This is shocking, heads in the sand.
For the day to day there is a recording system called FOQA which can (and does) get analyzed, and stores more or less the same thing as the blackbox
Of course trying to be sneaky doesn't help when ATC noticed what happened
Normally if you're looking at a black box, you know something suboptimal already occured.
the way I read it, there were only 800 ft (less than 250 m, or around 15 seconds at a sink rate of 3000 fpm) standing between a "minor incident" and a major disaster.
We're talking about a carrier based in a desert nation and a flight that departed said desert nation. It's a joke about the local environmental conditions resulting in the phrase "head in the sand" being potentially ambiguous between the literal meaning and the figurative meaning.
I live in the Middle-east (the region of the world where Doha is located), trust me, it’s full of sand.
You don’t need to feel insulted for me.
The original use of the idiom was mine and I didn’t make that connection at all.
Human error happens with much greater frequency in aviation than you might believe - I have experienced some absolutely hair-raising moments (watched Lufthansa lose a winglet on landing while the stewardess prayed, had an aerolinias argentinas flight take off with a luggage compartment still open, and a air Bishkek flight where the wheels locked on landing and we ground down the runway at sheremetyevo on hubs), and have been told tales of others by pilots that I wish I hadn’t been told.
The thing is, most of the time, it’s nothing more than some scared passengers and a messed up schedule. “Almost” didn’t happen.
I generally don't fly these days and haven't actually been in a plane for 20 years (ex wife couldn't fly due to med issue) but I need to get out there and would like to pick the least shitty solution.
Some environments foster correction of such errors, learning, experience-sharing, pay well for parts and maintenance, don't overwork their staff. Others not.
I think for me such insights would be gold.
What's needed is a service that tracks near misses or mistakes such as in this post, and their trend over time for each airline. An increase in frequency for a particular airline might well be usefully predictive.
This should be a somewhat testable proposition, right? Does time since accident increase or decrease the probability of next accident?
(Practically, plotting the distribution of inter-accident durations and seeing if the tail falls off exponentially, slower, or faster.)
And how is "eco-friendly" or "service" measured? Why does AtlasGlobal score quite well on Safety even though it's ranked quite low in here, while SCAT airlines – with the same number of "odds of fatal accident" – does have a very low safety score?
Sorry, but useless website. Actually, worse than useless because it pretends to be informational but it's not as the actual amount of information is minimal beyond "trust me" and even a basic scrutiny of a few minutes shows up all sorts of inconsistencies and oddities.
But it is good enough for an inspiration to start a tongue-in-cheek airline shitlist the person I was replying to mentioned. At least I got a joky vibe from their comment. Perhaps they were super serious in that they were gonna start one right this second?
According to this website, Air Asia is supposedly safer than Singapore. And Xiamen Airlines are safer than Cathay? CX and SQ have one of the best safety records, each only suffered a single hull loss, which is very little considering how long they've been operating.
Air Asia is not even a single operation but a bunch of separate airlines using the same brand for marketing purposes. Some of them have much worse safety record than the others (Air Asia Indonesia for example). One would think this also warrants a mention, considering KLM is labeled "Air France-owned" (which is sort of true but much less relevant). Also for consistency shouldn't Transavia then be labeled "Air France-owned" and not "KLM-owned?" Or maybe Air France should be labeled "KLM-owned" to give the more complete story.
In any case, it would be much more useful to know which airlines are government-owned, since this usually breeds regulatory collusion (especially if the regulator and the head of the airline happen to be the same person).
Anyone can put up a list on the Internet but this one is really misleading. If you want a better picture of airline safety comparison (still with many caveats), there's this one:
The accidents may not have been American airlines but it could have easily been.
I remember reading on HN where the pilot failed to timely rotate the plane when it was supposed to take off until it had overshot and apparently flew at 200+ kts after taking off from DBX at low altitude (75 ft) for about a mile, before climbing up & proceeding without incident to IAD . Admiral Cloudberg blogged that Emirates 521 incident showed Emirates pilots seemed over-reliant on instrument for landing .
That said BA earned a hell of a black mark when it chose to divert to Heathrow rather than Stansted or even Gatwick when its engine was on fire . Not as much as when Air France decided to divert from Lebanon to Damascus in the middle of a civil war rather than Cyprus because it was cheaper 
After declaring an emergency, if they landed at Heathrow, that was at the pilot's discretion or due to limiting factors like runway length at Gatwick and the weight of their plane. The article is light on detail but they circled over Kent as well, so the pilots must have thought it was safe after shutting down the engine.
Gatwick and Stansted can take any plane just as easily as Heathrow, but has less on ground resources to fix the plane.
