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  • Autoland for the little guy

    Garmin has developed a new emergency autoland system for single pilot ops that can land at the nearest suitable (GPS approach with vertical guidance) airport in the event that the pilot becomes incapacitated (or in the event of zero-zero visibility). They claim it can be adapted to even piston singles with some additional servos and sensors. It functions in a very HAL sort of way (good HAL, not homicidal HAL, we hope), speaking to passengers in a soothing voice and telling them where and when they will be landing. It even extends flaps and lowers gear (without moving the levers). There is a guarded red button for passengers to push if the pilot becomes incapacitated, but it also senses when a pilot is no longer alert and self-activates. It is only meant for emergencies, but I imagine it will be widely abused by pilots as a standard autoland feature. That raises the concern: how robust is the air and inertial data? How wrong can this thing go?

    The system is predicated on the concept of "bad pilot, good airplane", which means it becomes useless if the airplane systems are also compromised, so this won't be removing the co-pilot on transport category aircraft anytime soon.

    But for general aviation, welcome to the single-pilot future.

    https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-n...safety-feature

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  • #2
    Originally posted by Evan View Post
    Garmin has developed a new emergency autoland system for single pilot ops that can land at the nearest suitable (GPS approach with vertical guidance) airport in the event that the pilot becomes incapacitated (or in the event of zero-zero visibility). They claim it can be adapted to even piston singles with some additional servos and sensors. It functions in a very HAL sort of way (good HAL, not homicidal HAL, we hope), speaking to passengers in a soothing voice and telling them where and when they will be landing. It even extends flaps and lowers gear (without moving the levers). There is a guarded red button for passengers to push if the pilot becomes incapacitated, but it also senses when a pilot is no longer alert and self-activates. It is only meant for emergencies, but I imagine it will be widely abused by pilots as a standard autoland feature. That raises the concern: how robust is the air and inertial data? How wrong can this thing go?

    The system is predicated on the concept of "bad pilot, good airplane", which means it becomes useless if the airplane systems are also compromised, so this won't be removing the co-pilot on transport category aircraft anytime soon.

    But for general aviation, welcome to the single-pilot future.

    https://www.ainonline.com/aviation-n...safety-feature

    [ATTACH=CONFIG]29595[/ATTACH]
    This will help in the cases of hypoxia (everybody incapacited) or "pilot incapacitation and thee is nobody else that can fly the plane".
    It's nice, but will not be a game-changer in the safety record of general aviation since these categories are pretty low in the "top killers" list that are led by things like VFR in IMC, loss of control in the traffic pattern, and loss of control in twins after engine failure.

    From the technological point of view, it is an amazing feat. The system will manage flight controls in a way that modern autopilots don't, managing the horizontal and vertical navigation (even around terrain), selecting the airport, the runway, the approach, the speed schedule, talk to ATC, talk to passengers, extend landing gear and flaps, managing cabin pressurization, autoland of course, runway steering, and braking.

    As for welcome to the general aviation single-pilot future, this new future will be restricted to a narrow band of high-end GA airplanes, since it requires not only AP but also AT which very few GA planes have.
    As for the bulk of GA, they will keep flying in planes built in the 60s, 70s and 80s for the years to come with some upgrades in the cockpit nut nowhere close to this level of automation. The reason? These used planes can be purchased for 1/10th of the price of its equivalent new counterparts. The second bulk will operate "training-class" single engine pistons of the type of the C-172 and Piper Archer. For those few who can afford a multi-million GA plane (ranging from the single engine turboprops and up to all twin jets certified for single-pilot operation), this technology will be a nice addition.

    --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
    --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
      This will help in the cases of hypoxia (everybody incapacited)
      I question this- unless it kicks in automatically.
      Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
        This will help in the cases of hypoxia (everybody incapacited) or "pilot incapacitation and thee is nobody else that can fly the plane".
        It's nice, but will not be a game-changer in the safety record of general aviation since these categories are pretty low in the "top killers" list that are led by things like VFR in IMC, loss of control in the traffic pattern, and loss of control in twins after engine failure.

        From the technological point of view, it is an amazing feat. The system will manage flight controls in a way that modern autopilots don't, managing the horizontal and vertical navigation (even around terrain), selecting the airport, the runway, the approach, the speed schedule, talk to ATC, talk to passengers, extend landing gear and flaps, managing cabin pressurization, autoland of course, runway steering, and braking.

