4 thoughts on “Automation In Aircraft Can Kill, When It’s Not Saving Your Life, That Is

  1. It seems if you understand that the plane is saving itself, that purpose is that you as the PIC is secondary to safe flight…Sure when the auto-pilot be came available the work load was reduced.. then OH, we can force the plane to do what we the engineers want it to do.
    Right or wrong ..The system should only be an AID NOT the end all be all.

    Let make sure that as the PIC we really can be the the PILOT IN Command of the aircraft, and not some computer driven algorithm.

  2. Remember the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”? It was released/shown in 1968, and as I watched it I thought: “This is going to happen. As they apply computers to everyday life……..and they will…….the use of a computer in place of human control that a human is not able to disengage…………..will get people killed.”

    I prefer to being right/correct with lottery numbers.

  3. Clearly this and a few other automation related issues resulting in crashes in the majors (such as auto-throttles that would over-ride the pilot advancing the throttles at low altitudes because the airplane thinks it is about to touch down comes to mind) need to be identified by the manufacturer as potential failure modes and addressed, not by an obscure line in the Pilots operational manual, but with a suggested training syllabus containing the potential failure modes, identification processes and their remedy. The manufacturer should not be absolved of their responsibility to aid the end product users (both airlines and their pilots) to be properly prepared for all eventualities in the cockpit. In my opinion, this indicates that the systems were not properly assessed for failure modes prior to production and could result in viable lawsuits. Similar issues have also been identified in the compressor bleed based oxygen system problems found on most fighter aircraft today as a thorough system assessment (including dynamics of the system and human physiological factors) appears to have not occurred until a recent independent review by the NASA Engineering & Safety Center (see http://www.documentcloud.org/documents/4329911-NESC-RP-17-01205-FA-18-FleetNASA-report-F-A-18.html). I find this a disturbing trend in the aviation industry and should be a wake up call for manufacturers that their systems are not being properly evaluated and to the FAA that new standards for training and communication between user and manufacturer are needed. As these multi-layer complex systems move inexorably toward a fully autonomous aircraft, full systemic safety assessment will become more critical. Properly analyzing these systems for human/machine and potential failure modes with automated fail-safes should be part and parcel for the industry, not an after thought.

  4. Faulty sensors appear to be the problem together with lack of pilot knowledge of how to disingage! Is it possible a individual could have hacked into the aircrafts computor to cause the crash?

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