WASHINGTON (AP) — Safety and industry officials worry that there will be more deadly airline accidents traced to pilots who have lost their hands-on instincts as planes become ever more reliant on automation to navigate crowded skies.
The airline industry says hundreds of people have died over the past five years in 51 "loss of control" accidents in which planes stalled during flight or got into unusual positions that pilots could not correct. In some cases, pilots made the wrong split-second decision, with catastrophic results.
One airline captain, Rory Kay, says pilots get so little time to manually fly planes that they're "forgetting how to fly." Kay is co-chairman of a Federal Aviation Administration committee on pilot training.
Regulations that require greater reliance on computerized flying are helping spur the trend.