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Dutchy
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Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 6:46 pm

Plenty of commercial airliners are flown on autopilot for the majority of the journey. The pilot is just kind of a failsafe. But it’s still a reassuring notion that there’s someone there in case things go wrong. And recently, Airbus’ chief salesman has said that the jets could become completely autonomous. As soon as passengers feel comfortable getting on board a pilotless vehicle. In an interview with The Associated Press, Christian Scherer from Airbus said the company is hoping to have electric jets available in the next fifteen years. He also said that Airbus has ‘the technology for autonomous flying’ as well as the option of flying with just one pilot.


Source

It is fascinating indeed, technology is there, but the general public doesn't want it yet. Are there any regulatory restrictions that prevent Airbus from bringing something like a one pilot option or a zero pilot option to the market? Cargo wouldn't care, so why hasn't Airbus brought something like a pilotless A330F out? Should save cargo companies tons of money and moreover gain experience with one pilot operations or pilotless flight?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
crjflyboy
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:02 pm

not happening, and I personally will never get inside a driverless vehicle on the streets either.

Every system can be hacked.
 
DoctorVenkman
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:04 pm

It doesn't seem like it's worth the risk to remove pilots from the equation. Their salary is a relatively small component of the overall cost of a flight.

Let's be really generous and assume a $300k average salary for a long-haul pilot. At 1000 hours of flying per year, that's $300/hour/pilot to fly. On a 12-hour flight with 4 pilots, they'd cost $14,400 using those assumptions. Spread that over 300 passengers and it comes to an average cost of $48/passenger on a 12 hour flight.

I would happily pay $48 more to ensure there are human beings up front to take over when the automation inevitably fails.
 
Blotto
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:09 pm

Technology is there?? I highly doubt that. Having the questionable honor of working with Airbus software in the last years I have seen too much IT fails to believe for a second that they are ready for autonomous flights.
And I hope authorities feel that way too. Even for Cargo since the aircraft don't only crash over open water
 
WeatherPilot
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:10 pm

No, thankyou...
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:11 pm

DoctorVenkman wrote:
It doesn't seem like it's worth the risk to remove pilots from the equation. Their salary is a relatively small component of the overall cost of a flight.

Let's be really generous and assume a $300k average salary for a long-haul pilot. At 1000 hours of flying per year, that's $300/hour/pilot to fly. On a 12-hour flight with 4 pilots, they'd cost $14,400 using those assumptions. Spread that over 300 passengers and it comes to an average cost of $48/passenger on a 12 hour flight.

I would happily pay $48 more to ensure there are human beings up front to take over when the automation inevitably fails.


How much profit do they make on the 12-hour flight?
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
DoctorVenkman
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:17 pm

Dutchy wrote:
DoctorVenkman wrote:
It doesn't seem like it's worth the risk to remove pilots from the equation. Their salary is a relatively small component of the overall cost of a flight.

Let's be really generous and assume a $300k average salary for a long-haul pilot. At 1000 hours of flying per year, that's $300/hour/pilot to fly. On a 12-hour flight with 4 pilots, they'd cost $14,400 using those assumptions. Spread that over 300 passengers and it comes to an average cost of $48/passenger on a 12 hour flight.

I would happily pay $48 more to ensure there are human beings up front to take over when the automation inevitably fails.


How much profit do they make on the 12-hour flight?


Profit wouldn't really change in the long run since the airline industry is so competitive. The first couple movers would have a competitive advantage since their expenses would be lower than the rest of the airlines. However, once pilotless aircraft became widespread, the competition would remove any excess profits by driving down fares. In the end tickets would be cheaper and airlines would be making roughly the same profit as before.
Last edited by DoctorVenkman on Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:18 pm

crjflyboy wrote:
not happening, and I personally will never get inside a driverless vehicle on the streets either.

Every system can be hacked.


I can sympathize with you, certainly, but then again things move on and we all might feel quite different about this technology in a few years time. I think it is inevitable that we will see pilotless aircraft transporting people.
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
 
crjflyboy
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:27 pm

Dutchy wrote:
crjflyboy wrote:
not happening, and I personally will never get inside a driverless vehicle on the streets either.

Every system can be hacked.


I can sympathize with you, certainly, but then again things move on and we all might feel quite different about this technology in a few years time. I think it is inevitable that we will see pilotless aircraft transporting people.


I'm going to respectfully disagree with you … I will only ride driverless trams at the airports as they on tracks and travel at relatively slow speeds.
 
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Dutchy
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:46 pm

crjflyboy wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
crjflyboy wrote:
not happening, and I personally will never get inside a driverless vehicle on the streets either.

Every system can be hacked.


I can sympathize with you, certainly, but then again things move on and we all might feel quite different about this technology in a few years time. I think it is inevitable that we will see pilotless aircraft transporting people.


I'm going to respectfully disagree with you … I will only ride driverless trams at the airports as they on tracks and travel at relatively slow speeds.


That is fine, we will see what will happen in 10 years time. 8-)
Many happy landings, greetings from The Netherlands!
 
flight152
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:48 pm

DoctorVenkman wrote:
It doesn't seem like it's worth the risk to remove pilots from the equation. Their salary is a relatively small component of the overall cost of a flight.

Let's be really generous and assume a $300k average salary for a long-haul pilot. At 1000 hours of flying per year, that's $300/hour/pilot to fly. On a 12-hour flight with 4 pilots, they'd cost $14,400 using those assumptions. Spread that over 300 passengers and it comes to an average cost of $48/passenger on a 12 hour flight.

I would happily pay $48 more to ensure there are human beings up front to take over when the automation inevitably fails.

That’s being really generous? Large widebody captain at delta tops out at $350 an hour (Any pilot senior enough to hold it will be topped out). At a modest 82 hours a month, that’s over $350,000, without any soft time, premium pay, or per diem.
 
SteelChair
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 7:56 pm

Its going to happen, just a matter of time.

And its not just pilots, but many, many jobs. What are people gonna be doing in 50 years?
 
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airportugal310
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:02 pm

Methinks you'd see a huge spike in insurance premiums as well which would be another financial hurdle for operators/airlines etc
I sell airplanes and airplane accessories
 
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N328KF
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:09 pm

Agreed, just a matter of time. You'll see it with cargo operators first. I suspect you'll also see it as an option in two-pilot aircraft as a safety backstop.
“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
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tommy1808
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:11 pm

crjflyboy wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
crjflyboy wrote:
not happening, and I personally will never get inside a driverless vehicle on the streets either.

Every system can be hacked.


I can sympathize with you, certainly, but then again things move on and we all might feel quite different about this technology in a few years time. I think it is inevitable that we will see pilotless aircraft transporting people.


I'm going to respectfully disagree with you … I will only ride driverless trams at the airports as they on tracks and travel at relatively slow speeds.


You'll be out of subways to use rather soon...

Best regards
Thomas
This Singature is a safe space......
 
Bobloblaw
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:11 pm

DoctorVenkman wrote:
Dutchy wrote:
DoctorVenkman wrote:
It doesn't seem like it's worth the risk to remove pilots from the equation. Their salary is a relatively small component of the overall cost of a flight.

Let's be really generous and assume a $300k average salary for a long-haul pilot. At 1000 hours of flying per year, that's $300/hour/pilot to fly. On a 12-hour flight with 4 pilots, they'd cost $14,400 using those assumptions. Spread that over 300 passengers and it comes to an average cost of $48/passenger on a 12 hour flight.

I would happily pay $48 more to ensure there are human beings up front to take over when the automation inevitably fails.


How much profit do they make on the 12-hour flight?


