When one is confronted with a lack of control caused by those systems, and having been so removed from general flying that they end up panicking and crashing.
It's such a deal that the FAA is reviewing flight training because Airline pilots are struggling with even the basics such as go arounds and stall recovery.
Below is an article about the FAA's struggles. And an article about how most pilots couldn't actually pull off a Sully type landing.
And if you are facing student loans that is a wringer.
So now that airlines are expanding, the majors are having trouble finding experienced or qualified pilots since many people forgo pursuing it as a career.
For high growth markets, like Asia, they have resorted to lowering license requirements with things like the Multi-crew Pilot License (MPL) which is all sorts of alarming (remember when that Asiana flight crashed on landing in SFO?).
Not looking back.
We don't take risks, but we do generally train for many common failure scenarios in a given plane (everything from incorrectly reading / failed instruments to equipment failures and fires etc) when getting endorsed / type-rated for it.
Then one night at a neighborhood party he was complaining about his pay and let it slip that he had to take a pay cut that was more than some people's entire annual take-home.
I don't feel bad for him anymore.
Edit: Also keep in mind that a "shortage" claimed by an employer can sometimes be nothing more than a shortage of people willing to work for the price they're paying. ;)
This squeeze led to majors upping their compensation for tenured employees in order to encourage them to stay. This is why Senior Captains have seen increases to their average compensation while entry-level pilots at regionals haven't seen much change (regionals often operate on shoestring margins). This, in the short term works, and even now it's part of the reason that Pilots at majors end up having longer careers at the same carrier than average private sector industries. The benefits in scheduling and pay that they accrue the longer they are at a single airline are some of the strongest employee retention benefits of any industry today. Perhaps not as strong as the pension benefits of the 50's but certainly stronger than Software Engineers which have seen decreasing average employment duration in recent years.
This means that while potential new pilots have been choosing alternative carreers and older pilots stay longer, the age distribution of pilots has become unevenly distributed. There are a lot of older-aged pilots being paid a lot, but there have been overall less pilots entering the industry.
But here's the catch: Airline pilots are one of the only professions which have federal regulations governing age eligibility. That is, pilots must retire at age 65 according to the FAA. This age requirement was increased from 60 back as recently as 2007:
But the FAA added a qualification where international captains over 60 had to be accompanied by a co-pilot under 60.
Point is there is an aging pilot population which, literally, will age out of the profession and not enough younger pilots to fill the gap.
At any rate, the pilot crunch is a really interesting market situation and I haven't been in the industry for 3+ years so my perspective is likely dated.
Anyone interested in self driving cars should watch this too.
Losing an AoA indicator entirely is probably easier to deal with than false readings from one, but again, a skilled pilot should be able to tell when the readings are false and fly the plane.
Unless you know how to turn off the Flight Control Computers and the right moment to do so - which may or may not even be in the checklist (any pilot want to chime in?) - then even with autopilot disengaged modern jets will still operate flight control surfaces if a 'dangerous' configuration is detected.
Of course with bad data going in you get bad data out, so the FCC can take actions that put the aircraft in danger as it thinks it's in a situation is isn't really in.
As far as I understand it, you can't simply override these inputs with pilot input, you need to actually shut down the FCC to get back control.
At low speed most planes will get a little "rough" (kinda like high frequency, low amplitude turbulence) and the control surfaces will respond sluggishly whereas at high speed the controls feel sharp, trim controls have vastly more effect and slight changes in direction have a stronger feeling of G-force. I haven't flown anything with hydraulic or fly-by-wire controls so I'm not sure how much logic is being applied to augment input depending on speed which might have an effect. That and heavier airplanes respond more slowly and generally dampen aerodynamic oscillation more.
So, stall characteristics just don’t generalize well in my experience.
Edit: Re read and realized they never actually mentioned a stall, but rather they probably thought they were approaching one and just kept mashing the nose down trim switch because AOA was reading high so they probably over-sped the aircraft. I guess my point becomes: why does it seems like they were only flying off of AOA??
Edit Edit: The wording suggests it wasn't even the pilots making the input, the AOA sensor was making automatic inputs and the airplane probably over-sped and broke up (or someone freaked out and pulled up hard).
Maybe you were confusing this accident with AF447, which indeed stalled due to an excessive AoA?
>... airspeed indicator had been malfunctioning on four consecutive flights prior to the crash ...
Does it take significant effort to overcome trim? Or does a bad AOA sensor add to pilot confusing during recovery?
