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Britten-Norman Pilotless Planes

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Britten-Norman Pilotless Planes

Old 7th Oct 2020, 20:52
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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Tesla are coming out with an autopilot which will cope with suburban street driving. This is a far more complex, uncontrolled and random environment than aviation.
As for 30 kts of crosswind? The autopilot can easily do it with more precision than any human. Likewise engine failure or anything else you care to throw at it.

Until recently, autopilots didn’t have “eyes”. Not so anymore. Image processing and AI have leapt forward in leaps and bounds. We have moved on from when the Century III was the pinnacle of technology.

Also note that Garmin now have a $250K option for their autopilots on the new Piper Meridian - a large red button which tells the A/P to land at nearest suitable airport in case of the (frail) human pilot becoming disabled. A/P does it all including configuration and selecting gear down and neither does it need a Cat 3 ILS to land the aircraft.

The good old days of steely eyed pilots in leather flying jackets being an essential part of air travel are coming to an end.

Your airliner of the future will be controlled from a repurposed call centre in Mumbai.
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Old 7th Oct 2020, 21:53
  #22 (permalink)  
 
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Let's see how a pilotless BN2 can cope with the weather & airstrips in Shetland. I flew there & I just don't see automation technology being anywhere near having the ability, robustness, and adaptabilityin those sorts of places.
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Old 7th Oct 2020, 22:10
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by AOGspanner View Post
LessThanSte;

About 20% of airlines costs on pilots.
Total Wages could be around 15-20%
Pilots ~5% give or take.
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Old 7th Oct 2020, 22:39
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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Tesla are coming out with an autopilot which will cope with suburban street driving. This is a far more complex, uncontrolled and random environment than aviation.
As for 30 kts of crosswind? The autopilot can easily do it with more precision than any human. Likewise engine failure or anything else you care to throw at it.
You're not a pilot then. If an autopilot can do 30 kts with more precision then why are they limited to 15kts crosswind for a routine autoland? Tesla still put 2 astronauts in spaceex Dragon. There is a reason why, despite all the advances in technology, that airliners still are not certified for auto take-off.
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 03:35
  #25 (permalink)  
 
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Yawn.

Who liaises with Operations / Airport staff / Flight Attendants / Ground Engineers / clearance delivery / ATC / Met. Department etc. etc. ?
Oh , that would be a Pilot.
The delusion behind all this is that all a Pilot does is manipulate the aircraft.
The only people enthusiast about this are those that have never operated an RPT jet.
It isn’t happening anytime soon.
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 04:16
  #26 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Rie View Post
If memory serves me correctly at least the computer only has to remember 65kts for everything...
😂😂😂

Originally Posted by White Knight
How things have changed! I managed to fly both Islanders and Trislanders without advice from an ‘autonomous co-pilot’🤔😳...


Me too

this site Seriously needs a Like button!
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 07:07
  #27 (permalink)  

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This could be just as successful as the Firecracker!
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 07:08
  #28 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Tinstaafl View Post
Let's see how a pilotless BN2 can cope with the weather & airstrips in Shetland. I flew there & I just don't see automation technology being anywhere near having the ability, robustness, and adaptabilityin those sorts of places.
The Outer Skerries might open its electronic eyes.
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 11:33
  #29 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dont Hang Up View Post
Crosswind landing with a fully functional aircraft? I am fine with that.
Carrying out all the correct procedures to deal with an engine fire - not so sure.
I don't know for other operators, but for my operator, we switched to competency based evaluations years ago.
The competencies "procedures" and "decision making" involve : "knows how and when to deviate from standard procedures when safety requires so"
Not being able to do this results in an "unacceptable" mark.
People were kicked out of training at some points because they were unable to deviate from procedures. For example one guy refused to put the gear out before flaps 2 and after flaps 3.

