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Why Do We Have Two Pilots In Cockpits - Surely One Would Do

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http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-02/ryanair-s-o-leary-ponders-pay-toilets-standing-passengers-in-profit-quest.html

“Why does every plane have two pilots?” asks Michael O’Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair Holdings Plc, the largest low-cost airline in Europe. Wearing sneakers, jeans, and an off-the-rack short-sleeved shirt, O’Leary is pontificating in his office at the company’s headquarters on the outskirts of Dublin Airport.

“Really, you only need one pilot,” he tells Bloomberg Businessweek in the Sept. 6 edition. “Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it.” What happens if the pilot has a heart attack? One member of the cabin crew on all Ryanair flights would be trained to land a plane. “If the pilot has an emergency, he rings the bell, he calls her in,” O’Leary says. “She could take over.”

From time to time, O’Leary, 49, lets loose with a statement like this -- a provocative idea about how he would like to make air travel cheaper by doing something that sounds nutty. Dismissing his comments as the calculated ravings of a headline hound would miss an opportunity to peer into the airline industry’s psyche, which is usually hidden behind smiling, innocuous faces.

Pay Toilets

At moments like these -- or later, when O’Leary explains how he’d like to introduce standing cabins and pay toilets on all his flights -- he gives voice to the industry’s most primal survival instincts. He is the id of the airline business.

If times were lush, rival airline executives could afford to ignore him. In recent years, with much of the global industry struggling to survive, O’Leary’s subversive vision looks like a viable alternative to the status quo, which is threatened by obsolescence, attrition, and consolidation. He says what the others are thinking, and, more often than not, doing.

Genius.

To be fair why even bother having pilots just let the computer do the lot?

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Doris Day or Karen Black could do it, but I'm not so sure about Ryan Air's "trolly dollies".

It's probably be an extra charge too.

Online check-in: £5

Priority Boarding Fee: £4

Stewardess lands plane: £1000 (all major cards accepted).

Winching Chuck Heston in to land the plane? Forget about it. You'll just take a chance on surviving the crash, it's cheaper.

airport1975-1024.jpg

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You sure this isn't a joke thread?

The pilots are for when TSHTF and are a form of last line of defence backup. TBH you could fly them remotely as well using ground based pilots like the US military does in Iraq...

The problem is computers have a tendency to fail and or unexpected things can happen which you did not program into the computer to anticipate. ON the ground computerised systems are imperfect too, fuel injection relies on a multitude of sensors you can make a car run like a dog by messing with those sensors. For example the Oxygen sensors in the exhaust regularly burn out.. A chunk of ice a bird strike etc takes out a sensor then the computer behaves in an unexpected way. One of my mates FI bikes was like this, it insisted he was at extremely high altitude and adjusted the FI to lower the amount of fuel. It burnt a hole in the pistons.

Heh in 2008 I had my boss call me a retard when it was a computer error. It was one of those super simple tax returns. He gave it back to me saying I missed the income. He didn't believe me until I actually used one of those screen recording things to show him the error I recorded.

Also when the pilot is IN the aircraft he has a certain investment in ensuring the plane lands softly enough to walk away from it

Trains trams etc can all be computer controlled, the Paris Metro for example it IS computer controlled they have this bar which has a narrow green band next to the throttle. The Paris Metro trains are to be kept 2-3 minutes apart at busy periods.

The driver holds onto the throttle thing and keeps the lever next to the green marker which moves up and down to keep the trains separated.

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It doesn't sound like a totally bonkers plan, especially on short haul flights. Its just different from what is perceived wisdom. I have no idea what the statistics are for how often the pilot has become incapacitated for one reason or another, but presumably this is pretty rare. Having said that, a co pilot provides another pair of eyes which may spot if something was wrong that the pilot may miss if they were flying solo.

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Genius.

To be fair why even bother having pilots just let the computer do the lot?

I think sitting in on a single six monthly simulator check that commercial airline pilots do as part of their job, will demonstrate immediately why there are two drivers up the front. The day it goes to one I'll start travelling by train and boat thank you.

Yes the cruise is 'usually' tea and biscuits and boredom. It's the getting to that happy position and then negotiating the return to earth that get's tricky.

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MOL is a grade 1 tit.

He must have had too much wine at lunch when he gave that interview.

If he thinks airplanes only need a pilot instead of two, let him go ahead and make the change.

He's savvy though. He KNOWS if he did that unilaterally, his planes would fly empty..... :ph34r:

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MOL is a grade 1 tit.

He must have had too much wine at lunch when he gave that interview.

If he thinks airplanes only need a pilot instead of two, let him go ahead and make the change.

He's savvy though. He KNOWS if he did that unilaterally, his planes would fly empty..... :ph34r:

I really don't think they would fly empty. Remember after September the 11th, people stopped flying as much, then they dropped the prices and hey presto, just as many people wanted to fly as before.

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Sounds to me like his pilots have been asking for a pay rise and he's trying to talk down their importance by saying that a stewardess, with limited training, could land an aircraft if the pilot was incapacitated. Actually, there is some truth in that as landing the aircraft is a very small part of the knowledge required for an ATPL.

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TBH, when the computers are good enough there will not be any pilots at all (because it will be safer). (But certainly not yet.)

If he wants a really wacky idea, might I suggest launching people inside reusable discarding sabots using a massive rail gun and catching them in computer controlled "soft-landing" nets, thus dispensing with the planes, the need to carry fuel aloft and any wasted seats on empty flights. :)

I had similar thoughts ages ago about that...

Even better MOL if he manages to do long haul should take on the capsule concept of flying.

In China you have buses and sleeper buses, normal buses you sit on seats and you can cram about 45-50 people sitting on them... So China instead has sleeper buses where the trains don't go, they are stacked uber high 4-5 bunks and you can cram 100 people onboard easily.

If you did the same with the A380 you can stick 960 passengers onboard normally. If you had them all lie down barring maximum weight issues you could cram 2000 passengers on an A380.

Or even better a NEW airline is opened where you waive a large proportion of your rights to safety, therefore it is like a commuter train standing room only but incredibly cheap!

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A couple of years back I landed at Rome airport with BA. I thought to myself that it was a particulary smooth landing. The pilot then came on and said the plane had done an automatic landing using the ILS (Instrument landing system). He said they had to test it every so many flights.

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TBH, when the computers are good enough there will not be any pilots at all (because it will be safer).

Will plane hijacks of the future be carried out by nanobots or computer viruses?

"Click. Wirrrr. Take this plane to Silicon Valley".

Your luggage will still end up in La Guardia though.

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  • 259 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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