I'd guess they knew it was safe and it's easier to deal with a plane full of pax at your originating airport than diverting to STN (where there's no BA ops) or LGW (BA have ops here so could have worked).
BA did fly from STN in 2017, at the time of the incident - they served short haul tourist routes like PMI, AGP, FLR, IBZ.
And as a frequent flyer of European airlines for intercontinental flights, the quality of the flight experience pales in contrast with Qatar.
You don't know how good the pilot is until it gets you out of a really bad situation that the AP cannot manage. Most airline pilots do very little actual flying: takeoffs mostly, and depending on how new the plane is and the type of runways they land on, some just use auto-land systems.
You're most likely to find more experienced pilots flying small commercial planes without AP than actual proper airline pilots.
Autoland is not the common landing method unless you're in very poor visibility. Pilots DO use it in good weather or other situations, but that's mostly to keep current on their certifications for its use. For those who are curious, look up Category III (Cat III) or 0/0 approaches. Those are the ones autoland are intended for.
Secondly, amongst pretty much every common definition of experience "small commercial plane" operators are almost always less experienced than airline pilots, at least in the US. The reason for this is simple, to be a commercial pilot you need 250 hours of flight experience. To be an airline pilot you need 1500. Small commercial businesses are commonly where pilots pick up the experience needed to even apply to be an airline pilot.
Other common sources: 1) Flight instructing (also a small commercial gig), 2) The military, 3) Aviation schools and lots of $$$$
And that's precisely why I also care about pilot quality before how pleasant the service is. The moment something goes awry with the automated systems you better have a good crew flying your plane than a crew who's much more reliant on instruments and automation.
It's like insurance, I'd rather choose to never have to use it but the moment I need it you bet I'll be very grateful that I preferred a very good coverage than the cheapest option out there.
The entire rubric of reporting deviations early and often was developed as it was identified as a major cause of crashes in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s.
Per this particular incident: It is a big deal the FO screwed up. It's a bigger deal that the screwup was not reported, as it's an indication that the culture of the airline is more concerned with reputation than keeping everyone alive.
Kinda hard to believe that he simply “lost SA”. For an instrument/commercial pilot to lose SA at night on an instrument plan is hard to believe. I’d love to hear the cockpit voice recorder and see the detailed telemetry. Was there a distraction in the cockpit? Interpersonal conflict? A stall?
It's just a euphemism for incompetent instrument flying.
> For an instrument/commercial pilot to lose SA at night on an instrument plan is hard to believe.
Accident reports do show that this level of incompetence from instrument rated commercial pilots do exist. See for example Atlas Air Flight 3591.
Perhaps it's not that common, but of course there's sampling bias here: we're filtering for the pilots that screwed up, so of course there's a lower level of incompetence there.
If one relies on comments from AVH, Qatar might not have the best practices out there. Inappropriate culture could turn to bad results.
Plus there is no information for First Officer's flight experience. He could be a less experienced one.
While flying manually is important to keep skills sharp, trying to fly this under VFR would not be a good idea
> ...lost situational awareness sending the aircraft into a descent that reached 3000 fpm sink rate and exceeded the flap speed limits until the captain took control of the aircraft and recovered about 800 feet above water.
this is due to some conflicting interests between absolute safety and a commercial airlines unstated priorities
Sure, it was not the only factor, but it was one of the decisive factors.
I mostly think of airline safety as binary, eg passing basic standards or not. Is there some data to understand the shades of grey in-between?
Also some companies do not have access to good maintenance/parts due to economic sanctions on their country of origin (or just lack of money). Though this should not be a problem for Qatar Airways.
Basically only airlines in advanced western nations get an automatic pass for me, the rest treated with suspicion and research if I had to fly with one.
This site https://airlinelist.com/ was posted earlier and has a section to track airlines by accidents. Except Virgin Airline you will see no other "advanced" western airline in the list of safe airlines! You should take a deep breath and reflect on your automatic trust in advanced western airlines, you might find it stems from an unconscious bias!
Also, what's the your criteria for "advanced"? Ryanair and Easyjet have no fatal accidents on that site, are you just counting long haul "proper" airlines with wide bodies and not short haul budget operators?
For years there's been another ranking with much better methodology:
Although there are still caveats, with the main one being that past performance does not directly translate to future results, especially if there were significant changes to the airline situation in the meantime. Checking the recent reports from the Aviation Herald can also be revealing:
Anyway, even something like Qatar is fairly safe. To avoid REALLY unsafe airlines one should consult this list https://transport.ec.europa.eu/transport-themes/eu-air-safet...
Though it's worth noting that Qantas have been acquiring smaller companies then slapping their badge on the planes and their uniforms on the pilots. It's only a matter of time before they start to slip down this list and regress to the mean.
This is shocking, heads in the sand.