My stomach aches as I write this post.
TravelPulse reports Airbus successfully “completed a series of tests Monday using a self-flying A350-1000 XWB jet with no pilot to practice taxiing, takeoff and landing – normally all maneuvers performed by a pilot.”
Writer Rich Thomaselli adds, “Like it or not, the idea of pilotless airline travel is moving forward.”
Why, no. No, I don’t like it.
And neither do some of the friends and family I asked, “Would you ride a pilot-less plane? Airbus is making it a reality.”
Most of the responses I received were along the lines of “Oh, [expletive] no!”
We Ride Pilot-Less Vehicles All the Time
When you think about it, you and I have been on many vehicles that operate themselves, at least to a degree.
Airport trams, for example.
And roller coasters.
Both those examples involve vehicles on tracks. But you get the point.
And while commercial flights are reportedly flown on autopilot about 90% of the time, there are (at least) two pilots up front keeping an eye on things.
But the idea of 35,000 feet in the air and traveling at 500 MPH with no one in charge of actually flying the aircraft makes me queasy.
Will We See Pilot-less Planes in Commercial Travel?
I’m guessing there will always be at least one pilot aboard autonomous planes.
Redditor ppr_24_hrs theorizes:
I don’t believe they intend to have totally pilotless vehicles for commercial flights, at best it would be a way to lower crew costs on ultra long haul flights. On the other hand, like interstate trucking you could ferry cargo on ultra long trans Atlantic/Pacific flights. I believe FedEx is experimenting with this as well currently. Most commercial and military aircraft today have auto land capabilities for when the weather is too poor for humans to safety land
Plus, organized labor groups are powerful. I can see pilots unions demanding a minimum number of pilots on every commercial flight — no matter if the cargo is human or otherwise.
What Do You Think?
Will you step foot aboard a plane that has no pilot? Tell us in the below Comments section!
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