timh4000
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Single pilot flight decks

Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:54 am

It's being talked about more and more. And it would be the next logical step. The 1st generation commercial jet airliners, as well as the last of the turboprop or just prop I suppose often had 4 on the flight deck. 3 at a minimum. Then by the 80's and 90's we went to the 2 pilot flight decks, even in the largest airliners... 747, DC-10 etc. etc...

But as time goes on technology continues to lessen the workload on pilots.

So let's say hypothetically 20 or 30 years in the future Boeing comes up with a clean sheet design and part of that is now being a single pilot.

Personally I feel this is a bad idea. I'd rather we just skip and go right to zero rather than having one. Here's my reasoning. Let's say this new Boeing wide body that has all the abilities as say the 787, or 777x. Basically it can fly halfway around the world, or close to it anyway. The "701" we will call it has auto take off, auto land. Auto pre checks... this thing has the works, and the single pilot never once during the flight has to go hands on on. For the most part the aircraft will isolate whatever has gone
Wrong and apply the most correct fix.

Thinking back to the Alaska air crash. There was no recovery from that one. At one point other pilots reports noted the plane was inverted. I don't know if it was determined that the pilot purposely did so as just a last resort maneuver or the plane was just tumbling out of control. In any case neither the pilot nor computer is saving that one.

One pilot... one human being, prone to making an occasional error. Having a F/O as a second pair of eyes and another brain. I would personally feel if we feel the need to put a person in the cockpit of a large airliner we should have 2 for redundancy.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:43 am

Pilotless is certainly technically feasible, but the self-monitoring and remote monitoring requirements go through the roof, as do costs. Single pilot with ground based monitoring is the logical next step.

For pilotless, ATC would have to be vastly upgraded, so you'd in some ways just be shifting lots of workload from the air to the ground, and adding a lot of communications and systems requirements.



timh4000 wrote:
Thinking back to the Alaska air crash. There was no recovery from that one. At one point other pilots reports noted the plane was inverted. I don't know if it was determined that the pilot purposely did so as just a last resort maneuver or the plane was just tumbling out of control. In any case neither the pilot nor computer is saving that one.



This is not a good example. The Air Alaska crash was one of those rare ones where the pilots could do nothing to save the aircraft. I cannot believe that the pilots would purposely surrender to their fate. I bet they were trying to save the aircraft to their last breath. This is also indicated by the fact that there were no communications once the final dive began. Aviate, navigate, communicate. The fact that neither pilot nor computer could have recovered does not mean pilots do not have a place in current cockpits.

In the vast majority of cases, pilot action is crucial in the recovery from an incident, in many cases from aircraft malfunction. The QF A330 control system incident is notable in context.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
timh4000
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:05 am

Well 1st off, I was just stating my opinion that if there is a need for a person to be in the cockpit of a large airliner then I believe there should always be at least 2. As for the air Alaska crash, I mentioned that as there will be times. As there have been times when the plane itself breaks to a point it's not recoverable, AND if you had read what you quoted me, I mentioned the possibility that the plane becoming inverted might have been on purpose as a last ditch effort. No one knows for sure what those last few seconds was for the pilots but I believe you are right and they fought for control until they went in. It's typically human nature to do so anyway.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Thu Jan 02, 2020 1:54 pm

If it's the same Alaska crash I'm thinking about they had an elevator jack screw fail. No elevator, no recovery
 
Flow2706
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Thu Jan 02, 2020 4:49 pm

I don't think you have to look 20-30 years in the future. The C929 is being designed to be able to flown single pilot soon after entry into service: https://www.aerotelegraph.com/en/cr929- ... t-aircraft Not sure if that aircraft will be a commercial success but it's the first try to go single pilot.
Our modern cockpits are build on the principle of crosschecks. Example: The Pilot Monitoring sets the Flaps into Config 1+F instead of 3, as required for the short runway, because he is fatigued and Config 1+F is the 'usual' setting for takeoff in the company - Pilot Flying spots the error, the error is corrected and the flight continues without any consequence (this should also be spotted by the Pilot Monitoring during the before takeoff checklist, but considering that in this hypothetical example he has flown 100 hours in the last 28 days he is dead tired and also distracted by the unusual taxi routing and therefore doesn't notice his mistake during the before takeoff checklist).
In a one pilot cockpit this crosscheck would be replaced by the computer. The computer (instead of Pilot Monitoring) selects the flap and the pilot only needs to verify that the computer selected the correct position. The likelihood of the computer selecting the wrong flap position is less than of the human pilot making this mistake, so the level of safety provided it the same.
However there are things that need to be improved/installed compared to the current aircraft. For example the aircraft needs to be able to obtain and interpret the ATIS information to calculate takeoff speeds. There would still be a crosscheck with the calculation done by the pilot, but relying on one calculation only will result in accidents (there have been serious incidents already where only one pilot calculated the takeoff performance without crosschecking with the other pilot and made an error resulting in an overrun/tailstrike etc.)
 
