Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-08-2019, 04:14 PM
Dunmurry is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 197

Can anyone be taught to fly a plane?


Well I was wondering if learning to fly a plane like an Airbus or Boeing type aircraft is something anyone can learn or not. For example, I have an aunt who drives a car and always gives it too much rev and had been known to drive into other cars if parking in a car park. Could she learn how to fly a plane? This is a person who can barely drive. What I would really like to know is whether anyone can be taught his to fly a plane or whether only people with a certain type of brain/mind could learn to fly a plane like this?
  #2  
Old 05-08-2019, 04:22 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
I'd say that if you can operate a car you can operate at least a small airplane - which is not to say you will operate it well. Just as there are poor drivers there are poor pilots. Admittedly, poor pilots tend to eliminate themselves from the gene pool even faster than poor drivers.

I can't speak for something like an Airbus or large Boeing, but learning to fly an airplane is as much about motivation and self-discipline as physical ability or raw intelligence, perhaps more so.
  #3  
Old 05-08-2019, 04:49 PM
EdelweissPirate is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Portland, OR USA
Posts: 666
Broomstick nailed it, IMHO: flying is a lot like driving in that nearly everyone is capable of learning to fly, but not everyone is capable of learning to fly well.

A high degree of kinaesthetic awareness and strong spatial reasoning skills certainly help a lot when learning to land an aircraft. But someone of average skill in those areas can totally learn to fly and even have a career as a commercial pilot.

A friend who flies for a major US airline complains (gently) that he’s essentially a bus driver. Most of his job, he says, is pressing buttons in an order dictated by one of many checklists.

The general public sometimes imagines that a great deal of “piloting skill” is required for everyday hand-flying (non-autopilot) operations, but that’s not really true. According to my friend, seat-of-the-pants piloting skill only comes into play when the extraordinary happens—and a huge part of a pilot’s moment-to-moment duties revolve around keeping ordinary situations from becoming extraordinary.

Last edited by EdelweissPirate; 05-08-2019 at 04:49 PM. Reason: Damn you, autocorrect
  #4  
Old 05-08-2019, 04:58 PM
Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 4,076
I fly business jets, was an airline guy for a while too, and I think flying isn't terribly hard. But doing it well, doing it efficiently, that takes some experience and possibly some aptitude.

Incidentally, I never intended to fly planes for a living. Never thought I'd see anything bigger or faster than maybe a Twin Comanche. I started late compared to many (first solo two days prior to my 30th birthday), which I think has worked against me. The younger people I work with are excellent, and I think their internalizing the subtleties of the profession at an earlier age makes them better than I'm ever likely to be.

But I'd say anyone with basic intelligence and health can learn to fly, sure. And there are plenty of airlines around the world that put very low-time pilots in the right seat of a big jet. That practice has its detractors, but mostly they get along OK. A lot of whether a person progresses to that level depends on where they are, who they know, what sort of experience they accrue as they train, and... luck.

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 05-08-2019 at 04:59 PM.
  #5  
Old 05-08-2019, 07:17 PM
running coach's Avatar
running coach is online now
Arms of Steel, Leg of Jello
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Riding my handcycle
Posts: 37,404
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
Broomstick nailed it, IMHO: flying is a lot like driving in that nearly everyone is capable of learning to fly, but not everyone is capable of learning to fly well.
When was the last time you landed a car?

  #6  
Old 05-08-2019, 07:43 PM
Bijou Drains is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,418
I don't know how it compares but when I used a PC flight simulator it was pretty hard to correctly land the plane at first but it did not take me too long to make a safe landing.
  #7  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:02 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
When was the last time you landed a car?

About 15 minutes ago, in the sense I parked it.

I have made literally thousands of successful landings in an airplane. Can you pull on and off a busy freeway at rush hour? Then you should be able to manage landing an airplane.
  #8  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:13 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 26,976
Actual pilots, please correct me if I'm wrong, but won't at least some small planes leave the ground without you touching the stick if you get them rolling fast enough? Of course we know they will come back to the ground if they slow down enough. Couldn't you "fly" simply by pushing the throttle forward and pulling it back. Mind you, I'm not asking if you'd live, but going up, staying up for a few seconds, and coming down was good enough for the Wright Brothers.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 05-08-2019 at 08:14 PM.
  #9  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:13 PM
Crafter_Man's Avatar
Crafter_Man is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Ohio
Posts: 11,447
My 16 year old son has been taking flying lessons over the past year.

He says simply "flying the plane" is pretty easy. Also according to him, landing is the most difficult part, and even that's not too hard after lots of practice.

I'm guessing the hard part of flying is twofold:

1) Knowing what to do in case something goes wrong.

2) Learning all the rules and regulations.
  #10  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:21 PM
TokyoBayer's Avatar
TokyoBayer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Taiwan
Posts: 10,582
Quote:
Originally Posted by running coach View Post
When was the last time you landed a car?



When I was living in Japan, I had a couple of those experience lessons for flying on a trip to the States.

