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Unnecessary first officer...

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Unnecessary first officer...

Old 27th Mar 2010, 19:50
  #221 (permalink)  
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Just think on these words from B. Baksteen of the
Dutch Airline Pilot Association back in a 1995 paper on flight safety.

Pilots promise their passengers a safe flight and by sharing that flight with the passengers, they provide the ultimate guarantee: their own life. That goes a few steps beyond putting your money where your mouth is.

anyone who wants to read the whole thing can find it at Safety Science 19 (1995) 287-294
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 19:58
  #222 (permalink)  
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And we still have the security aspect. No matter how sophisticated the automation is, or how many levels of redundancy are built in, there is still the possibility that a well armed and organised terrorist unit with suicidal tendencies could take over ground control stations, either by force or by using more powerful jamming equipment and carnage would be the result. They would probably do this in a fairly remote area with known sympathies to their cause, remote on the ground, that is, the skies overhead may well be very busy. Committed terrorists may even try it in a complacent part of Europe, being suicidal why would they care? They would still have control long enough to create a disaster that would make every disaster to date look insignificant by comparison.

(Yes, I do keep banging on the security drum as most others seem only to consider levels of automation or the influence of bean counters!).
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 20:03
  #223 (permalink)  
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The way I see it going is that the oral communications will no longer be established. I think that everything will be digitally controlled, including ATC clearances.

A computer commanded rejected take-off would automatically flash a caution light on the ATC radar screen with the appropriate message.

The airplane navigates itself monitored by remote operators, ATC issues separation clearances that the aircraft confirms digitally, again with a EGPWS and TCAS override just in case ATC makes a mistake.

Weather avoidance, FIR boundary negotiation, reroutes and the weather/fuel/NOTAM decisions that come with them, monitoring alternates, redispatch legalities, fuel scoring, plotting in case the FMS craps out, dealing with medical emergencies, dealing with violent pax, dealing with system failures, spotting system failures (lots of times no flags are raised), engine trend monitoring, PIREP's, coordinating ride reports on # 2, reporting ELT's, relaying VHF messages for ATC....
You nicely summed up all the "cruise" jobs that can be taken over by an autonomous system and remote operators. VHF is made to disappear progressively, see above.

I' m surprised to see that so little people are informed about all recent progress in this matter. Here take this website, you will learn alot.
ASTRAEA Website - Home

You can say that I am nuts, but would you dare to say that EADS, Bae Systems, Thales, Rolls Royce, GE Aviation, FAA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman are too?

Unmanned flight tests to advance airline reduced-crew concepts

The race to unmanned commercial flight has started and whether you like it or not, it will come.
Critics and sceptics, I understand you.
This thing will be a social bloodbath for the piloting industry, but it will come.

The technology being developed by ASTRAEA will address issues such as Ground Operations and Human Interaction; Communications & Air Traffic Control; UAS Handling; Routing; Collision Avoidance; Multiple Air Vehicle Integration; Prognostics & Health Management; and Decision Modelling.
ASTRAEA is a three-year programme in its first phase and it is intended that it will pave the way for commercial UASs to operate autonomously in non-segregated airspace within the next decade.
Half of the funding for ASTRAEA is therefore being provided by public sector organisations - 5 million from the TSB and 11 million from the regions - and the rest from a consortium of UK companies, including BAE Systems, Thales UK, Rolls-Royce, EADS, QinetiQ, Flight Refuelling and Agent Oriented Software.
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 20:19
  #224 (permalink)  
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Long haul cockpits are alot busier than you've been led to believe.
No kidding. One trip east or west through that section of the Middle East between Cypress and, say, Arar will prove that, unless "call-ahead" is no longer required!

One wonders how automation would handle the ITCZ or the millions of moment-by-moment, timely, small crew decisions that add up to thousands of eventless flights.

Computers which mimic human thought (pass the Turing test) are possible but the Philosophy of Mind still cannot describe what an 'idea' is, what a thought is, what imagination is, what possibility is or what happens in conceptualization, what the notion of "work-around" means or the phrase, "let's try this..."; these are all critical human functions required to fly an airplane, run a nuclear plant, drive a car, make friends or raise a child. A computer is a high-speed algorithmic zombie which, while can be no smarter than its programmers can be far more accurately, precisely, (and, to us, nefariously), dangerously dumb.

I may constantly defend the Airbus design but not against complacent reliance, stupidity or incompetence.

This thing will be a social bloodbath for the piloting industry, but it will come.
Were your proposals to be implemented resting upon the assumptions you state, that is not where the bloodbath would begin.

In the meantime, the piloting profession is not luddite-informed and has instead adapted readily to technological changes as they appear. Some industrial resistance will always occur but that is human nature. Resistance to reduced crews is based upon experience, not upon the need to maintain the ranks as some, including CEOs who think that long-haul augmentation is featherbedding, ignorantly state. These days I can assure you that we are at the very opposite end of the scale when it comes to numbers as the fatigue issues with which even now the US regulator (FAA) is wrestling, illustrates.

