The Dangers of Automation in Airliners: Accidents Waiting to Happen

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Air World, 24 nov 2020 - 288 pagine
Automation in aviation can be a lifesaver, expertly guiding a plane and its passengers through stormy weather to a safe landing. Or it can be a murderer, crashing an aircraft and killing all on board in the mistaken belief that it is doing the right thing.

Lawrence Sperry invented the autopilot just ten years after the Wright brothers’ first flight in 1903. But progress was slow for the next three decades. Then came the end of the Second World War and the jet age. That’s when the real trouble began.

Aviation automation has been pushed to its limits, with pilots increasingly relying on it. Autopilot, autothrottle, autoland, flight management systems, air data systems, inertial guidance systems. All these systems are only as good as their inputs which, incredibly, can go rogue. Even the automation itself is subject to unpredictable failure. Can automation account for every possible eventuality?

And what of the pilots? They began flight training with their hands on the throttle and yoke, and feet on the rudder pedals. Then they reached the pinnacle of their careers – airline pilot – and suddenly they were going hours without touching the controls other than for a few minutes on takeoff and landing. Are their skills eroding? Is their training sufficient to meet the demands of today’s planes?

The Dangers of Automation in Airliners delves deeply into these questions. You’ll be in the cockpits of the two doomed Boeing 737 MAXs, the Airbus A330 lost over the South Atlantic, and the Bombardier Q400 that stalled over Buffalo. You’ll discover exactly why a Boeing 777 smacked into a seawall, missing the runway on a beautiful summer morning. And you’ll watch pilots battling – sometimes winning and sometimes not – against automation run amok. This book also investigates the human factors at work. You’ll learn why pilots might overlook warnings or ignore cockpit alarms. You’ll observe automation failing to alert aircrews of what they crucially need to know while fighting to save their planes and their passengers.

The future of safe air travel depends on automation. This book tells its story.
 

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Questo volume analizza con dovizia di particolari e grande chiarezza alcuni incidenti aerei degli ultimi 10 anni. Fra i più noti, i due occorsi ai 737 MAX di Lion Air ed Ethiopian Airlines nel 2018 e 2019 ed il volo air France AF447 scomparso nell’oceano Atlantico nel 2009. L’autore, appassionato di aviazione nonché pilota certificato per il volo IFR, è anche un giornalista finanziario e come tale approfondisce molti aspetti a latere dell’aspetto tecnico, ma fondamentali per comprendere appieno certe filosofie progettuali e di addestramento, purtroppo foriere di errori dovuti alla scarsa “situation awareness” degli equipaggi. I primi capitoli introducono l’evoluzione delle tecnologie aeronautiche, focalizzandosi sugli apparati (autopilota, FMS, FMC) che così tanto hanno contribuito a migliorare la sicurezza del volo di linea. Seguono poi i capitoli con la disamina dettagliata dei vari incidenti e la ricostruzione di ogni fase saliente del volo, con uno stile sempre fluido e privo di inutili tecnicismi. Nei capitoli sul 737 MAX e sull’A330 Air France del tragico volo AF447, l’autore illustra le diverse filosofie progettuali di Airbus e Boeing e la genesi del 737 MAX, in cui la pressante tabella di marcia innescò diverse leggerezze ed errori di sistema. Le note di Hersch sono sempre illuminanti e mai banali, finalizzate a far comprendere al lettore quanto sia cruciale la consapevolezza di ogni gesto all’interno del cockpit ed un perfetto coordinamento fra i membri dell’equipaggio. Un valido libro sia per gli appassionati che per i piloti.
Marco De Montis
 

Sommario

Hands
Sniffles
One Switch
Icing
Chain Links
The Situation
Hazardous States
Engine Gauges

Lost Decades
Progress
Wings
Control Surfaces
Autos
Landing
Landing Gear Down
Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32 Chapter 33 Chapter 34
Chapter 36 Chapter 37 Chapter 38 Chapter 39 Chapter 40
Landing Gear
Copyright

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Informazioni sull'autore (2020)

Jack Hersch is an expert in the field of troubled and distressed companies. He is a strategic advisor to corporate managements and investment institutions, has served as a corporate board member, and has guest-lectured in the business schools of M.I.T., U.S.C., and U.C. Berkeley, among others. This is his first non-fiction book. He lives in New York City.

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