Max Q
Topic Author
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Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:28 am

This is my prediction


Ongoing Pilot shortages and Airlines
constant quest to save money will drive
this issue


I don’t think it will be passenger aircraft
at first, rather cargo ops will ‘test the waters’ and passenger airlines will follow
years later


Personally I think it’s a terrible idea but
inevitable
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
426Shadow
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:41 am

Why stop at pilots? Let make passenger-less aircraft as well. Just an autonomous aircraft flying around doing nothing. (I'm joking of course, I just hate autonomy for the sake of).

In all honesty if they were willing to pay aviation minded people off the streets to get the tickets and hours there wouldn't be a pending pilot shortage, because these days not many people are really willing to throw $120,000 or more at something that will surely pay maybe 1/4 of that for the first year or two.
AKA Andre3K
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 1:56 am

If a person wants to be Pilot, the money will come. I worked weekends, nights at the local airport as a lone boy thru college—finished with CP, ME, IR, CFI. It can be done, but it requires the commitment many don’t want to put in today. That want it handed to them, as you suggest.

GF
 
426Shadow
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:00 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
If a person wants to be Pilot, the money will come. I worked weekends, nights at the local airport as a lone boy thru college—finished with CP, ME, IR, CFI. It can be done, but it requires the commitment many don’t want to put in today. That want it handed to them, as you suggest.

GF



I have a feeling you might have had some other things working for you that some don't. Or maybe you didn't have some things going against you, like age and financial responsibilities.

It has nothing to do with anything being handed, or do you feel the same way about Ex-Military aviators?
AKA Andre3K
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:28 am

I was single and is college. I spent money on nothing that didn’t support my flying. After college, I was supported by friends I flew with to go to UPT thru the ANG, so I’ve donr both. I have a lot of respect for pilots who came up thru civilian ranks-it’s tough, lots of pitfalls and demands complete sacrifice. Until I was 30, I drove either a Ford Pinto or a VW Rabbit and owned nothing I couldn’t put in either and move.

It’s a young man’s game that you must exclude all else.

GF
 
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Erebus
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:57 am

I hope not. A question for anyone - would you rather have a 1-man cockpit or a no-man cockpit? I don't like either one, but which one would be less 'evil'.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:13 am

What’s your preference? Three and four have gone away except for augmentation.

I’ve flown singe-seat, two-pilot, three-pilot as the engineer, two-pilot plus a navigator, flight engineer or two plus a cast of loadmasters. You might say I seen a bunch combinations, but still like two-pilot and engineer, even with 5,000 of two-pilot.

GF
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:23 am

Erebus wrote:
I hope not. A question for anyone - would you rather have a 1-man cockpit or a no-man cockpit? I don't like either one, but which one would be less 'evil'.



Back in the day as a 747 SO (flt engineer), I occasionaly saw both front seaters doze off. It was not intentional but just the nature of pure boredom. Of course I was always wide awake....Ha. Fans of automation and single pilot operation will say 'plug a sensor into the pilot that will detect if he's going into sleep mode, and shoot him with an electrical charge if he/she is" Sure.
 
Max Q
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:33 am

All good points, as I said I’m very much
against the idea of pilotless airliners


But I do think it’s inevitable, my question
is really about the timeline, I picked 2040
as this seems about right for the concept
to be introduced into cargo ops


What do you think, sooner or later than 2040 ?


Btw, GFlyer I think you meant
‘LINE boy’ !!
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:06 am

That would be line boy! In the days you could say that, gofer, snow plowed, fueler, mechanic’s assistant, broom pusher. Learned a lot listening to local airline pilots, too.

I’m convinced the pilotless airliner is possible, but I am familiar enough with certification process that I’m not sure the regulators would ever allow it. Plus the standards for in-flight performance and ground-based back up pilot necessity would make the costs so high there’s be a tough business case. We haven’t made trains fully driverless, in fact, removing the second crewman is hard. Trains have their own problems but they’re one-dimensional, carry freight for the most part and can just stop.

