Guest

How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 2:37 am

I was just thinking:
How long will Airline Pilots really be needed?? 20 years or so down the road technology could be so advanced (maybe it already it is starting to become) that the planes will fly themselves. So would it really be useful for a person to go to college now and be an airline pilot if a few years down the road they will be phased out by technology? I got this idea from a show I saw on discovery channel a while back when some guy was talking about this advanced stuff.
 
AviationIvi
Posts: 760
Joined: Fri Feb 16, 2001 2:49 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 2:44 am

to answer your question:
ALWAYS!
 
contrails
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Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2000 11:53 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 2:45 am

When the day comes that planes no longer have pilots I'll stop flying.

What a revolting idea. Sounds like something Robert CrAAndAAl would love.

Flying Colors Forever!
 
Guest

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 2:49 am

i guess that dude was a real freak!  Smile I thought the masking tape between the glasses told me something! I kinda thought it was a messed thought while i heard it, but was just wondering what you guys thought.
 
watewate
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 3:05 am

"How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?"

Long enough so that it shouldn't discourage prospective pilots from not pursuing their dreams to fly.
 
AC_A340
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 3:14 am

All the aircraft that are being produced now require pilots. They will be in service 20 years from now. So they will still need pilots 20 years from now. It would take at least 8 years for a new pilot-less aircraft to be designed so manufacturing could start. And all the aircraft in the planning stages right now require pilots. So to answer your question, I don't think it will be in our useful lifetime. No matter how good a computer is, nothing can replace the judgement of a skilled pilot.
 
GDB
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 3:19 am

Try selling seats on a pilotless aircraft.
Military UAV's are not a pointer to the future of civil aircraft, as they don't carry people or have to make a profit.
 
FBU 4EVER!
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 5:40 am

Think of the COMPUTERS needed to handle all the unplanned happenings in an aviation environment,like a plane plummeting down after a decompression in crowded airspace,entering unforeseen turbulence,passenger rage and all other things that happen everyday and that requires split-second decisions,and you'll see this as a veeeeery remote possibility!
And if it should happen,please keep Microsoft out of the airplane building business.Please!!!
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
 
Matt D
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 5:46 am

Agreed. While it will no doubt be technologically possible within the next decade or two, trying to convince the public (and the airlines) to accept such an aircraft is an entirely different matter.

I wouldn't expect to see a pilotless commercial aircraft before the year 2040. But it WILL happen eventually, as peoples natural resistance to change and technology is slowly eroded away (insomuch as it is in many other areas of our everyday lives).
 
NWA
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 5:47 am

lol FBU, they will make patches after several crash, then those may not be right,  Laugh out loud
23 victor, turn right heading 210, maintain 3000 till established, cleared ILS runwy 24.
 
flight152
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 5:57 am

I thought the masking tape between the glasses told me something!

Trust me, it does!  Laugh out loud
 
Boeing Nut
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 6:14 am

There will always be at least two pilots on a passenger airliner. One pilot to back up the aircraft, and a second pilot two back up the first pilot. I.E. captain has a heart attack.
I'm not a real aeronautical engineer, I just play one on Airliners.net.
 
FBU 4EVER!
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Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:53 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 6:27 am

Future flight decks will have one pilot and one dog.
The dog keeps the pilot awake and the pilot feeds the dog!  Laugh out loud
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
 
PHX 1
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 7:59 am

I hope there always will be a need for pilots. You may think I'm strange but I trust a human more than computers! And even if computers adventually do take over, there always be a need for somebody to over see what the computers are doing.
 
VH-KCT*
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 8:09 am

People will always feel safer if they know a person is in charge and not a computer. That's why pilots will always be in charge of flights.

Besides, if Microsoft started making planes without pilots - there would still be the need for someone to sit in the cockpit and get ready to do a Ctrl-Alt-Del when the bloody thing froze.
I am The Stig
 
Guest

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 11:48 am

They still need a driver for the 30mph trolly here in San Diego... I doubt that they will be able to pilot a 500mph plane in and out of busy airports without some sort of huge break through.
 
doug_or
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 12:46 pm

FBU- the way i heard it, the pilot feeds the dog, and the dog bites the pilot if he touches anything  Smile
When in doubt, one B pump off
 
Buff
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 12:56 pm

I hope pilots will be required until at least the day after my 65th birthday!

(In Canada, we may exercise our ATPL's until our 65th birthday.)

