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nschmandt

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Hi everyone! I used to be on this forum a lot when I had a Comanche, but sold it and decided an experimental was out of my budget. I've popped on to read a little bit and see what people are up to, and I certainly do miss flying.
I'm in a part-time MBA program now, and a writer for our student newspaper. I wrote this article for the last issue:
I'd love to hear what people think!
To follow up on it, if anyone has a connection in the automated aircraft/cargo aircraft space who could chat with me about where the field's going so I could learn a little more about it, I would really enjoy that! Please let me know!
Happy holidays and hope everyone is well!
 

rv7charlie

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In a quick read-through, I can't figure out what they're suggesting that doesn't already exist, unless they're suggesting that the FAA eliminate the Part 135 rules. Lots of companies operate smaller GA aircraft as charters, but the legal/paperwork overhead of 135 probably makes something as small as a 4 seater unprofitable. If you're willing to get the ratings, buy a Cessna/Piper, and jump through the FAA hoops, you can run your own charter operation now.

Uber/Lyft/etc are working hard to make actual air 'taxi' vehicles a reality, though.

edit: just read a little more carefully; the writer is just talking about what Uber/Lyft/Boeing/Airbus/etc have been working on for at least half a decade.
 
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Victor Bravo

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Sorry to be a naysayer, technology denier, and/or a Luddite, but one or two questions just keep nagging at me:

Why would I want to trust the imperfect human being who designed and developed an autonomous autopilot system, instead of trusting the imperfect human being who would be hand-flying the aircraft without the autonomous system?

The human who designed and developed the autonomous system would not be at any personal risk of injury like the one in the pilot seat would. He or she very likely would not have the pilot training, the flight experience, the instinct, or the same level of concern for the safety of the flight as a "real" aircraft pilot would. He or she would possibly have been raised in a cultural, spiritual, or educational environment that is not fully aligned with air safety.

Considering how much trustworthiness and reliability that the Millennials have actually delivered with my phone, my TV, my computer and its software... and considering the quality of tech support and troubleshooting service that these folks provide when something like my computer crashes, it surely doesn't seem like a good bet to have that mentality and commitment to quality anywhere near a flying machine.

Even the world's leading name in quality, safety, and trustworthiness in air transport has fallen victim to corporate malfeasance, dollars and politics getting in front of flight safety, and unjustified faith in computer tech has eclipsed their (former) foundation of solid, conservative engineering.

So now we're supposed to trust Silicon Valley Millennial tech guru mentality (the same mentality that they use to censor free speech on their social media platforms when it doesn't match their narrative) with my life, within a year after Marijuana became legal in California.

I do believe in plenty of uses for new technology, and I do believe that new technology can do a lot of things very well. I also believe that common sense and human intelligence doesn't need to become roadkill in the process however.
 

nschmandt

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@BJC thanks for your input

@rv7charlie great, thank you for reading! You mentioned: "companies operate smaller GA aircraft as charters", do you know if there are any smaller companies that specialize in smaller aircraft for cargo purposes? Or is there a way to find them?

Yeah, I've read about what other companies have been working towards in this space. Uber just recently spun off their aviation group. I was able to talk a little bit with people in that program and it sounded like it wasn't really a serious endeavor for them. Also they were more interested in flying taxis, I'm talking about just getting a C182 to automatically fly cargo from one airport to another 200 miles away. I have heard Boeing looking into something like that, but I haven't been able to get much info about it, so I'm not sure what they're really doing with it.

Also, with regards to the regs, I know the part 135 section, and I know they have a section for drones up to 55 pounds. Do you know where/what it says about remotely operated/automated aircraft of a C182 size? Or does that just not exist?

Thank you again!
 

nschmandt

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@Victor Bravo Thank you, those are all great points! You've summarized perfectly why these aircraft should be hauling cargo until they have enough hours to be established as credibly safe.
 

rv7charlie

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nschmandt

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@rv7charlie Thank you! There were a few hits there I hadn't seen before!

@BBerson Thank you very much! I definitely had not heard of them! That's pretty neat, automated rotorcraft, and interesting they found a military application.
 

jedi

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My two cents.

I agree with the comments of post #4, Part 135 operators are currently doing just what is proposed with certified pilots and aircraft. Most struggle to make a profit. It is much more difficult to survive than it was in the "old days", that is anywhere from the 50's to the 70's.

The difference in the proposal is the automated aircraft. The automation is not a benefit for the current Part 135 operation as airport to airport operations using currently available certified aircraft are capable of the required mission and pilot pay for these jobs is less that the certification expenses for the automated aircraft.

The automation becomes a requirement with the powered lift drones for two reasons. First, automatic stabilization is required because the system is not operable without it. Second, the battery and weight/range limitations of the power system do not allow for the weight of pilot to be included as a part of the design specifications.

