Pilots Now Spend More Time Learning Automated Systems than Hands-On Flying

Megalith

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The Boeing 737 Max 8 crashes have reignited debate over the potential risks of automation in aircraft and how it may hinder human competence, but a New York Times story suggests many new pilots are at the mercy of technology regardless: interviews with pilots and instructors indicate many are less skilled at manual control because of an increased focus on automated systems, turning them into system operators rather than pilots. “They may not exactly know or recognize quickly enough what is happening to the aircraft, and by the time they figure it out, it may be too late.””

“The automation in the aircraft, whether it’s a Boeing or an Airbus, has lulled us into a sense of security and safety,” said Kevin Hiatt, a former Delta Air Lines pilot who later ran flight safety for JetBlue. Pilots now rely on autopilot so often, “they become a systems operator rather than a stick-and-rudder pilot.” In recent years, the Federal Aviation Administration has advised airlines to encourage pilots to fly manually when appropriate, among other policies intended to improve manual skills.
 
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Why anybody would become a pilot is beyond me. It used to be the ex fighter jocks needing jobs as they transitioned into civilian life, but now it's people wanting to go fly tubs of lard from hub to hub.
 

Elios

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ugg

yes automation is used most of the time but good pilots still hand fly a LOT when they can
 

Elios

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Why anybody would become a pilot is beyond me. It used to be the ex fighter jocks needing jobs as they transitioned into civilian life, but now it's people wanting to go fly tubs of lard from hub to hub.
because we WANT to fly im starting flight training in the fall i dont get how people wouldnt want to
 

Laowai

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because we WANT to fly im starting flight training in the fall i dont get how people wouldnt want to
I'm not being a jerk here....I'm glad you found something you enjoy. However, I am curious to see if you'll be singing the same tune in 10 years.
Granted, I've never *flown* anything outside of an old training Cessna with my Grandfather some 30+ years ago but it's not too hard to see how flying can be enjoyable but being a commercial pilot may be like watching paint dry when you're up in the air.
 

N4CR

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A380 pilot with 20k hours told me the same thing. He said I did more flying in flight school than he does on a daily basis and that it's more about management of energy/systems at that level. Totally not what I signed up for..
 

N4CR

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Why anybody would become a pilot is beyond me. It used to be the ex fighter jocks needing jobs as they transitioned into civilian life, but now it's people wanting to go fly tubs of lard from hub to hub.
Glorified bus driver is what I call it. And they cut the pay year in year out.

And mark my words, its still a decent pay for most people but as soon as they automate it properly and get people used to this, you are out of a job. Or down to a single pilot, can see that writing on the wall from a mile away.
 

The Cobra

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Show me an industry that doesn't use any type of Computers in any way shape or form...
 

NoOther

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Curious to see what my brother has to say about the automation. I saw his study material for his particular plan he flies now. A lot of it is actually just learning button position and what the buttons do. Much like learning flight simulator controls on your PC. He created a mock cockpit in his office to sit in and just train on knowing where everything is. Now he was already coming from a highly automated aircraft, so that part was easy for him, just differences in planes and timing. As for manual flying, being in the Air Force, much of their training to maintain flight time was on smaller jets that required a lot more manual flight skills.

Why anybody would become a pilot is beyond me. It used to be the ex fighter jocks needing jobs as they transitioned into civilian life, but now it's people wanting to go fly tubs of lard from hub to hub.
Probably because it is a pretty good gig. My brother is a pilot and there are months where he only works about a week of the month. Plus benefits are pretty good. His family flies free as do my parents, albeit they have to fly standby, but usually that is not a problem outside of holidays.
 

NoOther

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because we WANT to fly im starting flight training in the fall i dont get how people wouldnt want to
Just depends, I love driving my sports car now and then, but I don't want to be driving people around in a Uber every day for a living. Same with flying. It is fun when I can select my flight plan and fly around and do maneuvers when I want, but when you have to uber people around in a plane on a flight plan someone else chose and can't deviate or do any maneuvers, I can see it getting boring.
 
