46 posts in this topic

Until we're capable of building a true AI that can think with the same level of creative complexity as a human being, pilots will not be phased out.

 

I thought the CAA had restrictions on flying hours however, but it's worrying that they can be bypassed so easily

 

 

Your statement is most likely correct as far as aircraft ferrying general passengers about, but in the case of anything with JUST a pilot, we are already there and they are simply not needed. So its probably in the(distant) horizon

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The hijackers can't take the controls if there are none though ;)

 

Don't you figure that hijackers would then learn how to take control of the automatics in some way? They seem to always find a way.

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But if you no longer need pilots, you can redesign the craft so there's no traditional cockpit to speak of and break into and take over.

 

I just brought it up for the sake of argument.  Thinking longer-term solution.  There's no need to take it all literally.

Sure the autopilot can fly the plane from point A-B and land, but it has to be programmed by the pilot. What if the route changes mid flight? Someone has to program it. What if something goes wrong and the instruments display erroneous values? One of the problems with the Air France 447 flight was the pitot tubes had iced over and because of that the autopilot shut itself off and a number of computerized safety systems shut off too because the computer could no longer be sure that the values it was receiving were accurate.

What about when the plane has to taxi? Sure it can land itself, and ILS CAT 3 allows a plane to land in 0 visibility and 0 foot ceilings but it isn't operational because there's no way for the plane to taxi to the gate.

Sure some of those problems could be fixed by having ATC upload commands to the plane, but then if someone manages to hack that they can bring down planes. There's also no way to plan/code for every eventuality so there are going to be times that no matter how good the coding, a computer won't be able to fix it or fly the plane safely.

But yes thinking long term computers and AI will probably improve to the point that they will be able to do all that all by itself, but that's still quite a while away. And as for the pilot role diminishing, there's two sides to the argument:

1. Pilots do less, computers do more. That is true, a lot of the time the plane flies on autopilot to reduce the workload for the pilot.

2. A couple of years ago you had a navigator, a flight engineer, and two pilots. Nowadays you have just two pilots, so in some situations they have to do a lot more, especially when something goes wrong.

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As much as I would like to blame the airlines for not managing their pilots well enough and following the laws regarding pilot rest, I still feel that it's the pilots' fault. If they are not  getting enough sleep, then they are responsible (and obligated) to tell their management that they are unfit for duty. By not saying anything, they put all of their passengers at risk. To me, that is unacceptable.

 

What exactly do you think they are doing by reporting the incident? They ARE alerting management, who have obviously forced the pilots to work far beyond safe limits. Making this public is likely the only way they are going to get management to listen, given the fact that their management already had directed them to work unsafe number of hours without a break.

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What exactly do you think they are doing by reporting the incident? They ARE alerting management, who have obviously forced the pilots to work far beyond safe limits. Making this public is likely the only way they are going to get management to listen, given the fact that their management already had directed them to work unsafe number of hours without a break.

Well they can report the incident anonymously (or at least they can in the US, pretty sure the EU has something similar), which in a lot of cases makes them immune from prosecution / certificate action.

In the US the FAA and NASA have ASRS: http://asrs.arc.nasa.gov

Basically if you did something wrong, you can go there and file an anonymous report. Then if the FAA comes along and wants to take legal action, you can just show them that you submitted a report. The reason for it is they want pilots to be honest and report mistakes so the FAA can improve what they do and airlines / schools can modify their training to help keep incidents down.

Edit: Sorry I don't mean to contradict what you're saying, just adding to it ;)

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Management and the pilots should cop it for this.  Pilots knew they didn't have enough sleep to count their hours, so should not have taken the plane off the ground without another flight crew.

At least the plane should have gone into an automatic holding pattern if they didn't wake up.

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Management and the pilots should cop it for this.  Pilots knew they didn't have enough sleep to count their hours, so should not have taken the plane off the ground without another flight crew.

