Automation Doesn’t Have to Make You a Poor Pilot

We’ve been waiting for this story to go national since we first saw the regional piece aired in the San Francisco market a few weeks ago. We’d like to take the solution that is spoken of in both pieces further than anyone has yet suggested. This includes other experts in the industry, and the steps advised in the FAA’s SAFO of earlier this year. What we’ve accomplished in our field work and research over the past 10 years makes solving this problem not only easier, but within reach of every pilot, flight department, airline or military unit that operates even the most modest of advanced aircraft. Beneath the calls for “more practice” and the elimination of what now has the attention of the national media as a real threat to aviation safety in the “de-skilling” of pilots is the need to perform cockpit duties according to airmanship principles that are compatible with today’s global aircraft fleet. We call them out — all 9 principles — that are relevant to 21st-Century Airmanship. Among these principles are at least three that clearly impact the outcomes described in NBC’s Today Show report on September 17, 2013: Monitoring, Situational and Mode Awareness, and Positive Flight Path Control. Blending a full understanding of these principles into all aspects of contemporary flight operations will have an immediate and lasting impact on safety across the entire global fleet. Read about them in “Automation Airmanship®” (McGraw-Hill, 2013).


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