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You knew it was only a matter of time...

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You knew it was only a matter of time...

Old 29th May 2013, 22:43
  #61 (permalink)  
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What is the motivation?
If it is safety then the focus should not be on removing the pilot, but on developing the technology alongside.
If the motivation is financial then I can think of a lot better people to remove from the system than the pilots.
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Old 29th May 2013, 23:11
  #62 (permalink)  
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So what happens in another 30/40 years when all the old grey beards have gone. Those that had previous life two pilot experience to pass on to the newbies. Where and from whom will these new age "single pilots" learn their trade .. I know in the sim or perhaps reading books ... maybe down at the retirement home talking to the old guys (assuming they are allowed/want to retire)
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Old 30th May 2013, 02:19
  #63 (permalink)  
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Single pilot is a misnomer

A single pilot functioning as a stand by controller waiting for the system to get out of its depth really makes no sense. When things turn sour, s/he'll be just as clueless as the machinery s/he is supposed to supplement.
AF 447 surely proved that beyond any doubt.
There are lots of smart people in the European aviation industry, including in the regulatory and research management. So I cannot believe that they would launch anything so obviously problematic. The simplest explanation is that the initiative has been mischaracterized/misunderstood. Can someone please help us understand what the real purpose is?
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Old 30th May 2013, 07:52
  #64 (permalink)  
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I believe some of the largest trains in the world are now completely driverless.

Fortescue railway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Technology keeps advancing...
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Old 30th May 2013, 08:54
  #65 (permalink)  
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Not yet. Fortescue Railways uses drivers because it accesses other railways. Rio Tinto Zinc are currently trialling driverless freight trains.
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Old 30th May 2013, 09:15
  #66 (permalink)  
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Heathrow Harry #24

I doubt the majority of the decline in accidents is down to the tech side, but rather crm/sop intro/decision making. When jets first hit the scene high sink rates at low level and rwy overruns featured in a lot in accidents until pilots were "educated" and sops introduced to deal with this. A large number of accidents are decision making gone wrong in compressed time frames.
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Old 30th May 2013, 10:52
  #67 (permalink)  
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The cost-saving ,per Sector, is not enough to afford to give the SLF a big-enough incentive to chance his arm (and life) going driverless or single-driver in an airliner.

Light aircraft, up to stuff like an Islander, are not viewed as "Proper" passenger-transport aircraft, and mentally they accept that there will be an increased risk, they can't wander around, there's no (or minimal) galley, hostie etc.

Same distinction , Coach V minibus, speaking of which, the London to Manchester coach carries a reserve driver and they swap places half-way on the journey.
back in the day, I'd regularly drive Essex-Man. 4 hours nonstop up Mon. down Fri.
Essex-Edinburgh or Glasgow was 8 hours, one stop for fuel and maybe a pee...if it was REALLY hot, I might treat myself to a cup of tea.

There's the difference between Public Transport and Private.

When they put rails up to F.L. and across the airways, descent and (dis)embarkation sidings, joe public might accept driverless airyplanes....but I can assure you, SLF won't jump in one in our lifetimes,And then, they would STILL want a driver to hold the "dead-man's handle"

maybe after driverless freighters have been the norm. for a generation?
Maritime transport would seem to be the obvious test-bed....only 2 dimensions and plenty of space, coupled with thinking-times of hours, rather than milliseconds.....WHAT? they aren't doing it yet?
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Old 30th May 2013, 11:41
  #68 (permalink)  
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Trains don't do emergency descents.
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Old 30th May 2013, 12:51
  #69 (permalink)  
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Trains don't do emergency descents.
And?? Already there are several types certificated to FL510 that have an "Emergency Descent Mode" of the AFCS triggered by the Cabin Alt warning.
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Old 30th May 2013, 14:41
  #70 (permalink)  
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Yes whatever, but trains don't do emergency descents, so I'm questioning where the logic of railway safety applies to aircraft.
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Old 30th May 2013, 15:07
  #71 (permalink)  
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Yep, single pilot, single hydraulic system, one genny, no alt brakes, one pack, one big engine, one bloke in ATC checking none of the warning lights have come on. Why have the expense of duplication when everything biological and mechanical is so reliable you can bet your life on it.
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Old 30th May 2013, 15:23
  #72 (permalink)  
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You need another Brain and Experience with you to pass ideas and strategies between the crew ,which requires a certain CRM to manage modern airliners.Therefore it is necessary to have at least 2 crew.Many times with Fog or Heavy Turbulence or Thunderstorm Activity,another set of views was very important to help the decision making.A long time ago the "Bomber" pilot Captain went to other pastures,and proper CRM exists today,so careful consideration of what is happening or could happen requires much more than a set of computers,that can only react to events not anticipate!The "What on earth is happening now"?scenario with multiple computers running the show,seems only too common amongst certain Aircraft Fleets,not naming a manufacture in Toulouse!!
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Old 30th May 2013, 15:56
  #73 (permalink)  
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right now the number of System failures is probably slightly higher than the humanware failures but the problem is that systems are becoming more reliable whereas humans stay the same
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Old 30th May 2013, 16:12
  #74 (permalink)  
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There is no question the technology exists for an A/C to fly from A to B on it's own .. UAV's etc. The difference is the "what if" scenario .. a machine alone is expendable, a human life is not.

