Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

The Public Perception of Modern Pilots

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

The Public Perception of Modern Pilots

Old 5th Dec 2012, 10:46
  #41 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Leeds
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
err..Judging by the way it is written it appears to be a "bit of a laugh" and not very serious
Livesinafield is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 11:46
  #42 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Mars
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
pilotless aircraft with PAX?? Never.

Firstly, the chances of hijacking nav signals are all too real, despite major denial efforts:

Navy: No U.S. drones missing after Iran claim

Second, it would be inhumane to try and get certifications, approvals, legislation changes in multiple jurisdictions, treaties revised let alone figure out how to bloody wel get it done technically.

Third, many airlines have senior captains as members of management and even shareholders, they wouldn't vote for redundancy for sure..

But probably the most important aspect is that no airline will want to be the first to introduce the Boeingbus Aerodrone pilotless airliner simply because people will be wary of it and fly with the human-controlled competition.. I know I would...

we will be using star-trek teleportation before we fly pilotless airlines...
Hurkemmer is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 12:34
  #43 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: next to a beautiful lake
Posts: 73
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pilot job ad...

...from an up-to-date Job Offer for a Pilot:


Your challenge

  • Safe and economical piloting of a commercial airliner
  • Flight preparation and execution according to jurisdiction
  • Cooperation with ground personnel and tower personnel
  • Responsible for crew and passengers


Sorry but I just liked that job description :-)
HeadingSouth is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 14:10
  #44 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Planet Moo Moo
Posts: 1,279
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As usual we are the victims of our own success.

When the $hit hits the fan we, as professionals, pride ourselves with just getting on with it, dealing with the problem, however complex it may be, and getting the aircraft down safely.

If the passengers don't notice then we feel we have done our jobs correctly!

I have had malfunctions in aircraft which, if unchecked, would have resulted in departure from controlled flight. For those of us trained to deal with such scenarios it is 'hum drum' and a normal day at the office.

I'm sure none of the companies which employ us would appreciate us coming on to the tannoy and declaring:

'hello ladies and gentlemen, just to let you know we have suffered a hydraulics systems failure, the autopilot has dropped out and we are flying on standby spoilers and flight controls. There is no autoland facility any more and the stabaliser at the rear is no longer controllable. The flight control computers have degraded and will no longer give pitch feedback in the flare and are unable to compensate for the flap loading of the wing. Might be a bump on landing as only half of the systems in the cockpit are working correctly. Enjoy your flight.'

An actual failure in an Airbus that the passengers didn't even notice with a direct law landing at the end of it.

Automation? Ask anyone who's had to put up with the mess that is the Airbus fly by wire system what they think of automation. Yes it will probably come but not for many, many years in the public transport sector.
Wirbelsturm is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 14:34
  #45 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: UK
Age: 85
Posts: 697
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Of course it's interesting that 'piloting' is not a subject that is normally available to someone coming from school and seeking university training. Apart from RAF and some sponsored trainees, there are many commercial pilots who have had to fund their own training right from a GA start and it's not a cheap career option. It is possible that to become a commercial pilot might be the most expensive job training choice around.
funfly is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 14:40
  #46 (permalink)  
Trash du Blanc
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: KBHM
Posts: 1,185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm not so sure about single-pilot ops, even.

I've seen the Other Guy catch too many mistakes.

Autopilots have horrible CRM......
Huck is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 15:18
  #47 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bucuresti
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Taking that back a step to a more "micro" level would a company be willing to temporarily hand over unfettered control of one of it's multi,multi million pounds assets to a controller working for another company sitting in another part of the world?
Funnily enough I was pondering this only yesterday.

It seems to me that companies already do, to a certain extent - ATC are a fairly vital part of the safety chain, so right now another company (NATS) in another part of the world is a large part of the control of many overseas airlines' assets.

It seems to me a logical way to organise pilotless aircraft would be simply to give Air Traffic Control even more Control. I.e. the ground-based pilots tasked with intervening in an emergency that the automatics can't handle would work for and alongside ATC for that airspace. (The question of who does the job in uncontrolled airspace is left as an exercise for the reader.)


Do I think it's likely, in my lifetime? Not really. But it's certainly possible. Precedent effectively exists in realms such as the railways, where the infrastructure/signalling/automatic train operation (where relevant) etc. are operated by different companies to the actual train operators - so I don't see organisational issues as insurmountable.

(Not advocating that approach incidentally, merely throwing it out there as one possible way things could be organised.)

