TTailedTiger
Topic Author
Posts: 622
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:19 am

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:50 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You obviously haven’t been flying with an ejection seat. I have, you don’t use until you are more frightened of the plane than you are of the seat. 1 in 8 pilots are, I’m a little out of date on the stats, killed when they resorted to it. Nearly all out of the envelope. Mine was close about 300 milliseconds from being out of the envelope. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, looks at an ejection seat as a free way out; injuries are likely.

GF


What is the ejection rate? I was under the impression that those were ultra rare events. That's a lot of taxpayer money to be throwing away. So either there is an inherent problem with the aircraft or a problem with the pilot.
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:11 pm

If the ejection seat is in use, there's nothing being thrown away. The situation is beyond salvage.

GalaxyFlyer ejected following a mid-air collision in his A-10, with another aircraft.

You could attempt to suggest that this represented an "inherent problem" with the aircraft, seeing as it was unflyable, or you could say it was an "inherent problem" with the pilot, seeing as his only remaining option to live was to leave the aircraft on the seat.

No one is going to choose to eject if there is any other possibility. It's dangerous, and a successful ejection in which every component works as it should can do lifelong damage simply from the acceleration leaving the aircraft. Compound that with exploding canopies and detonation cord over one's head, the possibility of exiting through the canopy (the design of the aircraft in some, such as the OV-10), and high potentials such as fracturing both arms as they hit the slipstream on the way out, are among a few of the potentials that can occur.

The seat is hot for every flight; the potential to eject exists 100% of the time, which means that it's always an option, and always the last option.

The problem with the pilot may be that he's got good enough judgement to know when it's time to take the last option. The problem with the aircraft is that it's no longer a viable option.

You can make a forced landing on a golf course or city street in a Cessna 150. Not the wisest option in an F16.
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2281
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Wed Feb 06, 2019 1:48 pm

well said 747Whale and GalaxyFlyer
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Wed Feb 06, 2019 3:17 pm

Thanks, 747 Whale, well said.

The problem of single pilot is not handling most every QRH emergency or non-normal procedures, they’re fairly simple. It’s managing risk and decision making and applying sufficient discipline to avoid situations over the experience level of the pilot. Discipline is imposed by regulators and airline companies that has to be self-imposed by someone without the experience and engineering background. Add in ego and get there pressure, it’s not good.

One of the great things about airlines, they calculate risks as once in a million or ten million events where a solo or small corporate operation might say, “we can pull it off this time.” It is a hard pressure to fight.

GF
 
YIMBY
Posts: 492
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:32 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:12 pm

As passenger, I can take a single pilot flight when the plane has a full autopilot (or remote control) including diversion, autoland and communication in case if pilot incapacitation.
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Wed Feb 06, 2019 5:47 pm

Are you aware of a single pilot airplane with autoland capability?

Are you aware of an autopilot that has the capability or judgement to divert, program itself, and perform an autoland?

Are you aware of single-pilot aircraft with "remote control" capability?
 
trijetsonly
Posts: 619
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:05 pm

747Whale wrote:
Are you aware of a single pilot airplane with autoland capability?

Are you aware of an autopilot that has the capability or judgement to divert, program itself, and perform an autoland?

Are you aware of single-pilot aircraft with "remote control" capability?


Yes as it was part of my university job more than 10 years ago to design, develop and test such systems on and for small aircraft.
For the pending certification I suspect that it will take at least another 15 to 20 years but I'm absolutely sure that we will see single pilot planes of all sizes with your mentioned capabilities by 2050.

But that's all still far away. For now we are still stuck in the 80s with fly-by-wire being state of the art....
Happy Landings
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:07 pm

Fly by wire is used in some aircraft; many still don't use it. Fly by cable and hydraulics in most, with some input of automation.

As for remote control and single pilot with auto land, it doesn't exist and isn't a reality. I hear from university student all the time, excited to revolutionize a wold they don't know or understand with the benefit of having read about it on the internet (and are thus experts).

