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ucfgrad93
Sep 8, 2010, 04:52 PM
Not according to the CEO of Ryanair.

"Why does every plane have two pilots? Really, you only need one pilot," says Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary, in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. "Let's take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it."

This seems like a really bad idea to me.

http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/09/07/controversial-airline-boss-questions-why-planes-need-co-pilots/

Doc750
Sep 8, 2010, 04:54 PM
Not according to the CEO of Ryanair.



This seems like a really bad idea to me.

http://news.travel.aol.com/2010/09/07/controversial-airline-boss-questions-why-planes-need-co-pilots/

maybe they will do to the aviation industry what they did to the medical industry. "you don't need a Dr for that, you can have a tech/nurse/assistant/etc do it for a lot less."

Blue Velvet
Sep 8, 2010, 04:58 PM
I'm trying to picture some poor lone pilot in a Ryanair 737 shooting an ILS approach to minimums, with a go-around and diversion to an alternate airport, having to deal with the weather, air traffic control and company communications, fuel planning, reprogramming the flying model simulator and setting up the next approach, and so on. Not to mention flying the damn plane. Sure, there's an autopilot, and it requires a steady stream of inputs in order to manage speed, altitude and course.

That's more or less routine. Now imagine something goes wrong. That's not a problem, though, in Michael O'Leary's view. And I quote:

"If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in."

By "her" he means a flight attendant. One extra employee on every Ryanair flight, you see, would be trained to land a plane.

I am not making this up.

http://www.salon.com/news/air_travel/index.html?story=/tech/col/smith/2010/09/08/michael_oleary_ryanair


Fly the friendly skies.

Jaffa Cake
Sep 8, 2010, 05:02 PM
By "her" he means a flight attendant. One extra employee on every Ryanair flight, you see, would be trained to land a plane.Nah, far better to keep two pilots but train them to pour drinks and sell perfume. For one thing, that's got to be cheaper than sending the flight attendants to pilot school.

It's a winning solution, it really is.

yg17
Sep 8, 2010, 05:04 PM
The guy's not serious. Every year he makes a stupid comment like this to draw attention to himself and it works. He's proposed charging to use the lavs and standing room only - neither of which have ever seen the light of day, and I don't think the CAA (or the other European countries' equivalents) would even let a 737 leave the ground without 2 pilots.

Blue Velvet
Sep 8, 2010, 05:05 PM
Nah, far better to keep two pilots but train them to pour drinks and sell perfume.


On my recent flight, it wasn't the purser or cabin crew reminding us via onboard announcements that the duty-free carts were coming round. Personally, I think the oxygen masks should have scratch 'n sniff air deodoriser adverts on them.

dmr727
Sep 8, 2010, 05:05 PM
I think he's just trying to get attention. Anyone involved in the industry knows better.

Eraserhead
Sep 8, 2010, 05:16 PM
I think he's just trying to get attention. Anyone involved in the industry knows better.

Well he's got to make the Asian budget carriers look high class.

dmr727
Sep 8, 2010, 06:15 PM
Well he's got to make the Asian budget carriers look high class.

Heh heh - that he does!

I'd post a diatribe here, but BV's link sums up the issue pretty nicely.

Chip NoVaMac
Sep 8, 2010, 09:53 PM
The guy's not serious. Every year he makes a stupid comment like this to draw attention to himself and it works. He's proposed charging to use the lavs and standing room only - neither of which have ever seen the light of day, and I don't think the CAA (or the other European countries' equivalents) would even let a 737 leave the ground without 2 pilots.


Was thinking the same thing... he says the stuff he does just to get publicity - time for the press to ignore him!

macquariumguy
Sep 9, 2010, 04:56 AM
The guy's not serious. Every year he makes a stupid comment like this to draw attention to himself and it works. He's proposed charging to use the lavs and standing room only - neither of which have ever seen the light of day, and I don't think the CAA (or the other European countries' equivalents) would even let a 737 leave the ground without 2 pilots.

I rather liked his standing arrangement suggestion.

CaoCao
Sep 9, 2010, 11:48 AM
Well he's got to make the Asian budget carriers look high class.

Asia has some major high class airlines such as Singapore Airlines :eek:

allmIne
Sep 10, 2010, 02:18 AM
I rather liked his standing arrangement suggestion.

Practically though, as you probably know, it could never work. The centre of gravity of the "seat" - or backrest, as it'd become - would be so far off the floor, it'd require an awful lot of bracing. The plane would likely end up heavier.

That, and few people would like being strapped in at the ankles, waist and shoulders, as would likely be required.

Regarding only a single pilot - as was alluded to above, suggestions like this - and the standing room, and the 1 toilet charge - are nothing but publicity stunts. Ever seen the amount of work a pilot does, particularly at take-off and landing? He'll not be doing it by himself in our life time!

