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CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:20 pm

Very interesting!

Cathay Pacific (0293.HK) is working with Airbus (AIR.PA) to introduce "reduced crew" long-haul flights with a sole pilot in the cockpit much of the time, industry sources told Reuters.

The programme, known within Airbus as Project Connect, aims to certify its A350 jet for single-pilot operations during high-altitude cruise, starting in 2025 on Cathay passenger flights, the sources said.

An overview on the tech/rationale:

Safe deployment will require constant monitoring of the solo pilot's alertness and vital signs by on-board systems, the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has said.

If the flight encounters a problem or the pilot flying is incapacitated, the resting copilot can be summoned within minutes. Both remain in the cockpit for take-off and landing.

"Typically on long-haul flights when you're at cruise altitude there's very little happening in the cockpit," EASA chief Patrick Ky told a German press briefing in January.

"It makes sense to say OK, instead of having two in the cockpit, we can have one in the cockpit, the other one taking a rest, provided we're implementing technical solutions which make sure that if the single one falls asleep or has any problem, there won't be any unsafe conditions."

And:

Airbus has designed an A350 autopilot upgrade and flight warning system changes to help a lone pilot manage failures, sources close to the project said.

The mid-sized plane is suitable because of its "emergency descent" feature that quickly reduces altitude without pilot input in the event of cabin depressurisation.

Ref: https://www.reuters.com/business/aerosp ... 2021-06-16

The article also goes through LH's involvement in the program and safety concerns that are being voiced by pilot groups and others.

I've been posting about single pilot operations for a while now. I'm kinda surprised to see this could happen in a major pax fleet such as CX's A350s as soon as 2025. I would have thought it would have come in via cargo operators first, but it seems the lure of cutting pilots off the roster is too high for the industry to resist. I guess there is just too much money being left on the table via reduced staffing possibilities that is has developed enough inertia to reach this point even in the current jittery safety-conscious environment. The pilots reaction was 100% predictable: raise the spectre of MCAS v2, even though this is an EASA initiative.
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3rdGen
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:38 pm

I knew it. I knew it would happen. And I knew it would start with the 350. This plane is the steppingstone for unmanned cargo/passenger operations. Airbus has already successfully flown it with no pilot interaction.
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Starfuryt
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:38 pm

Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:42 pm

Hard pass for me. The whole “if pilot incapacitated, second pilot can be summoned within minutes” isn’t exactly reassuring. All it takes is a few seconds for something to go badly wrong.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:52 pm

In reality, this shouldn’t happen until the aircraft is actually capable of flying with no pilots. And all failures can be handled by the automation. In that case you can have one systems monitor (formerly known as a pilot) in the cockpit, otherwise so long as human interaction is required, you need two.

The way Airbus and the airlines see it is that so long as the assumed safety standards can be met, then there’s no reason not to implement it. Remember, it was not long ago that pilots were up in arms when the industry removed the flight engineer from the cockpit and that job was replaced with automation.

The reality is that if the automation can successfully take the job of the human then why not. Every other industry does it, why not aviation?
Last edited by 3rdGen on Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:53 pm

This is inevitable, if you can eliminate a pilot from long-haul flights, it will save the airline a lot of money. This is of course just a step in the progress of single-pilot operation across the board and in the end, pilotless operations for cargo and passenger flights. Don't think anyone will seriously think that in 20years or so, we won't see the first drones, if you will, for cargo operation.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:57 pm

3rdGen wrote:
I knew it. I knew it would happen. And I knew it would start with the 350. This plane is the steppingstone for unmanned cargo/passenger operations. Airbus has already successfully flown it with no pilot interaction.

Hmm, the Airbus brass have been talking about launching the A350F a lot recently, and a certified one-pilot solution would really add to its business case. Maybe this is one reason why this story is breaking now.

SunsetLimited wrote:
Hard pass for me. The whole “if pilot incapacitated, second pilot can be summoned within minutes” isn’t exactly reassuring. All it takes is a few seconds for something to go badly wrong.

Right, even to cover the most basic issues it seems the system that detects inactivity would have to be pretty flawless and/or the pilot would have to ask for help at the earliest possible onset of any issue, and we know most human beings hate to ask for help.

In theory operators could restrict its use to low workload situations (i.e. long TATL or TPAC segments) but in practice we know they will seek the best return on investment and schedule to the minimums.