BravoOne
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Thu Jan 02, 2020 5:17 pm

Just because this is technically feasible does not make it good idea. Single pilot workload, fatigue, and a host of other issues make this a poor substitute for a two pilot crew. The same Boeing that brought you MCAS has been working on this concept for several years now. That should be enough to put this idea to rest for another 100 years, if not more. Just say'n.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 12:46 am

timh4000 wrote:
Well 1st off, I was just stating my opinion that if there is a need for a person to be in the cockpit of a large airliner then I believe there should always be at least 2. As for the air Alaska crash, I mentioned that as there will be times. As there have been times when the plane itself breaks to a point it's not recoverable, AND if you had read what you quoted me, I mentioned the possibility that the plane becoming inverted might have been on purpose as a last ditch effort. No one knows for sure what those last few seconds was for the pilots but I believe you are right and they fought for control until they went in. It's typically human nature to do so anyway.


I misunderstood what you meant by "last ditch maneuver". The word "ditch" tripped my up there. Tired after a trip, sorry.

Anyway, I can't think of a case where inverting the plane to save it would seem like a good idea, so my guess is they were inverted because they couldn't keep the correct side up. Horrible accident.

To quote SlamClick, "If I die in an airplane, I expect to die very busy."
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:35 am

I would hope the pay rate for a single pilot airplane would be much greater than a current dual pilot narrowbody with the level of responsibility being doubled on the remaining pilot.

Personally, I think that the ATC system would need to be revamped in order for a single pilot aircraft to exist simply because of current voice communications and managing a high-performance aircraft falling on one person would be extremely difficult. Single pilot poses many issues that are outside of the technical aspect of whether or not it is doable.

(Completely ignoring rewriting how pilots do IOE, decades of CRM research, and union politics at play)
 
BravoOne
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:44 am

SierraPacific wrote:
I would hope the pay rate for a single pilot airplane would be much greater than a current dual pilot narrowbody with the level of responsibility being doubled on the remaining pilot.

Personally, I think that the ATC system would need to be revamped in order for a single pilot aircraft to exist simply because of current voice communications and managing a high-performance aircraft falling on one person would be extremely difficult. Single pilot poses many issues that are outside of the technical aspect of whether or not it is doable.

(Completely ignoring rewriting how pilots do IOE, decades of CRM research, and union politics at play)



One would imagine that some sort of dual control systems would still exist for those ocasions where single pilot ops are not applicable. Regardless, this concept is unlikely anytime soon.

If someone thinks this concept would bring lower fares, they would be foolish.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:08 am

Voice comms would be the first thing to go in any single-pilot cockpit—all CPDLC unless an emergency. High performance single-pilot operations in highly stressed, crowded airspace have existed for a long time—combat, but different risk assessment.
 
timh4000
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:09 am

Starlionblue wrote:
timh4000 wrote:
Well 1st off, I was just stating my opinion that if there is a need for a person to be in the cockpit of a large airliner then I believe there should always be at least 2. As for the air Alaska crash, I mentioned that as there will be times. As there have been times when the plane itself breaks to a point it's not recoverable, AND if you had read what you quoted me, I mentioned the possibility that the plane becoming inverted might have been on purpose as a last ditch effort. No one knows for sure what those last few seconds was for the pilots but I believe you are right and they fought for control until they went in. It's typically human nature to do so anyway.


I misunderstood what you meant by "last ditch maneuver". The word "ditch" tripped my up there. Tired after a trip, sorry.

Anyway, I can't think of a case where inverting the plane to save it would seem like a good idea, so my guess is they were inverted because they couldn't keep the correct side up. Horrible accident.