There is no doubt that at some point the push will continue to further reduce the cockpit paycheck (make no mistake; it's not about enhanced safety, it's about reducing the long term and immediate cost to an operator by removing paid crew from the cockpit). The flight engineer is gone; next to eliminate the second in command.

I'll be gone long before then, and should it ever happen, most of us who do fly professionally won't operate in that environment. When I say won't operate, I mean will refuse. I'm not operating with the potential of anyone on the ground intervening, under any circumstance. I've seen too much of that with remotely piloted aircraft, and have had too many near mid-air's with them, and seen them crash or have other problems far, far too many times. Zero trust or love for them at all.

The fact that university academics are sticking their nose into it is not surprising in the least; it's been going on for a long time. Now with the internet, everybody is an expert. Or so they think.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 2246
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Thu Feb 07, 2019 4:05 pm

Funny story. A squadron member with slathers of safe fighter and heavy time including combat went to the early Global Hawk program, mostly for active duty time. First week, the engine quits, he can’t control it and crashes in Pakistan. He’s in Germany, UAV in pieces in Pakistan. Class A mishap board, investigated, in the record and his 4,000 miles away.

GF
 
ChrisKen
Posts: 685
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 11:15 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Thu Feb 07, 2019 11:12 pm

747Whale wrote:
Are you aware of a single pilot airplane with autoland capability?


I don't think it's possible on paper as I believe anything 'higher' than CAT I or II under current regulations, requires two pilots for the aircraft to achieve the CAT III (a or b) certification.
Could a single pilot aircraft be fitted with such a system? Yeah sure but it wouldn't be legal to use it without the certificate

Are you aware of an autopilot that has the capability or judgement to divert, program itself, and perform an autoland?

Nope, and it will be a long time before we see it.

Are you aware of single-pilot aircraft with "remote control" capability?

I'm aware of many aircraft (from lights to heavies) that have been fitted with such systems. Most however were short range and for a very specific task (often crash testing).
eg. https://youtu.be/WUDJONicAGA?t=2366
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:16 am

That was my point.

None of that is available, or required, for single pilot turbojet operations.

It's not required, because it's not necessary.
 
greendot
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:02 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
Why is this permitted? I cannot understand why the FAA would allow a multi-passenger jet like the CJ4. Furthermore, I can't believe any of those passengers would be ok climbing on a jet with just one pilot. We have seen too many examples of an airline pilot being incapacitated or falling over dead while inflight.

I'm just a private but I also prefer to have another pilot along with me for a trip. It considerably reduces the workload and at least there is someone else who can operate the aircraft if something happens to me. A passenger jet is much more advanced than a single engine piston and can cause a lot more damage when it crashes. The risk just doesn't seem worth it and I can't believe any insurance company would allow it. It's a roll of the dice and not a chance I would be willing to take. And besides, it's always better to have another set of eyes and judgement.


The FAA allows it because safety is not the FAAs top priority. It has a split mandate to regulate air travel as well as promote the industry. The NTSB is charged with identifying safety issues. The NTSB makes recommendations but the FAA decides whether to execute them or not. It's a pretty flawed system and the FAA should not be charged with promoting the business of aviation.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/airline-me ... stigation/

http://www.newson6.com/story/39915808/m ... estigation

The FAA will not make a course correction until people die. Sorry but that is the sad truth. Unfortunately if the FAA is found to be weak in rulemaking, no one gets prosecuted at the FAA. I personally think there ought to be a lower burden to prosecute FAA employees even after they resign or retire for decisions they make while in office.

Also, the FAA has various levels of safety depending on who you are. There are different rules for small jets, smaller airplanes like what you fly, large cargo jets, and commercial airliners. Generally the passenger carrying airlines are the ones that get the tightest regulation. Small business jet safety and cargo is often overlooked.

https://www.flyingmag.com/technique/acc ... -ups-crash

"As they prepared for the flight the pilots can be heard on the cockpit voice recorder complaining of being tired and saying that cargo pilots should have been included in new federal rest and duty-time regulations."
 
greendot
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:16 am

trijetsonly wrote:
747Whale wrote:
Are you aware of a single pilot airplane with autoland capability?

