The first flight of a new aircraft is still a dangerous event. Despite all simulations and software predictions, test pilots face many unknowns when a prototype leaves the ground for the first time. The cultural celebration of first flights masks the concerns of many stakeholders about the technical challenges of the new equipment. The pilot extensively prepares to react properly to unexpected situations and often bring a new story to tell, but in a time whenremotely piloted and autonomous aircraft fly every day, the question about how to use their technologies to save a test pilot life arises. This study investigates the technical advantages of using specific autopilot modes andremote or autonomous controls. It alsodiscusses the disadvantages of relying on airborne sensors instead of using pilots cognitive capabilities and judgment. The analysis on the data collected by students in a Flight Testing Course supports that there are clear advantages of the suggested new approach. The control stick input technique to explore the longitudinal stability of an aircraft is used as an example of human limitations on measuring quantitative variables. The results are extended to the critical phases of the campaign and the analysis points to new safety constraints that cannot be ignored.
Castilho, D. S.
(2017). Cognitive Constraints for Automation on Flight Testing. 19th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 59-64.