Yanksn4 From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1402 posts, RR: 12 Posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4997 times:
Greetings everyone. In the past few days, I have been looking at the United States Air Force and thinking about joining once I finish high school. If I was to enlist, I would try and learn how to become a pilot and such. After years in the air force, I would like to make the switch to the commercial aviation industry. However, I want to make sure there will be spots for me to fill and to have a long career in the industry. Now my question is to you, will pilots be needed for the industry in say 30 years or will computers be running the entire show with no pilots present? If someone could help me on this, this would be appreciated. Thank you.
JFernandez From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 301 posts, RR: 0 Reply 1, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4989 times:
I'm sure at some point, they won't be needed (one could argue they aren't NEEDED now, perhaps), but I don't see that happening in the next 30 years. Given the huge need for safety, and danger of electrical failure, I see us having driverless cars before we have pilotless planes.
MD88Captain From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1324 posts, RR: 21 Reply 2, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4962 times:
The planes being designed and built today(A380, 787, Citation X, E170, et al.) will be in production for decades. The last plane off those production lines will be expected to fly no less than 30 years. I'd say you'd be safe.
Ratypus From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2004, 176 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 4940 times:
There are some situations in the air - not necessarily everyday ones - where no computer or mathematical model will be able to replace the skill and judgment of a human pilot. I doubt anyone would ever throw the huge sums of money necessary at a project to design a 'pilot-less' aeroplane.
KYIPpilot From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 1383 posts, RR: 7 Reply 4, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4916 times:
I think it will probably become similar to the guy that sits in and "drives" the subway. He doesn't do a damn thing but sit there, and has no control over the sub, but sits there just in case. That may be more than 30 years into the future, but I think it may become that way.
"It starts when you're always afraid; You step out of line, the man come and take you away" -Buffalo Springfield
VEEREF From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 5, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4912 times:
I don't think there will be anyone on this board still alive by the time airliners go pilotless. Sure aircraft can basically "fly themselves" today. But we're a long way off, for example, from one that can land itself in a 40kt gusting crosswind or pick it's way through a line of thunderstorms successfully. Right now those two tasks are just as much art forms as science.
PanAmerican From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 384 posts, RR: 5 Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 4819 times:
On topic: Md88Captain pretty much proved they will definitely be needed. Also, there are planes out there that have been flying for much longer than 30 years (e.g. NW DC-9s ). Any plane being built now might have an even longer life span than 30 years.
Off topic: You cannot enlist in the US Air Force and become a pilot. For that you would have to be an officer, i.e. get a degree first. Of course you can enlist and then slowly work towards a degree but that takes a while. The easier way seems to be to either use ROTC and then join or to study at the Air Force Academy in COS. It does not appear to be easy to become a pilot in the AF though, but if you have the chance then go for it. I guess all the info needed can be found here: http://www.airforce.com
If you do succeed at becoming an Air Force pilot I guess you do not have to worry about getting a civilian job after a few years in the AF.
By the way, that is a funny pic of the B-52s in your profile.
Stealthpilot From India, joined May 2004, 510 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 4753 times:
In my opinion there will always be pilots. For a long time to come at least, passengers will not trust planes flown by a computer. Granted that to an extent it might be the case today (computer flown) but for years to come, humans will always feel more comfortable with another human at the controls. People may throw up stats proving that humans are more prone to error etc but I think it’s a psychological issue, and the public will feel safer if a human is on board. 50 years from now that may change, but for the next 2 decades at least pilots will be needed. Definitely won’t as far as passenger airliners are concerned.
FLY2LIM From United States of America, joined May 2004, 1183 posts, RR: 10 Reply 9, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4724 times:
Let me talk to you as a high school counselor and teacher and not as an aviation enthusiast. First, don't trust anyone with your future. The decision needs to be made with you and your parents/guardians. Second, no one knows the answer to your question. Pilotless technology exists today. It is being worked on as we speak. There are airplanes that do fly by themselves. Essentially, they are very large, remote controlled aircraft. I also have a cousin who currently works on aircraft that fly into storms and help with weather prediction, completely flown by computer.
