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Merged: To hand fly, or use the automatics?

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Merged: To hand fly, or use the automatics?

Old 22nd Jan 2010, 02:09
  #101 (permalink)  
 
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I agree that it is all about money. I just think that its cheaper to reduce the salaries of the tech crew than to attack the nightmare of pilotless airliners.
The trend is down. Salaries are decreasing. Companies like QF that pay high salaries are already well on the way to ensuring that the old folk flying now are the last generation to get paid very well for what they do.
Jetstar isn't just an LCC, its a vehicle for the group to achieve certain goals. Fair enough too from a business perspective. From my point of view there are problems that managers just don't get.....but thats off topic.
In twenty years when four or five big airlines own all the smaller ones but let them keep their livery, the real worth of a pilot will become apparent. Wages will dip to a level where they can't recruit enough pilots and then stabilize at the true market rate......somewhere in between the high and low and full automation will still look too expensive.
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Old 22nd Jan 2010, 02:10
  #102 (permalink)  
 
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Ah lobe, I see you've taken a shine to me
Please please please start a new thread to discuss pilot T&C's. I am not trying to squib an argument, just avoid severe thread drift on such a good discussion between professional pilots regarding a crucial element of the operation.
For the record, I didn't make the original assertion regarding, framer did. I just provided some numbers (as requested) to back his argument.

I sleep very well at night knowing TWO pilots will still be at the controls of every 36 seat+ commercial passenger aircraft long after I retire, & hopefully until I've gone to that great simulator session in the sky (flight attendant hell, as the joke goes).

I believe the great Donald Rumsfeld summed it up nicely:
"There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. These are things we do not know we don’t know."
I would fit your airline exec's into this category. If they believe that automation is going to save them a significant amount of money at no-risk they would fit into the unconscious incompetence region of the airline business.

I'm not sure of your level of flying expertise, however if you can't see the non-trivial engineering issues involved, you best keep your thoughts to yourself and allow other to speculate on your knowledge of this subject, rather than prove it.

I suspect you already think that automation makes flying a trivial exercise that any fool can do with a few sim sessions. Do you believe that automation turns flying into an unskilled occupation? Yes or no.?
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Old 22nd Jan 2010, 02:39
  #103 (permalink)  
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Firstly....
Jetstar isn't just an LCC, its a vehicle for the group to achieve certain goals.
I agree 100%.....People who think J* was started just to provide cheap airfares are deluding themselves.I think it was GD himself who said he was keeping impulse and it's crews for a rainy day...by the way as has been said a number of times the fares with VB and JQ are not that cheap if you have to fly with little notice.So much for the advert on the side of the aircraft..

Secondly..
I didn't make the original assertion regarding, framer did. I just provided some numbers (as requested) to back his argument.
Yes....But the problem was you didn't...

By the way,I think that quote from Rumsfeld is one of the best even compared to some of Bush's however even I would not suggest that airline execs are that deliberately obtuse.Although come to think of it some of MJ's statements were close...
I suspect you already think that automation makes flying a trivial exercise that any fool can do with a few sim sessions. Do you believe that automation turns flying into an unskilled occupation? Yes or no.?
Hell No....I never said that....you must try and do better with your level of comprehension.

I said that the people who run airlines only understand the bottom line and as has been shown have no understanding of the possible financial ramifications of saving money in the wrong areas.

I said that airlines have already saved a considerable amount by reducing flight crew numbers by automation....that is incontrovertible.

If you think that your profession is safe from any further reduction by way of automation then you should spend some more time out of the flight deck...
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Old 22nd Jan 2010, 03:08
  #104 (permalink)  
 
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If you think that your profession is safe from any further reduction by way of automation
We will have to agree to disagree.

Here's a quote to back my assertion.
Our post last week about the possibility of pilotless commercial airplanes produced a vigorous, fascinating, and civil discussion in the comments. Here’s a bit of followup for those of you who are still interested.

My brother the pilot, a.k.a. Joe Dubner, wrote to tell me that “about 80% of commercial airliner takeoffs and landings are already remote-controlled” is not quite a true statement: they’re autopilot (and auto-throttle) controlled, but not without a pilot (or two) right there (not remote). And that 80% figure may be somewhat high; there are different degrees of “auto” approaches and I’m pretty sure most regional jets and turboprops don’t do a full one to touchdown. Then again, I’m just one guy and could be wrong.

