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Latest research on Automation Dependency - Regulator please note..

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Latest research on Automation Dependency - Regulator please note..

Old 6th Nov 2010, 20:05
  #21 (permalink)  
Hahn
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Even if the company manual and the guys who preach it tell me to "use the highest level of automation whenever possible" I still pratice hand flying whenever feasible because: It is my life. The only one! They may fire me for that but they will fire me alive!
 
Old 7th Nov 2010, 00:17
  #22 (permalink)  
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21 posts and no-one has mentioned airmanship. Funny that.

Children of the magenta line is now starting to worry me.

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Old 7th Nov 2010, 00:37
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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SIR, you are not alone on this one, we know airmanship is much more important than keymanship. I have frequently Xed out of auto mode and gone to manual when things are not going right. Boeing lets you do that. I love Boeing ability to let pilots do what they want to do. Letting Airbus override pilot inputs seems wrong to me. What do you think?
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 01:35
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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we don't have pilot's licenses...we have AIRMAN certificates.

oh well. the big selling point of the new buick is that you can ''rewind or pause live radio shows''.

I don't give a damn...I want a car that starts and stops and steers and is comfortable...who buys a car for the radio?

who buys a plane for a radio ?

I truly think that if sully had been flying a pratt and whitney JT8d engined plane, he would have made CLT on time
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 08:32
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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True, but if he hadn't have landed in the Hudson he wouldn't be a hero today. No book deals. Those few moments putting that broken airplane in the Hudson made him more money than his whole career at USair. Airmanship vs SOP's worked well for him.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 10:39
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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the heroic pilots are those who don't make headlines.

you never see: Captain X retired today without losing a plane or killing anyonein 40 years of flying
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 11:33
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I guess we should be happy to fall into that group. 23,000 hrs of mostly boring flying where nothing that memorable ever happened over the 40 years. To get back on topic maybe it was because we didn't rely on automation to fly our airplanes. It is scary when pilots say it is not safe to hand fly a cat 1 approach. Most of the older planes I flew couldn't be trusted to fly a coupled approach.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 11:49
  #28 (permalink)  
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maybe it was because we didn't rely on automation to fly our airplanes.
There was something that was very satisfying about being able to fly a single engine (the other having stopped), limited panel (no artificial horizon only a turn and slip indicator plus altimeter, VSI, ASI and small magnetic compass) aural null NDB approach in a Dakota. The Sperry autopilot couldn't cope so you had no choice except get on with the job and try to stay clear of an unusual attitude. All part of an instrument rating renewal. The proverbial one-arm paper hangar job.

Of course that was a different era. Having said that I was unable to get the same sense of achievement monitoring the automatics on a coupled approach to the minima in a 737..
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 13:09
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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protecthehornet

You are so right. We have never honoured sufficiently all those people who kept doing it right and were never noticed because through good planning, attention to detail, constant practice, and good airmanship they prevented potentially hazardous situations from becoming a catastrophe.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 13:38
  #30 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by p51guy
I have frequently Xed out of auto mode and gone to manual when things are not going right.
That's not airmanship though - Airmanship is handling the flight in the most appropriate manner for the conditions. What you're talking about is stick-and-rudder skills, which are a different thing entirely.

In response to this example, I'd like to bring up the example of the Captain of the ill-fated 737 at Kegworth whose instinctive reaction to disconnect the AP and fly manually while troubleshooting effectively handed him a heavier workload and reinforced his mistaken impression about which engine was actually malfunctioning. Result - 47 dead and 74 seriously injured.

Boeing lets you do that. I love Boeing ability to let pilots do what they want to do. Letting Airbus override pilot inputs seems wrong to me.
Modern-day Airbuses are perfectly capable of being flown manually. The only time they "override" a pilot's input is when they are taken beyond 60 degrees of bank - and to allow a situation to arise where a maneouvre that extreme is required in an airliner indicates a pretty serious deficiency in airmanship, to my mind.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 13:47
  #31 (permalink)  
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Then again, AB330 will "x" itself out at 45 degrees of bank and above, right? And leave no choice but "manual" flight, right? Are we talking autoflight or FBW? Direct Law is not exactly "manual flight", it is manual on the terms of the aircraft, No? It also does not resemble manual flight if it is a result of "defaulted to" rather than selected?

