CFIT & Overreliance on Automation

2021 11 1 gajsc cfit automation overreliance

2021 11 2 gajsc cfit automation overreliance


Advisory Circular 61-134, GA CFIT Awareness

CFIT Video — What More Can We Do?



2016-01 gajsc logo headrer

General Aviation Joint Steering Committee

CFIT & Overreliance on Automation
Outreach Guidance Document

This outreach guidance is provided to all FAA and aviation industry groups that are participating in outreach efforts sponsored by the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee (GAJSC).  It is important that all outreach on a given topic is coordinated and is free of conflicts.  Therefore, all outreach products should be in alignment with the outline and concepts listed below for this topic.


Outreach Month:  November 2021

Topic: CFIT and Overreliance on Automation


The FAA and industry will conduct a public education campaign emphasizing the hazards of overreliance on automation and resultant potential for Controlled Flight Into Terrain.



GAJSC study of General Aviation CFIT Accidents revealed overreliance on automation as a precursor to some mishap events.  They found that automation use contributed to VMC and IMC accidents in day and night flight conditions.  Awareness of automation limitations and pilot proficiency in flying with and without automation are key to safe flight operations.


Teaching Points:

  • CFIT accidents occur in all weather and light conditions.
  • At least one third of pilots involved in CFIT accidents held instrument ratings
  • All of the Continued VFR into IMC accidents in the GAJSC study were fatal.
  • Some CFIT accidents result from unrealistic or uninformed aircraft performance expectations..
  • Other CFIT accidents result from misunderstanding of automation normal and failure mode operations.
  • Overrelliance on automation can lead to pilot complacency, degraded hand-flying competence and confidence.