Concept and objectives
While aviation is an extremely safe mode of transport, there has recently been a steady rise in the number of accidents that are attributed to limited manual handling skills by pilots. From the accident data gathered over the past decade, the majority of these accidents and incidents occurred in a phase of flight where the automatic systems were disengaged. Modern, 4th generation, aircraft are extremely safe, and there is a particularly low chance of an accident when operating these aircraft. Automation clearly plays a very positive role in enhancing aviation safety and preventing accidents. However, without a set of skills that also include the ability to manually control an aircraft, to manage the automation systems effectively, always maintain an acceptable level of situational awareness, and remain in control of the aircraft, these accidents will continue to occur.
The single largest cause of fatalities in commercial aviation is Loss of Control – In Flight (LOC-I). Invariably, during the chain of events that leads to the accident in a LOC-I situation, the pilot is unable to maintain control of the aircraft by applying manual operation skills to prevent or recover from the situation that lead to the LOC-I. Such instances have occurred in the highly augmented 4th generation aircraft, as well as conventional aircraft, and with experienced pilots fully trained to current standards. These accidents are often due to a combination of the crew not managing the aircraft systems effectively after an unexpected event, and being unable to apply appropriate manual handling skills.
Man4Gen aims to identify the common thread behind the events that lead to these accidents, and to recommend short-term changes to operational procedures, training and aircraft systems technology in order to mitigate this threat to aviation safety. By engaging the key members from the industry, research and academia, and applying the two leading facilities for such research, the deliverables of Man4Gen will lead to a much deeper understanding of the root causes of losing situational awareness in highly augmented and automated aircraft, and how this can be improved through both design and procedures.
The deliverables of Man4Gen will include:
- Recommendations for improved mitigation strategies and procedures to better handle abnormal situations.
- Recommendations for enhanced training to prepare pilot’s better to maintain, and if necessary regain control in unexpected events.
- Recommendations to raise the level of situation awareness through improving the information presentation in modern flight decks.