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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."


Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Controlling Planes From the Ground...

Not a Good Idea! 

After the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash, many people asked what I thought about ground based operations that could take control of the airplane to avoid an event like this.

My answer: only if you want to open the skies to the greatest terrorist threat possible.

While I saw the potential for a mental health breakdown, and wrote the novel Flight For Control,  the reality is that pilots are strong, competent and responsible people with a vested interest on the plane and families on the ground. We must make sure they stay that way, and continue to give complete control to the flightdeck.



We must also must remember, this event was an anomaly, and not the norm for thousands of flights daily. To create regulation, or change processes that could cause more harm than good, is something our industry should think about.

We do not want to allow anyone on the ground to take control of our aircraft. Think about this... 


With boarding security strong, once the plane is airborne the terrorists are left behind, and have no access to the plane. However, if we open up the opportunity for someone on the ground to take control of our airborne aircraft, then anyone who breaks into the ground-based facility can control the planes. All of them. Thousands of them. Do you want to be flying and have the risk of ground-based takeover, to control your plane while you're airborne? I don't.


All it would take is one group to access the facility, and they have control over the entire system. One group. One facility. Thousands of aircraft in jeopardy. Millions of lives.

My vote is to allow the pilots to keep control in the airplane! And this brings me to the concern of the unmanned aircraft systems... not a good thing when lives are at stake.

What do you think?

Enjoy the Journey!
XO Karlene

16 comments:

  1. Lots of idiotic, knee-jerk reactions coming out of this Germanwings incident.

    The fact is, in over 100 years of aviation, we can count on ONE hand the number of deliberate crashes by suicidal/homicidal pilots (excepting terrorist hijackings.)

    As you say, the ability to take control of a passenger aircraft in the air is not only absurd, but downright chilling. Often the "do something" crowd out-shouts the "Keep Calm and Trust Your Pilot" crowd in these, creating more problems than they solve.

    What say me? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

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    1. After a dinner conversation with a Boeing engineer, and another conversation with a friend from Airbus... both companies are working to reduce the crew by one....the first step to "none". And thus the reason I am doing what I'm doing. To stop that action.
      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  2. Great, stimulating post, Karlene. I agree, 100%. No matter the situation, I want one (or more) fully qualified pilots in seats 0A and 0B. Only pilots On The Airplane fully comprehend whatever situation they may face. As a general ting, one FLIES and the other deals with systems and communications, the individual's roles may vary. That simple system has been validated *and modified* over decades and It Works. When it costs us one airplane aver five or ten years some holler a lot, yet it seems to be far safer than risking every transport aircraft then flying within a given region. Heck yes! Let the pilots fly and allow ATC to give them clear air in which to do so. -Craig (of Cedarglen)

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    1. Thank you for the comment Craig. This is the reason for the PhD. They are designing and pushing forward. This incident and the rational will be used to support their position, when the time comes. But the reality is, we need a check and balance system with pilots in control. Thanks again for your comment.

      Delete
  3. The fact plain and simple....commercial aviation (airliners hauling people) is not ready. I would love to hear what the flying public thinks about getting on an aircraft with out a pilot. For security sake a airliner would have to be completely autonomous and I mean no up link to flight controls. That means the plane will have to handle any emergency on it's own. No up link for a pilot on the ground to take control, period. Any aircraft that can be up linked (like a drone) to be flown by someone on the ground is a hack waiting to happen. It's already happened. These are news titles anyone can look up for them selves. Just cut and paste: 1) Iran–U.S. RQ-170 incident - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 2) Russia Hacks a U.S. Drone in Crimea as Cyberwarfare Has ... 3) Russia Says It Took Down a U.S. Drone Over Crimea - The ... 4) Insurgents Hack U.S. Drones - WSJ 5) BBC - Future - Are drones the next target for hackers? 6) Iran shows 'hacked US spy drone' video footage - BBC News 7) How Iran hacked super-secret CIA stealth drone — RT USA I could go on and on but I think you see what I'm getting at here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Captain Kidder, Thank you so much for the comment, and the many examples!

      My concern is the public's greatest crime (sorry public)... is paying for the cheapest tickets without realizing what they are getting for their money. If the price is low enough, they will do it. But what many don't understand is that flying without pilots, or any control from the ground, exposes them to so much more potential harm. Even the freight operators... despite no passengers, once someone can completely control those aircraft by external means, those planes have become weapons of mass destruction. We need to keep pilots in the plane and have an element of security at all times.
      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  4. Couldn't agree more with Capt Kidder's comments. It's not rocket science and naïve to believe it won't happen in the commercial world. The biggest threat comes not from a facility take over but cyber-terroism, which clearly is happening now in addition to regular data breeches of seemingly secure high-level cyber systems.
    “Time after time, history demonstrates that when people don't want to believe something, they have enormous skills of ignoring it altogether.”
    ― Jim Butcher, Dead Beat

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    1. Dr. Larry, good point. Great quote! And the same point when nobody wanted to believe that Flight For Control could happen.

      Also... my concern is that the industry is only focusing on how to prevent the cyber attacks. I had the opportunity to visit a NextGen facility and the complete focus was on blocking the cyber attacks. There will always be a way... but I asked, "what about the ground based attacks?" Blank stares spoke volumes. That could never happen!!
      Thanks for your comment!

      Delete
  5. What's next... automated blogs? :)

    Let's hope not !!! :)))

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    1. Oh NO!!! We can't make that happen!! lol

      Delete
  6. Wow what an overreaction to the germanwings diaster. I think the main issue that needs to be looked at is how to get pilots and flight attendants comfortable with reporting mental health issues not replacing them speculating about replacing pilots with drones or whatever does nothing to prevent a repeat of what happened in the Alps. The worst outcome of this would be if people were afraid to seek help because they think they're going to be tarred and feathered.

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    1. Sadly the reason they do not seek help is they believe they can fix it on their own, or they don't think they have a problem. And if they know they have a problem... they do not want to lose their jobs because of it. There is the reality.

      The reactions to most accidents are overreactions in the wrong direction. Look at Colgan Air... nothing to do with flight hours, and yet the fix was to raise them to 1500 hours. Sometimes logic and sense aren't in the same category.
      Thanks for the comment.

      Delete
  7. Karlene...did u read the recent article from the WSJ? Where the Airbus officer is advocating more manual flying and training? How does this jive with what your Airbus friend said?

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    1. Yes. And they are redesigning how they train on the 350 to start with manual flying. But I think they should start with understanding first...then fly. I'm working on this right now.

      Delete

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