Technological advances in aviation have boosted the automation of flight decks of modern airplanes to sophisticated levels. The automation has been objectively added to mitigate flight-crew workload, increase the plane capabilities, safety and fuel economy. Moreover, the human-machine interface is made to improve situational awareness with a gesture-based touchscreen control, voice control and command and full immersion. Further, the advances are intended for interlink with the consumer market, balance the existing and emerging technologies, for instance, broadband connectivity and fly-by-fly wire controls (Harris, 2011).
Landry (2012) asserts that the interface is designed to incorporate extraordinary amounts of data on traffic, weather, plane performance that the avionics must convert into concise usable information to enable the pilot and the automated system to act appropriately and safely. Moreover, the interface has the capability of reducing confusion situation occasioned by unpredictable actions of the automation system. The system is also designed to offload the pilot to focus on piloting tasks, as well as automatically understanding the crew’s environment in and outside the aircraft. The cockpit must also assist the pilot in making the right decision by making it clear what to do.
However, the interface may have problems of insufficient communication and coordination, such as incompatibilities between airplane capabilities and the air traffic system. The human performance issues are inadequately addressed. These issues include processes used for design, training, and regulatory functions, whose complexity may overwhelm the users (Harris, 2011). Moreover, the human performance is not on the same pace as the advances because the automated systems create information that crowds out essential crew functions, reduces the margin of safety, thus affecting operational outcomes.
Moreover, insufficient knowledge and skills is a problem as the pilots, designers, regulators, and operators lack the adequate knowledge in human performance. In an event two inexperienced pilots are paired together in a technologically advanced aircraft, automation errors may occur. Further, side sticks may reduce the awareness of the pilot’s inputs leading to decreased situation awareness or improper control actions (Landry, 2012).