And millions of people are under-impressed by the fact that Obama signed us all up as customers for giant health insurance companies instead of actually doing something to ensure that people get something useful out of the venture.
If by that you mean you would have preferred a single payer approach, I would agree. This was a result of compromise (a concept not well understood by House Republicans, BTW) due to the exhaustive lobbying efforts of the insurance industry, and is a prime example of the need to remove money from politics.
Every military person I've known have done it for the free college money they give out.
During the Regan expansion, I chose to sign a contract with the Navy. My path did not involve any contribution on their part towards my college education; AOCS is not a scholarship program, and like a fool, I decline to participate in the GI Bill.
People are inherently selfish but I will admit there are a small percentage that do things because they mean well and desire nothing in return. A dying breed for sure.
I truly did it because I thought it would be exciting (it was, mostly), but we were not (formally) at war with anyone until Desert Shield/Storm came along. As an added bonus, I learned to fly and got to play with really fascinating machinery- "something in return". I would concur that my motivation was indeed selfish from a strict interpretation, but not exclusively so. And most of my peers came from the same frame of mind. Despite a minority that saw it as a path to the airlines, most of us "mean(t) well and desire(d) nothing in return" save the pay and adventure. I would conclude the percentage might not be that small, even today. OTOH, I would strongly encourage my son to choose any branch other than Army or Marine Corps as the chance of getting fired upon is much greater than in the others.
BTW, James Duane's video does not argue the merits of the 5th Amendment. It merely argues that one should exercise this right to the maximum extent possible.
With judgment and experience, a pilot can know whether a climb is better than a descent, what route is best to avoid, if taking extra fuel is more harmful than helpful, understands winds aloft, tropopause, and orographic phenomenon and their effect on turbulence, and a myriad of other vital information.
Most importantly, incidents like AF447 would be more likely and recovering from that type of upset would be impossible by remote pilot.
Is there a structural problem with computer-aided pilot's ability to fly visual approaches?
Not sure of the specifics of this incident (VMC or IMC), but there's no "structural problem" with automation and visual approaches. It is more likely simply an issue of training- about limits of automation and flying a visual flight path.
The automation can be used as a aid during a visual approach, but one must be familiar with how to set up the FMGC/FMC. Training costs money. Sim time is a limited and costly resource and managers are always looking to save a buck. Safety and profit are often opposing metrics.
Read my other posts, no need to repeat my self.
the critical information relating to the flight situation of the aircraft was being withheld by the "smart" cockpit
The pilots were challenged by degraded systems: no air data meant they had no information about airspeed, vertical speed or altitude. It was attitude only during night IMC. No information was "withheld", per say, some simply wasn't available to them. They were all trained to standards, including stalls, and alternate law. Alternate law means that most protections are lost: pitch and roll limits, overspeed and stall prevention- you cannot stall newer Airbus in normal law, it won't let you. The aircraft still "flies" the same way. Boeing's cockpits are smart too, but are most definatley not immune to failures and connected yokes is not Here's a summary of Airbus flight control laws: http://www.airbusdriver.net/airbus_fltlaws.htm
If the former is true, what airline should I be flying on?
Like picking a surgeon or hospital, pick an airline that has quality training and experienced pilots. I would suspect that AirFrance has revisited their stall training for the better. Low pilot pay usually indicates low experience and poor training. High paid executives is a meaningless metric.
...the lack of any angle of attack gauge, a stall warning that does not sound when the airplane is so stalled as to be falling from the sky, and the lack of something making an enormous deal about the switch from normal law to alternative law flight mode.
Boeing doesn't present AOA either- it is not deemed relevant anymore with advanced flight display systems. Stall warnings (derived from AOA) are considered relevant and they did receive stall warnings: "At around 2 h 11 min 42, the Captain re-entered the cockpit. During the following seconds, all of the recorded speeds became invalid and the stall warning stopped, after having sounded continuously for 54 seconds." As for alternate law, I suspect your view of it is overly complicated. Direct law, however, is much like flying a paper airplane. The pilots will always be advised of what flight law the aircraft is operating in. Nonetheless, to get into that state requires multiple failures of redundant systems. With out any electrical power, the airplane cannot be flown- battery only is a greater emergency than fire.
Regarding the dual sticks with a dual input light, the key problem is this: when would averaging the joystick inputs actually be desirable?