Public transport A/C require (and have) a minimum of duplex redundancy, and this includes the pilots. This assumes that if 2 systems are fitted then one will fail without significant safety consideration albeit with probable commercial implication. It is also assumes that if only one system is fitted to an A/C that if it fails it has negligible safety implication.

Recent technological marvels have had well publicised failings, and yet were presented as operationally ready. In the end it is my belief that passengers will not get on an A/C that has only 1 pilot .. Automatic trains/ metros are irrelevant as any failure automatically brings them to a halt until technical assistance arrives .. this luxury is obviously not available to airliners, and therefore this is not a realistic comparison.

If all else fails a human pilot has an input of self preservation that computers do not ... for example if faced with visual pending doom the human pilot will take avoiding action regardless of what the "machines" are saying ... a computer will only obey what the sensors are telling it .. and it will fly into a mountain if instructed to.
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Old 30th May 2013, 16:30
  #75 (permalink)  
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The need for a second pilot in the flight deck cannot be simplistically measured only for the task of monitoring the PF. He is such a valuable asset when things get messy in the cockpit (and things do get messy sometimes), especially when flying to certain "less standardized" countries and decisions have to be taken at the end of a long-haul night and weather is minimal (as well as information) and flight controllers are unable to express themselves in fairly understandable English...South American destinations, as well as some parts of African, Far and Middle Eastern destinations, come to mind. Now, add to the equation a contingency fuel of only 3% (the minimum legal) and you'll get a pretty good picture of what comes next!
One can substitute a pilot by a set of computers, but in the end, computers are unable to gain experience, and especially are unable to improvise, in order to save your day.
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Old 30th May 2013, 17:44
  #76 (permalink)  
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the problem is that systems are becoming more reliable whereas humans stay the same
Humans stay the same, but there's no reason that the safety of flying operations can't be continually improved with better selection, training, medical screening and working practices.
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Old 30th May 2013, 23:50
  #77 (permalink)  
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no reason that the safety of flying operations can't be continually improved
with better selection, training
And there go the P2F schemes and schools that endorse and engage in them.

When was the last time a flying school told a would-be pilot with pockets bulging with money that they were not making sufficient progress, they were behind the eight ball and should consider an alternative career? That only happens in the military and the major airline sponsored cadet schemes.
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Old 31st May 2013, 09:44
  #78 (permalink)  
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Blimey wrote:- "but there's no reason that the safety of flying operations can't be continually improved"

Indeed - and we have come some way BUT the records show that humans still make an awful lot of errors - maybe having two in the cockpit helps a bit but then there are the cases where they're chatting away, or get fixated on one issue or............
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Old 31st May 2013, 14:37
  #79 (permalink)  
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If the aim was to improve safety the humans would stay and the computers would continue developing around them. The humans bring an element of problem solving and understanding that computers don't and therefore would stay even if just to bring that element.
But the aim is not safety.
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Old 31st May 2013, 14:48
  #80 (permalink)  
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Regardless of whether there is a pilot in the cockpit or not, there is another related issue that may be just as critical. The emergence of drones, both small and large, is giving the FAA headaches as it tries to figure out how to enable their operation without creating a danger to other aircraft.

Drones to enter public skies in 2015: Will it be safe?
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