At least the plane should have gone into an automatic holding pattern if they didn't wake up.

Maybe a reserve crew wasn't available? It's the holiday season so that could be a possibility. What do you think would happen if you went to your boss and told him that the reason 200 passengers had their flight canceled and had to get some compensation, a jet is just sitting around on the ramp and costing money etc was because you didn't get enough sleep?

Your boss would just look at your previous flight time and go well see we gave you 8 hours between flights, you're fired / on unpaid leave. It's not our problem that it took you 1 hour to get to the hotel / airport, an hour to get ready so you only had less than 5 hours of sleep. These are the same bosses that get ****y when a flight uses more fuel than it should have btw.

Sometimes airlines won't even pay for a hotel because the leg time wasn't long enough or w/e, so the pilot has to spend the night in the airport or rent an RV / apartment with other pilots to crash in. There's an entire parking lot at LAX that's filled with RVs that pilots share because they'd rather not spend the night sleeping in the airport.

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/20/local/me-lax-colony20

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Maybe a reserve crew wasn't available? It's the holiday season so that could be a possibility. What do you think would happen if you went to your boss and told him that the reason 200 passengers had their flight canceled and had to get some compensation, a jet is just sitting around on the ramp and costing money etc was because you didn't get enough sleep?

Your boss would just look at your previous flight time and go well see we gave you 8 hours between flights, you're fired / on unpaid leave. It's not our problem that it took you 1 hour to get to the hotel / airport, an hour to get ready so you only had less than 5 hours of sleep. These are the same bosses that get ****y when a flight uses more fuel than it should have btw.

Sometimes airlines won't even pay for a hotel because the leg time wasn't long enough or w/e, so the pilot has to spend the night in the airport or rent an RV / apartment with other pilots to crash in. There's an entire parking lot at LAX that's filled with RVs that pilots share because they'd rather not spend the night sleeping in the airport.

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jul/20/local/me-lax-colony20

 

It doesn't matter if the bosses crack the ######.  At the end of the day, if they haven't had enough rest, they are not legally allowed to fly the plane.  It is that simple, there is no question.  "We are tired".  Grounded.

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It doesn't matter if the bosses crack the ****s.  At the end of the day, if they haven't had enough rest, they are not legally allowed to fly the plane.  It is that simple, there is no question.  "We are tired".  Grounded.

Do you want to go home to your family and tell them you were fired because you were tired?

The law in the US use to just state that the pilot had to have 8 hours between flights. It didn't specify rest, so if you only had 1 hour of sleep in those 8 hours, you're still perfectly legal to fly.

They changed that law in 2010 to now say "8 hours of REST", after something like 45 years. I don't know what the law in the EU is like.

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Do you want to go home to your family and tell them you were fired because you were tired?

The law in the US use to just state that the pilot had to have 8 hours between flights. It didn't specify rest, so if you only had 1 hour of sleep in those 8 hours, you're still perfectly legal to fly.

They changed that law in 2010 to now say "8 hours of REST", after something like 45 years. I don't know what the law in the EU is like.

 

If you, as a commercial pilot went to your boss and told him you were too tired to fly, you crash that plane and kill everyone, and it's found out the boss forced you to fly, he would be in all sorts of trouble.

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If you, as a commercial pilot went to your boss and told him you were too tired to fly, you crash that plane and kill everyone, and it's found out the boss forced you to fly, he would be in all sorts of trouble.

No he wouldn't. If he followed the law he would get off, the public may hate him for it but that's about it. He'd just simply use the defense we followed the law and it was his problem to make sure to get rest in his off duty hours, not ours.

There have been countless number of crashes because of pilot fatigue. The same people who were in charge then, are still in charge.

Like I said, before as long as you had 8 hours from your last flight of the day to the next one you were perfectly legal to fly. It didn't matter if you decided to stay up all night and play GTA. And it seems like similar laws might exist in the EU because pilot unions recently opposed changes to the fatigue laws because they benefited airlines more than they benefited the pilots.