Are you aware of an autopilot that has the capability or judgement to divert, program itself, and perform an autoland?

Are you aware of single-pilot aircraft with "remote control" capability?


Yes as it was part of my university job more than 10 years ago to design, develop and test such systems on and for small aircraft.
For the pending certification I suspect that it will take at least another 15 to 20 years but I'm absolutely sure that we will see single pilot planes of all sizes with your mentioned capabilities by 2050.

But that's all still far away. For now we are still stuck in the 80s with fly-by-wire being state of the art....


As you know, technologically, computer science is sufficiently far advanced to automate any normal aircraft operation.

The problem is that this is only true under clinical, controlled conditions. This is also because there are many failure modes of aircraft systems. For example, i've no doubt a computer can autoland better than a real pilot but it assumes that every part of the aircraft is operating normally. What happens if the radio altimeter starts giving errors? Will the software be properly programmed to address this scenario? What if the aircraft encounters windshear? Will the autopilot control laws be written to negotiate random high magnitude wind gusts without putting the aircraft into a stall?

Even the best software is still limited by the language its programmed in and the sensory devices it uses. What computer language can synthesize a solution without it being preprogrammed? Unless you develop truly autonomous androids like in Star Trek, you only have dumb computers that just have lots of preconceived scenarios in the logic. The software is just using glorified IF X THEN Y statements but it isn't really making decisions.

Then there's the notion of needing sensors accurate enough to feed the computer's logic. For example, what weather RADAR is good enough to provide a computer sufficient data to prevent shooting an approach because the missed approach corridor has thunderstorms? Even as advanced as RADAR is, it still becomes almost useless down low, particularly near cities and other manmade structures. I've seen pilots fly into Red on the weather RADAR thinking it was just returns from downtown NYC. How would software deal with situations where sensors all provide faulty data? That's what happened to the Air France flight over the Atlantic. Ultimately it was pilot error but a computer would not have done better. In fact, the primitive system of that Airbus degraded into Direct Law because it encountered a scenario outside of its operational envelope.

I could easily go on with lots of examples but the point is that if you automate something, it really only handles 1% of the situations that can happen. If a bird hits the cockpit and takes out critical electronics underneath, I guarantee you that a computer will not be able to solve the situation. A trained pilot could land the aircraft just by using outside visual references and general pitch and power settings.
 
greendot
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 8:37 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Not to mention probably 800 single pilot fighters flying around North America


Notice that's why I specified passenger aircraft...

We have had two highly experienced airline pilots weigh in and both said they would not take a Citation jet or similar up on their own. Yours isn't the only opinion and I have made no judgments about yours and 747whale's decisions. Do what you like. I certainly can't stop you. I was just asking why the FAA would think it's a good idea to approve these aircraft for single pilot operations. I appreciate the input and especially those who have been both informative and civil.


The FAA approves anything. They advertise safety but the truth is they don't know how to implement the concept unless its obvious. Up until now, safety has been easy to define because mechanical things are easy to understand. That's well suited for the average FAA civil servant that has no particular education in math or science. There are always exceptions, but in the government you don't typically climb the ladder to management by your intellectual abilities. The result is an agency that is largely reactionary and better suited to older generation steam gauge technologies. Nowadays, software engineering blows everything out of the water in terms of complexity. Government agencies like the FAA simply have no concept for how to regulate these things. The FAA spends millions each year hiring think tanks like the RAND corporation, SRI International, etc. The problem I have seen with this approach is that career government bureaucrats are not smart enough to manage these consultants, much less comprehend the results of their analysis. So, they may be told by consultants that anything can be automated but these bureaucrats are not smart enough to ask things they don't know about such as system failure modes. Modern technology is sufficiently "magical" to these types such that they do not have even a concept of how dangerous it would be to have single pilot operations. It is very easy for Boeing or Airbus to wooo these types into certifying anything just because it "looks" far too sophisticated to fail.
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 9:31 am

