The global aviation system is a network of people, technologies, institutions and environments that are all interconnected. It is what we call a complex socio-technical system of systems in which each element can potentially affect others (for example, when a weather change in one place affects operations on the other side of the world, or a small software change affects the safety of flights for several companies). In this context, thinking about the opportunity to introduce a new concept such as SPO (Single Pilot Operation) means doing everything possible to anticipate and understand its impact on the entire aviation system, particularly in terms of safety and resilience. This is one of the objectives of a CORAC project (https://aerorecherchecorac.com/) launched in July 2021, called TOUCANS, which aims to propose a global approach to defining a highly automated cockpit for integrated operations in the aeronautical ecosystem of the future.
The Risk and Crisis Research Center (CRC, Mines de Paris, PSL) is partnering with Airbus to study, through dynamic system modeling and the use of a systemic safety model (such as STAMP), the potential impacts of the introduction of more onboard automation: modification of the composition of the flight crew, modification of the distribution of operational tasks on board, etc. The ambition is to produce recommendations/specifications for Airbus R&D in order to ensure that the introduction of the SPO concept does not alter the capacity of the ecosystem to anticipate and manage operations in the face of non-normal, unforeseen or abnormal situations (situations regularly encountered, such as the management of diversions, breakdowns, weather hazards, etc.).
Picture : one cockpit, two pilots! And if this were to change one day? (Source: Airbus).