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Single Pilot plant for the A350

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Single Pilot plant for the A350

Old 22nd Jun 2021, 21:17
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: sierra village
Posts: 468
Interesting thread evolution… looks like the inevitability of a pilotless passenger aircraft is dawning on upon us. The journey towards that goal will begin with reducing numbers of crew on the aircraft and the de-skilling of the profession.

I recall the utter bliss when CPDLC first arrived, no more bloody HF and then it occurred to me that there was no reason why the data needed to go through me to be activated. That, to me, spelled the beginning of the end of flying as a profession. Since then every subsequent improvement in technology has made the pilot ever more more redundant. Along the way safety has improved by orders of magnitude.

Totally unmanned is still a fair way off, but nonetheless inevitable.
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Old 22nd Jun 2021, 23:07
  #62 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Retired-ville
Posts: 393

For some, that could be a novel concept.
There was a period spanning two months, where I did 4 go-arounds.

Two were weather related, and prior to the approach, I briefed and went through what was likely to happen, including both of us practicing the mouth music. Strangely, both of those two were seamless and remarkably unexciting.

Conversely, on one of the other 4 go-arounds in question, a very unexpected one, one of us managed to say the other persons words, which naturally meant the respondent then replied also with the other persons words. Other aspects were missed and whilst it was never unsafe, it was embarrassingly shambolic.
Hence my subsequent predilection for having a practice of the mouth music on subsequent flights where a GA was likely.

As for reduced or zero crew, we all reluctantly know it’s heading that way, but public acceptance, or not, will be the key.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 07:36
  #63 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2004
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Age: 45
Posts: 1,039
Getting the public and regulators to go along with single, or no human pilot up front would be extremely difficult. It would require a massive culture change, only brought about by a significant event which would require such a drastic change.

It would take something like a large number of pilots losing their medical due to some novel disease, or maybe the consequences of its rushed experimental pharmaceutical treatment.

Such a catastrophe would be substantial enough to require a massive shift in thinking about autonomous aircraft in the interest of maintaining air services. People are more accepting of sub-optimal choices when they’ve been scared and pressured into them.

So I doubt something like that would ever happen. The aircraft/airline industry is very good at not relying on single-point-of-failure systems, always maintaining alternate options to avoid catastrophic failures. Regulators maintain a very close watch over them, facilitated by their massive and ever growing budgets.

I believe PolitiFact did a check on the autonomous cockpit story, and it labeled it as “Lier lier, pants on fire”. So nothing to see really.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 08:21
  #64 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hong Kong, SAR.
Posts: 262
Same here, the go-arounds I’ve seen went well, but were briefed on approach as it looked like there was a high likelihood of them occurring.

I was told when I joined the airline that every approach was a missed approach.
old ex TAA instructor told me that.

words to live by
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 08:27
  #65 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 366
Only if the tech level is good enough for fully automated airliners we can introduce this strange mixture of humans and machines in decision making.
We will end up with "drone operators" just happening to sit on board instead of in a ground station not with pilots. It won't help flight safety.

Last edited by Less Hair; 23rd Jun 2021 at 09:43.
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 14:27
  #66 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Ferrara
Posts: 4,287
"Getting the public and regulators to go along with single, or no human pilot up front would be extremely difficult."

The regulators maybe - the public? Offer them US$ 100 cheaper flights and you'd be killed in the rush. THEY DON'T CARE
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Old 23rd Jun 2021, 22:09
  #67 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hong Kong, SAR.
Posts: 262
Trains still have drivers, ships still have Captains, arguably easier to replace as it is a 2-d operation.
Single pilot in cruise will be workable at this time and the near future, the amount of infrastructure change required for a pilot-less cockpit will not be cost efficient for a long time.
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 01:19
  #68 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Australia
Posts: 323
They are certainly well on the way to reducing pilot numbers.

A350 Auto takeoff - while some pilot actions are still required you could easily be in a single pilot PF/PM role

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Old 24th Jun 2021, 10:24
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: UK
Age: 51
Posts: 0

Of course they have. And always will. The point is they crash less than human driven cars.

Just like autonomous planes (not for 40-60 years most likely) there will be crashes. But again the rate will be much less than planes flown by human pilots.

The technology isn’t quite there yet but it is getting close.
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Old 24th Jun 2021, 11:01
  #70 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Planet no. 3
Posts: 106
You should look at some statistics of how often advanced military drones crash. Now imagine the public outcry after just one accident involving passengers in a giant drone.

