(New Scientist) Who's flying your plane? Pilots' manual flying skills have become dangerously eroded because they rely too much on automated systems. That's one conclusion of a leaked report on air safety commissioned by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Based on voluntary incident reports from concerned pilots, crash data and evidence from cockpit observers on more than 9000 flights, the report found that some pilots were "reluctant to intervene" with automated systems or to switch them off in risky situations. Poor training and lack of manual flight experience, it says, meant some pilots had neither the knowledge to keep up to date with changes to automated systems nor the manual skills to take over when flight computers malfunction.