Aircraft Accidents and the Myth of Single Pilot

We recently saw the death of an American Airlines captain in flight; the first officer diverted the aircraft to a successful landing. Shortly afterwards a United first officer became incapacitated during a flight to San Francisco, also incurring a diversion. In Europe an EasyJet flight was cut short when the captain became ill and lost consciousness; the plane landed safely.
The good news is that the other pilot in the flight compartment landed the aircraft uneventfully – as they are trained to do. Hundreds of hours of landing the aircraft interspersed with hours of simulator emergency training guarantees the two person crews can become a crew of one in the rare case of crisis. The Earth continues to spin on its axis and the Sun persists in rising in the East; everything is normal.
But still there are those who would suggest that we are moving towards a one-man cockpit. I don’t cite these recent events lightly; I feel that we must face our mortality when making decisions of such epic leaps from today’s norms. But let’s assume that the health and well-being of the pilots can be guaranteed, that the one pilot can’t become incapacitated. Do we trust the aircraft to one pilot anyway?
Throttle back, press the rudder pedals at the toes and arm the speed brake. My question is: do we trust the technology … yet? In my first novel I spoke to the dangers of putting our lives solely in the hands of the computer. As it stands we delegate too much control to the aircraft’s computers; we trust them to diagnose themselves, to fly themselves and now to direct themselves clear across the country or ocean. Are we so complacent to the point of surrender without question?
I may find myself driving a lot more.

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