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By 2020, Pilots May Fly Solo in the Cockpit

June 25, 2010 at 12:30 PM | by | ()

It’s reassuring that on pretty much every commercial flight, there are two people in the cockpit in control of all the levers, switches, and buttons that make the airplanes go up and down. The only downside to the two-person crew is that it’s twice as expensive to operate the flight, and that’s why one airline manufacturer is thinking about cutting down on the cockpit seats.

Embraer—best known in our mind for supplying JetBlue with their smaller aircraft—is thinking about launching single pilot planes in or around 2020. This will come at a time when new air traffic systems are launched across the United States and Europe. Right now they’re the only airplane manufacturer that has publicly acknowledged that they are considering this idea, so don’t expect them to be too friendly with the airline pilot union at any tradeshows.

Electronics and automation will take the place of the second pilot, but the Embraer insists that the technology will be available to make this possibility a reality. The money savings would probably quickly help airlines decide to go with the new format, but they are going to need to spend a lot of cash on a public PR campaign to convince the traveling public that single-pilot airplanes are still safe, which isn't helped by stories of flight attendants stepping in for sick pilots. There’s also all those pesky regulators that will also be a little hesitant to sign off on this new plane.

Would you trust a one-pilot plane or not?

Related Stories:
· Embraer Reveals Vision For Single-Pilot Airliners [FlightGlobal]
· Jetstar Pilot Gets Distracted by Texting, Almost Crashes Plane [Jaunted]
· Pilots coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Eric-P]

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