We all know this is the bean counters' wet dream but anyone involved in commercial aviation on the pointy side of things knows this simply ain't happening in the next 20-30 years. Personally, I don't see the technology ever reaching a point where you can dispense with both human pilots. Yes, they got rid of the engineer and navigator, but there are certain hard limits beyond this which will prove very stubborn. Single pilot in the cruise, sure, probably at some point. Anything more than that, I just can't see it happening.
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Old 25th Jun 2021, 05:25
  #71 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Bonvoy Marriott
Posts: 361

UAV’s crash all the time. Just doesn’t make the news.

I’m on cargo now. Might get lonely… can I bring my girlfriend(s)?
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Old 26th Jun 2021, 05:01
  #72 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: First tin shed on the left,,,
Posts: 178
[Trains still have drivers,]

Not at all, in Western Australia the iron ore trains are controlled by an operator in the city of Perth, so they are driverless !
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Old 26th Jun 2021, 17:52
  #73 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: HK-CRoC
Posts: 721

It's humans that can opine or even infer and ridiculous "equivalence" retort as above that will be the EXACT cause of the decline and demise of the human species... OMG !
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Old 26th Jun 2021, 18:17
  #74 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 2021
Age: 30
Posts: 27
It is ridiculous to compare the two. I can assure everyone that even though most of the iron ore mines in the Pilbara region have automated Haul trucks, Water carts, Drill rigs and trains. They always suffer data and comms link failures. This is a daily occurence and sometimes can go on for hours. This is after spending hundreds of millions on infrastructure to automate all this equipment from operations centres in Perth. If this is anything to go by, airliners will not be having single pilot operations for a long time as the constant failures are relentless
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Old 26th Jun 2021, 21:51
  #75 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Retired-ville
Posts: 393

1) the operation is relatively simple, and more importantly,
2) if it hits a cow and derails, you spill some ore - hardly headline news.

But with planes, when Hal2.0 flies into a monster CB that snaps a wing, or through a flock of geese that an old fashioned pilot could see a mile off, and both engines die, ....shortly followed by 300 pax, then it won’t be pilotless cockpit at fault in the headlines, it’ll be “we need better technology to cater for the unknown and unseen”.
It’s gonna be a biblical and there’s no way I’m stepping down the airbridges into a drone programmed by my kids spotty nerdy mates!
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Old 26th Jun 2021, 21:57
  #76 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: UK
Age: 51
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I’d like to see the sky gods on here make it out of that one. Bad example!
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 03:49
  #77 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Gate 69
Posts: 209
Computers are great and everything. They make our lives, and our jobs, easier. The problem with computers is they're only as great as their programming and the inputs they receive.
The A50 radar is rubbish, so what will the aircraft do when it fails to detect the CB? Or will they have to change the sensitivity and programme it to divert 50nm around every single return? Bouncing along the tops. Will it try for a non-standard level to get above it?
Unreliable airspeed on departure? Glideslope interference on short final? Windshear on either? All things that I've had. Plus an even more worrying indication of fire in both engines, smoke in both cargo areas, the avionics bay, the lavatory, and everywhere else that was connected to a misbehaving computer that was running some ground test while in flight. What would a computer do with those inputs? And we all know of the errors each software update brings.
Do pilots make mistakes that result in a crash and a loss of life? Yes unfortunately. We are only human. But we're still better than a machine built and programmed by humans.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 05:38
  #78 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 366
Software including AI is programmed by humans and needs to predict and assume what is to be dealt with later on before while practically having to manage the unexpected. If you control some expendable drone this is different from a plane load of passengers. What this is leading to is neither a fully automated neither proven human redundant setup.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 09:36
  #79 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hong Kong, SAR.
Posts: 262
Eventually we’ll get there, but not in a long long long time, far beyond the careers of the posters on this forum.

As one computer does not know when it is wrong, essentially you have to have several computer AI programs running at the same time, cross checking each other and taking out the odd one out.
these programs would have to be programmed by completely different teams/companies.
On the ground it gets interesting too with camera systems identifying threats on taxiways.
(dogs in India, etc, can I pass that aircraft without touching the tail, is it icy?)
the scope of such a project is so massive and the required infrastructure is so vast that for a long time it will be far cheaper and safer to keep a human in charge.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 22:45
  #80 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Saudi Arabia
Posts: 19
Yep, True. I hope our generation doesn't see this. I wish I could go back to the 4 engine jet era!
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