Re: The future of "pilots"

From:         reebok@ix.netcom.com (William Fischer)
Organization: Netcom
Date:         20 Apr 95 01:51:43 
References:   1
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In <airliners.1995.438@ohare.Chicago.COM> Brett Wakeman
<brett.wakeman@nrc.ca> writes:
>...
>The automation was quite impressive, yet got me to thinking about the
>future for these pilots.  I asked them where they thought piloting
>was going in the future, and I got an interesting response.  What they
>predicted is that in the next two generations of aircraft, the concept
>of a 'pilot' will be replaced by a 'piloting technician', someone who
>will monitor the aircraft's operations but essentially will have
>little involvement in actually 'flying' the aircraft.

I work in the 777 Flight Deck Engineering, Crew Ops group at Boeing.
Our standard joke is that in the near future, the airplanes will be so
automated that pilots will be needed only in emergencies.  Therefore,
since humans are easily bored when placed in a highly automated
environment, the ideal crew of the future will be a pilot and a dog.
Since dogs are less susceptable to boredom, the dog will be trained
(conditioned) to respond to the Master Caution warning horn.  If it
sounds, the dog will bite the human pilot who will wake up and
hopefully save the day. :) :)

In a more serious vein, crew alertness is a major concern in today's
automated flight deck.  In the 777, there is an optional feature that
sounds after a programmable interval if the crew hasn't touched
anything in the flight deck.  Things like radio transmission switches,
FMC buttons etc. count towards keeping the alarm from sounding.  The
obvious function is to wake up a slumbering pilot - just in case.

Bill Fischer