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Are pilots losing their manual flying skills?

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What happens if automated systems are suddenly lost?
Pilots are not getting enough training to stay up to date on monitoring automated controls, a report in the United States reveals. Too many do not know how to safely take control of a plane from automated systems during an unexpected event, the US Transportation Department report warns.
The report criticises the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for failing to ensure that pilots’ skills are kept updated. It says the FAA cannot determine how often pilots fly manually and does not make sure that training programs focus on manual skills.
Pilots typically fly manually on landings and take-offs, leaving planes under the control of automated technology for 90% of the flight. Such systems improve safety but experts say that their growing complexity raises concerns about flying skills.
“The agency is missing important opportunities to ensure that pilots maintain skills needed to safely fly and recover in the event of a failure with flight deck automation or an unexpected event,” the report says.
The Telegraph
[For a cartoon on this story, go to the Body and Soul International website and scroll down]

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