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Cockpit Automation - Advantages and Safety Challenges

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Cockpit Automation - Advantages and Safety Challenges

Old 12th May 2014, 14:45
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Cockpit Automation - Advantages and Safety Challenges

SKYbrary - Cockpit Automation - Advantages and Safety Challenges

The latest word on safety challenges with automation.

Under the heading of Improvement Paths, is the first recommendation, which is "Improve basic airmanship and manual flying skills."

The 10 other recommendations are all about improving automation one way or another.

Instead of going into detail on exactly how to improve basic airmanship and manual flying skills, the author of the paper neatly skips that as too hard and instead launches into how to make automation better and better. All waffle and little real substance.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 00:57
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This guy makes some good points and suggestions, but unfortunately doesn't really address the obvious solution. Flying is a skill that must be well learned and then practiced. Unfortunately many of today's pilots, especially outside the US, never really learn how to fly. They get the basics and then start flying simulators with automation. Automation is great and works great most of the time. The problem is that sometimes it doesn't. A pilot has to have the skills to safely land the plane when the automation is inop or like the recent Asiana incident when it isn't doing what you need it to. The obvious solution is more actual flying experience before getting into an airliner and then continuing to actually fly the plane instead of turning knobs bad pushing buttons.
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Old 22nd May 2014, 12:24
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Unfortunately many of today's pilots, especially outside the US, never really learn how to fly.
I don't believe this to be true. There are tens of thousands of non-US pilots who have learned to fly 'properly' having received instruction from properly motivated instructors who have chosen to instruct for a living. This means that the end product, the licensed pilot, is a better pilot. My experience of the US is that too many instructors instruct because they need flight hours - not because they want to. And are these instructing hours actually worth anything? Furthermore, these instructor are bringing little to the table because they have virtually no experience; too many appear to have just finished learning to fly themselves. Then look at the US exams. If ever there was a system that rewarded learning by rote, then this is is. Most other nations publish a syllabus, not the questions.

Now let's look at who builds these highly automated aircraft? No prizes for guessing the right answer. I can only assume that the level automation within of good old American products is just perfect!

And if we judge people by their words and actions, some of the grimmest flying in Europe is performed by the US long haul operators. These guys have forgotten what they were taught or some important were items left out of their training.

I think maybe you should be a bit more inclusive in your criticisms.

PM

Last edited by Piltdown Man; 22nd May 2014 at 18:30. Reason: Grammar & spelling
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Old 23rd May 2014, 19:53
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I wasn't referring to quality of instruction or quality of pilots in the US versus every where else it was more the system. It just takes time in the air to gain flying experience. In the U S a pilot must have more flying time before getting into an airliner.
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Old 25th May 2014, 08:26
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It's a shame that hours does not equal ability. I have flown with many sub-1,000 hour pilots who are both superb pilots and operators. I have also flown with pilots with thousands of hours who I wouldn't trust to operate a lift. The criminal thing in the US is the paltry level of pay awarded to junior pilots. It forces them to live like tramps and cut corners in accommodation, resulting in them arriving for work unrested and unfit for duty. When arriving in this state for work, even the competent appear incompetent.

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Old 27th May 2014, 21:37
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In the U S a pilot must have more flying time before getting into an airliner.
Only because accidents attributed, in part, to poor handling had the FAA move to impose regulation. Had those accidents not happened or had the public reaction been different, the FAA would not have done anything. Lets be clear too, the U.S has its fair share of school-airline models - American Eagle being a prominent one. This is a world-wide industry problem.
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Old 23rd Jun 2014, 12:54
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Bashkirian flight 2937 mid-air collision

Is there anyone who knows where I can find the CVR transcript of the Bashkirian flight? What I found is only the transcript between the aircraft and the controller. I'm doing some research on aviation psychology . I would appreciate if someone can help me to . Of course it can also be possible that it was never released to public... Thank you!
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Old 25th Jun 2014, 10:04
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Überlingen mid-air collision - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia has extracts in Appendices 1,2&3.
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Old 26th Jun 2014, 01:13
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Rick777

I am with you.

Having taught to increase my hours did not make me a bad instructor. As a matter of fact I took instructing very seriously as any part of flying.

There is a practical aspect to making your living as an instructor on their way to an airline job. You have to fly. You don't sit around a pub or club, you have to fly. And you fly in all sorts of weather to the maximum extent your plane and student can handle.

AS to flying time to get that big airline job. I had well over 5000 real hours when I got my big time airline job.

Rick777 and I both know getting a job is competitive and not just a cadet scheme or knowing someone. And many pilots had ATP to get jobs at small airlines. The tragedy of colgan air may have codefied the hours/licenses needed but the good old free enterprise competition still has higher standards.

Rick777 imagine what it would have been like to get a job at 200 hours and spoon fed flying while someone was paying you.

AS to automation, it may replace pilots. But it will not replace GOOD pilots.

IF you want to get to be a GOOD pilot you turn the gadgets off. You have to actually gain a feel for throttles and yoke and rudder pedals. Just watching throttles or yoke move on their own doesn't count.