I told the accounting manager about it, and she commented that flying must be easier than driving since you don’t have to make lane changes in busy traffic.
  #11  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:31 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by kunilou View Post
Actual pilots, please correct me if I'm wrong, but won't at least some small planes leave the ground without you touching the stick if you get them rolling fast enough? Of course we know they will come back to the ground if they slow down enough. Couldn't you "fly" simply by pushing the throttle forward and pulling it back
Yep, in fact, given a sufficiently long runway there is some merit to putting the throttle forward and letting it take off on its own (of course, you are ready to take action if required). And yes, you can fly using throttle to change altitude. You need to have various things adjusted to do that and achieve level flight, but it's analogous, on a certain level, to having the steering properly aligned in your car. (There are some differences, too, but I don't want to get too technical here)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
My 16 year old son has been taking flying lessons over the past year.

He says simply "flying the plane" is pretty easy. Also according to him, landing is the most difficult part, and even that's not too hard after lots of practice.

I'm guessing the hard part of flying is twofold:

1) Knowing what to do in case something goes wrong.

2) Learning all the rules and regulations.
^ This.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TokyoBayer View Post
I told the accounting manager about it, and she commented that flying must be easier than driving since you dont have to make lane changes in busy traffic.
Well.... not most places but flying over the city of Chicago where O'Hare airspace butts up against Midway airspace can get... interesting. The resemblance to the Dan Ryan or Eisenhower freeways has been noted.

We are not going to bring up flying into the big annual Oshkosh fly-in....

>cough< Yeah, pretty much what she said.
  #12  
Old 05-08-2019, 08:51 PM
Xema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 12,291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
We are not going to bring up flying into the big annual Oshkosh fly-in...
Actually, some well thought out (and tolerably simple) procedures make this rather easy.


I think the general answer is that modern aircraft are mostly easy to fly, assuming that things are going right. It's when things (e.g. wind and weather) go wrong that they can become profoundly challenging. This can happen quickly.

It's also worth noting that flying tests your judgment more often and more severely than driving. And it's wildly inconsistent in the penalty you suffer for a lapse in judgment, skill or attention: sometimes shocking mistakes produce mere amusement; at other times, trivial missteps are fatal.
  #13  
Old 05-08-2019, 09:18 PM
manson1972's Avatar
manson1972 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 12,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Well.... not most places but flying over the city of Chicago where O'Hare airspace butts up against Midway airspace can get... interesting. The resemblance to the Dan Ryan or Eisenhower freeways has been noted.
Are pilots making decisions in that case? I thought radar approach or ATC or something would be telling the pilots what to do?
  #14  
Old 05-08-2019, 09:20 PM
Sitnam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 9,131
I have a pilots license, small craft obviously. It’s necessary to ‘feel’ the plane the same way you feel the car when parallel parking, but to a greater degree. The larger the plane the more of a delay between what you do and what you feel which makes any manual control more difficult. Sure, some stuff is automated, but we aren’t at the point where anyone can push a big red button and everyone safely ends up in Miami.

I know many people who cannot parallel park.
  #15  
Old 05-08-2019, 09:43 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Are pilots making decisions in that case? I thought radar approach or ATC or something would be telling the pilots what to do?
It's more a collaboration than one party ordering the other around.

The pilots tell ATC what they want to do. ATC then tries to juggle all the requests so to the greatest extent possible everyone gets what they want. But if ATC tells a pilot to do something hazardous (because people are human and Stuff Happens) then the pilot needs to have the balls to (depending on how urgent the situation is) either tell ATC "no, I can't do that" or take action to avoid an immediate catastrophe THEN tell ATC what the hell is going on. That could be avoiding a flock of birds, or another aircraft as two of the most likely scenarios.

Another Long Story From Broomstick:
SPOILER:
You do sometimes have hair-raising situations. I flew out of Chicago Executive back when it was still Palwaukee Airport. The airspace for that airport is entirely overlaid by O'Hare's airspace, so you have layers of air traffic stacked 3 or 4 layers deep at times over that area - essentially separate lanes for everyone, assuming everyone stays where they're supposed to be. It's all fine as long as things go according to plan, sure, you're little two or four seat Cessna might get its wings slightly rocked by the 737 or Airbus or 747 passing overhead but that's the exten of it. But imagine what happens if you're going down a freeway and someone loses control and slides across multiple lanes of traffic. Pretty damn scary. Well, with airplanes it's not in two dimensions, it's in three, and speeds vary from 60-70 for the small planes to several hundred miles an hour for the big ones. That's a bigger difference in speed than between, say, a skateboard or bicycle and a car or truck going down the freeway, and also a much greater size/mass differential.

I was flying in that area one time when someone in a small twin engine started cutting through Palwaukee's airspace without talking to ATC, cutting off other traffic, then flew over to O'Hare. At which point, no joke, our guy said "have to talk to O'Hare" and dropped off our channel. Now, you can see the big jets going into and out of O'Hare from over Palwaukee, they're only 11 miles apart, and all of a sudden the nice, orderly lines of jets going in and out suddenly broke up and dispersed. Meanwhile, those of us over Palwaukee are having to talk to each other and watch out for each other while ATC deals with the situation. Eventually, the guy landed at a decommissioned airfield north of O'Hare, at which point he was arrested.