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Old 27th Mar 2010, 20:37
  #225 (permalink)  
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You got it in one I am a very bad pax, & that is one of the few things that reassures me when I have to "go back" with the great unwashed.

fly antonov,

Do us all a favour and go back to whatever it was you were doing before you came on here to spout claptrap , try to differentiate between "virtual reality" & "reality" .
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Old 27th Mar 2010, 21:54
  #226 (permalink)  
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I haven't taken the time to read through the whole thread, so I apologize if someone's already pointed it out ... but we keep hearing (in the US, anyway) that the new F-22 Raptor will likely be the last manned fighter aircraft built. The number of UAV sorties in war zones are increasing - as they are for pipeline and ground traffic surveillance duties. The question is how long will it be before the rest of the aviation world will find it financially viable to engage in the entrprize differently ... i.e., without the flight crew? The technology arguably exists today - not so sure about the refinements ... but how long might those refinements take? A decade? What did we all think about technology in 1999? I think that if I were flying for an "all cargo" company, I might want to start flying as much as I could to earn (and bank) as much as I could - 'cause I'm not sure just how much longer those non-passenger carrying flights will require the services many of us have become used to providing. And, depending on the success of those operations ... can the rest of the world to be too far behind???

I'm not predicting ... I'm not shouting doom and gloom ... I'm just lookin' ... and askin' ...
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 00:17
  #227 (permalink)  
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Oh yea. That's what I want to do. Ride on an airliner where the only pilot is a guy who has no choice but to work for a slimbag outfit like Ryanair, and in an airplane maintained by someone like O'Leary.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 01:59
  #228 (permalink)  
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Of all the costs to operate, the F/O has to be one of the best when it comes to bang for the buck. Downlinked data to monitor flights minute by minute will come first. "WA 182, why are you at mach .80, instead of .76?"

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Old 28th Mar 2010, 09:14
  #229 (permalink)  
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Where wil MOL get his Captains from if there where no F/O's, how would a new pilot get the experience to qualify?

Reeks of an operator acting as a parasite giving nothing to the industry and unable to act as a responsible corporate citizen, the sooner we see the back of this person the better.

Surely this is just a publicity stund just like his paying for using a toilet idea.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 12:36
  #230 (permalink)  
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AirRabbit your view that the "F22 as a last manned platform" and "UAVs may inevitably lead to automated civil transport" does not stand up.

This is not an argument for automation at all but one of risk. The purpose of the military aircraft is to achieve a military mission, where the risk of failure is weighed against the gains sought. The machine is simply a platform to achieve that. Replacing humans here is to reduce the risks.

The the civil airline seeks to attract the customer, get them on and off safely, fed, watered, saved significant time (otherwise they would take alternative means), and moreover to keep them happy, confident and assured they are safe in an environment they would otherwise avoid. This assurance of their safety extends to their loved ones, the community, shareholders in the airline etc. Retaining humans in the aircraft is to also reduce the risks.

I for one would never put my family on an aircraft without trusted people up front. Automation applied to reduce risks is great, provided there is an off switch.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 12:55
  #231 (permalink)  
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You can say that I am nuts, but would you dare to say that EADS, Bae Systems, Thales, Rolls Royce, GE Aviation, FAA, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman are too?
fly_antonov: What planet are you on? These companies are developing unmanned delivery vehicles for the purpose of military missions where risk of injury is exceptionally high. The need for managed human loss limitation is big business: Get it wrong and it can cost you public opinion and an election.

Whilst I am sure there are military pilots reading this forum who no doubt are following UAV developments closer than most, you are applying these military principles to a civilian context. This is a big jump.

The application of UAVs in civilian arenas such as pipeline surveying, traffic reporting, criminal surveillance (god forbid), forest fire management etc... are predominently single pilots ops and still require a pilot - albeit on the ground. Thats an unfortunate side effect of progress and in anycase not everyone (especially in the private sector) could afford this option.

I think this discussion is about passenger carriage rather than specific high risk tasks (such as the military carries out) and for that reason your arguement is out of context.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 12:57
  #232 (permalink)  
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OMG..fly_antonov is MOL

Ok guys no offence to anyone.
Why cant you all accept the fact that it is going to happen someday. I'd been reading through all the posts for a few days and found it so interesting that around 98% claim that its not going to happen. Am no aviation expert or fancy magazine writer. But with todays progress in technology it will happen, maybe by 2020 or could be even 2030.
If man can send man to space(forget passenger shuttles)...
Impossible is nothing..
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 13:06
  #233 (permalink)  
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Why cant you all accept the fact that it is going to happen someday.
Because it's not.

Read the thread. Lots of good reasons listed.

If you sit in a cubicle for a living, this may seem like an achievable goal. But if you've actually navigated an aircraft in the real world for a considerable distance, you understand the vagaries and the risks, the unexpected scenarios that could never ever be programmed or handled via datalink. Combined with the incredible level of safety that would have to be achieved to make such an idea feasible to the travelling public, the insurers and the regulators.