Splitting hairs? If an aircraft drops autoflight (and throttle), should it also dictate the sequence of "Degrades"?, the time is not available (AB) once the degradation is on authority of its own, to "unwind", and start over. If airmanship caused the involuntary loss of autopilot, then whether the crap airmanship is at fault or not, the airman is in control (command) at loss of autopilot, or should be. Up to and including Direct Law profliles, neither pilot has the freedom to "immediately" attempt to recover.

Bad time to have to recall new parameters of control "Laws"? "What is it doing Now?"

Last edited by bearfoil; 7th Nov 2010 at 14:02.
 
Old 7th Nov 2010, 16:02
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Then again, AB330 will "x" itself out at 45 degrees of bank and above, right?
I don't know the figures for the A330 offhand, but the FBW computers don't "kick out" when a level of bank is exceeded - they just don't allow the bank to develop any further*. I think you're getting degradation of the automatics due to systems failure confused with the Normal Law protections provided by the automatics.

* - As opposed to FMS autopilot disengagement in response to large flight control inputs, which is pretty much the same as any other airliner.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 17:33
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Not necessarily automation

The problem is not necessarily automation. Aircraft have used autopilots for many years, apparently without the specific errors being highlighted.
The change (if real) appears to be associated with the use of modern technology; FMS and EFIS, and complex autoflight systems in modern aircraft.
More likely the problem involves several factors; e.g. a constraining operating environment, social and economic pressures, which demand greater use of technology and automation, and aspects of ‘modern’ human behaviour in operations (changes due to external influences).

It was reported that the much focussed-on ‘manual flying errors’ were only amongst other things, which involved inappropriate/incorrect inputs and responses, i.e. both proactive and reactive behaviour.
Comparing this with the conclusions in Orasanu and Martin (1) – errors arise from either an incorrect understanding of the situation resulting in the wrong choice of action, or with good understanding, the wrong action is chosen. In this, the behaviour has no direct relationship with either automation or manual flying, but situation awareness, knowledge, and decision making are significant contributors.

If training is to be reconsidered, which aspects should be addressed?
Pilots are still taught to fly the aircraft and use instruments. Have any aspects been removed or changed with the introduction of enhanced technology, if not, then the problem is more in the understanding and use of technology, or even the technology itsef; thus, poor knowledge and know-how relating to the technology make further contributions as might system design.

Many accidents evolved from automatic flight, and whilst the subsequent erroneous manual flight exacerbated the situation or prevented recovery, manual flight was not a direct contribution to the cause (origin) of the accident.
Thus calls for more manual flying, particularly on a clear day, are unlikely to improve flight skills in unusual circumstances. Upset recovery training is valuable for accident prevention, but only in a reactive capacity.
For proactive safety, the industry must understand the complex nature of the ‘automation’ problem, identify key issues, and then seek appropriate solutions. Calls for more manual flying, more flight hours, etc, could be an expensive overreaction (headless chicken) that fails to address the problem.

(1) Errors in Aviation Decision Making.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 17:39
  #34 (permalink)  
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alf5071h;

I like very much what you have to say.

Dozy,

You're right, "large control inputs" meaning high pitch or bank angles.

