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How Long Before Single Pilot Ops?  
User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4367 times:

With the advances in technology (Avionics and control systems) how long do you think it will be before we see single pilot ops in the regional and short to medium haul commercial aircraft.

Any takers? I think it will come with the 737 replacement in 15-20 years.

65 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineNorthStarDC4M From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2990 posts, RR: 37
Reply 1, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4360 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CHAT OPERATOR

never, too much can happen to 1 pilot... 2 is the fewest you'll ever see on an airliner over say... 10 seats


Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4345 times:

I wouldn't say never. I would venture to say a fighter is more complicated to fly, yet requires one crew member. Automation and simplification can change all of that. Not to mention the cockpit will eventually become the last opportunity to reduce labor costs once maintenance becomes more simplified and ticket counters and gates are contracted out.

User currently offlineWorldTraveler From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4306 times:

a virtual certainty...at least on long haul aircraft during extended periods of cruise. Computers largely fly the plane and monitor systems during cruise. For all types of aircraft, I would suggest that it is likely that you will see some pilot responsibilities done by a ground based pilot who can assist during the critical periods of flight.

I wouldn't be surprised if reduced pilot staffing is part of the Dreamliner concept but certainly will happen within the next 10 years. Boeing and Airbus need to sell alot more new jets and the best way is by dramatically improving the efficiency of aircraft; and there are few things that can produce as dramatic of a reduction in costs as reducing the number of pilots required to fly a plane.


User currently offlineN243NW From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1624 posts, RR: 20
Reply 4, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4259 times:

I would venture to say a fighter is more complicated to fly, yet requires one crew member.
BoeingLongGone, don't forget, however, that a fighter doesn't carry hundreds of passengers that depend on the pilot(s). As stated above, I don't see a one-pilot airliner in the near future, mostly because of the chance of pilot incapacitation. Also, it is vital to have another pilot or two to verify (for lack of a better word) the captain's decisions. No matter how complicated avionics become, these two factors are hard, if not impossible, to eliminate. So in a nutshell, not for a loooong while. At least if I were an airline CEO I woudn't wouldn't feel comfortable "loaning" a 747 full of tourists to one pilot.
-N243NW Big grin



B-52s don't take off. They scare the ground away.
User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4245 times:

No, a fighter carries bombs which drop on targets surrounded by thousands of people who are relying on the pilot and his/her instruments to hit the target and not them.

Pilots.... What will you do????

If we can make automated drones, we can make a single pilot commercial aircraft. I'm sure most pilots in the 60's always thought they'd have an FE. Not many of those left are there? Technology changes as do the times.


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 6, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4249 times:

short answer - never. Just ask any trial lawyer what his odds of winning a case where a transport plane crashes with just a single pilot aboard. Liability concerns alone will prevent this from ever happening.

User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4238 times:

More like Labor lawyers and ALPA.

User currently offlineAvObserver From United States of America, joined Apr 2002, 2468 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4188 times:

I agree with those who say it'll never happen, liability concerns would stop it dead. There's actually been some talk of eventual Unmanned Air Vehicles carrying passengers but I don't think most air travelers would put their trust in computers alone, I don't think they'd accept this scenario. The human factor must never be removed from aircraft control, no matter how much computer augmentation is built in. Human pilots can react to all sorts of unpredictable situations; computers could never be programmed to deal with all possible variables, no matter how good the A.I. or fuzzy logic becomes. And we must always have a pilot as backup to another so the cockpit will remain the domain of 2 people, even amid a sea of computer pilots.

User currently offlineQB737 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4172 times:

Well, both pilots will be replaced with one computer geek!
I just hope they wont run the computers running Microsoft Windows....Mind you, Boeing and Microsoft are both in the
Seattle area....Bad omen.



Ben

Very 9-p


User currently offlineMD88Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1330 posts, RR: 20
Reply 10, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4158 times:

Another silly post by someone who just doesn't understand commercial aviation.

Who will build such an aircraft? No one. AB and BA are not going to risk the farm by designing such a stupid concept. No market. Massive liability. You may as well ask when commercial airliners will be designed with one engine because it "so efficient".

Who will ride such an aircraft? Passengers will avoid it like the plague as long as two pilot aircraft are available. People are basically scared to fly. Not all of course, but a large percentage. Not one airline bought the 777 with folding wingtips. Why? They knew it would scare passengers.

