Are two pilots really needed?

Jarko, the blogger behind the Planegrazy website, has recently noted how the traditional two pilot system is periodically questioned by various commentators in magazines or on TV shows. After all, the military system uses only one pilot – who increasingly is sitting in front of a computer a few thousand miles from the combat zone. However, Jarko noted that: 

….in a civil aviation, the regulations makes airlines to keep two pilots and that really is the only way to go. Most of the airlines needs two pilots for the security reasons, example, the altitude may only be adjusted when both of the pilots agrees the new altitude. One pilot can’t make the decision.

Another thing is economy.. Yes, even when two pilot concept is more expensive, let’s think about the manufacturers. All the planes are designed for the two pilots. The cabin is too wide for one pilot to handle, emergencies are another thing, but for regular routes, that can’t happen in next 50 years.

In fact, Ryan Air’s Michael O’Leary was recently quoted in an interview as saying:

Let’s take out the second pilot. Let the bloody computer fly it.

He further added that a flight attendant could be trained to help land a plane in the event of an emergency.

Hence, we want to ask you our readers, especially any general aviation pilots who are or have been either commercial or military pilots, what you think: Is one pilot and only one pilot enough for a commercial airliner? Moreover and with the development of UAVs, will there be a point where pilots may not even be needed in the cockpit of a commercial airliner? Feel free to tell us what you think.


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