I'm happy they've pulled out of Belfast City airport, to be honest. They fly to so few airports from there at the moment that it's no real loss to the consumer in terms of competition, unless they used the service before. I didn't - not a fan of 30 card charges.

notjustjay
Sep 10, 2010, 01:56 PM
Nah, far better to keep two pilots but train them to pour drinks and sell perfume. For one thing, that's got to be cheaper than sending the flight attendants to pilot school.

It's a winning solution, it really is.

Why not just install a vending machine and a drink dispenser beside the lavatories.

No flight attendants needed at all. Problem solved!

Jaffa Cake
Sep 10, 2010, 02:53 PM
Why not just install a vending machine and a drink dispenser beside the lavatories.

No flight attendants needed at all. Problem solved!Then who would land the plane? I don't think you've thought this one through. ;)

notjustjay
Sep 10, 2010, 03:05 PM
Then who would land the plane? I don't think you've thought this one through. ;)

http://www.bgu.ac.il/noar/students/interhug967/gil/tv-movie/airplane/otto.jpg

OutThere
Sep 10, 2010, 03:23 PM
Ryanair is completely ridiculous. I flew from Paris to Glasgow, then from Liverpool to Nantes. Flight out cost 10 total, and the return fare was free, with 8 of fees. Clearly the price is interesting, but the experience was, perhaps, not worth the savings.

The airport we left from was in farmland an hour and a half outside of Paris, and was little more than a doublewide trailer with a huge driveway. Luckily they had a mini-mart that sold large cans of beer at low prices. After the finding-a-seat free for all, in flight there were ads played over the loudspeakers constantly trying to get us to buy little ketchup packets of liquor at exorbitant prices. After a landing that felt much steeper than typical, we were pleased to get off the plane which was loaded with loud, drunk chavs returning home.

The return trip was similar, but the airports were more legitimate than 'Paris - Beauvais'. In retrospect I think I'd certainly pay the 'real airline' premium for a more comfortable, quieter flight from a real airport. :p

fredfnord
Sep 10, 2010, 04:33 PM
NotJustJay wins. The rest of you can go home.

-fred

MartyMoe
Sep 11, 2010, 09:59 AM
NotJustJay wins. The rest of you can go home.

-fred

But "Surely you can't be serious." :)

Chip NoVaMac
Sep 11, 2010, 10:59 AM
I rather liked his standing arrangement suggestion.

Then you might just love this idea: http://www.aviointeriors.it/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=141:aviointeriors-launches-a-super-high-density-seat&Itemid=155

aethelbert
Sep 12, 2010, 06:40 PM
Here you have it: O'Leary admits that he's full of it.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has warned of an end to bargain-basement fares as the no-frills carrier plans a shift away from its "pile it high and sell it cheap" approach.

O'Leary also said the Dublin-based airline will need a new chief executive as growth slows, admitting that his controversial management style would be out of place in a more mature business.
link (http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/sep/12/ryanair-move-away-from-low-fares)

Now the question is, will the market support a price increase and a removal of fees, or will many continue to jump only at the lowest initial cost?

Gonzo3333
Sep 13, 2010, 12:50 AM
I hold a private pilots certificate and I think it is extremely important to have at the very least 2 capable pilots on board just to monitor the radio, watch for traffic, help each other stay alert and most importantly, question any bad judgement that your fellow right or left seater has.

Black&Tan
Sep 15, 2010, 08:03 AM
Emergencies like this are why you need a co-pilot:

http://jalopnik.com/5629528/how-i-saved-a-747-from-crashing

An utterly amazing story of how the rudder malfunctioned on a 747 and only the strength of the pilot and copilot were able to wrestle control of the aircraft from the computer/hydraulic systems.

Abstract
Sep 15, 2010, 08:58 AM
I hold a private pilots certificate and I think it is extremely important to have at the very least 2 capable pilots on board just to.......watch for traffic.....

:confused:

iDisk
Sep 15, 2010, 09:57 AM
It's a very bad idea.

2 is better then 1

:confused:

Air traffic and runway traffic

Gonzo3333
Sep 15, 2010, 10:22 AM
:confused:

Usually there is more than one aircraft in the sky at any given time thus creating traffic. It is just as important to see and take notice of said traffic in the sky as it is on the ground. You don't want to run into or get too close to another plane.

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 10:34 AM
I'm pretty sure Abstract is aware of this, gentlemen. :p

A lot of people raise eyebrows when pilots mention see-and-avoid because it's a common assumption that ATC is responsible for separating airplanes. While this is true, there are many situations where aircraft separation is not their responsibility, and some situations where ATC is not aware of the presence of an airplane at all.

So because of this, in those cases the onus is on the flight crew to keep a look out to avoid hitting other airplanes.

patrick0brien
Sep 15, 2010, 10:45 AM
Technically, many of what we call the "Big Carriers" haven't needed pilots for a long time, what with Autopilot and Instrument Landing System (ILS). On a routine flight, the pilot taxis the plane to the runway, listens for the "Clear for takeoff" pushes the throttles forward, then presses a button.