Profit wouldn't really change in the long run since the airline industry is so competitive. The first couple movers would have a competitive advantage since their expenses would be lower than the rest of the airlines. However, once pilotless aircraft became widespread, the competition would remove any excess profits by driving down fares. In the end tickets would be cheaper and airlines would be making roughly the same profit as before.

I agree. Ultimately every cost savings the past 50 years has gotten passed on to consumers. Airline profits may indeed be up but it’s due to flights being more full
 
BlatantEcho
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:13 pm

Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)
 
Ziyulu
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:18 pm

Sure, they are installing automated gates, and self-service check in is already happening. Just get rid of a few more workers.
 
flight152
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:25 pm

[photoid][/photoid]
BlatantEcho wrote:
Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)


Wow, tell us how you really feel about pilots.
 
emiratesdriver
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:35 pm

BlatantEcho wrote:
Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)


Spoken like a true ignorant Luddite, ignorant of the fact that my Airbus Jet is incapable of carrying out an automatic landing in gusty xwinds exceeding 25kts, is incapable of taxying to and from the stand, is incapable of identifying and avoiding certain areas of dangerous convective weather or avoiding wake turbulence, is incapable of reliably detecting real faults vs spurious ones and is utterly unable to accurately anticipate speed excursions in mountain wave or turbulence. All of these situations can and have led to the loss of airframes and lives.
Yep all the basic things day to day are a LONG way from being solved, despite what a headline hungry profit driven non aviator technocrat has to say.
Last edited by emiratesdriver on Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
 
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OA940
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:35 pm

I wouldn't go on a driverless car with a gun pointed at my head, much less so on a pilotless plane. And that's what the majority of the flying public thinks too. The job is simply too demanding to replace pilots.
A350/CSeries = bae
 
LXM83
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:46 pm

I'll be on the first commercial pilotless flight!

I think we'll see pilotless flights before driverless vehicles as aircraft are operating in much less unpredictable conditions than roads with pedestrians, cyclists, stray animals, bad visibility, poor roads etc.
 
n6238p
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:50 pm

A few months ago I made a post that got buried in a less visited part of the a.net forums. Anyways I'll repost it here just for s*** and giggles.

I enjoy reading these threads. Not because I think it's an interesting topic, but because of the misinformation of what the automation on a modern plane is actually capable of doing. Take for example the aircraft I fly, the A320 family of planes. Let me take you on a leg of my day of what I have to do that automation cannot. It's winter time so I'll just use a winter day as my example. For this one, we'll go from ORD-IAH and assume there's a weather system between here and there.

I arrive in the cockpit and notice already there's a nuisance ECAM. I know this message will clear, its common that it pops up sometimes when a lot of fuel is being put on the aircraft. I watch it but I know it'll clear in a minute or two. If this plane was self reporting, maybe it's going to summon maintenance unnecessarily causing wasted time and delays. How would the plane know? How will maintenance know? How will maintenance know the plane was being fueled triggering the nuisance. Anyways small potatoes, let me go do my walk around.

I walk around and see fluid dripping from the engine cowling. Our aircraft is a NEO, any fluid dripping from the cowling is a no go item. I look closer, its residual deicing fluid that has run from the wing down the cowling. I bring this example up because I actually found a small fluid drip on a NEO that turned out to be fuel. Ended up cancelling a flight because it revealed a lot broken fuel system parts after the cowling was open. Inside the aircraft? There were no indications of any issues. We took about a hour delay because the broken equipment was discovered. This job can easily be solved by having a mechanic do a walk around but lets say I'm at an outstation that utilizes contract maintenance? Who is going to figure out this is a problem or just water or deicing fluid? Beats me. The airplane sure isn't going to.

I get back in the plane, we're done fueling. It's cold out, about a degree above freezing, but there's no falling precip. Calm winds. On my walk around the leading edges of the wings, stabs were all clean of ice. I walk back to the exit rows and look out the windows. Sure enough the top of the wings over the fuel tanks have frosted up from the much cooler fuel. We have to deice. The plane isn't going to know there's ice on this part of the wing. Only human eyes can see this. We call for deicing after pushback.

We call for push. There are no planes in the alley, the push goes as planned until the towbar breaks. Crappy towbar had worn sheer pins and now the aircraft is no longer attached to the tug and is rolling backwards towards parked airplanes. The headset cord from the tug to the plane breaks and there no longer is communication to the cockpit. We see the tug appear further than typical from the plane and rampers are frantically waving their arms at us. One of us steps on the brakes and stops. Crisis averted. Would the plane have known on it's own it is freely rolling backwards towards disaster? Lets say the push goes as planned, who commands to start the engines of the aircraft? Short taxi both engines are started but what if there's a money line for 28L at N5 at ORD. 20 planes deep, how is the aircraft going to know it won't be taking off for a half hour or so? Will it just burn gas for no reason? We get our taxi instructions. A A15 N to 28R/N5. We enter taxiway A and on one of the cross roads, a tug brakes late and ends up about 4-5 feet past the stop line. We going to clear the tug by about 40' but it's across the safety line. Do we stop or do we continue? Human intervention strikes again.

The money line is too deep and A15 taxiway isn't going to work. We get told by Ohare ground to continue on A all the way down to A9 and now T and N and to hold for two RJ's from the right who will join in sequence ahead of us but a third Ejet will give way for us. Who inputs this information into the aircraft if it had an auto taxi function? Long taxi the brake temperature is slowly climbing. At 300 degrees, we have to pull off to the side until they cool, take off is prohibited. We gotta really baby the brakes. It's cold out but it doesn't matter. The brake temps slowly approach 200. Due to some snow that hasn't cleared yet on the taxiways, we turn on the engine anti ice. We won't need it for take off but we can't risk ingesting ice on the taxiway. We wait in line, now 10 to go, and it starts snowing. Light snow but it's still snow. Lake Michigan is a tricky SOB. When we deiced we got type 1 and IV deicing fluid. We're well within our holdover time but now the runway is contaminated. The ATIS isn't calling snow yet but we see it with our eyes. We decide that we need to re run performance numbers with engine anti ice on. A computer would never be able to make this determination.

We see we're about five minutes for take off, we start the second engine. Get to the end of the runway and are cleared for take off. We're given the O'HARE 5 departure and a turn to head 180. At 5.5 DME from the Chicago VOR, we need to be at or above 3000' MSL. A wind from the north has really got our ground speed clipping. We're not going to make the restriction unless we continue with our take off power and a hold off on trying to get to 250kts. The flight director is telling me to lower the nose to accelerate and FMA is telling me to go to climb power. I'm still within MCT/FLEX time limits on the plane so I continue to climb for a few more seconds in this configuration just to make sure we make the first restriction. If I turned the AP on as soon as I could and followed all aircraft instructions, not a chance I come close to complying with ATC.

This post is getting long so I'll just skip ahead to cruise.Flight level 340, AP on (hey look the airplane is "doing" all the flying). Around Little Rock, we see the beginning of a weather system that's going to follow us all the way to Houston. While we try to determine a game plane to pick our way around build ups, ATC asks us for crossing traffic, can we go up or down to an odd altitude. Looking at the weather ahead, we determine going up would get us clear of a majority of the clouds. The winds are stronger up there but down low we're going to have to take some vectors to get around some buildups we can see about 100 miles ahead. The radar isn't painting anything but we can see we can easily get jammed into a corner down low. As we get closer to the weather, some of the developing storms are well over the service ceiling of the plane. The radar is working but it's not working great. A few cells are causing attenuation. We want to stay away from those. There's clearing between two cells to our east on the radar but we can see with our eyes the giant overhang that fills the ceiling. To our west, there's a gap but it's a bit of a further distance away. If we can get there, we will be west of the weather that is just getting to Houston.