GF
 
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Erebus
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:48 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
What’s your preference?


Still very much debating in my head. I'm gravitating towards 1-man for the simple reason that automation only works well if it knows what to do. If it doesn't, the whole thing falls apart and that's where humans are better at improvising. But the thought of incapacitated pilots or rogue pilots like in the case of the Germanwings crash makes me quite uncomfortable with such an idea unless there's some way the cabin crew are allowed to intervene.

Even for pilotless cargo aircraft, I'm not totally comfortable with the idea of 200 tonnes of metal flying over my head with no one at the pointy end of it...

RetiredWeasel wrote:
Back in the day as a 747 SO (flt engineer), I occasionaly saw both front seaters doze off. It was not intentional but just the nature of pure boredom.


One has to wonder if that still happens today. :faint:
 
Max Q
Topic Author
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:59 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
That would be line boy! In the days you could say that, gofer, snow plowed, fueler, mechanic’s assistant, broom pusher. Learned a lot listening to local airline pilots, too.

I’m convinced the pilotless airliner is possible, but I am familiar enough with certification process that I’m not sure the regulators would ever allow it. Plus the standards for in-flight performance and ground-based back up pilot necessity would make the costs so high there’s be a tough business case. We haven’t made trains fully driverless, in fact, removing the second crewman is hard. Trains have their own problems but they’re one-dimensional, carry freight for the most part and can just stop.

GF



Certification standards can be modified
to accommodate new technologies though


Cockpits used to contain:


Radio operators - gone

Navigators -gone

Flight Engineers - gone


Overwater operations used to require
three or more engines to operate further
than 60 minutes from land, that’s all gone
now with ETOPS



Point is the trends are always towards economics and that won’t stop, airlines
will keep pushing to improve their bottom
lines and if the technology is there to
support that they will find the statistics to make it work.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
parapente
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:50 am

Perhaps this inevitable transition should be done slowly,particularly to bring the fare paying passengers along with the inevitable progress.
Personally I would start with regional flying,perhaps up to 6 hours max daytime only.For this you could have one captain/pilot.As proposed by MOL perhaps one member of cabin crew with basic knowledge as a backup.
Personally I don't see pilotless aircraft until it's obvious that it's totally safe.Various companies are testing driverless cars and the accidents are piling up giving the consumer zero confidence.But what about railways first? These transport devices are 'stuck' on rails but still ( in the main) require one 'pilot' - note not two.If they still need a driver then so should an aircraft that is far less naturally stable.

But yes I do think the industry should actively debate single captain/pilots for regional daytime flying.
 
Max Q
Topic Author
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:15 pm

parapente wrote:
Perhaps this inevitable transition should be done slowly,particularly to bring the fare paying passengers along with the inevitable progress.
Personally I would start with regional flying,perhaps up to 6 hours max daytime only.For this you could have one captain/pilot.As proposed by MOL perhaps one member of cabin crew with basic knowledge as a backup.
Personally I don't see pilotless aircraft until it's obvious that it's totally safe.Various companies are testing driverless cars and the accidents are piling up giving the consumer zero confidence.But what about railways first? These transport devices are 'stuck' on rails but still ( in the main) require one 'pilot' - note not two.If they still need a driver then so should an aircraft that is far less naturally stable.

But yes I do think the industry should actively debate single captain/pilots for regional daytime flying.



