'Passenger jet flies 800 kilometres without a pilot' New Scientist

lotek

Active Member
Cant anyone be happy for science and engineering?

This is why we cant have nice things... this is how you get ants....
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
IMHO this is the future of long haul flying. Currently my airline use 3rd and 4th pilots for inflight relief. I can see two pilot 16 hour sectors in the future, with one pilot on duty during the cruise and ground support doing the support duties. Both pilots would be on deck for takeoff and landing.
Its an airline accountants wet dream.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I can't speak for all, but I can't see it being popular. It mean a lot if jobs lost. It wasn't that long ago though that we had 707 crews with navigators and flight engineers, which have also been made redundant by technology. I can't see no pilot aircraft though for a long time. The passengers won't wear it.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
I can't speak for all, but I can't see it being popular. It mean a lot if jobs lost. It wasn't that long ago though that we had 707 crews with navigators and flight engineers, which have also been made redundant by technology. I can't see no pilot aircraft though for a long time. The passengers won't wear it.

I work as an engineer on ships. Running a highly complicated system in automated mode might be fine so long as everything is running properly. That usually lasts a few minutes.
 

pseacraft

Active Member
I have seen what a Global Hawk can do just during its taxi phase first hand not too long ago - Maintenance Superintendent screaming in the radio "Stop! STOP! Fucking STOP!" (he was on the wrong channel) then used his truck to physically stop the aircraft before it could hit a fully loaded KC-135...yeah...I will pass on flying without a real pilot on board and at the controls. oh, we ran behind the blast fence...
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
I work as an engineer on ships. Running a highly complicated system in automated mode might be fine so long as everything is running properly. That usually lasts a few minutes.

Aircraft run fine on autopilot now. During cruise, pilots are generally required for monitoring systems, weather avoidance and occasional crisis management. ( I had a passenger collapse during my last trip). That could be done by one pilot with say a backup pilot on the ground who was monitoring several flights.

However, workload during takeoff and landing requires two pilots for safe operation, which is why I cannot see this sort of technology replacing current two pilot crews.

One of the issues is the certification process. The flight deck of the A330s I fly reflects the technology available when it was certified, back in the early 90s. There are many modern light aircraft flying now with much more advanced flight instrument packages than what I fly with. Re-certifying an aircraft with a major systems upgrade requires a very expensive flight test program so it is not usually done.

So this sort of system would need to be certified during the initial test phase of a new type. The Airbus A350 goes into flight test soon and the 787 is already flying, so I cannot see these systems on those aircraft.

The other reasons to have pilots aboard is for insurance ad legal accountability purposes.
 

justanairlinepilot

Senior Member.
What do pilots think of it?


It's already happening in the rail road industry. My uncle works for Union Pacific, out of Cheyenne. There are two people on the train, the engineer and the conductor. He said it's all automated, and they have to put their hands on the controls every 10 minutes to signal they are still awake.
 
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