Monday, 17 February 2014

Airbus Aircraft Operational Philosophy

I'm reading the Airbus Flight Crew Training Manual for the A320/A321 aircraft at the moment. If anything, to get an understanding of how such things are written and presented. Aircraft are fairly complex systems and as I've already talked about in this blog, many ideas are directly applicable to privacy, security, software engineering etc if we only take time to learn.

Aside: If anyone does own an A320 or equivalent simulator and would like to offer me some time flying (simulated or otherwise) then YES PLEASE!!!.  OK, back to reality now...

A few things struck me as being particularly relevant such as The Operational Golden Rules:
  1. The aircraft can be flown like any other aircraft
  2. Fly, navigate, communicate - in that order
  3. One head up at all times
  4. Cross check the accuracy of the FMS
  5. Know your FMA at all times 
  6. When things don’t go as expected - take over 
  7. Use the proper level of automation for the task
  8. Practice task sharing and back-up each other
Nothing too surprising there, other than they're stating the obvious.

That's the great thing about the obvious, completely missable...

Note the emphasis on getting the job done without requiring anything other than basic aviation skills; or in our case basic software engineering skills. The emphasis on cross-checking, task sharing and delegation, the use of appropriate techniques and technologies and the note that when things don't go as expected - take over!

As an idea to start off...
  1. There is nothing special about this system under development
  2. Plan, code, test - in that order
  3. Be aware of the wider engineering and requirements context
  4. Cross check your system with its original goals
  5. ...
The learnings here to our privacy engineering world are deep and profound. Just as an exercise to the reader, look at the procedures being followed for any engineering task and could these be placed into a simple set of operational golden rules as above? There's an interesting comparison waiting to be drawn here...that will have to wait for the moment.

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