Thursday, March 17, 2011
Pilot training taking backseat to new avionics, says Avionics Europe keynote
Posted by John McHale
Pilot training and not new technology is the key to improving flight safety, said Capt. Manfred Mueller, head of flight safety for Lufthansa Airlines, during his keynote address at the Avionics & Defence Electronics Europe conference this week.
Mueller told the audience that too often cost management not new avionics is the real reason flight training has been reduced in flight programs worldwide. New avionics technology, despite its amazing capabilities, can fail catastrophically and pilots need to be have the training to deal with those emergency situations.
Flight training centers are more about making money and keeping costs down and do so by cutting back on pilot training, Mueller said. Flight crews need to implement more "fallback strategy training" in addition to their own training, he added.
Fallback refers to the training you fallback on when your state-of-the-art cockpit avionics fail.
It is often said that new aircraft as the Boeing 787 will reduce pilot training costs because they are easy to fly, Meuller said. That is dangerous thinking and hopefully it will not take more plane crashes to increase training.
Mueller said too often abnormal procedures are designed by lawyers when they should be designed by human factor experts.
Mueller's lawyer comment was echoed in the following keynote delivered by Vincent de Vroey, head of Association of European Airlines, when discussing the relevancy of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
"EASA needs to focus on safety only," de Vroey said. Too often legal teams get involved and they lose their focus, he noted.