I also solicited some feedback on the subject from Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot who writes the “Ask the Pilot” column for Salon.com and has written a book of the same name. Here is Patrick’s response:

This conversation, while provocative and a good exercise for the imagination, is for all intents and purposes ridiculous. There are not going to be any pilotless commercial aircraft at any time in the foreseeable future, end of story. The following is a Q&A excerpt from my book “Ask the Pilot: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”

Q: In a computer class in college, a professor smugly told us, “airplanes are capable of flying themselves,” and maintains the pilots are merely “overpaid failsafe devices.” Is the concept of pilotless planes really viable?

A: Right around the corner, along with doctorless hospitals and lawyerless courtrooms. We already have machines that help with certain operations, so how far can we be from having a computer perform a heart valve replacement? And if a machine can beat a Russian master at chess, surely one could have found OJ guilty. That’s a flip retort, but the professor is doing the same thing. He is being disingenuous (and he hasn’t seen the paychecks of many pilots). In keeping with the habit of those ensconced in technology, he speaks to idealistic devotion to his silicon wafers while more or less oblivious to the boundless contingencies of flight — things that that no electric box can be wired to appraise.

Chatting gate-side with a frequent flyer, a pilot hears, “But do you really do anything? Doesn’t the autopilot do all the flying?” Next time a person lays out an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner, try this: “But did you really do anything? Doesn’t the oven do all the cooking?” An automated flight deck makes a pilot’s job easier the way high-tech medical equipment helps a surgeon at his job. That’s not very provocative, and so we’re treated to cracks like the ones above, which speak nothing to the knowledge, training and experience required to master the console of an Airbus or Boeing. Some will argue that much of the idea is already within the realm of existing technology, and that’s true. But much is not nearly enough. As it stands today, planes can and do perform autoland procedures, and have for 30 years. Impressive, but if I went on to describe the knowledge and expertise needed for coordinating and monitoring this “fully automatic” landing, I would write for ten pages.

The military uses unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) all the time. These small, remote controlled planes engage in reconnaissance, scouting, and even combat missions. For now their accident rate is about 50 times that of a piloted fighter. The feasibility challenges are awesome. For pilotless flying to become day-to-day would be a huge — and hugely expensive — undertaking with many years of research and immense infrastructure replacement. If you’ll allow me to get juvenile for a minute: it’s hard enough to get the little trams that take you around DFW or Atlanta to work right, and they’re on tracks.

End of segment.

So for those of you looking forward to a pilotless future, Patrick’s answer is discouraging. But it’s great news for those of you who were petrified by the same thought.

Thanks to Patrick and Joe for their feedback.
Source: Freakonomics

Just look at the billions Airbus spent on the A380 program, they may never break-even on it. Boeing would be in serious financial trouble if the B787 program tanks. These programs cost $5+ billion each. They would pale into insignificance with the development costs of such a automated system. The cost saving simply cannot justify the expense of removing the two in the pointy end.

It still doesn't prevent airline exec dreaming...


Hell No....I never said that....you must try and do better with your level of comprehension.
Good to hear
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Old 22nd Jan 2010, 12:35
  #105 (permalink)  
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I understand that we disagree but I have a question.....
I'll just paraphrase various parts of your post
My brother the pilot, a.k.a. Joe Dubner.....I also solicited some feedback on the subject from Patrick Smith, a commercial airline pilot who writes the “Ask the Pilot” column for Salon.com and has written a book of the same name........The following is a Q&A excerpt from my book “Ask the Pilot: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel.”........Thanks to Patrick and Joe for their feedback.
breakfastburrito.....Where did you find this?.....It sounds like something right out of Jerry Springer or Oprah.....and do you really think it gives you any credbility?

The problem with your argument is that you are dealing in extremes...

You are saying that there are either flight decks as we know them now or pilot less ones.....

Obviously the concept of a single pilot op because of automation has eluded you?

