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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine 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.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid