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Single-Pilot passenger planes could soon take to the skies

Plane maker Boeing is actively working on technology that would remove the need for two pilots in the cockpits of its passenger jets. ( Mehr...

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jaymeinen 8
This is such a horrible idea. I don't care how smart a computer is, at least two experienced pilots are indispensable.
bbabis 1
Sooner or later WE will get down to two experienced pilots. They will be the last ones that help write the code that controls autonomous aviation systems.
jbermo 4
What? Cat III autoland? No way! Operating without the backup safety of a flight engineer? No Way!! Crossing an ocean on a two-engine airplane? ABSOLUTELY NO WAY!!
bbabis 2
To leave the ground at all in a heavier than air craft. NO WAY!
hal pushpak 1
Fully docking remote control cargo trips to SpaceLab and back? No Way!
Edward Bardes 3
*cough* Germanwings
bbabis 2
Germanwings actually would be a rallying cry for no pilots, wouldn't it? I don't think the second pilot affected that outcome much.
I thought the second pilot was exactly what produced the outcome.
bbabis 1
A second pilot irregardless of seat position. If one has a plan of destruction the other isn't going to change things.
bbabis 2
Inevitable step before no pilot.
Also, single passenger!
Bill Harris 2
Two words that should stall this idea: Alternate law
James Driskell 2
This idea will never fly!
RC Pate 3
I don’t think the flying public will accept this idea, regardless of the technology.
bbabis 2
The flying public didn't care when the radio operator left, when the navigator left, or when the engineer left. All they care is when the airplane will get there and will they get a meal.
padrooga23 3
So much for CRM... Software people always think they can anticipate for and program for any contingency... right up until the moment something happens that they didn't think of.
padrooga23 7
Why would anything think this is a good thing?
ADXbear 3
Bad idea. Not ready for the blow up pilots just yet..
SmokedChops 5
the emergency inflator port has remained unchanged since 1980...
Andre Sidler 3
This idea is ALREADY in motion with several years of empirical experience with remote piloted UAS recon & lethal strike ops in Afghanistan operated from air-conditioned containers at Californian airforce bases. No public complaint. Next extension is for Cargo flights automated the same way with a 'back-up' manual reversion human in the air-conditioned shipping container there to take remote control of the cargo flight with problems that occur that are not scripted into the software. No public complaint. Air-freighting sold as being cheaper without those pesky expensive human pilots - look at what a FEDEX or UPS Captain gets paid - yep that's enough to motivate ANY freight company to get rid of the human impediment. Next step is single pilot B777/787/797 ops with satellite connected back-up pilot contract providers in the US with ex-UAS operators. Airline and provider will sell this as cheaper seats for everyone. Sadly, there will be little or no complaint over time. Remember when everyone said it was dangerous and irresponsible to fly across the North Atlantic with only 2 engined aircraft? No public complaint.
Bad idea, software will never replace to measure of safety two pilots brings. Assist yes, replace NO
in my opinion,this is not a good idea..having a second set of eyes, or a second pair of hands as well as a person trained to handle issues,emergencies, or even to be there while the other takes a bathroom break is not only important,but reassuring..computers and the like are supposed assist and enhance modern aircraft,not replace a real person...
usad 2
Big mistake that will take lives before they see the foolishness of it.
jmilleratp 1
You just have to convince the traveling public that having only one pilot up front is somehow a "good" idea. Good luck with that! :-P
chalet 1
I don´t think that this monster idea will see the light of the day, but if they go ahead with it airlines will have to offer two options: flights with current crew regulations (2 pilots up to 8 hours, etc.) and flights with a single pilot.
jbermo 1
Today's technical restriction of satellite communication bandwidth remains as one of the very few technical problems that must be solved, prior to further reducing crewmember positions.
bbabis 1
As long as passenger planes have pilots, which may not be for long, there will be at least two seats in the cockpit because no one starts out as Captain. There must be captains in training.

I've flown 32 years in two pilot business jets and then the last 6 as a single pilot. It was a little different getting used to but I will never go back to two. Flying and working in the ATC system in a jet well equipped for single pilot operation is not hard. This includes ATL, TEB, ORD... I would say it is safer SP. In the last 6 years I have never been caught assuming the other pilot has done something that needed to be done and I've never miscommunicated with myself. Either of these have led to many accidents in crewed aircraft. The last real reason for a second pilot is the extra heartbeat but that excuse is quickly being mitigated with full auto-land and ballistic parachute recovery systems. If you find me slumped over, push the big red button. The best part of SP operation is I decide where to eat, where to stay, and whatever the hell else I want to do.
chalet 1
Wonderful things coming our way: think of a sky thick with one-pilot 380s or 777s, then hundreds of Terrafugia and other car-plane contraptions flown by owners without ratings or licenses and to top it all off several hundred drones per sq. mile going every each heading and altitudes. I mentioned this scenario to a friend of mine who is a senior VP at a big insurance company. Due to censorhisp constrains I can't repeat his comments.
Bernie20910 1
Can we really trust the software? I'd say "yes" but my Windows-based PC that's running the absolute latest release of Windows that has been perfected for the past 32 years, locked up solid and had to be rebooted before I could type the word.
belzybob 1
It needs two pilots, one to fly and the other to cope with the FAA ATC system.
Shenghao Han 1
One is better than Airbus's None pilot proposal...

Relax people, do you know the subway you taken to work had been only one driver for years? It might be even fully automated like the people mover in Atlanta and some morden subways.

Next logical development is obviously air travel, imaging airports as stations and airway/ approach as railways. All we will need is advanced ATC system, displaying instruction to the pilots on their lage LCD screens, so pilots don't have to read back instructions and state their last instructions when contacting new frequencies. That will make it more like bullet train signal system, where speed instructions are displayed in the driver cab.

Remember in an emergency for large aircraft, the pilots look for a manual and follow a check list before they heroically land the plane. When they don't have a manual to refer to, that is when things go horribly wrong. (for example the Air France 447 crash) Computer can complete that check list in less than a second, then display what exactly was wrong and a message in large red flashing text "land the plane and may god help us". Jokes aside, autopilot can probably do a better job at trimming and compensating the airplane in event of single engine failure or stuck control surface, they might even able to sense the telltale signs before take off because they can accurately sense small discrepancy in pressure, noise pitch just like old pilots can tell if the engine doesn't sound right or the plane doesn't feel right.

I am not saying this can be done tomorrow, the amount of debugging and programming needed to be done is tremendous, and I am not fully supporting to have only one pilot in cockpit, just saying in modern days if something goes wrong it is usually pilot error. In addition, currently if autopilot detects a problem like engine failure, they will jump off the pilot seat and hide in a corner (disengages). Which was a contributing factor in Air France 447 crash as investigation suggested if they kept their engine and pitch setting the same until they clear the storm, the pitot tube will unblock itself.
Err, the subway is not quite the same analogy...


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