Mixed Fleet Flying: Safety Issues of Flying Both Glass and Traditional Cockpits

Soo, Kassandra Kim Yoke (2013). Mixed Fleet Flying: Safety Issues of Flying Both Glass and Traditional Cockpits Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

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Author Soo, Kassandra Kim Yoke
Thesis Title Mixed Fleet Flying: Safety Issues of Flying Both Glass and Traditional Cockpits
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2013-10-08
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Professor Sidney Dekker
Total pages 128
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The problem of reverse transition from an automated cockpit to a less technologically advanced cockpit has not yet been studied in detail. It raises concerns about pilot performance and safety even though mixed fleet flying is not uncommon in airlines across the world. The study reported here was part of a larger investigation conducted in collaboration with an airline in New Zealand. We examined the potential issues of transitioning between the cockpit of ATR 72-500/600 aircraft. The aim of this thesis was to: (1) Identify the potential areas of concerns during reverse transition and (2) determine if the identified issues would translate to real life performance issues. These aims were tested by using a two-part method: a survey and three subsequent full flight simulator trials. The survey was used to measure the pilots’ perceptions regarding forward transition, mixed fleet flying, and the concerns they have with regards to it. The simulation study then tested to see if the concerns identified in the survey would translate to actual performance issues. The survey was developed in collaboration with the airline, and identified (pilots’) specific areas of concern. Survey results were then analysed to form themes that were used to modify the original hypothesis, which was tested in full flight simulation trials in New Zealand. Using a staged-world observation method common in engineering psychology, the performance of expert pilot participants was examined during four simulated flights undergoing three different sets of conditions: normal, non-normal, and emergency. Using those scenarios, the following hypothesis was tested: during simulated normal, non-normal, and emergency flight operations, pilots experiencing a reverse transition will exhibit performance difficulties in the areas of (1) presentation and layout of instruments, (2) information display capacity (3) flight systems, (4) standard operating procedures, and (5) automated functions. The observations of the simulation trials revealed partial support for the hypothesis, such that some performance difficulties were found. The implications of these findings and future research are discussed.
Keyword Mixed fleet flying
Safety issues
Glass cockpits
Traditional cockpits

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Created: Fri, 04 Jul 2014, 13:19:28 EST by Danico Jones on behalf of School of Psychology