Two Pilots, One Pilot, or No Pilots?….That is the Question

Military single-pilot and unmanned aircraft have been accomplishing challenging and complex missions successfully for decades. While the mishap rate of these systems is 2-3 times higher than multi-pilot military cargo aircraft, the rate has been steadily dropping for a number of years — to approximately the same level as dual-pilot military bombers. As we discussed in this module, the military accepts higher risk levels than the civil aviation world, for obvious reasons. When we look at the world of Part 121 airlines, what risks are they willing to assume? Would a single-pilot or unmanned airliner be inherently unsafe?

Read the following:

For this week’s discussion, you will assess the potential of both single-pilot and unmanned civilian airliners. At a minimum, appraise the benefits and drawbacks of each system. In your post, consider the following:

  • Technological requirements and limitations
    • Can current aircraft be retrofitted, or would a new fleet be required?
    • For unmanned – could a plane be programmed to fly autonomously, or would it be flown from a ground station as the military does?
    • How would such aircraft integrate into the current National Airspace structure and with NextGen?
    • If the technology is not “there yet,” what needs to be added or improved?
  • Safety – what safeguards would be required?
    • What redundancy would the systems have? Can a fail-safe or near fail-safe system be designed? How would malfunctions be handled?
    • While pilot in-flight deaths have occurred, the risk is infinitesimally low; how low does it need to be?
    • Could a ground control station be used to back up a single-pilot?
    • Is terrorism more of a threat for unmanned? Consider both airborne and ground-based threats (hacking, jamming, etc.).
  • Public reaction
    • Would you get on a flight with one pilot? Zero pilots?
    • What could the FAA/airlines do to assuage concerns about safety should such systems come into use?
  • Cost savings
    • Who saves money, and how?
      • Consider salaries, benefits, training.
    • Will pilots’ unions ever concede to a single-pilot airliner?

In your discussion, address all four of the above areas. Also, include an appraisal of how CRM principles would be applied, particularly workload management, automation, and situational awareness.

"Get 15% discount on your first 3 orders with us"
Use the following coupon

Order Now