Lion Air Crash Demonstrates Unintended Consequences of Cockpit Automation


As Boeing Co. was developing its latest version of the 737 airliner, it discovered the design was slightly more prone to a loss of control. So the company added a computer-driven safety feature — one that is now a focus of the investigation into a fatal crash last month near Indonesia.

If preliminary findings are borne out, the Oct. 29 crash of the Lion Air 737 Max 8 may end up being one of a number of cases in which the cockpit automation that’s made flying safer also had the unintended consequence of confusing pilots and contributing to tragedy.
For decades, pilots have been adding automated systems to help pilots adjust engine propulsion, navigate with higher precision, or even override people in the cockpit if they make mistakes. As a result, airway disasters have gradually declined, but automation-related accidents have gradually increased due to government work and accident reports.

Ğ There is no question that automation is a great blessing against commercial aviation, e said Steve Wallace, chief accident researcher for the US Federal Aviation Administration. ”There were also many accidents where automation was used as a factor.“

In its 2013 report by the FAA, more than 60 percent of the 26 crashes lasting more than a decade caused pilots to make mistakes after unexpected shutdowns of automated systems.

For example, the pilots in Air France Flight 447 unexpectedly made sudden movements and lost control of the Airbus SE A330 on the Atlantic Ocean and the automatic flight guards of the aircraft were interrupted after losing their air plane readings. 228 people on board died.

The US National Transportation Safety Board concluded that in 2013 an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER pilot hit a marine wall in San Francisco, not realizing that he had closed the automatic speed control system while trying to kill three. because it was not properly documented.

According to the Indonesian National Transport Safety Committee, the pilots in the Lion Air Flight 610 fought multiple failures early in the morning, just a few minutes after leaving Jakarta. Pilots wanted to return to the ground while addressing the problems, but according to the researchers, they plunged high into the Java Sea before returning. 189 people on board died.
Flight recorder
Data from the recovered flight logger indicates that the new security feature, known as Max’s New Characterization Boost System, has been triggered. A faulty sensor showed that the aircraft was in danger of stopping and that the plane had warned MCAS by repeatedly sending it to a dive.

Pilots have repeatedly disabled a switch that temporarily disables MCAS to manually remove the nose. The cycle, according to flight data, repeated itself more than two times before entering the last dive of the aircraft.

This has occurred, giving many other defective or cockpit alerts. Most importantly, the cockpit penetrated the loud drowning sound of a device located on the captain side of a pilot and known as a stick shaker; this was designed to face the risk of losing the pilots’ wings. The rod shaker was also incorrect, it was warned by the same false readings from the sensor.

Boeing did not respond to a demand for comment on its automation, but stressed that a procedure in which pilots would be trained should overcome failures.

Yön Boeing takes close measures to fully understand all aspects of this accident by working closely with the US National Transport Security Council and as technical consultants to support the NTSC while the investigation is underway, Uç the aircraft maker said in a statement.

Airline accidents are almost never caused by a single cause, and preliminary information from the investigation shows that a large number of factors work in the deadly Lion Air flight.

Considering that care and pilot training are more important, the underlying problem with an automation system moving in unexpected ways now places the accident in a common category.
Man Versus Machine
Aircraft engineers are adding more automation to help pilots avoid mistakes as aerospace technology becomes more sophisticated.

In Airbus, flight computers control pilots’ control inputs on models built since the late 1980s, and upright dives or turns do not allow them to be considered unsafe. Boeing’s philosophy was to leave more authority in the hands of the pilots, but the new designs included some computer limits and, like Airbus, the planes were equipped with advanced autopilots and systems to adjust the speed in other functions as well as on landings.

The new feature in the 737 Max family of aircraft is designed to handle one of the most common survivors in commercial aviation. In some cases, while the airplane catches its nose, the MCAS software reduces the possibility of aerodynamic pause and loss of control. According to Boeing statistics, control loss accidents killed 1,131 people, the largest category from 2008 to 2017.

Previously: American Air Pilots Want More Training After Lion Crash

This kind of automation is supported by helping to create unparalleled security improvements over the past decades, but it is not perfect yet.

“Many experts have said that people are not very good at monitoring machines, in said Roger Cox, a former NTSB researcher who specializes in pilot actions. Iyi The opposite is better. The machines are very good at observing people. ”

For example, devices that offer relatively simple alerts of an approaching mid-air collision have proven almost stupid. On the other hand, more complex systems that help pilots, but require human surveillance, have led to mixed teams and accidents in rare circumstances.

Cox, it is important to keep in mind that problems with automation can be exacerbated by pilot actions.

”Most of the time, what we call automation error is really an error of qualification or attention deficit, and it’s not basically a fault of automation,“ he said.
NASA Research
Indeed, in the Lion Air crash, the pilots did not follow an emergency procedure that could disable MCAS and allow them to fly normally, according to the researchers. The night before the accident, a different pilot team effectively shut down the MCAS during the same emergency situation and routinely landed.

According to a study conducted by NASA’s research psychologist Stephen Casner, at least one cause of such accidents could be related to the more automatic atrophy of pilots’ manual flying skills, such as cockpits.

Key tasks such as monitoring of instruments and manual control of an airplane continued to remain intact in the automatic modern cockpit, recognizing research, navigation and instrument system malfunctions, resulting in olarak more frequent and important problems En.

A different study by Casner et al. In 2013 showed a similar problem: The flights became too safe for pilots to be exposed to emergencies during regular operations. This is good news in the main news, but it means that the teams are not prepared.

The study revealed that airlines create more realistic and complex training scenarios and react to emergencies that occur when automation is closed, giving pilots more practice.

Karakteristik As problems arise under new conditions, when novices were stranded, disturbed or faced with surprises, the experts characteristically carried out in a characteristic way that they were in present and done Yazar.

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