Last edited by SLFandProud; 5th Dec 2012 at 15:18.
SLFandProud is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 15:39
  #48 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,565
Received 6 Likes on 6 Posts
ATC are a fairly vital part of the safety chain, so right now another company (NATS) in another part of the world is a large part of the control of many overseas airlines assets.
Depends what you mean ultimately by control. At the moment the airline has two of their own employees on the Flight Deck of said asset and they in turn have the option of accepting any revised clearances ATC care to issue..or not ( even if the mighty data link is used by ATC to pass a reroute up to the FMC the "execute" button still needs a press..ooooh, the power!!!!!). Given ATC's peformance in some parts of the world I rather suspect the airlines would be very reluctant to lose that power of veto.

I.e. the ground-based pilots tasked with intervening in an emergency that the automatics can't handle would work for and alongside ATC for that airspace.
IMHO that would rely on 100% comms reliability and if you move away from "flight following", with the "pilot" in company HQ simply available in case of a hopefully rare emergency or the need to liase with ATC, and move more into the realms of having the "pilot" in company HQ monitoring every clearance I suspect it would simply be cheaper to put the pilot, or even pilots, back on the aircraft.

Last edited by wiggy; 5th Dec 2012 at 15:43.
wiggy is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 15:49
  #49 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bucuresti
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Depends what you mean ultimately by control. At the moment the airline has two of their own employees on the Flight Deck of said asset and they in turn have the option of accepting any revised clearances ATC care to issue..or not ( even if the mighty data link is used by ATC to pass a reroute up to the FMC the "execute" button still needs a press..ooooh, the power!!!!!). Given ATC's peformance in some parts of the world I rather suspect the airlines would be very reluctant to lose that power of veto.
I was careful not to use the word ultimate control ;-). Point very much taken on quality of ATC - but that's a reality of today, rather than something to necessarily rule out a hypothetical future.

Of course there is at least one large major economy with a single Aviation Authority controlling things, an extensive domestic aviation system, and a particularly rapacious devotion to capitalism and cost cutting: it's not beyond the bounds of reason to suspect full automation would apply to only domestic services in the first instance, say.
Relies on 100% comms reliability and if you move away from "flight following", with the "pilot" in company HQ simply available in case of a hopefully rare emergency and into the realms of having the "pilot" in company HQ monitoring every clearance I suspect it would simply be cheaper to put the pilot back on the aircraft.
My understanding of the BAE tests recently being conducted was that the aircraft would largely fly itself in all but the most extreme of emergency situations, rather than each plane having a pilot on the ground dedicated to it as per current drone operations.

If that is indeed the case, I would not expect a 1-to-1 mapping of pilots to planes; I would expect many more planes than pilots on the ground. The number of pilots required would depend on the density of aircraft in any particular sector of airspace and the probability of incidents requiring their involvement (which is another good reason why the pilot resources may be more cost effectively allocated to ATC regions rather than airlines.)
SLFandProud is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 16:13
  #50 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: The Winchester
Posts: 6,565
Received 6 Likes on 6 Posts
If that is indeed the case, I would not expect a 1-to-1 mapping of pilots to planes;
Interesting idea - I can see that idea possibly working on, say, the North Atlantic Tracks on a good day with serviceable aircraft, passengers and cabin crew , but I'd be interested to understand how a lack of 1 to 1 mapping would work out in the even of sudden closure of large chunks of airspace for weather reasons ( happens over the States in Summer on a regular basis most years putting a very high work load on all controllers and all crews) or the even more extreme, and hopefully never to be repeated, scenario - 9/11, where "our" airline had aircraft either being told to land somewhere suitable ASAP "your choice but don't come here", being forcibly told to go to airports they couldn't land for performance reasons (they didn't), or being simply told, regardless of fuel, to turn back as they were approaching an ATC Oceanic Boundary?? I know many people were very grateful for 2-on-1 mapping that day and personally I doubt less than 1-on-1 would cope for 100% of aircraft in the time and with the fuel available.

I'd be interested to see if the authorities would be prepared write that off as a less than a 10 to the 9 event, agree to reduced mapping and suck up the casualties if it or similar happened again, or would they demand at least 1-on-1?

Last edited by wiggy; 5th Dec 2012 at 16:14.
wiggy is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 16:48
  #51 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Canada
Age: 49
Posts: 23
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
as with all things, things change over time.