I'm aware of a recent incident involving a large airplane which passed all preflight checks and tests and taxied for takeoff without incident. The takeoff roll was uneventful, and moments after takeoff, the flight entered the clouds. The departure occurred at a high altitude airport, in a very mountainous area. The F/O, who was flying, saw the airspeed indication wind down and the flight director give a fly down command, which he followed. The captain, aware of the terrain, crosschecked his indication with the F/O, noted the standby instrumentation gave no indication, and took control, following the same terrain escape maneuver used for a ground proximity warning. Shortly thereafter, the ground proximity warning activated and stayed activated for the remainder of the flight. The flight was at night, in weather and ice, and the aircraft failed to pressurize. At that point, cockpit information began to fail, and shortly the captain was back to reaw data without a clear indication of what would fail next, or the nature of the problem. He successfully flew a return to land by commanding everything manually through the F/O while he hand flew.

On automation, that flight would not have survived.

Pilots are not paid for the monkey skills of manipulating the controls, but for judgement.
 
SAAFNAV
Posts: 540
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 5:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:30 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
I'm just a private but I also prefer to have another pilot along with me for a trip. It considerably reduces the workload and at least there is someone else who can operate the aircraft if something happens to me. A passenger jet is much more advanced than a single engine piston and can cause a lot more damage when it crashes. The risk just doesn't seem worth it and I can't believe any insurance company would allow it. It's a roll of the dice and not a chance I would be willing to take. And besides, it's always better to have another set of eyes and judgement.


A lot of this thread is locked in the paragraph.

You _prefer_. Because you prefer that, it should be the law now?

Yes, it is better to have a set of eyes, and if you feel comfortable when taking another pilot with you, I will be the last person to judge you.

However, just a 172 is designed and certified for single-pilot operation, the single pilot jets are too. I do not have any experience flying one, apart from reading about them. I suspect you have about as much experience in a CJ4 as I do.
Your PPL entitles you to take a plane out on your own. Because you prefer not to, you shouldn't prevent another pilot from enjoying that privilege.

You can fly a PC12 or Phenom Jet etc on a PPL as well. The rule-makers have deemed it save.
Greendot has got a very vocal hatred of the FAA, but not all of the single-pilot planes were built and certified initially under FAA rules. So that means all the countries together in their mandate are just as useless.

Yes, there has been many accidents with single-pilot planes. But not a lot of them were necessarily avoidable just by having two pilots.
How about the Phenom pilot that never thought about turning anti-icing on before landing in ice? Will another set of eyes help? Maybe. Will another set of eyes also forgot? Just as likely if you talking two PPL pilots with a company manual (think privately flown bizjets).

How about the bizjet (I think it as a CRJ derivative) that pranged because they took off with the control locks in place, and the voice recorder revealed they haven't done proper take-off checks for a long time.
You could have 10 pilots in the plane, no amount will make up for bad procedures, lack of airmanship and poor discipline.
L-382 Loadmaster; ex C-130B Navigator
 
trijetsonly
Posts: 619
Joined: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:38 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 11:37 am

747Whale wrote:
I'm aware of a recent incident involving a large airplane which passed all preflight checks and tests and taxied for takeoff without incident. The takeoff roll was uneventful, and moments after takeoff, the flight entered the clouds. The departure occurred at a high altitude airport, in a very mountainous area. The F/O, who was flying, saw the airspeed indication wind down and the flight director give a fly down command, which he followed. The captain, aware of the terrain, crosschecked his indication with the F/O, noted the standby instrumentation gave no indication, and took control, following the same terrain escape maneuver used for a ground proximity warning. Shortly thereafter, the ground proximity warning activated and stayed activated for the remainder of the flight. The flight was at night, in weather and ice, and the aircraft failed to pressurize. At that point, cockpit information began to fail, and shortly the captain was back to reaw data without a clear indication of what would fail next, or the nature of the problem. He successfully flew a return to land by commanding everything manually through the F/O while he hand flew.

On automation, that flight would not have survived.

Pilots are not paid for the monkey skills of manipulating the controls, but for judgement.


