Degradation of Piloting Skills - Comitato 8 Ottobre

Degradation of Piloting Skills - Comitato 8 Ottobre

A study of professional pilots and their basic instrument skills PILOTING SKILLS OVER Captain Michael Gillen TIME 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 1 Introduction With the advent of advanced, highly automated cockpits found in modern jet transport category aircraft, most of the tedious work of flying the aircraft solely by reference to raw data information from the airplanes instruments is becoming a thing of the past. As a result of the widespread use of automation, pilots are no longer required to use their raw data instrument skills on a daily basis. A result of this piloting style may cause a pilots basic instrument flying skills to deteriorate over time. In fact, most airlines today encourage the use of automation, thus adding to this possible problem. = 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen

2 Purpose To gain professional pilots self assessment of their basic instrument skills To determine if pilots of modern glass aircraft have experienced a significant degradation of their basic instrument skills 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 3 Research Questions What are professional pilots perceptions of their own instrument skills? To what extent has degradation in basic instrument piloting skills occurred in pilots of advanced modern jet aircraft?

Can this degradation be statistically proven by comparing pilots against the FAA certification standards? 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 4 Assumptions 1. Each participant is a qualified FAR pt 121 jet transport pilot employed by a US carrier (passenger or cargo). 2. Each participant has spent at least one year in the specific seat and type of aircraft. It is assumed that after one year of experience on a particular aircraft, that the pilot will be both comfortable and accustomed to flying that particular aircraft (the aircraft will not be new to them). 3. Each pilot is current and qualified in the respective aircraft. 4. Each pilot is considered a line pilot. 5. The pilots have no prior knowledge or practice of the maneuver that is to be flown and is given no opportunity to practice it beforehand. 6. Each pilot is assumed to fly to the best of their ability during the maneuver. 7. Each Check Airman will rate the maneuvers on a consistent basis after receiving specific rater reliability training. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 5 Sampling

The study used data from airline pilots employed by a major US Air Carrier. Five basic instrument maneuvers were flown 30 times by a pilot group. The pilots were categorized by they type of aircraft they fly and fall into the following categories: Pilots of long-haul wide-body aircraft (B777, B747-400 A330, A340). Pilot of narrow-body short haul aircraft (B737-300, A320, B757) Each pilot was requested to complete a survey on their assessment of their own skills and general practices. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 6 Data Collection Quantitative Study (Survey) Survey of participating pilots was given at the beginning of the recurrent training event Pilots experience

Flying older generation aircraft (non-glass) Flying newer generation aircraft (glass) Years since flying older generation aircraft Pilots perceptions of their instrument skills Qualitative Assessment Data on pilots seat position (Capt/FO) and experience Maneuver rated on 1-5 scale by check pilot 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 7 Grading Scale Table 1. Grading Scale Five Point Grade Scale 02/12/2020 5 The pilot remained well within airline standards and performance was exemplary. 4 The pilot remained within airline standards. Pilot flew to ATP instrument standards

3 The pilot committed minor deviations from airline standards that were promptly corrected. Basic instrument level. 2 Major deviations (full scale deflection) for greater than 10 seconds 1 The pilot committed major deviations from airline standards that were not promptly corrected and/or were unsafe; or was unable to perform the maneuver/ task without assistance. Crash or loss of aircraft control. Michael Gillen 8 Data Analysis Maneuver Assessment Independent Samples t-test comparing all groups Experience vs. maneuvers Wide-body vs. narrow body pilots Pilots as a whole vs. FAA standard Correlation between the maneuver rating for the group of pilots vs. their overall instrument self

assessment (from the survey) Michael Gillen 02/12/2020 9 Results - Experience The first test that was performed was a series of independent samples t-test that compared self-reported experience with glass and non-glass aircraft along with the time since flying a non-glass aircraft. Pilots were divided into either narrow-body or wide-body pilots. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 10 Experience Table 2. Experience Independent Samples t-test Results Years since flying a nonglass aircraft Years flying a non-glass aircraft

Years flying a glass aircraft 02/12/2020 Type of aircraft N Mean Narrow-body 18 3.50 .857 Wide-body 12 3.42 .515 Narrow-body 18 2.33 1.328 Wide-body

12 1.92 1.084 Narrow-body 18 3.89 .323 Wide-body 12 3.42 .669 Michael Gillen Std. Deviatio n t Sig. (2 tailed) .301