To quote SlamClick, "If I die in an airplane, I expect to die very busy."

I've heard speculation that since it was diving right side up, inverting it to at least level them off, buy them time or to set it down as easy as they could. The Denzel Washington movie flight, it was the same fault same plane. The speculation was already out by the time the movie was made. Good for Hollywood at least. I have no idea if it had a chance to work... obviously the Alaska flight plunged in. I'd never bet a dime that's what he was trying to do. But it wouldn't surprise me either.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:38 am

I've heard that speculation as well. It seems very far fetched to me. For starters, upset/recovery training would be telling the pilots strongly not to induce more upset, so to speak.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:38 am

timh4000 wrote:
Starlionblue wrote:
timh4000 wrote:
Well 1st off, I was just stating my opinion that if there is a need for a person to be in the cockpit of a large airliner then I believe there should always be at least 2. As for the air Alaska crash, I mentioned that as there will be times. As there have been times when the plane itself breaks to a point it's not recoverable, AND if you had read what you quoted me, I mentioned the possibility that the plane becoming inverted might have been on purpose as a last ditch effort. No one knows for sure what those last few seconds was for the pilots but I believe you are right and they fought for control until they went in. It's typically human nature to do so anyway.


I misunderstood what you meant by "last ditch maneuver". The word "ditch" tripped my up there. Tired after a trip, sorry.

Anyway, I can't think of a case where inverting the plane to save it would seem like a good idea, so my guess is they were inverted because they couldn't keep the correct side up. Horrible accident.

To quote SlamClick, "If I die in an airplane, I expect to die very busy."

I've heard speculation that since it was diving right side up, inverting it to at least level them off, buy them time or to set it down as easy as they could. The Denzel Washington movie flight, it was the same fault same plane. The speculation was already out by the time the movie was made. Good for Hollywood at least. I have no idea if it had a chance to work... obviously the Alaska flight plunged in. I'd never bet a dime that's what he was trying to do. But it wouldn't surprise me either.


Once the stab jackscrew was stripped of its threads, the crew had no control over pitch and they weren’t ever gonna gain control of it. Right side up or inverted wasn’t changing that fact.
 
timh4000
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:39 am

Not doubting what you're saying GF and there's no facts or evidence of any kind that leads to it. Just speculation. When you're diving straight down with just seconds left its conceivable they may have done it purposely.
 
Rossiya747
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 5:00 am

I had a single-pilot commercial flight once!
In Tanzania
On a Cessna Caravan
To the middle of Serengeti
223 319 320 321 332 333 346 388 734 737 738 739 38M 744 752 753 763 764 772 773 77W 788 789 208 CRJ2 E145 E190 UA DL AA WN AC CM 4O AV 2K FI DY D8 SK LH EI FR U2 IB OS LX BA VS BT PS MS SA SW QR EY HY AI 9W TG SQ MH AK D7 QZ BR NH CA QF MI
 
thepinkmachine
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:28 am

Flow2706 wrote:
I don't think you have to look 20-30 years in the future. The C929 is being designed to be able to flown single pilot soon after entry into service: https://www.aerotelegraph.com/en/cr929- ... t-aircraft Not sure if that aircraft will be a commercial success but it's the first try to go single pilot.



Well, thus far the Chinese and the Russians have a lot of issues with their conventional airplanes (I’m thinking ARJ and the Sukhoi Superjet), so at least at the moment anything revolutionary from them is just a pipe dream. Now, if Airbus made such and announcement...
"Tell my wife I am trawling Atlantis - and I still have my hands on the wheel…"
 
bluecrew
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:19 am

Flow2706 wrote:
... For example the aircraft needs to be able to obtain and interpret the ATIS information to calculate takeoff speeds. There would still be a crosscheck with the calculation done by the pilot, but relying on one calculation only will result in accidents (there have been serious incidents already where only one pilot calculated the takeoff performance without crosschecking with the other pilot and made an error resulting in an overrun/tailstrike etc.)

Many companies now send you the T/O data via ACARS. No calculation needed. The calculations are often done off-site via an ACARS linked computer program. This wouldn't be an issue per se.

