Automation in the air dulls pilot skill

Aug 30, 2011 By JOAN LOWY , Associated Press
In this Feb. 12, 2009, file photo, a plane burns after it crashed into a house in Clarence Center, N.Y., Authorities say it was Continental Airlines Flight 3407 operated by Manassas, Va.-based Colgan Air. Airline industry and safety officials are concerned that pilots’ flying skills are becoming rusty and their ability to handle unexpected situations is eroding because most flying is delegated to computers in today’s highly automated planes. (AP Photo/David Duprey, File)

(AP) -- Safety and industry officials worry that there will be more deadly airline accidents traced to pilots who have lost their hands-on instincts as planes become ever more reliant on automation to navigate crowded skies.

The says hundreds of people have died over the past five years in 51 "loss of control" accidents in which planes stalled during flight or got into unusual positions that pilots could not correct. In some cases, pilots made the wrong split-second decision, with catastrophic results.

One airline captain, Rory Kay, says pilots get so little time to manually fly that they're "forgetting how to fly." Kay is co-chairman of a committee on pilot training.

Regulations that require greater reliance on computerized flying are helping spur the trend.

Explore further: Coroner: bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pilots at risk for cosmic cataracts

Aug 08, 2005

Researchers say they've determined airline pilots are at increased risk of cataracts usually associated with aging as a result of cosmic radiation.

Lawmakers seek ban on laptops in airliner cockpits

Nov 03, 2009

(AP) -- Lawmakers are moving to ban the use of computer laptops and other personal electronic devices in airline cockpits to prevent another incident like the Northwest Airlines plane that overshot Minneapolis by 150 miles.

New tracking system boosts pilot safety

Jul 03, 2008

Pilots will no longer be out of sight as they fly cross-country thanks to a new tracking system developed by Massey University mechatronics graduate and a former staff member.

NASA wants to smooth bumpy plane rides

Jul 20, 2005

Most airline passengers and even flight crews don't like turbulence, so NASA researchers have developed an automatic turbulence reporting system.

Recommended for you

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

11 hours ago

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

13 hours ago

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

COCO
not rated yet Aug 31, 2011
best I heard from an avionics engineer was that soon only the pilot and a dog will be in the cockpit - the dog's role is to bite the pilot if he wants to touch anything. Pilots today are mostly video kids - wimps like those on 911 who let their themselves be taken with exacto blades.