While automation has made commercial airline travel much safer overall, it makes it more difficult for airline pilots to take control when something goes wrong. Reliance on autopilot is one of the biggest threats to flight safety.
The tendency of commercial airline pilots to rely on automated systems now represents the biggest threat to flight safety around the world, according to a new study commissioned by the Federal Aviation Administration. Pilots now struggle with manual flying tasks and in some cases fail to keep pace with changing technology in the cockpit, according to the Wall Street Journal, which saw a draft copy of the report. As a result, some pilots lack the knowledge or skills to properly control their planes, particularly in unusual situations.