The thing is, unlike on a freeway you get some lunatic doing crazy shit, when you're in an airplane you can actually talk to the people in the other vehicles. It's very helpful. There are also standard procedures for when you lose radio contact or when ATC is not available and pilots switch over to those as soon as needed. So, while Palwaukee ATC was talking to the O'Hare tower warning them about the loose cannon we all had to watch out for each other and take responsibility ourselves for keeping things safe. Which is not terribly hard to do for a few minutes for sane competent pilots (basically, anyone cleared to land did so and the rest of us circled the field in a safe manner, the equivalent of staying in our traffic lanes until the traffic cop came back and told us what to do).

Crazy situations are not pleasant to be in, driving or flying. You are far, far more likely to survive a collision on the freeway than you are to survive a collision in the air.
  #16  
Old 05-08-2019, 10:08 PM
manson1972's Avatar
manson1972 is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 12,287
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
It's more a collaboration than one party ordering the other around.

The pilots tell ATC what they want to do. ATC then tries to juggle all the requests so to the greatest extent possible everyone gets what they want. But if ATC tells a pilot to do something hazardous (because people are human and Stuff Happens) then the pilot needs to have the balls to (depending on how urgent the situation is) either tell ATC "no, I can't do that" or take action to avoid an immediate catastrophe THEN tell ATC what the hell is going on. That could be avoiding a flock of birds, or another aircraft as two of the most likely scenarios
Yeah, that makes sense. Thanks!

Quote:
Well, with airplanes it's not in two dimensions, it's in three
This is why we will never have flying cars. At least not like depicted in the Back to the Future movies.
  #17  
Old 05-08-2019, 10:39 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 85,446
I would posit that, while there are good drivers and bad drivers, the bad drivers could, in fact, learn to be good drivers. Most of them just aren't inclined to do so. And I expect that the same thing is true of flight.
  #18  
Old 05-09-2019, 04:09 AM
Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 10,545
My answer to the OP is no. Some people just dont have it, whatever it is, and never get to fly an aircraft solo. These people are rare but they do exist. Id suggest that anyone who genuinely struggles with driving would struggle even more with flying.
  #19  
Old 05-09-2019, 04:49 AM
I Love Me, Vol. I's Avatar
I Love Me, Vol. I is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SF
Posts: 4,651
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
About 15 minutes ago, in the sense I parked it.

I have made literally thousands of successful landings in an airplane. Can you pull on and off a busy freeway at rush hour? Then you should be able to manage landing an airplane.
Things change so fast these days... I have to ask: did they change flying from 3 dimensions to 2 while I was sleeping?
  #20  
Old 05-09-2019, 07:14 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
It's an analogy.
  #21  
Old 05-09-2019, 09:36 AM
RickJay is offline
Charter Jays Fan
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oakville, Canada
Posts: 41,789
Planes aren't that hard to fly, but one cannot seriously argue that it's nearly as simple as driving a car. A car moves on what is essentially a... well, a plane, a two-dimensional area. Car go forward, backward, and can turn. Planes move in the Z axis as well, and their movement in that axis affects everything about everything else. Energy management in an airplane is literally a life and death matter; energy management in a car is making sure you stop for gas.

I'm not saying flying a plane is hard or that most people couldn't do it, but it absolutely is harder than driving a car, a lot harder. Consider this line by Crafter Man:

Quote:
My 16 year old son has been taking flying lessons over the past year.

He says simply "flying the plane" is pretty easy.
I believe his son is telling the truth, but consider some of the implications of these sentences. First, his son has been taking lessons over the course of a year. I've never heard of a person taking DRIVING lessons for a year. The reason planes are generally handled more safely than cars is that the expectations in terms of of instruction, tutelage, and attentiveness for the new pilot are much, much higher. Where I live, you can legally acquire a driver's license without taking any formal instruction at all. That casual attitude would be unthinkable in licensing pilots.

Secondly, Crafter Man's son is taking flying lessons because he specifically wants to fly. It's a very self-selecting group, as opposed to car drivers, who in North America are almost the entire adult population. It's very unlikely your daft Aunt Edna who dings her fender every time she goes to Walmart is going to decide she wants to buzz around in a Cessna every weekend. To again draw the parallel with drivers, in my country, Canada, more than 90% of adults have a driver's license; less than a quarter of one percent of adults have a pilot's license, and according to some sources Canada has more pilot's licenses than any country in the world except the USA.

The point about rules is an important one, too. Most of us when we learn to drive already know most of the rules. The rules of driving are generally quite obvious, and we are surrounded by the rules our whole lives. I don't think many people attain the age of 16 and step into driver's ed not already knowing what traffic lights and stop signs mean. You will usually have spend hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours in a car by that point. By comparison, the rules of operating aircraft are not always intuitive, are not ubiquitous throughout our culture, and very, very few people have ever spent a minute in the cockpit of a plane when they were kids.
__________________
Providing useless posts since 1999!