Continuing on our west vectors, things are getting bumpy but not too bad. It light turbulence but we turn on the seat belt sign. The turbulence gets stronger and we're experiencing occasional moderate. ATC informs us it's a better ride at FL300. We crunch the numbers with fuel and see that we can do it. East arrivals into IAH have been closed, the line of weather is getting heavy and aircraft are starting to hold. We're on the DRLLR.5 arrival. It's our lucky day. We're leading the pack and told to descend VIA the DRLLR.5 except maintain 300kts or greater. The DRLLR.5 has all sorts of speed restrictions on it and we don't need to follow any of them until we get past 10000'. The A320 has VNAV capabilities, the AP is working great but because of the amendment to the speed restrictions, I have the speed selected at 310kts. We want to get into Houston ASAP because the weather is a big question mark. We're screeming down when ATC comes back to us and tells us to resume published speeds at the DRLLR fix. The published speed is 250kts. The average rule of thumb in level flight is 10kts of speed can be lost for every 1NM. We're still on a descent and thanks to airbus logic,it always aims for the bottom of any altitude restrictions. We're going to cross DRLLR at 13000 even though it's published to be crossed between 16000-13000' but at the selected speed of 310kts. I need now to figure out how to get off the descent profile and lose the speed. If I cross the fix higher than the ideal aircraft profile, the airbus will snowball the high altitude and blow the rest of the arrival without human intervention. I set the speed for 320kts and pull for an open descent and deploy as much speedbrakes as I can. We'll level off at 13000' about 3-4 miles before DRLLR and miss the speed by maybe 10kts but it's close enough. ATC is happy and we continue on the descent path. Never in a million years would the automation on the aircraft been able to make a decision that'll take it off the profile to make a new restriction.

We're landing on runway 26R. It's still raining but the meat of the line of weather is 20 miles to the east of the airport. Winds are gusting up to 25kts from the north giving us a pretty good crosswind. ATC has us at 4000' feet MSL headed east. We're on radar vectors now. We fly past the airport. We're now 10 miles past the airport. We can see the back of the line of storms that just pushed through. We need to turn and we need to turn now back towards the airport. Using strategic language and a tone usually reserved for complaining about bad food at a restaurant, we get the approach controllers attention. We get a turn to the south and an eventual turn to intercept the final approach course. We're told to hold 210 kts. We have flaps 1 out but that's all we can do to slow other than dropping the gear. We're cleared for the ILS26R. Can't use an autoland (magic autoland) because of the crosswind and wet runway. We glide slope intercept at RAIDS fix on the approach and are still at 210kts. We need to slow and now we're fast, in gusts, and headed downhill. I ask for the gear, I pull the speedbrakes again, we're only slowing to 200. Not good enough for flaps 2. I click the auto pilot off and fly above the glide slope to shallow the descent to lose speed. We're one dot high and but enough for flaps two, it's working and we're able to get fully configured for landing. Break out of the clouds at 1500', stable at 1000'. Manually land with a 20 something knot crosswind and taxi off at the nearest high speed turn off.

Houston is full of taxiway construction, we're asked due to the mess the weather has caused to taxi all the way around to the east side of the terminal to go around the backside into the alley to find our gates in Terminal A. 40 minutes later through the congestion, we get to the gate. It's occupied with a flight that's delayed. We need to coordinate with the ramp to park our plane somewhere that's not in the way. Operations is telling us how much time we have until we have a gate. We finally park. We pull into the gate. We run a parking checklist. There's a ding. We got a nuisance ECAM. We still have to do one more flight out east.

This is a daily occurrence for pilots all over the world. I want someone to tell me how a self flying plane would handle this. This is how far we are from pilotless planes.
To actively root against anybody is just low, and I hope karma comes back at you with a vengeance
 
TMccrury
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 8:54 pm

Um, NO!!
 
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Seabear
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:00 pm

The Luddites were indeed correct, just took 200 years to come to pass.
 
stburke
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:07 pm

emiratesdriver wrote:
BlatantEcho wrote:
Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)


Spoken like a true ignorant Luddite, ignorant of the fact that my Airbus Jet is incapable of carrying out an automatic landing in gusty xwinds exceeding 25kts, is incapable of taxying to and from the stand, is incapable of identifying and avoiding certain areas of dangerous convective weather or avoiding wake turbulence, is incapable of reliably detecting real faults vs spurious ones and is utterly unable to accurately anticipate speed excursions in mountain wave or turbulence. All of these situations can and have led to the loss of airframes and lives.
Yep all the basic things day to day are a LONG way from being solved, despite what a headline hungry profit driven non aviator technocrat has to say.


Spoken like someone who's going on the defensive of their job that will be irrelevant in the future. Can blame you or the burger flippers for protecting your own pocketbooks.
Pilots should be trusted to fly the plane and that's it.
 
Sooner787
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:09 pm

Maybe in 40-50 years from now the technology will be mature enough to try it.

Fortunately, I'll be gone by then
 
wetpantsmcgee
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Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:11 pm

n6238p wrote:
A few months ago I made a post that got buried in a less visited part of the a.net forums. Anyways I'll repost it here just for s*** and giggles.

I enjoy reading these threads. Not because I think it's an interesting topic, but because of the misinformation of what the automation on a modern plane is actually capable of doing. Take for example the aircraft I fly, the A320 family of planes. Let me take you on a leg of my day of what I have to do that automation cannot. It's winter time so I'll just use a winter day as my example. For this one, we'll go from ORD-IAH and assume there's a weather system between here and there.

I arrive in the cockpit and notice already there's a nuisance ECAM. I know this message will clear, its common that it pops up sometimes when a lot of fuel is being put on the aircraft. I watch it but I know it'll clear in a minute or two. If this plane was self reporting, maybe it's going to summon maintenance unnecessarily causing wasted time and delays. How would the plane know? How will maintenance know? How will maintenance know the plane was being fueled triggering the nuisance. Anyways small potatoes, let me go do my walk around.

I walk around and see fluid dripping from the engine cowling. Our aircraft is a NEO, any fluid dripping from the cowling is a no go item. I look closer, its residual deicing fluid that has run from the wing down the cowling. I bring this example up because I actually found a small fluid drip on a NEO that turned out to be fuel. Ended up cancelling a flight because it revealed a lot broken fuel system parts after the cowling was open. Inside the aircraft? There were no indications of any issues. We took about a hour delay because the broken equipment was discovered. This job can easily be solved by having a mechanic do a walk around but lets say I'm at an outstation that utilizes contract maintenance? Who is going to figure out this is a problem or just water or deicing fluid? Beats me. The airplane sure isn't going to.

I get back in the plane, we're done fueling. It's cold out, about a degree above freezing, but there's no falling precip. Calm winds. On my walk around the leading edges of the wings, stabs were all clean of ice. I walk back to the exit rows and look out the windows. Sure enough the top of the wings over the fuel tanks have frosted up from the much cooler fuel. We have to deice. The plane isn't going to know there's ice on this part of the wing. Only human eyes can see this. We call for deicing after pushback.

We call for push. There are no planes in the alley, the push goes as planned until the towbar breaks. Crappy towbar had worn sheer pins and now the aircraft is no longer attached to the tug and is rolling backwards towards parked airplanes. The headset cord from the tug to the plane breaks and there no longer is communication to the cockpit. We see the tug appear further than typical from the plane and rampers are frantically waving their arms at us. One of us steps on the brakes and stops. Crisis averted. Would the plane have known on it's own it is freely rolling backwards towards disaster? Lets say the push goes as planned, who commands to start the engines of the aircraft? Short taxi both engines are started but what if there's a money line for 28L at N5 at ORD. 20 planes deep, how is the aircraft going to know it won't be taking off for a half hour or so? Will it just burn gas for no reason? We get our taxi instructions. A A15 N to 28R/N5. We enter taxiway A and on one of the cross roads, a tug brakes late and ends up about 4-5 feet past the stop line. We going to clear the tug by about 40' but it's across the safety line. Do we stop or do we continue? Human intervention strikes again.

