Re: Airbus/Boeing pilot-aircraft interface paradigms.

From: (FMCDave)
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Date:         07 Nov 95 12:21:56 
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Alain Deckers Wrote:

>I know that this subject has been coveredbefore in this group, but I'd
>be interested in gathering the opinions of pilots and design engineers
>about the different strategies adopted by Airbus and Boeing concerning
>the pilot-aircraft interface.

>As I understand it, Boeing seems to be more 'pilot-centred' in its
>approach, while Airbus is more '(design) engineer-oriented'. Thus
>Boeing generally grants the pilot ultimate authority, while Airbus
>often allows the computer to over-ride the pilot. Also, Boeing
>provides less ambiguous instrument feedback than Airbus, eg the
>auto-throttle levers moves in a Boeing aircraft, not in an Airbus.

>Is this correct? I'm neither a pilot nor an engineer (it probably
>shows), but am interested in the evolution of design paradigms. I'd be
>very grateful for any feedback.

Yes, I would say that you are correct.  One of the Boeing design
guidelines is that that automatic systems should not ever
over-ride a pilot's input.  Tactile feed back is also considered
important; which is why the throttles are back driven and Boeing
stays with a control column with a "feel computer" putting
tactile feedback to the flight crew.  The design paradigm has
to do with the basic safety analysis process.  Boeing tends to
build systems which keep the pilot in the loop (inasmuch as
information, feedback, and control).  Personal Opinion Here:
As a systems design engineer with a psychological/anthropology
degree, I would feel uncomfortable designing a system which
would take over too much of the "airmanship" which Boeing tends
to leave in the loop (via the crew).  There are a lot of subtle
cues which a pilot uses; maybe even unconciously.


David Allen
Project Manager, CNS/ATM
Opinions are mine and not Boeing's