Who will be the launch customer? Nobody. Why scare your passengers over to your competitors?





User currently offlineJumboBumbo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4145 times:

As an engineer I wouldn't cut my safety factor in half by kicking 175 lbs off an airplane, even if that redundant feature costs $250,000/year in operational costs.

User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4062 times:

There's nothing "silly" about it Mr. MD-88. How is dumping a pilot cutting safety in half? You pilots have some silly arguments for defending your jobs. Please... Show evidence that pilot error is not the number one cause of incidents.

It is the 21st Century folks. Get used to it.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4037 times:

I agree with MD88Captain--it ain't gonna happen...

1/ Despite advances in technology, it still fails sometimes, and occasionally in a major way that was never considered in the original design and planning. Imagine United 232 as a single-pilot technoflight and how it undoubtedly would have turned out...

2/ Technology is not the only consideration, as there are human factors involved. Going from 3 (PIC, F/O and F/E) to 2 (PIC, F/O) is one thing, but a two-pilot aircraft will remain a basic level of human redundancy for the foreseeable future. It doesn't happen often, but pilots sometimes do keel over with medical issues. Single-pilot stuff might work in Alaska with small aircraft, but turbine-powered transports are another matter.

3/ As MD88Captain, mentioned, the liability aspect would be an insurmountable obstacle.

It won't fly Orville....


User currently offlineCancidas From Poland, joined Jul 2003, 4112 posts, RR: 11
Reply 14, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4020 times:

i hope not, i'm a pilot.

i doubt that this will happen in the near future. the workload could become overwhelming for one man. the only a/c that i know that is certified for single pilot is the C208 and the C525. the 525 is a bizjet so that's out of this discussion. whereas the 208 can be flown by one man with up to 10 pax onboard. i'm not 100% certain on this though, i'll be looking into it.

there is a famous video of an air france A320 crashing into the trees. a computer was flying it. i doubt that i can totally rely on computers to do my job. sorry mr. gates.



"...cannot the kingdom of salvation take me home."
User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 4002 times:

1/ Despite advances in technology, it still fails sometimes, and occasionally in a major way that was never considered in the original design and planning. Imagine United 232 as a single-pilot technoflight and how it undoubtedly would have turned out...

This isn't United 232 and despite technology and learning ability, Pilots fail too.

2/ Technology is not the only consideration, as there are human factors involved. Going from 3 (PIC, F/O and F/E) to 2 (PIC, F/O) is one thing, but a two-pilot aircraft will remain a basic level of human redundancy for the foreseeable future. It doesn't happen often, but pilots sometimes do keel over with medical issues. Single-pilot stuff might work in Alaska with small aircraft, but turbine-powered transports are another matter.

The human factor will become less of a problem as technology advances. This is already being studied as a backup to 9/11. Highjack our plane.... Go a head. We cut the fly by wire control and land you at the nearest airport. Landings are already headed toward this for CAT IIIc autoland using LAAS. Communications will be reduced using direct data transfer. Fact: Pilot workload today is 40% less than it was 15 years ago.

3/ As MD88Captain, mentioned, the liability aspect would be an insurmountable obstacle.

Someone please prove this rather than repeating something that's been said for the last 75 years in the industry. Things like... You can't break the sound barrier, you can't make it across the Atlantic, You can't put a jet engine on the back of it, you can't make a plane go 8000, you can't make a plane any more fuel efficient, you can't use a glass cockpit, you can't use fly-by-wire... The list goes on, yet all of this has been accomplished in a relatively short period of time.



User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3985 times:

>>>Another silly post by someone who just doesn't understand commercial aviation.

Look! There's another one just above...


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3983 times:

Not one airline bought the 777 with folding wingtips. Why? They knew it would scare passengers.

That, and the "small" 2000 added lbs  Big grin


User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 18, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3960 times:

Not one airline bought the 777 with folding wingtips. Why? They knew it would scare passengers.

And it was hugely expensive.

N


User currently offlineBoingGoingGone From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3934 times:

>>>Another silly post by someone who just doesn't understand commercial aviation.

Look! There's another one just above...

Why don't you try to make an educated response rather than be a smart ass. I would venture to say I understand commercial Aviation more than you ever will.

