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Guest Ashley Moore is Founder and President of The Aviation PR Group, which helps aviation businesses find their niche audience through marketing, public relations and communications. She’s an Embry-Riddle graduate, was associate editor for Professional Pilot Magazine, and she worked for NATA representing the interests of GA airports, FBOs and other aviation businesses.
We also have a special appearance by our new listener Harriat. We touch on just a few of her many aviation adventures.
The week’s aviation news:
- JetBlue memo questions flight attendant’s motive
- Southwest May Add Bigger 737 Jet for Busiest Routes
- Delta airline unveils option for customers to book flights on Facebook
- 5 social media lessons for Air Canada
- Russia, NORAD complete joint air defense drills
- GCI executive recalls plane crash that killed Ted Stevens
- Will pilotless aircraft be safer in flight?
- Speculation over delay of Air Force tanker contracts heats up – An interview with Richard Aboulafia
To listen to Podapalooza 2010 from EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, view event photos, and see all the aviation podcasts represented, visit these sites:
Winners of the World Airport Data iPhone app giveaway:
- Kevin Heistermann
- Ben Stephens
- Stuart Stevenson
Listeners Harriet and Micah taken before their second helicopter flight out in Alberta in 2009:
Follow the @AirplaneGeeks on Twitter and on Facebook, send us email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a message on our listener line: (361) GEEKS01.
Opening and closing music is provided by Brother Love from the Album Of The Year CD. You can find his great music at http://www.brotherloverocks.com/.
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I was interested in how you all answered the pilotless question, I was thinking who would be in charge in case of an emergency? is it a commercial initiative? probably is?? I can tell you i answered the question quicker than all of you and it is Nooooooooo Way!!! I would not even consider it for a moment. As it is I am worried about pilot training that some airlines have resorted too! These machines aren’t video games that young people can just get in and manipulate the controls.
Keep up the good work
alex from Hot and Humid China!!
I would not want to fly on a plane with no pilot for the following reason. Sometimes the computerized systems fail, and human intervention is required at key points in the flight, that can be the difference between life and death. A recent British Airways 744 incident at JNB illustrates this. On takeoff, faulty wiring caused the leading edge flaps to retract (the wiring fault falsely caused the computer to believe that the thrust reversers were engaged). It was an extremely hairy takeoff, with a very heavy plane taking off at altitude, with less lift than it should have had. Quick thinking and reactions by the crew allowed the plane to get away cleanly, dump fuel, and land safely. The alternative would have been disastrous. The same goes for the BA 777 crash landing at LHR, as well as Sully. In all these cases, the uniquely human abilities of the pilots allowed every single person to walk away almost completely unharmed, where one could easily envision all three of these incidents ending badly, with all passengers and crew on all three flights perishing. It’s easy to point to the normal flights, where pilots have to do very little, and say “we don’t really need them”, but at the margins, where there is a deviation from normal flight, for what ever reason, pilots earn their salaries, and more, by getting their planes and passengers back to the ground safely. When the computers fail, they fail, and having that extra layer of input makes the difference.
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Gotta say about this JetBlue guy – if it had been a passenger who’d had enough of it all, blown their stack, grabbed some beers, popped the chute and exited, they’d still be in prison right now (and probably being charged under anti-terrorism rules 🙂
As to pilotless aircraft: Until we have secured, guaranteed communications channels that survive ionisation or hacking along with fail safe computers that have been fully tested and verified for ALL possible combinations, there is no way I am going to get on a remotely piloted passenger aircraft.
NOTE: Neither of those two preconditions are currently possible with our technology (comms degrade with storms, channels can be hacked/jammed and it’s not possible to test all conditions in complex computer systems 🙂
pilot-less planes are a good idea in theory and even now most of the new planes have so much automation they could practically fly themselves.
However, the pilot is still required to monitor everything happening on the plane and specially when something goes wrong.
Some people might say that having a pilot on the ground could do the same job, but then the ground pilots would be deprived of the feedback from the plane, for example a shudder or a vibration that can only be felt etc, or say a sensor that failed that could cause the auto pilot to go out of control. (case in point are all the pitot related auto pilot problems). So the pilot as a sensor is still a good option.
So all in all I dont think that this is a good idea.
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