The money line is too deep and A15 taxiway isn't going to work. We get told by Ohare ground to continue on A all the way down to A9 and now T and N and to hold for two RJ's from the right who will join in sequence ahead of us but a third Ejet will give way for us. Who inputs this information into the aircraft if it had an auto taxi function? Long taxi the brake temperature is slowly climbing. At 300 degrees, we have to pull off to the side until they cool, take off is prohibited. We gotta really baby the brakes. It's cold out but it doesn't matter. The brake temps slowly approach 200. Due to some snow that hasn't cleared yet on the taxiways, we turn on the engine anti ice. We won't need it for take off but we can't risk ingesting ice on the taxiway. We wait in line, now 10 to go, and it starts snowing. Light snow but it's still snow. Lake Michigan is a tricky SOB. When we deiced we got type 1 and IV deicing fluid. We're well within our holdover time but now the runway is contaminated. The ATIS isn't calling snow yet but we see it with our eyes. We decide that we need to re run performance numbers with engine anti ice on. A computer would never be able to make this determination.

We see we're about five minutes for take off, we start the second engine. Get to the end of the runway and are cleared for take off. We're given the O'HARE 5 departure and a turn to head 180. At 5.5 DME from the Chicago VOR, we need to be at or above 3000' MSL. A wind from the north has really got our ground speed clipping. We're not going to make the restriction unless we continue with our take off power and a hold off on trying to get to 250kts. The flight director is telling me to lower the nose to accelerate and FMA is telling me to go to climb power. I'm still within MCT/FLEX time limits on the plane so I continue to climb for a few more seconds in this configuration just to make sure we make the first restriction. If I turned the AP on as soon as I could and followed all aircraft instructions, not a chance I come close to complying with ATC.

This post is getting long so I'll just skip ahead to cruise.Flight level 340, AP on (hey look the airplane is "doing" all the flying). Around Little Rock, we see the beginning of a weather system that's going to follow us all the way to Houston. While we try to determine a game plane to pick our way around build ups, ATC asks us for crossing traffic, can we go up or down to an odd altitude. Looking at the weather ahead, we determine going up would get us clear of a majority of the clouds. The winds are stronger up there but down low we're going to have to take some vectors to get around some buildups we can see about 100 miles ahead. The radar isn't painting anything but we can see we can easily get jammed into a corner down low. As we get closer to the weather, some of the developing storms are well over the service ceiling of the plane. The radar is working but it's not working great. A few cells are causing attenuation. We want to stay away from those. There's clearing between two cells to our east on the radar but we can see with our eyes the giant overhang that fills the ceiling. To our west, there's a gap but it's a bit of a further distance away. If we can get there, we will be west of the weather that is just getting to Houston.

Continuing on our west vectors, things are getting bumpy but not too bad. It light turbulence but we turn on the seat belt sign. The turbulence gets stronger and we're experiencing occasional moderate. ATC informs us it's a better ride at FL300. We crunch the numbers with fuel and see that we can do it. East arrivals into IAH have been closed, the line of weather is getting heavy and aircraft are starting to hold. We're on the DRLLR.5 arrival. It's our lucky day. We're leading the pack and told to descend VIA the DRLLR.5 except maintain 300kts or greater. The DRLLR.5 has all sorts of speed restrictions on it and we don't need to follow any of them until we get past 10000'. The A320 has VNAV capabilities, the AP is working great but because of the amendment to the speed restrictions, I have the speed selected at 310kts. We want to get into Houston ASAP because the weather is a big question mark. We're screeming down when ATC comes back to us and tells us to resume published speeds at the DRLLR fix. The published speed is 250kts. The average rule of thumb in level flight is 10kts of speed can be lost for every 1NM. We're still on a descent and thanks to airbus logic,it always aims for the bottom of any altitude restrictions. We're going to cross DRLLR at 13000 even though it's published to be crossed between 16000-13000' but at the selected speed of 310kts. I need now to figure out how to get off the descent profile and lose the speed. If I cross the fix higher than the ideal aircraft profile, the airbus will snowball the high altitude and blow the rest of the arrival without human intervention. I set the speed for 320kts and pull for an open descent and deploy as much speedbrakes as I can. We'll level off at 13000' about 3-4 miles before DRLLR and miss the speed by maybe 10kts but it's close enough. ATC is happy and we continue on the descent path. Never in a million years would the automation on the aircraft been able to make a decision that'll take it off the profile to make a new restriction.

We're landing on runway 26R. It's still raining but the meat of the line of weather is 20 miles to the east of the airport. Winds are gusting up to 25kts from the north giving us a pretty good crosswind. ATC has us at 4000' feet MSL headed east. We're on radar vectors now. We fly past the airport. We're now 10 miles past the airport. We can see the back of the line of storms that just pushed through. We need to turn and we need to turn now back towards the airport. Using strategic language and a tone usually reserved for complaining about bad food at a restaurant, we get the approach controllers attention. We get a turn to the south and an eventual turn to intercept the final approach course. We're told to hold 210 kts. We have flaps 1 out but that's all we can do to slow other than dropping the gear. We're cleared for the ILS26R. Can't use an autoland (magic autoland) because of the crosswind and wet runway. We glide slope intercept at RAIDS fix on the approach and are still at 210kts. We need to slow and now we're fast, in gusts, and headed downhill. I ask for the gear, I pull the speedbrakes again, we're only slowing to 200. Not good enough for flaps 2. I click the auto pilot off and fly above the glide slope to shallow the descent to lose speed. We're one dot high and but enough for flaps two, it's working and we're able to get fully configured for landing. Break out of the clouds at 1500', stable at 1000'. Manually land with a 20 something knot crosswind and taxi off at the nearest high speed turn off.

Houston is full of taxiway construction, we're asked due to the mess the weather has caused to taxi all the way around to the east side of the terminal to go around the backside into the alley to find our gates in Terminal A. 40 minutes later through the congestion, we get to the gate. It's occupied with a flight that's delayed. We need to coordinate with the ramp to park our plane somewhere that's not in the way. Operations is telling us how much time we have until we have a gate. We finally park. We pull into the gate. We run a parking checklist. There's a ding. We got a nuisance ECAM. We still have to do one more flight out east.

This is a daily occurrence for pilots all over the world. I want someone to tell me how a self flying plane would handle this. This is how far we are from pilotless planes.


That was a fantastic read, thank you for (re)sharing.
 
crjflyboy
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:13 pm

n6238p wrote:
A few months ago I made a post that got buried in a less visited part of the a.net forums. Anyways I'll repost it here just for s*** and giggles.

I enjoy reading these threads. Not because I think it's an interesting topic, but because of the misinformation of what the automation on a modern plane is actually capable of doing. Take for example the aircraft I fly, the A320 family of planes. Let me take you on a leg of my day of what I have to do that automation cannot. It's winter time so I'll just use a winter day as my example. For this one, we'll go from ORD-IAH and assume there's a weather system between here and there.

I arrive in the cockpit and notice already there's a nuisance ECAM. I know this message will clear, its common that it pops up sometimes when a lot of fuel is being put on the aircraft. I watch it but I know it'll clear in a minute or two. If this plane was self reporting, maybe it's going to summon maintenance unnecessarily causing wasted time and delays. How would the plane know? How will maintenance know? How will maintenance know the plane was being fueled triggering the nuisance. Anyways small potatoes, let me go do my walk around.