Bear, for the record, for the A320/A330 series, the autopilot disconnects and the FD's are removed at a bank angle > 45deg; the autoflight system remains in normal (C*) law, it does not "x itself out". Alternate Law is purely the result of system degradation - where the autoflight system does not have sufficient information to retain all autoflight protections. The degradation is transparent to the pilot and, while slightly more involved, so is Direct Law. No big deal, in and of itself, but any airplane, sufficiently degraded, even the oft-quoted example by some, of the beloved DC9 or B737, can "get" a crew or may tax an aircrew to its limits, (Alaskan at LAX, Turkish at AMS).
Originally Posted by Bearfoil
Bad time to have to recall new parameters of control "Laws"? "What is it doing Now?"
If I may and from experience, too much is being made of this notion.

Though handling of the airplane by the pilot necessarily will change, (gentler, smaller inputs, etc), the airplane is emminently flyable, without confusion, in all laws.

If one is confused by one's airplane, (and I expect complete agreement here on this principle of aviation by those who tout their old-fashioned, steam-driven airplanes), then one doesn't know one's airplane well enough and that is as much a professional standards matter as it is a training and/or competency matter, not an Airbus matter.

None of these notions or states should be a surprise to an Airbus pilot and if they are, they are responsible for sorting it out so that they are comfortable. The airplane requires a different approach and both personal and cockpit discipline to operate but it is merely different but not qualitatively so.

If I may, and please suspend judgement in favour of curiosity until pondering this notion of comparisons: - The state of affairs in computer automation today resembles, among many fields, the state of photography, (or music if you will). I still regularly use a 4x5 view camera to photograph as well as a Nikon D300 digital. For those who don't know what a 4x5 camera is, it is that camera that was/is mounted on a tripod and which the photographer was always under a cloth so he could see the upside-down image. It has a lens, a frame in which to insert the 4" x 5" film-holders, a corrugated box to keep out the light and nothing else. It is photography's version of the Wright Flyer... ;-)

I run an active darkroom printing 16x20 silver prints and use Photoshop CS4 printing 16x20 archival ink photographs with equal familiarity.

The processes of production bear no resemblance to one another. They are essentially "old world" and "computer world".

The numbers of people who today use a camera and who also actually comprehend the concepts of exposure , ƒ-stop/shutter speed, film development and final printing controls in the chemicals, are, as those who actually still use film, plummeting, because automation has provided the means to photograph through the encapsulation of "understanding" within software. Unlike cables, pulleys, bell-cranks etc, the means by which "understanding" is accomplished is invisible and is therefore an interpretive act of the imagination - a defined cognitive event process and not a "visceral" process.

The 'veil' of software prohibits the sense of visceral comprehension and changes such comprehension to cerebral, (higher level cognitive processes which must be interpretive of signs before they can result in correct actions, where as "experience" as one might say a pianist's hands "have", is not the same process at all. If it were, no one could play the piano, or even walk upstairs...

However, if one comprehends photographic principles, or one's autonomic nervous system and muscular structure of arms and hands "comprehend pianistic processes" that make music out of mere black marks on pages of a Bach or an Oscar Petersen, then "automation" becomes transparent to such a user and the camera, regardless of make or type, (film/digital/pinhole/obscura, etc) or piano (Korg/Roland/Rodgers, where one can press a button and "be" Paderewski or Horowitz or a Bill Evans) becomes a more sophisticated but undifferentiated tool for accomplishing the taking of an image, the presentation of a concert or the flying of an airplane.

In short, if one doesn't viscerally as well as cognitively understand airplanes, flight, engines, physics (not formal training but instinctual understandings of mass, intertia, 'g'-loadings, etc), one is at best, a "mechanical", rote operator. In photographic work or music the results of such understanding may be merely embarrassing...

Flying is an art, not a science. It cannot be "taught" - it can only be demonstrated - one has to feel it below the cognitive level to render software transparent to the entire process of flight. Engineers have not tried to turn it into a science but we have mistaken them for trying to do so.

That doesn't mean that the Airbus series cannot become a mess, but, in other ways, so can every other airplane.

