FlightAware Discussions

Is this really an issue to pilots? (Current in-flight re-planning system)

According to the interview survey, I noticed that flight crews (i.e. pilots and dispatchers) today perform in-flight re-planning manually. Since then, I have been thinking about whether the manual process is an issue.

I had a chance to speak with some dispatchers. They claimed that the manual decision-making process may not be an issue because they generally make the right decision regarding safety.

However, as an engineer, I think that the advent of new communication and technology (e.g. sharing weather information between aircraft in flight) will bring more information into the cockpit in the future; therefore, flight crews may be faced with information overload. This could prevent them from making quick decisions, which leads to potential human error.

Since I am not a pilot (or dispatcher), I may be wrong. So, please let me correct if I am wrong. Also, it will be appreciated if you can share your opinions on this.

There are other factors that may come into the re-planning scenario

The need to try and keep to your arrival time and landing and gate slot in order to avoid penalties for being late on arrival and thus late on departure.

The need to save costs as per fuel and human costs as airline crew have a maximum allowed working time. So you want to try an ensure that on landing that the crew on say european short haul have enough working hours left for the return flight.

Also in airports like Heathrow in London for noise abatement they use what they call runway alternation in that they switch 29R and 29L to 09R and 09L for landings at certain times of the day and as such aircraft may have to follow a new route into the new STAR arrival to meet the demands of the ATC controllers.

Of course there is the times that a medical emergency occurs on-board and as such an aircraft is diverted to an airport

Yes the extent of data that is being made available could lead to overload but for whom ?. Modern aircraft such as teh AIRBUS series are largely running by computers now and as such the input from the pilot or co-pilot is often very minimal anyway they need just to enter a couple of lines in an MCDU and everything else gets taken care of.