Old 19th Jun 2011, 17:51
  #111 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: UK
Posts: 3,182

My views on the subject are in agreement with yours, and I probably expressed them best here:

Originally Posted by DozyWannabe View Post
I don't know how many times one can repeat that automation was developed as a back-stop to allow flight crew to manage the flight more effectively - *not* as a substitute for airmanship period!

Even Bernard Ziegler in full flow never said "See? the aircraft is flying herself. Now you don't even have to monitor the instruments or maintain the situational awareness!".
For the record, I'm just a software engineer - but one with a love of aviation since childhood which manifested as a stint as an Air Cadet and an intent to join the RAF until I turned 16 and got long hair, rock music and pacifism. Part of me would love to fly airliners for a living, but the fact is that I simply couldn't afford it in this day and age. As far as this forum goes I try very hard to not stick my oar in unless the info I have is confirmed and/or documented, and I'm always willing to accept if I've overstepped my mark.

As far as the technical aspects of hand-flying airliners go, naturally I'm speaking from a position of relative ignorance (but like to think I'm reasonably well-versed in aeronautics, aviation history and accident investigation for a layman), and as such will defer, but as far as the business aspect of the things you are discussing goes - believe me it's not just happening to airlines. I got some positive feedback from a post I made the last time this subject was discussed, which is here:


The knowledge I have regarding high-level design and specification of modern automatics (particularly as they relate to the A320 and her descendants) came from my Software Engineering/Reliability professor, Peter Mellor - who you'll find deeply involved in many of the discussions on the development of airliner FBW going back to the late 1980s. The A320 story became the introduction to our first-year Software Engineering module - both as an example of how complex, multiply-redundant safety-critical computer systems are designed and specified, and as a cautionary tale - how important it is to make sure that things are done right and how dire the consequences can be if they are not. It reappeared in the final year Software Reliability module, which went more into the detail of how redundancy was designed into the systems and implemented.

This discussion doesn't really relate to that a great degree, since for the most part we are talking about modern autopilots (FMS/FMC etc.). I'm willing to stay in the background here, but as an interested observer I hope you don't mind me putting a view forward.
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