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Idled Qantas pilots make errors after returned to active duty, report says

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Australian flag carrier Qantas finds that pilots who have not flown for long periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic are making mistakes such as beginning take-off with the parking brake on, and misidentification of altitude as airspeed. ( More...

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James Kelly 8
Perishable skill set. If you don't use it you lose it.
Peter mulenga 8
Shouldn’t they then be taken through refresher training rather than letting them make these mistakes which may result in some serious problems?
davemc380 18
They are being taken through extensive refresher training. Very extensive. Most other reputable airlines are doing the same. But at the end of the day.. still human. It takes a while to get back into one's rhythm. At least it's being reported and acknowledged rather than swept under the rug..
Duane Mader 3
Sim training is good but sim world still isn’t the real world.
davemc380 4
Agreed, but sim training is very good - especially for procedural training (which is where these errors are). That said, I know Qantas also conducted over 200 empty flights in the actual aircraft (both B787 and A380) as part of the crew re-introduction. They are taking it very seriously, and spending huge $$ in recognition of the issue. I'm sure many other airlines with long term stood down crew are doing the same.
alex hidveghy 4
Yes, I’m sure. Being one of the world’s oldest and safest airlines with no fatalities in its history, they have a reputation that’s hard to beat. I think they like to keep it that way.
Great country, great airline, good history. QANTAS - Queensland And Northern Territories Air Services - no “U” after Q in the name…….a little bit of aviation trivia! 🦘
Alan Glover -4
Not a great country any more. Their covid fear porn coupled with quarantine camps has them going all CCP.

Damn shame.
alex hidveghy 4
That’s just a matter of opinion! All countries reserve the right to do that. Look at NZ and Singapore. Want to go there, then you gotta comply. End of story.
Keep in mind, the US was closed to Europe and the UK until early November, 2021!!
Phil Nolden 3
Freedom is something that is taken for granted in many countries - until you lose it. But when in Rome.... :)
alex hidveghy 1
Very true.
I was an investigator in to an incident/accident of a major airline during a takeoff roll and worked with both the safety department and the FAA inspector. The pilots went through “re-training” in the sim but that did not alleviate or explain what happened on that night.
The only mitigating factor was no damage to aircraft and no injuries, so, it was left unresolved as human error……they were not able to replicate or explain why it happened, other than additional factors such as delays, fatigue, distractions and unfamiliarity with lighting and markings.
sharon bias 12
Makes perfect sense. Like any memory task, if you don't do it for a period of time, the memory changes or is lost.
alex hidveghy 5
Even 90 days off for medical or other reasons will make a difference. It’s human physiology, folks, nothing unusual about that. Presumably training departments are aware……..
steven iltz 5
Take a vacation from line flying is enough to feel your falling behind the airplane. Take months off and falling way behind is nothing in comparison to take a short vacation. Training is required to regain skills for the task.
Malcolm Jones 4
There is a need to maintain currency/recency. The more time you have off the longer it takes to get back to where you were before.
21voyageur 4
The wording of the report heading could easily fool anyone to assume that this is a Qantas problem. Sure the info regarding Qantas could support the fact that airlines, in general, are experiencing an increased number of errors.
alex hidveghy 2
Yes, I can attest to that.
Phil Nolden 4
I'm retired, but when I was flying the line I could tell the difference if I was off for a couple of weeks. Any more than that, and the copilot could tell the difference.
Guy Genbrugge 2
Hello there,I'm a citizen from Ghent (Belgium),and last year there was a lot of passing over-planes(A380) from Qantas with direction London Heathrow as final destination.Is it because of COVID that there are no more flights coming over our city? With kind regards,Guy Genbrugge
davemc380 3
Hi Guy, yes. No Qantas A380 services have operated to London since March 2020 due to COVID. They are due to start operating to London again in July I think, so you will see them again ;)
Mistaking two numbers on a screen isn't hard to do.
Would this happen on old analog gauges -the three needles on an altimeter look a lot different to the airspeed indicator?
Roger Curtiss 1
Perishable skills indeed...but mistaking altitude for airspeed?
davemc380 4
Not so much actually mistaking altitude for airspeed, but turning the wrong dial, i.e. turning the IAS selector instead of the altitude selector or heading selector. Have you ever pushed the wrong button on your phone, or on the aircon in your car? Same sort of issue. They are all similar controls, and all in similar places. Generally not a problem, but granted a small weak point in the man/machine interface, exacerbated by lack of currency.
Roger Curtiss 1
That makes more sense.
Wayne Fox 1
Perhaps some simulator time for these pilots would be helpful.
Eric Heineman 1
Can we interview the pilots and find out when was the last time they flew. Why not partner pilots with ones who have recently flown with ones who haven’t flown in sometime?. Than at least maybe one can catch the other’s mistakes
davemc380 3
This is done with each and every occurrence - even small non-compliance errors (not just accidents). The recorded data is reviewed by a team of peers, and the pilots also get to observe the data. The pilots are interviewed as part of the investigation - not with a punitive objective, but to find out what caused the error so that re-training may be targeted for them, and also so that general training is developed for all crew so others are more aware of the same 'traps'. It is overall a very healthy environment of constant development.
alex hidveghy 1
It’s quality control, I can’t recall what the aviation term is now but it’s anonymous.
21voyageur 0
@ Eric Heineman

"Can we interview the pilots , , ,etc" All this site does is scrape other sites for information. I do not see any interview potential from this site as it is simply an aggregator of information and not a generator of information.
Alan Glover 1
Aggregated flying info is cool.

And contributions by folks associated with or aficionados of flying is edifying.
21voyageur 2
Don't disagree. After all, I subscribe. My comment was directed to the individual who asked if the pilots could be interviewed.
Alan Glover 1

I was addressing the idea that any comment related to the subject can be germaine vis asking the question regarding possible interviews.

I didn't get the impression it was specifically Flight Aware that would or should be doing the interviews only that it would be a good idea generally.
One will see the same situation in every aspect of human endeavor requiring physical and mental coordination. You can prove it by riding a bicycle after a year or more of not doing so.
Andy Scontras -2
The headline should read: Qantas fails to provide sufficient refresher training before returning pilots to the line...
Rob Carlassara -2
Simple solution - GET BACK TO NORMAL..... No more government tyranny
alex hidveghy 2
Huh? trump is no longer POTUS, he got booted! We saved American democracy and stopped that tyranny you speak of....
btweston -3
Person who didn’t do something for a while wasn’t ask good at it when they did it again.


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