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Glorified bus driver is what I call it. And they cut the pay year in year out.

And mark my words, its still a decent pay for most people but as soon as they automate it properly and get people used to this, you are out of a job. Or down to a single pilot, can see that writing on the wall from a mile away.
reminds me of the old joke about a pilot and a dog in the flight deck. The pilot is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.
 

Elios

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this is the best break down of the issues with the 737MAX and its written by programmer

Some people are calling the 737MAX tragedies a #software failure. Here's my response: It's not a software problem. It was an

* Economic problem that the 737 engines used too much fuel, so they decided to install more efficient engines with bigger fans and make the 737MAX.

* Airframe problem. They wanted to use the 737 airframe for economic reasons, but needed more ground clearance with bigger engines.The 737 design can't be practically modified to have taller main landing gear. The solution was to mount them higher & more forward.

* Aerodynamic problem. The airframe with the engines mounted differently did not have adequately stable handling at high AoA to be certifiable. Boeing decided to create the MCAS system to electronically correct for the aircraft's handling deficiencies.

* Systems engineering problem. Boeing wanted the simplest possible fix that fit their existing systems architecture, so that it required minimal engineering rework, and minimal new training for pilots and maintenance crews.
The easiest way to do this was to add some features to the existing Elevator Feel Shift system. Like the #EFS system, the #MCAS relies on non-redundant sensors to decide how much trim to add. Unlike the EFS system, MCAS can make huge nose down trim changes.

On both ill-fated flights, there was a: * Sensor problem. The AoA vane on the 737MAX appears to not be very reliable and gave wildly wrong readings. On #LionAir, this was compounded by a

* Maintenance practices problem. The previous crew had experienced the same problem and didn't record the problem in the maintenance logbook. This was compounded by a:

* Pilot training problem. On LionAir, pilots were never even told about the MCAS, and by the time of the Ethiopian flight, there was an emergency AD issued, but no one had done sim training on this failure. This was compounded by an:


Nowhere in here is there a software problem. The computers & software performed their jobs according to spec without error. The specification was just shitty. Now the quickest way for Boeing to solve this mess is to call up the software guys to come up with another band-aid.
the fix is to fit the back up AoA vain to all 737 MAX aircraft and update pilot training imo
 

N4CR

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reminds me of the old joke about a pilot and a dog in the flight deck. The pilot is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.
Glad I wasn't drinking anything at this time.. hilarious! Thank you for sharing.


this is the best break down of the issues with the 737MAX and its written by programmer



the fix is to fit the back up AoA vain to all 737 MAX aircraft and update pilot training imo
The non-redundant sensor issue really dogs me - thought people had figured that one out years ago.
 

Jim Kim

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The non-redundant sensor issue really dogs me - thought people had figured that one out years ago.
They had, but if you can save $7 dollars per plane why would you want to add another sensor if it was not an "essential" system.
During some of the discussions with the FAA, according to people familiar with the matter, Boeing’s team persuaded the agency that the system shouldn’t be considered so essential that its failure could result in a catastrophic accident. As a result, it would be acceptable for the system to rely on a single sensor.
https://outline.com/pBYSWt
 

Verge

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I'm not being a jerk here....I'm glad you found something you enjoy. However, I am curious to see if you'll be singing the same tune in 10 years.
Granted, I've never *flown* anything outside of an old training Cessna with my Grandfather some 30+ years ago but it's not too hard to see how flying can be enjoyable but being a commercial pilot may be like watching paint dry when you're up in the air.
cept they get paid to watch paint dry, and free coffee from occasionally hot stewartesses. The big jets pay well into 6 figures and some pilots go entire careers now without even seeing a single engine flame out.
 
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Glad I wasn't drinking anything at this time.. hilarious! Thank you for sharing.