As a final question which demands some consideration and a broad view of the current industry..."who" is coming into flying today? Is it that kid who used to build balsa-wood models by the hour/day/week/year and who drove his or her parents crazy because of a single-minded passion for anything to do with airplanes, or who would "pester" those who flew with incessant questions about "how, what, why, where, when" and who by the time he or she took flying lessons at 15 or 16 already "understood" in the belly, how flight worked and how airplanes stayed up in an invisible medium?...and all one's instructor did was demonstrate the manoeuvres and later test them - such individuals already "knew". So - who is coming into aviation today?...who spends a hundred thousand dollars on university and flying lessons to the multi-engine/instrument-rated/commercial level and then fights with employers running a bush operation in the north, for example, for a rare lottery-ticket to the majors? In fact, given the way most carriers treat and disrespect their aircrews, who would want to?

Or are they now someone who in their late twenties chooses aviation as a career and who hadn't considered/thought about/loved airplanes until the notion came along through someone else? Is this the kind of budding-pilot-market that the MCPL programs are designed to capture?

How can you honestly, really, put someone who never thought of airplanes before he/she was 25, into a cockpit of an A320 after 250hrs of sim time and line experience and call them a "pilot"?

Yes it works, with those who dream of flight. But, contrary to much magical thinking, not everyone is capable of flying an airplane.

So, how is "competence" understood by those doing the hiring? Do MCPL programs work? Does MS FltSim and gaming actually provide skills with which to address "computerized flight"? Clearly I would suggest that such a notion is foolish.

One cannot live/breath/bleed 0's and 1's because the principles of flight don't live there. They live elsewhere and automation is, and should be, a supplement to flight. One renders automation to that role when one understands airplanes; one is at automation's mercy when one yields that role to engineers.

This may not advance the discussion on automation because the discussion is about..."automation" and not about, as Sir George Cayley has wisely observed, about "airmanship", and, most here would offer, more. I think staying alive in the air has more to do with artful passion than it does with comprehending computers. Such passion, (where is it today?), leads to using computers appropriately and not yielding to the subtle agenda.

This is not merely about "hand-flying" versus "automation". One can actually be more dangerous hand-flying than letting the automation do the work - the question is not simply answered.

PJ2

Last edited by PJ2; 7th Nov 2010 at 18:06. Reason: Editorial; add comment to alf5071h
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 18:45
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by PJ2
"large control inputs" meaning high pitch or bank angles.
Sorry, was typing with my "Software Engineer" hat on again. Thanks for the confirmation though!

I like your post - and the questions it raises - a lot. However as someone who has a journeyman understanding of "1s and 0s" as well as a love of flight I think the matter is not as easily divided into an either/or concept. I think that in today's climate, with junior commercial pilot salaries as they are, the hypothetical individual who has worked in another discipline or industry until they're 25 and would willingly spend their own money to get into the right-hand seat of a commercial aircraft - in all likelihood taking a cut in salary to do so - said individual would probably have to love flying to take on that potential risk. I'm sure they probably made balsa-wood gliders too.

I'm going to take the thoughts on the "software veil" away and come back later, because I want to get the response right.
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 19:28
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The thread is about automation and lack of pilot skills thereof, no where does it mention the aircraft manufacturer, nor are we debating "airmanship"....As usual, let's get carried away....
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 20:28
  #37 (permalink)  
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Maurice Chavez;

Understand your comment - I recognized that I was focussing on Airbus after I composed and posted and thought of deleting the entire thing. But I reconsidered because what I wrote I think applies to automation in Boeing and other types even though the post strays. Also, when one thinks of "automation issues", one doesn't usually think of Boeing...just noting, not commenting...

On discussing airmanship, Dozywannabe made a similar comment and I concur. "Airmanship" can mean many things so I decided I'd leave that notion in as well even though it is oblique to the discussion. However it is interpreted, wouldn't you think that a discussion like this on automation can't be had without discussing handling/manual flight and cognitive notions as it relates to a philosophical predisposition which accepts software as a legitimate role in aircraft?