Last edited by RickJay; 05-09-2019 at 09:43 AM.
  #22  
Old 05-09-2019, 10:15 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Planes aren't that hard to fly, but one cannot seriously argue that it's nearly as simple as driving a car.
But that wasn't the question. The question was not how hard flying a plane is relative to driving a car, the question was whether or not the average person, or just about anyone, COULD learn to fly an airplane.

The answer is yes. It is possible for just about anyone. If you have the physical skills and the intellect required to learn to drive a car you have the basic requirements required to learn to fly.

But most people don't have the motivation to do the hard work/additional work above what's required for driving in order to become a pilot.

Most people who are able to jog COULD run marathons... but most are just not interested enough to do the training and work to pull it off. There's a lot of things the typical person COULD do, but doesn't, because he or she is not interested enough to put in the work and time required to do it.
  #23  
Old 05-09-2019, 10:27 AM
HeyHomie's Avatar
HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,996
Out of curiosity, which skills and knowledge are required to fly a plane (say, a private craft like a Cessna)?

For example, I have a college degree and can drive a car with the best of them. But even simple arithmetic gives me fits (watch me play Dungeons and Dragons and try to calculate the outcome of a a 4d6 + 8 roll; it's quite a sight). And algebra? Forget it.

Would I be putting a foot in the grave as soon as I flipped the ignition switch if I tried to learn to fly?
  #24  
Old 05-09-2019, 10:36 AM
Tired and Cranky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 1,640
I took a few hours of flight lessons many years ago before quitting because I didn't really have the money to pursue it. From my perspective, it seemed like the toughest part of flying was learning to understand and deal with air traffic control and other planes in busy airspace. I never dealt with adverse weather conditions, which affect planes' performance much more than cars'. With good training and enough experience, I think any normal person could learn to fly safely but I thought it was going to take me a long time.
  #25  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:01 AM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Out of curiosity, which skills and knowledge are required to fly a plane (say, a private craft like a Cessna)?

For example, I have a college degree and can drive a car with the best of them. But even simple arithmetic gives me fits (watch me play Dungeons and Dragons and try to calculate the outcome of a a 4d6 + 8 roll; it's quite a sight). And algebra? Forget it.

Would I be putting a foot in the grave as soon as I flipped the ignition switch if I tried to learn to fly?
If you just want to fly around sight-seeing on nice summer days or take easy trips to nearby locations you don't need much math. Maintaining a constant speed is very important for planes, but from a perspective of the physical motions required again, if you can operate a car you can operate a small Cessna.

A lot of the math is already worked out for you - calculating weight and balance means plugging figures into a chart for an airplane like that, or using rules of thumb. You are certainly allowed to use calculators, and there are small flight computers that, again, reduce much of the math to plugging numbers into pre-made formulas.

Algebra would be the highest math involved in small Cessna flying, and you can actually avoid most of even that if you want to do so. The big sticking point for you might be passing the written test - but there are a LOT of test prep materials, courses, and so forth out there. If you were able to do enough math to get a college degree you should be able to deal with it.
  #26  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:06 AM
Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 12,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by RickJay View Post
Planes aren't that hard to fly, but one cannot seriously argue that it's nearly as simple as driving a car. A car moves on what is essentially a... well, a plane, a two-dimensional area. Car go forward, backward, and can turn. Planes move in the Z axis as well, and their movement in that axis affects everything about everything else. Energy management in an airplane is literally a life and death matter; energy management in a car is making sure you stop for gas.

I'm not saying flying a plane is hard or that most people couldn't do it, but it absolutely is harder than driving a car, a lot harder.
it's also got more severe consequences for screwing up. A car has airbags, crumple zones, side impact beams, and so on. And when you're learning you can practice at slow speeds in an empty parking lot for as long as you want before you get onto a six-lane urban highway at rush hour. Flying an airplane? The only way to get a sense of how it handles is to take to the air, at which point you are committed to performing a successful landing if you want to see tomorrow.

Driving? All you gotta manage is speed and direction. You can generally sense your speed from the scenery going by, and if you do get too slow, it's not a disaster; just step on the accelerator a bit. And you can generally sense your direction by looking at the road ahead of you, and maintaining certain spatial relationships WRT to lines on the pavement. There are basic rules of the road that are always in effect, easily memorized, and the only transient rules are the signs and traffic lights you see through your windshield.

Flying? You need to manage speed more carefully and deliberately, because if you go too slow you'll stall/crash/die, and if you go too fast you'll shred the plane. It's hard to gauge your speed from the scenery going by, since everything's so far away, so you have to watch your airspeed gauge closely. You also have to pay attention to direction, altitude, and climb/descent rate. And maybe also prop pitch, mixture, and power setting. And manage your interactions with ATC at the same time. And before each takeoff and landing, there's a whole checklist of things you need to do to assure you don't end up in a hospital or morgue.

