April 2010 Issue

NTSB: Glass Hasn’t Made Us Safer

A new NTSB study highlights standardization, training and testing as ways to realize digital flight displays’ promise. But much has changed in glass-panel training since the period studied by the NTSB.

A year-long study by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concludes the last decade’s glass-cockpit revolution has not resulted in enhanced safety. In making its March 9, 2010, announcement, the Board said its results found single-engine airplanes manufactured between 2002 and 2006 and equipped with glass cockpits had a higher fatal accident rate than similar aircraft with conventional instruments. The NTSB blamed complexity and lack of standardization among different aircraft and their glass panels, which has resulted in pilots failing to "understand the unique operational and functional details of the primary flight instruments in their airplanes."

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