The other things you mention... I think you over-estimate the fidelity of a lot of computer systems being able to parse and audit data in real-time, and provide a check to the single pilot.
We all watch these videos of the Garmin self-landing GPS and stuff and think ok sure, fully autonomous airplanes could be a thing of the near future. Look at things like the Atlas crash, sure, all three of them died, and they did because of poor CRM and because the FO dropped the plane in the drink. Now, imagine that FO is the only guy flying your CRJ-200 of the future, with Otto-Pilot 2.0 in the right seat. That guy's gonna kill everyone aboard and whoever is in their way.
I don't mean this for a point of hyperbole, but there is a reason why it's not been attempted yet, and it's certainly not because the technology isn't doable.
The two-person failure method is there for a variety of reasons, risk management, legal, human factors... one only needs to look at modern EICAS systems to know the computer often knows what is wrong with the airplane, but quite frequently would never figure out what the fault is. There are so many reasons why the mere concept of this is flawed, let alone the potentially infinite implementation issues. I would wager a relatively hefty sum of money that no single-pilot aircraft over 19 passengers will be certified by the FAA certainly in my lifetime, but before 2100 even.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:02 am

bluecrew wrote:
Flow2706 wrote:
... For example the aircraft needs to be able to obtain and interpret the ATIS information to calculate takeoff speeds. There would still be a crosscheck with the calculation done by the pilot, but relying on one calculation only will result in accidents (there have been serious incidents already where only one pilot calculated the takeoff performance without crosschecking with the other pilot and made an error resulting in an overrun/tailstrike etc.)

Many companies now send you the T/O data via ACARS. No calculation needed. The calculations are often done off-site via an ACARS linked computer program. This wouldn't be an issue per se.

The other things you mention... I think you over-estimate the fidelity of a lot of computer systems being able to parse and audit data in real-time, and provide a check to the single pilot.
We all watch these videos of the Garmin self-landing GPS and stuff and think ok sure, fully autonomous airplanes could be a thing of the near future. Look at things like the Atlas crash, sure, all three of them died, and they did because of poor CRM and because the FO dropped the plane in the drink. Now, imagine that FO is the only guy flying your CRJ-200 of the future, with Otto-Pilot 2.0 in the right seat. That guy's gonna kill everyone aboard and whoever is in their way.
I don't mean this for a point of hyperbole, but there is a reason why it's not been attempted yet, and it's certainly not because the technology isn't doable.
The two-person failure method is there for a variety of reasons, risk management, legal, human factors... one only needs to look at modern EICAS systems to know the computer often knows what is wrong with the airplane, but quite frequently would never figure out what the fault is. There are so many reasons why the mere concept of this is flawed, let alone the potentially infinite implementation issues. I would wager a relatively hefty sum of money that no single-pilot aircraft over 19 passengers will be certified by the FAA certainly in my lifetime, but before 2100 even.


Fully agreed on the fidelity of computer systems. It is feasible with unmanned airliners, but it is not practical given today's prevalent tech level in aviation. Much easier (and cheaper) to keep going with pilots for a while yet.

Side note: We stopped doing take-off data via ACARS last year. It's now all on the EFB iPads with an Airbus app (or Boeing app as applicable).
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
bluecrew
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:25 am

Starlionblue wrote:
Side note: We stopped doing take-off data via ACARS last year. It's now all on the EFB iPads with an Airbus app (or Boeing app as applicable).

Samesies. Was more meant as a point that it is doable that you can take the TO calc's out of the pilot's hands and it has been done. I'm sure plenty of operators still do it, though.
 
timh4000
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:31 am

As much as I do not agree with it, from an airline POV, the cost savings of cutting their numbers of pilots almost in half must have them salivating. And, they know technically its feasible. Or will be. 2100, I'd say more like 2050. starting with whatever version of 50 seat regionals and then working it's way up to the largest and longest flying airliners. In truth, by the time it starts happening, it's unlikely the number of fatal accidents will go up to any significant degree. Although IF it does they will quickly put the F/O back in and that would be the end of it.