So an autonomous aircraft would also be required to deviate from what it was told, in safety requiring conditions.
Originally Posted by FlightlessParrot View Post
Not a pilot, but can I ask why you wouldn't trust automation to carry out correct procedures in any situation? I would have thought that the problems would come in the situations where there are no pre-defined correct procedures, perhaps where the only choice is the lesser of two evils, or in those situations where current automation gives up and hands the aeroplane back to the pilot. Check-lists and SOPs, I gather, are responsible for a lot of the improvement in safety; is there a way in which even SOPs have to be performed with human-only nuance? (A real question.)
Exactly.

Let's just hope that artificial intelligence is not already able to do this.
Originally Posted by AOGspanner View Post
LessThanSte;

About 20% of airlines costs on pilots.
For a large airline, 20% is the cost of the total staff, including cabin crew, ground crew and office teams..
Pilots may represent only a quarter of that so maximum 5% of the cost of an airline.
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 12:32
  #30 (permalink)  

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Fully autonomous aircraft will obviously need a backup system.
I can imagine the situation with "George and George" in control:
"You have control....BEEP!"
"Negative....BEEP!"
"BEEP!"
"BEEP!"

Pax: "Eek!"
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 13:14
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
This could be just as successful as the Firecracker!
Well, as ASO said back at Post #2, BAE Systems have been fiddling about() with their autonomous Jetstream for some years now. Last I can find on it is https://www.baesystems.com/en/articl...flying-testbed from 2016.

I guess the only advantage of the Islander is that, even in the most sound-proof cockpit, the other crews would detect the Islander coming from miles off without even needing TCAS!

Ironic it is an Islander being used for an autonomous aircraft trial as it's the best fun flying I've ever had! Took off limited fuel on a ferry flight in a "rather stiff headwind" once - which rather confused ATC! They made the silly mistake of looking for me along the normal departure path and had to ask me where I was .......

Went up almost like a Saturn 5 ...................... just a lot noisier than a Saturn 5!!!!

Happy days! H 'n' H
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 14:38
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by lucille View Post
As for 30 kts of crosswind? The autopilot can easily do it with more precision than any human. Likewise engine failure or anything else you care to throw at it.
In principle I would agree.

In practice, I would suggest that 3-axis control law is a precise art and thus autopilots can fly with a precision difficult for humans to equal (consistently anyway). But complex decision making under complex failure conditions is not the same sort of problem to solve. It can of course also be automated, after all that is what emergency checklists are trying to achieve. However, you do need to be sure that you have covered every possible eventuality in the software. You also need to provide the autopilot with actuators for pretty much every lever, button, switch and circuit breaker in the aircraft. And when you accept that then you begin to wonder if retrofit of an existing aircraft design is really an option.

As for the engine fire scenario, just as an example: Shut down and land soonest procedures may be easily automated - but deciding the fire is not contained, structural integrity is at risk and we have to ditch now - that's a much bigger judgement ask for an automatic system.

So basically I do not think we are there yet.

Comparison with Tesla autodrive vehicles is of limited validity, because those autopilots always have the option to simply stop the car when it all gets a bit too much.
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Old 8th Oct 2020, 16:50
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dont Hang Up View Post
...... You also need to provide the autopilot with actuators for pretty much every lever, button, switch and circuit breaker in the aircraft. And when you accept that then you begin to wonder if retrofit of an existing aircraft design is really an option........
Apart from various Trials a/c based on existing hardware (modified), like you, I'd suspect there would be a whole new design philosophy associated with autonomous flight - your autopilot would be an "aviation platform management and control system" - a whole generation forward on from today's best "autopilots/FMCs" so I'd not expect to see retrofitting of existing airframes to be a way forward either. Switches, buttons and levers will be a thing of the past as there would be no-one there to push/pull/prod them. In a way we are talking of a "Wright Brothers" type leap forward in terms of technology, legislation and social acceptance etc, etc. Proof of concept work by BAE, B-N and others is just one part of that evolution/revolution.

