Our planes are becoming increasingly more advanced, and with this advancement, comes precision, efficiency and economies like none other. And because of this automation, training and checking events focus on managing the computers. Training footprints are becoming shorter because of the high reliability. In addition, due to the high reliability of these systems, pilots don’t need to be tested on performance when items break, they just have to have “seen it” once. These planes are safer. But…
Twenty years ago, during my 757 Type-rating, I flew the entire checkride on the autopilot. And today a captain can take his or her checkride and never "touch" the controls, and still pass. He or she is the manager of the flight. Where are we headed to next?
Automation is great. It’s essential. It reduces fatigue, and enhances safety. But what if it breaks?
What can pilots do to maintain their flying skills in preparation for when systems fail? What can they do to maintain their flying skills when they don’t fly?
Where is the industry going? What can we do to help make it safer?
Enjoy the Journey!