Best Regards,

Buff
 
MX727
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 1:08 pm

To fly an aircraft is more than just flying it. A lot of decision making and judgement is needed in every flight in the world and i do not think any computer now has the skills to deal with every day decisions that are taken by pilots.
Anyway, if all professions are taken up by computers, I don't know what we will be doing in the future for living. It seems we all will be without a job and without money to buy a plane ticket for the automated airplanes.
Talking about Microsoft airplanes, I think they will take about 6 minutes to start engines (just like a computer to start).
VH-KCT. I agree with the Ctrl-Alt-Del stuff.
I don't like such a beautiful profession to be taken by technology. lets make technology help us, not destroy us.
Regards.
 
242
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 1:10 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 1:11 pm

>>How long will Airline Pilots really be needed?? 20 years or so down the road technology could be so advanced (maybe it already it is starting to become) that the planes will fly themselves<<

It's quite a ways off, but it's inevitable. I'd say at least 50 years.

>>All the aircraft that are being produced now require pilots. They will be in service 20 years from now. So they will still need pilots 20 years from now. It would take at least 8 years for a new pilot-less aircraft to be designed so manufacturing could start. And all the aircraft in the planning stages right now require pilots<<

The new fly-by-wire aircraft will be the easiest to convert to pilot-less technology. The electrical signals that come from the pilots control wheel, rudder pedals. throttles etc... can be replaced with a system of redundant flight computers with little modification to the aircraft itself.

>>Try selling seats on a pilotless aircraft. <<

If the fare is low enough, and the goverment says it's safe, people will get on it.

I'd guess that there will still be one "observer pilot" on board a computer controlled airliner for several years after they're implemented to placate the pilot unions.

But all of this is a long way off. Somone just starting a pilot career now most likely will not be affected.


 
747_pilot85
Posts: 17
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 1:15 pm

In my opinion, there will always be a need for pilots. Even when technology evolves and planes are able to fly absolutely by comptuter (even though some are already) there will need to be a pilot to overlook the controls.

Also, I think that a pilot will be more useful in an emergency situation because a programed computer will only do what it is programed to, where as a humanbeing could have several ideas as in what to do.

Therefore, I think there will always be a trained personal aboard any aircraft no matter how advanced technology gets.

haroracer85@hotmail.com
 
delta-flyer
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 1:17 pm

Pilots will be around for a long time to come, but never say "never".

It's very revealing that the some arguments posted above for why pilots will never be phased out sound very similar to the arguments 15 years ago about the 2-man cockpit. People were revolted by the notion. You absolutely could not dispense with the flight engineer!

Well, they did! Most of the young guys on this forum never think twice about seeing a 2-man crew fly a 747-400 on a 10 hour flight across the ocean. It's just accepted fact today.

What about the pilotless aircraft? 50 years? 100 years?
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
DG_pilot
Posts: 810
Joined: Tue Sep 07, 1999 10:21 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 3:08 pm

I hope technology never destroys the profession of being an aviator.

Secondly, how many times does just your computer crash in a year? 10, 20, 30, 50+ times? Something to think about...

If you are concerned about letting a computer maybe eliminate your lifestyle in the future, do something about it to prevent just that.
 
kaitakfan
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 4:46 pm

isnt it a fact that most accidents are caused by human error?? just a thought...
 
galaxy5
Posts: 1952
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Fri Aug 17, 2001 8:49 pm

hey this sounds familiar, didnt they say the same thing about the flight engineers and navigators that people wouldnt fly on a palne without one and they are needed in situations of emergencies. dont kid yourself. eventually the airline corps will want to get rid of pilots and the technology is already there. i for one wouldnt want to fly on a pilotless aircraft but i guarantee when the ticket prices on those aircraft are 20% cheaper than the piloted ones the general public will have no quams at all of flying on a pilotless airplane. all when was the last time you heard of a robot or computer going on strike and shutting down a business. pilots will be there own downfall dont forget they are the most expensive employee on the aircraft and the industry is constantly trying to find ways to cut costs.
"damn, I didnt know prince could Ball like that" - Charlie Murphy
 
242
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Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 1:10 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 2:39 am

>>>hey this sounds familiar, didnt they say the same thing about the flight engineers and navigators that people wouldnt fly on a palne without one and they are needed in situations of emergencies. dont kid yourself. eventually the airline corps will want to get rid of pilots and the technology is already there. i for one wouldnt want to fly on a pilotless aircraft but i guarantee when the ticket prices on those aircraft are 20% cheaper than the piloted ones the general public will have no quams at all of flying on a pilotless airplane. all when was the last time you heard of a robot or computer going on strike and shutting down a business. pilots will be there own downfall dont forget they are the most expensive employee on the aircraft and the industry is constantly trying to find ways to cut costs.<<<

Completely agree. Since pilots are always complaining about how bad their jobs are, they should welcome the pilot-less airliner with open arms.

 
fritzi
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 3:51 am

In commercial aviation, I think that pilots will be used for a long time to come. The passengers would probably freak out if they found out that there were no pilots flying the a/c and they would have to put their fate in the hands of a computer. I certainly feel that its safer having a pilot up there in cockpit even if its being flown by the Autopilot.
 