Never. Its meant to be one stick at a time- just as pilots are trained on yokes. If the other pilot is fighting me on a yoke, I am the aural warning: 'I have the controls". In an Airbus the computer is the warning. We still must communicate on either plane.
Do both pilots frequently fly at the same time and average it out?
Never intentionally. That's why the system alerts them aurally and with a red warning light which can't be canceled and won't go away until the dual input is resolved. Few things trigger an aural voice: stall, TCAS, config warnings, and GPWS- all of which are "bad".
What happens when both pilots press the override button, do the inputs average again?
Last pressed gets priority. If one stick were to malfunction, holding the priority switch long enough latches priority.(i.e.until and unless the either button is pressed again). When priority is taken you hear "priority right (or left)", when locked out, red lights go away replaced by green. The AF447 pilots didn't fight each other on the controls the entire time: "At 2 h 11 min 37, the PNF said "controls to the left", took over priority without any callout and continued to handle the aeroplane. The PF almost immediately took back priority without any callout and continued piloting." This failure to communicate could happen on a Boeing. As the PNF didn't receive a "dual input" he knew he was not making an input at all.
Having direct physical feedback is more meaningful than a light somewhere else because it would be instantly recognized and impossible to ignore. Think, "you are touching the joystick, but it is vibrating, so you are accomplishing nothing."
It's good that your thinking like an engineer and a pilot. Studies have shown that people under stress "stop hearing" things, and they lose sense of time. I have no idea how much R&D went into the design, but I suspect it was given a lot more thought than you are giving Airbus credit for. Boeing has chosen a different design philosophy. Philosophically, neither is right or wrong, flawed or perfect.
If a pilot is panicking to the point that he is flying wrong, he will be hitting the lockout button because he will think he is right.
Look, I'm not arguing that pilots, humans, aren't capable of panicking and melting like butter. But the profession is not meant to resemble the movie Airplane. Nothing stops the scenario you describe from occurring in a Boeing with the yokes fixed to one another, with both pilots overcome like knuckleheads, pulling in opposite directions. This is why you want well trained and experienced pilots at the helm. Again its not a flaw, its a philosophical choice. Either way, the humans need to be trained to operate the machine.
Look, I know that pilots in the U.S. are really paid peanuts and probably just want to unwind and don't care about anything when they are not flying.
True dat. Yet here I am on
Aircraft design is a collaborative effort that includes pilots among many others, not just engineers. Not sure what your point is. If you're suggesting that they were overwhelmed by warnings and such, I would concur. That is the point of training and systems knowledge. All ECAMs are prioritized to allow the pilots to deal with the most pressing emergency (as a user, I think it fails from being needlessly complicated and unintuitive). This notwithstanding the fact that one must "fly the airplane first" at all times. The parent's point that Airbus have design flaws because the sticks are independent, is as I said, incorrect. He could say he he has issues with design philosophy, but its not a flaw to have independent sticks, and no machine yet can make judgments on what info the pilots need about systems failures. Perhaps you are advocating aircraft have a neural connection to the pilot's brain- sadly that is only science fiction as yet.
Certainly this would have been the only alarm they were hearing or blinking light they were seeing, you know in a stalling aircraft
Yes I do know. I think I'm qualified to make the argument that this is not a "flaw", or make observations on the AF mishap. I have over 7700 hours on Airbus and over 14000 total flight time as a commercial pilot, including training in stall recovery in large swept wing aircraft, and I've heard this argument made many times.
BTW, in addition to inop GS, they also did not have any visual approach path indicators as the PAPI is out of service: ILS RWY 28R LOCALIZER/DME U/S RWY 28L ILS LLZ/DME U/S RWY 10L/28R CLSD RWY 10R/28L CLSD RWY 28L PAPI U/S
The communication problem was largely caused by an major Airbus design flaw: the sticks between the left and right seats aren't linked. In other planes, the pilot would have known the copilot had the stick pulled back because the action would make his own stick move back as well. On AF447, the pilot saw nothing other than the copilot's hand on the stick and assumed he was doing the right thing, and in the understandable confusion as they struggled to gain control of the plane the copilot never verbally corrected the misconception.
Incorrect, there is no design flaw. As designed, if both pilots make a flight control input simultaneously, they will receive an aural warning: "Dual Input". They will know about it and either pilot can take priority over the other by pushing a button on the stick which will lock out the other.