What I don't like is the vulnerability of a single pilot. And that while the accident numbers will remain at near historic lows, there will be a few very needless ones.
 
bluecrew
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:53 am

timh4000 wrote:
As much as I do not agree with it, from an airline POV, the cost savings of cutting their numbers of pilots almost in half must have them salivating. And, they know technically its feasible. Or will be. 2100, I'd say more like 2050. starting with whatever version of 50 seat regionals and then working it's way up to the largest and longest flying airliners. In truth, by the time it starts happening, it's unlikely the number of fatal accidents will go up to any significant degree. Although IF it does they will quickly put the F/O back in and that would be the end of it.

What I don't like is the vulnerability of a single pilot. And that while the accident numbers will remain at near historic lows, there will be a few very needless ones.

Try telling this to legal. Or the FAA. This tech mindset of "some losses are acceptable for growth" is not the regime in aviation.

Also... cut half the pilots? Let's talk to the unions. You're an FO? Sorry. You're being laid off, we're ordering a new aircraft (or aircraft upgrade) that has replaced you.
When the pilots union or flight attendants union strikes, day 1, you have no airline. Your planes do not fly. Your passengers do not fly. You can't replace a pilot or a flight attendant on day 1 like you can a mechanic, a gate agent, or a rez agent, with outsourced labor. See Frontier, when ALPA was ready to walk and shut the airline down... and that was over a contract negotiation dispute, not an existential threat to their entire workgroup.

It's just not a viable concept in aviation. You've got to bust the unions, trick the regulators (not hard), and also ensure everyone you put behind the controls is a superman who hasn't been wrong since they were 7. And they're always right. Right?
 
kalvado
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:15 pm

Somehow industry went from 3-person to 2-person cockpit without falling apart... So union discussion may be tough, but doable.
I assume ATC is the show stopper. Digital comms will be great, but voice recognition is improving every day...
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:32 pm

kalvado wrote:
Somehow industry went from 3-person to 2-person cockpit without falling apart... So union discussion may be tough, but doable.
I assume ATC is the show stopper. Digital comms will be great, but voice recognition is improving every day...


Funny, it was a 3-person committee that decided the 2-person cockpit was safe and workable. One each, company, government, union backed by lots of stakeholders.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:33 pm

timh4000 wrote:
As much as I do not agree with it, from an airline POV, the cost savings of cutting their numbers of pilots almost in half must have them salivating. And, they know technically its feasible. Or will be. 2100, I'd say more like 2050. starting with whatever version of 50 seat regionals and then working it's way up to the largest and longest flying airliners. In truth, by the time it starts happening, it's unlikely the number of fatal accidents will go up to any significant degree. Although IF it does they will quickly put the F/O back in and that would be the end of it.

What I don't like is the vulnerability of a single pilot. And that while the accident numbers will remain at near historic lows, there will be a few very needless ones.


But, consider the huge costs of fully replacing the planes, the ATC and dispatch system, increased maintenance to ensure reliability. The non-recurring cost of design, development and certification plus implementation far outweigh the savings for the future
 
737tanker
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:43 pm

bluecrew
Striking in the US airline industry is not like striking in the US trucking industry. First you have to be in contract negotiations then to have reached such an impass in negotiations that a Mediator has been called in to meditate between the Union and the Company. Once the Mediator believes that the negations are at an impass both sides will be release to a 30 day cooling off period. Only after that will a strike occur. This process can take between 3-7 years. Therefore there would be no strike the day a new aircraft entered service that caused a furlough of pilots.
 
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Web500sjc
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:59 pm

timh4000 wrote:
As much as I do not agree with it, from an airline POV, the cost savings of cutting their numbers of pilots almost in half must have them salivating. And, they know technically its feasible. Or will be. 2100, I'd say more like 2050. starting with whatever version of 50 seat regionals and then working it's way up to the largest and longest flying airliners. In truth, by the time it starts happening, it's unlikely the number of fatal accidents will go up to any significant degree. Although IF it does they will quickly put the F/O back in and that would be the end of it.

What I don't like is the vulnerability of a single pilot. And that while the accident numbers will remain at near historic lows, there will be a few very needless ones.



Well first off, airlines may be “salivating” at the cost of reducing the cockpit crew from 2 to 1, but attached there will also be the cost in maintaining the systems that allow that cut. Realistically, the Regulators will require a much more thorough maintenance program for the “auto FO” aircraft, ensuring more touch points, more restrictive deferral procedures, and much tighter MX tolerances. How much is it going to cost to maintain all that? If it’s going to cost $10M a year, then it Is better financially to keep the real FO. If it’s going to cost 10k a year, those planes will come faster than AB can produce and A320. But for comparison sake, look at how many airlines equip their planes for ETOPS, Cat III, or even Cat II operations, and how much those capabilities are maintained/ how minor the issues are that can cause an airline to defer those capabilities.