I think this system could be useful in an ideal world, the problem is we don't live in an ideal world.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 1:59 pm

I thought the two people in the cockpit at any time was implemented after the tragedy where a suicidal pilot brought the entire plane down?

If they implement this, at least there must be a 100% safe way for the other pilot to get into the cockpit even if the door is locked from the inside.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:05 pm

3rdGen wrote:
In reality, this shouldn’t happen until the aircraft is actually capable of flying with no pilots. And all failures can be handled by the automation. In that case you can have one systems monitor (formerly known as a pilot) in the cockpit, otherwise so long as human interaction is required, you need two.

Personally I though we would need a plane that could be taken over by a ground station before we'd have one pilot operation, and that would need an all new cockpit architecture along with high bandwidth / high availability data links before it could happen.

Dutchy wrote:
This is inevitable, if you can eliminate a pilot from long-haul flights, it will save the airline a lot of money. This is of course just a step in the progress of single-pilot operation across the board and in the end, pilotless operations for cargo and passenger flights. Don't think anyone will seriously think that in 20years or so, we won't see the first drones, if you will, for cargo operation.

I know, but I thought we'd at best see this in cargo operations for a long trial period before we would see it in passenger operations.

Seeing this *potentially* in a passenger airline such as CX with EASA approval as soon as 2025 using a current generation cockpit is pretty mind boggling to me.
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xpfg
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:10 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
I thought the two people in the cockpit at any time was implemented after the tragedy where a suicidal pilot brought the entire plane down?

If they implement this, at least there must be a 100% safe way for the other pilot to get into the cockpit even if the door is locked from the inside.


This was my immediate thought and concern as well.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 E

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:18 pm

Revelation wrote:
Personally I though we would need a plane that could be taken over by a ground station before we'd have one pilot operation, and that would need an all new cockpit architecture along with high bandwidth / high availability data links before it could happen.


The requirement to take over is achieved by having one guy up there in the cockpit.

The other issue this now raises is how qualified does a pilot need to be to fly by himself? Can you put a fresh flight school graduate in there? Can it be an FO or does it need to be a captain? If all aeroplanes go in this direction then how does a guy get the relevant experience to be a single pilot?
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Kikko19
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:19 pm

xpfg wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
I thought the two people in the cockpit at any time was implemented after the tragedy where a suicidal pilot brought the entire plane down?

If they implement this, at least there must be a 100% safe way for the other pilot to get into the cockpit even if the door is locked from the inside.


This was my immediate thought and concern as well.

Hackers-terrorists will love these drones filled with people.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:21 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
I thought the two people in the cockpit at any time was implemented after the tragedy where a suicidal pilot brought the entire plane down?

If they implement this, at least there must be a 100% safe way for the other pilot to get into the cockpit even if the door is locked from the inside.


Some airlines have already ditched the two person policy, say it’s pointless. Better mental health screening and checking is what’s really needed. And in any case if the other pilot is in the crew rest the flying pilot can easily just calmly descend into terrain, doesn’t have to be a dramatic event. Sorry to be morbid, but once a guy is alone up there there’s a thousand ways he can crash the plane before anyone could realize what he was doing.
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Nnaeto87
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:24 pm

Does it really cost that much to have 2 pilots in the cockpit at all times?
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:34 pm

Nnaeto87 wrote:
Does it really cost that much to have 2 pilots in the cockpit at all times?


This achieves a few benefits;

1) On ultra long haul operations that require 4 pilots you can use 2 instead. So you save on salaries + allowances of 2 pilots.
2) During longer 2 pilot flights (e.g. 5+ hours), pilots be asked to take rest. In some jurisdictions time spent resting in the bunk does not count toward flight time limitations, so scheduling can then utilize the pilot for more flights than if he didn’t rest. Good for airlines in places like the Middle East where there’s no union to stop this from happening.
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ramprat320
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:34 pm

So a catastrophic, sudden and unpredictable event occurs and the resting pilot is just going to wake up, jump out of the bunk, maybe throw some pants on and be alert enough to handle the emergency? There’s a reason that most company SOPs stipulate a period of wakefulness (about 15minutes) before resuming duties.

As for sitting alone in the flight deck at 0300 for 3+ hours half way through a 15 hour flight....yeah no thanks.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:35 pm

As Jon Stewart said this week, science is very clever but just because science can do something doesn't mean it should.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:40 pm

ramprat320 wrote:
So a catastrophic, sudden and unpredictable event occurs and the resting pilot is just going to wake up, jump out of the bunk, maybe throw some pants on and be alert enough to handle the emergency? There’s a reason that most company SOPs stipulate a period of wakefulness (about 15minutes) before resuming duties.