In the past a pilot was ahead of an aircraft, at this point it is becoming lagging the aircraft in general. Aircraft have become so sophisticated that to truly understand them, one does need in the equivalent of an additional engineers degree with an IT accompanying the 1! time ATPL exam. AF447 as a recent example, or Quantas Flight 32 where it DID go right, but probably WOULD have gone wrong without SO MUCH brain power on the flight deck plus auto calculation done by computers. (5 pilots, of who many seniors/ check ride officers etc)

It's just a fact that with todays complexity, an airline pilot needs to do an updated ATPL exam EVERY year just to stay on par with all that change, with ever rapid and new developments and technology. The flight envelope becoming ever more boxed in, and errors if they occur often times so complex that a human can now barely cope with them and with how fast things can escalate.

In the past Pilots had a very strong lobby, but that will change too as it is already. The pay WILL go down, workload WILL go up, until it is unsafe to the absurd level at which there will be so much economical pressure that indeed pilots will be made overredundant, and will be replaced by full fledged university graduates in the field of aerospace for instance. Nothing less will do. The term pilots will fade from history, and officers of a "high pedigree" will start to controle the aircraft. Be it if they will do it from the ground ("managing" more than one aircraft at a time, thus having profit for the company offsetting their higher pay) or on board the real aircraft, time will tell. But some trains are already doing so...

In reason, it will be a tight cooperation between these individuals and a very complex and robust automated flight system. So yes, in a way pilots will become extinct, but no they will be replaced by a different type of evolution officer, who MIGHT stay on the ground and controle more than 1 aircraft for "profit" purposses. We all know aviation safety is about profitability offsetting safety too often.

What one sees now is just an economical hollowing out of the flight deck in that any "highschool" kid can jump in the seat with 100.000 to spare? and cling on for his/her life hoping to make it big time a.s.a.p. with the interest rate looming over him/her of the loan, hoping NOT to get caught up in the future ways of after having to study VERY hard but for a relative short time (a year or two?), having to continue to study hard for the rest of his/her career and really having no free time at all unless they have an aptitude for studying and really nosocial life, their work being everything and all for them, if they wish it to be or not...

Last edited by b263354; 5th Dec 2012 at 16:52.
b263354 is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 16:49
  #52 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Esher, Surrey
Posts: 466
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pilot job ad...
...from an up-to-date Job Offer for a Pilot:
Your challengeSafe and economical piloting of a commercial airliner
  • Flight preparation and execution according to jurisdiction
  • Cooperation with ground personnel and tower personnel
  • Responsible for crew and passengers
Sorry but I just liked that job description :-)
Interesting.
Some years ago when my son showed an interest in joining the sharp end we attended a presentation by BA.
To an over subscribed meeting, it went something like this.
BA " Hands up who here is wanting to be a pilot?"
A forest of hands!!!
BA " Sorry to disappoint you but we are not looking for pilots."
" What we are looking for is a potentially good manager. To manage a multi million /$ investment in equipment, a team, spending the companies /$ and of course ensuring our guest are totally happy etc. We will of course teach such a recruit to fly."



Talking to a BA senior FO at about that time. He regretted getting a BA degree at a good university as it had not enhance this career because he had always wanted to fly. What it had done was to loose him three years of seniority!
beamender99 is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 17:01
  #53 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: UK.
Posts: 4,390
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
BA " Sorry to disappoint you but we are not looking for pilots."
" What we are looking for is a potentially good manager. To manage a multi million /$ investment in equipment, a team, spending the companies /$ and of course ensuring our guest are totally happy etc. We will of course teach such a recruit to fly."
Bit of a typically personnel comment. Yeah, I know it's "HR" now.
I flew for BA and also for another outfit whose primary requirement was that their captains could be trusted not to crash. They had it right. Safely flying the aircraft is much more important and demanding than learning a bit about company ethos and inter-personal relationships. In any case, by the time a first officer comes up for command he should have absorbed all the hotel management functions required of a pilot.

We'd the same thing in the RAF: "you're an officer first and a pilot second!" If you say so

Last edited by Basil; 5th Dec 2012 at 17:04.
Basil is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 17:17
  #54 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bucuresti
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Interesting idea - I can see that idea possibly working on, say, the North Atlantic Tracks on a good day with serviceable aircraft, passengers and cabin crew , but I'd be interested to understand how a lack of 1 to 1 mapping would work out in the even of sudden closure of large chunks of airspace for weather reasons ( happens over the States in Summer on a regular basis most years putting a very high work load on all controllers and all crews) or the even more extreme, and hopefully never to be repeated, scenario - 9/11, where "our" airline had aircraft either being told to land somewhere suitable ASAP "your choice but don't come here", being forcibly told to go to airports they couldn't land for performance reasons (they didn't), or being simply told, regardless of fuel, to turn back as they were approaching an ATC Oceanic Boundary?? I know many people were very grateful for 2-on-1 mapping that day and personally I doubt less than 1-on-1 would cope for 100% of aircraft in the time and with the fuel available.
First, I'd like to reiterate I'm not necessarily supporting the idea - I just think it's an interesting thought experiment.