Secondly, this is likely going to be revolutionary to the public like Comet was, but unlike Comet the plane will
need to be flawless as everyone watches. The first time anything goes amiss with this airplane it will be the manufacture on trial, and the scrutiny will be much worse than the Boeing Debacle.

Single pilot will happen, but not until the redundancy and MX procedures are cost effective.
Boiler Up!
 
timh4000
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:44 pm

I hope you guys are right and it isn't and won't be financially lucrative for some time.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:19 pm

Regarding the change from 3 pilots to 2 during the 80's 90's the cost savings weren't that great on the long hauls. As I've posted before the 3 crewmembers in the cockpit of say a 747-200 could fly 12 hours without relief. When the 400 came to be, the airline had to crew an additional relief pilot for anything over 8 hours which was most of the time.
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Fri Jan 03, 2020 8:38 pm

737tanker wrote:
bluecrew
Striking in the US airline industry is not like striking in the US trucking industry. First you have to be in contract negotiations then to have reached such an impass in negotiations that a Mediator has been called in to meditate between the Union and the Company. Once the Mediator believes that the negations are at an impass both sides will be release to a 30 day cooling off period. Only after that will a strike occur. This process can take between 3-7 years. Therefore there would be no strike the day a new aircraft entered service that caused a furlough of pilots.


It would take years for these single-pilot aircraft to be delivered simply because of the aviation supply chain. It isn't like trucking where a new fleet of semis can pull up within a year blindsiding the drivers.

We still have MD-80's, 757's, and 767's operating at legacy carriers which were all designed in the 70's and are going to be around longer yet along with every aircraft rolling off the line for the foreseeable future will be dual pilot. Besides by the time this rolls around, the tech required for this will be enough to have replaced at least close to the majority of jobs.

(As a young guy that went to college for another career before changing to this, every job has some form of single pilot/automation boogeyman appearing in the next 20 years)
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:05 am

I think the "AI co-pilot" will be introduced first in Part 23 aircraft ops that now require 2 pilots (a minority of Part 23). Most Part 23 ops (<20 seats) are single pilot. Adding an AI co-pilot (onboard or remote) to all Part 23 ops would increase safety. The 2-pilot Part 23 ops will become AI-assisted single pilot. Speculation: Part 125 will be divided, maybe starting at 50 seats, with the threshold increasing over time, so that AI-assisted single pilot commercial service will become widespread in feeder ops.

The AI-assist avionics better have top notch cybersecurity, because a particularly big aviation market known for a "piracy is a compliment to the inventor" mentality will be out hunting.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:16 pm

WPvsMW wrote:
I think the "AI co-pilot" will be introduced first in Part 23 aircraft ops that now require 2 pilots (a minority of Part 23). Most Part 23 ops (<20 seats) are single pilot. Adding an AI co-pilot (onboard or remote) to all Part 23 ops would increase safety. The 2-pilot Part 23 ops will become AI-assisted single pilot. Speculation: Part 125 will be divided, maybe starting at 50 seats, with the threshold increasing over time, so that AI-assisted single pilot commercial service will become widespread in feeder ops.

The AI-assist avionics better have top notch cybersecurity, because a particularly big aviation market known for a "piracy is a compliment to the inventor" mentality will be out hunting.


Pedantic note: it’s Part 121. Part 135 ops are already financially stressed, this would be huge expense that revenue won’t cover. Besides, the idea kills the “farm league” for new pilots who, by definition are cheap to employ, buying experience with low wages.

GF
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:12 pm

Part 121 is directed to certification of Air Carriers, while Part 125 is directed to certification of Aircraft, both Parts 121 and 125 are for >19 pax seats/frame.

The Air Carriers care less about the minor leagues and more about meeting schedules. If Atlas Worldwide could put AI-copilots in the right seat today....