The Rostov-on-Don crash in 2016 appears to have been caused by downwards trimming for 12 seconds. This caused a -1g dive from which the pilots were unable to recover. It's inconceivable they wouldn't have been attempting to pull up with the elevator. You can't not notice -1g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flydubai_Flight_981
Now the final report is not out yet, so it's not clear if the downwards trim was somehow manual (which doesn't really make any sense), or a similar problem to the Lion Air crash. Either way, it's worried Boeing and the FAA enough to issue this AD.
Basically conventional (not a canard) stable (not an F-16) aircraft have the CG in front of the center of lift of the main wing so it wants to nose down. The tail then acts as a counter balance, pushing down to keep the nose up. Because airspeed over the smaller surface effects its downforce and the center of thrust is not always in line with the center of drag, they add trim to prevent the pilot from having to maintain constant control pressure. Some do it by biasing the control surface itself, either in the control mechanism or with a tab that aerodynamically moves the surface, or by changing the angle of attack of the horizontal stabilizer.
(also a non-pilot, I found the above surprising, but there it is..)
But yes, that was a highly modified plane pushed way past any sensible operating limits, so maybe one shouldn't generalize too much from it.
At this point, the trim tab was still attached, but its link assembly had broken.
In addition, the report notes "two major modifications to the elevators each made the airplane more sensitive in pitch control: the substantially increased elevator counterweights (about twice that of a stock P-51D) that overbalanced the elevators and the substantially decreased elevator inertia weight (less than half that of stock)."
And trim may sound trivial, but sudden changes of the center of gravity can be instantly fatal. Once you leave the space of small trim adjustments needed, for e.g. fuel consumption, recovery may well be impossible. That's why load planning of planes and cargo handling / stowing are so important. You don' t want to end up with a center of gravity in a place that is incompatible with flight.
My memory is also that the senior captain was in the third seat and didn't have a full grasp of the situation either.
I did read the air accident report quite a while ago so this might be wrong, but in summary, it's not exactly arguable that the aircraft did the wrong thing (it did as designed minus the freeze issue which is suboptimal but something that can happen) and the pilots didn't exactly do the wrong thing either since they may have little to no experience flying the plane in alternate law (certainly not at high altitude and speed), and it's not unreasonable to be fully aware that they had full control (as opposed to the flight computer mediating and not letting them do something stupid like stall it all the way down to the ocean).
Lastly, when in cruise it's not completely trivial to fly like a Cessna at 1,000ft. At cruise on a big heavy jet you can't go much higher as the air is too thin to fly. You can't go much faster without braking the sound barrier. You can't go much slower as you'll stall. I believe it's called "coffin corner", and while commercial passenger planes do it every day it's not quite as simple as you might think.
One the contributing factors was that the stall warning cut out when the nose was pointed higher up, giving the copilot the impression his attempt to full nose up was the right decision. When the nose lowered the stall warning kicked back in. IIRC this was because the computer saw the full nose up as an "impossible" condition and decided not to issue the stall warning. As the nose lowered certain values came back in-range so it issued the warning.
Without these two wildly incorrect behaviors the plane probably wouldn't have crashed.
Solving the problem by ignoring one of the pilots would be an interesting engineering problem. How do you choose?
I still think it's arguable that the "right thing" is for the plane to say "Hey, I don't know how to fly this thing anymore, so I'm giving up! Oh and since I'm so confused, the plane is in alternate law, so all of those nomal-law protections you usually have aren't there." and then handing over control to the pilot that hasn't been actively flying the plane and expecting him to suddenly figure out what's been happening and why the autopilot gave up.
Since the pilots did pretty much the opposite of what they should have done, maybe the plane could have done better itself, even with the unreliable airspeed?
Wasn't the one pilot pulling back fully on the stick and not communicating that he was doing that? And weren't the pilots aware that they were in a stall scenario? Which means that pulling back fully was the exact wrong thing to do?
My impression is basically that it was almost entirely the fault of the pilot that was pulling back the whole time. Of course, it sounds like Airbus' controls could provide _a lot_ more feedback to pilots, especially when there are divergent inputs.
If memory serves me well, Air France revised their training afterwards to cover that exacz scenario, that pulling up silenced the stall warning was expected system behaviour. Complex systems require in depth system knowledge and quick reaction times. That is one of the points I took away from that incident.
Alternate law still enforces bank angle protection. With full control (direct law) it could have entered spin. (or maybe they could realized situation earlier)
Stall warning was confusing because pulling up even more removed warning temporarily because extreme AoA was interpreted as sensor failure.
Also IIRC the pilots didn't know what's going on until they hit the ocean.
IANAP ... please correct me if I'm wrong here.
Edit: clarified about switch