No automation or systems based training can replace this type of flying experience

Posted on 13. Mar, 2009 by in Featured

Pilots cannot and will not be replaced by technology. For those of you who are impressed by technology and point to the unmanned aerial vehicles circling over Pakistan, sorry, on the other end of a very long data link sits a very unhappy fighter pilot. Just because no pilot sits in it, doesn’t mean it is not being controlled by a pilot. I’ve done it, and posted on this forum about it. Here is another news flash; the automated programs had a nasty habit of crashing the aircraft.

Back in the day when we fought against F-16’s, while we knew we couldn’t beat the aircraft, we also knew we could beat the computer. Just get it slow; the F-16 would not allow the pilot to fly below 150 knots. The computer would actually take control from the pilot and push the nose down. It may not seem important, however I have flown an A-4 to less than 100 knots and even zero airspeed (maintaining control) in order to maneuver for a shot. Below is a pretty good video of a dog fight, you can see why you would not want a computer overriding your inputs:

Here is some more stick and rudder flying:

No automation or system knowledge can ever replace this type of flying to give the pilot a feel for exactly what his aircraft is doing. IMO the FAA/IATA should have never allowed certifying pilots without an aerobatic syllabus. Pushing an aircraft to the edge gives a pilot a seat of the pants feel that never goes away; ask Sully. It also gives you a big picture view of the situation; “I need to put this airplane in that part of the sky”. A lack of Situational Awareness seems to be the primary cause of the last two accidents. In both cases automation masked a dangerous situation as it developed.

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