Sir -With reference to correspondence regarding training and modern aircraft, I would like, having myself flown, trained, checked and examined on various types of aircraft including currently the A320, to add some comments.

all aircraft are flown the same way, are subject to the same conditions/elements and all will come down to earth, controlled or otherwise;

all the instrumentation, systems, computers and so on are there primarily to improve overall awareness, reduce workload, enhance safety, benefit economics and provide greater comfort;

the early pilot physically controlled the entire loop of operation. Gradually, advancements in technology brought systems which took over the physical (and most of the mental) workload;

today's pilot virtually manages and controls the operating loop from the outside by inserting required data via a few knobs and/or buttons;

essentially, then, today's pilot requires extensive knowledge of the workings of all the systems to ensure an absolute optimum operation of flight;

today's pilot's skill level also has to be very high as he or she is expected to determine and then physically intervene into the loop when any or all the systems fail or are in error;

there is too much insistence on relying on all the "magic" available in the cockpit when the emphasis should be on use with caution and awareness;

there is no substitute for thorough knowledge, vigilance, caution, skill and experience or airmanship, as some of us call it.

Capt Jawed Aleem,

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Source: Flight International