I've flown for 13 years, and I've even heard pilots mention to the cabin that the plane landed itself. On several occasions (that ILS again).

But then, the key word here is "routine".

Without Sulley, there would have been a different story...

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 10:53 AM
^^^ read the article BV posted. If you want an explanation on a line by line basis, I'll be more than happy to oblige, but you are very, very misinformed.

patrick0brien
Sep 15, 2010, 11:03 AM
^^^ read the article BV posted. If you want an explanation on a line by line basis, I'll be more than happy to oblige, but you are very, very misinformed.

-dmr727

If you are directing that comment to me, I have read the article - last week.

I stand by my "misinformed" statement - even if it is simplified.

Perhaps you should ask more clarifications from me before jumping to the conclusion that I have not received my Certificate.

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 11:44 AM
Perhaps you should ask more clarifications from me before jumping to the conclusion that I have not received my Certificate.

Where did I say that you haven't received your Certificate? I don't care what your background is - this is the comment you made:

Technically, many of what we call the "Big Carriers" haven't needed pilots for a long time, what with Autopilot and Instrument Landing System (ILS). On a routine flight, the pilot taxis the plane to the runway, listens for the "Clear for takeoff" pushes the throttles forward, then presses a button.

And that comment tells me that you're misinformed. In fact, the more 'qualified' you argue you are, the more aghast I'll become by the comment. And don't get me wrong - this isn't an attack on you, but there's a lot of misinformation out there, and IMO professional pilots don't do enough to set things straight. One thing I like about Patrick Smith at Salon is that he takes the time to explain things, he writes well, and as a current line pilot actually knows how things work in an airline cockpit from an operational standpoint.

So fair enough - if you want me to ask you for more clarification, here it is: What exactly do you disagree with about the article? Do you think he's full of crap simply because he has a vested interest in his own job? You admitted that your statement was simplified, so expand on it and be precise. Simplification is exactly why the media is wrong so often. It's usually not intentional, but by not taking the time to give the whole story, they paint the wrong picture.

EDIT: If I don't respond to this thread for awhile, it's because I'm off to taxi to a runway, push the levers forward, and push a button. At that point we might as well sleep. Hopefully my passengers will wake us up as they're exiting the aircraft at the destination. :)

tyrant
Sep 15, 2010, 11:51 AM
Planes have two pilots for one reason, safety. They seperate the duties of each and then have a system of checks. If the one person is supposed to do something, the other is to check it. When "pilot" error orrcurs and crahes the plane, its only after BOTH people make multiple mistakes in a row.

Blue Velvet
Sep 15, 2010, 11:54 AM
Technically, many of what we call the "Big Carriers" haven't needed pilots for a long time, what with Autopilot and Instrument Landing System (ILS).


I don't have any qualifications, I've only been on a working flight deck a couple of times when I was a kid (on trans-Tasman turboprops). So excuse me if this question sounds naive:

You state that, technically, pilots are unnecessary. In the event of, let's say, a diversion and medical emergency due to a serious fight breaking out in the cabin, how exactly would the autopilot handle that situation?

patrick0brien
Sep 15, 2010, 12:12 PM
Where did I say that you haven't received your Certificate? I don't care what your background is - this is the comment you made:



And that comment tells me that you're misinformed. In fact, the more 'qualified' you argue you are, the more aghast I'll become by the comment. And don't get me wrong - this isn't an attack on you, but there's a lot of misinformation out there, and IMO professional pilots don't do enough to set things straight. One thing I like about Patrick Smith at Salon is that he takes the time to explain things, he writes well, and as a current line pilot actually knows how things work in an airline cockpit from an operational standpoint.

So fair enough - if you want me to ask you for more clarification, here it is: What exactly do you disagree with about the article? Do you think he's full of crap simply because he has a vested interest in his own job?

-dmr727

Interesting. I guess you missed the word "Technically" in my comment. Since you felt my comment in error, my clarification is: "While technically possible, this is not practiced in reality" ergo the word "Technically". But you chose not to be diplomatic and instead based your responses on my words at face value. Which, as we all know, communicating in such a medium as this, with delayed conversing and complete lack of body language, is easily misinterpreted.

And yes, I do interpret your initial response and your second as a bit of an attack. Accusing me of being 'misinformed' is at the heart of that interpretation: that is not a diplomatic word. How could I have read that as anything other than - light as it was - an attack?

As for the clarification you seek: I do disagree with some of Patrick Smith's assertations. Some being "they do not land by themselves; they do not fly by themselves". These are incorrect statements which one is directly clarified in the following sentence regarding the rarity of using ILS. Planes do fly themselves - e.g. Autopilot.

