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How EFIS may be killing pilots

EFIS Primary Flight Display

EFIS Primary Flight Display

Something has been gnawing at me in aviation, which may spell trouble for relatively low time commercial pilots.  Chances are today aviators who  are training to become a professional pilots are doing so in one of the current generation of trainers.  This means that they are probably using a modern EFIS equipped Cessna G-1000 or Cirrus Avidyne aircraft as a primary trainer.  Continuing on toward the Instrument rating, pilots are fully integrated and comfortable with utilizing all of the capabilities of these truly remarkable pieces of avionics.

"Six Pack" Analog Instruments

“Six Pack” Analog Instruments

Trouble is, that while today’s pilots are trained in these thoroughly modern avionics suites,  they are then thrust into the world of down and dirty entry level freight and Part 135 position flying old Cessna and Piper light twins.  These aircraft, while capable, are equipped with  the pre-1960’s technology of the “six pack” and analog instrumentation.

It is probably safe to say that by almost all accounts, the transition from analog instrumentation to modern EFIS equipped cockpits is not difficult, the same cannot be said the other way around.  Scans must be developed and perfected in a way that takes much longer to achieve.  This is due to the way the information is presented and the physical distance that the eye much travel.  For a low time pilot who is in their first 100 hours or so, it could spell trouble.

EFIS was designed specifically to rectify the flaws that occur in flying with the previous generation of analog instrumentation. Studies of the scanning of the primary and secondary instruments  were carefully researched and used to design the Primary Flight Display (PFD) which is now standard in all airliners and now being incorporated into more and more GA aircraft.

I hope that this will be identified as a hazard and that additional training may be incorporated prior to these pilots flying the line.

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