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  1. #1

    "The Economist" on Cockpit Automation

    Difference Engine: Crash program?

    Aug 26th 2013, 20:34 by N.V. | LOS ANGELES

    ONE day in the not too distant future, so the hoary old story goes, airliners will have only two crew members on the flight deck—a pilot and a dog. The pilot’s job will be to feed the dog. The dog’s job will be to bite the pilot if he touches the controls. Despite all the talk about drone-like autonomous passenger planes, cockpit automation is nowhere near capable enough to manage without human pilots on the flight deck. It is doubtful whether the technology—at least, as it is currently configured—will ever let that happen.

    In theory, modern passenger planes fitted with the latest cockpit automation can fly themselves from take-off to landing. In practice, pilots have to be very much in the loop, ready to intervene (“pick up the slack,” as they say) when flight plans suddenly change, or one or other of the plane's automated systems starts functioning in a reduced operating mode, contributing to the so-called "minimum equipment list". The flight crew then becomes extremely busy.

    A growing body of evidence indicates that while cockpit automation may be relieving pilots of mundane chores when their workload is actually low (ie, while climbing to altitude and cruising), it is causing bigger headaches than ever when the workload is particularly high (ie, during take-off, descent, approach and landing). Aircrew call it the “automation paradox”. READ MORE
    I intend to fly until my beard gets caught in the propeller. And since I don't plan on growing a beard, that may be a while. — Ernest K. Gann, age 69

    Daily Diatribe - (Carl's Blog)

  2. #2
    I'm more of a hands on flyer myself and here's what the Alaskans think about it...

    Alaska bucks cockpit automation trend; 'hands-on' flying still the norm
    Colleen Mondor
    October 3, 2013

    The Economist posted a column recently that explored the trend toward increased cockpit automation, especially for the airlines. The article highlights the vast differences between flying large commercial airliners into major airports and the type of flying performed in Alaska, where off-airport landings on gravel bars or into remote airstrips with little available instrument support are often the norm.

    While automation has come with several benefits including reducing crew numbers, fuel savings and maintenance assistance, the largely-unrecognized price has been high. Here’s a bit of the magazine’s more troubling analysis:

    The problem today is that aircrew may log thousands of hours on the flight decks of modern airliners, but their actual hands-on flying experience may amount to mere minutes per flight. When things get frantic -- whether through a mistaken input or a sudden runway change by air-traffic control during descent -- aircrew can be so preoccupied punching fresh instructions into the flight-management computer that they may fail to notice their airspeed and altitude are falling precipitously.

    Click Here to see the rest of the article.
    Hagar likes boats. I like airplanes!

  3. #3
    Could a Better User Interface Mitigate Automation Addiction?


    A team from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society has said that improved user interfaces in the cockpit could counteract pilots’ over-reliance on automation.
    December 23, 2013, 2:35 PM
    One man and his team think they may have an answer to the problem of over-reliance on automation by pilots who are insufficiently trained to handle an aircraft when the technology falters.

    Eric Geiselman, a member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES), believes user interfaces that take advantage of avionics’ underlying data and logic could enable pilots to better cope with extraordinary circumstances such as the unavailability of ground-based landing aids.

    In an article published in the October edition of human factors quarterly publication Ergonomics in Design titled “Flight Deck Automation: A Call for Context-Aware Logic to Improve Safety,” Geiselman calls for a new approach to designing the user interface in cockpits. The article describes prototype designs that could mitigate errors leading to accidents and incidences such as the 2009 Air France Flight 447 crash and the Northwest 188 incident that same year in which the pilots flew past Minneapolis, where they were supposed to have landed. READ MORE
    I intend to fly until my beard gets caught in the propeller. And since I don't plan on growing a beard, that may be a while. — Ernest K. Gann, age 69

    Daily Diatribe - (Carl's Blog)

  4. #4
    What you propose is very useful.
    Last edited by Carl; April 24th, 2016 at 06:14.

  5. #5
    I don't think it's an interface problem.

    I think it's a training and recurrence problem.

    Pilots in recurrent training make maximum use of automation.

    I think they ought to "fail" the autopilot for most of the training and require hands-on, scan-improving flying.
    Hagar likes boats. I like airplanes!

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