FBU 4EVER!
Posts: 980
Joined: Sat Jan 27, 2001 6:53 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 6:01 am

If the dog on the flight deck bit me,I'd bite back and eat his food!
What do you know,it might even be better than what some airlines serve their passengers!Especially those airlines that contemplate replacing pilots with computers! They are run by economists and don't care about humans,anyway!  Big thumbs up
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
 
high_flyr69
Posts: 497
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2001 6:19 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 9:53 am

the mere thought that my dreams of becoming a pilot can be wiped out by some technology expert disgusts me technology can never replace a good pilot or a bad one for that matter
SCREW YOU!!!! all u technology experts and go find something else to work on
 Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed Pissed
cheers
high_flyr69
Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice Doggy' until you find the shot gun
 
Twotterwrench
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 10:26 am

The technology exists today. In fact, on modern jetliners the most the pilot is really needed for is to program the waypoints and taxi to the runway. After that, they are little more than "button pushers." The minimal functions they do perform could easily be replaced with a computer. In fact, regulations require that the aircraft fly a CAT III approach because the airplane is much more capable of this than the pilot is. What does that tell you about needing pilot's in the cockpit???

One could make the argument that a pilot is necessary to handle emregencies. Well, these situations are quite rare, and in many cases, the actions that the pilot take prepetuate the problem instead of solving it. Read CVR transcripts of many accidents and you will quickly see that often the crew hasn't the foggiest idea what is going on. Computers aren't going to forget to set the flaps for take off. They aren't going to taxi for take-off if the time allowances for de-icing have been surpassed. They aren't going to let the autopilot fly the airplane into the ground because they are too busy arguing about a burned out light bulb to notice what else is going wrong with their aircraft. Better yet, they are not affected by hangovers and marital stress and fatigue and financial problems. They do what they are programmed to do over and over and over again. And they certainly don't bitch about crew scheduling calling them in the middle of the night.

Certainly a lot of arguments can be made for keeping the pilot in the cockpit. But I would rather it be that he had no input in the decision making process unless everything else had failed. Let him monitor the computers but make sure the dog bites him long before he touches anything.

I don't know how long it will take before passengers are comfortable flying in an airplane without a pilot but I am quite certain the day will come. Especially with strain that pilot's inflated salaries place on airlines financially, the bean counters (who we all know are the ones REALLY in charge) are going to look at eliminating pilot's in a very favorable light. I for one would be quite happy to cruise to my destination with out a pilot, but I know I am currently the exception, not the rule. Now before all you nitwits freak out on me, remember, this is only MY PERSONAL opinion.
 
242
Posts: 495
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 1:10 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 12:33 pm

>>Military UAV's are not a pointer to the future of civil aircraft, as they don't carry people or have to make a profit. <<

I beg to differ. Just about every innovation commonly found in todays airliners (auto-pilot, anti-lock brakes, jet engines, and many, many others) were devloped under military funding, and tested with military aircraft.

The UAVs are most certainly pointng to the future of civil aviation.

 
Guest

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 12:53 pm

Everybody in a job involving constantly improving technology is replacable.
It's all a matter of personal preference...convenience...comfort...safety.

~Are travel agents still "needed?"
~Are airline airport and reservations agents still "needed?"

...think about it...so many things once manned by a human are automated.

I would rather fly in an aircraft with airline crew.
 
MX727
Posts: 121
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2001 4:11 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 6:28 pm

twoterwrench:
You talk about emergencies that ended in accident. Pilots handle situations every day that differ from taxiing and program waypoints. It's seems you have no idea of what's involved in flying an aircraft, and it seems you are jealous about our salaries. Sorry... we get money for doing our job well. maybe you should become a pilot and earn a good salary.

242:
I don't complain about my job.
 
Airbus Lover
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RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sat Aug 18, 2001 10:32 pm

Pilots all the way. Human brain is still the best... hehe

 
Twotterwrench
Posts: 1087
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 5:57 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sun Aug 19, 2001 2:40 am

mx - you are just spouting emotional hoorah at me. I made good points for the reasons I don't think pilots are necessary. I also admitted that good arguments could be made for keeping a pilot in the cockpit. I cited examples where I believe that having a computer in charge is better choice and why I believe that. And then at the end I was very careful to say that it was all merely my opinion. I never made any kind of personal attack whatsoever and I would appreciate it if you could attempt to keep your responses to me on the same level of maturity.

Good Day...