I am not advocating AI-copilots. Before working for an airline, I worked in avionics development. I see AI-copilots as an inevitable evolution in avionics, driven by the Air Carriers, and opposed by pilots. Pax board the drone trains at DFW and ATL day in and day out. Drone airliners are also inevitable, but will take much longer than AI-copilots to be accepted. I think we will see AI-copilots in Part 23 ops (or Part 135 ops) within 10 years, at least as a test bed.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:47 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Voice comms would be the first thing to go in any single-pilot cockpit—all CPDLC unless an emergency. High performance single-pilot operations in highly stressed, crowded airspace have existed for a long time—combat, but different risk assessment.


CPDLC would be a great help, too - good point.

But the title of this thread made me think back to my "freight dog" days flying single pilot with NO autopilot, multi-engine (piston and turbine) hard IFR in the Great Lakes region for a few years. It demanded a very high level of proficiency and there were accidents. Those accidents may have been acceptable to the industry when carrying freight, but in no way would it have been acceptable with passengers.

Could technology overcome some of the obstacles? Sure, but then there's the hazard that wasn't foreseen (MCAS for example).
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:53 pm

WPvsMW wrote:
Part 121 is directed to certification of Air Carriers, while Part 125 is directed to certification of Aircraft, both Parts 121 and 125 are for >19 pax seats/frame.

The Air Carriers care less about the minor leagues and more about meeting schedules. If Atlas Worldwide could put AI-copilots in the right seat today....

I am not advocating AI-copilots. Before working for an airline, I worked in avionics development. I see AI-copilots as an inevitable evolution in avionics, driven by the Air Carriers, and opposed by pilots. Pax board the drone trains at DFW and ATL day in and day out. Drone airliners are also inevitable, but will take much longer than AI-copilots to be accepted. I think we will see AI-copilots in Part 23 ops (or Part 135 ops) within 10 years, at least as a test bed.


If so, why are a majority number of single pilot jets for charter flown with two pilots then? Unless a major change happens with our ATC system so that the sole pilot is only managing flying the airplane rather than managing voice communications and flying the plane, I don't see it happening. Now if we completely revolutionalized ATC worldwide with everything outside of emergencies being CPDLC, it may be more manageable but it would require investing huge dollars and fighting ATC unions.

FO's (Especially on the 135 level) just aren't that expensive
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:34 pm

CPDLC won’t be a revolution, it’s in progress today and not a union issue, at least, as a showstopper. We’re getting clearances over CPDLC in the US now.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:40 pm

SierraPacific wrote:
If so, why are a majority number of single pilot jets for charter flown with two pilots then?


Because two pilots are available. Already, in AF ROTC, if you are a runner-up for pilot training, you are offered drone training. The new minor leagues will be remote drone "pilots" who build hours, then migrate to manned a/c.

Freight drone lift (per frame, and therefore aggregate) may be small today, but it will increase dramatically. I think larger freight drones will be tilt-wing, like the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey, and that smaller, last-mile drones will be hubbed from a (temporarily) orbiting mothership, like bees commuting from hive to field.
Last edited by WPvsMW on Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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reidar76
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:41 pm

Today we only have single-pilot aircraft with 19 or less passengers. I think this won't change.

I think what we will see next is aircraft with one human pilot and one AI pilot. In order words, still two pilots.

First out will probably be cargo aircraft, and after some years the technology will be available for pax aircraft as well.
Last edited by reidar76 on Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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SierraPacific
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:44 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
CPDLC won’t be a revolution, it’s in progress today and not a union issue, at least, as a showstopper. We’re getting clearances over CPDLC in the US now.


Sure but everything going from en route to terminal is still done via voice. I think that getting TRACON controllers to use that for vectoring is going to be a big hurdle compared to receiving clearances or en route instructions via CPDLC.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:48 pm

First, AI co-pilots in small commercial ops a/c, then in larger a/c, and concurrently, "all-AI cockpit" freight drone lift increases. Small freight drones operate today.

Again, I'm not an advocate of AI cockpits, but see Air Carriers (pax and freight) as the advocates.

I think biz jet operators will always have at least one human pilot... because the client will demand it. Conversely, the LCCs and ULCCs will drive the adoption of full AI cockpits, continuing the trend of lowest fare competition (analogous to lowest cost manufacturing... human labor until AI is less costly per unit of production).
 