I walk around and see fluid dripping from the engine cowling. Our aircraft is a NEO, any fluid dripping from the cowling is a no go item. I look closer, its residual deicing fluid that has run from the wing down the cowling. I bring this example up because I actually found a small fluid drip on a NEO that turned out to be fuel. Ended up cancelling a flight because it revealed a lot broken fuel system parts after the cowling was open. Inside the aircraft? There were no indications of any issues. We took about a hour delay because the broken equipment was discovered. This job can easily be solved by having a mechanic do a walk around but lets say I'm at an outstation that utilizes contract maintenance? Who is going to figure out this is a problem or just water or deicing fluid? Beats me. The airplane sure isn't going to.

I get back in the plane, we're done fueling. It's cold out, about a degree above freezing, but there's no falling precip. Calm winds. On my walk around the leading edges of the wings, stabs were all clean of ice. I walk back to the exit rows and look out the windows. Sure enough the top of the wings over the fuel tanks have frosted up from the much cooler fuel. We have to deice. The plane isn't going to know there's ice on this part of the wing. Only human eyes can see this. We call for deicing after pushback.

We call for push. There are no planes in the alley, the push goes as planned until the towbar breaks. Crappy towbar had worn sheer pins and now the aircraft is no longer attached to the tug and is rolling backwards towards parked airplanes. The headset cord from the tug to the plane breaks and there no longer is communication to the cockpit. We see the tug appear further than typical from the plane and rampers are frantically waving their arms at us. One of us steps on the brakes and stops. Crisis averted. Would the plane have known on it's own it is freely rolling backwards towards disaster? Lets say the push goes as planned, who commands to start the engines of the aircraft? Short taxi both engines are started but what if there's a money line for 28L at N5 at ORD. 20 planes deep, how is the aircraft going to know it won't be taking off for a half hour or so? Will it just burn gas for no reason? We get our taxi instructions. A A15 N to 28R/N5. We enter taxiway A and on one of the cross roads, a tug brakes late and ends up about 4-5 feet past the stop line. We going to clear the tug by about 40' but it's across the safety line. Do we stop or do we continue? Human intervention strikes again.

The money line is too deep and A15 taxiway isn't going to work. We get told by Ohare ground to continue on A all the way down to A9 and now T and N and to hold for two RJ's from the right who will join in sequence ahead of us but a third Ejet will give way for us. Who inputs this information into the aircraft if it had an auto taxi function? Long taxi the brake temperature is slowly climbing. At 300 degrees, we have to pull off to the side until they cool, take off is prohibited. We gotta really baby the brakes. It's cold out but it doesn't matter. The brake temps slowly approach 200. Due to some snow that hasn't cleared yet on the taxiways, we turn on the engine anti ice. We won't need it for take off but we can't risk ingesting ice on the taxiway. We wait in line, now 10 to go, and it starts snowing. Light snow but it's still snow. Lake Michigan is a tricky SOB. When we deiced we got type 1 and IV deicing fluid. We're well within our holdover time but now the runway is contaminated. The ATIS isn't calling snow yet but we see it with our eyes. We decide that we need to re run performance numbers with engine anti ice on. A computer would never be able to make this determination.

We see we're about five minutes for take off, we start the second engine. Get to the end of the runway and are cleared for take off. We're given the O'HARE 5 departure and a turn to head 180. At 5.5 DME from the Chicago VOR, we need to be at or above 3000' MSL. A wind from the north has really got our ground speed clipping. We're not going to make the restriction unless we continue with our take off power and a hold off on trying to get to 250kts. The flight director is telling me to lower the nose to accelerate and FMA is telling me to go to climb power. I'm still within MCT/FLEX time limits on the plane so I continue to climb for a few more seconds in this configuration just to make sure we make the first restriction. If I turned the AP on as soon as I could and followed all aircraft instructions, not a chance I come close to complying with ATC.

This post is getting long so I'll just skip ahead to cruise.Flight level 340, AP on (hey look the airplane is "doing" all the flying). Around Little Rock, we see the beginning of a weather system that's going to follow us all the way to Houston. While we try to determine a game plane to pick our way around build ups, ATC asks us for crossing traffic, can we go up or down to an odd altitude. Looking at the weather ahead, we determine going up would get us clear of a majority of the clouds. The winds are stronger up there but down low we're going to have to take some vectors to get around some buildups we can see about 100 miles ahead. The radar isn't painting anything but we can see we can easily get jammed into a corner down low. As we get closer to the weather, some of the developing storms are well over the service ceiling of the plane. The radar is working but it's not working great. A few cells are causing attenuation. We want to stay away from those. There's clearing between two cells to our east on the radar but we can see with our eyes the giant overhang that fills the ceiling. To our west, there's a gap but it's a bit of a further distance away. If we can get there, we will be west of the weather that is just getting to Houston.

Continuing on our west vectors, things are getting bumpy but not too bad. It light turbulence but we turn on the seat belt sign. The turbulence gets stronger and we're experiencing occasional moderate. ATC informs us it's a better ride at FL300. We crunch the numbers with fuel and see that we can do it. East arrivals into IAH have been closed, the line of weather is getting heavy and aircraft are starting to hold. We're on the DRLLR.5 arrival. It's our lucky day. We're leading the pack and told to descend VIA the DRLLR.5 except maintain 300kts or greater. The DRLLR.5 has all sorts of speed restrictions on it and we don't need to follow any of them until we get past 10000'. The A320 has VNAV capabilities, the AP is working great but because of the amendment to the speed restrictions, I have the speed selected at 310kts. We want to get into Houston ASAP because the weather is a big question mark. We're screeming down when ATC comes back to us and tells us to resume published speeds at the DRLLR fix. The published speed is 250kts. The average rule of thumb in level flight is 10kts of speed can be lost for every 1NM. We're still on a descent and thanks to airbus logic,it always aims for the bottom of any altitude restrictions. We're going to cross DRLLR at 13000 even though it's published to be crossed between 16000-13000' but at the selected speed of 310kts. I need now to figure out how to get off the descent profile and lose the speed. If I cross the fix higher than the ideal aircraft profile, the airbus will snowball the high altitude and blow the rest of the arrival without human intervention. I set the speed for 320kts and pull for an open descent and deploy as much speedbrakes as I can. We'll level off at 13000' about 3-4 miles before DRLLR and miss the speed by maybe 10kts but it's close enough. ATC is happy and we continue on the descent path. Never in a million years would the automation on the aircraft been able to make a decision that'll take it off the profile to make a new restriction.

We're landing on runway 26R. It's still raining but the meat of the line of weather is 20 miles to the east of the airport. Winds are gusting up to 25kts from the north giving us a pretty good crosswind. ATC has us at 4000' feet MSL headed east. We're on radar vectors now. We fly past the airport. We're now 10 miles past the airport. We can see the back of the line of storms that just pushed through. We need to turn and we need to turn now back towards the airport. Using strategic language and a tone usually reserved for complaining about bad food at a restaurant, we get the approach controllers attention. We get a turn to the south and an eventual turn to intercept the final approach course. We're told to hold 210 kts. We have flaps 1 out but that's all we can do to slow other than dropping the gear. We're cleared for the ILS26R. Can't use an autoland (magic autoland) because of the crosswind and wet runway. We glide slope intercept at RAIDS fix on the approach and are still at 210kts. We need to slow and now we're fast, in gusts, and headed downhill. I ask for the gear, I pull the speedbrakes again, we're only slowing to 200. Not good enough for flaps 2. I click the auto pilot off and fly above the glide slope to shallow the descent to lose speed. We're one dot high and but enough for flaps two, it's working and we're able to get fully configured for landing. Break out of the clouds at 1500', stable at 1000'. Manually land with a 20 something knot crosswind and taxi off at the nearest high speed turn off.

