Are Co-Pilots Even Needed?

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Ex airline captain here… wow, “are copilots ever needed?”

    The fact that you would regurgitate that ridiculous idiocy shows how little you know about aviation.

    It’s A TEAM.

    A well rehearsed, essential synergy for multiple multiple reasons and functions.

    I thought Lucky was above his station referring to airline ops, pilot skills etc

    Sorry… but… wow

  2. @Andy

    During nominal situations, a single pilot is quite capable of operating an aircraft with sufficient automation in optimal conditions.

    The real discussion is when things go wrong, or “off nom” as we like to say. Hell, I can take the 727 in the sim by myself and get it between point A and point B in good weather and land it in one piece. But the whole crew is there for the single engine IMC non-precision approach where the workload goes up a bit.

    As a pilot and computer programmer, I can say that in a sense, the MAX problems have lead us to be a bit more cautious about just what can/should be done with technology in airplanes.

  3. So, what happens when the single pilot expires or has significant impairment during the flight?

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/05/american-airlines-pilot-dies-mid-flight
    https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/786215/american-airlines-pilot-dies-mid-air-before-landing-boeing-dallas-albuquerque

    Admittedly, it doesn’t happen often, but what if those flights had an unfortunate ending? Would we even be talking about having one person up front if it had?

    Normal workload isn’t the issue. Its all the abnormal stuff and high workloads that makes the team (two people) useful. As both major airframe vendors have shown, automation (even in normal cases) isn’t quite to a standard that I would completely trust my life to it.

  4. The Lyft car rental is far from onion status. What’s wing with a fixed rate per day rental program with a free ride to the car!? In cities where people don’t own cars, this should be very popular.

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