As for sitting alone in the flight deck at 0300 for 3+ hours half way through a 15 hour flight....yeah no thanks.

That sounds like the AF447 A330 captain being waken from his sleep or break.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 2:54 pm

There will be additional requirements. E.g. the cockpit crewrest being directly connected to the cockpit, to meet quick response time requirements. And multiple independent groundlinks, cockpit monitoring, a multi approval process to deactivate enveloppe protection, ground proximity intervention etc. Technology progressed over the last 30 years.

See e.g. this emergency autoland system from Garmin. For sale today. https://youtu.be/d-ruFmgTpqA
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:00 pm

jeffrey0032j wrote:
ramprat320 wrote:
So a catastrophic, sudden and unpredictable event occurs and the resting pilot is just going to wake up, jump out of the bunk, maybe throw some pants on and be alert enough to handle the emergency? There’s a reason that most company SOPs stipulate a period of wakefulness (about 15minutes) before resuming duties.

As for sitting alone in the flight deck at 0300 for 3+ hours half way through a 15 hour flight....yeah no thanks.

That sounds like the AF447 A330 captain being waken from his sleep or break.

Which basically proves that 2-pilot thing alone doesn't really help. There were quite a few high-profile accidents, where third and fourth pilots were the ones making a difference.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:04 pm

Revelation wrote:
Right, even to cover the most basic issues it seems the system that detects inactivity would have to be pretty flawless and/or the pilot would have to ask for help at the earliest possible onset of any issue, and we know most human beings hate to ask for help..

I assume they can make sure help is summoned automatically in case something happens.
Autopilot disconnect, programmed altitude change by more than 2000 or 4000 feet, speed by more than 0.05M, any cockpit alert, something else?...
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 E

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:06 pm

3rdGen wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Personally I though we would need a plane that could be taken over by a ground station before we'd have one pilot operation, and that would need an all new cockpit architecture along with high bandwidth / high availability data links before it could happen.

The requirement to take over is achieved by having one guy up there in the cockpit.

Right, but that one guy could get medically incapacitated in no time at all, and it could take a while for a 2nd guy to be alerted, respond to the cockpit, gain situational awareness and respond appropriately.

Yes, I know, medical screening, but that is not perfect.

I guess it all comes down to convincing regulators that all this falls outside the 1E9 event horizon.

jeffrey0032j wrote:
ramprat320 wrote:
So a catastrophic, sudden and unpredictable event occurs and the resting pilot is just going to wake up, jump out of the bunk, maybe throw some pants on and be alert enough to handle the emergency? There’s a reason that most company SOPs stipulate a period of wakefulness (about 15minutes) before resuming duties.

As for sitting alone in the flight deck at 0300 for 3+ hours half way through a 15 hour flight....yeah no thanks.

That sounds like the AF447 A330 captain being waken from his sleep or break.

If you don't want major airline scale pilot wages for sitting in a cockpit for three hours in the middle of the night, I'm sure the airlines can find someone who does.

As for AF447, it seems the captain may have been engaged "socially" at the time ( ref: https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/ ... in-trouble ). I can see how that could help his alertness but hinder his responsiveness.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:13 pm

kalvado wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Right, even to cover the most basic issues it seems the system that detects inactivity would have to be pretty flawless and/or the pilot would have to ask for help at the earliest possible onset of any issue, and we know most human beings hate to ask for help..

I assume they can make sure help is summoned automatically in case something happens.
Autopilot disconnect, programmed altitude change by more than 2000 or 4000 feet, speed by more than 0.05M, any cockpit alert, something else?...

Medical monitoring (pilot has heartbeat, is breathing, etc)?
Alertness monitoring (pilot is not sleeping, not engaging in "social activities", etc)?
It may be a challenge to monitor all this without generating "false positives" that wake the sleeping crew member a lot.
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Gremlinzzzz
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:24 pm

Not a fan to be honest. However, with what some unions demand in salaries who does not think that airlines would love to have a single pilot operation?
The navigator was booted once autopilot was proven, the flight engineer out once automation was good.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:26 pm

Revelation wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Right, even to cover the most basic issues it seems the system that detects inactivity would have to be pretty flawless and/or the pilot would have to ask for help at the earliest possible onset of any issue, and we know most human beings hate to ask for help..