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Knowingly putting a plane load of people in danger.  Manslaughter at best.

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Knowingly putting a plane load of people in danger.  Manslaughter at best.

If that was the case all the airlines that have had planes crash because of pilot fatigue would have had their bosses fired no? And pilot fatigue shouldn't be an issue because I mean most pilots don't really want to fly for 11 hours after 5 hours of sleep. But it's one of the biggest problems in aviation.

Colgan air crash in the US was pilot error because of pilot fatigue. The only trouble the airline got into was about their training not being up to par.

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My guess is what really happened is they may have complained to their boss (maybe not, in fear of being fired), and decided that if it happened again where they were forced to fly tired they would make it known. So perhaps they fell asleep at the same time, maybe not, but maybe they were just bringing this up to get people talking about it/public aware so they couldn't be fired for bringing up a real issue. Those longs flights...I'm sure they get to talking :P

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I'm almost regretting suggesting anything at all in this thread.  Can we at least agree that given today's automated systems, a pilot's role has been greatly diminished from what it was even just a couple of years ago?  I mean, here we have a story about both the pilot and copilot hard asleep for some "unknown amount of time", and the autopilot managing to keep going on its own without instantaneously killing everyone onboard...

 

I mean, it's a much more impressive feat IMO to have a Google car manage to log over 100,000 miles on public roads without a single incident, than going in a straight line from point A to point B in the open sky with nothing in-between...

 

My whole point:  No big deal.  Wouldn't bother me to learn the pilot on my last flight feel asleep.

 

They probably did have a nap :D

 

No-one would disagree that the job of the pilot is very diminished. However there will be pilots for the foreseeable future. They are there to a) correct problems with automation (like what the Asiana 214 crew failed to do) and to b) take over in cases where the autopilot capabilities are exceeded (Something which the AF447 pilots sadly couldn't do, while Sully did with amazingly, though autopilot wasn't on at any point) .

 

Pilots should also be able to at any time fly the plane manually. The problem is that with so much automation it can be hard for pilots to constantly stay in tip-top shape, diminishing their ability to manually fly the plane when things are fine, and when things are all going wrong. 

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I'm almost regretting suggesting anything at all in this thread.  Can we at least agree that given today's automated systems, a pilot's role has been greatly diminished from what it was even just a couple of years ago?  I mean, here we have a story about both the pilot and copilot hard asleep for some "unknown amount of time", and the autopilot managing to keep going on its own without instantaneously killing everyone onboard...

 

I mean, it's a much more impressive feat IMO to have a Google car manage to log over 100,000 miles on public roads without a single incident, than going in a straight line from point A to point B in the open sky with nothing in-between...

 

My whole point:  No big deal.  Wouldn't bother me to learn the pilot on my last flight feel asleep.

 

The automatic system is fine... but I am talking about the pilots should stay on the plane in case something goes wrong...

 

If no pilots are on the plane and the plane goes wrong and could crash into the ground.. because no one is there to take over the control and other things to keep the plane go smoothly.

 

If the pilots are tired, they should be replaced with fresh pilots for next trip(s). So the tired pilots can get some rest before they go back in the air.

 

Google car is same thing as airplane but you will need to be in the driver seat in case the system goes wrong and you can turn the automatic system off and you drive manually.

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If that was the case all the airlines that have had planes crash because of pilot fatigue would have had their bosses fired no? And pilot fatigue shouldn't be an issue because I mean most pilots don't really want to fly for 11 hours after 5 hours of sleep. But it's one of the biggest problems in aviation.

Colgan air crash in the US was pilot error because of pilot fatigue. The only trouble the airline got into was about their training not being up to par.

 

In that instance, both pilots were very fatigued, and changes were made about the trvel time to get to flights, which was one of the direct actions that caused the crew to be fatigued.  At no point did they inform their superiors that they were too tired to fly, so the incident can not be used in this argument correctly. 

