The increase in automated tasks in the airline cockpit has changed the role of the crew, from an active one to an apparently more passive one, supervising and managing automated systems. Many believe that this fundamental change in role has not received enough attention, and that it may have led to crews not being adequately trained to perform their new supervisory and management tasks. This scenario could have resulted in a number of accidents and incidents attributable to human factors. The transition from conventional aircraft cockpits to state-of-the-art glass cockpits will have to take into account human factors, which have not been properly addressed in training schemes so far.
ECOTTRIS aimed to:
- produce an accident and incident analysis in relation to training factors;
- produce a skill and training analysis, based upon which training requirements and recommendations can be derived for transition training;
- make recommendations for cockpit changes, based on human factors, where more effective procedures and/or training are not expected to adequately control the problem.
ECOTTRIS has produced:
- a comprehensive analysis of flight deck design philosophies employed by various aircraft manufacturers, focusing on automated flying functions, e.g. steering, navigation, system management, communication and lookout;
- an accident and incident review, identifying factors related to automation/glass cockpits and poor transition training of crews;
- an in-depth investigation of glass cockpit skills, identifying seven different skill-groups relating to three principal types of individual behaviour, i.e. knowledge-based, rule-based and skill-based behaviour. This investigation was performed by distributing a targeted questionnaire to glass cockpit pilots in Europe. The most important skill-groups found in the evaluation related to, knowledge of automation and decision-making;
- an assessment of current training and transition activities at prominent airlines (British Airways, Lufthansa) and the aircraft manufacturer Airbus;
- recommendations for a Crew Resource Management (CRM) for glass cockpits booklet, containing a set of real-life incident scenarios, highlighting the need for proper CRM in glass cockpit environments;
- an assessment of computer-based simulation software, by performing tests with sample pilots from British Airways and an evaluation feedback by means of a questionnaire;
- a set of specific recommendations concerning training content, training methods and the associated training media.
The project's results in particular the detailed set of recommendations for
pilot training and performance, will be used to enhance future transition
training initiatives for glass cockpit pilots. The transition of crews from
conventional or hybrid cockpits to state-of-the-art glass cockpits (with the
underlying automation process) will influence working conditions to a
considerable extent and thus have to be addressed in future studies on human
factors related to safety of flight operations.