Again, it is a difference between technical, and practical. However, I can't think of a single big carrier that doesn't spend the entire cruise-phase with autopilot on.

So while I disagree with some of the nitpicky thing in his article, I do not disagree with the point. The spirit of his article is dead-on in my view. We need actual pilots in the cockpit for the very reasons tyrant mentions: safety, and flight management of the unexpected.

I suppose I was too subtle in my original comment: Let me clarify: While "Technically" it is possible that planes could lose one pilot because of the automation readily available, I do not believe we should.

BTW - Michael O'Leary is far from the first to mention removing flight crew. I remember much discussion as long as a decade ago about replacing the entire flight crew with a minimally-trained "technician". Here is an article (http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2006/12/04/would-you-fly-on-an-airplane-with-no-pilot/) asking similar questions 4 years ago. I can't seem to find anything on the older stuff right now.

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 09:18 PM
I guess you missed the word "Technically" in my comment.

No I didn't - but I didn't realize that use of the word 'technically' absolved you of discussing today's aircraft, today's airport and airspace infrastructure, and today's operational reality. If you want to talk about the future and where it should logically go with the technology that's currently available, that's fine (and I'd agree with you, I bet). But I figured we were talking about what we can do right now, with the equipment we have today. And even technically, in today's aircraft, an autopilot can't get an airplane from one airport to another without significant levels of pilot intervention. Perhaps where we differ is in the word 'significant', but I'll get to that later.

I'm also sorry that you took my post strongly - I thought 'misinformed' would actually be better than the word 'wrong', because it's possible that someone can come to this conclusion by being fed some very realistic but incomplete information from myriad of sources - be it the news media, a show on Discovery, Popular Science - you name it. Ask around - I tend to not take myself too seriously, and I certainly don't mean to offend. If I responded too harshly, I apologize.

These are incorrect statements which one is directly clarified in the following sentence regarding the rarity of using ILS. Planes do fly themselves - e.g. Autopilot.

To be fair, he didn't say an ILS is a rarity - rather an ILS to minimums low enough to warrant an autoland is. An ILS and autoland are two different things. To me (and I'm guessing to him too), it's purely semantics about who or what is doing the flying. An autopilot requires a great deal of human interaction to get it to do what you want it to do. As he said, more interaction with the airplane is required to do an autoland than to simply land the plane manually. You seem to think that if the humans aren't physically in direct command of the control surfaces of the aircraft, the plane is flying itself. I'll agree that in the literal sense the autopilot is the one flying, but for the purposes of a discussion about whether the pilots need to be there at all, I don't see it as relevant, since all the autopilot is doing is responding from commands sent to the Flight Director by the pilots to begin with.

So coming full circle, how much interaction do you think pilots have with the airplane (on a routine flight, outside of talking to ATC) once the plane has taken off? This was the crux of my 'misinformed' comment. Based on your initial post, it's probably more than you realize (you're right that it's far less in cruise, although not non-existent). Or not, and we simply disagree on what's 'significant'.

However, I can't think of a single big carrier that doesn't spend the entire cruise-phase with autopilot on.

You can't think of one because from a regulatory standpoint, the autopilot must be engaged anytime the aircraft is being operated in RVSM airspace (in the States, from FL290-FL410). For airline pilots, cruise tends to fall in that range. :)

Look man, the last thing I want to do is sit in a hotel room and get into a pissing match with someone. I'm sorry if I came across too strong - but do me a favor and re-read your initial post from the perspective of someone that feeds himself and his family via a job that you think is completely irrelevant (I'm not an airline pilot, but from an operational standpoint, I'm essentially the same). I can look at myself in the mirror every morning because of what I put into this job, and to have someone take my professional existence and reduce it to taxiing a plane to a runway, pushing the levers forward, and pressing a button - it's prone to evoke a response that's perhaps not as measured as it should be. :p

You state that, technically, pilots are unnecessary. In the event of, let's say, a diversion and medical emergency due to a serious fight breaking out in the cabin, how exactly would the autopilot handle that situation?

In today's aircraft, it wouldn't. You can't just stick an airport into the computer and tell the autopilot to land there. It needs to be told all the little details involved in getting the airplane safely on the ground - fixes to fly to, headings, altitudes, vertical descent rates, airspeeds, the approach to fly, etc. The medical emergency actually uncomplicates things because it gives the pilots freedom to select all these attributes without ATC interference - but regardless the decisions have to be made by the pilots, and the autopilot has to be told how to execute them. Looking back to the two Northwest pilots that overflew Minneapolis in their Airbus - once the autopilot stopped receiving instructions from the crew, it simply flew along at its last commanded heading and altitude, and would have happily done so until the airplane ran out of fuel and crashed.

yg17
Sep 15, 2010, 09:26 PM
In today's aircraft, it wouldn't. You can't just stick an airport into the computer and tell the autopilot to land there. It needs to be told all the little details involved in getting the airplane safely on the ground - fixes to fly to, headings, altitudes, vertical descent rates, airspeeds, the approach to fly, etc. The medical emergency actually uncomplicates things because it gives the pilots freedom to select all these attributes without ATC interference - but regardless the decisions have to be made by the pilots, and the autopilot has to be told how to execute them. Looking back to the two Northwest pilots that overflew Minneapolis in their Airbus - once the autopilot stopped receiving instructions from the crew, it simply flew along at its last commanded heading and altitude, and would have happily done so until the airplane ran out of fuel and crashed.

