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Aviation Navigation

Autopilot and director flight systems are provided by the automatic flight control system (AFCS), consisting of two computers that control the flight. The flight computers are FCC 1 and FCC 2. The AFCS system has two autopilot axis, double dampers, automatically controlled elevator trim, and assorted actuators and servos. Autopilot is an inbuilt airplane system that allows pilots to take off airplanes automatically (Sadraey, 2020). This becomes possible since the auto-flight system signals the flight control system.

The Cali Crash is Due to Pilots Misused the System or They Don't Fully Understand the System

If not fully understood or used inappropriately, the AFCS can also cloud system deficiencies and distract the pilots from their duty to fly (Sadraey, 2020). For the automatic flight control system's proper operational control system, the pilot must input the correct information to the two computers, such as heading hold mode, altitude mode, and speed stabilization. The pilot must know how to operate the computerized airplane by feeding the system with required modes (Sadraey, 2020).Such things as raising or lowering the wings, controlling the plane's yaw and plane's pitch require proper pressing of the necessary buttons.

Why I Think the Cali Crash is Due to Pilots Misused the System or They Don't Fully Understand the System

The Cali crash happened due to the pilot’s misuse of the automatic flight control system and lack of full familiarization of the system (Papadimitriou et al., 2020). The Cali aircraft is one of the automated airplanes that use computers termed as FMSs, which helps significantly in navigation, flight path control, and systems monitoring. The pilot is required to apply his knowledge in selecting the appropriate CDU inputs for automatic flight control. FMS computers are difficult to use, understand and the pilot should have the excessive experience to operate them. The first officer and the captain failed to control the computer to follow the intended flight path. They used the FMS to execute a change but did not confirm its consequence on the flight path (Papadimitriou et al., 2020). The pilot lacked knowledge in using the EHSI to verify the flight path, and that is why the identifier "R" was mistaken for Rome instead of Rozo.

Reasons Why this Accident Could Happen

The Cali air Crash could happen because the crew resource management (CRM) was deficient since the pilots became confused in using the FMS, so they failed in clarifying the situation (Blum, 2017). Moreover, the flight-crew did not have enough time to prepare the runway 19 approach before starting the actual approach (Blum, 2017). Besides, based on their training, the flight-crew failed to recognize that speed-brakes extended at the moment of GPWS escape maneuver, which resulted from a lack of ideas available to signal them on the condition extended.

What we can do to Tackle the Problem Seen.

To tackle the problem like that of the Cali aircraft crash, the federal aviation administration should provide adequate pilot training on tools to help them recognize when FMC distracts proper control of the flight and evaluate when to stop the FMC and switch to primary radio navigation (Orlady, 2019). Also, since automated flights are recent technologies that require vast experience, the aviation curriculum should be revised to accommodate relevant and adequate content to equip the pilots with enough skills in handling automatic flight control systems (Orlady, 2019). The critical thing here is skills and competence. Therefore, pilots need to be trained adequately on the use of FMS. Doing this will prevent future airplane crashes.


Blum, S. C. (2017). Aircraft Automation Policy Implications for Aviation Safety (Doctoral dissertation, University of Colorado Colorado Springs).

Orlady, L. M. (2019). Airline Pilots, Training, and CRM in Today’s Environment. In Crew Resource Management (pp. 553-579). Academic Press.

Papadimitriou, E., Schneider, C., Tello, J. A., Damen, W., Vrouenraets, M. L., & Ten Broeke, A. (2020). Transport safety and human factors in the era of automation: What can transport modes learn from each other?. Accident Analysis & Prevention, 144, 105656.

Sadraey, M. (2020). Automatic Flight Control Systems. Synthesis Lectures on Mechanical Engineering, 4(1), 1-173.

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