Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

NTSB Report: Glass cockpits have not led to expected safety improvements

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

NTSB Report: Glass cockpits have not led to expected safety improvements

Old 10th Mar 2010, 01:24
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: VA, USA
Age: 58
Posts: 578
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NTSB Report: Glass cockpits have not led to expected safety improvements

************************************************************

NTSB STUDY SHOWS INTRODUCTION OF 'GLASS COCKPITS' IN GENERAL
AVIATION AIRPLANES HAS NOT LED TO EXPECTED SAFETY
IMPROVEMENTS

************************************************************

Washington, DC -- Today the National Transportation Safety
Board adopted a study concluding that single engine
airplanes equipped with glass cockpits had no better overall
safety record than airplanes with conventional
instrumentation.

The safety study, which was adopted unanimously by the
Safety Board, was initiated more than a year ago to
determine if light airplanes equipped with digital primary
flight displays, often referred to as “glass cockpits,” were
inherently safer than those equipped with conventional
instruments.

The study, which looked at the accident rates of over 8,000
small piston-powered airplanes manufactured between 2002 and
2006, found that those equipped with glass cockpits had a
higher fatal accident rate then similar aircraft with
conventional instruments.

The Safety Board determined that because glass cockpits are
both complex and vary from aircraft to aircraft in function,
design and failure modes, pilots are not always provided
with all of the information they need -- both by aircraft
manufacturers and the Federal Aviation Administration -- to
adequately understand the unique operational and functional
details of the primary flight instruments in their
airplanes.

*****************************************

Full text on NTSB website.

Comments?

- GY
GarageYears is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 01:39
  #2 (permalink)  
Trash du Blanc
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: KBHM
Posts: 1,185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It's the V-Tailed Doctor Killer syndrome, yet again.

Those that can afford glass cockpits in private aircraft tend to buy a little more capability than they really should.....
Huck is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 01:42
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: alameda
Posts: 1,053
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I for one am not really impressed with glass cockpits.

I remember doing quite a bit with my old steam gauge DC9. I knew where I was, where I was going and what sort of terrain clearance I had (using a chart plus nav instruments)

While it was demanding of my poor brain, it kept me on my toes...not just sitting back watching things happen and go bad before my eyes.

I like the old T scan for basic flight instruments and thought I had gone to Heaven when I got a good RMI and HSI.

While I always wanted a moving map display superimposed on wx radar, I didn't need it to survive.

Steam gauges got expensive to fix...glass cockpit...one tube and you lose alot...I lost an Attitude Gyro once...covered it up with a piece of paper and hung in there...
protectthehornet is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 03:25
  #4 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: US
Posts: 497
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When I went to all manual 737's and 727's to the 757/767 I had to bail out the check airmen a couple of times to finish my check out. One time going into Dulles he took the leg and didn't select approach until we had blown through the glide slope. I told him to disconnect everything, push over and regain the glide slope late at night and we landed. Next it was an international check and we left San Jose Costa Rica with the turn over the volcano from the vor he totally screwed up programming. I just turned and flew out the radial disregarding everything he programmed in and stayed on course while letting him catch up. I had been flying as a captain for 5 years before these events so knew when to take over a situation going bad. The new generation pilots scare me, especially international countries. They do not want anybody to hand fly. Everybody is trained for monitoring automation flying, not hand flying. Let's see how long it takes for another Buffalo incident.
p51guy is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 04:25
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Perth Australia
Age: 80
Posts: 280
Likes: 0
Received 3 Likes on 1 Post
Cool

Those "elder" of us who learnt on the clocks and dials, a DC-3 and onto the F-28 for me, can appreciate and I believe intelligently use the glass concept as we always have the real underlying picture available.
Those who ONLY have glass, ONLY HAVE GLASS, and certainly it will happen, it all goes blank, and most of the time so does the brain for those critical seconds.
There is so much info on the one display, all very nice but not readily available in other formats in front of the pilot in a critical flight phase.
One of my fellow Instructors had to do an ILS/DME at Singapore for real on the stand-by A/H his side, basic ILS on the other side, lower screen, behind the other column, hand flown, as it was the only one of 4 screens still working in a L-31.
As the other pilot was a 200hr, first flight in the right seat, his options were limited to say the least.
BUT had a similar basic grounding in all the points mentioned above.

Be safe.

greybeard is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 04:37
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Room 757
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In light piston planes (as in jets) glass cockpits are great. I could not believe it when I had terrain, airspace, and TCAS on my screen the first time I flew on a C-172 with the G-1000. I would never recommend substituting training in conventional instruments, but they can compliment IFR training to some degree.