Rick777 you are right on.

and +TSRA, regulations don' t make good pilots. PRACTICE DOES, there are no natural human pilots...chuck yeager said that.
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Old 27th Jun 2014, 13:58
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Rick777 imagine what it would have been like to get a job at 200 hours and spoon fed flying while someone was paying you.
Having been there, done that, and I can tell you it was fantastic. It was called the Royal Australian Air Force and on graduation at 210 hours we were told to go and fly that Mustang over there.
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Old 28th Jun 2014, 19:25
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Boac,Thank you!
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 15:31
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Originally Posted by +TSRA
Only because accidents attributed, in part, to poor handling had the FAA move to impose regulation. Had those accidents not happened or had the public reaction been different, the FAA would not have done anything.
Had those accidents not happened, why would the FAA, or any regulatory authority for that matter, move to impose any regulation? …and what do you mean about the public reaction being different? Are you saying that had those accidents occurred and the public reaction was one of indifference, the FAA would have done nothing? Really? What purpose does a regulatory authority serve and on what basis does this authority exercise any regulatory change?
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Old 30th Jun 2014, 23:27
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AirRabbit - I think I know where you are coming from, but how much time do our regulatory authorities spend on "fishing trips"? I not questioning their personal integrity, but they always appear to be on their back feet looking at what has happened rather than thinking about what could. They are not "bad people" but they generally lack vision. I'd like to be reassured that they were trying to prevent the next prang but I get the feeling that they'll be be caught off-guard yet again.

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Old 1st Jul 2014, 16:56
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man
AirRabbit - I think I know where you are coming from, but how much time do our regulatory authorities spend on "fishing trips"? I not questioning their personal integrity, but they always appear to be on their back feet looking at what has happened rather than thinking about what could. They are not "bad people" but they generally lack vision. I'd like to be reassured that they were trying to prevent the next prang but I get the feeling that they'll be be caught off-guard yet again.
PM
Hi Piltdown Man - Thanks for the comment and I share your concerns, at least to some degree ... however, I would offer the following in response...

I think that it’s necessary to understand the purpose of having a regulatory authority in the first place. Probably the most obvious is to structure a set of rules and regulations that describe, as specifically as possible, how members of the industry are to perform their respective job functions … and also, in those rules and regulations, prescribe how those persons are to be trained and what level of competency must be demonstrated in order to be able to perform their jobs with the expected level of competence.

Most regulatory authorities, given any opportunity to do so, would likely prefer to be able to structure those rules and regulations as simplistically and as clearly as possible. And, rules and regulations serve basically 2 functions: first, when structured and followed correctly, a minimum level of knowledge and competency will be achieved and verified; and second, will ensure that all operators will be required to meet the same requirements, such that no one will be required to “do more” or allow others to “do less” than what is required of all the participants.

Also, I think it’s necessary to understand that any regulatory requirement should have a specific reason for being a requirement – most usually, this is to establish a minimum competency or knowledge and then define a process or procedure that would ensure that participants have reached that defined level of competency/knowledge – most likely through some kind of demonstration … or test. And, to ensure that this competency/knowledge does not deteriorate over time, include a requirement to periodically review the pertinent aspects of that competency/knowledge, or repeat that demonstration or test.

Additionally, as the industry expands its operations (operating into lower weather minimums, traveling longer distances, at higher altitudes, greater speeds, into and out of more difficult terrain airports … whatever), or new technologies become available (at least some of which are to accommodate those operational expansions) most regulators want to examine the existing rules to see if any such expansion or any new technology would require any modification or expansion of those rules.

Clearly, doing all of the above, and doing it with even a modicum of accuracy, each time, requires that regulators be either clairvoyant or adept at using a “crystal ball.” Personally, I don’t think that regulators are any less concerned about “what could happen” than anyone else – and, in fact, the regulators I know, seem to have a “split focus” of attention … first, on how well existing rules contribute to competency/knowledge, and second, what kind of change in industry practices or potentials would either benefit from or absolutely require a new or modified rule.

One of the things that regulators have in their “field of view” is the cost (both in money and in time) that any rule change or any new rule will require, and whether or not that cost is, or will be, necessary to ensure or advance the safety of the overall operation. After all, SAFETY is supposed to be the primary goal of those folks.

As I’ve indicated in other posts in other areas on this forum, there have been several “working group” efforts in which representatives of regulatory authorities participated very actively with significant industry participation – those include the following:
• FAR Part 121, subparts N&O Rewrite;
•The International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (ICATEE) working group;
•The Stall/Stick-Pusher working group;
•The RAeS International Flight Crew Training Conferences;
•The RAeS/IATA Training and Qualification Initiative (ITQI);
•Various committees and working groups addressing …
- Stall and approach to stall, recognition and recovery;
- Defining upset recovery envelope(s), including instructor feed-back mechanisms;
- Aerodynamic impact of icing encounters;
- Effects of crosswind and gusting winds; and
- Bounced landing recovery.

It would seem, to me at least, such efforts are indicative of a whole-hearted interest in determining just how to "...prevent the next prang."
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