No form of transportation can ever be ‘totally safe’


It’s just not possible, fans of pilotless aircraft like to say how advanced technology will remove any possibility of
errors or system failures leading to accidents or incidents


Which is delusional, machines, computers,
software etc is all designed and built by humans who are imperfect in infinite ways


Which is why having two pilots at a minimum will always be the gold standard
in transport aircraft


Each pilot backs each other up and when aircraft system failures or issues occur they can intervene, compensate or disregard with human, on the spot intuition that will always be priceless
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
stratosphere
Posts: 1551
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 12:41 pm

Max Q wrote:
parapente wrote:
Perhaps this inevitable transition should be done slowly,particularly to bring the fare paying passengers along with the inevitable progress.
Personally I would start with regional flying,perhaps up to 6 hours max daytime only.For this you could have one captain/pilot.As proposed by MOL perhaps one member of cabin crew with basic knowledge as a backup.
Personally I don't see pilotless aircraft until it's obvious that it's totally safe.Various companies are testing driverless cars and the accidents are piling up giving the consumer zero confidence.But what about railways first? These transport devices are 'stuck' on rails but still ( in the main) require one 'pilot' - note not two.If they still need a driver then so should an aircraft that is far less naturally stable.

But yes I do think the industry should actively debate single captain/pilots for regional daytime flying.



No form of transportation can ever be ‘totally safe’


It’s just not possible, fans of pilotless aircraft like to say how advanced technology will remove any possibility of
errors or system failures leading to accidents or incidents


Which is delusional, machines, computers,
software etc is all designed and built by humans who are imperfect in infinite ways


Which is why having two pilots at a minimum will always be the gold standard
in transport aircraft


Each pilot backs each other up and when aircraft system failures or issues occur they can intervene, compensate or disregard with human, on the spot intuition that will always be priceless


I don't think you will ever see pilotless a/c certainly not in our lifetimes anyway. At the most I can see them "trying" to get it down to one pilot and even that is a stretch and if it were to happen it would be on the cargo side of the house. I don't see the flying public being comfortable with it for one and like you said there are system failures even with redundant systems there have been times when all automation has been lost and the pilots saved the day.
 
mmo
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:33 pm

In 2040, I will be 91 or dead. But until I can use a computer which doesn't, at some point in time present the BSD, I certainly won't be getting on an aircraft like that. I have had plenty of situations while flying where I was thankful there were two of us in the cockpit.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
BravoOne
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:29 pm

Certification of a pilotless freighter by 2025 is a realistic goal, and I'm betting it will happen. Now whether it can sell and be supported by the ATC system throughout the world, remains to be seen.
 
stratclub
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 4:43 pm

mmo wrote:
In 2040, I will be 91 or dead. But until I can use a computer which doesn't, at some point in time present the BSD, I certainly won't be getting on an aircraft like that. I have had plenty of situations while flying where I was thankful there were two of us in the cockpit.

Just be thankful that software for aircraft automation as far as I know, does not use a Micro$oft operating system. :bigthumbsup:
 
BravoOne
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 5:22 pm

The drones that fly out of Creech and Beale AFB, not to mention oyher more advanced AI to go along with them, have doing so for a number of years now. Not perfect yet, but surprisingly successful. I see little difference between them and what we will see around the next decade IMO.
 
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AirlineCritic
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:04 pm

But in 2018, we must first start by fixing the auto trim in 737-Maxes... not quite in automated flying yet
 
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7BOEING7
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:58 pm

I think by 2025-2030 we'll start seeing single pilot's (with ground backup) in freight operations (UPS/FEDEX) and then into the airlines by 2035. Eventually that guy will be dispensible.

As for "sleeping pilots" both the 777 and 787 have a Crew Alertness Monitor which generates an advisory, then a caution, then a warning message after a period of time with no "button" pushes -- hopefully that wakes them up.
 
mmo
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:23 pm

7BOEING7 wrote:

As for "sleeping pilots" both the 777 and 787 have a Crew Alertness Monitor which generates an advisory, then a caution, then a warning message after a period of time with no "button" pushes -- hopefully that wakes them up.


