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Automated Flight

Jamie4590 Guest

With flight becoming more and more automated with things like the advanced FMC does anyone think that this is a good or bad thing for the pilots?

It makes their job easier but perhaps too easy? There have been several incidents related to the FMC and its operations. What are your thoughts on the relationship between the FMC and pilot?

Have you ever had any simming mis-haps caused by the FMC??

Pro Member Chief Captain
CRJCapt Chief Captain

Technology often makes more work for pilots. It lessens workload to a point then as you increase the functions of the equipment even more, it increases the workload of the pilots and increases the chance for mistakes. Simple is better than overly complex. The hard part is determining where that change over point is. K.I.S.S- Keep it simple, stupid is better a better way of thinking. 🙂

Jamie4590 Guest

Interesting point. Although being very well trained technology can overtake you and I'm sure there are pilots who use the basic functions of an FMC and recognise the expected error readings but would be in hot water if a serious problem occured and they were recieving multiple errors. There is also a phrase used in aviation which is a Fast Fingered Freddy meaning someone who will press the button before double checking the information is correct. Not just for an FMC but any equipment. The extra few seconds make all the difference. Sadly this scenario was contributed to the deaths of many when the captain changed waypoints in the FMC and, assuming the required waypoint would be at the top of the list presented to him he selected the first one without looking. This was almost always the case but tragically on this occasion the waypoint at the top of the list was not the one he required and teh waypoint he had selected put the aircraft on a collision course with a mountain while the crew were oblivious.

Pro Member First Officer
PH First Officer

We looked at the accident mentioned above when I did my MCC course. There were a few factors in addition that led to the accident....as Jamie stated normally you select a waypoint from the list in the FMC, wait for an indication on the ND showing where this will take if it looks sensible and as a crew you agree it looks right you should you select it. I believe it gave them a 90 degree turn from track in a highly mountainous area. In addition they had received a change of runway and were "chasing" the aircraft.

Back to the question- IMO technology is a good thing. You must not be complacent however and expect just because you pressed a button things will happen. You need to know and understand the systems and monitor closely and regularly.

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