Just out of curiosity, is all that stuff that can be programmed from the ground? Not to replace pilots, I'm not setting foot on a plane that doesn't have 2 pilots, but in the event of, say a hijacking? Could all that be programmed into the autopilot computer from ATC, and then have the autopilot set to ignore all inputs from the cockpit?

r.j.s
Sep 15, 2010, 09:31 PM
Just out of curiosity, is all that stuff that can be programmed from the ground? Not to replace pilots, I'm not setting foot on a plane that doesn't have 2 pilots, but in the event of, say a hijacking? Could all that be programmed into the autopilot computer from ATC, and then have the autopilot set to ignore all inputs from the cockpit?

I hope not. I imagine that if it could - it would be able to be hacked - and that is a scary thought. :eek:

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 09:39 PM
Just out of curiosity, is all that stuff that can be programmed from the ground? Not to replace pilots, I'm not setting foot on a plane that doesn't have 2 pilots, but in the event of, say a hijacking? Could all that be programmed into the autopilot computer from ATC, and then have the autopilot set to ignore all inputs from the cockpit?

In today's ATC environment, which is very dynamic, it can't all be pre-programmed before the flight begins. Routings, altitudes, and airspeeds vary from trip to trip depending on weather and other traffic. But there's no reason it can't be programmed on the fly (or flown directly) from a source on the ground. The military essentially already does this with its drones, and they've been experimenting with pilotless F16s (in the sense that the pilots are on the ground, and not in the aircraft) and so on as well.

The problem is, how do you secure the data transfer from the ground to the airplane? One good hack and you have some zit faced idiot crashing planes from his mother's basement. The military is willing to risk it because at worst you lose an aircraft. It's more troublesome when you have people onboard. But you're right, I think what you're talking about is the next big technological step in aviation.

jknight8907
Sep 15, 2010, 09:41 PM
Just out of curiosity, is all that stuff that can be programmed from the ground? Not to replace pilots, I'm not setting foot on a plane that doesn't have 2 pilots, but in the event of, say a hijacking? Could all that be programmed into the autopilot computer from ATC, and then have the autopilot set to ignore all inputs from the cockpit?

No, that is not a current capability.

patrick0brien
Sep 15, 2010, 09:48 PM
a job that you think is completely irrelevant

-dmr727

I have utterly failed in making my point clear.

Let's leave it at this.

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 09:59 PM
I have utterly failed in making my point clear.


Or perhaps I've simply failed in understanding it. I have a feeling that one day you and I could have a couple of laughs about this thread over a beer. :D

renewed
Sep 15, 2010, 10:20 PM
-dmr727

I have utterly failed in making my point clear.

Let's leave it at this.

Or perhaps I've simply failed in understanding it. I have a feeling that one day you and I could have a couple of laughs about this thread over a beer. :D

I think y'all should be copilots on a plane that doesn't need them. :p

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 10:26 PM
I think y'all should be copilots on a plane that doesn't need them. :p

Dammit, Sooner! ;)

yg17
Sep 15, 2010, 10:27 PM
I hope not. I imagine that if it could - it would be able to be hacked - and that is a scary thought. :eek:

In today's ATC environment, which is very dynamic, it can't all be pre-programmed before the flight begins. Routings, altitudes, and airspeeds vary from trip to trip depending on weather and other traffic. But there's no reason it can't be programmed on the fly (or flown directly) from a source on the ground. The military essentially already does this with its drones, and they've been experimenting with pilotless F16s (in the sense that the pilots are on the ground, and not in the aircraft) and so on as well.

The problem is, how do you secure the data transfer from the ground to the airplane? One good hack and you have some zit faced idiot crashing planes from his mother's basement. The military is willing to risk it because at worst you lose an aircraft. It's more troublesome when you have people onboard. But you're right, I think what you're talking about is the next big technological step in aviation.


Ah yes, good point, I forgot about the hacking aspect of it.

So if you watch Mythbusters, you might have seen when they confirmed the myth that in the event both pilots are incapacitated, someone with absolutely no flight training at all could be talked into landing a plane by ATC, but then they went on to say that not only has it never happened, but if both pilots did become incapacitated, auto pilot could land the plane. However, I'm guessing in reality, someone (likely the flight attendant) would have to set the auto pilot, and that's something that anyone could be walked through.

dmr727
Sep 15, 2010, 10:35 PM
However, I'm guessing in reality, someone (likely the flight attendant) would have to set the auto pilot, and that's something that anyone could be walked through.

I think this is true. The mechanics of landing an airplane aren't difficult - even without autoland. It's definitely something that can be talked through. It's like anything else, whether it's surgery, writing a computer program, or what have you - the actual act isn't the hard part - it's the things you need to know to execute that act, outside the vacuum of a specific instance, where the money is made.

carlgo
Sep 16, 2010, 09:48 AM
Well, there are always the movie where a heroic passenger lands a plane after the pilots have been incapacitated. The tower gives commands and the new pilot has beads of sweat coming down his forehead.

The movie is very, very long...

Oh, and I forgot, who is going to kill all the snakes? You can't fly and wrestle snakes at the same time.

yg17
Sep 16, 2010, 09:54 AM
Well, there are always the movie where a heroic passenger lands a plane after the pilots have been incapacitated. The tower gives commands and the new pilot has beads of sweat coming down his forehead.

The movie is very, very long...

Have you ever seen a grown man naked?

aethelbert
Sep 16, 2010, 09:58 AM
Oh, and I forgot, who is going to kill all the snakes? You can't fly and wrestle snakes at the same time.
Otto can fly. Pilots kill the snakes. Problem solved.

renewed
Sep 16, 2010, 10:02 AM
Otto can fly. Pilots kill the snakes. Problem solved.

Otto, well I hate to tell you this but... well.. he's dead man, he's dead. There was this whole pins and needles art project controversy and he was trying to defuse it and I mean it got ugly. Real ugly.

dmr727
Sep 16, 2010, 02:25 PM
No need for two pilots when you've got this guy: :)

http://www.webomatica.com/wordpress/images/movies/soul-plane.jpg

djmodifyd
Sep 16, 2010, 07:08 PM
you mean planes don't have a green "go" button and a red "land" button?

jk

A modern jetliner can autoland...but the whole taxi to the gate thing could be difficult. but then again you could just grab a beer, blow up the slide and get out that way as well.

dmr727
Sep 16, 2010, 07:27 PM
A modern jetliner can autoland...but the whole taxi to the gate thing could be difficult. but then again you could just grab a beer, blow up the slide and get out that way as well.

LOL - that whole situation still cracks me up. :D

quagmire
Sep 16, 2010, 09:31 PM
Correct me if I am wrong dmr as I am not too familiar with the regs yet, but even though the plane can autoland itself, the pilots are still required to manually land the plane. They use the autopilot to shoot the approach and line up on the glideslope with the ILS and when they get down to a certain altitude they have to take over right? Or am I confused/wrong/ misinformed? :p

yg17
Sep 16, 2010, 09:36 PM
LOL - that whole situation still cracks me up. :D

That guy is a hero to anyone who has ever worked a day in any sort of customer service position.

dmr727
Sep 16, 2010, 10:43 PM
Correct me if I am wrong dmr as I am not too familiar with the regs yet, but even though the plane can autoland itself, the pilots are still required to manually land the plane.

As I understand it (and I'm no expert here as my equipment isn't autoland capable), from a regulatory standpoint there's a list of things that need to be approved (the airport, the flight crew, the operator, etc...) for it to be allowed. But assuming the requirements are met, it can be done.

My wife would know more about this - I'll ask a couple of questions.

djmodifyd
Sep 17, 2010, 11:13 AM
I believe CATIII approaches are full computerflown/autoland. The approach (at the airport), the aircraft, and the aircrew all have to be certified to fly CATIII approaches.

CATI and CATII approaches are "handflown" while the catIII is not.

again, I may be wrong on this.

sushi
Sep 17, 2010, 11:17 AM
Regardless, the key point is what happens when things get stuffed?

Technology is great when it works. There is no guarantee that it will. And when that time happens where something doesn't work, that's when you want 2 rated pilots in the cockpit.

Mal67
Sep 18, 2010, 08:26 AM
Regardless, the key point is what happens when things get stuffed?

Technology is great when it works. There is no guarantee that it will. And when that time happens where something doesn't work, that's when you want 2 rated pilots in the cockpit.
Personally I'll take the real pilots anyday with the technology supporting them .... But I do wonder just how far into the future we will have to go before planes fly with no flesh and blood pilots at all!

sushi
Sep 18, 2010, 10:04 AM
Personally I'll take the real pilots anyday with the technology supporting them .... But I do wonder just how far into the future we will have to go before planes fly with no flesh and blood pilots at all!
Likewise. I would pay the extra to have a full crew on the planes that I fly as a passenger.