The non-redundant sensor issue really dogs me - thought people had figured that one out years ago.
Multiple sensors doesn't necessarily equate to improved accuracy or reliability. You've got to account for variances in the sensor's capability and then try and decide which, if any, are reporting correctly and what to do about it. That sort of complexity means reduced response time and effectively making the programmer the point of failure. Much simpler design to go off of one or go manual, which puts the onus on the pilot.
 

Elios

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Multiple sensors doesn't necessarily equate to improved accuracy or reliability. You've got to account for variances in the sensor's capability and then try and decide which, if any, are reporting correctly and what to do about it. That sort of complexity means reduced response time and effectively making the programmer the point of failure. Much simpler design to go off of one or go manual, which puts the onus on the pilot.
note NO Max with the 2nd AoA sensor has had an issue the issue stems from 3rd tier airlines with sub par training and maintenance that tried to save few bucks Lion air has really bad record like they lost 1 aircraft a year for the last 5 years....

train update and adding the 2nd AoA sensor would fix the issue the software is already there to deal with the 2nd sensor as its option that all the US and EU airlines took already it was the supper budget sketchy ones in Asia and Africa that opted out
 

ecuador

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OK, this new article that the Seattle Times apparently had written a few days BEFORE this second crash (they were waiting for responses from FAA and Boeing when the new accident happened) is a real eye opener about what went on with FAA & Boeing, describing how the FAA let Boeing self-regulate many safety features and how Boeing submitted flawed reasoning for the certification. It's a good read. Specifically the MCAS was not certified by the FAA, but by Boeing engineers themselves, and while they specified the safety class of the system as "hazardous failure" they still assigned a single sensor to it, something that isn't supposed to happen. And then, they found out the MCAS corrections they certified (0.6 degrees angle of the stabilizers) were not enough, so without changing the certification they just switched the limit to 2.5 degrees without telling anyone, which limit was not an actual limit it turns out due to how the software was implemented, so the MCAS could turn stabilizers to full...
 
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ecuador

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note NO Max with the 2nd AoA sensor has had an issue the issue stems from 3rd tier airlines with sub par training and maintenance that tried to save few bucks Lion air has really bad record like they lost 1 aircraft a year for the last 5 years....

train update and adding the 2nd AoA sensor would fix the issue the software is already there to deal with the 2nd sensor as its option that all the US and EU airlines took already it was the supper budget sketchy ones in Asia and Africa that opted out
Complete BS. There is no such "airline option" of course. Airlines don't have to pay crucial safety options. The MCAS software was designed to be fed by a single sensor (even though there were indeed two available), that's how it was submitted to the FAA for certification, although the FAA deferred the actual certification back to Boeing themselves, who just patted themselves on the back I guess :) Outside engineers are baffled at why the Boeing engineers would do that, but it was all part of an effort of catching up with the Airbus A320Neo that was 9 months ahead of them.
Now, the new software Boeing is preparing will indeed use both sensors and will limit the total angle the MCAS can set the stabilizer too.
So the software patch to fix the bad design of the plane will be better. Don't think that is much of a good thing, but as a software engineer I may be biased (sort of like this).
 

Elios

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Complete BS. There is no such "airline option" of course. Airlines don't have to pay crucial safety options. The MCAS software was designed to be fed by a single sensor (even though there were indeed two available), that's how it was submitted to the FAA for certification, although the FAA deferred the actual certification back to Boeing themselves, who just patted themselves on the back I guess :) Outside engineers are baffled at why the Boeing engineers would do that, but it was all part of an effort of catching up with the Airbus A320Neo that was 9 months ahead of them.
Now, the new software Boeing is preparing will indeed use both sensors and will limit the total angle the MCAS can set the stabilizer too.
So the software patch to fix the bad design of the plane will be better. Don't think that is much of a good thing, but as a software engineer I may be biased (sort of like this).

yet Boeing offered it as an option and the US airlines all took that option where Lion air and Ethiopia did not...
 

ecuador

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yet Boeing offered it as an option and the US airlines all took that option where Lion air and Ethiopia did not...
Dude, where are your getting your "alternative facts"? The whole point of the software fix they are preparing for months now is that it will feed off both sensors. You think they would have the ability to use redundant sensors to increase safety and they would be charging for it? Do you realize the liability they would face if they did that? Well, I may be arguing with a 12 year old of course, so, yeah, I guess you might not realize how things work...
 

