News / USA

FAA Study Issues Recommendations to Correct Pilot Overreliance on Automation

FAA Study Issues Recommendations to Correct Pilot Overreliance on Automationi
X
November 22, 2013 10:09 PM
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has released a comprehensive study that says airline pilots are relying too much on automation - which could lead to dangerous situations. The findings are in line with what Voice of America first reported in August regarding the crash of an Asiana Airlines plane in San Francisco. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reported those stories and details the new study and what it means for travelers worldwide.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has released a comprehensive study that says airline pilots are relying too much on automation - which could lead to dangerous situations. The findings are in line with what Voice of America first reported in August regarding the crash of an Asiana Airlines plane in San Francisco. Details of the new study has implications for travelers worldwide.

Aviation experts call it automation addiction, an overreliance on the computerized flying of passenger jets. But that same technology has helped make airline travel safer than ever. The report by the Federal Aviation Administration agrees with that, but says pilots are not as skilled at manually flying a plane in emergencies or when transitioning back from automation to manual.

VOA first reported "automation addiction” as a possible issue in July's crash of an Asiana jetliner. The Boeing 777 hit a seawall in San Francisco as the pilots were attempting a typical manual approach. The crash killed three and injured more than 180.  

Vic Hooper flew as a captain with Asiana until two years ago. He said his first officers preferred to fly on autopilot rather than manually. “Sometimes, I would push them a little bit beyond what they had done. Like I’d try to get them to fly a visual approach. They were very uncomfortable with that,” he said.

“We call that culture “children of magenta,” said former pilot trainer Ross Aimer, referring to the magenta color that highlights the route on the high tech instrument panel.

“There are times where an experienced pilot should be able to totally disconnect all the technology and go back to the basics,” said Ross "Rusty" Aimer, a former pilot trainer.

The report found that in one-fourth of the crashes studied, the pilots were overconfident in the automation and sometimes deferred to it, rather than interrupting it. It pointed to what it called an "erosion of manual flying skills" that could get worse in the future.

John McGraw said it's something we can all relate to. He spent 17 years with the FAA and is now an airline consultant.

“If you watch how people drive today, with all the automated systems they have in cars, some people can manage and some can’t, and they are doing that with no training,” said McGraw.

The report recommends more manual flying, and especially training for rare events. But simulator training costs money and takes pilots away from flying the plane - the revenue maker for airlines.

Michael Huerta, who leads the FAA, said, "With technology that we now have available to us in flight simulators, we are able to very, very significantly enhance training."

The report looked at 26 crashes worldwide until 2009 - no recent ones, like the Asiana crash.  

The NTSB contacted VOA after our Asiana story aired and interviewed the pilots featured in our series. The board will hold hearings on the crash in December and release its findings sometime after that.

Carolyn Presutti

Carolyn Presutti is an Emmy and Silver World Medal award winning television correspondent who works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters.   She has also won numerous Associated Press awards and a Clarion for her coverage of The Syrian Medical Crisis, Haiti, The Boston Marathon Bombing, Presidential Politics, The Southern Economy, and The 9/11 Bombing Anniversary.  In 2013, Carolyn aired exclusive stories on the Asiana plane crash and was named VOA’s chief reporter with Google Glass.

You can follow Carolyn on Twitter at CarolynVOA, on Google Plus and Facebook.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: TKO
November 22, 2013 6:32 PM
Technology should be used to assist the flight not to control the flight. Pilots should understand they have a responsebilty to control the airplane. I think that the lack of responsebility is the cause of overreliance of autopilot.

Please think about why pilots get higher salary than other drivers such as trains, buss and ships. That's not because they have a dangerous job but because they have a huge responsebility of passangers and thier family life.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid