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Old 02-02-2018, 02:51 PM   #1  
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Default Threat of unmanned aviation in cargo...

I'm a career changer on track to begin flying professionally in my early 40's. I'd envisioned pursuing Part 121 opportunities flying pax (a destination job with Big 3/legacy or perhaps a major or LCC), but - at this point - I'm finding myself motivated to learn more about Part 121 cargo roles as I'm getting indications it might be a better fit for me, personally.

One of my big motivations for flying pax has been a perceived increased threat of unmanned aviation adversely affecting cargo flying (relative to pax). Given that I'll have 25+ years until mandated retirement, is my concern with unmanned aviation affecting cargo (more than pax) legitimate or unfounded? Should this be a significant factor in my decision to pursue cargo or pax opportunities?

I've looked into the threat posed by unmanned aviation to a flying career a significant amount and for every input one way there's an input the other way, so I've essentially cast my general fear of unmanned aviation aside and focused on my passion for flying. But I'm uncertain whether unmanned aviation is substantially more of a threat to cargo ops than pax. I apologize if this thread seems out of place here, but I couldn't think of a better group to ask so thanks for any help you're good enough to provide.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:21 PM   #2  
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Iím under 40 and Iím not worried at the moment. Cargo outfits are buying aircraft that still require two pilots. These planes easily have a work life of 20+ and some maybe 30+ years.

Boeing is designing planes that require two pilots.

Also, right now ďunmannedĒ pretty much only means unmanned in the sense that the pilot isnít on the plane but in a control room someplace. So someone still has to operate the machine.

Also, our ATC system isnít really set up for remotely piloted aircracft. So that will take a large chunk of cash to upgrade it.

There are obstacles that need to be overcome. They arenít insurmountable, but it will take time.
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Old 02-02-2018, 03:57 PM   #3  
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There are literally dozens of threads discussing this topic on APC if you so desire to use the search function.

Bottom line: not in your career span.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:31 PM   #4  
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Thanks, BlueMoon - all great points, especially the life span of newly ordered cargo equipment.

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Originally Posted by BlueMoon View Post
Iím under 40 and Iím not worried at the moment. Cargo outfits are buying aircraft that still require two pilots. These planes easily have a work life of 20+ and some maybe 30+ years.

Boeing is designing planes that require two pilots.

Also, right now ďunmannedĒ pretty much only means unmanned in the sense that the pilot isnít on the plane but in a control room someplace. So someone still has to operate the machine.

Also, our ATC system isnít really set up for remotely piloted aircracft. So that will take a large chunk of cash to upgrade it.

There are obstacles that need to be overcome. They arenít insurmountable, but it will take time.
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Old 02-03-2018, 10:43 PM   #5  
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Perhaps I used the wrong search terms, but I couldnít find anything that directly addressed how much more jeopardy a career flying cargo would be in if unmanned aviation snuck up on us somehow. Also, lots of the discussion I did find didnít seem to have the right participants; the guys/gals in here are more likely to be intimately familiar with the details of cargo ops/missions (first hand experience) and the automation available today to be able to roll that up into more intelligent opinions on the matter.

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There are literally dozens of threads discussing this topic on APC if you so desire to use the search function.

Bottom line: not in your career span.
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Old 02-03-2018, 11:46 PM   #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenix1 View Post
Perhaps I used the wrong search terms, but I couldnít find anything that directly addressed how much more jeopardy a career flying cargo would be in if unmanned aviation snuck up on us somehow. Also, lots of the discussion I did find didnít seem to have the right participants; the guys/gals in here are more likely to be intimately familiar with the details of cargo ops/missions (first hand experience) and the automation available today to be able to roll that up into more intelligent opinions on the matter.
https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/c...ighlight=drone

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/c...ighlight=drone

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/c...ighlight=drone

https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/f...ighlight=drone

... etc...
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Old 02-04-2018, 07:47 AM   #7  
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It'll happen for sure...Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose), I'll be dead and gone when it happens.

Other than the T-37, the A300 is the oldest airplane I've ever flown in my life, and FedEx isn't getting rid of those any time soon.
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Old 02-04-2018, 08:18 AM   #8  
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the A300 is the oldest airplane I've ever flown in my life, and FedEx isn't getting rid of those any time soon.
Even better, there are not even actual plans to do any upgrades/updates to the late-80s state-of-the-art cockpits...but people think that new unmanned iron is just around the corner?
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Old 02-05-2018, 06:33 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by ARAMP1 View Post
It'll happen for sure...Unfortunately (or fortunately, I suppose), I'll be dead and gone when it happens.

