Would you be happy with just One pilot? Its the future..

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This topic contains 46 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by  CathayLoyalist2 8 Jan 2016
at 09:37

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  • Anonymous


    Boeing, Airbus and BAE Systems are among the consortium working to reduce reliance on crew members in the flight deck


    Appears risky however if this is true …
    …While pilots had prevented large numbers of accidents, ‘issues involving the flight crew’ were contributory factors in 60 per cent of fatal accidents between 1990 and 2010, its website said….
    then appearances may be deceptive.

    So would you be happy with just one pilot?

    Is it a prelude to fully remote piloting from ground based pilots?


    Hello BigDog

    But is it really the future ? I remember in the early 1980s flying LGW to BOH (Bournemouth) on a tiny propeller plane with just one pilot.

    It was a scheduled flight. The airline is no longer in business. There was only a few seats onboard and passengers had to be weighed before being issued with a boarding pass.

    I remember following the M27 as we approached BOH and the traffic below appeared to be moving almost as fast as my flight !


    NO, NO and NO again.

    This has nothing to do with increasing safety,it’s an ambiguous euphemism for cutting costs. Strip back and strip back and people will die.

    They mention the BA incident in the report, and I’m sure I could after a bit of research list many more where people are alive today purely down to teamwork in the cockpit. There must be a dozen or so aircraft investigation programmes that have a happy ending!

    What the report will no doubt omit is the everyday entries into flight logs across the globe,where pilots have routinely countered the software to ” FLY” the aircraft.

    So once again NO,NO and NO again.


    Im the other way around; bring in the technology. Its hardly a huge cost issue; a lot of pilots earn a pittance all things considered. My concern is at a time when we are told there is a huge worldwide shortage of pilots bringing in the automation can only be a good thing to keep us all flying. The number in the cockpit is only going to trend downwards and when it went from 3 to 2 there was a similar outcry.

    I remember the 3 full time pilots on my first 747 (i was 3); technology got that down to 2; and it will get it down to 1 and then 0.

    The need for two pilots currently is to manage the hideously outdated technology – (and according the radio play games; one comes up with strange games (flight-deck buckaroo anyone) and the other always loses first choice on the cheese tray.)

    Simplify the technology on the flight deck as we did when we lost the engineer and you won’t need two pilots. With decent sensors that can scan around the plane you won’t need anyone to look outside the plane; half the job done straight away – god knows how many foggy landings I have done that were full auto landings and that technology came in the 70’s.

    I do wonder what you do during rest breaks though? Are we going to be landing in Bahrain again for a pitstop?


    At present I would disagree with any proposal to reduce the flight crew to one pilot. I appreciate the monotony of the tasks during the vast majority of flights. However, having two pilots helps to keep the pilot in command to complete the checklists and to monitor all the systems. It also provides backup during comfort breaks, etc. I therefore firmly believe that the second pilot is essential during an emergency.

    When the engine blew up on the A380 QF32 with such devastating consequences for the other systems, Captain Richard de Crespigny concentrated on controlling the plane in a safe and controlled manner while First Officer Matt Hicks went through about 125 checklists. I don’t believe that it would have been possible for one pilot to have carried out both functions and to have brought the aircraft down safely.

    I would boycott any airline that tried to introduce this ill thought out proposal!


    AMcWhirter, thanks for the memory of the LGW-Bournemouth flights.

    I was on Air Moorea [a Twin Otter scheduled flight] from Papeete to Moorea return in 2005, and was very surprised – and uneasy, though it was only a 15-20 minute flight as I recall – with only one pilot on board both ways.


    GivingupBA – Glad you found it of interest.

    Over the past few hours I have recalled that airline’s name.

    It was Metropolitan Airways and only remained in business for a few years.

    Its timetable dated March 29, 1982 is when its network included LGW-BOH.



    And could just one pilot have landed on the Hudson river? More worrying, what if the plane was fully automatic and no pilots as hinted at in the article?


    Didn’t Mr O’leary of Ryanair suggest this just a few years ago when he likened pilots to bus drivers. I thought it was just another of his publicity stunts like charging for the toilet, standing pax, no windows & charging for a seatbelt.

    As for the topic, I guess I am happy enough on the Doclands light railway, but if that breaks down I am stuck….not falling!


    Don’t get carried away with suggestions of an “ill thought out proposal”

    There is no proposal of any nature. It’s simply a study looking at possible future direction within the industry. The article clearly says the purpose is “to identify the ‘main aspects to consider for future implementation of single-pilot operation” so we are years and probably decades away from anything happening.

    I’m sure there are examples of where good airmanship has saved lives, however I’m sure I could find an equal number of examples of where pilot error has cost lives. It’s all about finding the optimum combination of man and machine.

    You can be sure the regulators would not even consider anything that compromised safety, and I think suggestions of cost cutting are a bit premature – there is nothing at all to suggest that.

    A good combination of the Daily Mail and some BT forum hysteria. Best have a cup of tea and calm down.


    AMcWhirter, thank you very much for the information about Metropolitan Airways, and also for the link to the 1982 timetable!


    Canucklad, totally agree. A definite NO.

    Lugano Pirate, Capt Sullenberger was asked if he thought there would have been a less successful outcome if his FO had been on the ground. The answer was an emphatic yes. “Fly By Wire – The Geese, The Glide, The Miracle on the Hudson” by William Langewiesche is a good account of the incident.

    Perhaps cockpits of the the future will contain a pilot and a dog. The pilot will be there to feed the dog and the dog to stop him touching anything!


    One pilot? That’s the day I’ll stop flying and take the train no matter how long it takes.


    Canucklad, totally agree – next they will be suggesting getting rid of the man with his red flag in front of Virgin East Coast services between Edinburgh and London. I think Virgin West Coast have already tried this out on a few services……

    Folks, it will happen, maybe not in my flying lifetime, but it will. As will pilotless aircraft…….

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