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FAA study: cockpit automation accounts for 60pc aviation accidents

COCKPIT automation has taken a growing share of aviation disasters, according to US Government accident studies, Bloomberg reports

FAA study: cockpit automation accounts for 60pc aviation accidents

COCKPIT automation has taken a growing share of aviation disasters, according to US Government accident studies, Bloomberg reports

04 December 2018 - 10:25

COCKPIT automation has taken a growing share of aviation disasters, according to US Government accident studies, Bloomberg reports.

The US Federal Aviation Administration found more than 60 per cent of 26 accidents over a decade involved pilots making errors after automated systems abruptly shut down or behaved in unexpected ways.



'There have been many accidents where automation was cited as a factor,' said Steve Wallace, who served as the chief accident investigator for the F.



Last month, the fatal crash of a Lion Air 737 MAX that killed all 189 aboard a few minutes after takeoff from Jakarta, was blamed on faulty cockpit automation.



Pilots on Air France Flight 447 inexplicably made abrupt movements and lost control of their Airbus SE A330 over the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 after they lost their airspeed readings and the plane's automated flight protections disconnected. All 228 people aboard died.



'There's no question that automation has been a tremendous boon to safety in commercial aviation,' said Mr Wallace, adding that it has averted far more disasters than it has caused.



The US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that pilots of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that struck a seawall in San Francisco in 2013 while trying to land, killing three, didn't realise they'd shut off their automatic speed control system in part because it wasn't properly documented.



Data from the recovered flight recorder shows that the Max's new safety feature, known as Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS), was triggered. An faulty sensor signalled that the plane was in danger of stalling and prompted the MCAS to compensate by repeatedly sending the plane into a dive.



The pilots counteracted it repeatedly by flipping a switch to raise the nose manually, which temporarily disabled the MCAS. The cycle repeated itself more than two dozen times before the plane entered it's final dive, according to flight data.


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