.765 .903 .374 2.591 .015 11 Experience Survey Results 56% of the pilots had either never flown a non-glass aircraft or it had been greater than 10 years since they had done so. 46% indicated that they had two years or less flying non-glass aircraft. 73% of the pilots indicated that have 10 or more years flying newer generation aircraft. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 12 Experience Years Since Flying a NGA

56% of the pilots had either never flown a nonglass aircraft or it had been greater than 10 years since they had done so. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 13 Years Flying a NGA 46% indicated that they had two years or less flying non-glass aircraft. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 14 Years Flying a Glass Aircraft 73% of the pilots indicated that have 10 or more years flying these types of aircraft. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 15 Experience

The analysis revealed no significant difference in the years since flying a nonglass aircraft or in the years of experience flying a non-glass aircraft between narrow body and wide body pilots. However, the analysis indicated that NarrowBody Pilots reported flying glass aircraft significantly longer than wide body pilots 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 16 Self Assessment The survey asked the pilots to asses their own their basic instrument skills. Self assessment of flying skills as a function of aircraft type flown was also analyzed using a series independent samples t-tests. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 17 Self Assessment Results This test revealed no significant difference between

narrow body and wide body pilots in how they assessed their flying skill. Table 3. Self Assessment Independent Samples t-test Results Hand flying below 10,000 feet Ability to fly maneuvers Skills have declined over time Comfort flying raw rata Often practice raw data skills Company encourages hand flying 02/12/2020 Type of aircraft N Mean Narrow-body 18 1.28 .575 Wide-body 12

1.17 .389 Narrow-body 18 1.56 .511 Wide-body 12 1.33 .492 Narrow-body 18 2.06 .873 Wide-body 12 1.83 .577

Narrow-body 18 2.11 .676 Wide-body 12 2.17 .577 Narrow-body 18 1.89 .758 Wide-body 12 1.83 .718 Narrow-body

18 2.00 .767 Wide-body 12 2.25 .866 Michael Gillen Std. Dev. t Sig. (2-tailed) .585 .563 1.183 .247 .774 .445 -.233

.817 .201 .842 -.831 .413 18 Hand Flying Below 10,000 80% of the pilots strongly agreed that they usually hand flew the airplane below 10,000 feet. 16% of pilots somewhat agreed with the statement 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 19

Comfort Flying Raw Data pilots strongly agreed with this statement only 13% of the time. 60% stating that they somewhat agreed. 26% of the pilots somewhat disagreed with the statement. These responses indicate that a majority of pilots (86%) have some reservations about flying solely by raw data 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 20 Maneuver Flying Ability 53% of pilots strongly agreed

47% somewhat agreed Indicates that the pilots believed that they could fly these maneuvers although with a decreased skill level 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 21 Skills Declining Over Time Pilots agreed with this statement 26% of the time Somewhat agreed 53% of the time. Only one pilot strongly disagreed with the statement 16% of the pilots somewhat disagreed with the statement. This indicates that a majority of the pilots feel that

their skills have somewhat diminished over time. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 22 Basic Instrument Skill Practice 33% strongly agreed 46% somewhat agreed Pilots somewhat disagreed with the statement 20% of the time. This statement indicates that a majority of pilots are doing at least some basic instrument flying. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 23 Hand Flying Assessment The next part of the study sought to gauge the subjects ability to hand-fly the airplane

with only basic instrument functionality The maneuvers were rated against the FAA standards for an ATP license Analysis was performed on wide-body pilots, narrow- body pilots and the group as a whole. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 24 Maneuvers as a Function of Aircraft Analyses revealed no significant differences between wide-body and narrow body pilots in their performance on the individual maneuvers or on a composite measure. Table 4. Mean Maneuver Ratings Takeoff Maneuver V1 Cut Maneuver Holding Maneuver ILS Maneuver Missed Approach

Mean of Maneuvers 02/12/2020 Type of aircraft N Mean Narrow-body 18 3.2222 .94281 Wide-body 12 3.1667 .93744 Narrow-body 18 3.0556 .72536 Wide-body

12 3.0000 .73855 Narrow-body 18 2.4444 .85559 Wide-body 12 2.2500 .86603 Narrow-body 18 3.0556 .80237 Wide-body 12

2.8333 .83485 Narrow-body 18 3.1667 .70711 Wide-body 12 2.9167 .28868 Narrow-body 18 2.9889 .46259 Wide-body 12 2.8333 .46580

Michael Gillen Std. Deviation t Sig. (2-tailed) .158 .875 .204 .840 .607 .549 .731 .471 1.157 .257 .900 .376 25