PanAmerican had the best point of all. You do need to be an officer in the U.S. Air Force to be able to fly. How are your grades? You also need to be "sponsored" by a politician from your area and to jump through a number of hoops, in the hopes that you will be accepted to Colorado Springs.
It's easy just to say you want to be a pilot. Another thing is accomplishing it. Like I tell all my students, ANYTHING is possible if you want it bad enough. Good luck!
Zvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 65 Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4701 times:
The military is currently developing pilotless bombers. Sufficiently powerful computers can learn to fly (using evolutionary algorithms) as they do it rather than being programmed in advance how to fly as with today's autopilot systems. That means that in the event of a major failure (such as Sioux City) the computer would have learned how to fly the plane and landed without incident.
The train analogy is not quite apt. The cost of carrying a useless driver on a train is much lower than the cost of carrying around useless pilots (not suggesting that pilots are useless today) on an airplane. I don't know whether or not such airliners will be flying yet in 30 years. They might start flying within 20 years or it might take 50 years. I'm sure military aircraft will be pilotless for a long time before an airline considers buying one.
Pilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3117 posts, RR: 11 Reply 12, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4646 times:
I'll second what FLY2LIM just said. Getting into the academy is nearly impossible based on the number who apply. I have a couple friends who were straight A students, all conference athletes and members of the National Honor Society. They had letters from a number of local congressmen and a senator and still didn't get in.
Another route to go would be ROTC. Many aviation schools have an AirForce ROTC program. Basically, you sign up but go to school for your 4 year degree first. While there you will take some special courses taught by the AirForce and also have some other requirements. When you graduate, you have a commitment to the Airforce of a certain number of years. You also recieve a stipend and some tuition payment from the military, but I'm not sure how much. Doing this accomplishes two things. 1) You're an officer. You need to be one for flight training. Officers also get paid better. 2) You get a four year degree which will help you after your military career.
I thought hard about going into the Air National Guard. Thought it was the greatest idea while talking to the recruiter. I mean no offense to them, but they are basically salespeople. Their job is to sell you on the airforce. Turns out my neighbor was a high ranking officer in the wing I wanted to join so he gave me the "real" tour and introduced me to some guys my age. I started asking them lots of questions and got much more insightful answers.
After much soul searching(I'm talking MONTHS of it), I decided that it wasn't for me. It takes a certain type of person. This is a huge commitment much like any college would be and should be made with the most information that you can possibly get. Whatever you do, don't just go in because playing with the planes looks cool. You'll quickly realize that you made a mistake that you are now bound to for a few years. Find some people that are or were in, talk to them and find out what they think. Find some peers that are considering the same thing and pool resources. Talk to your councelor. Talk to some universities that have ROTC programs. Knowledge is power. The more you have, the happier you will be with your decision whatever it may be.
Whatever your course may be, good luck!! Keep the blue side up, and the brown side down
Soaringadi From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 472 posts, RR: 0 Reply 13, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 4623 times:
Just out of curiosity..... If we actually had pilotless planes, what about the air traffic control.... who would communicate. I know that planes could avoid collisions with Tcas etc., but with that they would just be all over the place.... and then what about "cleared to land" and all those complex instructions like hold on ... radial, or land n hold short, and so on.......
Markk From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 195 posts, RR: 0 Reply 16, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 4519 times:
While I doubt there would ever be pilotless planes I could see a situation where there are airliners with one pilot. With a pilot on the ground able to remote fly the plane in the even the single pilot on board becomes incapacitated. The one pilot on the ground could be responsible for say 5 planes at a time. That would save quite a bit of $$ for the airlines.
Zvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 65 Reply 17, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 4493 times:
Markk, one pilot may be a transitional step but, if so, two pilots on the ground would suffice for a large airline.
The big win comes with complete elmination of the cockpit -- obviously that will be the last step, not the first one. People will be much more comfortable with the idea once bombers and then cargo aircraft have been unmanned for a decade or so.
ATC would actually be much, much simpler and safer than the current system. It would work exactly the way birds avoid collisions. Using something like TCAS, each plane would know the location and heading of every other plane in a large radius (perhaps 50 miles or so). Planes would not be "all over the map" because they would make very small corrections well in advance.
