Since its introduction in 1988, the A320 has been a pioneer in the increasing trend toward more automation in the cockpit, with new Airbus and Boeing aircraft introduced since then going further toward planes that, for the most part, nearly fly themselves. But how advanced is it?
A330 is the queen of the european aircraft giant Airbus. The A330 has an excellent safety record,making it the world’s safest aircraft. Its all attributed to Airbus’s “Fly By Wire” system. Unlike the traditional cockpit in the Boeing counterpart,which uses mechanical systems which controls the rudders of the plane, the “Fly by wire” is controlled by computers. Each input given by the pilot is fed into a computer which make automatic adjustments to the flight control systems.
The Automated safety features in the A330 is meant to reduce the flight crashes due to piloting errors. If the pilot turns to right which in turn reduces the speed,the flight computers automatically increases the engines thrust, which in turn maintains the speed. As a result state of the art automation.The flight computer takes in input from thousands of sensors spread across the plane and makes adjustment all along,making flying mcuh more easier.It is not a robotic system; the pilot is still in control, although in the A330 the computers have been given great authority. Essentially they prevent the pilot from flying the airplane hazardously. They limit angles of bank and elevation and are programmed to prevent stalls by precisely trading off angle of attack and airspeed and even automatically increasing power if required.Literally,the an airbus A330 or an Airbus A320 can land all by itself in an airport when programmed accordingly.
But does automation prevent accidents all along? But in certain cases the automatic systems which have been but into place to prevent piloting errors has been the case of loss of lives in many cases.
The last major incident involving an Airbus A320 was the crash of Air Asia flight QZ8501, which crashed into the Java Sea off Borneo in December 2014 with 162 people on board. The plane was climbing abnormally fast in poor weather and sources close to the investigation said that a problem with the flight automation computers could have played a part.Investigators claim that the improper training by air carriers is one of the main cause of accidents. With the demand for budget carriers increase, the carriers reduce the flying cost by cutting down on pilot training which in case of Airbus making the pilots “incapable” of handling the planes automatic systems at certain times.
But the automation has saved lives too,the famous case being the “Hudson river landing”.The flight envelope protections allowed the captain to pull full aft on the sidestick without the risk of stalling the airplane.
So,what is your conclusion? Is Automation Good For the industry ?