Mixed Mode Method of Flight Control

Many of the issues of aircraft performance, stability and control are inextricably connected to operator experience, perception and reaction. Many accident statistics, analyses and reports focus on human performance or pilot errors without any analysis of what caused the errors.
For a number of years, the author has been attempting to call attention to the danger of landing an aircraft using a procedure which mixes automatic and manual control and has resulted in a number of accidents, always attributed to pilot error.
This article, MixedModeFlightControl.pdf, describes the method, its evolution and the danger.

Pilot Error in the Air France 447 Accident

Pilots make many errors. It is recognition of this fact, vigilance in looking for errors and willingness to quickly correct errors which makes for safe operations. When pilot errors cause or contribute to accidents it is in understanding why that leads to correction of problems and prevention of future accidents.

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Human Factors And The Airbus Fly-By-Wire Control Laws

One of the first fly-by-wire (FBY) control laws was developed by Boeing for experimental use on a B-47. It had a sidestick control and was straight stick to control surface. “Stick to control surface” means there is a proportional input to the control surfaces for inputs to the controller, in this case, a sidestick. Boeing named this the C* (C star) law.
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Stall and High Angle of Attack

Aerodynamic stall and flight at high angle of attack are discussed with criticism of certain stall recovery training procedures, suggestions of why these procedures were adopted and research proving them to be faulty.
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See and Avoid

For many years the FAA has promoted a “See and Avoid” solution to prevent mid-air collisions. To have a mid-air collision there must be zero relative bearing change between the objects (aircraft, birds, missiles, torpedoes, etc.) prior to the collision. Since change of relative bearing is not a cue, something other must cause the eye to notice a threat. It can be as simple as the threat is just very large, or it could be a bright light, preferably flashing.
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Southern California Thrust

How the Air Line Pilots Association accidentally discovered the certification requirement for engine out climb gradients was eroded. What you see in the written word is not necessarily what you get. Southern California Thrust.

Vmin and Stall Speed

For many years, pilots have used approach speeds referenced to Vmin speeds which they have assumed were 1g stall speeds. See VminAndStallSpeed.pdf for facts about how the Vmin speeds were not 1g stall speeds, relevant consequences, new regulations to require 1g stall speed determination, and adjustment of the indexing factor for reference approach speeds.

Welcome to Aviation Safety Consultant

Powered flight has been with us for slightly more than one century and within that span of time fantastic advances in every aspect have occurred. Issues of safety have always been prominent.
With regard to matters of the airworthiness and performance of aircraft, my career has provided me the opportunity to both contribute to the body of knowledge and to participate in many aspects directly relating to safety. In doing so, I have had the privilege of representing pilots in national and international forums.
It is my hope that this website will increase access to this body of work so that aviation can increasingly be practiced from a position of strong foundational understanding.