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PMDG 737-800 landing with autothrottle - yes or no?

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2 hours ago, Alpine Scenery said:

I just wonder how much longer there will even be a pilot at the helm, I guess it might take 50 years or so because people won't feel comfortable without a pilot.
 

If you think about it an aircraft even now could be flown without an onboard pilot. The industry, spurred on by the military need, has got very good at drone technology and control of the drone from huge distances away. We are not far from creating a drone with seats! The technology is there, if not the will to implement it right now.


 

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1 hour ago, Dave_YVR said:

 Talking to a friend who flew the 737 up until about a year ago and is now on the 787 says it's AA SOP to leave the AT on for the entire approach.

787 is a different kettle of fish, much more modern equipment for a start.


The Boeing FCTM for the PMDG 737NG in section 1.43 reads:

3qCilgw.png

 


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1 hour ago, F737MAX said:

The Boeing FCTM for the PMDG 737NG in section 1.43 reads:

That's the part that according to what I read some time ago apparently was changed by Boeing with newer, refined software versions for the autothrottle.

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4 hours ago, Fiorentoni said:

Airbus tried (unsucessfully?) to get allowance for single-pilot-operations on the A350 Freighter version, so they are closing in 🙂

I would use the term tried. I would use the term trying.  As is embraer.  And probably boeing too.  My opinion is we will see single pilot cargo airliners first.  We have the technology to fly bombs on laser routes under radar with accuracy to the inches.  I'm not saying I'm cheering about losing two pilots in front of my airliners.  But it's hard to imagine 30 years from now we will still see 2 on every flight.  

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28 minutes ago, micstatic said:

I would use the term tried. I would use the term trying.  As is embraer.  And probably boeing too.  My opinion is we will see single pilot cargo airliners first.  We have the technology to fly bombs on laser routes under radar with accuracy to the inches.  I'm not saying I'm cheering about losing two pilots in front of my airliners.  But it's hard to imagine 30 years from now we will still see 2 on every flight.  

I don't know, safety (or better: the feeling thereof) is so important for the passenger aviation that I can hardly immagine any airline having success with that. When Lufthansa "modernized" their logo a couple of years ago (from yellow-blue to white-blue) some marketing experts said this was a bad move if only for the fact that people associated safety with that old logo.
It wouldn't even be countered by reduced ticket prices so much, since fuel costs are ever more the limiting factor here. My guess is that in 30 years pax flights will be automated BUT with one or two pilots upfront that do nothing but check if everything is working okay and give the passengers a good feeling (and that get paid accordingly, which means even worse than now...).
I mean it's been thirty years already now that airliners could reliably autoland every flight and still this doesn't happen (expect in cat II/III situations), instead pilots handfly the landing like it's still 1950.

 

Edited by Fiorentoni

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4 hours ago, F737MAX said:

787 is a different kettle of fish, much more modern equipment for a start

It certainly is, but he was referring directly about the 737-800. 


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3 hours ago, threegreen said:

That's the part that according to what I read some time ago apparently was changed by Boeing with newer, refined software versions for the autothrottle.

For the NG or the MAX?
I just didn't want to pay some sketchy-looking website to get hold of a more recent FCTM for the real NG.

The important thing to note with the 737NG's A/T is that previously:

Quote

Other features normally associated with the autothrottle, such as gust protection, are not provided.


I haven't tested PMDG's MSFS 737NG sufficiently yet to see if it replicates this supposed new behaviour of the more recent software versions. I'll try it out over the weekend.


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16 hours ago, F737MAX said:

For the NG or the MAX?
I just didn't want to pay some sketchy-looking website to get hold of a more recent FCTM for the real NG.

The important thing to note with the 737NG's A/T is that previously:


I haven't tested PMDG's MSFS 737NG sufficiently yet to see if it replicates this supposed new behaviour of the more recent software versions. I'll try it out over the weekend.

For the NG, logically that would mean the MAX too. I think PMDG's NG still runs a few older softwares like the FMC, although a more sensitive autothrottle system would certainly be beneficial given MSFS's atmospherics of being a bit on the 'alive' side.

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After what has happened on a handful of flights (German Wings 9525 for example), good luck getting a licence for single pilot operations on a commercial passenger airliner.

Edited by Christopher Low

Christopher Low

UK2000 Beta Tester

FSBetaTesters3.png

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The single-pilot or no-pilot flight deck is an interesting question that's gotten a lot of attention recently.  My pilot group just signed a new contract that (thankfully) contains a provision guaranteeing that every flight will be operated with two pilots, for example. 

But here's the thing: the technology is really nowhere near ready, and may not ever be, to implement this in a manner that can save money AND retain the level of safety that is currently achieved with two human pilots. 