Before you get smart again, refer to the initial post that this referred to smaller aircraft, not something on the order of a 777. I'm talking RJ's, 717 and 737 type aircraft.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3919 times:

>>>Why don't you try to make an educated response rather than be a smart ass.

Actually, I rather thought I -did- but you chose to ignore my questions/points and proceeded to go off on various tangents...



>>>I would venture to say I understand commercial Aviation more than you ever will.

I'd be delighted (as I'm sure others would) to hear about your level of personal experience working in the industry. You -do- have some, right?



>>>I'm talking RJ's, 717 and 737 type aircraft.

Last time I looked, those types were still larger than the smaller aircraft where single-pilot ops are allowed. When you get into Part 121 ops (and I'm going to assume that you know what those are), it's a more-demanding set of regulatory requirements. Those aircraft still have things that can go wrong, and pilots that can still have potential (though admittedly remote) medical problems.


User currently offlineAsgeirs From Iceland, joined May 2001, 516 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3917 times:

Let's say that in the future, passenger aircrafts will be flown by one pilot with assistance from an on-the-ground control center.

What would you do if the aircraft would suddenly lose radio contact and the pilot would happen to have an heart attach at the same time?

Not a situation I would like to find myself in for sure ...




Reykjavik Aviation Photography - Just bring the aircraft to us and we'll photograph them! :-)
User currently offlineLMML 14/32 From Malta, joined Jan 2001, 2565 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3906 times:

An Airbus man once said on camera that he does not envisage a single pilot cockpit but he does forsee an unmanned passenger carrying aircraft. The technology is certainly there. There is the small matter of who will fly in such an aircraft.

User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3903 times:

>>>There is the small matter of who will fly in such an aircraft.

Yeah, those pesky "minor" details.....  Big grin


User currently offlineGoingboeing From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 4875 posts, RR: 17
Reply 24, posted (10 years 10 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3850 times:

Why don't you try to make an educated response rather than be a smart ass. I would venture to say I understand commercial Aviation more than you ever will.


BGG - while I don't know OPNLguy personally (maybe this Thanksgiving we can meet on my annual lunch run), I do know from reading him here and in other forums that he's been doing a lot in the aviation industry for almost as long as you have been in this world.