Before you tell me this will never happen.I bet you and others would have said the same back in the 70's about 2 pilot ops with wide body aircraft....but here we are.
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Old 22nd Jan 2010, 18:30
  #106 (permalink)  
 
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lowerlobe, you complain about my lack of comprehension.
Originally Posted by lowerlobe
Obviously the concept of a single pilot op because of automation has eluded you?
I have indeed considered the "single pilot" case
Originally Posted by breakfastburrito
Dog & Pilot show
There is a very good reason why all FMC entries are cross checked by a second crew member. I have lost count of the number of incorrect entries that have made & been picked up the other crew member PRIOR to execution.
Once again, the first fatal "single pilot" accident would put an end to such a practice.


Originally Posted by lowerlobe
breakfastburrito.....Where did you find this?.....It sounds like something right out of Jerry Springer or Oprah.....and do you really think it gives you any credbility?
Originally Posted by breakfastburrito
Source: Freakonomics (New York Times)
Please stop digging.
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Old 22nd Jan 2010, 21:56
  #107 (permalink)  
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Give up Lobey, you are wasting your time.
brekkyburrito is one of the dinosaurs.
"What meteorite,I didn't see a meteorite,no one told me about a meteorite"
You are wrong about Oprah and Jerry Springer because I think brekkyburrito gets his stuff from Dr Phil.
Thats why he wants you to stop digging and asking questions about the average wage compared to pilots.
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Old 23rd Jan 2010, 00:45
  #108 (permalink)  
 
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He ought to give it up, not as he is wasting time, but rather because he is talking crap.

Want to save money through automation? Perhaps we should start by installing vending machines in the cabin with a subsequent reduction in staff therein. 'Pilotless' or 'single pilot' commercial aircraft ain't gonna happen this century.

The flight deck has not been automated to save money nor "make the job easier". It has been done to enhance safety.

Will the mods please do the honourable thing and take this thread out behind the barn and shoot it.

Last edited by OhSpareMe; 23rd Jan 2010 at 03:12. Reason: sorry, left out a 'not'
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Old 23rd Jan 2010, 11:53
  #109 (permalink)  
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Perhaps we should start by installing vending machines in the cabin with a subsequent reduction in staff therein.
The airlines would have done that years ago but for one small but significant fault in your argument.

Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up.
It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
On the other hand the more passengers the more cabin crew.
The flight deck has not been automated to save money nor "make the job easier". It has been done to enhance safety.
Nice idea Oh Spare me,so what you are saying is that they automated the flight deck to get rid of navigators, flight engineers as well as some S/O's on some flights to enhance safety.
If you are it means that pilots are on the endangered species list because the majority of accidents are caused by pilot error.
'single pilot' commercial aircraft ain't gonna happen this century.
Sure,Sure they won't
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Old 23rd Jan 2010, 22:37
  #110 (permalink)  
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Want to save money through automation? Perhaps we should start by installing vending machines in the cabin with a subsequent reduction in staff therein.
The airlines have already reduced cabin crew to one per main exit door and less with overwing exits so I doubt they will get rid of anymore even though they would love to.
The flight deck has not been automated to save money nor "make the job easier". It has been done to enhance safety.
The pilot workload on the 747-400 was reduced by some 17% compared to the 747 classic.In the process of this automation they got rid of a flight engineer and reduced the need for S/O's.

Now Oh Spare Me,can you tell me that a 17 % reduction in your workload is not making things easier?

The funny thing was that although the workload was reduced by 17% the 747 - 400 crew's pay increased and you wonder why the airlines want to reduce the number of pilots they hire.
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Old 24th Jan 2010, 01:13
  #111 (permalink)  
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It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
Ouch Tbar....

Harsh but hard to argue with on that basis....
Automation is here to stay so you better get used to it, I suspect one day the yoke and side stick will disappear!
I agree Wildpilot but more than a few pilots here would love to think of themselves as Capt Kirk sitting in a seat like that.
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Old 25th Jan 2010, 00:41
  #112 (permalink)  
 
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Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up.
Did they teach you that on the first day of your B.C.F course?

Sometime next century when they automate the tech crew out of the aircraft feel free to dig me up and lecture me on 'I told ya so!'

