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Flight For Control – Automation

I finished Flight For Control earlier this week. It was a great book, challenging the reader on so many different levels. It inspired me to make a new column on my blog. I’ll give a few comments on each of the questions from the book. If you haven’t read Flight For Control yet, you can get your copy HERE

Hide your kids….

As I’ve said in a previous blog post, I will post a weekly blog, trying to answer the discussion questions inĀ Flight For Control. The first question is about automation.

The future threat to aviation includes advanced technology – what happens when it breaks? Will the pilots of the future know what to do if they are faced with flying their planes manually?
– Flight For Control by Karlene Petitt

First I have to say that automation is a very good thing. It provides for a better workload management when everything is running smoothly. When it fails, then what?

Pilots are training to the highest standards, but that usually means “pushing buttons” and controlling the advanced systems on board. Stick and rudder skills are still essential, but the training provided (both initial and recurrent) doesn’t allow enough time for the pilot to hand-fly their plane. If they can’t hand-fly during normal ops, how are they supposed to do so when the advanced technology breaks?

Simple logic tells me that would be hard. Therefore, it is very important that training programs focus on this issue. They have to allocate time to let their pilots hand fly, every time they’re in the simulator.

Even though the technology on board allows the plane to land by itself, pilots are still the ones with a brain inside this complex machinery. Human logic and reasoning will never be replaced by a computer.

– Cecilie

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