Dozywannabe;
Yes, it is most definitely not an either/or - its a human enterprise with all the subtleties that a human brings to the endeavour. But I'm trying to tease out a sense of this while remaining non-prescriptive, non-definitive.

The "veil" (of software) was my instant, unconsidered emotional response when I first stepped into the cockpit of the A320 in early 1992. Every other airplane I'd flown was "accessible" - familiar. This one wasn't.

The metaphor is intended to convey the sense that I felt which was an obscuring layer between me and the airplane. The 8 simulator sessions gradually removed that sense but when I actually got to fly the airplane all sense a disconnection with the airplane was removed simply because it flew like a DC9 and the automation was "nice toys", if I may.

Pilots are familiar with the notion of "looking through the flight director" when the FD is momentarily commanding something ridiculous while it catches up with a fast-changing flight regime...one isn't ignoring the FD - one is holding it "in suspension" until it is believable/useful once again. So it is with all autoflight modes - one "looks through" the automation to see the airplane and how it is being commanded. Pilots know instantly when an instrument reading or the airplane is reading/doing something out of the ordinary and when it does one "looks past" the immediate to see the trends, and disconnects if the trend is wrong.

On any automated aircraft, as has been said dozens of times on PPRuNe, the FMA [Flight Mode Annunicator] section of the Primary Flight Display should be the closest-monitored information section in the cockpit. In unexpected behaviours, the autoflight system may be sorting itself out and doing it gently, or it may be taking/not taking the airplane on the intended path/altitude. If Airmanship includes Situational Awareness, then that's an airmanship item which is learned through experience, not taught in groundschool by non-pilots.

One does not slavishly follow what software requests/requires/commands in an airplane. The stance is, quietly but always...always!, "Sez who?" when software wants something and never ever a sense of obedience because it is software.

The A320/A330 etc is an airplane first and that is the key point that keeps getting missed by those who don't fly the airplane. Looking stuff up in smartcockpit.com may be useful for a technical comprehension but in the end, there is nothing that can substitute for the gestalt of flying the machine when commenting on its quirks and jollies whether Boeing or 'bus.

PJ2
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 20:37
  #38 (permalink)  
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As usual a perceptive and accurate post (#34), PJ, but I would extract part of one paragraph which I would challenge:

Do MCPL programs work? - Judgement reserved - what are they designed to do?

Does MS FltSim and gaming actually provide skills with which to address "computerized flight"? Clearly I would suggest that such a notion is foolish. - I disagree - from what I have seen, in terms PURELY of system operation, they provide excellent skills. You did specify "computerized flight". So, back to the first question?
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Old 7th Nov 2010, 20:43
  #39 (permalink)  
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I believe one can demonstrate airmanship through the automatics not in spite of them.

Decision making is key to this, and automation can give a crew a breather. But there again as we may eventually fully understand, automation can sometimes (maybe over the south Atlantic) deliver too heavier a load.

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Old 7th Nov 2010, 20:46
  #40 (permalink)  
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PJ2

Thank goodness you're here.

1. If the pilot of fbw a/c is confused at any stage he is in the wrong a/c, or at least in the wrong seat. Agreed

2. "Reliance" can lead to dullness, or even nonchalance, we know this.

3. If the "Reliance" of a confused PF allows him to bank on his a/p when it is overmatched, when it may "vamoose", where is my parachute?

4.If he needs to summon his inattention instantly, to recover an a/c that is at the a/p limits, wouldn't he also be ill prepared for the sequence and timing of ALI, ALII, and Direct? Especially with (perhaps) a lack of instrumentation?

5. Isn't that what the discussion is here? Automation leads to dependence, this we know. It isn't in the nature of even pilot's to sit on the edge and wait for something bad to happen.

6. If 58 ECAMS need to be addressed, that's a lot of prioritization. Especially if there is any latent "dependence" on the format that just took a powder?

6a. Glad to see you, you bring a patient and highly skilled energy to the debate.

bear
 

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