OBJECTIVES

The objectives and scope of the project

ACROSS main goal is to design systems alleviating crew workload in current two-pilot operations in order to improve safety level.

objective 1

OBJECTIVE 1
NEW COCKPIT SOLUTIONS
FOR PEAK WORKLOAD SITUATIONS

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
Bad weather
Emergencies

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:

  • Increased automation in those conditions where this is contributing to increase the safety level of the operation by relieving the flight crew from burdensome tasks for which the “human added value” is low while maintaining crew situational awareness and authority.
  • Improved human machine interaction. With the levels of automation in the cockpit constantly on the rise, the crews’ tasks are increasingly focused on managing and overseeing the aircraft and its systems. This puts increasing emphasis on the need for good synergies between the human pilot and the machine, effectively where the crew and the machine will function as a single entity. Thus necessitating sound human-machine interfaces and interaction concepts.
  • Improved support in the case of abnormal conditions (failures, emergencies, etc.) to facilitate a correct and timely reponse by the flight crew without overloading them, thus mitigating the risk of pilot error.
objective 2

OBJECTIVE 2
NEW COCKPIT SOLUTIONS
FOR REDUCED CREW OPERATIONS

“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:

OBJ2-a-pilotbreak
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.
OBJ2-b-onepilotincapacitated
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).
OBJ2-c-bothpilotisncapacitated
Full flight crew incapacitation, from cruise to landing until aircraft stops (no taxiing).

objective 3

OBJECTIVE 3
IDENTIFYNG OPEN ISSUES FOR POSSIBLE
SINGLE-PILOT OPERATIONS

“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.