Elios

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Dude, where are your getting your "alternative facts"? The whole point of the software fix they are preparing for months now is that it will feed off both sensors. You think they would have the ability to use redundant sensors to increase safety and they would be charging for it? Do you realize the liability they would face if they did that? Well, I may be arguing with a 12 year old of course, so, yeah, I guess you might not realize how things work...
uh they did JUST that

* Economic problem. Boeing sells an option package that includes an extra AoA vane, and an AoA disagree light, which lets pilots know that this problem was happening. Both 737MAXes that crashed were delivered without this option. No 737MAX with this option has ever crashed.

the bigger question is why did the FAA let them get way with this and passing off the MCAS system as non critical
 

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Complete BS. There is no such "airline option" of course. Airlines don't have to pay crucial safety options. The MCAS software was designed to be fed by a single sensor (even though there were indeed two available), that's how it was submitted to the FAA for certification, although the FAA deferred the actual certification back to Boeing themselves, who just patted themselves on the back I guess :) Outside engineers are baffled at why the Boeing engineers would do that, but it was all part of an effort of catching up with the Airbus A320Neo that was 9 months ahead of them.
Now, the new software Boeing is preparing will indeed use both sensors and will limit the total angle the MCAS can set the stabilizer too.
So the software patch to fix the bad design of the plane will be better. Don't think that is much of a good thing, but as a software engineer I may be biased (sort of like this).
The xkcd made me cry/laugh so hard I split open my 5 year old hernia scar. Thank you

as for the "life saving" package, the reason it was so expensive is you had to purchase it with the fog light pkg, leather interior, moon roof and Landau Trim upgrade.
Some people never met a Conspiracy they didn't like.
 
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ecuador

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uh they did JUST that
The point I am making is that even if there is a second AoA sensor, the MCAS system software will not use it. It is not designed to use it, there's no option (and definitely not an option you'd pay for). That's what all the sources say, and your source doesn't say something different.
 

Elios

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The point I am making is that even if there is a second AoA sensor, the MCAS system software will not use it. It is not designed to use it, there's no option (and definitely not an option you'd pay for). That's what all the sources say, and your source doesn't say something different.
IT IS designed to use along with the AoA disagree ligtht
 

Krenum

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Now wheres that guy in the other post that told me I was ignorant on this matter?.......
 

Kajun614

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reminds me of the old joke about a pilot and a dog in the flight deck. The pilot is there to feed the dog, and the dog is there to bite the pilot if he touches anything.
ROFL thats funny. I did a birthday intro to flying lesson and got sick. never returned
 

ecuador

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IT IS designed to use along with the AoA disagree ligtht
Hmm, I am starting to suspect you are not ignorant, but a troll, using dubious tweets to promote misinformation.

I will just post here one of the sources which show the graphs (from the black box) of the TWO AoA sensors that Lion Air had (which you insist it didn't have, because they "didn't pay for the option") and a detailed explanation of how MCAS only uses ONE. All legitimate sources agree, and the main purpose of the Boeing "fix" being developed is to use the second sensor (that already exists in planes) for MCAS, and limit the maximum setting the MCAS can apply.
 

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Rizen

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as soon as they automate it properly and get people used to this, you are out of a job.
This is literally true for all jobs outside of those that an AI cannot replace, e.g. physical presence or something that depends on human relationships.
 
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