I assume they can make sure help is summoned automatically in case something happens.
Autopilot disconnect, programmed altitude change by more than 2000 or 4000 feet, speed by more than 0.05M, any cockpit alert, something else?...

Medical monitoring (pilot has heartbeat, is breathing, etc)?
Alertness monitoring (pilot is not sleeping, not engaging in "social activities", etc)?
It may be a challenge to monitor all this without generating "false positives" that wake the sleeping crew member a lot.

Sleep is pretty reliably detected by cheap fitness trackers, as motion and heartbeat. Dead-hand alertness buttons are there for ages.
Full and undivided attention may be not realistic to ask anyway, instrument scan on periodic alert, periodically confirmed by some action is probably a more realistic option.
The question is about the frequency of such false positives, there should be some (better than false negatives!). And good thing that a prototype deployed on an actual airline for some time may generate an ample amount of real-world data to tune the system without major changes to existing procedures.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:35 pm

kalvado wrote:
Sleep is pretty reliably detected by cheap fitness trackers, as motion and heartbeat. Dead-hand alertness buttons are there for ages.
Full and undivided attention may be not realistic to ask anyway, instrument scan on periodic alert, periodically confirmed by some action is probably a more realistic option.
The question is about the frequency of such false positives, there should be some (better than false negatives!). And good thing that a prototype deployed on an actual airline for some time may generate an ample amount of real-world data to tune the system without major changes to existing procedures.

Would be interesting if instead of a simple dead-head button they asked the pilot for some info gained from scanning i.e. what is the next waypoint, what is current fuel state, etc. Ideally it would be voice driven but then we get into language concerns.
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FSflyer899
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:36 pm

After all, are they introducing "Otto" the inflatable dummy pilot?
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:40 pm

Revelation wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Sleep is pretty reliably detected by cheap fitness trackers, as motion and heartbeat. Dead-hand alertness buttons are there for ages.
Full and undivided attention may be not realistic to ask anyway, instrument scan on periodic alert, periodically confirmed by some action is probably a more realistic option.
The question is about the frequency of such false positives, there should be some (better than false negatives!). And good thing that a prototype deployed on an actual airline for some time may generate an ample amount of real-world data to tune the system without major changes to existing procedures.

Would be interesting if instead of a simple dead-head button they asked the pilot for some info gained from scanning i.e. what is the next waypoint, what is current fuel state, etc. Ideally it would be voice driven but then we get into language concerns.

This may be a question for the real-world pilots. Giving some real-world task to do every few minutes should a better way to keep someone alert. it has to be something real, to ensure that it is taken seriously - not a robotic repeat.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:42 pm

FSflyer899 wrote:
After all, are they introducing "Otto" the inflatable dummy pilot?

Pilots may laugh now but cry later, just like the navigators, radio operators and flight engineers of previous generations did.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:51 pm

"Single pilot" ops already exist at some airlines by letting the second pilot sleep in the cockpit during cruise.

The major difference that I see here is that (a) Airbus is improving the aircraft's ability to identify and mitigate failures automatically and (b) the second pilot could get some proper rest in the crew rest area.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 E

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:51 pm

Revelation wrote:
3rdGen wrote:
Revelation wrote:
Personally I though we would need a plane that could be taken over by a ground station before we'd have one pilot operation, and that would need an all new cockpit architecture along with high bandwidth / high availability data links before it could happen.

The requirement to take over is achieved by having one guy up there in the cockpit.

Right, but that one guy could get medically incapacitated in no time at all, and it could take a while for a 2nd guy to be alerted, respond to the cockpit, gain situational awareness and respond appropriately.

Yes, I know, medical screening, but that is not perfect.

I guess it all comes down to convincing regulators that all this falls outside the 1E9 event horizon.

jeffrey0032j wrote:
ramprat320 wrote:
So a catastrophic, sudden and unpredictable event occurs and the resting pilot is just going to wake up, jump out of the bunk, maybe throw some pants on and be alert enough to handle the emergency? There’s a reason that most company SOPs stipulate a period of wakefulness (about 15minutes) before resuming duties.

As for sitting alone in the flight deck at 0300 for 3+ hours half way through a 15 hour flight....yeah no thanks.

That sounds like the AF447 A330 captain being waken from his sleep or break.

