Ryan Air question need for second pilot
Ryan Air’s Michael O’Leary would like to remove the second pilot from his European flights to reduce costs.
The initial knee-jerk reaction has, not unexpectedly, been one of horror and safety fears. This, remember is the same nasty Michael O’Leary that promotes standing passengers, paying for on-board toilets and hyper-inflation for baggage.
The second, and perhaps slightly more considered reaction, is that Mr O’Leary is a self-publicist capable of saying anything to create a stir.
There is also a third line of argument to be considered. Despite all of the advancements in air travel, the available technology now outstrips our willingness to embrace it and it may be time to consider some of the taboo issues of passenger aviation.
Either today, or in, say ten years time, we will have the technology for passenger aircraft to take off and land automatically perfectly safely without a human pilot.
Certainly, in one hundred years time, people will regularly step aboard automated aircraft with no more thought than they jump aboard a driverless shuttle train today. So, O’Leary’s question is not if but how we get from the two-pilot operation of today to the pilot-less operations of the future.
I sense the answer is tied up with public sensitivities and job protection. Like most of my generation, as a small boy, I always said thankyou to the engine driver. I do not do so now and even question why the driver is there at all. Trains run on rails and it should be a matter of utter simplicity to computerise the whole network and make it superbly efficient. Why do we not do so?
Can it really be because that the public feel safer in the hands of a driver? or is it that successive governments have not had the stomach for a battle with the unions?
Whatever the reason, this has to change. It should change first on the rails and the underground and then, in time, change with aircraft.
Perhaps we could start by hiring Michael O’Leary to run the railways.
|Comments||Post a comment|
13 September 2010, 08:39AM
I am not sure about airline pilots but I would certainly like to see the London underground fully mechanised. How difficult can that be?
14 September 2010, 08:50AM
This is not going to happen on aircraft any time soon. But, sure let's do it on the railways and get rid of the rail unions once and for all.
DaveReiss, United Kingdom
17 September 2010, 02:25PM
This is an interesting situation. Two pilot operation is probably no longer necessary but the public are never going to believe that from Ryanair.
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