Are You Safer Without A Pilot?

Decent Essays
Are You Safer Without a Pilot? System Safety Design in a UAV Construct The Gradual Move from Manned to Unmanned Flight According to James Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airlines, “A pilotless airliner is going to come; it’s just a question of when. You’ll see it in freighters first, over water probably, landing very close to the shore.” (Ross, 2011, p. 38) The trend toward aircraft without pilots is not new. As technology has improved the number of crew members and their responsibilities have steadily decreased. The Boeing B-29, the most technologically advanced aircraft of the day, required five people to operate the aircraft; pilot, co-pilot, flight engineer, navigator and radio operator. This does not include the four gunners and bombardier required for combat operations. (Mann, 2009) Compare this with modern airliners that carry a crew of one pilot and one copilot. The flight engineer, navigator, and to some degree the radio operator, have been replaced by computers. Not only are there fewer crew members, their workload has been steadily reduced. Navigation moved from dead reckoning and star sightings to radio navigation (VOR/DME) to Inertial Navigation Systems (INS) to Global Positioning Satellite (GPS). As recently as the 1960’s, aircraft like Lockheed’s C-5 Galaxy, were designed and built with celestial navigation sextant ports (Clonts, 2006). Radio communication went from technology so cumbersome it took a full time radio operator to
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