Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Abstract

Pilots are frequently surprised by aircraft automation. These include cases in which the automation: 1) produces alerts to anomalies, 2) commands unexpected control manipulations (that may result in flight path deviations), or 3) simply disconnects. Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reports in which pilots indicated that automation produced unexpected actions were analyzed. Three general conclusions were drawn. First, many factors precipitate automation surprises. These include problems in: the auto-flight system and associated displays and interfaces, other aircraft sensors and systems, and interactions with weather and ATC. Second, inappropriate pilot actions are involved in a large proportion of these events. Third, recovery need not require reversion to manual control. There is no single general intervention that can prevent automation surprise or completely mitigate its effects. However, several different tacks (including improved training, displays, and coordination with ATC) taken together may be effective.


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