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Approaches To Training For Automated Aircraft


How best to train pilots to fly automated aircraft has been a topic of discussion since automation was first introduced in the flight deck. Many researchers, operators, pilots, and others have been talking and writing about the effects of automation on pilot performance and training for many years and there are broad and varied opinions about effectiveness. This project was initiated to develop a baseline of information to use to help understand training for automation and how to improve it.


To review current training practices for pilots who fly automated transport aircraft and summarize training methods being used and their effectiveness as determined by the organizations doing the training.

Approach and Solution

We determined that the best knowledge about the design and effectiveness of pilot training for automation could be gathered from those who develop and deliver the training everyday. Instructors and training management at all major US airlines and two manufacturers were interviewed for their views on training methods that have been effective, those that have not been effective, and the challenges that still need to be met for pilot training of automated airplanes. We used a structured open interview method with the participants to make sure that we covered all the topics of interest for each one while still allowing for conversational information gathering. We learned that there are many differences in approach to the development and delivery of the training by the organizations we interviewed and that many different approaches could be effective. Because of this we chose a format for our product report that included strategies that were found effective for addressing each phase of the training development and delivery process. We also included those methods that organizations had abandoned because they were not effective for their needs. We included some general recommendations at the end of the report based on our analysis of the information from all of the interviews. More info about Final Report…


Many airlines and training organizations have used the report since its publication to help them with their training program improvements. Researchers have also used the report to better understand the training process and improve their research objectives and methodologies.

Funding Agency:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

Project Partners:

Oregon State University (OSU)

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