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Home > Airplanes > Are there any pilotless cargo planes in the World?
Are there any pilotless cargo planes in the World?
Aviation - Airplanes
Friday, 15 November 2013 15:28

The Rise of the Machines

Dear Capt Lim

I read a copy of your book, Life in the Skies and it was awesome!

My dream is to be a pilot when I grow up.

However I have a question to ask, is there such thing as a pilotless cargo plane?

Thanks!

Jane

Hi Jane,

Pilotless cargo plane will no longer be unthinkable soon.

Many have asked me similar question before. Well passengers-carrying airliners of the future may not even have pilots as well. It is a question of time, maybe in about 50-80 years from now.

What will happen is that, it will start off with only one pilot in the cockpit and then none at all. “Pilots” would be someone on the ground to perform certain flight duties like NASA mission control. This is precisely what happens to UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or drones that are currently being used in the ‘war’ in Afghanistan. So computers would be flying the planes instead of pilots.

The likely scenario is that cargo planes would go pilotless first. This is to give public the confidence that it is perfectly safe to have pilotless planes carrying freights from A to B. Soon after, low cost airlines may follow suit before the legacy airlines jump into the bandwagon too!

Yes, the day will come when passengers would soon accept that the computers would be in charge of their safety in the air.

Future planes would not have cockpits. Airlines of the future may have planes that only have few ‘pilots’ and system engineers on the ground to link them to the airborne airliners electronically.

The aircraft commander of the future would be the purser – the senior cabin crew member.

Commercially pilotless cargo planes are not available anywhere in the world today but it would soon be a reality first before the pilotless airliners!

PS. If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here.  To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim


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