This article on the latest edition of AvWeb..one has to view the future with an open mind! Blackbushe serving electric powered commuter aircraft, pilotless drone/quadcopter shuttles to London? Who knows but it's a great location for such imagineering.
Airbus has flown a new A350-1000 without the help of pilots 500 times in a research project that involved equipping the huge airliner with a form of machine vision it calls “image recognition technology.” The system uses external cameras and processes the resulting images to make the myriad adjustments necessary in the various phases of flight. Those cameras are the same ones used by pilots for moving around on the ground without bending or scraping anything. Passengers can also see them on the entertainment system.
Early in the program, which began in 2018, pilots were partners with the computers and did the taxi and runway lineup. By the end of the program, the widebody taxied, took off and landed all on its own. There were pilots on the later flights, but they didn’t touch anything. The big question is where does the technology go from here. Actually flying without pilots aboard or, perhaps with just one in a supervisory role, would involve a lot of paperwork and discussion, not to mention selling the public on it.
A bit worrying for the front office folk PB...even more so than now! Will the cabin crew become 'George' buddies together with controllers? Triple pay for the controllers if they are flying the aircraft? So many thoughts!
The front office will always have the best view, that's one certainty. Who, or how many, will be there to enjoy the view remains open to speculation.
So far as riding down the back is concerned, thousands will have safely descended into pea soup meteorology blithely riding in a machine whose future - and theirs - is in the hands of this George fellow who can demonstratively place them on the right bit of the runway at the right airspeed before retiring to the appointed gate number.
One must assume that Cabin Crew base training will perhaps be extended by a day or two if they are in command of the passengers plus the aeroplane while today's pilots look upward with envy from their latest vegetable plot?
The "future" is still quite some way away...or is it?