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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Automation and Mental Health

Thoughts From Captain Wright

James Wright

As the saying goes... 
Airbus makes really good pilots
and really bad pilots, all average. 

If you were one of the really good pilots, and found pride in that, how does automation impact your mental health?

Captain Jim Wright always sends the most thought provoking comments and questions. Below is an email he sent. A definite research question. 

"While spending some quarantine time catching up on your blog, I noticed your April 13th edition about mental health. In giving this more thought, it occurred to me that mental health problems are quite rare in the harbor pilot profession. Which then begs the question, why would that be?

One answer that comes to mind is “Automation”. Why automation, you might ask? That is a good question raising several possible answers, the most likely being:
  1. Harbor pilots typically use automation to augment rather than diminish learned skills.
  2. Learned skills are the basis for self-esteem.
  3. Self-esteem is a basic ingredient for positive mental health.
You might ask the follow-up question; can automation improve mental health in aviation? 

It seems that your “Flight For … novels have made a good start in attempting to answer that question. Expanding your examination of how training for harbor pilots differs from training for airline pilots (as you began in “Flight for Truth”) might be worthwhile. Keep pressing on with your good work."  Captain Wright

Does Automation 
Impact Mental Health?

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene 

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