Maybe a FA can be some sort of “parapilot” like a really long bathroom break procedure. But one pilot alone in the cockpit seems idiotic.
They would have to be trained, licenced, overseen, checked, recurrent trained, so why not just a pilot to begin with? Most FAs (no disrespect) don’t have the mentality needed to become a pilot anyway.
This idea is stupid for many reasons. Anyone with knowledge and experience of long haul pilot operations would know that.
One, controlled rest in the flight deck is common even with augmented crew. If an issue happens that requires pilot wakefulness it takes several minutes for that pilot to get to an optimum level of alertness.
Second, toilet breaks. Pilots need to get up and go to the toilet. At this point there will be no one at the controls. Don’t suggest bags or diapers.
Also pilots need to stretch their legs due circulatory issues, unless you want DVT developing en masse.
Weather avoidance. I’ve seen TS and CB clouds pop up on the radar at short notice, easy to miss, two pilots make it easier to see and avoid. What if one pilots is taking controlled rest or in the bathroom.
Turbulence avoidance. A lot of avoiding turbulence is done by listening to other radio transmissions on ATC and adjusting flight paths accordingly. Hard to do if the single pilot is taking controlled rest or using the toilet.
Wake turbulence avoidance. Usually take a mile or two offset to avoid wake turbulence, again hard to if only pilot out of flight deck.
Depressurisation, engine failure. I’m sure Airbus can program it’s computers to descend or maintain single engine flight path maintaining, it’s the 101 other things that occur in an emergency that requires two alert pilots at the controls to deal with. For instance if anyone has flown in Central Asia you know if a depressurisation occurs descending to a safe altitude isn’t so simple and requires complex course changes to avoid high terrain.
Time in cruise allows discussion on operational issues with a second pilot. Often in long haul operations it can be fist time flying to a new port, so it allows time for discussion and planning of the arrival with the other pilot. Sometimes into ports with bad weather I’ve spent several hours discussing the arrival with the other pilot on the flight deck. Limited time to do this if not in cruise. As well pilots discuss and brief the likelihood of using a nearby alternate if a diversion is required, hard to if the other pilot is in deep sleep.
And a factor that is quite important and a contributor to WH&S and wellbeing. Just having the presence of a colleague to converse with at work. Long haul flying can be an incredibly lonely job with can adversely affect mental health, no need to make it more lonely.
Also long haul back of the clock it’s easier to stay awake with two pilots in the flight deck having a discussion. One pilot just sitting there is a sure fire way to drift off unknowingly.
After a long haul flight, out of body clock and jet lagged, fatigued, you’re making an approach into a busy airport in difficult conditions, you’ll have those augmented pilots sitting on the jumpseat observing. Often they’ve brought the operating pilots attention to something they’ve missed. You also have a black swan QF32 scenario where 5 fully trained pilots work all worked off their feet dealing with a complex situation.
Cathay and some other airlines use cruise reliefs pilots as an entry level job as well. They aren’t paid as much so any cost savings will be minimal. And cruise relief is also a great way for low time pilots to gain experience and knowledge of airline operations without being put into a control seat straight away. A lot of time in cruise is spent discussing procedures and knowledge with a more experienced senior pilot, it can be a great time for learning.
This just smacks of a few execs who’ve never sat in a flight deck thinking they can save a few bucks. You might think this is a a natural progression from the removal of the F/E, but as I remind people that just was just passed to 2 trained and redundant pilots with the assistance of automation, not automated completely. Going down to one removes a massive layer of safety.
Last edited by sierrakilo44
on Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.