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In that instance, both pilots were very fatigued, and changes were made about the trvel time to get to flights, which was one of the direct actions that caused the crew to be fatigued.  At no point did they inform their superiors that they were too tired to fly, so the incident can not be used in this argument correctly.

Because had they said anything they would most likely get in trouble. I don't see what's so had to understand about that. If I showed up to my job and was like man I'm too tired to work today, I'm going home. Guess what will happen? I'll probably get in trouble. (oh and btw, I am a pilot).

Is it the pilots job to make sure he has adequate rest? Of course it is, and he should say something to his boss if he's too tired. But the boss will simply go, well we followed the law, you were given the legally required amount of rest and since you can't seem to manage your time correctly, the door's over there.

There's a reason that fatigue is one of the biggest problems in aviation. There was a recent survey where 1 in 3 pilots said they had fallen asleep on the job and woken up to find the co-pilot also asleep. Are you going to tell me that all these pilots would have been given the day off and told to go home had they talked to their bosses? Then why are they on the plane? Nobody really wants to fly while they're tired, and they're guaranteed a certain amount of paid flight hours a month (Usually 70-80, the airline would pay you at least that regardless of if you flew only 2 days out of the entire month).

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Because had they said anything they would most likely get in trouble. I don't see what's so had to understand about that. If I showed up to my job and was like man I'm too tired to work today, I'm going home. Guess what will happen? I'll probably get in trouble. (oh and btw, I am a pilot).

Is it the pilots job to make sure he has adequate rest? Of course it is, and he should say something to his boss if he's too tired. But the boss will simply go, well we followed the law, you were given the legally required amount of rest and since you can't seem to manage your time correctly, the door's over there.

There's a reason that fatigue is one of the biggest problems in aviation. There was a recent survey where 1 in 3 pilots said they had fallen asleep on the job and woken up to find the co-pilot also asleep. Are you going to tell me that all these pilots would have been given the day off and told to go home had they talked to their bosses? Then why are they on the plane? Nobody really wants to fly while they're tired, and they're guaranteed a certain amount of paid flight hours a month (Usually 70-80, the airline would pay you at least that regardless of if you flew only 2 days out of the entire month).

 

You're assuming you will get in trouble.  If you do get in trouble for notifying that you are tired, you should be contacting the FAA or whatever governing body is active in your location to advise that you are being forced to fly tired, and the possibility of danger to your passengers is higher.

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You're assuming you will get in trouble.  If you do get in trouble for notifying that you are tired, you should be contacting the FAA or whatever governing body is active in your location to advise that you are being forced to fly tired, and the possibility of danger to your passengers is higher.

Technically you're being forced to work so you don't get fired. It was perfectly legal for your employer to fire you since he gave you the legally required break hours. Contacting the FAA won't save your job, plus they're slow as hell to do anything.

Starting next year, though, the FAA requires that you need to be given 8 hours of actual rest (ie sleeping) between flights. To explain the difference:

Before: Your last flight ended at 1800, took you 2 hours to get home, 30mins to get ready for bed, you sleep for 3 hours, 30mins to get ready, and 2 hours to get to the airport / into the plane. In your employers mind, you got an 8 hour break and so it's legal. In your mind, you only got three hours of sleep.

Now: Your last flight ended at 1800, took you 2 hours to get home, 30mins to get ready for bed, 8 hours of sleep, 30mins to get ready, 2 hours to get to the airport. Now you can actually get 8 hours of sleep, or it's illegal to ask you to fly again.

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I was going to say, aren't there rules in place that say that a pilot must be grounded for X amount of hours after working for a certain time?

Sounds like the fault was more with management than it was with the pilots.

I think you may be right. but management will break the rules until a accident happens then everyone for themselves and management will either try to blame the pilots and distract how companies push the envelope

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