Watch people drive on roads, and you'll see most of them engaging in unsafe behaviors, some more so than others. Tailgating, not signaling turns or lane changes, driving distracted, driving drunk, speeding, driving in blind spots, deficient maintenance, and so on. These may get you into a car crash, but the safety features of modern cars give you a good chance of walking away. Cut corners as a pilot, and you're far more likely to get killed. Skipping checklists is a good example. There's this runway overrun crash because the pilots left the controls locked...because they didn't go through the checklist to confirm the controls could be freely moved. Similar crash here, when the control yoke was blocked by a goggles case.

I flew a few times with a small-plane owner who held that safety procedures ought to be adhered to with religious dedication, and that pilots who didn't do so were grossly overrepresented in crash statistics. I think he was probably right. And given the average human being's penchant for cutting corners on safety issues, ISTM that while most folks could probably be taught to fly (in the sense that they might actually be able to earn a pilot's license), most folks would probably kill themselves before accumulating many hours of seat time.
  #27  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:10 AM
HeyHomie's Avatar
HeyHomie is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Viburnum, MO
Posts: 9,996
Posts like Broomstick's are why the SDMB needs a "Like" button. Thanks Broomstick!
  #28  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:16 AM
Velocity is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 15,617
My WAG as a non-pilot: No, not everyone can be taught to fly, and indeed a good many can't. It is harder than driving, and there are some people who can't even drive, ergo, cannot fly. As RickJay points out, in a car, at worst, you can always stop the car at the side of the road and it's just 2-dimensional travel; you can't do that in an airplane.

If the "everyone can fly" theory were tested in real life, there would be a whole lot of failed students and/or fatalities.
  #29  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:46 AM
Bijou Drains is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,418
The airforce had (and maybe they still have it) a short course for officer candidates to learn how to fly a small cessna. Not everyone passes that course and those that don't pass have to switch from pilot to some other job in the air force.
  #30  
Old 05-09-2019, 01:46 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
I will note that the minimum requirements, both from a physical standpoint and a performance standpoint, to be a pilot in the military is significantly higher/more stringent than for a civilian private pilot.
  #31  
Old 05-09-2019, 01:54 PM
md2000 is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 15,157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
The airforce had (and maybe they still have it) a short course for officer candidates to learn how to fly a small cessna. Not everyone passes that course and those that don't pass have to switch from pilot to some other job in the air force.
I remember some Flying magazine article from decades ago where the guy describes giving a recently discharged Air Force pilot his introductory flight in a small Cessna. This guy had flown supersonic jets, but how fragile and rattletrap a Cessna was apparently terrified him.

As for lying - as others mention, the problem is that exceeding the envelope can have fatal consequences. Yes, you can let go the controls and accelerate, and there's a chance the aircraft is trimmed ok an will lift off. If not, hitting whatever is past the end of the runway at 200mph is probably a risky maneuver. If you lift off and it's trimmed s the nose keeps going up - you will reach a few hundred feet then suddenly nose down. (Think Lion Air). A common fatality in pilots in engine-out emergencies is thinking "if I pull the nose up just a bit more I can glide a bit further, to that safe landing spot" and pull the nose up, slowing too much, and again stalling and heading nose-down into the ground. You cant fight physics, and when it's critical, you cannot spend a minute looking up safe glideslope numbers in a manual, or researching what that button does or that blinking light means - which is why airline pilots are type-certified for each type of aircraft.

Similarly, a small Cessna supposedly will recover from a stall or spin even if you just pull back the power and let go the controls (I did it once with the instructor) - but needs a few hundred feet vertical to do so. Most of the time when you have that problem, you don't have the vertical. The big jets should never be allowed to reach that state.

landing is best described - once you reach flare level height, a few feet up - level off and pull up the nose slowly as the speed bleeds off. Pull up too fast, an you are suddenly 20 to 50 feet up when the plane stops actually flying; too slow, and you hit the ground a bit too hard and too fast. Landing gear are petty forgiving, but only so much. So it's a skill that has to be practiced with a qualified instructor; the consequences can be far more expensive - or lethal - that parallel parking.

So I'll go along with the assessment; probably a decent number of people can be taught to fly, fewer can be taught to fly well enough that they won't kill themselves and others. It requires a level of dedication to learning that is more detailed than driving, so is not something someone would do occasionally, which is why generally it's a profession. And as pointed out, we have a lifetime exposure to driving before we even get behind the wheel - a lot less so with flying.

