The recent developments of commercial aircraft made a significant impact on the overall safety of commercial airline transport operations. The advent of advanced flight control systems with envelope protection, improved auto-pilots and navigation systems contributed to this trend. Together, this has led to an increasingly reliable system and a very low accident rate. Naturally it is proving increasingly difficult to further improve on this safety record.
The Man4Gen project will build on the outcome of existing research efforts. Some of the key projects and analyses that have been performed recently in this field include the EU FP7 Simulation of Upset Recovery in Aircraft (SUPRA) which focused on the simulation capabilities that can be provided for upset recovery training. Furthermore, the recently completed EU FP7 research project HUMAN researched the possibilities of modelling the cognitive processes and certain human error mechanisms of the flight crew in normal operations.
The results of this research have an application to the investigation of the cognitive processes in manual operation and will be included in the research phase of Man4Gen. The International Committee for Aviation Training in Extended Envelopes (ICATEE) as part of the Royal Aeronautical Society – Flight Simulator Group, has introduced the concept of comprehensive Upset Prevention and Recovery Training. In Flight accidents. The Man4Gen project will validate part of the ICATEE results as part of the evaluation phases of the project. On a regulatory level, EASA, the FAA and the UK CAA, have active working groups that are involved in the investigation of the operational issues of 4th Generation automated aircraft. The Civil Aviation Safety Team (CAST) and specifically the Joint Safety Analysis Team (JSAT) on Loss of Control and Aircraft State Awareness have been working on the analysis of the factors that lead to events including Loss of Control and which will be encompassed in the Man4Gen study.
The aim of the Man4Gen consortium’s research is to take this existing research further by investigating the broader impact of a loss of situational awareness on the crew’s ability to respond to unexpected events. The aim of the project is to develop recommendations for training, procedures or system design to improve the crew’s resilience to these events. The Man4Gen consortium is supported by an extensive External Advisory Board from the aviation industry, including regulatory authorities and universities.