We are getting used to cutbacks in air travel. From being an expensive experience but full of comforts, we are almost losing everything that I had, but now the latest debate is that the airlines are beginning to request that there be a single pilot in the cabin to reduce costs instead of two. Reduction of personnel, reduction of costs.
Will this end up being possible? Is it crazy that we will get to see? You never know, but seeing how this is progressing, maybe it’s closer than we ever thought. Commercial flights with a single pilot in command… and less and less staff serving passengers.
It is not something that is a mere rumor, but more than forty countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, have asked the United Nations body that sets aviation standards to help them make flights with a single pilot become a reality. A safe realization.
What’s more, the EASA has even had meetings with commercial aircraft manufacturers to consider whether this is possible and what could be the rules to set and start reviewing everything. They even almost dare to give a date: 2027.
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Is it safe to have a single pilot in the cockpit?
That is the first question that arises for all of us, whether it will be safe to take a single man at the controls of an iron bird that has hundreds of people on board. It is true that the cabins are increasingly automated, that (from my ignorance) you fly trusting more in technology than in the human being at the controls, but even so, trust in a single person, who may be overwhelmed due to the situation or an indisposition is, perhaps, something reckless.
What’s more, it’s something that already happened like in the Air France flight 447 that flew from Rio to Paris in 2009. The captain was resting while the two co-pilots were in command in the cockpit and they began to receive speed error readings. When the captain woke up and got to the cabin, in less than two minutes it was too late to regain stability and they fell into the sea. An entire air disaster.
In contrast, in numbers of plane crashes that did not end in tragedy, the collaboration of a second pilot was always the key to avoiding greater evils.
Of course, it is the one that is on our minds: the great savings in personnel costs. If the number of TCPs has already been reduced, now it is time to try to reduce the number of pilots, with traditionally higher salaries.
Of course, it would not be a radical implementation, but the first step would be to allow them to fly alone when they are in the cruise phase, that is, the least stressful period of the flight (no landings or takeoffs), which would allow the other The pilot could rest in the cockpit, alternating breaks, so much longer routes could be made with two without needing a third as now.