Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
|Document Type: ||Thesis or dissertation|
|Title: ||The Loss of Manual Flying Skills in Pilots of Highly Automated Airliners|
|Authors: ||Ebbatson, Matthew|
|Supervisors: ||Huddlestone, J.|
|Issue Date: ||2009|
|Abstract: ||Anecdotal and subjective evidence suggests that the manual flying ability of pilots operating
highly automated aircraft is declining owing to a lack of opportunity to exercise such skills in
the modern air transport environment. However, there is a paucity of objective evidence to
support this safety concern. Consequently, the work presented in this thesis aims to provide
empirically derived data to evaluate the extent and causes of the speculated manual skills
decline and guide possible intervention strategies.
Initially a cognitive task analysis is undertaken to determine the cognitive demands of
performing manual flight in a large jet transport aircraft. Expert pilots report employing highly
refined mental models structures which enable them to predict the aircrafts performance
whilst causing minimal burden to their mental capacity. The study concludes that when
measuring manual flying performance careful consideration must be given to designing a task
which challenges both the cognitive and physical aspects of manual flying skill.
Secondly, relatively novel pilot performance measures based upon the frequency analysis of
control input data are evaluated. An empirical study finds that these techniques are both
reliable and sensitive to manual flying performance. Furthermore, when studying large
transport aircraft, such measures of the pilots control strategy are found to contribute valuable
information about performance which is missing when just traditional ‘outer-loop’ performance
measures are applied. The study concludes that these measures of control strategy are
valuable in evaluating manual flying performance.
Finally, the manual flying skills of a sample of pilots of highly automated aircraft are evaluated
on a challenging manual flying task. A significant proportion exhibit poor manual flying
performance as judged by a type rating examiner. Further analysis reveals that the
performance of the pilots is significantly influenced by the amount of recent manual handling
experience they have accumulated, rather than their longer-term manual flying experience.
Significantly, airspeed tracking ability is influenced which is cited elsewhere as a causal factor
in many manual flying skill related accidents. The results support the previous anecdotal and
subjective concerns relating to the loss of manual flying skills.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD and Masters by research theses (School of Engineering)|
Items in CERES are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.