I am not nor have I ever been inclined to be a pilot. However it strikes me that several times now, airlines and manufacturers seem to be lacking the ability to inform pilots of key aircraft traits, especially to transitioning crews.
Human beings learn and become familiar with what they know. Look at any system – take me and my iMac. I still do many things the way I always have because of familiarity, even when some new aspect of the latest updates may have rendered it unnecessary. After all who tells you any different? You’re more likely to find out by accident.
Pilots transitioning from the 738 or older 734’s even – and that is happening – to the Max series are it seems, not being told of some the new automation processes on the aircraft.
One of these is the anti-stall process and the way the air speed and angle of attack sensors work with it. These seem to be ever more likely candidates for the cause of the Lion Air tragedy, in which 189 people died.
Pilots, unaware of the automatic process fight against it, make a situation worse and loose control. Why? Because nobody told them how it worked or if they did, it wasn’t explained correctly or in enough detail.
Go back to the Asiana 773 crash at SFO. That was caused by an assumption the aircraft did something it didn’t do. The pilots including the senior training captain on board, appear to have assumed the Boeing would correct itself – so accustomed to automation had they become.
Over the years there have been many calls of concern over the detaching of pilots from the need to do as much as they used to in the cockpit. That automated systems, while amazing and generally safe, allow a level of complacency to develop that is both human and natural, and yet potentially dangerous.
A situation can develop where the pilots’ experience tells them one thing while they should be doing another. Or they have never experienced it at all and do what they think is right (or assume is right), leading to an equally bad but unintentional ending.
Manufacturers have to take more into consideration when planning training, they can leave no scenario out when new systems are deployed. Boeing and Airbus and all the others simply cannot assume pilots will be told or find out for themselves – any more than pilots can afford to not invest in keeping up to date. If they don’t passengers and pilots die.