Board index Other Hangar talk

Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Talk about (almost) anything, as long as it is no serious FlightGear talk and does not fit in the other subforums.
Forum rules
Please refrain from discussing politics.

Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby Starduster » Sun Jan 28, 2024 10:15 pm

Hey guys!
I just saw this article on Facebook, and, since I am just now studying NDB, VOR, DME, ADF, ILS, I found the article's premise most interesting.
Please tell me your thoughts.
Happy flying!
Starduster

Greetings, fellow aviators and enthusiasts!
Today, I'd like to spark a discussion on a topic close to the heart of every pilot - the increasing reliance on portable GPS and digital technologies in the cockpit. While these advancements have undoubtedly enhanced our safety and efficiency in the skies, they also bring a crucial debate to the forefront.
On one hand, GPS and digital instruments provide precise, real-time data, a boon in navigating complex flight environments and challenging weather. Yet, there's a growing concern about the potential decline in traditional piloting skills. Skills like dead reckoning and basic navigation, using physical maps and compass, are foundational to our craft. These skills are not just a nod to our rich history but are vital when technology fails us.
As pilots, we train rigorously in these traditional methods, but the ease and reliability of digital systems often overshadow them. This "skill fade" is a real challenge, and flight training programs are constantly evolving to address this by incorporating scenarios that force us to rely on these foundational skills.
I'm eager to hear your thoughts on this delicate balance between embracing technology and preserving the fundamental skills of aviation. How do you see the role of digital technologies in the cockpit, and what measures can be taken to ensure that traditional piloting skills are not just remembered, but practiced and honed?
Wishing you blue skies, tailwinds, and safe flying!
The Sky's The Limit @followers #pilotlife #aviation #pilot #avgeek #oldschool
Starduster
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2023 8:09 pm

Re: Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby merspieler » Sun Jan 28, 2024 11:18 pm

It's indeed something to consider... also due to the fact that GPS is run by the americans and can be "disabled" for others based on political decisions. Redundancy/Independence could be made here using the "european GPS" Galileo for example.

To the original question tho... at least for my personal virtual flying, I only really use big maps for flightplaning, else it's just approach charts and the like and I trust my systems. If they fail, I just go by rough heading and above MSA. I'm almost exclusively fly Airbus airliner tho...
Nia (you&, she/her)

Please use gender neutral terms when referring to a group of people!

Be the change you wish to see in the world, be an ally to all!

Join the official matrix space
merspieler
 
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:43 am
Location: Wish to be in YBCS
Pronouns: you&, she/her
Callsign: you&, she/her
IRC name: merspieler
Version: next
OS: NixOS

Re: Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby david.megginson » Mon Jan 29, 2024 2:52 am

This topic gets discussed a lot in flying forums, and it's not new. A/N courses in the late 1930s, NDBs in the 1940s, and VORs in the 1950s were all supposedly going to have the same effect on pilot skills. Ditto for autopilots, nosewheels (easier to land), etc. etc. I was always a steam gauge fan because I believed that glass panels lead to instrument fixation when your eyes really should be outside the window, but many pilots fly safely with glass as well. It's just a matter of training and practice, as it always has been.

There's a famous (and thoughtful) video from the 1997 called "Children of the Magenta" about how airline pilots were becoming overly fixated on the (then new) glass tech in their cockpits. It's a good and entertaining watch, despite the blurry VHS quality, and I strongly recommend it for a more-nuanced view than you'll get from the pilot forum perma-debates:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ESJH1NLMLs

Basic flying and navigation skills are always important — I kept practicing my NDB approaches right up until I lost my medical, and did my last NDB approach in actual IMC in 2017, which really puzzled Montreal Terminal (they kept trying to clear me for the RNAV instead) — but it's also important to gain competency with all the newer technologies that can help you. In addition to GPS (U.S.), many portable GPS navigators also support Galileo (EU), GLONOSS (Russia), and likely soon, BeiDou (China), so even if the U.S. did turn GPS off, there are now lots of satnav alternatives.

That said, I twice flew through military GPS jamming exercises, one NOTAM'd and one not, so it's important to keep the basic nav skills sharp as well.

