FuturePundit: Airline Pilots Manually Fly Airplanes For 3.5-7 Minutes Per Flight

The Germanwings suicidal/homicidal depressed and narcissistic pilot is providing the impetus to speed up development of remote and robotic ways to control an airplane. Already pilots spend very little time controlling an airplane manually. Boeing pilots work twice as hard as Airbus pilots. Does that make the Airbus pilots lazy? Or the Boeing pilots overworked?

In a recent survey of airline pilots, those operating Boeing 777s reported that they spent just seven minutes manually piloting their planes in a typical flight. Pilots operating Airbus planes spent half that time.

via FuturePundit: Airline Pilots Manually Fly Airplanes For 3.5-7 Minutes Per Flight.

Here’s the thing with autopilots. First, they are far more than just autopilots- they are complex flight management systems (or FMS)  that control the aircraft and its navigation.

And the reason pilots let the FMS do the flying is twofold. First, the FMS tends to actually fly the plane better, more precisely. Second, it frees the crew to concentrate their attention on all the other things that have to be done to get you safely to your destination.

4 thoughts on “FuturePundit: Airline Pilots Manually Fly Airplanes For 3.5-7 Minutes Per Flight”

  1. Sounds about right, and all giggles aside, flight sims pretty much confirm that. The only issue is the erosion of basic skills needed when the wings are burning. And for the record, I’ll take Boeing Drivers any day; bus drivers, not if I can help it. Sorry. The Marque is just not on, somehow

      1. Much as in air combat, it is the man far more than the machine that determines the outcome. I’ve used the Boeing/going line myself, but in reality, I’m perfectly fine flying on Airbus. What I *won’t* do is fly a third world carrier.

    1. Frankly, I’ve never been on an Airbus product and am just being silly to use the line. Most of my airline flights have been on Douglas products. Jumped the pond to Germany and back the first time on MATS flights flying Douglas 4 engined prop transports, the second time going and coming on DC-8s. Didn’t see a Boeing until a I mounted up on a TWA 747 from JFK to Rome going to Courtney in Italy. Took a Southern DC-9 to Dothan, via Atlanta, to go to Rucker. At the rate things are going, flying out of Asheville, I’ll spend most of my airline time on Regional Jets going to hubs to get a 737 or 757. Was actually on a MD product for about 3 hours back in September on my trip to and from to Alaska in September, which looks like it may be my last on Douglas and her descendent products.

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