A few days ago, Novye Izvestia reported the unpleasant news that the commander of an aircraft flying from Novokuznetsk to St. Petersburg became ill during the flight, and the co-pilot decided to urgently land the aircraft in Omsk. However, it was not possible to save the commander, he died as a result of a detached blood clot even before the ambulance arrived. If this happened on earth, the case could be considered ordinary, and human life could be saved. However, we are talking about civil aviation, about the fact that the lives of tens or hundreds of passengers directly depend on the health of the pilot.
Technical expert Vadim Lukashevich, recalling this case in his blog, writes:
“Just a month ago we discussed the intention of the Ministry of Industry and Trade to replace the co-pilot with a computer, something happened that I spoke about the possibility of. (…) Aviation regulations do not care about the fantasies of any fool, even if he is a minister”.
Lukashevich recalls that the Air Traffic Controller channel, citing documents published on the public procurement portal, said that the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to create an intelligent “virtual co-pilot” for aircraft by 2024.
The cost of the tender is 2.9 billion rubles. It is believed that the transition to one pilot in aircraft will become possible in the 2030s, which, according to the ministry, will reduce the cost of operating an aircraft (AC).
“Achieving the goal of the Digital Transformation Strategy and meeting modern requirements for advanced aircraft require the search for fundamentally new, innovative and intelligent approaches and technologies in the development of software and architectural solutions for the onboard equipment complex (OBE) of the aircraft” the document says.
In connection with these grandiose plans, Lukashevich writes:
“I am appealing to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation - you will start by replacing the toilets in your ministry with virtual ones, and in a week you will be able to tell us about the savings achieved.
When there are initially two pilots in the crew, the system and logic of aircraft control, the distribution of duties between crew members - all this does not allow replacing one of them with anyone else. The proposal of the Ministry of Industry and Trade can be compared to how, for example, you come to a car dealership to buy a car and see it has three wheels instead of four. That is, the plant produces something with four wheels, but in the showroom they fussed and decided to reduce the price in this way. You can also compare this with putting a one-armed man in a boat and making him row, somehow helping him with a kind word..."
Meanwhile, a logical question arises: since the Russian fleet is rapidly declining due to Western sanctions, what kind of shortage of pilots can we talk about? Or did officials seriously decide to “severely” save on human lives?