But... The situations you describe in fact sound like exactly the kind of thing automation would make much easier to manage.

Algorithms already exist to solve routing problems in much more difficult problem scenarios than airspace (by 'more difficult' read 'more constrained.') Computers have been solving that sort of problem for decades; for an example you use every day - note that the Internet seamlessly and automatically re-routes data packets via alternate paths even when there is a massive failure in the middle of the network - much much more quickly than a blink of your eye, let alone the time it takes you to contact ATC, and in far more constrained and congested 'airspace.'

Of course, planes aren't packets - but from a fundamental algorithms point of view these are solved problems.

From an ATC point of view, having half your airspace do exactly what it's told simultaneously at the click of a button to route round the closed airport/weather system/whatever, gives them more time to manage the remaining planes with their unpredictable meat-based computers.
SLFandProud is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 17:47
  #55 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: on land
Age: 60
Posts: 37
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
public perception goes both ways

In a world where cell calls drop from one room to another can you imagine convincing people that a remotely operated commercial aircraft is safe? The very ignorance that makes some believe that pilots do very little is the very ignorance that will make us wary of NO pilot on board.

Tech is one thing, public paradigm shift is generations away imho - probably will start on the ground with other modes of remotely/computer guided transport.
slf4life is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 17:57
  #56 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: UK.
Posts: 4,390
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Quote:
Why would one think that pilots should be 'upper-class' or hold a degree?
Because it's airplanes. Not cement trucks.
Ah yes, there are 'degrees' and 'degrees'; perhaps that's why they're called 'degrees'.
Once upon a time, most British degrees comprised three to five year courses intended to qualify the holder to practise a particular profession. Other countries referred to less substantial studies as a 'degree'.
It therefore appeared that we, in the UK, were producing fewer graduates than other similar industrial nations so someone in government decided that we should also refer to lesser qualifications as 'degrees'.

Personally, I left school at the age of fifteen. When I joined the RAF, the educational requirement was 5 O-levels so I had to wait for the exam to come around to sit those; wasn't at all mind-bending. So, without a degree one could be a Royal Air Force officer and pilot and then transfer to airline flying for international majors.

Oh, yes, and I was a working class boy too - you could be in charge of a steam turbine engine room without a degree.
Basil is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 18:01
  #57 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bucuresti
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
@slf4life

The Victoria Line in London has been computer operated, without drivers, since the 1970s. (That bloke at the front who pretends to drive is only responsible for opening the doors on the correct side. Depressingly, they don't even get that right sometimes (see Rail Accident Investigation Branch reports passim.)

When the DLR opened without drivers at all, many were 'cautious' shall we say. Now nobody bats an eyelid.



Actually, the DLR is an interesting example of how airlines could go. There are in fact driving positions under the locked covers at the end of the train; in the event of catastrophic failure the passenger-service agent (conductor) can use these to drive the train.


There's no reason planes couldn't be the same. They could all have a qualified pilot on board for emergencies - it's just that most of the time they'd be occupied with serving the snacks.
SLFandProud is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 18:04
  #58 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Oxford, UK
Posts: 81
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
There will never be pilotless aircraft. Despite what public may think of pilots, them, and myself, would never step onboard without them!
Alex757 is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 18:17
  #59 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Bucuresti
Posts: 47
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would.

I offer this as proof that your statement is false.


In other news, the public would once have never stepped on board a vehicle moving faster than a horse, would once have never stepped on a driverless train, would once have never stepped on an aeroplane, would once have never submitted to surgeons opening them up with a knife...

It's difficult to judge what The Public will or will not accept based on one's own prejudices. The Public will accept an awful lot of risk on the whole, if it gives them a short term benefit (eg. cheaper, more frequent flights.) The tobacco industry depends on it.
SLFandProud is offline  
Old 5th Dec 2012, 18:40
  #60 (permalink)  
Trash du Blanc
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: KBHM
Posts: 1,185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
They could all have a qualified pilot on board for emergencies
Except you can't just don a cape and land an aircraft.

You practice on the good days, to prepare for the bad days.

Last edited by Huck; 5th Dec 2012 at 18:41.
Huck is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.