If you don't want major airline scale pilot wages for sitting in a cockpit for three hours in the middle of the night, I'm sure the airlines can find someone who does.

As for AF447, it seems the captain may have been engaged "socially" at the time ( ref: https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/ ... in-trouble ). I can see how that could help his alertness but hinder his responsiveness.


Not wanting to sit alone for three hours in the middle of the night on a long haul flight has nothing to do with being lazy unprofessional or not wanting to do the job. It has everything to do with safety and alertness. Fatigue is a HUGE issue in this job. Flight Augmentation is an absolute saviour and greatly mitigates how crappy one feels after a longhaul flight. The difference in one feels after a flight between a three crew and four crew trip is astounding.

Scope and Augmentation are two highly valued components in most pilot group contracts. I cannot foresee most pilot groups accepting reduced augmentation regardless of the technology.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:52 pm

Starfuryt wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.

Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:57 pm

A well known CX pilot babbling to himself for 6 hours would make for some interesting CVR.
 
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 3:59 pm

wingman wrote:
A well known CX pilot babbling to himself for 6 hours would make for some interesting CVR.


Throw in a few cameras as well! :wink2:
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:07 pm

redflyer wrote:
Starfuryt wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.

Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.

I’m surprised it took so long for someone to post this. I think single pilot ops will have to prove itself in the cargo world first. It’s one thing to get on an airport tram on a single track that’s computer operated but to convince passengers, with even just one pilot, will be different.
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 305
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 E

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:08 pm

ramprat320 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
3rdGen wrote:
The requirement to take over is achieved by having one guy up there in the cockpit.

Right, but that one guy could get medically incapacitated in no time at all, and it could take a while for a 2nd guy to be alerted, respond to the cockpit, gain situational awareness and respond appropriately.

Yes, I know, medical screening, but that is not perfect.

I guess it all comes down to convincing regulators that all this falls outside the 1E9 event horizon.

jeffrey0032j wrote:
That sounds like the AF447 A330 captain being waken from his sleep or break.

If you don't want major airline scale pilot wages for sitting in a cockpit for three hours in the middle of the night, I'm sure the airlines can find someone who does.

As for AF447, it seems the captain may have been engaged "socially" at the time ( ref: https://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/ ... in-trouble ). I can see how that could help his alertness but hinder his responsiveness.


Not wanting to sit alone for three hours in the middle of the night on a long haul flight has nothing to do with being lazy unprofessional or not wanting to do the job. It has everything to do with safety and alertness. Fatigue is a HUGE issue in this job. Flight Augmentation is an absolute saviour and greatly mitigates how crappy one feels after a longhaul flight. The difference in one feels after a flight between a three crew and four crew trip is astounding.

Scope and Augmentation are two highly valued components in most pilot group contracts. I cannot foresee most pilot groups accepting reduced augmentation regardless of the technology.
Eventually, they wont have a choice. This thing will be tested, iterated upon. It will get better over time and if they do not botch its implementation, it will become accepted.
 
LCDFlight
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:17 pm

Pro: the two events of pilot incapacitation or sudden death, and dangerous aircraft system failure, rarely coincide, especially during cruise. Rarely enough that the math is similar to ETOPS. Potentially, dual crew would only be needed for takeoff and approach. A crew of 2-3 could then cover any flight. 2 for the 3 hours or so combining those phases of flight, and this means 2 crew could cover a 13 hour flight at 8 hours of duty each, if my math is correct. And 3 crew could cover up to 21 hours.

Against: if ac systems can be trusted without pilot oversight, then pilots are unnecessary during cruise in the first place (and if not then going without a pilot is unacceptable). Also, if something bad does occur, once you summon a pilot out of rest, doesn’t that mean they will time out? Finally, this would make the cockpit a lonelier place with less mental stimulation / professional oversight. The two pilots probably improve each other’s experience and performance, although IANAP
Last edited by LCDFlight on Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:24 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
kalvado
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:19 pm

redflyer wrote:
Starfuryt wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.

Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.

Did you ever take long haul Greyhound bus, where one driver up front, alone, just enjoys snoring payload in the back?
Somehow that is acceptable and manageable for many people. Of course, there are major differences - but there are clear similarities as well.
 