It's even easy to automate turning on the seatbelt sign. Aircraft would transmit turbulence information just as pilots do now, but with much more precision. Also, the airframe can detect present turbulence at least as well as a pilot and can react faster.
While I'm sure there will be other developments that are not presently obvious to me, the advent of pilotless airliners is the only major improvement in air safety that I see coming.
Once bombers have developed the technology, airliners will be built with cockpits and with avionics that don't require a pilot. Cargo versions of these aircraft will go immediately to single-pilot operation as an observer. Airliners will have two pilot-observers. Eventually, when people realize they are paying to fly two observers around who don't really do anything, airliners will get just one pilot-observer. Then the cargo planes will go unmanned. Next the airliners will go unmanned. Once that happens, new airliners will be built without cockpits.
USAir330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 807 posts, RR: 1 Reply 19, posted (8 years 10 months 5 days ago) and read 4449 times:
KYIPpilot..... I don't know what type of subway's you guys have overthere in Detroit but here in Philly the conductors control the trains as well as in New York, D.C., Chicago and wherever else they have an EL or Subway.
But I think you're talking about the monorails or streetcars so I know what you really mean....
Buckieboy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 24, posted (8 years 10 months 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 4359 times:
For civil aviation, my answer would be yes.
When the Glasgow underground re-opened around 1977, it didn't "need" drivers. This is a simple, circular underground railway with 15 stations.
Drivers exist today because of the psychological problems passengers would face if they knew that the train was driverless. Given this, I know that there are driverless trains in use; if memory serves me correctly, at DFW for instance.
Just my 5 Rappen.
25 WhiteHatter: The more likely move will be for single pilot operation. It will be interesting to watch the same kind of logic and experience that brought about ETOP
26 September11: Will Pilots Be Needed in 30 years? YES. Will Flight Attendants Be Needed in 30 years? YES. Will Airport Customer Service Representatives Be Needed in
27 FutureUApilot: Will pilots ever be non existant... http://www.flightlevel350.com/mediatemp/2-1091916738-7.wvx Link above is a vid of the worlds first computer contro
28 ZOTAN: What you should be more worried about is how the industry will be in when you go looking for a job. Coming out of the air force right now you would be
29 Gary2880: i remember i saw on a tv programme once 'in the future cockpits will be totaly computerised, appart from one man and a dog. the dog is there to bite t
30 Ss278: Rumor has it that the next generation (post 787) of Boeing planes are being designed for a flight crew consisting of one pilot and one dog. The job of
31 FlyMIA: Yanksn4: Do have 20/20 vision? If you dont I am pretty sure you can not go into the AF. I also want to be a commercial pilot but have 20/15 vision so
32 AirWillie6475: Whats this talk about self flying planes, why you wouldn't need pilots? Cars and Planes are completely different. Have you seen independence day and a
33 Leezyjet: All those pilotless planes are still flown by people, just that the people are on the ground, so they still need a person to control them somewhere al
34 Mdsh00: Has your computer ever crashed? Until a computer that never crashes is produced, you won't see me on a pilotless airplane. Forget about the computer.
35 Zvezda: LeezyJet wrote: "Maybe also a system where ATC actually physically control the a/c, they send the course/altitude/speed changes direct to the FMC via
36 HAWK21M: Luckly no one Suggested "Will Mx personnel be needed in 30 yrs". Maybe they would if the Topic title comes true regds MEL
37 JDD1: I see the introduction to no-pilot operation as follows: Military airplanes will go automatic first (already happening with large a/c -Global Express)
38 VEEREF: " I also have a cousin who currently works on aircraft that fly into storms and help with weather prediction, completely flown by computer." True, but
39 HAWK21M: What in case ATF production ends. regds MEL
40 NUair: Hmm It would make a very interesting scenario for the Dept. of Homeland Security or any other national dept. of security. Just think a terrorist would
41 CasInterest: As a software engineer with a telecom background, let me just state this. Telecom always works towards the 5 9's being the 99.999% accuracy in process
42 Boeing7E7: Yes, but due to a generational shift and acceptance of potential technology there may only be one of them on less than 200 seaters. It's all about the
43 UA772IAD: Pilots will always be needed. Here's a real life example. In Washington, the Metro (our subway), is computer controlled, its called ATS, and runs on C