Maybe the numbers are higher because of the popularity of these aircraft in flight training? Many schools have switched completely to glass.

I agree with the V-Tail analogy, especially now that some are even equipped with TKS anti-ice systems. Grab a nicely equipped Cirrus and you might forget you are in a piston single. AP, FD, XM WX, Radar, TCAS, GPWS, EFIS, Anti-Ice, etc. Leave it up to marketing to turn the requirement of a parachute attached to your aircraft as added security for you.

If used correctly (like everything else) glass in light pistons is a great tool.

rcl
rcl7700 is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 05:33
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Colorado
Age: 74
Posts: 48
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Are we surprised ? Glass lets you do more with less. But when things go south you're less able to handle the problem.

Same thing with motoring, do idiot proof cars mean less accidents?
EGMA is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 06:26
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: England
Posts: 1,389
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Did the study look at the cause of the accident or just the number?
cwatters is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 06:40
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: sussex
Posts: 613
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It dosn't suprise me.Many of the pilots i have flown privately with recently appear to spend more time playing with the GPS rather than looking out of the window with a map.
stormin norman is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 07:03
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,023
Likes: 0
Received 6 Likes on 1 Post
This links to the issue of the MPL and general dumbing down of pilot training.

On the one hand training needs to be relevant. On the other hand as pilots are positioned further and further out of the loop a lot of basic knowledge is being lost.

You also lose what you do not use. Interesting to observe the poor performance of pilots, who presumably must have grasped the basics of instrument flying to get a licence, when the crutch of the FMC is removed due to misprogramming or other problems.

Having said all that the NTSB report relates to light aircraft and the statistics for glass in big jets tell another story.
lederhosen is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 07:26
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I for one am not really impressed with glass cockpits.

I remember doing quite a bit with my old steam gauge DC9. I knew where I was, where I was going and what sort of terrain clearance I had (using a chart plus nav instruments)

While it was demanding of my poor brain, it kept me on my toes...not just sitting back watching things happen and go bad before my eyes.

I like the old T scan for basic flight instruments and thought I had gone to Heaven when I got a good RMI and HSI.

While I always wanted a moving map display superimposed on wx radar, I didn't need it to survive.

Steam gauges got expensive to fix...glass cockpit...one tube and you lose alot...I lost an Attitude Gyro once...covered it up with a piece of paper and hung in there...
You are 411A and I claim my 5 dollars...
Mr Good Cat is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 07:30
  #12 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: -11 msl
Posts: 34
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
The results speak for themselfs. Basic training, t-scan & decision making, is still the best way to prevent accidents. A glass cockpit kan give the pilot a false sense of safety leading to complacency. All the new toys that modern avionics provide increases the time that pilots spend looking inside the cockpit instead of looking outside(information overload).

Modern avionics are a great thing when properly used, just keep in mind to have a plan B and once in a while train the basic stuff.
B767-383 is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 07:42
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Location, Location
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree that in training it's essential to use only the basic instruments to acquire the 'fundamentals' upon which instrument flying is based.

However, once in the world of commercial aviation and big jets the technology is available and should be used to it's maximum (and I'm not referring to automation here before I receive all the flak).

In fact I believe our airliners are not taking advantage of all the technology currently available, if you take a look at Biz Jets for example. If we could make Electronic Flight Bags (backed up with one copy of paper charts) available on every med-lge airliner, along with EVS and all of those other clever Biz Jet toys, our situational awareness would be much greater with a much reduced workload.

I love flying on the basics without the automation when it's a nice day and a nice location like the States, but if I'm flying into Addis Ababa in a monsoon at night I'd like all the safety tools available to me please.

MGC
Mr Good Cat is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 08:03
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: uk
Posts: 791
Received 33 Likes on 11 Posts
MY idea of a good glass cockpit is one with nice big windows
oxenos is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 08:17
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Dubai - sand land.
Age: 55
Posts: 2,831
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Addis at night during the 'monsoon' (well, rainy season would be more apt I think than monsoon) in a piston single?? Rather you than me

Doesn't matter if you've steam gauges or glass cockpit - if you get too slow when turning base to final in the puddle jumper circuit you will still STALL, SPIN, CRASH and BURN just like it was drummed into us PPL students all those years ago...

Mind you - glass hasn't helped some out too well in the airline world either.. Kathmandu when Thai planted one, Cali with American and so on
White Knight is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 08:19
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Guildford, UK
Posts: 25
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Technology.....

I believe the introduction of ABS in production cars just led to bigger, more spectacular accidents....

At my old job at the beeb, I was always banging on about how technology was almost irrelevant, it was people and organisation and communication that led to gains and improvement. The next big project was a huge networked production system costing circa £60M, and nothing spent on how people might work together better, communicate better, organise better etc etc. I left.

