“Crew Forgets To Raise Gear” (Avweb) describes an Airbus A320 flight where a robot could have helped:
An Air India flight was diverted last week because the crew didn’t raise the landing gear. There were apparently lots of clues that something was terribly wrong but the A320 crew pressed on, climbing to 24,000 feet instead of the normal 35,000 to 37,000 feet and reaching only 230 knots as the plane gobbled huge amounts of fuel to beat the drag of the wheels. About 90 minutes into the flight from Kolkata to Mumbai, the fuel state demanded a diversion to Nagpur. They reportedly didn’t realize their error until they went to drop the gear for landing.
Imagine a camera up in the dome light watching the same instruments and indicators as the pilots. The robot could use the camera image to ask “The altimeter shows us at FL240; the FMS shows that we’re still 400 nm from the destination; are you sure that you need the landing gear down?”
Obviously this would be more useful for single pilots and non-professional crews, but even the best pilots can make mistakes after a few days of airline flying.
- post from 2010 wondering why the fancy computers on Colgan 3407 didn’t ask “why don’t you push the power levers forward?” (50 people died for want of a few IF statements)