Houston is full of taxiway construction, we're asked due to the mess the weather has caused to taxi all the way around to the east side of the terminal to go around the backside into the alley to find our gates in Terminal A. 40 minutes later through the congestion, we get to the gate. It's occupied with a flight that's delayed. We need to coordinate with the ramp to park our plane somewhere that's not in the way. Operations is telling us how much time we have until we have a gate. We finally park. We pull into the gate. We run a parking checklist. There's a ding. We got a nuisance ECAM. We still have to do one more flight out east.

This is a daily occurrence for pilots all over the world. I want someone to tell me how a self flying plane would handle this. This is how far we are from pilotless planes.



An excellent post on why pilots can not be replaced by computers.
 
LSZH34
Posts: 663
Joined: Thu Jul 16, 2015 5:33 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:14 pm

Great! By that time I'll be dead :)
 
User avatar
gatibosgru
Posts: 1496
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:48 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:16 pm

flight152 wrote:
DoctorVenkman wrote:
It doesn't seem like it's worth the risk to remove pilots from the equation. Their salary is a relatively small component of the overall cost of a flight.

Let's be really generous and assume a $300k average salary for a long-haul pilot. At 1000 hours of flying per year, that's $300/hour/pilot to fly. On a 12-hour flight with 4 pilots, they'd cost $14,400 using those assumptions. Spread that over 300 passengers and it comes to an average cost of $48/passenger on a 12 hour flight.

I would happily pay $48 more to ensure there are human beings up front to take over when the automation inevitably fails.

That’s being really generous? Large widebody captain at delta tops out at $350 an hour (Any pilot senior enough to hold it will be topped out). At a modest 82 hours a month, that’s over $350,000, without any soft time, premium pay, or per diem.


Add their benefit package and the cost is way higher
for the airline than just the cost of salary.
@DadCelo
 
User avatar
SierraPacific
Posts: 254
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:21 pm

I can't wait for San Diego, Palm Springs, and many other airports to lose all commercial service since you can't even autoland at them or all hubs not being able to operate at 1/3 of the capacity they do now since every approach is a cat 3 autoland. 25kt gusts also can shut down an airport permanently so wind delays are going to be a thing on the regular.

I have said this before but by the time every commercial airliner is pilotless, there will be no customers in the back since so many jobs will be automated that airlines will have no customers.


(who is going to foot the bill on the billions of dollars worth of infrastructure to put 600k people out of work)
 
Astronage
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:41 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:25 pm

n6238p wrote:
A few months ago I made a post that got buried in a less visited part of the a.net forums. Anyways I'll repost it here just for s*** and giggles.

I enjoy reading these threads. Not because I think it's an interesting topic, but because of the misinformation of what the automation on a modern plane is actually capable of doing. Take for example the aircraft I fly, the A320 family of planes. Let me take you on a leg of my day of what I have to do that automation cannot. It's winter time so I'll just use a winter day as my example. For this one, we'll go from ORD-IAH and assume there's a weather system between here and there.

I arrive in the cockpit and notice already there's a nuisance ECAM. I know this message will clear, its common that it pops up sometimes when a lot of fuel is being put on the aircraft. I watch it but I know it'll clear in a minute or two. If this plane was self reporting, maybe it's going to summon maintenance unnecessarily causing wasted time and delays. How would the plane know? How will maintenance know? How will maintenance know the plane was being fueled triggering the nuisance. Anyways small potatoes, let me go do my walk around.

I walk around and see fluid dripping from the engine cowling. Our aircraft is a NEO, any fluid dripping from the cowling is a no go item. I look closer, its residual deicing fluid that has run from the wing down the cowling. I bring this example up because I actually found a small fluid drip on a NEO that turned out to be fuel. Ended up cancelling a flight because it revealed a lot broken fuel system parts after the cowling was open. Inside the aircraft? There were no indications of any issues. We took about a hour delay because the broken equipment was discovered. This job can easily be solved by having a mechanic do a walk around but lets say I'm at an outstation that utilizes contract maintenance? Who is going to figure out this is a problem or just water or deicing fluid? Beats me. The airplane sure isn't going to.

I get back in the plane, we're done fueling. It's cold out, about a degree above freezing, but there's no falling precip. Calm winds. On my walk around the leading edges of the wings, stabs were all clean of ice. I walk back to the exit rows and look out the windows. Sure enough the top of the wings over the fuel tanks have frosted up from the much cooler fuel. We have to deice. The plane isn't going to know there's ice on this part of the wing. Only human eyes can see this. We call for deicing after pushback.

We call for push. There are no planes in the alley, the push goes as planned until the towbar breaks. Crappy towbar had worn sheer pins and now the aircraft is no longer attached to the tug and is rolling backwards towards parked airplanes. The headset cord from the tug to the plane breaks and there no longer is communication to the cockpit. We see the tug appear further than typical from the plane and rampers are frantically waving their arms at us. One of us steps on the brakes and stops. Crisis averted. Would the plane have known on it's own it is freely rolling backwards towards disaster? Lets say the push goes as planned, who commands to start the engines of the aircraft? Short taxi both engines are started but what if there's a money line for 28L at N5 at ORD. 20 planes deep, how is the aircraft going to know it won't be taking off for a half hour or so? Will it just burn gas for no reason? We get our taxi instructions. A A15 N to 28R/N5. We enter taxiway A and on one of the cross roads, a tug brakes late and ends up about 4-5 feet past the stop line. We going to clear the tug by about 40' but it's across the safety line. Do we stop or do we continue? Human intervention strikes again.

The money line is too deep and A15 taxiway isn't going to work. We get told by Ohare ground to continue on A all the way down to A9 and now T and N and to hold for two RJ's from the right who will join in sequence ahead of us but a third Ejet will give way for us. Who inputs this information into the aircraft if it had an auto taxi function? Long taxi the brake temperature is slowly climbing. At 300 degrees, we have to pull off to the side until they cool, take off is prohibited. We gotta really baby the brakes. It's cold out but it doesn't matter. The brake temps slowly approach 200. Due to some snow that hasn't cleared yet on the taxiways, we turn on the engine anti ice. We won't need it for take off but we can't risk ingesting ice on the taxiway. We wait in line, now 10 to go, and it starts snowing. Light snow but it's still snow. Lake Michigan is a tricky SOB. When we deiced we got type 1 and IV deicing fluid. We're well within our holdover time but now the runway is contaminated. The ATIS isn't calling snow yet but we see it with our eyes. We decide that we need to re run performance numbers with engine anti ice on. A computer would never be able to make this determination.

We see we're about five minutes for take off, we start the second engine. Get to the end of the runway and are cleared for take off. We're given the O'HARE 5 departure and a turn to head 180. At 5.5 DME from the Chicago VOR, we need to be at or above 3000' MSL. A wind from the north has really got our ground speed clipping. We're not going to make the restriction unless we continue with our take off power and a hold off on trying to get to 250kts. The flight director is telling me to lower the nose to accelerate and FMA is telling me to go to climb power. I'm still within MCT/FLEX time limits on the plane so I continue to climb for a few more seconds in this configuration just to make sure we make the first restriction. If I turned the AP on as soon as I could and followed all aircraft instructions, not a chance I come close to complying with ATC.

