Single-pilot flights: Could they be the future?
Commercial flights often have two pilots which include a captain and first officer.
This is so that, in the case of an emergency, there is always one person to fly the plane.
It also keeps pilot errors to a minimum when there are two people observing the flight deck.
But could planes one day only have one pilot?
The aviation industry is currently suffering from a shortage of pilots
The aviation industry is currently suffering from a shortage of pilots, something that is increasingly becoming a problem.
Whilst flight routes double, the number of those applying to be a pilot has yet to catch up, therefore decreasing the number of pilots needed in a cockpit could help the problem, in theory.
According to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), all aircraft must be able to be flown by a single pilot, meaning that controls only need one person at a time.
An EU-funded project called the Advanced Cockpit for Reduction of StreSs and workload (ACROSS) is looking into the potential issues that could be raised by single-pilot flights.
Single-pilot flights: Commercial jets currently have two pilots for safety reasons
According to Air & Space Mag, the change could mean planes would be made with “smaller, more efficient cockpits”.
It also goes one step further into planes being without pilots altogether and instead run by technology.
Yet both changes incite fears within passengers and experts alike, citing safety concerns.
The 2015 Germanwings crash is one example of the problems that occur when just one pilot is within the cockpit.
Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz locked the captain out of the cabin before crashing the plane into the French Alps.
Single-pilot flights: One pilot in the cockpit could help the current pilot shortage
Boeing 757 is currently testing cargo plans being flown with just one pilot, although Boeing research and technology vice-president Charles Toups told the Guardian that it would take “a couple of decades” for passengers to be happy with a single-pilot aircraft carrier.
A pilot recently debunked a popular flying myth that planes can already fly without pilots altogether.
US pilot Patrick Smith told Traveller: “One of my biggest pet peeves is the public’s widely held belief that jetliners essentially fly themselves.
“Travellers have come to have a vastly exaggerated sense of the capabilities of present-day cockpit technology, and they greatly misunderstand how pilots interface with that technology.”