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Automation is often accused of adding to the complexity of a system and unnecessarily increasing operator’s workload, and the potential for human error. An approach is needed that guides designers to make the right design choices. Cognitive Systems Engineering (CSE) is a promising approach. However, this field is still young and tangible examples of automation design with an explicit CSE approach do not exist. This paper describes how the design of Total Energy Control System (TECS) that was founded in the late 1970’s can be regarded as an example avant la letter. TECS is an automated flight control system designed to solve many of the issues that classical autopilot and auto-throttle systems have. Since TECS has been designed, implemented, and evaluated it could teach valuable lessons on how Work Domain Analysis (WDA) can guide the design of automated systems as the first phase of CSE approach. The application of WDA to TECS is exemplified using the abstraction hierarchy and the abstraction decomposition space.