Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, June 27, 2011

One Step Closer to the "Pilot and Dog" Flight Deck

One of the avionics makers is offering a panic button for business jets and airliners. The idea is that if the faulty humans completely lose the bubble, then they can push the button and the majick boxen will take control and fly the airplane until they can get their wits about them.
Included is a "one-touch" safe mode button or switch that a pilot of an auto-throttle-equipped [Rockwell-Collins] Fusion system can push after losing situational awareness. [Duty Spokesweasel] says one-touch will roll the wings level and fly that way for 15 to 30 seconds before climbing autonomously to an altitude safety above terrain and entering a holding pattern. "This gives pilots time to regain awareness and regain control of the situation," he said. A trade study is under way to determine what automated messages or transponder codes should automatically be sent to the ground if the mode activates.
There is an old joke that the avionics in commercial airliners will eventually be so sophisticated that the flight crew will consist of a pilot and a dog. The dog's job is to bite the pilot if he touches anything.

I share this blogger's qualms about it. What is the point of having trained pilots if their job in an emergency is going to be to "push the button, Max"? You could hire a smart capucin monkey to do that job.

There is another "feature" that Rockwell has already built into its boxes:
One new feature already incorporated in the integrated cockpit, for which the company recently received supplemental type certification approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration, is an emergency descent mode that will turn and dive the aircraft down to 15,000ft (4,572m) if its systems sense pressurisation problems and the pilots are not responding.
Nice, except that the onset of hypoxia is a little bit below 15,000 feet. So the pilots might not wake back up. Of course, if the airplane dove itself lower, there are lots of places in the world where it might fly into some cumulogranite. It could still happen at 15,000 feet, but it's sort of less likely.

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