11Integration and Complexity: The Potential Impact on Flight Safety

11.1 Introduction

So far in this book, as in other aerospace series books by Moir and Seabridge, the broad assumption has been made that aircraft systems will be designed as individual entities. This is very often what happens in large organisations, generally as a result of their departmental or organisational structures, which are often formed around individual system responsibilities. The subject of ‘interconnectedness’ or interactions between systems has been introduced as a warning to designers to be aware of unintended consequences arising from the performance of their systems and the interactions that occur, directly or indirectly, with other systems in the total aircraft design.

Chapter 6 introduced the topic of systems integration as a normal part of the continuing development of the systems process; Chapter 5 introduced the topic of integrated systems architectures and a number of different systems examples were given. The content of those chapters is still relevant. In this chapter the results of the integration of physical systems, functional aspects and functions associated with automation, and potentially autonomous unmanned operations is examined. The purpose of the chapter is to discuss whether or not such continued integration of functions is likely to pose a threat to the continuing safe operation of the aircraft. The reason for examining this is not to impose a limitation on such innovations ...

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