This post is getting long so I'll just skip ahead to cruise.Flight level 340, AP on (hey look the airplane is "doing" all the flying). Around Little Rock, we see the beginning of a weather system that's going to follow us all the way to Houston. While we try to determine a game plane to pick our way around build ups, ATC asks us for crossing traffic, can we go up or down to an odd altitude. Looking at the weather ahead, we determine going up would get us clear of a majority of the clouds. The winds are stronger up there but down low we're going to have to take some vectors to get around some buildups we can see about 100 miles ahead. The radar isn't painting anything but we can see we can easily get jammed into a corner down low. As we get closer to the weather, some of the developing storms are well over the service ceiling of the plane. The radar is working but it's not working great. A few cells are causing attenuation. We want to stay away from those. There's clearing between two cells to our east on the radar but we can see with our eyes the giant overhang that fills the ceiling. To our west, there's a gap but it's a bit of a further distance away. If we can get there, we will be west of the weather that is just getting to Houston.

Continuing on our west vectors, things are getting bumpy but not too bad. It light turbulence but we turn on the seat belt sign. The turbulence gets stronger and we're experiencing occasional moderate. ATC informs us it's a better ride at FL300. We crunch the numbers with fuel and see that we can do it. East arrivals into IAH have been closed, the line of weather is getting heavy and aircraft are starting to hold. We're on the DRLLR.5 arrival. It's our lucky day. We're leading the pack and told to descend VIA the DRLLR.5 except maintain 300kts or greater. The DRLLR.5 has all sorts of speed restrictions on it and we don't need to follow any of them until we get past 10000'. The A320 has VNAV capabilities, the AP is working great but because of the amendment to the speed restrictions, I have the speed selected at 310kts. We want to get into Houston ASAP because the weather is a big question mark. We're screeming down when ATC comes back to us and tells us to resume published speeds at the DRLLR fix. The published speed is 250kts. The average rule of thumb in level flight is 10kts of speed can be lost for every 1NM. We're still on a descent and thanks to airbus logic,it always aims for the bottom of any altitude restrictions. We're going to cross DRLLR at 13000 even though it's published to be crossed between 16000-13000' but at the selected speed of 310kts. I need now to figure out how to get off the descent profile and lose the speed. If I cross the fix higher than the ideal aircraft profile, the airbus will snowball the high altitude and blow the rest of the arrival without human intervention. I set the speed for 320kts and pull for an open descent and deploy as much speedbrakes as I can. We'll level off at 13000' about 3-4 miles before DRLLR and miss the speed by maybe 10kts but it's close enough. ATC is happy and we continue on the descent path. Never in a million years would the automation on the aircraft been able to make a decision that'll take it off the profile to make a new restriction.

We're landing on runway 26R. It's still raining but the meat of the line of weather is 20 miles to the east of the airport. Winds are gusting up to 25kts from the north giving us a pretty good crosswind. ATC has us at 4000' feet MSL headed east. We're on radar vectors now. We fly past the airport. We're now 10 miles past the airport. We can see the back of the line of storms that just pushed through. We need to turn and we need to turn now back towards the airport. Using strategic language and a tone usually reserved for complaining about bad food at a restaurant, we get the approach controllers attention. We get a turn to the south and an eventual turn to intercept the final approach course. We're told to hold 210 kts. We have flaps 1 out but that's all we can do to slow other than dropping the gear. We're cleared for the ILS26R. Can't use an autoland (magic autoland) because of the crosswind and wet runway. We glide slope intercept at RAIDS fix on the approach and are still at 210kts. We need to slow and now we're fast, in gusts, and headed downhill. I ask for the gear, I pull the speedbrakes again, we're only slowing to 200. Not good enough for flaps 2. I click the auto pilot off and fly above the glide slope to shallow the descent to lose speed. We're one dot high and but enough for flaps two, it's working and we're able to get fully configured for landing. Break out of the clouds at 1500', stable at 1000'. Manually land with a 20 something knot crosswind and taxi off at the nearest high speed turn off.

Houston is full of taxiway construction, we're asked due to the mess the weather has caused to taxi all the way around to the east side of the terminal to go around the backside into the alley to find our gates in Terminal A. 40 minutes later through the congestion, we get to the gate. It's occupied with a flight that's delayed. We need to coordinate with the ramp to park our plane somewhere that's not in the way. Operations is telling us how much time we have until we have a gate. We finally park. We pull into the gate. We run a parking checklist. There's a ding. We got a nuisance ECAM. We still have to do one more flight out east.

This is a daily occurrence for pilots all over the world. I want someone to tell me how a self flying plane would handle this. This is how far we are from pilotless planes.


All the things you listed can be dealt with automation. The tug issues can be taken care of by automating the tugs too. If you are going to take the human out of the cockpit, you can o that with the ground equipment too. I have nothing for the engine dripping liquid but for the wing ice, that can be detected by lasers. The taxi issues can be dealt with by having all planes be networked with ATC so everyone would have full awareness of the conditions on the ground.

Special takeoff procedures can also be communicated via the aforementioned ATC-aircraft network.

Now on the flight section, you can program the logic to avoid weather system. You wouldn't just rely on radar, you'd augment it with optical sensors which would be superior to the good ol' eyball mk1.

During descent-landing and taxi to the gates and stand, the ATC-aircraft-ground vehicle network comes into play again.

See? There are technical solutions to the problems you listed, the issue is less creating them and more what happens when they break.
 
User avatar
gatibosgru
Posts: 1496
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 2:48 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:28 pm

emiratesdriver wrote:
BlatantEcho wrote:
Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)


Spoken like a true ignorant Luddite, ignorant of the fact that my Airbus Jet is incapable of carrying out an automatic landing in gusty xwinds exceeding 25kts, is incapable of taxying to and from the stand, is incapable of identifying and avoiding certain areas of dangerous convective weather or avoiding wake turbulence, is incapable of reliably detecting real faults vs spurious ones and is utterly unable to accurately anticipate speed excursions in mountain wave or turbulence. All of these situations can and have led to the loss of airframes and lives.
Yep all the basic things day to day are a LONG way from being solved, despite what a headline hungry profit driven non aviator technocrat has to say.



Just cause an airbus jet isn't capable of many things now doesn't mean it someday won't be.
@DadCelo
 
AleksW
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Jun 08, 2017 2:18 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:32 pm

Not gonna happen. 2 737 MAX just recently decided by themselves to hit the planet Earth. Technologies are not there and not gonna be there soon.
What we have now? Robot vacuum cleaner and some japanese robot-dog who can do what? I hear it can simply run and jump? Are you serious?
No thanks.
 
Strato2
Posts: 417
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:52 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:39 pm

Just going by the posting style of some self-claimed pilots in this thread the rest I'd rather be piloted by the C64 when travelling on an airplane.
 
crjflyboy
Posts: 164
Joined: Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:54 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:44 pm

AleksW wrote:
Not gonna happen. 2 737 MAX just recently decided by themselves to hit the planet Earth. Technologies are not there and not gonna be there soon.
What we have now? Robot vacuum cleaner and some japanese robot-dog who can do what? I hear it can simply run and jump? Are you serious?
No thanks.


Don't forget lawn mowers …
 
Aceskywalker
Posts: 37
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 4:55 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:45 pm

"public gets on board"

Not gonna happen with this generation. Too much distrust in autonomous anything, rightfully so. Look at all the crashes that are happening with "autonomous" cars. OT but auto companies that are relying heavily on autonomous technology will be surprised to see legal and public opinion challenges to their tech.

"electric jets"

Same thing. Maybe the clean sheet design of the replacement for the A320neo/B737Max (2 generations from new build jets) will have some hybridized technology. But fully electric, no - especially for intercontinential missions. Batteries are too heavy. Hydrogen and biofuels are the answer. Battery-electric only works on personal vehicles and short haul trucking.
 