Noshow
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:19 pm

So yesterday Airbus had a press conference and did not mention this? Are they shy about it?
 
kalvado
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:26 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
Pro: the two events of pilot incapacitation or sudden death, and dangerous aircraft system failure, rarely coincide, especially during cruise. Rarely enough that the math is similar to ETOPS. Potentially, dual crew would only be needed for takeoff and approach. A crew of 2-3 could then cover any flight. 2 for the 3 hours or so combining those phases of flight, and this means 2 crew could cover a 13 hour flight at 8 hours of duty each, if my math is correct. And 3 crew could cover up to 21 hours.

Against: if ac systems can be trusted without pilot oversight, then pilots are unnecessary during cruise in the first place. Also, if something bad does occur, once you summon a pilot out of rest, doesn’t that mean they will time out later?

My biggest question would be - how long those single-duty periods can be? 3 hours between restroom visits may be pushing it, so something like 3 hours departure dual - 3 hours CA only - 3 hours FO only - 3 hours arrival dual may be as far as many people would be willing to push it.
 
WayexTDI
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:37 pm

ramprat320 wrote:
So a catastrophic, sudden and unpredictable event occurs and the resting pilot is just going to wake up, jump out of the bunk, maybe throw some pants on and be alert enough to handle the emergency? There’s a reason that most company SOPs stipulate a period of wakefulness (about 15minutes) before resuming duties.

As for sitting alone in the flight deck at 0300 for 3+ hours half way through a 15 hour flight....yeah no thanks.

Well, critical emergencies (i.e., situations of life or death) have a tendency to throw those SOPs out of the window in the name of trying to do anything to prevent a catastrophe...
 
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ER757
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:38 pm

Starfuryt wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.

We have a CX pilot on this forum who posts quite often - hoping he'll check in with his :twocents: as it's his company that is involved
 
mxaxai
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:43 pm

LCDFlight wrote:
Against: if ac systems can be trusted without pilot oversight, then pilots are unnecessary during cruise in the first place (and if not then going without a pilot is unacceptable).

The question is, how long can you trust the systems on their own, not if you can trust them at all. If the sleeping pilot is summoned within a few minutes after the flying pilot is incapacitated, the systems only need to work unsupervised for a few minutes as well.

You'd only need automatic failure mitigation for certain relatively common but urgent scenarios like depressurization, engine failure, hydraulic failure, fire, ... For some extremely unlikely failures a small risk has to be accepted, but that assessment is done for each and every potential problem during certification. At the end of the day it becomes a question of probabilities.
 
Noshow
Posts: 2500
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:45 pm

I am opposing this as a passenger.
 
mxaxai
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:54 pm

Revelation wrote:
Would be interesting if instead of a simple dead-head button they asked the pilot for some info gained from scanning i.e. what is the next waypoint, what is current fuel state, etc. Ideally it would be voice driven but then we get into language concerns.

Fighter jets and automobiles have been using speech recognition systems for several years now, as well as many well-known smartphone assistants. Most pilots have to speak English anyway, so you don't even need other languages (though multiple language packs wouldn't be that difficult).
 
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Revelation
Topic Author
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 E

Wed Jun 16, 2021 4:57 pm

ramprat320 wrote:
Not wanting to sit alone for three hours in the middle of the night on a long haul flight has nothing to do with being lazy unprofessional or not wanting to do the job. It has everything to do with safety and alertness. Fatigue is a HUGE issue in this job. Flight Augmentation is an absolute saviour and greatly mitigates how crappy one feels after a longhaul flight. The difference in one feels after a flight between a three crew and four crew trip is astounding.

Scope and Augmentation are two highly valued components in most pilot group contracts. I cannot foresee most pilot groups accepting reduced augmentation regardless of the technology.

I value your input.

I will say I think most people who have had to work through challenging situations understand that physiological fatigue level and mental motivation level are both factors in alertness.

It will be interesting to see how the labor relations angle is handled.

This is another reason I expected a slower evolution and one that involved cargo rather than passengers, although most long haul cargo flying is union as well. It seems to be a sign that there is too much money on the table for the slow path to be taken.

Planeboy17 wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.

I’m surprised it took so long for someone to post this. I think single pilot ops will have to prove itself in the cargo world first. It’s one thing to get on an airport tram on a single track that’s computer operated but to convince passengers, with even just one pilot, will be different.

Note this scenario is a single pilot flying while one or more pilots are resting on board. In the case of A350 the pilot rest area is in the forward part of the aircraft in the crown area of the fuselage.

mxaxai wrote:
The question is, how long can you trust the systems on their own, not if you can trust them at all. If the sleeping pilot is summoned within a few minutes after the flying pilot is incapacitated, the systems only need to work unsupervised for a few minutes as well.

