Published: Aug. 31, 2022

Amy PritchettAmy Pritchett
Professor & Dept. Head, Aerospace Engineering at Pennsylvania State University
Friday, Sept. 9 | 10:40 A.M. | AERO 120

Abstract: Commercial air transport in the western world is arguably the safest system ever – how can that be, given that hazards are ever-present and few flights are every completed as planned?  This talk will review trends in aviation safety and the systems currently in place that continue to try to improve safety. 

Even as we work to certify increasingly-autonomous technologies, implicit to operational approval is the assumption that the pilot-in-command will take over in many conditions, and that aircraft can be dispatched with many faults, including inoperative autopilots. 

Thus, this talk will conclude by discussing the many contributions of humans to safety, especially those that are only now starting to be understood and articulated, and relating them to the state of the art in autonomy.

Bio: Amy R. Pritchett is a professor and head of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. Previously, Dr. Pritchett was on the faculty at Georgia Tech, and she also served via an IPA as the Director of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program. 

Her research focuses on the intersection of technology, expert human performance and aerospace operations, with a particular focus on designing to support safety. 

She has received the AIAA Lawrence Sperry Award, the RTCA William Jackson Award and, as a member of the Executive Committee of the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, the 2008 Collier Trophy.  She earned her Sc.D., S.M. and S.B. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She is currently chairing the National Academies committee on emerging trends in aviation safety.   She also serves as a technical consultant on aircraft accident litigation. 


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