Was first on the 747-400. Certainly not new.

stratclub wrote:
Just be thankful that software for aircraft automation as far as I know, does not use a Micro$oft operating system. :bigthumbsup:


Having flown the 320/757/744/777/787, I am well aware of that. However, I gave up counting the number of times the FMC did a complete dump or you had no comm VHF/HF/SATCOM. I'll stick with two pilots.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:37 pm

7BOEING7 wrote:
I think by 2025-2030 we'll start seeing single pilot's (with ground backup) in freight operations (UPS/FEDEX) and then into the airlines by 2035. Eventually that guy will be dispensible.


That date would pretty much require a modified current design, very unlikely.

GF
 
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7BOEING7
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:56 pm

mmo wrote:
7BOEING7 wrote:

As for "sleeping pilots" both the 777 and 787 have a Crew Alertness Monitor which generates an advisory, then a caution, then a warning message after a period of time with no "button" pushes -- hopefully that wakes them up.


Was first on the 747-400. Certainly not new.


Nobody said it was new -- the 777 is 25+ years old, but I believe it was first certified on the 777 then made available to the 747 and 767. IRRC the initial 744's didn't have it and it's not in the FCOM from that time period.
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:31 pm

Maybe someday aircraft will also have just one engine ;) .

There will always be a need for redundancy. Unless, maybe that one engine somehow has a backup ready to go, or maybe the aircraft runs on one engine and has a backup ready?
 
mmo
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:02 pm

7BOEING7 wrote:
mmo wrote:
7BOEING7 wrote:

As for "sleeping pilots" both the 777 and 787 have a Crew Alertness Monitor which generates an advisory, then a caution, then a warning message after a period of time with no "button" pushes -- hopefully that wakes them up.


Was first on the 747-400. Certainly not new.


Nobody said it was new -- the 777 is 25+ years old, but I believe it was first certified on the 777 then made available to the 747 and 767. IRRC the initial 744's didn't have it and it's not in the FCOM from that time period.



I was working for NW and they were the launch customer and I can assure you they were on all the aircraft NW took delivery of. In fact, during the proving flights the FAA wanted to see the operation and progression.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
BravoOne
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:21 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
7BOEING7 wrote:
I think by 2025-2030 we'll start seeing single pilot's (with ground backup) in freight operations (UPS/FEDEX) and then into the airlines by 2035. Eventually that guy will be dispensible.


That date would pretty much require a modified current design, very unlikely.

GF


Think 777X and all new Boeings forward as they will have the core FBW / autoflight systems to support this.
 
Max Q
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:42 pm

7BOEING7 wrote:
I think by 2025-2030 we'll start seeing single pilot's (with ground backup) in freight operations (UPS/FEDEX) and then into the airlines by 2035. Eventually that guy will be dispensible.

As for "sleeping pilots" both the 777 and 787 have a Crew Alertness Monitor which generates an advisory, then a caution, then a warning message after a period of time with no "button" pushes -- hopefully that wakes them up.



We had this feature on all our 757 / 767
aircraft from day one
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
BravoOne
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:24 am

What does this wake up call have to do with a pilotless aircraft? The hurdles to overcome are much more than some FMC trek wakeup call.
 
LH707330
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Fri Nov 09, 2018 5:23 am

We'll probably see single-engine airliners before single-pilot airliners. What's the MBTF of a pilot due to some form of incapacitation versus an engine's MBTF?
 
parapente
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Fri Nov 09, 2018 7:43 am

The idea of first developing these concepts with cargo aircraft is a good idea.
 
Apprentice
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Sat Nov 10, 2018 4:49 pm

I don’t believe. Passengers or majority of them would not like to depend in automatic device.
I, me neither.

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SEPilot
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Re: 2040, the year when pilotless airliners go into service ?

Sat Nov 10, 2018 7:23 pm

I do not see it happening for a long time, for a couple of reasons. First, automation can only do what it is programmed to do, and humans will always be better at handling totally unforeseen emergencies. Plus there is the issue of redundancy. That is why, no matter how reliable engines become we will never have single engined airliners. So I think that we will see two pilots in the cockpit for a long, long time to come.
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