You'd only need automatic failure mitigation for certain relatively common but urgent scenarios like depressurization, engine failure, hydraulic failure, fire, ... For some extremely unlikely failures a small risk has to be accepted, but that assessment is done for each and every potential problem during certification. At the end of the day it becomes a question of probabilities.

Right, at the end of the day EASA will have to be comfortable those scenarios (urgent situation happens just as pilot is incapacitated and automation fails to mitigate sufficiently in the time that the backup pilot can take over and provide superior mitigation) falls into their 1E9 or greater odds category.

Patrik Ky seemed to be comfortable with being interviewed for the article so there must be some comfort level that this can happen.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
muralir
Posts: 161
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:14 pm

Planeboy17 wrote:
redflyer wrote:
Starfuryt wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.

Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.

I’m surprised it took so long for someone to post this. I think single pilot ops will have to prove itself in the cargo world first. It’s one thing to get on an airport tram on a single track that’s computer operated but to convince passengers, with even just one pilot, will be different.


I disagree. Passengers will accept it about as much as they've accepted narrower seats, diminished onboard service, fewer flight attendants, etc. etc. That is to say, they might grumble about it but will then go along to save 50 bucks on their ticket.

And those are changes that passengers actually care about. The vast majority of passengers have no idea how many pilots there are on a plane. I doubt many protested when longhaul planes went from 4->3->2 pilots over the past decades. I doubt many of them even knew. Even now, plenty of passengers assume the autopilot does "90%" of the flying anyway and the pilot is just sitting there reading the newspaper and flirting with the flight attendants. Indeed, IANAP, but I suspect most pilots have to spent more time convincing passengers that they're necessary, than they do convincing them that they're safe with only 2. This isn't to denigrate pilots but to do a reality check on the knowledge level of the average flight passenger. I doubt any of them will care if/when planes go down to 1 pilot. There *might* be a hiccup when we inevitably go down to *no* pilots (with remote control like drone operators) but I bet even that resistance will be overcome by cheaper tickets.
 
redflyer
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 5:54 pm

kalvado wrote:
redflyer wrote:
Starfuryt wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from long haul pilots what they think about being left in the cockpit alone for hours on end with not a whole lot to do and no one to talk to.

Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.

Did you ever take long haul Greyhound bus, where one driver up front, alone, just enjoys snoring payload in the back?
Somehow that is acceptable and manageable for many people. Of course, there are major differences - but there are clear similarities as well.


Those "major differences" you allude to are all the differences that matter. In the event of incapacitation of the driver/operator of a surface transport, the most common end-result is the transport rolls to a stop after a short period of time; worst case scenario, it goes off the road and crashes and most of the passengers walk away with minor injuries (unless it goes off a cliff). Passengers can even quickly jump in, take hold of the steering and guide the transport to a stop as has happened many times. Another difference is the driver/operator of a surface transport is a hands-on operator. They are not sitting there for hours in the dark with nothing to do but are instead actively participating in the operation of the transport. That's very different from an airliner, flying at 30k+ feet where incapacitation of the PF on duty could easily result in a situation that is all but guaranteed to result in DNA testing having to be conducted to identify the 10% of body parts that are ever recovered from all passengers combined. A bus moves at 65 MPH/105 KPH in a two-dimensional world; airplanes hurtle along at 600 MPH/950 KPH in a three-dimensional world. If the two modes of transport were similar then either airplanes would have steering wheels with just a few gauges to monitor the engines, or buses would have a cockpit chock full of MFDs, FDUs, etc.

muralir wrote:
I disagree. Passengers will accept it about as much as they've accepted narrower seats, diminished onboard service, fewer flight attendants, etc. etc. That is to say, they might grumble about it but will then go along to save 50 bucks on their ticket.


Accepting a narrower seat does not impact safety, only the price of a ticket. That's why most people are all too happy to be treated like livestock when sitting in the back of a plane as long as they arrive safely at their destination and for the lowest price possible. But tell them they are going to be buttoned up in a metal tube for a 10+ hour flight across an ocean in the dark with only one pilot up front for a good portion of that trip and I guarantee you'll have passengers looking for alternate flights. I'm a licensed private pilot and before the pandemic hit was flying 200K+ miles each year on commercial flights, and I will tell you if I go to board an A350 and find out my flight from HKG to LAX will have only one pilot up front for several hours over the Pacific I will find an alternate flight.

