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FAA Questions Lack Of 'Manual' Piloting Skills With ICAO

Says Many Pilots Rely Too Heavily On Aircraft Automation

The FAA has called the manual piloting skills of some pilots into question in a working paper presented to the ICAO 40th General Assembly.

In a report to the ICAO, the FAA said "when automation ceases to work properly, pilots who do not have sufficient manual control experience and proper training may be hesitant or not have enough skills to take control of the aircraft.”

According to the working paper presented at the meeting, the FAA says ICAO Standards and guidance material regarding pilot training serve a critical purpose in promoting system-wide interoperability and global confidence.

"As the use of automation increases in aircraft design, it is important to consider how ICAO Standards and guidance should evolve to ensure that pilot training programs align with technological advancements. Further study of the issues surrounding automation in the flight deck could enhance the safety of flight operations worldwide. This further study should include assessing the degree to which over-reliance on automation may be occurring globally and reviewing the methodologies currently employed by States and industry to ensure pilots maintain necessary skills," the report states.

"In addition, as States are responsible for approving pilot training programs for national air operators, it is critical that each State has the ability to identify whether an over-reliance on automation is a risk factor within its system, and determine how to mitigate this risk in a robust pilot training program and through other safety oversight means."

According to the paper, the FAA requires all air carrier pilots to satisfactorily complete initial and recurrent training, which includes an additional six manual flying manoeuvres that must be performed in a specifically qualified full flight simulator. These maneuvers include manually flown arrivals and departures, manually flown slow flight, recovery from a bounced landing, upset prevention and recovery, and recovery from full stall. Further, the pilots must also satisfactorily perform loss of reliable airspeed, which reinforces the need for pilots to ignore erroneous indications and manually fly the aircraft with sole reference to pitch and power displays.

The report concludes that Member States and industry are encouraged to support the proposals outlined in the paper, and to engage in the further study of potential pilot training improvements to address automation dependency.

(Source: ICAO working paper. Image from file)

FMI: Paper

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