Can Cockpit Technology Get in the Way?

 - July 15, 2013, 1:25 PM

Cockpit technology could actually hinder business aviation flight safety, especially when that technology is retrofitted to older steam-gauge aircraft, said a July 1 podcast from the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). The industry group lists the impact of technology as one of its Top 10 safety issues.

Jim Lara, secretary of NBAA’s safety committee, expected that the biggest challenge he would face when upgrading his Beechcraft Baron would be the cost of installing the glass cockpit. In his view, however, the real test has turned out to be learning how to operate the new equipment. Lara offered accolades to one avionics manufacturer (which he chose not to name) for the classes it teaches to help bring pilots up to speed before they fly away. “[Without adequate training] you can find yourself sitting there and wondering ‘what is this doing now’ and ‘why isn’t it doing what I want it to?’” he said.

Potentially even more important, Lara worries about the erosion of basic stick-and-rudder flying skills as pilots become dependent on the new gear. “Most companies are starting to recognize this [shortcoming] and are beginning to mandate more stick time in their basic operating procedures,” he concluded.



1) The FAA should change the expensive TSO'd equipment for installation on the aging GA fleet ASAP. What the HE11 is the difference between a certified a/c and an experimental? Stupid!

2) Anyone who installs modern technology, by default, really wants to know it and use it. You appear to be assuming that a pilot who installs such gear will not
do the necessary education.

3) IT DOES NOT MATTER if the glass is in a brand new machine or a rust-bucket, it's up to the pilot who learned how to fly to learn how to use glass.

4) The "ultimate glass" is ADS-B along with a computer that flys the a/c BETTER THAN ANY PILOT....LOOK AT DRONE ACTIVITY.

Of course, you warning is good advice indeed, maybe even based on your own experience.

All what makes flying more complicated for the pilot is negative for safety. Less workload, simple to handle flight instruments, electronic equipment and radios is needed. Informative GPS technology and in flight weather are electronic components which help flight safety. Integrated electronics to fly the airplane like glass cockpits are not. This electronic equipment increases the workload for pilots, needs more educated and higher qualified pilots, rise costs of earning a pilot licences and makes flying in general more expensive and complicated. Pushing glass cockpits to support the aviation electronics industry is one thing. Thinking for flight safety, easy flying and affordable air transportation in smaller planes is a different question.

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