In this article, Captain Pierre Wannaz expresses his point of view on an article published in Forbes last month, explaining the ins and outs of single-pilot aircraft. Before the start of the 18th European Airline Training Symposium (EATS) 2019 which takes place in Berlin on 29-30 October 2019, let’s talk together and move things forward!

My blog “A pilot’s view” aims at discussing the challenges of pilot training.

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Pros and cons of single-pilot cockpits

The following article in Forbes last month is an interesting point of view about new automated aircraft and some pro and cons:

Three Arguments For And Against Eliminating Airline Co-Pilots”

A major issue not sufficiently mentioned: How to train pilots so that they are able to pilot alone with a computer?

I fully support theses arguments.

But one major point not often mentioned in having a single pilot controlling the performance of an automated aircraft is the following:

This single pilot must be the commander. How can this pilot acquire and maintain a sufficient level of proficiency ?

How to teach somebody who will be asked to take-over and deal with complex situations in the cockpit only when the automated system is not performing correctly?

Pilots without actual experience rapidly lose their normal operational skills but should still be able to be the master in case of a disaster. How can know-how be shared with a machine if the pilot is only a spectator or a monitor of an automated system?

Today,  skills, knowledge and experience are shared between crew members. First officers are trained to become a captain after having acquired a reasonable experience. How can such a process take place using automated aircraft?

Who is going to coach these pilots, amend their approach briefing for issues not realized? Thereafter, who is going to challenge the taken option during the debriefing and look for alternatives in order to bring an added value to the effective performance?

Who and how to teach future pilots if we miss theses precious processes that are the fundaments of today’s instruction for safe pilots’ operations?

A huge challenge for the future pilot generation!


Now, what do YOU think about single-pilot aircraft? Share your personal thoughts in the comments below!

You can also come & discuss with me personally on CEFA Aviation stand, booth #409, during EATS in Berlin from 29th to 30th October 2019.

Find all the other blog articles gathered here.

You can also contact me via LinkedIn or via this link. Talk to you soon!