Good evening, gentlemen
So today I spent a couple of hours reading and diving into videos and articles about Airbus successfully completing their 500 tests of A350’s ATTOL(Auto taxi, take-off and landing) system. A very interesting and at the same time worrying topic. Reason why? One terrifying question comes to mind: Will technology end the pilots era???
We’re a long way from pilotless airplanes. Pilots play a crucial role of threat and error management. Even today ATTOL still requires pilots to program the plane to execute those functions. Nothing to worry about here.
This comes up from time to time. Want a fun fact? You know when the first commercial jet with autoland flew? 1965. That’s 55yrs ago and a) the majority of commercial aircraft still don’t have that function and b) those that do seldom use it.
Will it ever happen? Sure but definitely not anytime soon. Autodrive cars and busses are much easier than airplanes and you don’t see many of those anywhere.
I have been hearing about the threat of technology to the pilot career since I was a child. It isn’t happening. Even railroads still have engineers in the cab and that is a mostly closed environment. Interesting fact, for years the DC Metro was a fully automated system, the motormen only opens and closed the doors and could take over in an emergency. In 2009, two trains collided because of a malfunction in the system, killing nine people. Since that time the trains have been manually controlled by motormen again.
Fully automated airplanes are the dream land of engineers, it is not a reality.