Would you fly on a plane with no pilot?

By | Category: Travel rumblings

passenger flight delay compensationBoth Airbus and Boeing – the two main plane manufacturers in the world – are supposedly looking at pilotless planes.

Technically it is feasible. From a practical standpoint, I don’t think the world is ready for this yet despite the arguments being mustered in their favour.

The Swiss banking giant, UBS, has looked at the market and found that significant savings could be made by switching to pilotless planes. For a start, Michael O’Leary at Ryanair would love it because the pilot’s cabin could be turned into extra seating for passengers and he could charge a lot more for those who like to see where they are going!

UBS says that the savings could amount to £27 billion per year. That is, providing that passengers felt comfortable flying without a pilot. They might decide to switch to those airlines that did have pilots. The bank says that cargo transport might be one area of the aviation business where pilotless planes could be introduced. Since drones are being used to deliver packages why not pilotless planes for bigger consignments?

Great as the money saving ideas are, the biggest problem is getting passengers to accept it. What happens if there is a crash and hundreds of lives are lost? What politician is not going to jump up and down and say that pilots must be brought back to fly planes?

Worryingly, for those who want pilots retained, UBS found that around well over half of all accidents that do occur are the result of human error. So does that mean flying on a pilotless place might be safer?

There is quite a bit of pilotless flying that occurs anyway. Autopilots take some of the workload from pilots and have done for years so is it too large a leap of faith to believe that we can do away with pilots entirely?

If we are talking about driverless cars in the next couple of years, why not planes without a pilot? The answer is that in a car a driver could take over if a problem arose. How many of us in a plane could take over if there was a problem?

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