You can't really compare current technology with future developements.
Most current airplanes have very little sense for environmental awareness. This is about to change with a larger implementation of GBAS and SBAS. The next step is to connect the digital terrain model with several airflow-independant positioning systems like GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and ground based aids.
Together with a simple flight path extrapolation a CFIT becomes impossible.
So the sole remaining problem is the correct aircraft performance evaluation, based on aerodynamics and a possible degraded aircraft performance by defects, linke engine out.
I don't see an alternative to air data measurements yet but that can be adressed by implementing more pitot and AoA sensors to an aircraft, implementing more ADIRUs and using a vote to exclude wrong measurements. With 20 advanced pitot sensors and 20 ADIRUs there shouldn't be a problem if 5 fail.

Disclaimer:
In the above described situation I assume that there is no scheduled manual flying. The sole pilot's (or what his/her job will be called by then) only job is to supervise system operation and manage unexpected failures. In normal operation he/she has absolutely nothing to do. Action is only required in case of non-normal operation that is not covered by programming.

I'm always amazed of what my car can do, compared to cars just 10 years ago. I can safely let it drive with 65 miles through dense fog with less than 50m viewing distance and it will react to other cars, animals or lane changes far before I can even see it.

Airplanes are different due to production times, obsolescence and certification. But in 30 years max. aviation will be different.
Happy Landings
 
TTailedTiger
Topic Author
Posts: 622
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:19 am

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 12:21 pm

SAAFNAV wrote:
TTailedTiger wrote:
I'm just a private but I also prefer to have another pilot along with me for a trip. It considerably reduces the workload and at least there is someone else who can operate the aircraft if something happens to me. A passenger jet is much more advanced than a single engine piston and can cause a lot more damage when it crashes. The risk just doesn't seem worth it and I can't believe any insurance company would allow it. It's a roll of the dice and not a chance I would be willing to take. And besides, it's always better to have another set of eyes and judgement.


A lot of this thread is locked in the paragraph.

You _prefer_. Because you prefer that, it should be the law now?

Yes, it is better to have a set of eyes, and if you feel comfortable when taking another pilot with you, I will be the last person to judge you.

However, just a 172 is designed and certified for single-pilot operation, the single pilot jets are too. I do not have any experience flying one, apart from reading about them. I suspect you have about as much experience in a CJ4 as I do.
Your PPL entitles you to take a plane out on your own. Because you prefer not to, you shouldn't prevent another pilot from enjoying that privilege.

You can fly a PC12 or Phenom Jet etc on a PPL as well. The rule-makers have deemed it save.
Greendot has got a very vocal hatred of the FAA, but not all of the single-pilot planes were built and certified initially under FAA rules. So that means all the countries together in their mandate are just as useless.

Yes, there has been many accidents with single-pilot planes. But not a lot of them were necessarily avoidable just by having two pilots.
How about the Phenom pilot that never thought about turning anti-icing on before landing in ice? Will another set of eyes help? Maybe. Will another set of eyes also forgot? Just as likely if you talking two PPL pilots with a company manual (think privately flown bizjets).

How about the bizjet (I think it as a CRJ derivative) that pranged because they took off with the control locks in place, and the voice recorder revealed they haven't done proper take-off checks for a long time.
You could have 10 pilots in the plane, no amount will make up for bad procedures, lack of airmanship and poor discipline.


Chill out and stop putting words in my mouth. I never said single pilot jet ops should be outlawed. I asked why it was permitted and then gave my concerns. Why did this strike such a nerve with you? Ya know, insurance companies are pretty good about determining risk and probability. The insurance premiums for single pilot jets are much more expensive than having a policy with two pilots. If it's as safe as you claim it is then there wouldn't be any difference in the insurance costs.
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 2:52 pm

TTailedTiger wrote:

We have had two highly experienced airline pilots weigh in and both said they would not take a Citation jet or similar up on their own.


You also had a number of other highly experienced airline and professional pilots who said otherwise, didn't you?

