Abigail Pasmore

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Abigail Pasmore

Director of Training; ALPA-I Human Factors and Training Group; United Airlines First Officer, B757/B767

Abigail is the Director of Human Factors for the Air Line Pilots Association, Intl. (ALPA) where she represents Human Factors & Training interests of nearly 60,000 pilots in the United States and Canada. She leads a team of Human Factors SMEs who work on training and safety-centric projects. Also, within this role, Abigail serves as a co-advisor on the IFALPA Professional Pilot Working Group (PPWG) and the Automation Working Group of the ICAO Pilot Training and Licensing Panel (PTLP).

Ms. Pasmore is a United Airlines First Officer, operating the B757 and B767 fleet. A graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, Abigail earned her MS in Human Factors and a BS in Aeronautical Science and is currently pursuing a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Abigail’s family emigrated from England when she was a teenager, and she now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Industry Involvement

  • Director of Human Factors, ALPA Intl.
  • Co-Advisor on the PPWG Automation Working group and ICAO PTLP Automation Working Group
  • Managed and Co-authored a Draft White Paper on Distance Learning in Part 121 Training
  • Research Associate and Project Lead, running Simulated-Use Testing, employing various Human Factors Risk Management strategies and Heuristic Analyses on Medical Drugs & Devices requiring FDA approval.

Safety Experience

  • Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP): Human Factors SME to the Event Review Committee (PSA Airlines)
  • Reconstructed the Risk Analysis used in the Event Review Committee (ERC) and co-authored the Policies and Procedures Handbook for the ASAP (PSA Airlines)
  • Fatigue Committee Member and Critical Incident Response Program (CIRP) Member

Flight Experience

  • United Airlines First Officer, B757/B767
  • PSA Airlines First Officer, CL-65
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University: Part 141 Check Airman and Instructor Pilot
  • FAA Certified Flight Instructor: CFI, CFII, MEI

Automation Versus Pilot Manual Flying Skills

Increased automated aircraft often correlate to a perception of a reduced need for pilot training, especially in fundamental areas related to manual flight operations. Rather, training is commonly focused on how pilots can be effective automation managers as opposed to manual handlers of the aircraft, when in fact the two are not mutually exclusive. Does the implementation of an automated system absolve pilots of needing basic manual flying skills? As aircraft systems and automation continue to become increasingly more complex and training curricula continue to shrink, pilots are left to absorb the consequences. There are accidents and incidents that have highlighted how the failure of automated systems exceeded the true range of the pilots’ skills.

These tragic events have yielded several opportunities for our industry to grow and add more resilience. Manual flying should not be viewed merely as a safeguard if automation fails, but rather a fundamental skill that enables pilots to effectively manage the flight path under any combination of manual and automated flight. For this reason, these fundamental skills should be a focal point of training and its practice should be supported in operator policy language. Such activities will reassert a pilot’s confidence and competence in the management of the aircraft, its systems, and ultimately the flightpath.

This presentation will cover how manual flying training and manual flying during line operations, where appropriate, are vital elements needed to maintain pilot proficiency. Also being discussed in this presentation are effective solutions the industry can employ to promote and support manual flight operations including SOP amendments encouraging manual flying, training, and line considerations. In addition, cognitive and psychomotor skills associated with manual flying, their risk of decay, and what can be done to prevent such skill degradation, will be discussed.