Automation in the Aviation Industry

In recent years, the aviation industry has gone through a lot of turning points to enhance the services it provided. 

From enhancing the inflight experience of passengers with luxurious cabins that remind us of a hotel room to providing inflight entertainment services to the customers, the aviation industry has made a lot of changes by implementing several advanced technologies.

The aviation industry has plans to grow in the future years to provide high-end services to clients and customers. But with an ever-growing demand for air travel, the aviation industry is struggling to keep up, as airlines and airports face pilot and various other staff shortages all around the world.

Let’s try to understand what automation means and why is it necessary for the aviation industry.

Automation is the utilization of different control systems and technologies that reduces the requirement of human interference. In the aviation industry, the automation of various processes is increasing.

For example, the air traffic control systems are going through numerous automation works today, which can detect the weather conditions and reduce the chances of air collisions and crashes.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport Air Traffic Control

With the introduction of new technologies in the market, the usage of computers has become inevitable as it provides great performance in delivering specific tasks.

While automation is proving to enhance the completion of a task, it also drastically affects the jobs of operators whose tasks gets shifted from being a performer to a checker.

Since the advent of this main global trend, the aviation field has also welcomed automation with open hands. It is important nowadays to consider automation in all the airlines to perform highly complex and dynamic tasks with ease.

For example, if you can implement automation in your airline industry to improve or control the efficiency of flight management. Currently, the aviation industry is focusing on automation specifically in the operations of air traffic control.

Automation in operations processes

As automation has become an important aspect in the aviation industry, airline service providers are focusing on different onboard technologies to automate their processes.

Some of the operations where most of the airlines have onboard technologies to automate the processes are listed below:

1. Human Factors

With automation making a lot of noise in the aviation industry, there is an analytics team who analyzed all the processes where there is a lot of human intervention. Keeping this in mind, they have started to implement automation in the processes.

The most common automation system in the aviation industry is autopilots. The dedicated team identified the job of the pilots and started working hard to ease a pilot’s job.

There is a reason why airlines pay pilots so much. The job of a pilot is to operate, handle, and monitor all the issues related to the engines or the control system. Their job role also includes flying the flight to the destination safely and efficiently. 

The dedicated team identified that manually flying the flight for a long period of time can be extremely exhausting. Exhaustion can lead to dangerous, even fatal situations.

Hence, they came up with an idea known as autopilot systems. Autopilot systems make it a lot easier for the pilots to fly the plane easily and smoothly as it controls the flight automatically with minimal human intervention.

Another incredible automation system is auto-throttles. Auto-throttle has the ability to control the thrust created from the engines by managing the flow of the fuel.

It automatically identifies the parameters of the engines and controls the power of the engines under all situations, that includes takeoff as well.

Anti-skid braking systems - it consists of a modulating system that can control the pressure by giving the maximum braking to the airplane by releasing the braking wheels automatically before it skids or locks-up.

If the braking wheel of the airplane locks-up, then the traction capability of the wheel also significantly reduces. This automation system gives the maximum braking to the airline while it is landing or aborting a takeoff.

A Boeing 747 landing

It permits the pilot to choose various deceleration rates to brake while it is landing automatically.

The main motive to implement automation by analyzing the human factors is to reduce the manual workload and other fatigues.

It also helps in reducing minute errors which can be fatal in the later stages. One example of such case is Colgan Air's Flight 3407, which crashed in 2009. Apart from this, it also increases the productivity of each and every individual associated with the aviation industry.

2.  Pilot and Computer interfaces

Most of the researches have stated that in the present days’ transport system, there is a major flaw in the pilot and the computer interface system in the aviation industry.

The problem which is creating a lot of issues includes the control mode’s proliferation in the modern systems, specifically when the flight is controlled by the autopilot system.

In the present-day trend, there are a lot of possibilities to automate the warning systems within the flight. For example, Aeromexico flights have already implemented automated warning systems in the flights.

These warning systems in the flight can help the pilot in monitoring and checking the aircraft. For instance, the pilots can monitor the hydraulic system, electrical system, etc. directly from their cockpit.

It also helps the pilot in monitoring environmental threats to consider the safety of the flight. For instance, GPWs, Wind Shear Avoidance System, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems, and lots more can be monitored sitting in the cockpit.

It also ensures the proper configuration of the flight by analyzing that the flight is on its correct phase and is entering into the accurate phase.

For example; gear related warnings, landing gear composition warning, and lots more. The warning sound usually occurs when the landing gear is not working when the throttles for landing purposes are closed completely.

3.   FMS or Flight Management System

Automation is playing a key role in the aviation industry by controlling the flight management systems of the aircraft.

The FMS is an incredible specialized system that has the ability to automate most of the in-flight tasks and jobs of pilots, air hosts, and air hostesses.

It has widely impacted the work of flight engineers or the navigators as it has reduced the workload of them by automating numerous tasks.

Most of the jobs, such as determining the position of the flight, managing the sensors, and lots more tasks have been automated using FMS.

The FMS is mostly controlled by the pilots through the CDU (Control Display Unit) within the cockpit. The CDU incorporates a tiny screen and a touchscreen which makes it easy for the pilots or the controllers to manage it.

Advantages of implementing automated tools and applications in flights

There are lots of advantages and benefits that airline service providers are experiencing. Some of the best benefits are as follows:

1.    Better Awareness of the situation  

With the involvement of humans becoming less and automation taking over the aviation industry, the chances of errors are also becoming significantly less.

This means that the systems can give better awareness of the situations where the flight is going to take off, fly, and land.

This reduces the possibilities of air collision, crashes, flying in the wrong route phase, and lots more.

2.    Less operating cost

The best benefit airline service providers enjoy the reduction in the operating cost. As most of the work is performed by the computer systems, the operating cost reduces a significant extent.

With computers managing most of the work, start from the heading to the airspeed management of the flight, the travel becomes efficient and smooth for the passengers.

With the efficient performance of the flight, the airline service providers gain a lot of profit and gradually reduces the operating cost, provided they are implementing effective FMS systems.

Final Words

The aviation industry has seen a significant advancement in terms of automation, and in the upcoming years, it is only going to increase further.

Automation not only helps in enhancing the security of the aircraft, but it also saves a lot of manual labor which lowers the overall airfare. From low-cost carriers to full-service airlines, efficiency is the keyword in the aviation industry.

And reducing operational costs while increasing work output with automation is efficiency to the e.

Therefore, automation is beneficial for both passengers as well as airlines, as lower operational costs mean lower ticket prices. As a result of the lower ticket prices, airlines have more customers, therefore more profit.

 

This article was written by our guest blogger Amit Chauhan. He is an Entrepreneur and a vivid Traveler who knows everything about the traveling hiccups and aims to eliminate all those with his workable efforts. Keeping the passion for traveling, Amit launched Faremart, which intends to serve the passengers in the best possible way and help them ease their air travel difficulties. With his former successful accomplishments, Mr. Chauhan continues to excel in his business endeavors providing better traveling experiences to the people.

Are you interested in writing a guest post on our blog? Write us an email at rytis.beresnevicius@aviationcv.com!