And if you don't think passengers care, the airlines do. I recall flying many a Delta flight to Europe where the additional cockpit crew would sleep in a first-class seat that would be cordoned off with a curtain. Before departure, it was SOP for the captain to tell the passengers not to be alarmed if during the flight they saw a pilot take a seat in the first class cabin and go to sleep, because there would still be two pilots up front at all times. If passengers don't care, one of the world's largest airlines wouldn't go through the trouble of making that announcement standard procedure.
A government big enough to take away a constitutionally guaranteed right is a government big enough to take away any guaranteed right. A government big enough to give you everything you need is a government big enough to take away everything you have.
 
kalvado
Posts: 3158
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Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 EIS

Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:03 pm

redflyer wrote:
kalvado wrote:
redflyer wrote:
Would be interesting to hear from passengers what they think about one pilot up front, alone. Inasmuch as I think it's inevitable that this is the direction human flight is going in, I think it's still a long ways off for commercial passenger flights. I could see it happening with cargo flights, but not passenger flights. At least not for a long time yet.

Did you ever take long haul Greyhound bus, where one driver up front, alone, just enjoys snoring payload in the back?
Somehow that is acceptable and manageable for many people. Of course, there are major differences - but there are clear similarities as well.


Those "major differences" you allude to are all the differences that matter. In the event of incapacitation of the driver/operator of a surface transport, the most common end-result is the transport rolls to a stop after a short period of time; worst case scenario, it goes off the road and crashes and most of the passengers walk away with minor injuries (unless it goes off a cliff). Passengers can even quickly jump in, take hold of the steering and guide the transport to a stop as has happened many times. Another difference is the driver/operator of a surface transport is a hands-on operator. They are not sitting there for hours in the dark with nothing to do but are instead actively participating in the operation of the transport. That's very different from an airliner, flying at 30k+ feet where incapacitation of the PF on duty could easily result in a situation that is all but guaranteed to result in DNA testing having to be conducted to identify the 10% of body parts that are ever recovered from all passengers combined. A bus moves at 65 MPH/105 KPH in a two-dimensional world; airplanes hurtle along at 600 MPH/950 KPH in a three-dimensional world. If the two modes of transport were similar then either airplanes would have steering wheels with just a few gauges to monitor the engines, or buses would have a cockpit chock full of MFDs, FDUs, etc.

muralir wrote:
I disagree. Passengers will accept it about as much as they've accepted narrower seats, diminished onboard service, fewer flight attendants, etc. etc. That is to say, they might grumble about it but will then go along to save 50 bucks on their ticket.


Accepting a narrower seat does not impact safety, only the price of a ticket. That's why most people are all too happy to be treated like livestock when sitting in the back of a plane as long as they arrive safely at their destination and for the lowest price possible. But tell them they are going to be buttoned up in a metal tube for a 10+ hour flight across an ocean in the dark with only one pilot up front for a good portion of that trip and I guarantee you'll have passengers looking for alternate flights. I'm a licensed private pilot and before the pandemic hit was flying 200K+ miles each year on commercial flights, and I will tell you if I go to board an A350 and find out my flight from HKG to LAX will have only one pilot up front for several hours over the Pacific I will find an alternate flight.

And if you don't think passengers care, the airlines do. I recall flying many a Delta flight to Europe where the additional cockpit crew would sleep in a first-class seat that would be cordoned off with a curtain. Before departure, it was SOP for the captain to tell the passengers not to be alarmed if during the flight they saw a pilot take a seat in the first class cabin and go to sleep, because there would still be two pilots up front at all times. If passengers don't care, one of the world's largest airlines wouldn't go through the trouble of making that announcement standard procedure.



Short version: pilots have nothing to do upfront, so we need two of those.
I suspect there is some logic in that conclusion, but I just struggle to find it
 
kalvado
Posts: 3158
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

Re: CX Working With Airbus on Single-Pilot System for A350 With 2025 E

Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:06 pm

Revelation wrote:
Note this scenario is a single pilot flying while one or more pilots are resting on board. In the case of A350 the pilot rest area is in the forward part of the aircraft in the crown area of the fuselage.

More likely that would be a first class seat for a quicker response. THat is a legitimate rest option in some cases anyway.
An interesting question, though - I had an impression pilot seat is as comfortable, if not more comfortable than the first class one.

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