Performance vs. FAA Standard Analyses were computed to test whether the maneuver ratings (ignoring aircraft type) were significantly different from the FAA standard of 4 02/12/2020 Table 5. Maneuver Means N Mean Std. Devi ation Std. Error Mean Takeoff Maneuver 30 3.2000

.92476 .16884 V1 Cut Maneuver 30 3.0333 .71840 .13116 Holding Maneuver 30 2.3667 .85029 .15524 ILS Maneuver 30 2.9667 .80872 .14765 Missed Approach

30 3.0667 .58329 .10649 Michael Gillen 26 Performance vs. FAA One-Sample Test Test Value = 4 95% Confidence Interval of the Difference t Sig. (2-tailed) df Mean Differen ce Lower Upper

Takeoff Maneuver -4.738 29 .000 -.80000 -1.1453 -.4547 V1 Cut Maneuver -7.370 29 .000 -.96667 -1.2349 -.6984 Holding Maneuver -10.521

29 .000 -1.63333 -1.9508 -1.3158 ILS Maneuver -6.998 29 .000 -1.03333 -1.3353 -.7314 Missed Approach -8.764 29 .000 -.93333 -1.1511

-.7155 Findings (FAA Standard ATP) The mean for each maneuver was compared to the FAA certification standards for both the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate and the Instrument rating. t-test reveled that the pilots in the study flew the five basic instrument maneuvers well below the FAA standards Significant t scores were noted for all maneuvers. Score is considered significant if it is less than .05 Findings The ATP certification standards are defined in the FAAs Practical Test Standards. All of the maneuvers were graded below the FAA certification standard for an ATP certificate (4) and in fact a majority of the maneuvers were rated at or below what is required for basic instrument certification (3). The lowest rated maneuver was holding that was graded at 2.4. This is well below the basic instrument certification grade (3). The highest rated maneuver was the takeoff, graded at 3.2. There were two maneuvers graded below three and three maneuvers graded above three. 02/12/2020

Michael Gillen 29 Findings Pilots who volunteered had an average of over seven years of experience flying their particular aircraft. 73% of the pilots have over 10 years of experience flying newer- generation glass aircraft. 47%, had two years or less flying a non-glass aircraft in commercial service. 80% of the pilots surveyed agreed that their basic instrument skills have declined over time. However, when asked if they could fly the basic instrument maneuvers with reference to raw data only, 100% of the pilots surveyed stated that they could. 60% of the pilots agreed with the statement that they feel comfortable flying by reference to raw data only. Pilots (80%) also indicated that they often practice their raw data skills. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 30

Findings The study found that professional pilots have a significant decline in their basic instrument skills. The study also found that in general pilots are not aware of this skill degradation 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 31 Significance Recent accidents suggest that in some cases pilots are not performing well in time critical/demanding situations. This suggests lack of recent skill use combined with over-reliance on the auto-flight systems. DH8D BUF, NY B737, AMS A320, Pakistan 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen

32 Significance Certain technical failures in advanced glass aircraft can significantly degrade cockpit instrumentation and/or automation performance. When these failures occur, pilots are required to use their basic instrument skills to safely fly the airplane. Pilots who are competent in basic instrument flying enhance their overall flying skills. They can devote less attention to physically flying the airplane and more time managing their environment. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 33 Significance Although most pilots in the study agreed that their instrument skills have declined over time, their survey responses indicated

that they felt they could still fly the basic instrument maneuvers. The survey responses related to skills do not correlate with the actual maneuver grades. This leads to the conclusion that pilots in the study believed that they could fly the maneuvers better than they actually could leading to a false sense of confidence. Correlation The maneuver grades generally fit with what the literature review revealed in other related studies. Earlier studies indicated that skills when not used decline over time. This was observed throughout the study in the mean maneuver grades. Survey responses, although candid about skills declining over time, did not correlate with maneuver grades or responses to earlier surveys on the same subject. Pilots who participated in the study believed that their skills had not declined as much as indicated by the maneuver grades. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 35

Future Each professional pilot was highly competent in these skills at one time during their career. The key to retaining these skills is practice. Practice in actual flying (company policy) Initial training Recurrent training A follow on study to determine how much practice is needed to retain these skills on an aggregate level. 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 36 Thank You Captain Michael Gillen United Airlines Captain A-320 Master of Science University of North Dakota Former manager Human Factors and

Command Development Instructor pilot B737, B777 [email protected] 02/12/2020 Michael Gillen 37

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