Will CVRs be needed for future aircraft accidents?

The concept is being refloated – or still floated: single pilot airliners; certainly not viable before 2030. However having worked – at the time – the latest digital aircraft, it’s been the goal of many for years.
But what of the safety of air travel if this were to happen? Would aircraft accidents be reduced … or increased? Modern technology has come light years, but is it – will it ever be? – inspiring complete trust? In my book Jet Blast I questioned total technology reliance, so naturally I’m skeptical; a distrust born of experience. As an FAA inspector I’ve flown in many airline cockpits, listened to air traffic routing, and worked with aircraft technicians; these aviators rely heavily on new technologies, more with each new advance. But with accidents in Buffalo and San Francisco, are the dependencies too much? Have pilots/technicians/air traffic controllers surrendered too much authority to the computers? How much complacency has seeped into our aviation culture?
Who would lone pilot interact with during onboard crises? Would cockpit resource management exist? Can the pilot’s perspective be shared with a computer, e.g. to go-around? Conversations taken from CVR recordings would no longer be as valuable. But most importantly, do we feel smart enough to trivialize the position of a first officer as we did the second officer?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *