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seadragon

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Original poster
Mar 10, 2009
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Interested to hear your thoughts on the possibility of commercial aircraft going to single pilot configuration as a cost cutting measure. Personally, the idea scares me. Would you fly on a commercial flight with one pilot in the cockpit? Do you think this will actually happen?

 

dmr727

macrumors G3
Dec 29, 2007
9,520
2,450
NYC
I was warned about this as a little kid when I decided I wanted to be a pilot. That was back in the late 80s. ;)

Anyway it's surely coming, but the timeline has always been grossly optimistic. The life cycle of an airliner is roughly 30 years and they're still only in the talking stages. I'm guessing we're at least a couple of decades out before you see it in widespread use, if not longer.
 

KaliYoni

macrumors 65816
Feb 19, 2016
1,025
2,274
Thinking objectively, I already use many modes of transport with worse safety records than commercial aviation–cars, trains, busses, streetcars, subways–that have a single operator. So why not big planes?

But subjectively, major airline flights would feel less safe with a single pilot. I think this is kind of irrational, especially given a lot of long-haul flights land almost automatically with minimal human guidance. For example, the pilots in this crash contributed to the accident because they were unable to move beyond merely supervising the automated landing procedure:


and, also at SFO, neither pilot in this incident noticed their potentially fatal mistake:
 
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Herdfan

macrumors 6502
Apr 11, 2011
433
6,875
Interested to hear your thoughts on the possibility of commercial aircraft going to single pilot configuration as a cost cutting measure. Personally, the idea scares me. Would you fly on a commercial flight with one pilot in the cockpit? Do you think this will actually happen?

I don't even like fly-by-wire aircraft. So NO!
 
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Rafterman

Contributor
Apr 23, 2010
4,871
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Maybe there will be some reconsideration after this happened

True. An autopilot can land a plane now, and even handle the approaches, but there are limits to just how much an autopilot can accomplish. And it wouldn't know if its human pilot was incapacitated. And if ATC lost contact and suspected something was wrong, they can't just take control of a plane. So what, a stewardess? Airport 75?

Just a dumb idea all around.
 

SnappleRumors

macrumors 6502
Aug 22, 2022
286
262
Having personally investigated countless air disasters watching YouTube it seems pilot overload is regularly a contributing factor and this is with two pilot crews. I’m open to reasonable changes to existing safety rules but single pilot crews is a stretch.
 

BigMcGuire

Contributor
Jan 10, 2012
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the Alpha Quadrant
Out of all the things that cost $ on a flight, paying a pilot can't be that much of a cost savings, can it?! I would assume the fuel would be the highest cost. I guess it's one of the easiest things for the airline to cut. I would refuse to fly if I knew there was only 1 pilot.

Anyway, the last part of the article is the biggest reason for me. That and medical emergencies. There's no way it's a good idea having one person in the cockpit and them having a medical emergency and killing that many people. Idiotic.
 

seadragon

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Original poster
Mar 10, 2009
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Yeah, I’m having a hard enough time wrapping my head around the issues surrounding self-driving cars. I think a single pilot cockpit is a horrible idea. At least with ground transportation, you’re already on the ground.

I asked a friend what he thought of this and his response was “as long as the computers are working correctly it should be fine”. As long as the computers are working correctly it SHOULD be fine. He has more faith in computers that I do.
 

seadragon

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Mar 10, 2009
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MarkC426

macrumors 68030
May 14, 2008
2,959
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UK
Roger, roger....

6C6593C7-3D3E-43C7-9543-6A210B5BFFE8.jpeg
 

bruinsrme

macrumors 604
Oct 26, 2008
6,898
2,738
That’s the incident that prompted me to post this thread in fact. I saw this article with the one about single pilot cockpits almost side by side in the Apple News app.
I had story landed on my fb feed earlier that day.
Then I saw your post and thought “how coincidental”.
I think that is one of the worst places an airline could seek to cut costs
 
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icanhazmac

Contributor
Apr 11, 2018
1,660
5,876
Last thing I ever want to hear on a plane:

"Attention passengers, the pilot is unfortunately incapacitated, we are asking that anyone with MS Flight Simulator experience to please identify yourself to the flight attendants"

Joking aside and not that I am advocating for this but I wonder how long it will be until a plane can be flown remotely via a "simulator cockpit" in an emergency, cannot be far off.
 
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