You have to understand, operating an airliner safely isn't all about simply controlling the flight path of the aircraft.  That is dirt simple, a given.  Airliners are the easiest aircraft to fly, from a stick and rudder standpoint, that have ever been built.  This is a good thing.   

It's the non-technical skills that are more significant, and that we probably spend more time developing.  Threat and error management, crew resource management, effective communication... these things are vital to staying safe in a fast aircraft operating in such a dynamic and crowded environment, even when everything is going right.  When things start going wrong, they're more than vital - they're the only things that are going to keep you safe. 

The automation exists to drive the airplane, but like I said... that's the easy part. There's hardly a flight that goes by where the crew doesn't have to intervene in some way because the automation simply doesn't know how to handle an ATC change or error, or rapidly changing weather, or a mechanical issue, or another aircraft's error.  This is just a normal part of operating these aircraft... but automation can't do it. 

Then there's the question of a hardened datalink to a ground operator.  Yes the military has this; the military also loses drones because of comm issues at a rate we would likely not consider acceptable in commercial aircraft ;).

The crew construct of two humans working together is at the heart of TEM and CRM, and won't work the same with a single human no matter how much you reduce their workload.  It's just psychology.  So what you're left with is maybe taking one pilot out of the aircraft, and assigning the pilot monitoring duties to a sort of glorified dispatcher on the ground.  But by the time you factor in the expense of the hardened datalink, you'll need to save a lot of money on this person to make it pencil out.  So, you'll either have a less-trained individual acting as PM, or (and probably *and* instead) this PM will be responsible for multiple flights at once, the way a dispatcher is. 

This is a significant reduction in safety level from two fully-trained pilots focusing on one aircraft at a time, with no dependence on a datalink. 

The other option is functionally replacing humans with AI, but AI is currently incapable of working the out-of-the-box scenarios that can occur.  Until AI can equal the human brain in the intuitive leaps that can be made in reaction to a new and novel scenario for which it has never been prepared, AI will never be able to replace a human.  AI is nowhere near that now, despite Google's recent parlor trick, and many analysts think it never will be. 

I don't see a currently feasible way to cost-effectively take a person out of an airplane without increasing the (currently staggeringly low) accident rate. 

Edited by Stearmandriver
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Andrew Crowley

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16 minutes ago, Stearmandriver said:

 

I don't see a currently feasible way to cost-effectively take a person out of an airplane without increasing the (currently staggeringly low) accident rate. 

The other issue is what happens if the single pilot becomes incapacitated for some reason? Will they have to hire flight attendants with MSFS experience ?   😉

Edited by Bobsk8

 

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8 minutes ago, Bobsk8 said:

The other issue is what happens if the single pilot becomes incapacitated for some reason? Will they have to hire flight attendants with MSFS experience ?   😉

It wouldn't matter... they can't open the flight deck ;).

This is where the datalink tech would come in; so the "pilot" monitoring on the ground could intervene. Maybe. If the datalink works. And in that type of setup, there has to be priority. Who has control priority, the guy in the plane or the guy on the ground? Either way, you have a single point of failure in the event of a nervous breakdown scenario. 


Andrew Crowley

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5 minutes ago, Stearmandriver said:

It wouldn't matter... they can't open the flight deck ;).

This is where the datalink tech would come in; so the "pilot" monitoring on the ground could intervene. Maybe. If the datalink works. And in that type of setup, there has to be priority. Who has control priority, the guy in the plane or the guy on the ground? Either way, you have a single point of failure in the event of a nervous breakdown scenario. 

Flight attendants can indeed open the flight deck if whomever is inside is unresponsive or unable to deny entry. 

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23 minutes ago, Cmmcd87 said:

Flight attendants can indeed open the flight deck if whomever is inside is unresponsive or unable to deny entry. 

Perhaps this went over your head, but there are things about the FDAS that shouldn't really be discussed in public.  ;)

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Andrew Crowley

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I don't think we'll ever see a single pilot operation with commercial airliners. Yes, the technology pretty much exists, and yes aircraft can be "flown from the ground", but how much would it cost:

  • to have a datalink with sufficient capability and redundancy to enable this?
  • to have a number of "standby" pilots ready to take over a flight at a moment's notice in an emergency they know nothing about?
  • to restructure all pilot training in terms of CRM and human factors according to this new environment (wasting decades of progress)?
  • in terms of insurance costs for airlines, IF insurance companies accept such a reality?

Consider these factors, and you'll probably realize there is no advantage whatsoever in getting rid of the person in the right seat - the costs of his/her salary and training are and will remain the better option.


LPMA

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