Manufacturer's Philosophies on Automation

Manufacturer's Philosophies on Automation

The following document summarizes the different cultures regarding automation that different manufacturers have, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. The document was written by The Industry CRM Developers Group1, and provided under a sharealike type of licence. What follows is the verbatim doument:

Airbus' Philosophy on Automation

  • Automation must not reduce overall aircraft reliability; it should enhance aircraft and systems safety, efficiency and economy.
  • Automation must not lead the aircraft out of the safe flight envelope to its full extent, should this be necessary due to extraordinary circumstances.
  • Automation should allow the operator to use the safe flight envelope to its full extent, should this be necessary due to extraordinary cirumstances.
  • Within the normal flight envelope, the automation must not work against operator inputs, except when absolutely necessary for safety.

Boeing's Flight Deck Automation Philosophy

  • The pilot is the final authority for the operation of the airplane.
  • Both crew members are ultimately responsible for the safe conduct of the flight.
  • Flight crew tasks, in order of priority, are: safety, passenger comfort, and efficiency.
  • Design for crew operations based on pilot's past training and operational experience.
  • Design systems to be error tolerant.
  • The hierarchy of design alternatives is: simplicity, redundancy, and automation.
  • Apply automation as a tool to aid, not replace, the pilot.
  • Address fundamental human strengths, limitations, and individual differences-for both normal and non-normal operations.
  • Use new technologies and functional capabilities only when:
    • They result in clear and distinct operational or efficiency advantages, and
    • There is no adverse effect to the human-machine interface.


  • Uses technology to assist the pilot naturally, while giving the pilot the final authority to override the computer and use skill and experience.
1. THE INDUSTRY CRM DEVELOPERS GROUP (1996). Manufacturer's philosophies on automation. Retrievable from [].
+++ Footnotes +++
2. ###

Want to know more?

AviationKnowledge - ICAO Digest number 5
Here is a link to automation in the cockpit of ICAO.
Principles of Human-Centered Aviation Automation
The principle requirements of the human operators authority and the automated systems design.
Philosophies of Automation by Wiener
Automation design in cockpit.

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