....... As for the engine fire scenario, just as an example: Shut down and land soonest procedures may be easily automated - but deciding the fire is not contained, structural integrity is at risk and we have to ditch now - that's a much bigger judgement ask for an automatic system. ......
The scenario you have used may continue to use human intervention on the ground to make that decision and to command the a/c to do something like ditch rather than divert. You'd have almost as much data as you do today from your downlink to make that call - you'd just not be able to use the P2 to nip aft to take a look first! OK, slightly flippant that but you see what I mean. But you'd have video links and such like (even cabin crew?) to assist you. Even your smoke detectors would probably undertake chemical analysis of the smoke and suggest what is smouldering/burning. So, what you'd probably have are "supervisors" on the ground; one person monitoring several flights at any one time but on hand to address situations like you cite.

....... So basically I do not think we are there yet. ......
Quite agree ........ but that's not saying we won't end up there one day as quite a few seem to say. Lets face it, you just have to look up some of the fears that were held when trains first arrived. Those who say "never" may well be correct in the short/medium term. But "never ever"? Mmmmm, a bit Victorianesque!

Would I like it? My main personal reservation is not having someone in control who would arrive at the scene of the accident a few milliseconds before I did as I feel that does help concentrate the minds of those i/c. That said, humans often put themselves into trouble with great panache so that sort of evens the equation up a bit! We've all had those situations when, after a "moment" has happened I've sat back and thought "Mmmm, not your brightest idea that, H 'n' H. Better get on and complete this flight as the pax are sort of relying on you here!".

Will it happen in my lifetime? Military - well, one could argue that we are simply increasing our use of drones which started in 1849 and the use of drones in warfare has now become routine; just another "tool of the trade" of killing (I'm ex-Mil btw). Some cargo? Almost certainly. SLF flights? Probably not in the few decades I may have left ahead of me. But it may be closer than I think. I suspect the biggest hurdle will be the seamless transition from today's airspace environment to an autonomous one.

Interesting times to be sure! H 'n' H
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 06:33
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Dont Hang Up View Post
Crosswind landing with a fully functional aircraft? I am fine with that.

Carrying out all the correct procedures to deal with an engine fire - not so sure.
Oh I donít know. Itís an Islander. Just how hard is it to blow out the candles?
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Old 9th Oct 2020, 07:52
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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I don't think manipulating the controls is the big problem. I also don't think automating any established normal, abnormal or emergency procedure is the big problem. Neither is configuring the aircraft automatically.

The real challenge is that on most airplanes I have ever flown the abnormal and emergency procedures are far from perfect. On the 737 I thought they were really good in almost(!) all situations I encountered in the sim over the few years I flew the type.

However, most biz jets I have flown there was a lot of room for improvement in the checklists including some obvious mistakes that the manufacturer was very slow to address if at all. I would not want to sit in the back of a plane where a computer is just actioning these kind of imperfect procedures. And that'a before we get into other variables and complexities such as multiple failures, related or unrelated, weather etc.

And what about emergencies such as fire and smoke on board (not engine fires) and medical emergencies? I have had GPS jamming on an aircraft that had no INS/IRS. The DME/DME back up did not work as advertised and the FMS reverted to DR which resulted in a huge map shift in a very short time. How would the automated pilot deal with that?

Yes, the Garmin auto land available on some single pilot GA types today is quite impressive but I am sure it is very far from being able to replace a real pilot day in and day out. It might save the day when the sole pilot of a small plane becomes incapacitated but that's a much lower bar to clear than providing safe transportation in all conditions for billions of passengers on millions of flights every single year.

Not saying it's impossible. The technology is there in principle but it is not nearly ready yet and many years from being implemented widely in my humble opinion. What's needed is true AI which can only work if it has all the inputs (sensors) we have plus the interface in place to interact with it, including input from ATC and mx on the ground, from cabin crew etc.

Last edited by 733driver; 10th Oct 2020 at 18:18.
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