Automation Airmanship: The Blog
Thursday, 23 February 2017 11:51

Planning Your Way to Consistently Better Outcomes

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This is the second in a series of posts that will provide, throughout the whole year, an improvement strategy that will cover the entire family of 9 Automation Airmanship® principles. This post lays out some strategies that crews can use on their very next flight to achieve expert results. “…Experts really do ‘see’ problems differently… [and] because they’re looking in the right place at the right thing , constructing a solution is immensely easier.”* – Denise D. Cummins So, you’ve made the move to engage in continuous improvement for all of 2017, and are wondering what few things you can…
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 14:32

A Year of Improving Airmanship

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This is the first of a series of posts that will provide, throughout the whole year, an improvement strategy that will cover the entire family of Nine Automation Airmanship® principles. This first post lays out the guidelines for a year of steady, disciplined improvement. The New Year always brings us to a point of reflecting on past actions and their results, and how another year might bring improvement in areas from physical fitness to personal relationships to professional aspirations, just to name a few. Some of the questions we have asked since the New Year include these: How can I get…
Tuesday, 13 December 2016 10:24

PBN Everywhere

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This is the third in a series of posts on the rapid and ongoing adoption of NextGen procedures and processes, and what that means for 21st-century flight crews. Perhaps after last month’s post you have had the chance to browse the FAA’s NextGen Website; chances are you were surprised to see how quickly and widely the FAA has been implementing changes to the national airspace. In September of this year, the FAA unveiled its “PBN NAS Navigation Strategy 2016”—a detailed plan to make Performance Based Navigation the primary means of navigation in the U. S. within 15 years (by the…
Monday, 31 October 2016 15:17

A Strategy for NextGen Adoption...Now

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This is the second in a series of posts on the rapid and ongoing adoption of NextGen procedures and processes, including RNP approaches, and what that means for 21st-century flight crews. Several weeks ago we posted an introduction to a series of posts on NextGen. As an illustration of how fast and easy it is for technology to overtake years of established knowledge and routine, we talked about the global rise of RNP approach procedures. Since that post, we had the privilege to address the topic at Bombardier’s annual Safety StandDown® event in Wichita, KS. As always, our interaction with…
Monday, 29 August 2016 15:54

"Getting There" in the Future: "NextGen" has become, "NowGen"

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This is the first in a series of posts on the rapid and ongoing adoption of RNAV (RNP) and RNP AR approaches, and what that means for 21st-century flight crews. This past month, as part of my own training, I flew my first RNAV (RNP) AR approach with an RF Leg. It was done in the simulator, so I got to fly a few as the PF, a few as the PM, and also a few with equipment failures, go-arounds and even one or two to a landing. Big deal, right? At least that was my thinking before the training.…
Friday, 01 July 2016 13:51

Are we there yet?

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One of the most interesting aspects of my professional life in aviation is following developments in technology across our industry (and others related to it), and tracking the most promising advances into widespread operational use. I consider myself to be among the lucky few in our industry who not only help in adapting technology into broad and safe use, but one who also enjoys operating the new technology at the same time. Thinking about the wise and thoughtful use of modern aviation technology while also practicing it gives me an endless stream of ideas to reflect on—mainly because I never…
Wednesday, 01 June 2016 15:39

Modes of Modern Airmanship, Part II: "Now that I know what a mode is, how do I apply that to Airmanship?"

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A few weeks ago we began a discussion on the meaning of the word mode as it applies to the contemporary flight deck. Our intention was to bring some personal focus to our readers with respect to this often misunderstood yet ubiquitous concept. With this posting, we aim to complete the conversation and offer a checklist of steps that individuals and organizations can use to custom-tailor this discussion to their own unique operation. In our previous post, we offered a simplified definition of the word mode as, “…a way that pilots use aircraft flight guidance, autoflight, and speed control to…
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 10:52

Modes of Modern Airmanship, Part I: "If that was a mode, then I sure missed it."

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 So much of the way we discuss contemporary flight deck automation and how pilots use technology to “get things done” is centered on mode and situational awareness, we thought it would be a good topic for this forum. In fact, it seems that in surveying some recent accident reports the concept of what a mode is and what a mode does is either taken for granted by flight crews or simply not clearly understood. And at the rate that automation is spilling out of aviation and into other modes of transportation (just driving a new car in 2016 requires some…
Monday, 04 April 2016 18:00

Going Beyond "Minimum" Requirements: Four Easy Steps to Creating an Automation Culture that Lasts

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A couple of weeks ago we started a discussion here about the upcoming “minimum standards” for “manual flying” and “monitoring” that the FAA’s recent IG report (see the last post) has recommended for implementation. Though we don’t know just what the FAA will put in place for standards that their enforcement arm (individual flight inspectors) will be referencing, we are confident that doing a few things now will prepare your operation for the new standards. Better than that—if your operation adopts rigorous principle-based standards now—your operation will be safer, more efficient, and your “automation culture” will be brought to a…
Monday, 07 March 2016 17:00

Automation Under Scrutiny: More Oversight is Coming, But Why Wait?

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We are barely into the new year and already it looks as if we have one of the prime drivers of this year’s safety agenda (well, actually, it’s going to be longer than that). On January 7, 2016 the FAA’s Office of Inspector General issued its Audit Report on the “…hazards associated with increased use of flight deck automation.” If you haven’t seen it or read it, we encourage you to download it for yourself. We don’t intend to summarize the entire report (21 pages including appendices). But we will help you not only make sense of it, but also exceed…
Monday, 01 February 2016 17:00

The Next Big Thing in Automation - SVGS, Part 2

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In our last posting we introduced what we think will be one of the most enabling aviation technologies of the coming decade, SVGS, which is short for Synthetic Vision Guidance System. With the fusion of enabling technology that already exists on many flight decks, it could enter every kind of aircraft cockpit faster than any of its precursor technology did. This is largely because SVGS is a dramatically improved, intuitive and simplified way to solve the problems created by low visibility outside the airplane. And if you think that it’s nothing more than a “nice-to-have gadget,” consider this: SVGS is…
Tuesday, 19 January 2016 17:00

The Next Big Thing in Automation - SVGS, Part 1

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Instead of starting the new year with some lofty goals for improving overall airmanship in advanced aircraft, or looking back at what positive trends we can bring forward from last year, we decided to get out in front of what we think will become one of the hottest aviation technology topics of the next decade. Synthetic Vision Guidance Systems (SVGS) are here now, are going to become ubiquitous this decade, and are going to impact virtually every aviation operation. In trying to inform ourselves of this next big step in the evolution of cockpit display technology, we first tried to…
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