Automation can help lower pilots of routine or non-rewarding activities that are less suitable for humans. However, it inevitably transforms pilots' active participation in aircraft operations into a monitoring function that humans are unable to do efficiently.
Fremont, CA: For safe and efficient service, modern aircraft are increasingly dependent on automation. However, when misguided or mishandled, automation often has the ability to trigger critical accidents. Automation can also result in an aircraft developing an undesirable state from which traditional hand flying techniques make it difficult or impossible to recover.
Here are some pros and cons of cockpit automation:
• Increases convenience for passengers.
• Improved monitoring of flight paths and reduced weather minimums.
• Systems control screens coupled with Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor (ECAM)/Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System (EICAS) diagnostic assistance systems support better awareness of aircraft system states by pilots and maintenance personnel. However, faced with a complicated failure case, the typically 'easy to understand' failure data will swamp the crew and either delay diagnosis or distract the crew from the FLY THE AIRCRAFT's primary task.
• Automation can help lower pilots of routine or non-rewarding activities that are less suitable for humans. However, it inevitably transforms pilots' active participation in aircraft operations into a monitoring function that humans are mostly unable to do efficiently or for long periods of time.
• Good automation minimizes workload, frees attention resources to work on other activities, but the need to 'manage' automation puts additional tasks on the pilot, especially when data entry or retrieval through a key-pad is involved, which can also increase the pilot workload. On the other hand, poor automation will decrease the situational awareness of the operators and create significant workload challenges when systems fail.