BravoOne
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:09 pm

Part 135 single pilot is active today but the insurance rates are significantly higher than the 2 pilot operations. I just don't see SP/AI airline operatioms happening anytime in the next few decades if then, and when and if it does, it will be a slow, cautious introduction at best.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:35 pm

B1, I agree about slow intro in the US. Outside the US, EU, JP.... could be much faster, esp. for freight.
Avionics drove FEs out of the cockpit... .same principle at work.

Hypothetical text message to pax: "Due to an equipment change, your flight tomorrow will be operated by a single pilot with a remote second pilot. If you wish to rebook your flight at no charge, click here."

Or more likely, "由于设备变更,明天的航班将由一名飞行员和一名远程第二名飞行员操作。 如果您希望免费重新预订航班,请单击此处."
 
BravoOne
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:34 am

WPvsMW wrote:
B1, I agree about slow intro in the US. Outside the US, EU, JP.... could be much faster, esp. for freight.
Avionics drove FEs out of the cockpit... .same principle at work.

Hypothetical text message to pax: "Due to an equipment change, your flight tomorrow will be operated by a single pilot with a remote second pilot. If you wish to rebook your flight at no charge, click here."

Or more likely, "由于设备变更,明天的航班将由一名飞行员和一名远程第二名飞行员操作。 如果您希望免费重新预订航班,请单击此处."



Now that is FUNNY!

FWIW, the 777X maybe the first Boeing aircraft designed with single pilot avionics in mind.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Tue Jan 07, 2020 12:38 am

Imagine a country with a large, and growing, pilot shortage in which the regulator and the airlines are ... one. Harmony, a treasured principle.

A smart move by Boeing, esp., in future sales to ... you know where.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:10 am

reidar76 wrote:
Today we only have single-pilot aircraft with 19 or less passengers. I think this won't change.

I think what we will see next is aircraft with one human pilot and one AI pilot. In order words, still two pilots.

First out will probably be cargo aircraft, and after some years the technology will be available for pax aircraft as well.


Where are single pilot ops allowed for up to 19 passengers?

In any case, the insurance companies might be the most controlling - limiting - factor.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Tue Jan 07, 2020 2:19 am

Cape Air, I think.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:07 am

Makani Kai, in Hawaii, is a Part 135 operator, but their C208s only have 9 seats.
There are many SP charter and scheduled operators in Alaska, and more than their share of accidents.
https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news ... rt-135-ops
The operator referenced in the link is Taquan Air.
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/aviatio ... -killed-6/
https://www.ktva.com/story/40475131/taq ... ast-alaska
In the Ketchikan mid-air, the Otter had ADS-B, the Beaver did not.

An AI-copilot in SP ops would be a good thing.

BTW, AS/QX have a pilot track agreement with Cape Air.... an alternative to building hours as a CFI.
https://alaskaair.jobs/career-opportuni ... -part-135/
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:50 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Cape Air, I think.


Cape Air's C-402 have 9 passenger seats, IIRC.

Where are there single pilot 19 passenger ops...? I haven't been able to think of one, but maybe I'm missing something.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
frmrCapCadet
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:05 pm

reidar76 wrote:
Today we only have single-pilot aircraft with 19 or less passengers. I think this won't change.

I think what we will see next is aircraft with one human pilot and one AI pilot. In order words, still two pilots.

First out will probably be cargo aircraft, and after some years the technology will be available for pax aircraft as well.


As someone else noted single pilots currently are not 19 or less, I thought it was 9 or 10. But I think that could change. I see that number, whatever it is creeping up. Isolated rural communities would benefit from a truly economical plane carrying 20-30 people. Perhaps I dream. But then I never thought I would see an all electric 300 mile range pickup with sports car performance, and carrying 6 people in comfort for $50K.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Single pilot flight decks

Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:13 pm

Hypothetical: Rural community is offered air service on 19 pax a/c either on (i) SP a/c with remote co-pilot, or (ii) SP a/c with onboard AI co-pilot. Which would be adopted faster? Option (i) is much less expensive for operators, and simply applies existing drone piloting to commercial aviation. I predict (i) would not only be preferred by rural communities, all of whom have watched the "Creech AFB pilot room" scenes in Jack Ryan Season 1 ( :lol: ), but preferred by the operators as far less costly CAPEX.

https://www.airforce.com/careers/detail ... raft-pilot

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