for a physician. Nobody
responded so I went forward. In the First Class section, a passenger
was on the floor in the aisle. The Purser was performing compressions,
Flight Attendant #3 was monitoring the Automated External Defibrillator
(AED), and a passenger was operating the resuscitator bag. I put on
gloves, replaced the Purser and the Purser took over the resuscitator.
We performed Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) until paramedics
Recently Issued Alerts On...
airport STARS radar problem
series nose gear tire incompatibility
airport runway surface conditions
nose wheel steering loss on takeoff
uncommanded flight spoiler activation
2003 Report Intake
Carrier/Air Taxi Pilots