Thursday, January 27, 2005

Airbus Philosophy

Today's entry concerns why "what's it doing now?" is edging out "oh shit!" in the running for the phrase most frequently heard on Airbus CVRs.

The airplane does whatever it wants. The pilot just gives it permission.
        -- avionics technician

I am sure there have been more crashes caused by pilots asking airplanes to do things physics wouldn't let the airplane do than there have been by computerized airplanes refusing inputs they calculated unsafe, but somehow despite that, or perhaps because of that, pilots have a need to mock the automation, to assert our superiority over the machine.

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