Finally, a sad story. A number of years ago, a pilot working on his CPL and a friend stopped at my home airport in Ottawa to refuel during the long cross-country for that license, then continued on towards Toronto as night fell. Unfortunately, the instruments and nav radios in their plane were badly out of calibration, so they flew on a seriously-wrong course over the black hole of Algonquin Park rather than towards the lights of the Greater Toronto Area. As their fuel got lower and lower, they managed to reach ATC by relay with a higher aircraft, but they were too low to get picked up on radar. Eventually they ran out of fuel, went into the trees and perished. The accident investigators found that the pilot's cell phone had an EFB app (probably ForeFlight) and that the phone GPS worked, so they could easily have used that at any point to find their way to an airport, but the @#$%@ instructors had likely drilled into the CPL student's head that using GPS was "cheating", so as he got more and more panicky it never occurred to him.

When I had a full radio/nav stack failure in IMC, you can bet your behind that I pulled out my phone and used it to navigate to safety. I talked to Nav Canada the next day, and they said I did exactly the right thing, and they didn't even have to reroute any commercial airline traffic from the big airport nearby because it was obvious that I was following proper lost-comms procecures and taking the expected approach into my destination airport (I actually broke out above VFR minima, but followed the approach anyway for predictability).
David MEGGINSON (he/him)
I need more tea.
Scenery: FlightGear Americas Scenery
Fediverse: @david_megginson@mstdn.ca
User avatar
david.megginson
 
Posts: 581
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:25 pm
Location: CYRO (Ottawa, Canada)
Pronouns: he/him
Version: next
OS: Linux Ubuntu

Re: Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby benih » Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:37 pm

On the other hand, I have read that the probability for electronic system failure is magnitudes below that of analogue systems (because no moving parts).

That said, I think this is a topic that separates the good from the excellent pilots, to be able to do navigation the traditional way when needed; and that keep their swords sharp.
Also, it's fun :)
User avatar
benih
 
Posts: 1668
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:34 am
Callsign: D-EBHX
Version: next
OS: Debian Linux 64bit

Re: Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby benih » Thu Feb 01, 2024 11:01 am

Speaking of GPS: https://gpsjam.org/ shows current jammed regions.

Can our gps implementation simulate signal degregation? If yes, would be cool if we could use the online information to feed that.
User avatar
benih
 
Posts: 1668
Joined: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:34 am
Callsign: D-EBHX
Version: next
OS: Debian Linux 64bit

Re: Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby david.megginson » Thu Feb 01, 2024 3:54 pm

benih wrote in Tue Jan 30, 2024 3:37 pm:On the other hand, I have read that the probability for electronic system failure is magnitudes below that of analogue systems (because no moving parts).

My experience with both is that electronic systems fail less often but more catastrophically. For example, when my whole radio stack went dark in IMC, the culprit was a single switch (the avionics master, which according to my shop "never fails").

OTOH, analogue stuff breaks more but except in rare cases, the consequences aren't so bad. A vacuum-pump failure still leaves you with the mag compass and 4 out of 6 steam gauges, for example.

In the end, it's just good to have both and to be fully current and competent in using all of them. My last-ditch emergency plan, in the case of a massive GPS outage in IMC (e.g. to prevent a terrorist attack with drones) and no VOR coverage (since so many of them have been decommissioned) was to tune my ADF in to a high-power commercial AM radio station and work from that.
David MEGGINSON (he/him)
I need more tea.
Scenery: FlightGear Americas Scenery
Fediverse: @david_megginson@mstdn.ca
User avatar
david.megginson
 
Posts: 581
Joined: Sat Dec 10, 2016 8:25 pm
Location: CYRO (Ottawa, Canada)
Pronouns: he/him
Version: next
OS: Linux Ubuntu

Re: Possible Loss of Flying Skills in Future?

Postby Starduster » Mon Feb 05, 2024 2:02 am

Thank you all for jumping in with your opinions and anecdotes.
I'm sure that this topic will always be a current one - and it will be interesting see the philosophy of airlines and private pilots in the future.
Here is a URL to the video "Children of the Magenta Line" from American Airlines, showing how they responded to this situation a while back. Sorry, I do not know the date.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ESJH1NLMLs

Food for thought!
David
Starduster
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2023 8:09 pm


Return to Hangar talk

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest