Re: Seeking pointers on switch design.

From:         drinkard@bcstec.ca.boeing.com (Terrell D. Drinkard)
Organization: Boeing
Date:         01 Dec 92 02:10:47 PST
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1992.28@ohare.Chicago.COM> rdd@cactus.org (Robert Dorsett) writes:
>I'm looking for pointers to articles on the human-factors ramifications of
>switch design.  I've noticed an interesting difference between Airbus and 
>Boeing switch philosophy.
>
[Much interesting material deleted]
>
>On the other hand, Airbus' design can be rationalized in that if the computers 
>do *all* routine management, as they do, then bringing the pilots in the loop
>at initial start-up is an invitation for error: in this model, pilot involve-
>ment is an *abnormal* event, and signs of that involvement should be 
>highlighted.  This raises interesting implications of the pilots being out of 
>the loop TOO long, perhaps never dealing with a system or mentally "reviewing" 
>that system for several flights, as would be the case with more "hands-on"
>initialization and management.  This could be the reason behind Airbus's 
>pre-flight "walk-through," in which each switch illuminates in sequence, 
>requiring the pilot to depress it to extinguish the light.
>
>Comments?  References?

I'd just like to address one small part of your message, the part dealing
with pilots being out of the loop too long.  I've read not to long ago that
there is research being performed on a tweak of the flight management
systems paradigm.  Instead of the FMCS just flying the programmed course,
the new thought is to have it tell the pilot the next step and have the
pilot initiate the maneuver.  This keeps the flight crew mentally engaged,
one hopes.  Apparently there is a history of incidents where the pilot was
too far behind the airplane.

I just love this industry!  :-)



-- 
Terry
drinkard@bcstec.boeing.com
"Anyone who thinks they can hold the company responsible for what I say has
more lawyers than sense."