25 Kohflot : There is a whole segment of Computer Science devoted to analyzing and assessing the risk posed by our reliance on automation. Most of the literature I
26 Planemaker : I do not think that Boeing,Going,Gone was too out of line in his original post. Maybe not in 20 years but I think that single pilot RJ's are a very di
27 Shenzhen : Whilst having a single pilot in the flight deck would work on 99.9 percent of the flights, it is the .1 percent that will keep this requirement. There
28 Saab2000 : Technologically it is no problem. But there are many other issues. And cost is not one of them. The savings are not huge when considering the massive
29 BoingGoingGone : I've been working in commericial aviation for 13 years, I'm not going to sit here and have a credential battle. If MD-88 has been in aviation as long
30 Corsair2 : Completely pilotless airplanes would be unacceptable to the flying public. It will take a long time to convince the public of the reliability flying t
31 Goingboeing : BGG- after the first accident of a single pilot aircraft, how do you feel liability insurance rates would look for the airlines. Because unless the US
32 OPNLguy : >>>I've been working in commercial aviation for 13 years, I'm not going to sit here and have a credential battle. Aw, c'mon. Surely you can do better
33 762er : I believe it will happen one day, when the integrity of the technology is proven. It'll get to the point where Pilots will simply be monitors and ther
34 N79969 : There are already some limited part 135 single pilot ops but I tend to agree that will not happen for part 121 carriers in the foreseeable future.
35 BoingGoingGone : OPNLGuy.... Where I work is none ya. What I do... Aviation System Analysis. From the ground up. I look at everything from aircraft performance to rout
36 OPNLguy : >>>What I do... Aviation System Analysis Well, that certainly explains things... >>>No OPNL... It's not rediculous. Uh, it, oh, never mind...
37 Highliner2 : Never, the FAA would never allow it. The unions would throw a fit. And the biggest reason is safety. What if your one pilot is incapacitated? And it h
38 Goingboeing : How about if I give you an example that wasn't UAL232: NTSB Identification: LAX96IA032 . The docket is stored in the (offline) NTSB Imaging System. Sc
39 Post contains images OPNLguy : >>>Wonder what the outcome might have been had he been the only pilot in the cockpit... Doesn't matter--he's an analyst
40 Kohflot : The NTSB database is loaded with events that could have turned out much differently without at least two people in the pointy end of the plane.. and t
41 BoingGoingGone : The anecdotal evidence is overwhelming as well. BGG - you apparently worked for a manufacturer.. Why do they bother putting standby instrumentation in
42 Goingboeing : GBB - ever notice how on an old Windows 3.1 machine, the dang thing would just lock up and crash - now on my XP machine, I get the "an application has
43 Kohflot : >For every argument against, there is an equal argument for. >Oh wait - it already thinks it's a problem with the door (even though the >door may be j
44 BoingGoingGone : I agree, there are hickups, but my XP does pretty darn well, and 3.1 was as fast as my 90 year old grannie on a race track . But we haven't seen any A
45 Goingboeing : "pretty darn well" isn't good enough at 35,000 feet, IMHO. And what is your take on the SWA pilot who was blinded enough that for 2 minutes he had NO
46 OPNLguy : >>>I'm talking RJ and 717/737-600/700 size. Back in reply #32, I converted the United 232 scenario into something more inline with your stated RJ/717/
47 Kohflot : >Something that can be modified to become as simple to fly as a Slowtation through the use of newer technology. A sobering look at some single-pilot C
48 LoveFieldFlyer : Doesn't matter--he's an analyst Now, now Opnlguy all analysts aren't bad. Just the ones that fall in love with their ideas...
49 BoingGoingGone : BoeingGoing... I also have an Apple G5, which has never delivered a "fatal error". OPNL... UA 232 is a DC-10 incident and the complexity of that aircr
50 Osteogenesis : I am also a computer systems developer. And guess what! I don’t just believe that airplanes carrying passengers will be flown by computers in the fu
51 Post contains images JBirdAV8r : I found flying to be the work of a simpleton. Boring and unrewarding. You just blatantly insulted quite a few people on this board. I was going to kee
52 BoingGoingGone : OPNL... So what is it you do for a living... Never mind, I don't have to ask. It's obvious.
53 Goingboeing : OPNL... So what is it you do for a living... Without divulging any more than he wants, I will say that I once saw his signature on a form for an aircr
54 Goingboeing : Goingboeing Would the computer automatically adjust the engine speed on the remaining engines to maintain some semblence of controlled flight?” You
55 BoingGoingGone : JBird... I think I pretty much qualified that by saying that pertained to me, myself and I and no-one else. I'm glad to be out of the cockpit too. The
56 Delta737 : You guys are all high. Single pilot ops on a transport category aircraft? As a pilot, I'd hardly want to fly in IMC in a Cessna with only myself in th
57 BoingGoingGone : Delta... We're talking RJs, 100 seaters and 20 years from now. Not a mod kit either. A whole new bird. Transport yes, but not a heavy.[Edited 2003-09-
58 Aerobalance : It would be a travesty to eradicate a pilots drinking buddy and/or alarm clock, I just can't see it happening.
59 OPNLguy : >>>OPNL... So what is it you do for a living... >>>Never mind, I don't have to ask. It's obvious. Yep, aircraft dispatcher, just like the profile says
60 BoingGoingGone : OPNL... Sorry about the gash. I should have read your profile. After 25 years you're no doubt one of the best Dispatchers out there. I ass - umed you
61 Delta737 : Might as well so single engine as well. Single engine, single pilot transports! Yes! Half the expense of a two pilot, two-engine jet! Uhh.. Wait...
62 OPNLguy : BGG, Your change in tone is quite noticeable, and it's all only because you finally realized that I wasn't a pilot? Your CoEx F/O time doesn't constit
63 BoingGoingGone : OPNL... I dismiss it because at Honeywell every pilot that came through the door dismissed it and we showed them otherwise. I have little respect for
64 Post contains images JBirdAV8r : I have little respect for pilots in general. Good. We have little respect for YOU in general. Perhaps older pilots are a bit different, but you should
65 BoingGoingGone : AV... Relax. I only made the statement to qualify the Silver Spoon issue. I would venture to say we'd probably get a long having actually worked to ge
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