BBDFlyer
Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2018 3:14 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:50 pm

Astronage wrote:
All the things you listed can be dealt with automation. The tug issues can be taken care of by automating the tugs too. If you are going to take the human out of the cockpit, you can o that with the ground equipment too. I have nothing for the engine dripping liquid but for the wing ice, that can be detected by lasers. The taxi issues can be dealt with by having all planes be networked with ATC so everyone would have full awareness of the conditions on the ground.

Special takeoff procedures can also be communicated via the aforementioned ATC-aircraft network.

Now on the flight section, you can program the logic to avoid weather system. You wouldn't just rely on radar, you'd augment it with optical sensors which would be superior to the good ol' eyball mk1.

During descent-landing and taxi to the gates and stand, the ATC-aircraft-ground vehicle network comes into play again.

See? There are technical solutions to the problems you listed, the issue is less creating them and more what happens when they break.

Nice, so who is going to pay for all of that?
 
Sopwith
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Jun 17, 2016 9:56 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:50 pm

"Airbus' chief salesman said"...……….and of course he's totally credible.
 
n6238p
Posts: 421
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 5:35 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 9:59 pm

lasers and infallible ATC.

alright I guess I should go back to school and learn how to code or something.
To actively root against anybody is just low, and I hope karma comes back at you with a vengeance
 
emiratesdriver
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:20 pm

stburke wrote:
emiratesdriver wrote:
BlatantEcho wrote:
Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)


Spoken like a true ignorant Luddite, ignorant of the fact that my Airbus Jet is incapable of carrying out an automatic landing in gusty xwinds exceeding 25kts, is incapable of taxying to and from the stand, is incapable of identifying and avoiding certain areas of dangerous convective weather or avoiding wake turbulence, is incapable of reliably detecting real faults vs spurious ones and is utterly unable to accurately anticipate speed excursions in mountain wave or turbulence. All of these situations can and have led to the loss of airframes and lives.
Yep all the basic things day to day are a LONG way from being solved, despite what a headline hungry profit driven non aviator technocrat has to say.


@stburke and all the other armchair warriors who are just stupid enough too think they have the first clue...you just ignorant enough to be dangerous.
Spoken like someone who's going on the defensive of their job that will be irrelevant in the future. Can blame you or the burger flippers for protecting your own pocketbooks.


Said the Internet warrior that’s never had the aptitude to operate military fast jets or transport aircraft in dynamic unpredictable environments...but keep believing your own BS.
 
User avatar
SierraPacific
Posts: 254
Joined: Sun May 13, 2018 1:48 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:39 pm

stburke wrote:
emiratesdriver wrote:
BlatantEcho wrote:
Can’t wait. This is proof technology is making the world better and more efficient.

All the talk about fatigue and early report times will go away. Drunk, sick and heart attack prone pilots go away. Airlines save $$$$

This is the future. So exciting (and strange at the number of luddites here, very weird)


Spoken like a true ignorant Luddite, ignorant of the fact that my Airbus Jet is incapable of carrying out an automatic landing in gusty xwinds exceeding 25kts, is incapable of taxying to and from the stand, is incapable of identifying and avoiding certain areas of dangerous convective weather or avoiding wake turbulence, is incapable of reliably detecting real faults vs spurious ones and is utterly unable to accurately anticipate speed excursions in mountain wave or turbulence. All of these situations can and have led to the loss of airframes and lives.
Yep all the basic things day to day are a LONG way from being solved, despite what a headline hungry profit driven non aviator technocrat has to say.


Spoken like someone who's going on the defensive of their job that will be irrelevant in the future. Can blame you or the burger flippers for protecting your own pocketbooks.


Minimum wage employees that are usually one step out of prison vs educated professionals that take 70 million dollar assets around the world and have spent years honing their craft to get to that point. It is like looking at a doctor and saying that a butcher at a grocery store is on the same level.

What did a pilot do to you to create your warped worldview?
 
Varsity1
Posts: 1874
Joined: Mon May 02, 2016 4:55 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:42 pm

N328KF wrote:
Agreed, just a matter of time. You'll see it with cargo operators first. I suspect you'll also see it as an option in two-pilot aircraft as a safety backstop.


When have cargo airlines done anything first? They have the lowest revenue, lowest costs, lowest block hours. They continuously fly the oldest aircraft around for a reason.

I don’t buy pilotless aircraft “ready”. Boeing and Airbus already struggle with immense liability today, and they have the ultimate scapegoat to lay blame on the operator.
"PPRuNe will no longer allow discussions regarding Etihad Airlines, its employees, executives, agents, or other representatives. Such threads will be deleted." - ME3 thug airlines suing anyone who brings negative information public..
 
N91
Posts: 10
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:55 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:49 pm

Aceskywalker wrote:
"public gets on board"

Not gonna happen with this generation. Too much distrust in autonomous anything, rightfully so. Look at all the crashes that are happening with "autonomous" cars. OT but auto companies that are relying heavily on autonomous technology will be surprised to see legal and public opinion challenges to their tech.


Autonomous cars are vastly safer than human driven cars. Most people are bad drivers, human error is responsible for 95% of car crashes. And that is the main reason they will achieve mainstream use. There will always be holdouts, but once critical mass is reached only the most paranoid will avoid them. They will just have to walk everywhere, because the only way forward is to remove ALL drivers from the road. Even in the autonomous crashes you mention, it is almost always the other (human driven) car at fault.

Now planes are a different story. Pilots are highly trained and air travel is already the safest form of transport, there is no pressing need for full automation other than cost cutting.
 
DDR
Posts: 1560
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:09 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:58 pm

As a flight attendant, I would never fly on a plane with no Captain. Who is gonna pay for the drinks on the layover?
 
musman9853
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon May 14, 2018 12:30 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 10:59 pm

my bet is we'll see single pilot ops long before completely autonomous flights.
Welcome to the City Beautiful.
 
LDRA
Posts: 262
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:01 am

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:33 pm

N91 wrote:
Aceskywalker wrote:
"public gets on board"

Not gonna happen with this generation. Too much distrust in autonomous anything, rightfully so. Look at all the crashes that are happening with "autonomous" cars. OT but auto companies that are relying heavily on autonomous technology will be surprised to see legal and public opinion challenges to their tech.


Autonomous cars are vastly safer than human driven cars. Most people are bad drivers, human error is responsible for 95% of car crashes. And that is the main reason they will achieve mainstream use. There will always be holdouts, but once critical mass is reached only the most paranoid will avoid them. They will just have to walk everywhere, because the only way forward is to remove ALL drivers from the road. Even in the autonomous crashes you mention, it is almost always the other (human driven) car at fault.

Now planes are a different story. Pilots are highly trained and air travel is already the safest form of transport, there is no pressing need for full automation other than cost cutting.


Human operated vehicle with advanced ADAS will be vastly safer than full self driving vehicles
 
planecane
Posts: 872
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:58 pm

Re: Airbus chief says it’s ready for pilotless jets as soon as public gets on board

Wed Jun 19, 2019 11:49 pm

Blotto wrote:
Technology is there?? I highly doubt that. Having the questionable honor of working with Airbus software in the last years I have seen too much IT fails to believe for a second that they are ready for autonomous flights.
And I hope authorities feel that way too. Even for Cargo since the aircraft don't only crash over open water

Rockets fly themselves so the technology does exist. However, rockets also have a huge control team that goes through all kinds of pre-launch tests and checks. I also wouldn't want to fly on an airliner with a range safety system in case something goes amok.

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