..."Available Safety" Untapped...

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Technically Advanced Aircraft are defined by the study as "aircraft in which the pilot interfaces with one or more computers in order to aviate, navigate, or communicate." That includes a moving-map GPS or a multifunction display (MFD) with terrain, weather and traffic depictions tied to an autopilot. Primary flight displays, which add flight instrument depictions to the MFD, were not included because they weren't in general use when the study was started. The study found that while all that wizardry provides increased "available safety" it doesn't do any good for someone who doesn't know how to use it. Specific training recommendations include scenario-based training focused on real-life life problems like deteriorating weather, communications foul-ups, etc. A TAA aircraft's advances may in some regards make it safer, but "... To actually obtain this available safety, pilots must receive additional training in the specific TAA systems in their aircraft," the study says. All that points to a separate set of training requirements for pilots who want to fly these airplanes. We may not have to wait for the FAA to make it a requirement. Insurance companies have, in the past, stipulated training requirements for their customers and the study practically invites them to do the same with TAAs. It's also recommended that flight-simulation programs be written for TAA pilots to use on their home computers. The study also stresses that "basic" flight skills can't be ignored in all this high-tech training. The paradox created is that these new aircraft, which have been hyped as being easier to fly, require extra training to make them as safe as they should be. "Pilots must recognize that TAAs require additional training and be willing to get this training in order to receive the far greater benefits that TAA aircraft can provide," the study says.