        As for welcome to the general aviation single-pilot future, this new future will be restricted to a narrow band of high-end GA airplanes, since it requires not only AP but also AT which very few GA planes have.
        As for the bulk of GA, they will keep flying in planes built in the 60s, 70s and 80s for the years to come with some upgrades in the cockpit nut nowhere close to this level of automation. The reason? These used planes can be purchased for 1/10th of the price of its equivalent new counterparts. The second bulk will operate "training-class" single engine pistons of the type of the C-172 and Piper Archer. For those few who can afford a multi-million GA plane (ranging from the single engine turboprops and up to all twin jets certified for single-pilot operation), this technology will be a nice addition.
        It can even find the most suitable clear, level area for an emergency landing. It constantly scans the surrounding terrain for the best options. The article suggests that it can be added to aircraft without autothrottle by adding throttling capability. Certainly it will be cost-prohibitive for the foreseeable future, but I could see it being integrated into something common and modern like high-end variants of the SR-22.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 3WE View Post
          I question this- unless it kicks in automatically.
          It does, if the airplane is on autopilot and there have been no pilot actions for a certain period of time (after a warning, of course).
          The question is: what does it do if it finds that the humans aboard are a threat to the mission....

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Evan View Post
            ***The article suggests that it can be added to aircraft without autothrottle by adding throttling capability.***
            Okay.

            I think a bigger question is if it will take over in the case of an engine failure.

            By the way, what ever happened to the BRS- Isn't that a much simpler, and potentially safer system?
            Les règles de l'aviation de base découragent de longues périodes de dur tirer vers le haut.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by 3WE View Post
              Okay.

              I think a bigger question is if it will take over in the case of an engine failure.

              By the way, what ever happened to the BRS- Isn't that a much simpler, and potentially safer system?
              The pilot dies and then the engine dies? That would be an uncommonly bad day. However, the description says it can land following an engine failure.

              BRS is limited to very small aircraft, and it comes down wherever it comes down, which might be on top of someone's house or with the lions at the zoo. Also, not so good when there's a fire.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 3WE View Post
                I question this- unless it kicks in automatically.
                It will. Actually, the whole system is part of the "emergency descent" package that activates automatically when the crew is irresponsive for more than X time.

                --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Evan View Post
                  with the lions at the zoo
                  You were saying about having a bad day?

                  Also, not so good when there's a fire.
                  I don't think that the emergency autoland is much better in case of fire.

                  As you said, the emergency autoland is for the bad pilot / good airplane scenario.

                  --- Judge what is said by the merits of what is said, not by the credentials of who said it. ---
                  --- Defend what you say with arguments, not by imposing your credentials ---

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Gabriel View Post
                    I don't think that the emergency autoland is much better in case of fire.
                    I mean assuming a plane with a contained engine fire can safely reach the ground in either case. The last thing you want at that point is to be covered by a flammable parachute.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Evan View Post
                      The question is: what does it do if it finds that the humans aboard are a threat to the mission....
                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7qnd-hdmgfk
                      Be alert! America needs more lerts.

                      Eric Law

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        'With Autoland, the era of losing airplanes because a lone pilot suffers hypoxia due to pressurization problems or lack of oxygen or loses consciousness because of a medical issue may finally end."

                        seems to me we are long overdue to have O2 sensors onboard which can detect a low O2 situation long before the humans start passing out and can warn them of same.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by TeeVee View Post
                          'With Autoland, the era of losing airplanes because a lone pilot suffers hypoxia due to pressurization problems or lack of oxygen or loses consciousness because of a medical issue may finally end."

                          seems to me we are long overdue to have O2 sensors onboard which can detect a low O2 situation long before the humans start passing out and can warn them of same.
                          We have cabin altitude warnings, which do the same thing.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Evan View Post
                            We have cabin altitude warnings, which do the same thing.
                            yeah, maybe. but they don't quite work so well, do they?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I'm not sure that question can be answered! Is there a record anywhere of cases where the alarm has gone off, pilots said "oops" and tweaked a few settings, and the flight continued and ended normally?

                              On a related note: not that they're a big segment of the market, but there are unpressurized light planes that can fly at altitudes where you can get hypoxia. Nether a cabin altitude warning or O2 sensor would work in those planes.
                              Be alert! America needs more lerts.

                              Eric Law

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