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  # 1781880 14-May-2017 12:09
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I would be the first to admit that, for purely irrational psychological reasons, I probably would not feel comfortable in a pilotless plane. In fact, I would almost certainly be terrified. It is worth asking, though, how many planes have been brought down by system malfunctions and how many by incompetent (Air France) or suicidal (Lufthansa) humans. 

 

 





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  # 1782116 14-May-2017 20:50
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Yes there have been human actions which have resulted in accidents, no doubt about that. What isn't well publicised is when human input has prevented an accident happening.

 

The Air France accident you refer to has triggered a tremendous amount of discussion in the aviation world. It wasn't a clear cut case of crew incompetence as you suggest. This accident helped highlight the problems with automation in the airline environment. In many airlines flight crew (especially longhaul) generally are not getting enough hands on time to be proficient when the automatics fail as they did on the Air France crash.

 

Some will also say the way the Airbus Fly By Wire side stick controls work also had a large part to play. Under normal circumstances the inputs of each side stick control are averaged out, plus there is no feedback in the controls to show what inputs the other pilot may be making. In the case of Air France one pilot was pulling back and the other pushing forward. Each being unaware of the others inputs.

 

The problem of not enough hands on time has been progressively made worse as systems improve and become more reliable meaning there is less need for the crew to hand fly the aircraft. The problem is being further worsened to by some airline management believing with the "better" technology pilots should be discouraged (in some cases stopped) from hand flying.

 

The upshot is some airlines are now looking at specific recurrent training to address these issues and in some cases actually requiring more hands on.

 

I guess a good analogy is the chaos that happens when the computer system that has replaced a manual process breaks down the operators no longer know how to do it manually. For many systems no one dies but there's a tremendous amount of disruption whereas in an aircraft it can result in a life or death situation.





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  # 1782182 15-May-2017 07:54
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Technofreak:

 

Here's a reality check for those that think pilotless aircraft are just around the corner.

 

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=11855756 

 

 

I read that. I though they can turn the AP off, and the warnings? But it does show that tech can fail, and pilots can lose control, and the failed tech can cause time critical confusion, let alone a loss of real world manual skills. The same goes for fly by wire. Some manual cabe control would be a good redundancy. 




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  # 1782183 15-May-2017 07:59
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Rikkitic:

 

I would be the first to admit that, for purely irrational psychological reasons, I probably would not feel comfortable in a pilotless plane. In fact, I would almost certainly be terrified. It is worth asking, though, how many planes have been brought down by system malfunctions and how many by incompetent (Air France) or suicidal (Lufthansa) humans. 

 

 

 

 

I agree. I can accept the risk of a taxi, or bus or an airport transfer acting weird and crashing at 50kph. A broken bone is probably the worst case scenario, but an aircraft, no thank you. 


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  # 1782202 15-May-2017 09:02
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Realistically the FP is talking AI. These recent posts are talking failed automation and heuristics.

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  # 1782219 15-May-2017 09:11
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Talking of risk, EU stats below which won't be too far off what the picture is here:

 

Could argue that pilots and train drivers don't need to be replaced by machines for safety reasons, but we all need to be replaced driving our cars or motorbikes <shudder>.

 


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