Voices: Rezabek

Why automation has limitations in emergency situations

There’s a balance to seek between automation and relying on human perceptions, knowledge, training and decision-making, says John Rezabek

By John Rezabek
Feb 9, 2017

Watching the movie “Sully,” which dramatizes the heroic “save” of then-US Airways flight 1549 after taking off from New York's LaGuardia airport, we’re reminded of the role played by Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III’s experience and intuition. On Jan. 15, 2009, as the plane is descending earthward with no power, his extremely professional and competent co-pilot is working through the fault tree in the Airbus A-320’s manual. But Sully has already concluded the best—and perhaps only—remaining choice was to land the plane and its 155 passengers and crew in the Hudson River. In this scenario, there was no time or opportunity for trial and error—he had one try and it had to be the correct choice.

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