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How are Airbus pilots trained for using the mechanical backup control systems?

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( 3 months ago )

The A320 and friends have mechanical-only control capability (manual pitch trim + rudder pedals) for cases of total fly-by-wire computer or electrical failure. Obviously, this would be covered in ground school when the various control laws are gone through.

However, is any further training given to line pilots on operating the aircraft this way? Or is it one of those "dusty corner" procedures that you learn about in ground school, but never really touch again?

Alternately, what would the chances be of someone who'd never flown a 'Bus in mechanical/backup law being able to keep the plane dirty-side-down and airborne long enough to get the FBW back going and/or perform a landing where the aircraft is reusable? Clearly, it's non-nil as the Airbus test pilots actually tested flying the plane that way, but how difficult is the aircraft to fly in mechanical/backup law?



( 3 months ago )

In my particular case:

  • I probably did 10 minutes of demonstrating mechanical backup during inital type rating
  • I cannot remember for sure, but it never reappeared in any reccurent sim, and even if I did it was definitelly not part of the syllabus, just something one of us pilots wanted to try.

There are several reasons for that:

  • Airbus deffinitelly considers this to be a remote probability. I wonder if anyone ever had to use it for real in flight.
  • There is not much skill involved. You rotate a trim wheel until plane maintains altitude and you push on the rudder to keep (bring back?) wings level
  • The system is there to give minimum control for straight and level flight until the computers/electricity comes back online. It is not intented for the pilot to land (or even maneuver) using this

One important aspect that is often overlooked is that mechanical backup in an Airbus is,well, not mechanical in the sense that people think cables and pulleys. It is a mechanical connection to a hydraulic system that still needs pressure to operate. Losing 3 hyd you will lose mechanical trim.

what's your interest