The current GA downturn is a result of reduced utility of the GA fleet. Federal and state dollars are directed at surface travel infrastructure and taken from airfield infrastructure. The Interstate highway system has raised surface travel speeds and comfort while the reduced airfield population has limited air transport destinations. The proposed automated drones avoid the airport limitation by utilizing a fictional drone landing area that self generates wherever needed.

As government dollars are removed from the surface transport system under the green new deal and surface congestion becomes more of an issue the balance between air and surface transport will shift. The question is what form of (new) technology will fill the gap.
 

pwood66889

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Good read, Nick! And the discussion on this forum is even better.
Jedi's thoughts on the long-term trends is quite striking.
I believe the FAA is going to give in to the droners. Too much money going to The Best Legislature Money Can Buy will force it that way. Paint a pretty profitable picture, they do. `Specially to us familiar with the "Last Mile Problem.'
 

blane.c

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I think much to do about what is coming government wise to aviation will surround the green deal.

Part of the green deal to my understanding or the point of it, is to reduce the carbon footprint. If the government and most of it's citizens support that end then the most important selling point would be how aviation is reducing the carbon footprint.

If you can show that a rural to urban commuter that because of its versatility and maneuverability it can produce less carbon than a car stuck in traffic for the work commute it may be viable. There are GA aircraft that exceed 50mpg and at least one that is 90mpg per seat mile while the best commercial jets are around 50mpg per seat mile. Some of the E-gliders should be very good indeed if they can be utilized as short/medium transportation.

I am sure many on this forum can show examples of a low carbon footprint.

The biggest complaint of the green deal regards aviation will be the carbon footprint for individuals especially for entertainment and enjoyment. It isn't that the government doesn't want you to have fun, they don't care if you have fun or not but they will care if you exceed your daily quota of gas.
 

Turd Ferguson

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To follow up on it, if anyone has a connection in the automated aircraft/cargo aircraft space who could chat with me about where the field's going so I could learn a little more about it, I would really enjoy that! Please let me know!
For the past yr, RELIABLE ROBOTICS has been testing autonomous flight and since Aug has operated and been testing a Cessna Caravan on loan from a package company (Although they both deny any relationship, Interestingly, I have made many fights in the exact airplane photographed for the article). FedEx feeder plane takes flight without pilot aboard in test for Reliable Robotics

While the regulatory end has to catch up to the technology, I think autonomous cargo hauling will be a reality within 5 yrs. Not sure on what level. Expanding that to large aircraft and/or aircraft carrying people probably won't see reality anytime soon. It will take a paradigm shift in philosophy for that to happen.
 
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mwflyer

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Jul 16, 2014
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St. Louis, MO USA
Hi everyone! I used to be on this forum a lot when I had a Comanche, but sold it and decided an experimental was out of my budget. I've popped on to read a little bit and see what people are up to, and I certainly do miss flying.
I'm in a part-time MBA program now, and a writer for our student newspaper. I wrote this article for the last issue:
I'd love to hear what people think!
To follow up on it, if anyone has a connection in the automated aircraft/cargo aircraft space who could chat with me about where the field's going so I could learn a little more about it, I would really enjoy that! Please let me know!
Happy holidays and hope everyone is well!
All of the airports I used to fly out of are gone now and never coming back. Airports simply don't generate enough money to offset the value of the land near urban areas. The airport I learned at is still a bean field, but the line of houses of the surrounding developments are only a stones throw away. "Technology offers the chance for smaller aircraft to be much more accessible..." 737 MAX had automation. How did that work out? Wife and I have become addicted to the airline disaster series on cable. A lot of those accidents discussed related directly to overdependence and in some cases ANY dependence on automation. IIRC, the magic number for drones flying over crowds and urban areas is 55 pounds. The idea of 2-3,000 pound drones flying willy-nilly overhead is ludicrous. Helicopter shuttle service was going to revolutionize transport into downtown areas. That ended with one crash in Manhattan falling off the Pan Am building onto the street below. I was part of that general aviation boom in the '70s. Now I drive by local airports where there may be 5 aircraft on the ramp, if any are visible at all. The 'next generation' not only isn't learning to fly, they're not learning to drive.
 

Mad MAC

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Dec 9, 2004
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Hamilton New Zealand
It should be pointed out that so far reliable out of line of sight drone operations seem to require more resources than a manned aircraft.

The commonality of software across the aircraft fleet and the risk of all of them failing at the same time because of some randon fact such as its a leap day and the fleet fitted with the software has decided that up is now down, means the software certification standards need to be much higher [3, 4 orders of magnitude minimum] than it currently is.

Much of this development seems to be driven by fear of missing out or making electric VTOL slightly possible. How much cost reduction does a self flying caravan class aircraft have. You get 200 lbs and maybe 27 cu ft of space but it comes with a massive software overhead. One can fire a pilot, PMA replacement parts, but automation will result in a real lock in with the OEM.
 
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