I don't ever see a day when passenger planes, or spaceships for that matter, routinely fly without a flight crew. There are too many possible emergencies that could occur. And until computers can think like humans, and not just imitation through a series of steps, I don't see it happening.

dmr727
Sep 19, 2010, 01:48 PM
I believe CATIII approaches are full computerflown/autoland. The approach (at the airport), the aircraft, and the aircrew all have to be certified to fly CATIII approaches.

CATI and CATII approaches are "handflown" while the catIII is not.


After getting a little more information from my wife (she flies an Airbus for a major airline), this is pretty accurate. She *can* do an autoland off a Cat II approach, but those are usually hand flown. She says autoland is horrible as far as workload for the pilots - so autoland is typically used only when required (Cat III), or when doing their one required autoland per month. Autolands are not approved for any approaches other than Cat II or Cat III (which are available at only a small percentage of airports, and even then only select runways).

This is based on my wife's ops manual - I'm not sure how it works for other airlines, although I'll bet it's pretty similar.

quagmire
Sep 19, 2010, 02:53 PM
After getting a little more information from my wife (she flies an Airbus for a major airline), this is pretty accurate. She *can* do an autoland off a Cat II approach, but those are usually hand flown. She says autoland is horrible as far as workload for the pilots - so autoland is typically used only when required (Cat III), or when doing their one required autoland per month. Autolands are not approved for any approaches other than Cat II or Cat III (which are available at only a small percentage of airports, and even then only select runways).

This is based on my wife's ops manual - I'm not sure how it works for other airlines, although I'll bet it's pretty similar.

Why is autoland so bad for the workload? Because pilots have to keep on monitoring glide slope, runway, etc to make sure everything is working?

iJohnHenry
Sep 19, 2010, 03:12 PM
Why is autoland so bad for the workload? Because pilots have to keep on monitoring glide slope, runway, etc to make sure everything is working?

Yes, because the pilot then becomes the fail-safe system.

Remember the last computer controlled flight? Didn't work out so well.

"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that. This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it."

:p

steviem
Sep 19, 2010, 03:41 PM
That guy is a hero to anyone who has ever worked a day in any sort of customer service position.

That guy just showed to me that BA flight attendants' strikes are useless when the person supposed to be looking out for passenger safety pulls **** like that. If I were a male flight attendant I'd be pissed that he put the public perception of their attitude right back to square one. He doesn't deserve to work with people again, let alone in a position where the safety of others is entrusted upon him.

Also dmr727, I hope those beers that you plan on enjoying with patrick0brien are after a flight ;)

rtb90
Sep 19, 2010, 08:31 PM
Why is autoland so bad for the workload? Because pilots have to keep on monitoring glide slope, runway, etc to make sure everything is working?

Autoland is tough because you have to ensure the aircraft is in the proper landing position, with the disadvantage of minimal visibility and rapid speed. (Think about driving down the interstate at 100 MPH in massive fog) Also consider the fact that as you get closer to landing the tolerance for error narrows dramatically as do the tolerances for the approach. So although the computer does the grunt work the pilots have to make rapid decisions to ensure the computer is working correctly. The consequences for error are grave.

dmr727
Sep 19, 2010, 08:59 PM
Why is autoland so bad for the workload? Because pilots have to keep on monitoring glide slope, runway, etc to make sure everything is working?

Hopefully they're doing all those things anyway! My wife told me that this is a question best answered by showing you the difference between the checklists and callouts for a regular ILS approach and one terminating with an autoland. Supposedly the autoland checklist requires many more steps and calls. Once she gets back I'll PM you the relevant checklists for her aircraft.

But I do wonder just how far into the future we will have to go before planes fly with no flesh and blood pilots at all!

I have no idea. Even if the technology isn't the problem - you have to deal with how much it'll cost to implement it, who will pay for the ground up overhaul of the infrastructure, and so on. It's not a whole lot different than the idea of removing drivers from cars. I can buy a Lexus that parks itself. I once drove a Mercedes Maybach where the cruise control speeds up and slows down based on the pace of the car in front of me. If the car in front stops, it will too. But the technology really isn't the hard part - it's the complete overhaul of the existing system to make it happen, and making it make sense from a financial perspective. What do you gain financially from doing it, and does that offset the cost of implementing it? Only until that question is a definitive 'yes' will we see it.

I do know a couple of things, though. For one, we have yet to build a civilian aircraft where the automation doesn't muck things up on a regular basis, requiring the pilots to intervene and do it themselves. We can also talk about autoland, ILS, and so on - but we're not talking about anything that didn't exist almost 50 years ago. The first autoland from an ILS happened in 1964. And as sushi said, we still have yet to deal with the cases where things don't happen as planned.

So who knows? Obviously I'm biased, but I'm pretty confident that it won't happen during my lifetime. If anything, there's been a push to require more from the existing two person crew, rather than less.