Other than the T-37, the A300 is the oldest airplane I've ever flown in my life, and FedEx isn't getting rid of those any time soon.
Last month I flew N365FE, line number 6, born 1971. We figure that was the oldest jet FedEx has!
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Old 02-09-2018, 06:30 AM   #10  
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Boeing raises prospect of only one pilot in the cockpit of planes

Cargo planes likely to be first on the single-pilot trial but passenger jets could follow if there is public support

Boeing and other plane manufacturers are exploring single pilot planes to cut costs.

Once there were three on the flight deck.

Then the number of flight crew fell to two when the Boeing 757 changed the way cockpits were designed in the 1980s. Now, jetmakers are studying what it would take to go down to a single pilot, starting with cargo flights.

The motivation is simple: saving airlines tens of billions of dollars a year in pilot salaries and training costs if the change can be rolled out to passenger jets after it is demonstrated safely in the freight business.

But with the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and a deliberate crash by a Germanwings pilot in the last few years, earning public trust and ensuring safety is critical. The issues loom large as single-pilot flying concepts are fleshed out at the Singapore Airshow this week.

"We are studying that, and where you will first see that is probably in cargo transport, so the passenger question is off the table," Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups said of one-pilot operations.

It would take a "couple of decades" to persuade passengers to take a single-pilot jet, he said, adding that gaining public support for the concept would be a step-by-step process starting with proliferation of self-driving cars. Boeing co-operates with General Motors to develop technologies for autonomous flight.

Singapore Technologies Engineering's ST Aerospace demonstrated to delegates how a cockpit could be modified for one pilot when the firm converts passenger jets to freighters.

"The interest is global," ST Aerospace's chief operating officer, Jeffrey Lam said. "I think some [cargo operators] are watching each other; quite certainly if one jumps on board, you would expect the others to not want to fall behind because there's a lot of cost savings here."

Although some small business jets can be flown by a single pilot, commercial jets carrying passengers and cargo require two pilots at the controls. That protects against the potential incapacitation of one pilot and helps with the cockpit workload.

After the Germanwings crash in 2015, in which a disturbed pilot locked himself alone into the cockpit, and crashed the aircraft into the Alps, regulators worldwide introduced rules requiring two people in the cockpit at all times.

But such rules were lifted two years later when they were found to add little to security while introducing new risks.

For now, regional cargo flights seem the most realistic area for single-pilot flying.

Kevin Shum, director-general of Singapore's Civil Aviation Authority, said flight technology was advanced enough to create a one-pilot cockpit in as little as five years.

"But it is a question of the human factors," he said, citing incapacitation, distraction and fatigue as the biggest problems that would give regulators pause for thought. "That I think will probably take a bit more time to work through."

Airbus and Boeing jets are designed for two pilots, and taking one out of the equation would need a revamp of the flight deck. More automated systems would be needed, as well as a way for controllers on the ground to take over if needed.

A Nasa study published in September was not encouraging.

US airline pilots tested solo in Boeing 737 simulators found the workload "unacceptable" even in normal flight conditions, let alone when something went wrong.

The study projected the prospect of having one of two pilots take a nap while the other sat at the controls as being more plausible, suggesting it might be possible for airlines to reduce long-haul crew numbers in the future. Some ultra-long flights can have five pilots on board to take turns between flying and resting.

Although human error is estimated to cause about 60% of crashes, there have also been situations where trained pilots have saved planes from disaster, such as the famous "Miracle on the Hudson" Airbus A320 water landing in New York's Hudson river in 2009.

While there is little data on the number of times human intervention has saved planes, pilot unions say safety is paramount, even in cargo operations.

"Having a pilot to load-share with you in command of an airplane is invaluable," said Australian Federation of Air Pilots president David Booth, a pilot at Virgin Australia . "We are not at all interested in these one-pilot concepts. They are driven only by costs."

Qantas Airways chief executive Alan Joyce said the airline, which had five pilots on board to help an A380 damaged by an engine failure to land safely in Singapore in 2010, did not have plans to take pilots out of the cockpit any time soon.

"Certainly there is still a public perception issue and I think there will continue to be for some time about being too automated when it comes to commercial aircraft," he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...kpit-of-planes

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