At best, "improved technology" exchanges one bunch of idiosynchrasies for a new bunch.

More relevant to aviation - As long as information is presented unambiguously by the hardware, there is far more scope for it to be miss-interpreted, ignored, forgotten, missed, etc by the warmware.

S
simonhk is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 10:50
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: London
Posts: 390
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
A fair few posts are missing the point here. The study has little to do with automatics and being a "system monitor" no longer capable of hand flying the aircraft. I actually bothered to look at the study on the NTSB website

Interesting points:

- the number of accidents was more or less the same for traditional vs glass
- the number of fatalities was significantly higher for glass than traditional
- the glass community is typically a more experienced, older and more business flying orientated community than the traditional group
- most of the student type flying is in the traditional group (even though more and more flying academies are starting to use them)
- far more flights in the glass cockpit group fly IFR vs VFR

A big problem cited is the complexity of the glass cockpit and the lack of commonality between glass displays. I remember from my GA days that constantly switching from Cessna, to Piper, Beech, etc was quite challenging even though they had very similar instruments. Doing that with different glass cockpits is probably too much for your average weekend GA flyer.

The other big one is the handling of failures. A significant portion of glass display fatalities involve loss of control or flight into terrain after instrument failure. The NTSB cites a very poor understanding of what feeds the displays and how failures should be handled. Those of us who fly jets or t-props with glass cockpits know how challenging instrument failures are to diagnose and cope with. It's hard enough for two of us in there, let alone a single pilot who flies one hundred hours a year.

Glass cockpits in GA single might be a good idea for the 200 hour a year plus community who can afford thorough and recurrent training. Any less than that and it's probably better to stick with the old steam gauges...

P
Permafrost_ATPL is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 11:09
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: U.K.
Posts: 573
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Having just retired from a major European airline flying totally glass cockpit aircraft, I am somewhat disappointed with some of our less experienced flight deck members, who blindly following the green or magenta line, don't even know what countries they are flying over, let alone which of the displayed airports are suitable for diversion. I would certainly not recommend Samos for a diversion on the way to Turkey or the Middle East, although it is displayed by the data base.

I may have been flying these routes for 30 years, but still get the map out, much to the surprise of my fellow crew members.
kriskross is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 11:14
  #19 (permalink)  
W2k
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Sweden
Age: 41
Posts: 65
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
While I'm but a PPL student on my 18th hour I think Permafrost_ATPL is right on the spot.

When I started on my PPL in january, there was a choice I had to make. There are multiple flying clubs and schools operating at the airfield where I fly. Some of them offer glass cockpit aircraft (DA40's) and make a big point of this in their marketing. While I love the techy stuff I made it a point to choose a flying club that had good old steam gauge PA28's. Much better to learn on the basic stuff, I thought. Cheaper too (although I would have been able to afford either).

I've no plans to continue on to CPL/ATPL, I fly for the fun of it, so I can do the difference training for glass cockpits when and if I feel like it.

This report pretty much reinforces my belief that I made the right choice.
W2k is offline  
Old 10th Mar 2010, 13:32
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: alameda
Posts: 1,053
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
NO, I'm not 411A. I think he flew the L1011.

W2k...good for you. your choice is a wise one and I think the PA28 series (if properly maintained) is a superior choice in airplanes to that other thing.

I am reminded of a tragic crash of a citationjet owned and operated by a very wealthy tech woman. I am also reminded of so many techy guys in silicon valley who wanted to learn to fly in the early 80's...I was instructing in the heart of silicon valley then.

They all kept on saying: I can get a computer to do this...

I said: what happens when the computer breaks down (how many times have I had to reboot/restart this morning already!!!)

I think FLYING should be very hard to learn. I think things should get harder, more demanding and not easier. I do think certain improvements in information availaility are fine. It is just a certain thing that Ernest K. Gann hinted at in his great book, "Fate is the Hunter". It started out as : A Whore is easy to meet. Some first landings in a DC3 easy, some in a DC2 had the crash wagons coming. Glass is easy, until it fails.

AS pilots, we must never just be sitting there watching things happen. Sadly, glass cockpits can (not always mind you) lead to just coming along for the ride.

its just like the guy who use to climb four flights of stairs to get to a store. THEN THEY installed an escalator and he rode up...he became flabby and the day the escalator broke, he had to climb the stairs and it was too tough.

I still remember a checkride for a check flying company (remember those?) I had to do an NDB aproach on partial panel...no attitude gyro, no directional gyro...it makes an impression on you for life.
protectthehornet is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.