Last edited by md2000; 05-09-2019 at 01:55 PM.
  #32  
Old 05-09-2019, 02:23 PM
Machine Elf is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Challenger Deep
Posts: 12,319
Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
This guy had flown supersonic jets, but how fragile and rattletrap a Cessna was apparently terrified him.
I can well imagine. A fighter jet weighs upwards of 20,000 pounds, has a pressurized cockpit, enough thrust to go ~vertical, and is designed to tolerate 9g and Mach 2. A general-aviation plane like a Cessna 172 weighs 2,000 pounds, has barely enough thrust to take to the air, and is made for only a few g and less than 200 MPH. I get the same feelings when I switch from my motorcycle to my bicycle.
  #33  
Old 05-09-2019, 03:32 PM
Shagnasty is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 27,435
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tired and Cranky View Post
I took a few hours of flight lessons many years ago before quitting because I didn't really have the money to pursue it. From my perspective, it seemed like the toughest part of flying was learning to understand and deal with air traffic control and other planes in busy airspace. I never dealt with adverse weather conditions, which affect planes' performance much more than cars'. With good training and enough experience, I think any normal person could learn to fly safely but I thought it was going to take me a long time.
That was going to be my reply. Basic flying is pretty easy. Landing is a little more difficult but I did it acceptably on my first try. I always found dealing with ATC and airspaces pretty hard however because I have only flown in the really busy busy Boston and DFW areas. Most flight training is just about what to do during abnormal situations because you can't just pull over to the side of the road.
  #34  
Old 05-09-2019, 05:10 PM
joema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 637
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunmurry View Post
Well I was wondering if learning to fly a plane like an Airbus or Boeing type aircraft is something anyone can learn or not. For example, I have an aunt who drives a car and always gives it too much rev and had been known to drive into other cars if parking in a car park. Could she learn how to fly a plane?...
You have to define what you mean by "learn to fly a plane like an Airbus...".

Do you mean the real pilot gives your aunt brief instructions, hands over controls and she keeps is straight and level? The answer is probably yes.

Do you mean the same situation, but your aunt must make some gentle turns? Answer likely also yes, esp. in Airbus which does not require use of rudder pedals, automatically trims itself, automatically protects against over-banking, stalling or over-stressing the plane.

Do you mean can she manually fly some course changes as indicated by the flight director "command bars"? Probably yes if she was properly instructed: https://i.stack.imgur.com/nBu0s.gif

Do you mean your aunt must land the plane under supervision of another pilot? The answer is also yes, provided she uses the autolanding system. You could argue that's not real flying but 95% of airline miles are on autopilot and carriers often require the pilot to use the autoland system. In that case she'd just use the controls under the glare shield to dial in the course, vertical speed, airspeed, then arm the approach hold system and intersect the glide slope for a fully-coupled approach. The plane automatically follows the glide slope to the runway. Modern airliners can do auto flare on landing, auto braking after landing, and rollout guidance to stay centered on the runway.

Do you mean your aunt must enter the cockpit of a cold, dark Airbus and manage the entire sequence of startup, programming the flight management system, interacting with tower, taxiing, ATC, etc? Probably not.

Could she be handed controls in a hard IFR condition and hand fly a missed approach in a difficult airport environment like Aspen CO? Probably not.

Could she learn to fly an Airbus and become a certificated commercial pilot with ATP and type ratings? Unless she was young she probably wouldn't get hired, but if she was rich and wrote a big check to a traning academy or FlightSafety to spend whatever time was required to learn it, it's possible, provided she was sufficiently motivated.
  #35  
Old 05-09-2019, 05:23 PM
Bijou Drains is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,418
there have been cases where a pilot died and the passenger had to land the plane right? Or are those urban legends?
  #36  
Old 05-09-2019, 05:36 PM
Tim@T-Bonham.net is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 15,069
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdelweissPirate View Post
A friend who flies for a major US airline complains (gently) that hes essentially a bus driver. Most of his job, he says, is pressing buttons in an order dictated by one of many checklists.
A friend who's also a pilot for a big airline says something similar: that the auto-pilot flies the plane for more time than he does. He says that he only flies the plane for takeoff & landing, the rest of the time the autopilot is flying it, during normal flights. (He's only there to take over when the flight stops being normal.) And he says the builders are working on automating the takeoffs & landings.

He likes this automation; says it makes flying much safer for everyone. But he does worry about a decrease in the skill level of new pilots (and a likely reduction in their pay/prestige level). Says he might choose another occupation if he was young and just beginning as a pilot.
  #37  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:09 PM
Broomstick's Avatar
Broomstick is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NW Indiana
Posts: 29,173
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
there have been cases where a pilot died and the passenger had to land the plane right? Or are those urban legends?
Oh, sure, passengers have landed airplanes with incapacitated pilots. However, it's the smaller planes where that is much more likely to be successful. The two and four seat modern airplanes (that means post-1960 with one or two models from earlier) are pretty user-friendly as aircraft go, you generally don't have to worry about fooling with the landing gear (it's down and welded in place). Plenty of people have been talked down over the radio, and there's a number of publications that cover what to do (the Emergency Survival Handbook, for example, has a pretty decent "how to land a small airplane" entry).

The more complications you add - more weight, more speed, retractable landing gear, adjustable propellers, more flaps/slats/etc. on the wings, more engines, etc. - the less optimistic one would be about a non-pilot passenger landing an airplane. It's not impossible, just less likely to have a good outcome for all.
  #38  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:28 PM
Doubticus is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: South-West
Posts: 428
I had 70 hours of pilot training and then my wife wanted a second child, which put a dent in that conquest.

But basically, yes, just about anyone can learn to fly a plan. There is a large muscle memory component, so just like learning a musical instrument, the younger you are, the faster you will pick it up.

