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Automation Training for Regional and Commuter Air Carriers



Most research on the use of flight deck automation has focused on large airlines and their pilots, training, and procedures. Regional and commuter air carriers are increasingly flying airplanes with flight deck automation.


Our task was to define the significant issues associated with training regional and commuter air carrier pilots for flight deck automation use and to develop pilot training objectives to be used in regional and commuter air carrier training operations.

Approach and Solution

We began by comparing characteristics of large transport airlines with regional and commuter air carriers. Many differences were identified that may affect the type and effective means for training of the regional and commuter pilots. We also conducted an online scenario study (with Dr. Kathy Mosier at SFSU) that required pilots to interact with one of four regional airplane flight decks to solve scenario problems posed to them. The pilot participants were all qualified and currently flying the airplane used in their scenarios. The scenarios presented a situation to the pilots and asked them to use any information they would usually use when flying to gather information and then describe what they would do next. To access information from the flight deck, they clicked on the appropriate display and the information relevant information was presented to them. This allowed us to gather data on what information the pilots used, the order in which they gathered it, the amount of time they took to decide on a course action, and the decision they made. The results of this study were used to understand how the pilots used the automation and where they had challenges. These results were taken into account with our other information to develop recommendations for automation-related training objectives. The final report of for this grant including study details and the specific recommendations is available. More info about Final Report...

Funding Agency:

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Project Partners:

San Francisco State University (SFSU)


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