How do you know what the insurance costs are? It's not based on your experience insuring them, or flying them, or operating them.

Insurance rates are often driven by the pilot in given operation. How much experience has the pilot got? How much in type? What kind of training in type, how often, and where? How recent? How much relevant experience does he or she have?it makes a big difference. Perhaps to make your point, you can quote the numbers for a pilot with no experience vs. one with 10,000 hours in type, then contrast that with the same experience level of each pilot in two-pilot crews, to see if your point has a lot of validity.
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 2522
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:29 pm

The amazingly safe record of aviation has come at certain costs. One of them is that rural communities that 50 years ago had commercial flights to nearer hubs have lost them. Increasingly so.

In an odd sort of parallel dynamic 737/320s now fly across oceans and 50 years ago we would have said it was recklessly irresponsible.

The is a big need for 20-50 passenger planes for rural areas at economically affordable costs. I could see a sort of ETOPS equivalent for one pilot no FA flights starting at about 20 passenger and rising over time. Such planes would have pilot-maintenance-autonomous requirement and weather requirements which could ensure current levels of safety.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
 
greendot
Posts: 94
Joined: Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:08 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:46 pm

trijetsonly wrote:
747Whale wrote:
I'm aware of a recent incident involving a large airplane which passed all preflight checks and tests and taxied for takeoff without incident. The takeoff roll was uneventful, and moments after takeoff, the flight entered the clouds. The departure occurred at a high altitude airport, in a very mountainous area. The F/O, who was flying, saw the airspeed indication wind down and the flight director give a fly down command, which he followed. The captain, aware of the terrain, crosschecked his indication with the F/O, noted the standby instrumentation gave no indication, and took control, following the same terrain escape maneuver used for a ground proximity warning. Shortly thereafter, the ground proximity warning activated and stayed activated for the remainder of the flight. The flight was at night, in weather and ice, and the aircraft failed to pressurize. At that point, cockpit information began to fail, and shortly the captain was back to reaw data without a clear indication of what would fail next, or the nature of the problem. He successfully flew a return to land by commanding everything manually through the F/O while he hand flew.

On automation, that flight would not have survived.

Pilots are not paid for the monkey skills of manipulating the controls, but for judgement.


You can't really compare current technology with future developements.
Most current airplanes have very little sense for environmental awareness. This is about to change with a larger implementation of GBAS and SBAS. The next step is to connect the digital terrain model with several airflow-independant positioning systems like GPS, Galileo, GLONASS and ground based aids.
Together with a simple flight path extrapolation a CFIT becomes impossible.
So the sole remaining problem is the correct aircraft performance evaluation, based on aerodynamics and a possible degraded aircraft performance by defects, linke engine out.
I don't see an alternative to air data measurements yet but that can be adressed by implementing more pitot and AoA sensors to an aircraft, implementing more ADIRUs and using a vote to exclude wrong measurements. With 20 advanced pitot sensors and 20 ADIRUs there shouldn't be a problem if 5 fail.

Disclaimer:
In the above described situation I assume that there is no scheduled manual flying. The sole pilot's (or what his/her job will be called by then) only job is to supervise system operation and manage unexpected failures. In normal operation he/she has absolutely nothing to do. Action is only required in case of non-normal operation that is not covered by programming.

I'm always amazed of what my car can do, compared to cars just 10 years ago. I can safely let it drive with 65 miles through dense fog with less than 50m viewing distance and it will react to other cars, animals or lane changes far before I can even see it.

Airplanes are different due to production times, obsolescence and certification. But in 30 years max. aviation will be different.


Yes... aircraft positioning will become more accurate and more reliable with 20 ADIRU units. Yes, the aircraft can probably maintain a course from takeoff to landing better than a human pilot could. But... what happens if animals get on the runway at the last minute? what happens if a bird hits the radome or the fuselage and takes out a large chunk of electronics? What happens if the aircraft gets hit by lightning and the electrical system is damaged and doesn't power all computers? Suppose an animal does hit the airplane and the logic decides to reject the takeoff. If the animal kills the single pilot (yes, it happens), and the brakes catch on fire (they might), how will the computer deal with the logistics of evacuation? Will the computer have the benefit of fire detection sensors that allow it to decide what doors to use and not use?