While operating a plane in flight is pretty easy, the act of flying is mentally (and physically to a degree) demanding. It's a job of constant corrections in speed, trim and direction to stay on course.
  #39  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:30 PM
Kent Clark's Avatar
Kent Clark is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Posts: 26,976
Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Well.... not most places but flying over the city of Chicago where O'Hare airspace butts up against Midway airspace can get... interesting. The resemblance to the Dan Ryan or Eisenhower freeways has been noted.

We are not going to bring up flying into the big annual Oshkosh fly-in....
When I am in Chicago, I try to avoid the Dan Ryan and Eisenhower until at least midnight. And not even then, if the Cubs or Bears won a night game.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
there have been cases where a pilot died and the passenger had to land the plane right? Or are those urban legends?
Definitely true, in fact, one of them happened around here a couple of years ago. But when the pilot had a heart attack his wife A) knew how to use the radio and call for help and B) was directed to fly to the least busy staffed airport they could find.

And, as noted, landing a small plane can be pretty easy if you have a straight-on approach in good weather, keep a light touch on the controls, and someone is telling you what to do every step of the way. Change any of those variables and your chances drop dramatically.
  #40  
Old 05-09-2019, 06:31 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 85,446
And even in the one or two legendary cases of an untrained passenger landing a large airliner, there's a difference between step-by-step following the directions of trained professionals on the radio, who are telling you everything you need to do and doing everything else in their power to make it easier on you, and doing it all by yourself.
  #41  
Old 05-09-2019, 07:34 PM
joema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 637
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim@T-Bonham.net View Post
...he says the builders are working on automating the takeoffs & landings...
Fully automated landings have been here since the late 1970s. It's called "autoland". Once programmed, the plane can fly toward the runway, capture the glideslope, descend to the runway, flare (ie pitch up to arrest the descent), automatically retard the throttle, automatically apply aerodynamic speed brakes, automatically apply wheel brakes after touchdown, and automatically track the runway centerline (auto rollout guidance).

The pilot is still required to lower the landing gear and flaps.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/a...pilots-runway/

For low-visibility autolandings, most critical systems are triple-redundant. Autopilots, radar altimeters, etc. If the autoland system fails, the pilot must be prepared to land manually.

If you have flown on a jet airliner much the past 30 years, you have probably made an automatic landing. Some carriers require or strongly recommend their pilots make automatic landings in instrument conditions because the plane generally does a better job.

Re automatic takeoffs, the basic technology exists but there is less need for this for various reasons. Takeoffs require instant decisions about various ground events, a takeoff can be infinitely deferred, whereas a landing cannot, etc.
  #42  
Old 05-09-2019, 08:23 PM
Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 4,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by joema View Post
Fully automated landings have been here since the late 1970s. It's called "autoland". Once programmed, the plane can fly toward the runway, capture the glideslope, descend to the runway, flare (ie pitch up to arrest the descent), automatically retard the throttle, automatically apply aerodynamic speed brakes, automatically apply wheel brakes after touchdown, and automatically track the runway centerline (auto rollout guidance).

The pilot is still required to lower the landing gear and flaps.

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/a...pilots-runway/
There are some issues with this, I think partially due to how that article is defining "auto-land". They seem to be including basic ILS approaches when it's claimed that "Fifty years later, virtually every modern airliner from the smallest regional plane to the largest wide-body jet has autoland capability."

While it's true that most every commercial aircraft can fly an ILS and other types of precision approaches with vertical guidance, that's not at all the same thing as "auto-land" as I understand the term. The article does reference "Cat III" approaches, which is more accurate. But it's absolutely not true that most planes are landing "hands-off".

Here are two articles from Patrick Smith's "Ask A Pilot" blog that discusses this (both from a few years ago, but I believe still pretty true):

http://www.askthepilot.com/cockpit-claptrap/

http://www.askthepilot.com/pilotless-planes/

In the first link Smith says, "Meanwhile fewer than one percent of commercial aircraft landings are “automatic.”

The business jet I fly does not have Cat III capability, and not many do. Full autoland is mostly installed on long-haul planes, and it also involves some ground equipment. So even if installed in the plane, it isn't always usable. And the crew has to be qualified. The guys I know who are tell me they execute very few auto-landings.

This goes to the larger issue that the general public has very little understanding of what cockpit automation really does. While it's true that pilots do less flying by hand these days, we are actively monitoring the automation most of the time. I've posted elsewhere the many steps and advanced planning it takes to accomplish actions such as descending via a standard arrival. It's rather involved, and believe me it takes more than pushing the big red button that says "autopilot" (that doesn't exist).

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 05-09-2019 at 08:27 PM.
  #43  
Old 05-09-2019, 11:05 PM
Richard Pearse is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 10,545
Technical Capability vs Certified Capability

Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
There are some issues with this, I think partially due to how that article is defining "auto-land". They seem to be including basic ILS approaches when it's claimed that "Fifty years later, virtually every modern airliner from the smallest regional plane to the largest wide-body jet has autoland capability."

...

The business jet I fly does not have Cat III capability, and not many do. Full autoland is mostly installed on long-haul planes, and it also involves some ground equipment. So even if installed in the plane, it isn't always usable. And the crew has to be qualified. The guys I know who are tell me they execute very few auto-landings.
I don't think there would be any airliners manufactured today that weren't fitted with an auto-land system, they are all "technically capable" of doing it. It is not always in the airline's interest to maintain that technical capability to the extend that the aircraft are legally able to do it though, they don't all have "certified capability".

