Robo-flight

May 15, 2013

I’m somewhat mystified by this article in the New Scientist. A British Aerospace Jetstream aircraft flew from Lancashire to Inverness in Scotland controlled for part of its journey from the ground.
800px-British_Aerospace_Jetstream_32_reg._N487UE
So what? None of the technology described is new, at least not in concept; and modern commercial airliners are flown by the autopilot most of the time anyway. If you are going to have a pilot, what is the advantage of having him on the ground instead of in the plane? In the case of military drones there is the obvious advantage of the pilot not being killed when the plane comes under enemy fire, and the drone can be designed to be smaller than would be required to carry a human pilot; but commercial airliners are altogether a different kettle of fish.
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