Also dmr727, I hope those beers that you plan on enjoying with patrick0brien are after a flight ;)

Don't worry - it always is! :)

NightFox
Sep 22, 2010, 03:29 AM
Surely most military fast jets are single-crewed though? So if that's possible, why couldn't it be carried over to commercial airliners? Yes, I know that two is better than one, but you have to draw the line somewhere based on risk, or you could argue that three is better than two and so on.

And I know there are examples of two crew members managing to bring down a stricken aircraft, but extreme cases aren't always justification in themselves, there's always something to balance the consideration against. I know that sounds very cold and clinical, but that's the position from where these decisions have to be made. Weren't similar arguments made when flight engineers disappeared from the flight deck?

Not saying I agree with what's being proposed, just questioning why it couldn't happen at least in principal.

sushi
Sep 22, 2010, 03:49 AM
Surely most military fast jets are single-crewed though? So if that's possible, why couldn't it be carried over to commercial airliners? Yes, I know that two is better than one, but you have to draw the line somewhere based on risk, or you could argue that three is better than two and so on.
Something to consider:
With a military single seat fighter plane, you will only loose one pilot in a single incident.

Whereas with a commercial plane, there is the risk that you will loose many individuals (crew and passengers) in a single incident.

My wife told me that this is a question best answered by showing you the difference between the checklists and callouts for a regular ILS approach and one terminating with an autoland.
If possible to post here, that would be wonderful just to see the comparison in length of the two checklists.

NightFox
Sep 22, 2010, 04:51 AM
Something to consider:
With a military single seat fighter plane, you will only loose one pilot in a single incident.

Whereas with a commercial plane, there is the risk that you will loose many individuals (crew and passengers) in a single incident.

Yes, but don't the same two pilot requirements also apply to freight aircraft? Besides, although it hasn't happened, I imagine a crash of a fully loaded fast jet bomber could lead to similar loss of life.

I'll freely admit that I speak from a position of total ignorance on this, but isn't this just one of those legacy requirements that will ultimately disappear, and it's just a matter of time?

Another way of looking at it, if there had only ever been one pilot in the cockpit, would there at any time in the last 20 years have been strong calls for a co-pilot to be introduced?

dmr727
Sep 22, 2010, 02:06 PM
If possible to post here, that would be wonderful just to see the comparison in length of the two checklists.

I'll have to ask her, but I don't see why not.

Yes, but don't the same two pilot requirements also apply to freight aircraft? Besides, although it hasn't happened, I imagine a crash of a fully loaded fast jet bomber could lead to similar loss of life.

As far as I know, the bombers are all crewed with two. sushi would know more about this, though. As far as freight, yes they do. The requirements are tied to the aircraft's type certificate, not the kind of operation it's involved in. For example, freight 727s still carry a Flight Engineer.


Another way of looking at it, if there had only ever been one pilot in the cockpit, would there at any time in the last 20 years have been strong calls for a co-pilot to be introduced?

Based on how the media and public have reacted to past accidents, I bet there would be. In fact, in the US, the Q400 accident in Buffalo has caused a push to require more experience and training from the First Officers. The problem is that anytime a plane crashes, there's a good chance it's because the crew made a mistake. So for a crash with a one person crew, there'll always be the question - would this mistake have been caught with another set of eyes?

There are civilian business jets being flown single pilot, and the fatal accident rate is several times higher than the same planes crewed with two, but it's not a particularly good comparison, as the single pilot jets are many times being flown by owners, not professionals. The other key here is insurance - the premiums are much higher for single pilot operations, and it's usually cheaper to simply hire an F/O.

I do think you're right that we'll eventually get to a point where there's only one pilot up there. As for a timeline - I couldn't even guess, although I doubt it'll be in our lifetime. If the past is any indicator - it won't be the kind of thing where they modify the type certificates for existing aircraft - it'll be a whole new airliner certified for single pilot operations. I think the first step towards that is a ground up redesign and implementation of the worldwide air traffic control infrastructure - which is a huge, huge task.

quagmire
Sep 22, 2010, 03:25 PM
Surely most military fast jets are single-crewed though? So if that's possible, why couldn't it be carried over to commercial airliners? Yes, I know that two is better than one, but you have to draw the line somewhere based on risk, or you could argue that three is better than two and so on.

Something to consider with fighter jets.... If something goes wrong, they have a magic handle in the cockpit that ditches the canopy and rockets go off that blasts the seat out of the plane and a parachute deploys to safely guide the pilot to the ground.

Something airliners don't have for the pilots, crew, and passengers.

rtb90
Sep 23, 2010, 08:20 AM
Originally Posted by NightFox
Surely most military fast jets are single-crewed though? So if that's possible, why couldn't it be carried over to commercial airliners? Yes, I know that two is better than one, but you have to draw the line somewhere based on risk, or you could argue that three is better than two and so on.

Have you thought about crew duty day limitations? Usually larger crews can have a longer crew duty day...at least that is how it works in the USAF.