In the interim I think I shall start investing in vending machines.
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Old 25th Jan 2010, 02:42
  #113 (permalink)  
 
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The pilot workload on the 747-400 was reduced by some 17% compared to the 747 classic.In the process of this automation they got rid of a flight engineer and reduced the need for S/O's.
I wonder where that 17% number came from? Basically we had three blokes doing their job in the Classic, and then in the 744 the work previously done by the engineer was given to the pilots. I flew both, and I didn't notice that I had less to do, but rather I had to concern myself with systems that were once looked after by a specialist. So perhaps the flying side got 17% easier, but they balanced that out by giving both of us 50% (each) of what the engineer did.

And then you have the Airbus, in which the flying is harder, and the engineering work is 150% of what it was in the Classic.
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Old 25th Jan 2010, 04:00
  #114 (permalink)  
 
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It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
No.. they'll automate the flight decks, then they'll call it "Programmer's Error" and then you'll want to automate the programmers out of the programming.. where will it end?

Thanks RedTBar for turning a perfectly good discussion and reducing it to your level of ignorance.....
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Old 25th Jan 2010, 05:32
  #115 (permalink)  
 
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It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
And I suspect that 100% of the saves are made by pilots. Of course a save isn't an accident, so it doesn't make the reports.

Whilst I'm too old for any of this to affect my career, I'll be a passenger for a while yet, and my choice of carrier is based on what I know of the pilots. I don't care how new the aircraft, or how pretty the cabin crew, as they won't save me when shit happens....which it invariably does.
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Old 25th Jan 2010, 06:12
  #116 (permalink)  
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Cabin crew are there to pick up the pieces when the pilots screw up.
Did they teach you that on the first day of your B.C.F course?
OhSpareMe,Do you mean EP's?
If you think airlines pay money to have cabin crew for any other reason you don't understand economics.They would have replaced us with a cafe bar years ago but every now and again when a pilot mess things up it's the cabin crew who is there to carry out the evac.
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Old 25th Jan 2010, 11:02
  #117 (permalink)  
 
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lol RedTbar you're awesome...I wish I could look at the world so simply. Keep it up, you're doing a good job
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 14:53
  #118 (permalink)  
 
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No matter how good technology is or will get, large passenger aircraft will probably still need a crew on board to manage passengers and contingencies. Two of them will probably be designated tech crew. As long as the industry survives in its current form it would probably be more cost effective to retain the traditional crew model rather than develop a "pilotless" model with the associated costs of developing and maintaining it.
However I can imagine required skills dropping dramatically and remuneration falling accordingly. In fact I believe within a hundred years no traditional flying skills will be practiced in commercial aviation.
In the unlikely event pilotless airliners did become a reality, the public would have had decades to get used to the idea as military aircraft and freighters would likely precede them. If you don't believe people would accept them then, in my opinion you don't understand future generations acceptance of technology and the power of a low cost ticket!
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Old 26th Jan 2010, 23:59
  #119 (permalink)  
 
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The makers have a way to go yet before they do away with pilots. Nothing quite like your shiny Airbus taking itself to alternate law #2 to remind you that bean counters aren't worth anything.
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Old 28th Jan 2010, 02:22
  #120 (permalink)  

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Pilotless aircraft = a beancounter's and a frustrated pilot cc's wet dream

Red T-Bar :

It's a fact that the majority of aircraft accidents are caused by pilot error so if they automated the flight deck even more and had less pilots it will be even safer.
That is such a simplistic view on the reality of 'pilot error' I am inclined to call such a statement 'STOOPID'.

I'm gonna hedge my bets.... if you are taking the pi$$ and I missed the sublety of your humour, I apologise for the rest of my post.

However.... I'd like to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are not a troll, but are truly ignorant of the reality of human beings (with all their vulnerabilities and foibles) operating complex equipment in a complex and dynamic environment - so I provide for you (and others interested) in a hyperlink to site that has researched articles for download about Human Factors, and what leads pilots to make errors.

Flight Cognition Laboratory

ErrorManagement

In the meanwhile, next time you go barging in to the flight deck during a turnaround and interrupt those button-pushing-toffs in the middle of their departure safety briefing, in order to tell them that the passenger in 23B gave you a dirty look, stop and consider for a moment that you are in fact making yourself one of those things that can lead your flight crew into 'pilot error'.

Oh, and if they do end up screwing it up and crashing, there's usually 50 or more exits to 'evacuate' out of.
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