No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

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No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby aardvark_admin » Fri Mar 15, 2019 7:46 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2019/0315.shtml

Wetware or software -- which would you rather trust if your life depended on it?

And are our aviation systems now reaching such massive levels of complexity that "death by computer" may overtake "human factors" as the leading cause of aviation crash-deaths?

Is there any way to mitigate this risk?

And who will be found liable when people die as the result of a software bug?
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Re: No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby phill » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:05 am

to me its not "death by computer "
its
death by bad programming
you could say we are in the transition process
computers / programming will get better
pilots will stay at the same level of incompetence
its highly unlikely a computer will ever sacrifice to allah or vote for trump
or hold up another computer
bottom line
should there be an easy manual override ... yes
should it be in the cockpit .... no
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )

i might live and eat in a sewer .. but hey look how many of these shiney things i have got
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Re: No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby Stevesub1 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:18 am

From a US pilots perspective yesterday who is happy to contine flying the Max planes.

https://jethead.wordpress.com/2019/03/1 ... -aircraft/

Personally I have always liked the Boeing approach and preferred Boeing planes.
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Re: No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby hagfish » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:46 am

This is also playing out closer to the ground. At present in New Zealand, roughly one person per day is killed on our roads. A number maybe 10x that is scarred/disabled for life. Evidently, we are cool with that. The advantages high-speed motorised vehicles far outweigh the costs.

As fully-autonomous vehicles enter the mix, their safety rate will have to be at least 1000x as high as that of human drivers, or we'll kick them to the kerb. My question is, would you rather take the much-reduced risk of being a (helpless) passenger in an autonomous vehicle, or would you prefer to have a human at the wheel, 'just in case'? In those occasions when my car is being chased by a tsunami, I'd prefer to be able to put my foot down. Those occasions are rare.

WIth the (looming, inevitable) reduction in the speed limits for urban roads, and country roads with no median barrier, human drivers will have a much easier time of it, and so will autonomous vehicles. EVs will magically get lots of extra range if they only have to punt along at 80Km/hr. Maybe we'll decide en masse that crawling along at 80 is no fun, and getting an autonomous taxi is cheaper, safer and more convenient. As a 'bloke' - of course - I reckon I drive better than the average person. I try to drive defensively-enough to mitigate other drivers' mistakes. But I concede that a well-crafted machine would be much 'better' (ie safer, more economical, smoother) in almost every situation. I'd rather take a back seat.

When it comes to aircraft, this reverses. Pilots don't have to deal with 'other idiots' - they contend with mechanical failures and the weather - the two things that can wreak havoc with automated systems. I'll take my chances with the guy in the short-sleeved shirt and the aviators.
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Re: No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby Perry » Fri Mar 15, 2019 2:55 pm

hagfish wrote:Pilots don't have to deal with 'other idiots' - they contend with mechanical failures and the weather - the two things that can wreak havoc with automated systems. I'll take my chances with the guy in the short-sleeved shirt and the aviators.

Or gal. Either way, I agree.
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Re: No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby roygbiv » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:52 am

I was told quite a while back that big airliners could land themselves which may or may not be true but it is probably the most difficult part of flying an aeroplane. They can do this in fog at certain airports which have the right navigational aids. If that is the case then the technology has been available already for pilotless aircraft ie totally controlled by computers. Also, it is safer to have the seats facing the other way for passengers in an aircraft - facing the back. But, for the flying public it is just not palatable, there is comfort in knowing that there is someone up front who has control. The fact the the pilot does not have full control of the aircraft is of deep concern to the aviation public as is what the reports imply from both crashes.

It is a case of having the technology to do something for economic or safety reasons but it is not what the majority want. I know in my case when that door shuts on the aircraft before takeoff my life is in the hands of a suitably skilled person who uses technology, I trust him/her with my life. Putting that trust in technology alone for me is a huge leap, one which I do not want to have to take. Hence, the 737 max problem has to be sorted out before I would fly in one. From what is reported technology has bypassed the human element causing disaster.
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Re: No longer plane simple (15 Mar, 2019)

Postby Perry » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:39 am

roygbiv wrote:Also, it is safer to have the seats facing the other way for passengers in an aircraft - facing the back.

Having flown in one, many years ago, I recall the Hastings had its passenger seats facing the rear.
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