Commercial aircraft automation
All modern commercial jets are heavily depending on automation. Automation reduces the crew workload and simplifies aircraft operation, especially in normal conditions.
Additional advantage for high degree of automation is the ability to meet an average pilot' skills as a result of huge demand for commercial pilots in recent years resulting in hiring less experienced pilots in some cases.
Thee Boeing 737 and the Airbus 319/320/321 are very common aircraft and with usage in almost every airline around the globe. These aircraft are relatively easy to fly and to handle while the pilots are highly depended on automation. Several accidents that occurred in recent years raised the question of automation. As long as the flight is nice and smooth than the autopilot becomes very helpful. However, when the autopilot is wrong things looks different. For example is the case of the Boeing 737 Turkish Airlines accident in approach for landing in Amsterdam airport on February 25th 2009.The pilots ignored faulty altimeter readings, and failed to recognized incorrect response of the autopilot. It took the crew too much time to realize that the aircraft is flying in a very low speed reaching stall speed at very low altitude. In such a situation, time is critical but the crew failed to take corrective action until it was too late and the aircraft crashed. Many aviation experts think that pilots relay too much on automation and are less skilled with manual flying. As a result, many airlines changed their training programs. Today, more simulator training hours are being spent with basic manual flying skills, flying on raw data navigation and emphasizing alternative actions whenever the automation fails. Faulty automation can happen, in these cases better manual flying skills are essential for a safe flight.