(As to not knowing what it takes to fly a plane, I have over 1400 hours flying various single and light twin piston and turbo prop aircraft; mostly in Bush Alaska. I have worked line maintenance for various airlines for almost 15 years. I know what it takes to fly an airplane.. not that I should have to defend myself here. I am a mechanic by choice as I know I would not enjoy flying commercially. To me, that is merely flying a fancy bus...once again, only my PERSONAL opinion.)
 
jessman
Posts: 1457
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2001 1:11 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sun Aug 19, 2001 5:05 am

Welcome to my respected users list Twotterwrench.
I agree on the commercial pilots, they are rapidly becoming the bus drivers of the 21'st century, yet judging by their contract negotiations with arilines they are so full of themselves...*sigh* bad memories.
 
delta-flyer
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2001 9:47 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Sun Aug 19, 2001 7:15 am

The traditionalists see everything from today's (and yesterday's) perspective. No one knows exactly how the industry will evolve, what role artificial intelligence will play, and whether human pilots will be needed or not. Certainly, this is not a subject that calls for people to be rude to one another, but one that should foster some "blue-sky" brainstorming.

Perhaps the answers lie in science fiction, where creative minds have constructed many elaborate scenarios. Perhaps there will be a single pilot sitting in an easy chair telling the flight computer what to do.

"Captain - we are approaching ORD - shall I commence descent sequence?"
"That's affirmative."
"Captain - there is a MegaAir A5380 on intersecting trajectory."
"On screen"......


"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
Red Panda
Posts: 1433
Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2000 12:58 pm

RE: Never

Sun Aug 19, 2001 7:19 am

pax won't go on the plane if there were no pilots on board. If you were a pax, would you put your life in someone's hand who is on ground? I don't think so. Ppl on board must have some control of the a/c.

my opinion
r panda
 
delta-flyer
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2001 9:47 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Mon Aug 20, 2001 12:48 am

Red Panda -- No, I would not fly on a plane without a pilot. But my yet unborn great-grandson might.

My point is, think outside the box!
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
FDXmech
Posts: 3219
Joined: Sun Mar 19, 2000 9:48 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Mon Aug 20, 2001 3:05 am

As an airline mechanic, I would never step into a pilotless airliner nor do I see this scenario for at least several generations.

Aside from the view of the passenger, do you think the non-flying public would allow pilotless aircraft flying and landing over population centers and airport authorities allowing such planes to land on their runways? Not me, the NIMBY's would have a field day and the politicians would lambast any such idea.

Who will be accountable for any incident, accident or any regulation broken in the realm of operating such an aircraft. A computer programmer?
You're only as good as your last departure.
 
jsuen
Posts: 204
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2001 2:36 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Mon Aug 20, 2001 4:46 am

I would like to bring up a comparable example from another mode of transportation. In the San Francisco Bay Area, we have a mass transit train system called BART. From its beginnings in the 70s, it featured Automatic Train Control. All the train operator does is push a button to close the doors, mumble over the PA what the next stop is and handle emergencies. Train speed control and track switching are done automatically. I am aware of several other subway systems in the world which use a similar system and all have operators(although I believe Bart is the largest).

I don't think there's ever been an accident involving malfunctioning of BART's ATC system. The only major accident that comes to mind is a fire in the transbay tube. Even though the system is safe and automated, a train operator is still present. Therefore, if planes ever become completely automated, I feel that pilots will still be present.
 
delta-flyer
Posts: 2631
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2001 9:47 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Mon Aug 20, 2001 5:05 am

I think the DLR in London (Docklands Light Rail) is fully automated with no driver. It makes several stops between the Tower Bridge and Lewisham stations, with multiple units traveling simultaneously in both directions.
"In God we trust, everyone else bring data"
 
242
Posts: 495
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2000 1:10 pm

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Mon Aug 20, 2001 10:11 am

>>>Aside from the view of the passenger, do you think the non-flying public would allow pilotless aircraft flying and landing over population centers and airport authorities allowing such planes to land on their runways? Not me, the NIMBY's would have a field day and the politicians would lambast any such idea. <<<

Times change, and so do attitudes. Remember, there was a time when passengers were fearful of getting on an aircraft to begin with.

 
futurpilot
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2011 10:12 am

RE: How Long Will Pilots Be Needed?

Mon Aug 20, 2001 12:42 pm

I think a pilot will always be needed, in a test done on the discovery channel during a show i was watching, a new airbus( i cant remember the type) was doing a low altitude fly bye at an airshow, and the very advanced flight computer took over and would let the pilot pull up to clear the trees and crashied, killing several, this is why i believe there will never be pilotless airplanes. I am one of those who will be going to school next fall to be a professional pilot also.

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