ACROSS main goal is to design systems alleviating crew workload in current two-pilot operations in order to improve safety level.
Improving and assuring safe operations under crew peak workload
is a key goal for air safety.
Today, pilots routinely fly in ever more demanding conditions (such as higher traffic densities, more demanding operational constraints and lower visibility conditions).
Although operational technology has advanced to the point where some flight phases of modern aircraft are heavily automated, requiring relatively little amount of actions from the crew, there remain instances where the workload level may rise to the point where even within the two-pilot crew configuration, the flight crew comes under stress (such as during complicated departure in high density airports, approach and arrival under unusual operating conditions).
The current level of automation and state-of-the-art operational equipment, in the context of existing and future operational environments, could be improved further to provide the flight crew with the support required to achieve the desired level of safety under crew peak workload conditions.
THE ACROSS PROJECT WILL CONTRIBUTE TO A COCKPIT ENVIRONMENT THAT MITIGATES THE IMPACT OF CREW WORKLOAD PEAKS IN THE FLIGHT DECK AND ENSURES THAT PILOTS HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS ALL RELEVANT ISSUES IN A TIMELY AND EFFECTIVE MANNER.
This will help when facing complex situations like:
|High density traffic|
Improved situational awareness, by means of tools that can facilitate the crew in building a correct and timely mental picture of the situation with minimal effort. This is achieved through new avionics functionality, cockpit displays, flight deck and air-ground communication solutions.The project aims to provide, for example:
“On 32 occasions pilots were incapacitated during a flight in 2009″
The British Civil Aviation Authority
Even if such incidents are rare, it happens occasionally that one of the pilots of a commercial flight is incapacitated, or even dies. In less dramatic situations, one pilot may not be capable to perform needed actions due to illness or psychological issues. It is therefore necessary for the remaining pilot(s) to manage the situation, likely under significant stress. In these cases, unplanned reduced crew situations will have to be managed.
ACROSS WILL DEVELOP AND INTEGRATE NEW COCKPIT-BASED TECHNOLOGIES THAT ALLOW THE REMAINING PILOT TO SAFELY MANAGE THE FLIGHT.
Different situations will be addressed:
|Intentionally reduced crew in long haul flight, for a limited period of time during cruise; the need is to support the remaining flight crew in the cockpit while the other one is at rest, and to prevent fatigue by allowing him/her to rest efficiently.|
|Partial flight crew incapacitation; ACROSS will analyse solutions to help the remaining pilot to perform safe completion of the flight to the nearest suitable airport (considering as a first step, that other parameters such as aircraft status, and external environment are normal).|
|Full flight crew incapacitation, from cruise to landing until aircraft stops (no taxiing).|
“One day, there will not be any pilots in the cockpit”
Michel Ziegler, former Technical Director of Airbus
With these words, back in 1980, Michel Ziegler provocatively stated his vision of the future. a futuristic possibility. Now this scenario could come closer to be implemented, leading to reduced costs for commercial aviation.
Operators also require a vision on future possible reductions in required quantity of crew members for air transport and business aircraft.
Progressing towards workload alleviation and crew work facilitation,
ACROSS WILL IDENTIFY ASPECTS THAT CURRENTLY PREVENT THE REDUCTION OF THE CREW TO A SINGLE PILOT.
Single-pilot operations in all conditions are considered a long-term evolution that is not in the scope of ACROSS research & technology developments.
The ACROSS consortium considers single-pilot operations as a case study that stimulates innovation and facilitates the identification of solutions that could be used to improve the current safety level in situations of peak workload and reduced crew. Conversely,any solutions developed to manage peak workload and reduced crew situations may be considered for possible single pilot operations in the future.