I can go down a whole chain in logic regarding failures but my point is that there are an infinite number of variables to consider. The computer does not have the benefit of sight, hearing, taste (smell), and physical orientation. Even if it did, it wouldn't be coded to do what a human could do when a human "understands". Yes, deep learning software is possible but it requires a massive computer infrastructure, not to mention, it still isn't smart, it just has the benefit of datamining a large database for probable outcomes.

The big problem is not that technology can't replace pilots most of the time, the problem is that it can't replace pilots every time. The financial department of any corporation will never let an engineer create the most elegant solution possible because it costs too much. Why is the 737MAX a giant mess? It's not because the engineers couldn't think of a way to make it better than an A320, it's because the boys in Chicago want to make it as cheap as possible with as little risk as possible. Airlines don't want to pay for differences training or another aircraft type. That's the real reason that computer anti-stall function wasn't broadcast to 737 operators. Operators push hard to get MELs on aircraft because of cost. Companies like SWA extend their inspections because of cost. See a trend? Everything comes down to cost and the FAA is largely complicit in eroding safety margins. Enter in Jet1000. Jet1000 can fly itself to London with only a single pilot. The problem with Jet1000 is that is designed for one failure at a time. So what happens when the single pilot falls asleep, an uncontained failure occurs, the pilot is incapacitated because he doesn't recognize a slow decompression, and the cockpit is locked for security, and the aircraft loses all 20 ADIRUs, and they are over the North Atlantic with thunderstorms everywhere? Will the airplane eventually hit a thunderstorm and disintegrate? Will it dead reckon 5 degrees off course to the north pole and run out of fuel? Will a fire in the fuselage go diagnosed by the computer because it has no temperature sensors on the skin?

In order for a high order automation system to work, it has to have "defense in depth". In the nuclear industry, defense in depth was contained to 1 failure at a time. That's how you end up with Fukashima. It simply costs too much to engineer a system that can deal with all conceivable events (and trust me, engineers can). Boards and shareholders will never tolerate an airline doing more than it needs to do. The FAA will set minimal standards based on what works most of the time but never really what it should be because of cost. Remember the FAA has to PROMOTE aviation commerce, not just regulate it. That's why things like fatigue and crew rest are still given lip service in some cases. That's why the FAA is just as liable for that asian 737 crash as Boeing. So, sure, the FAA will set minimal standards but they certainly won't set standards that require the technology to be as safe as a human in abnormal situations. I predict that people will learn the hard way. The FAA will say that the regulations were adequate and that it was an unforeseen circumstance that no one could have predicted, the airline will say it meets or exceeds FAA standards, and hundreds of people will be dead.
 
747Whale
Posts: 551
Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:41 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:58 pm

There's an old saying among EOD specialists (bomb disposal) that "if you see me running away, you probably should, too."

For those inclined to gravitate to autonomous flight operations, if you see pilots refusing to participate or get on board, it may be well to follow suit.

You won't find me in a self-driving car, either.
 
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Starlionblue
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Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Single Pilot Passenger Jet Operations

Sat Feb 09, 2019 4:45 pm

frmrCapCadet wrote:
The amazingly safe record of aviation has come at certain costs. One of them is that rural communities that 50 years ago had commercial flights to nearer hubs have lost them. Increasingly so.

In an odd sort of parallel dynamic 737/320s now fly across oceans and 50 years ago we would have said it was recklessly irresponsible.

The is a big need for 20-50 passenger planes for rural areas at economically affordable costs. I could see a sort of ETOPS equivalent for one pilot no FA flights starting at about 20 passenger and rising over time. Such planes would have pilot-maintenance-autonomous requirement and weather requirements which could ensure current levels of safety.


IMHO those ops went away mainly because of increasing fuel costs, not because a second pilot costs a lot. Current commuter FO salaries aren't exactly stupendous...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo

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