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A high degree of cockpit automation may alter the traditional tasks of the pilots in a way, that
  • A
    Crew Coordination can be neglected on long haul flights without compromising safety
  • B
    the crew can pay more attention to problem-solving in an abnormal situation without monitoring the automatic systems
  • C
    it is guaranteed that the crew always maintains situational awareness
  • D
    the attention of the cockpit crew will become reduced as a consequence of ‘being out of the loop’


Cockpit automation has the potential to increase or decrease the flight safety, depending on how well you use the equipment. Automation can conserve resources and attention, relieving pilot workload and giving time for supervision. However, if given too much control, the cockpit becomes boring, and errors can go unnoticed amongst the monotony. Pilots can also become less confident in their basic airmanship and flying skills.

Whereas machines can wait for infrequent information without getting bored, can perform long-term control and set values, again, without getting bored; people can exercise judgement, make better decisions, and detect unusual conditions (smells, noises), while getting easily bored. So, on the one hand, automation is good, because it can take a lot of routine work away from you. On the other hand, automation can induce a feeling of automation complacency – too much reliance on the machine, and lead you not to check things as often as you should. A high degree of automation may alter traditional tasks so much that your attention and competence is reduced once you are out of the loop. Thus, communication and coordination call for a greater effort from the crew.

  • You can avoid automation complacency by regarding systems as one more crewmember that needs to be cross-checked – that is, you have to make sure that the autopilot is actually taking you in the right direction. You can cope with low error tolerant situations by constantly complying with cross-over verification procedures.

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