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Source: Beringer, D.B., & Harris, H.C., Jr. (1999). Automation in general aviation: Two studies of pilot responses to autopilot malfunctions. International Journal of Aviation Psychology, 9(2), 155-174. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Source Type:   Experiment
Synopsis: "The focus of our research, in support of Aircraft Certification, was the responses of pilots to overt and subtle AP malfunctions and the factors influencing the speed and the selection of those pilot responses. Two studies were conducted, each examining four AP or AP-influencing system malfunctions, including those producing obvious and immediate effects and those producing more subtle and less-direct effects. The intent was to determine how a sample representative of average GA pilots would respond to AP malfunctions and how those responses would compare with the times specified in the present certification procedures." (page 158) ... "Study 1 examined 4 automation-related malfunctions (runaway pitch trim up, roll servo failure, roll sensor failure, pitch drift up) and subsequent pilot responses. Study 2 examined 4 additional malfunctions, 2 more immediately obvious (runaway pitch trim down, runaway roll servo) and 2 more subtle (failed attitude indicator, pitch sensor drift down) than those in Study 1, and the effect of an auditory warning. Data collection was performed in the Civil Aeromedical Institute’s Advanced General Aviation Research Simulator, configured as a Piper Malibu. Results suggest that maladaptive responses to some of these failures may, in a significant percentage of cases. lead to significant altitude loss, overstress of the airframe, disorientation of the pilot, or destruction of the aircraft. Percentages of successful recoveries, detection and correction times, and related indexes of performance are discussed in the context of malfunction type, flight profile, and auditory alerts." (page 155)
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