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Who's Really Flying The Plane?

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Just saw this article up on CNN.com

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Autopilot myths confuse passengers about pilot control, expert says
  • Veteran airline pilot: Planes don't fly themselves
  • Capt. Chesley Sullenberger: Autopilot slightly hindered emergency Hudson River landing
  • Aviation/human automation expert: Remote-control airliners may be 2 generations away

Here's a good one...

There are two basic academic models. In one, pilots would fly airliners by remote control from "cockpits" on the ground -- just as pilots currently fly Predator military drones over Afghanistan and along the U.S.-Mexican border.

"There's another model where you might have a flight attendant sufficiently trained," said Hansman, to act as a backup pilot on automated or remote-controlled airliners.

Yes, you read that right.

There's an idea out there to have backup pilots who also serve passengers peanuts and tomato juice.

If/when pilots are walking down the aisles of airliners NOT flying and instead serving beverages and peanuts, just go ahead and kill me because that is a world I do not want to live in.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/24/travel/autopilot-airlines/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

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I'd be really surprised if the Air Force ever put pink bodies at risk inside a UAV, as it would defeat the purpose of them in the first place. As for the airlines-- it MIGHT happen out of a desire to save costs, but I think the liability would be too great. Imagine the fallout from a plane full of people crashing with no live pilot at the controls. The airline would be sued into bankruptcy, if passengers would even buy a ticket in the first place. I don't think the cost savings would justify the increased liability risk, not to mention the feeling of security (real or imagined) that a live pilot gives.

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I'd be really surprised if the Air Force ever put pink bodies at risk inside a UAV, as it would defeat the purpose of them in the first place. As for the airlines-- it MIGHT happen out of a desire to save costs, but I think the liability would be too great. Imagine the fallout from a plane full of people crashing with no live pilot at the controls. The airline would be sued into bankruptcy, if passengers would even buy a ticket in the first place. I don't think the cost savings would justify the increased liability risk, not to mention the feeling of security (real or imagined) that a live pilot gives.

If you have passengers, you have to pressurization, life support, bathrooms, etc. Which is what you have to put in the airplane to have a pilot. So you might as well put in a pilot at that point. And having someone to fly that mother######er never hurts.

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There's plenty of people who wouldn't want to fly as a pax on an automated plane, including me.

Also, check out this awesome automated airliner:

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It will be a long time before the flying public is comfortable getting on an aircraft and not seeing someone sitting to their left in the front office.

It's one thing in the military, or even when flying freight, but when people who may not be comfortable with flying in the first place have a choice, they will be buying tickets on the manned options for many years to come.

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It will be a long time before the flying public is comfortable getting on an aircraft and not seeing someone sitting to their left in the front office.

It's one thing in the military, or even when flying freight, but when people who may not be comfortable with flying in the first place have a choice, they will be buying tickets on the manned options for many years to come.

The flying public will never get on an airplane with the absence of a pilot. Ever.

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If you have passengers, you have to pressurization, life support, bathrooms, etc. Which is what you have to put in the airplane to have a pilot. So you might as well put in a pilot at that point. And having someone to fly that mother######er never hurts.

This is a great point...the advantage of going unmanned is you can take away all the life support stuff (space, weight, etc.). If you already need that stuff for your cargo (i.e. pax), then why not have a pilot? I can definitely see unmanned cargo jets in the future but agreed that passenger airliners really have no incentive to go pilot-less.

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There's plenty of people who wouldn't want to fly as a pax on an automated plane, including me.

Also, check out this awesome automated airliner:

Rather piss poor example, as the pilots were in a regime for which the aircraft was not designed.

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The flying public will never get on an airplane with the absence of a pilot. Ever.

Yeah, same thing that was said prior to UAVs....

Never say never.

I'd be really surprised if the Air Force ever put pink bodies at risk inside a UAV, as it would defeat the purpose of them in the first place. As for the airlines-- it MIGHT happen out of a desire to save costs, but I think the liability would be too great. Imagine the fallout from a plane full of people crashing with no live pilot at the controls. The airline would be sued into bankruptcy, if passengers would even buy a ticket in the first place. I don't think the cost savings would justify the increased liability risk, not to mention the feeling of security (real or imagined) that a live pilot gives.

Really? It's better to crash with humans at the controls? I don't quite see the difference, and considering that the majority of interaction between passengers and the pilots on commercial airlines are those little amusing announcements from the cockpit, the majority probably would never know the difference if there wasn't anyone sitting at the front of the plane.