Not to mention the incredible cooperation that would have to exist among nations to allow such activity in their airspace. I've flown in areas of the globe where they're just now getting the HF procedures down. And they're going to allow unmanned aircaft to shoot approaches into their major cities? Why - because YOU say they're safe?
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 13:10
  #234 (permalink)  
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"Ladies & Gentlemen this is your only pilot speaking: Toilet use is 5"

OMG..fly_antonov is MOL

Now that wouldnt be surprising. However MOL couldnt get charging for toilet use past the paying public so I'm not sure he's going to have much luck with his idea of having one pilot onboard....
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 13:14
  #235 (permalink)  
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Ok lets forget the concept of unmanned planes for the sake of a discussion..
How about one pilot to monitor an unmanned system? I know this was discussed here before, but seems like no one wants to accept that also. As in a prev. post the chances of pilot fainting and computer hanging is a pretty rare occurrence.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 14:04
  #236 (permalink)  
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How about one pilot to monitor an unmanned system?
Two things pop to mind:

One, he/she would not be capable of manual flight. One cannot learn to manually land an aircraft competently without actually doing it. It'd be like watching a player piano for years, only to be called upon to play a concerto perfectly on the first attempt. So ... when the magic dies, and there's a 25 knot crosswind, and it's dark and stormy, and you get to land on a slick runway.....

Two, that pilot will have legal responsibility for the lives of the pax and the value of the aircraft. As a person's responsibility grows, so does his salary.

Answer me a simple question: you are responsible for the lives of 300 people, whether you're solo in a cockpit or sitting at a console on the ground. You are legally and morally responsible for them as they travel at 600 mph through space. And you're responsible for a couple hundred million in aircraft, the millions in high-priority freight in the belly, and the lives of all the folks you could possibly kill on short final in a crowded airport e.g. Heathrow.

What would you do that job for, money-wise? To maintain the requisite skill levels, to take the legal responsibility? Would you do it for less than what pilots make today? (In our brave new world, that's about 120k american a year.)

If you would, then you don't fully understand what you're signing up for.
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 16:23
  #237 (permalink)  
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Don't forget the built in Spike in the console so that if the real aircraft crashes............that should improve attention span!
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 19:56
  #238 (permalink)  
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This thread started with MO`s comments about cost cutting by having one pilot rather than two.

The 2008 CAA license statistics show the following:

No of holders

UK ATPL 4886
AGE 60 408

Other stats show average pilots salary as 63,000.
Assuming 10,000 are in employment, the payroll translates to 630 million per annum.
Halving this is a cost reduction of 315 million per annum which is a lot of money and worthy of some serious consideration, particularly if you think of it in a global sense.
Using some of such saving to sweeten the pot for the single pilot, some towards more automation and a little for basic cockpit training for a cabin attendant you are still left with a huge cost saving, not just for one year but for every year thereafter.

In this situation Pvte Frazer would say "we are doomed Captain Mainwaring".
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 20:14
  #239 (permalink)  
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That may be a little bit of a naive calculation Chronus as you assume that all pilots with a license are employed and all are in multi-crew operations flying for a scheduled airline.

If only life was that simple...
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Old 28th Mar 2010, 21:01
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Aviation is driven by economics.

There are quite a few calculations of the savings that could be made that seem a bit dubious to me. FOs really don't cost that much. For authorities to authorise single pilot ops in airliners would require a change in design of the aircraft and Ryanair alone do not have the kind of buying power to get the manufacturers to go with it.

As regards single pilot crew with assisted control from the ground or no pilots onboard - it would be a massive project. The costs and the length of time involved in implementing the systems needed to go from proposal through design, certification, manufacture and implementation are massive. There would be vast quantities of difficulties eg. a lack of bandwidth for the data transmission and navaid/beacon/communications reliability across Africa and South America. etc. To go ahead with this kind of technology would require not only all authorities to agree a standard and pay for the purchase and upkeep of hardware on the ground and satellites (out of fees paid by the airlines) but also all the aircraft manufacturers, who would have to take a massive risk to cover the development costs and potential liability - something they would only do if there was a real demand from the majority of airlines with guarantees of them adopting the technology. Airlines cannot be relied upon to commit to projects that take decades (as the industry is so uncertain). The savings involved would not cover the costs (for many decades if ever) and the system would only work if it was adopted worldwide simultaneously. None of this is compatible with the cash strapped airlines of today who are more interested in shorter term guaranteed savings such as lighter weight aircraft with more efficient engines and types of traffic management that can be implemented in the near future at minimal cost to the authorities they fund.

The way the latest automation is now developing is to improve safety by actually including the pilots a lot more in what's happening to make the systems an aid not a replacement. A better machine-human interface is what is needed to prevent what was previously referred to as pilot error and it is economically viable as well.

Last edited by Pelikanpete; 28th Mar 2010 at 21:22.
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