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View Full Version : Automation challenges for pilots of the future.


Judd
15th Jul 2018, 08:33
Edited extracts from The Australian Business Review pages Friday 13 July Title: "Automation challenges for pilots of the future." The journalist was Annabel Hepworth..
"Pilots of the future will need to be able to cope with highly sophisticated automation and even autonomous aircraft", says The Royal Aeronautical Society Australian Division which pointed to concerns that regulations reflect training requirements for past aviation technology. The general aviation industry does not adequately prepare pilots for a future in the highly automated world. In order to ensure that the pilots of the future meet the needs of the future flight deck, the professional civil aviation industry needs to update recruitment assessment practices to assess an applicants abilities in cognitive tasks analysis thus allowing them to interface with the highly automated aircraft of the future."

Comment: Already those of us in the area of simulator training have for years witnessed the detrimental effect of ever increasing automation dependency on pilots pure flying skills. To say the general aviation industry (from whence our airline crews originally are recruited) "does not adequately prepare pilots for the future in the highly automated world" is drawing a long bow. The basics of learning to fly have changed little in decades; and it is doubtful there will be significant changes in the immediate future.

Today's candidates for the airlines are still tested in a simulator for their manual instrument flying skills. Would the RASAD advocate the simulator assessment be not a manual flying test anymore but rather the candidate be required to perform all test sequences by pushing automatic pilot buttons in order to "assess an applicants abilities in cognitive tasks analysis? Perish the thought..

mattyj
15th Jul 2018, 10:02
Thereís only a very small amount of hand flying basic panel that goes on in your average airline pilots day to day work..almost nothing without flight director even in annual checks. Most of the candidates presenting at interviews are many long years past basic instrument training. With that in mind, most buy themselves a couple of sessions in a sim to bone up, then having got the job, never fly basic panel again, or ever need to. I know the interview process needs to separate out the good and bad candidates somehow but I wonder about the relevance of handflying an 80 ton monster with basic panel sometimes

morno
15th Jul 2018, 10:57
I consider myself lucky that I work for an airline that still promotes hand flying and encourages their pilots to do it.

Sure automation is an important part of our job now, but how many accidents lately have been because the pilots canít do basic hand flying.

Jimnhorace
15th Jul 2018, 11:27
I consider myself lucky that I work for an airline that still promotes hand flying and encourages their pilots to do it.

Sure automation is an important part of our job now, but how many accidents lately have been because the pilots canít do basic hand flying.
15th Jul 2018 20:02

Spot on Morno.
Aircraft manufacturers pitch the safety of their aircraft via automation to managers and CEO's. "These things fly themselves, you know."
Managers then mandate maximum use of automation for line flying operations.
Manual flying skills atrophy to the point of pilots becoming useless when the only thing that will save the day is exactly the raw data flying skills that have never been allowed to be practiced.
Insert accident. (AF449 etc).
Solution? More automation.

Like you, I am lucky to fly for an airline that still encourages hand flying when appropriate.

mrdeux
15th Jul 2018, 14:05
Last two times that I've had anything major go wrong with an aircraft, it took out the automatics as a bonus.

megan
16th Jul 2018, 07:08
it took out the automatics as a bonus Pity you can't do this any more mrdeux, hones the manual skills just fine I'm told.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoPBLLdzjNA

Gnadenburg
16th Jul 2018, 07:50
Thanks for that Megan,

For something like the Airbus, manual flying skills proven elsewhere, may not be enough for a non-perishable efficiency. I'd argue that the Airbus requires manual flying training due to confusion in flight display presentations. I think this has probably been mentioned, a few PLOC Airbus were from a crew that had been weened on Russian military aircraft. You may be a Mig ace, but having an Airbus endorsement not incorporating manual flying could be deadly on a low viz/ night go around, with mode confusion and the disconnection of the automatics.

Manual flying of an Airbus should be easy. A lot of guys struggle.

Angle of Attack
16th Jul 2018, 10:16
Apart from a vanilla non normal, manual flying skill is a must. Multiple failures that disable multiple systems need a pilot that can fly stick and rudder, that’s why they are there at the end of the day. If they can’t manually fly why even have them? May as well auto everything, and accept X number of hull losses per year as acceptable.

Okihara
17th Jul 2018, 00:54
Apart from a vanilla non normal, manual flying skill is a must. Multiple failures that disable multiple systems need a pilot that can fly stick and rudder, thatís why they are there at the end of the day. If they canít manually fly why even have them? May as well auto everything, and accept X number of hull losses per year as acceptable.

Isn't the whole approach to automation into jobs intrinsically wrong? By that, I mean, pilots are spending an increasing amount of time passively monitoring computers, expecting them to perform their tasks correctly and within preset tolerances. Sadly the reason air disasters still happen is that pilots seem to spend less and less time building skills to handle unexpected aircraft states quickly and accurately, e.g. AF447 and their monitoring capacity also has its limitations.

Shouldn't it be the other way around with computers continuously monitoring pilots doing their tasks?