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Rather piss poor example, as the pilots were in a regime for which the aircraft was not designed.

Short final + go around? If they didn't design for that, there's more of a problem with Airbus than I first thought...

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There's plenty of people who wouldn't want to fly as a pax on an automated plane, including me.

Also, check out this awesome automated airliner:

Yet again, youtube comments on an aviation video did not fail to amuse. :bash:

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There's plenty of people who wouldn't want to fly as a pax on an automated plane, including me.

Also, check out this awesome automated airliner:

That's one of the problems with Airbus' take on FLCS design. "I'm sorry, Dave, but I can't let you do that."

Edited by Muscle2002

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Short final + go around? If they didn't design for that, there's more of a problem with Airbus than I first thought...

30' AGL with power at idle and max AoA...not any normal airliner mode I am aware of...in fact, the pilot pitched up so much that the flight computers commanded nose down from the elevators to prevent a stall.

There is much discussion about this accident, to include whether the pilot was reading 30' RA and thinking 30m RA. Also, the only people who really know what happened edited the tapes before turning them over to the investigators.

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I think it's just something our current generation is nervous about because it is new. There were the same growing pains when airplanes were first put into widespread use...hell, even cars probably had people talking about how much safer a horse-and-carriage was. I have no doubt that this will become widespread in the future, possibly in our lifetimes. If anything, it will be economics, not passenger unease, that drives these decisions (how much does it cost to install a fully automated system capable of communicating with ATC, as well as taxiing in a busy terminal environment?)

I think it's just a matter of time until we get the software to a stage where it can make the right decisions on a point A to point B cargo or passenger run. It will probably be a little longer before we can replace human pilots in combat aircraft, since combat is more dynamic than the 0800 ATL-LAX run.

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The flying public will never get on an airplane with the absence of a pilot. Ever.

Ha! I would almost say you are being sarcastic on this one.

Yeah dude... computers are already trusted over humans in many situations. It's only a matter of time and this will not even be a discussion... especially when the people that automate these things start talking efficiency numbers, economics, and clear cut proof that human error stats are more prevalent than automation issues. Hell, it might not even take that... just get Oprah on one of them things and you will already have half the country on board. Just sayin' ... people believe everything they see on TV. As soon as TV says it's good, then it's good.

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NICE!!!

---

PK...

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Yeah dude... computers are already trusted over humans in many situations. It's only a matter of time and this will not even be a discussion... especially when the people that automate these things start talking efficiency numbers, economics, and clear cut proof that human error stats are more prevalent than automation issues.

Nope.

Big difference between computers running the switches for a subway train and having computers responsible for several hundred people in a metal tube going 800 feet per second six miles above the earth.

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Sigh. I have a distaste for automation and an extreme distaste for Airbus products. I enjoy being the majority vote in the cockpit.

Good thing my sled has pretty much nothing to help me out. SCAS and heading hold. haha

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Nope. Big difference between computers running the switches for a subway train and having computers responsible for several hundred people in a metal tube going 800 feet per second six miles above the earth.

Word... Big difference indeed.

Doesn't change the possibility that the "subway switch" systems of today are or very well could be the foundation for large scale autonomous aircraft / ATC structure of tomorrow.

As for me, I'm all about old school. Some of my best days in ATC were the ones filled with random BS between us and y'all in the cockpit... cuz it was pitch black @ night and no one else was on freq. Or when we would comically grade landings cuz we got to know and meet the folks that flew our airspace all the time. Good times! It's the little things. But hell man, take a look around... the level of trust given to automation these days is insane... and I don't think the damn society is done letting ones and zeros take over day-to-day life. It'll happen slowly and slowly all up to the point where "800 feet per second, six miles above the earth" will be as easy to accept as passing the damn salt.

---

PK

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Isn't the larger horror not that they might make flight attendants into pilots, but pilots into flight attendants? Can see it now, you do the take off and the autopilot orders you to go hand out ginger ale and peanuts because its the PIC.

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How ironic this comes out today... Not that this changes my opinion.

http://www.nypost.co...OXCuUvryqgykKwI

“Someone next to me said he was saying something about bombs,” recounted the passenger, Tiffany Lee, a 26-year-old Las Vegas resident.

Anyone else getting a mental image of what 26-yr-old Las Vegas resident named Tiffany Lee looks like?!? :rock:

"The girl next to me was saying, ‘Oh my god, what If I never talk to my fiancé again?’”

Glad to hear she has her priorities in order! :banghead:

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