Centaurus
17th Jul 2018, 01:42
Shouldn't it be the other way around with computers continuously monitoring pilots doing their tasks?
What a disaster that would be i.e. computer monitoring a pilots attempt at hand flying on instruments. All you would hear would be a cacophony of :eek:out of tolerance automated messages of "Bank angle, Bank angle, sink rate, sink rate, speed SPEED, altitude ALTITUDE, .

Capn Bloggs
17th Jul 2018, 03:56
What a disaster that would be i.e. computer monitoring a pilots attempt at hand flying on instruments. All you would hear would be a cacophony of https://www.pprune.org/images/smilies/eek.gifout of tolerance automated messages of "Bank angle, Bank angle, sink rate, sink rate, speed SPEED, altitude ALTITUDE, .
That's a bit harsh, Centaurus! When I call for the autopilot to be engaged, the effo says "geez, I thought it was already!". :}:ok::ouch:

A37575
17th Jul 2018, 06:48
When I call for the autopilot to be engaged
Why load up your long suffering co-pilot by asking him to engage YOUR autopilot, Bloggsy? It's not too hard to engage it yourself. :D

Capn Bloggs
17th Jul 2018, 07:00
It's not too hard to engage it yourself.
I can't! Both hands occupied! :{ ;) Besides, it's a "Boeing" thing...

Lookleft
17th Jul 2018, 09:32
I don't think we have to wait for the future, current pilots have problems with automation.

A37575
17th Jul 2018, 10:30
Besides, it's a "Boeing" thing...
You could have fooled me although I realise it was a tongue-in-cheek remark.
. The 737 autopilot will not engage if slight control forces are being applied by the pilot. Investigators determined that the fatal loss of the Flash Airlines Boeing 737-300 at Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt in January 2004, occurred when the crew failed to recognise that the autopilot had not engaged as commanded after take-off.

The detailed reports describe the aircraft gently banking left as it departed at night-time over the Red Sea while the crew tried to understand what was happening – apparently realising only in the last few seconds the true situation. The aircraft finally rolled perpendicular to the horizon before crashing into the sea. All 148 occupants, 135 of whom were French, died.

The CVR revealed the captain shortly after take off asked the F/O to engage Autopilot A, which is the autopilot normally used by the captain if he is PF. Because the aircraft was slightly out of trim and the control wheel was being held slightly offset by the captain who was manually handling the take off and initial climb, the F/O who tried to engage the AP on request from the captain, was unable to engage it.

But he didn't tell the captain; instead he said "God Willing, Autopilot A engaged" The captain never double checked to ensure the AP was indeed engaged and relinquished his hand flying in the mistaken belief the F/O had indeed engaged the AP on his request.

Being slightly mis-trimmed, the aircraft began to fly by itself into an ever increasing angle of bank and the nose went down. As the 737 gradually rolled into a steep spiral dive, the captain was recorded on the CVR screaming for the F/O to engage the AP. The rest is history.

The accident could have been nipped in the bud if the captain had simply reached over and engaged AP "A" himself. He would have discovered he could not engage it while he still had control pressures applied. He would have realised why it would not engage and quickly rectified the problem by momentarily releasing his grip on the control wheel and then engaged AP A ,which would then operate normally.

That tragic accident was one good reason for the PF to engage his own AP. It was SOP when yours truly first flew the 737 many years ago. .
.

Capn Bloggs
17th Jul 2018, 11:42
You could have fooled me although I realise it was a tongue-in-cheek remark.
Wot the FCOM says is wot Bloggs does! :ok:

As for the rest of your Flash summary, A37575, the old saying "Aviation is not inherently dangerous... " comes to mind. :)

XanaduX
17th Jul 2018, 19:57
I consider myself lucky that I work for an airline that still promotes hand flying and encourages their pilots to do it.

Sure automation is an important part of our job now, but how many accidents lately have been because the pilots canít do basic hand flying.

I thought you flew the Airbus?

Transition Layer
18th Jul 2018, 03:38
That tragic accident was one good reason for the PF to engage his own AP. It was SOP when yours truly first flew the 737 many years ago

Yep and still the case in QF 737 ops. Pretty sure the other Boeing types get the PM to engage the AP when requested by the PF though.

AerocatS2A
18th Jul 2018, 03:52
A37575, I think the problem on that flight goes far deeper than who engaged the autopilot! I had a situation once in a BAe146 where I (PF) engaged the A/P after takeoff and then noticed the damned thing wouldn’t turn to follow the HDG bug. The autopilot annunciation was indicating ON but when I held the column I discovered that while the pitch servo was engaged, the roll servo wasn’t and I could roll the aircraft freely. I disconnected the autopilot fully and continued the flight manually. Diagnosis and rectification of the issue took about 5 seconds and required only the barest minimum of situational awareness. I’m continually amazed how a small number of pilots will watch the autopilot try and kill them without intervening. I once had an FO sit back and watch the speed trundle back below Vapp, then Vref, with the trend well into Vmin. I had to gently remind him the autothrottles were only armed and not active (he had no idea) before he realized that he, the pilot flying, was actually going to have to fly the aeroplane.

Unregistered User
18th Jul 2018, 07:17
Pity you can't do this any more mrdeux, hones the manual skills just fine I'm told.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SoPBLLdzjNA

Hones the sphincter more like it. F*** that.