Furthermore, as you say, the number of flights that actually end in an auto-land is very small. Where I currently work I've done one for real and two for training / systems testing. Our procedures have just changed to reduce the number of systems test auto-lands from one per month per aircraft to a lower on demand number dictated by specific maintenance requirements. This procedure change was made due to the risk of practice auto-lands ending badly (see Singapore below).

As you've noted, the pilots have to be trained for auto-lands, the aircraft systems have additional maintenance requirements, and the airport itself has to have the correct infrastructure. Additionally, low visibility procedures have to be in place at the time the auto-land is done (unless it is for practice in visual conditions).

It is quite common for aircraft on the ground to interfere with the localiser signal of an ILS and that can cause problems when carrying out an auto-land. What a lot of people probably don't realise is that when airliners are landing themselves there are severe restrictions placed on the number of movements that airport can handle. Some of that is because auto-landings implies poor visibility which means ground movements are slow and tedious, but some of it is because of the interference of the landing system by other aircraft. Having manually flown landings allows for a huge increase in the rate of landings and take-offs an airport can handle.

Flying an Aircraft vs Managing a Flight

Quote:
This goes to the larger issue that the general public has very little understanding of what cockpit automation really does. While it's true that pilots do less flying by hand these days, we are actively monitoring the automation most of the time. I've posted elsewhere the many steps and advanced planning it takes to accomplish actions such as descending via a standard arrival. It's rather involved, and believe me it takes more than pushing the big red button that says "autopilot" (that doesn't exist).
Agreed. I suspect that what pilots think is hard and easy about their job is not the same as what the public think would be hard or easy. The actual manual flying isn't particularly hard, it just uses brain capacity and this makes it hard to do all the other stuff, planning, monitoring, managing. It's a physical skill that can be learned by most people (not all) and becomes "easy" with practice in the same way that playing piano becomes "easy" with practice (but try holding a conversation while playing a musical instrument! It may seem easy to play a piece of music but it locks away vast portions of your brain like a computer using most of its RAM.)

What most people probably never quite understand is that regardless of whether the pilot or autopilot is physically flying the aircraft, the human pilot is always mentally flying the aircraft and doing that effectively takes a certain amount of training and skill. Continually mentally flying the aircraft then means we can intervene when the autopilot, or more often the flight management system, is cocking it up. What the public further fail to realise is that intervention of some sort is required on almost every flight. If I was to leave the autopilot to blindly follow its little descent plan each time I flew we would invariably end up 3000 feet high at the start of the approach and unable to land off it.

I came up with the Flying vs Managing heading after reading this in post in preview, I think it gets to the guts of the issue but it's a bit "tacked on".

I think most people only consider the flying aspect of flight. They are not generally aware of the extent that a flight must be managed. They know that a human can fly a plane and that a machine can fly a plane therefore if the machine is flying the plane there is little else that needs to be done. In reality the biggest challenge involved in a flight is managing it. That entails ensuring the correct aircraft takes off with the correct load of people and fuel from the correct runway using the correct flap and thrust setting and flies the correct vertical and lateral path to the correct destination runway using the correct speeds and configuration for the approach and landing.

Autopilots are very good at flying. They are very good at using a feedback loop to compare an existing state (wings banked 5 left) with a desired state (wings level) and making control inputs to match them up (right roll until wings level). But they are currently rubbish at managing a flight. They have very limited capacity to decide what a "desired state" actually is.

Current auto-flight technology offloads the relatively tedious task of physically flying the aircraft from the pilot so they can concentrate on the higher level tasks such as if / when / how to deviate around this weather paint on the radar that may or may not be a thunderstorm.

To go back to the music analogy, the autopilot plays the instruments but the pilot conducts the orchestra.
  #44  
Old 05-10-2019, 10:30 AM
joema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 637
Quote:
Originally Posted by Llama Llogophile View Post
...While it's true that most every commercial aircraft can fly an ILS and other types of precision approaches with vertical guidance, that's not at all the same thing as "auto-land" as I understand the term...
Thanks for that correction. To a non-pilot, a fully coupled approach to low minimums might be called an "automatic landing", since the plane captures the glideslope/localizer by itself, tracks it down to the runway environment while autothrottle controls thrust. In this case the pilot (or the OP's aunt) would have to flare the aircraft but the difficult part of maintaining a stable descent is handled automatically. I think some Primary Flight Displays can provide "flare guidance" even when autoland is not armed.

But as you said that's not a real "autoland", which requires additional hardware and redundancy to allow automatic flare, speed brakes, wheel brakes and possibly rollout guidance, plus recurrent certification of plane, pilot and airport equipment.

However for the OP's question of whether his aunt could fly an Airbus, this need not be an FAA-sanctioned event. It's just a thought experiment. It could take place in a Level D full motion simulator: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Full_flight_simulator

In fact this type of experiment has already been performed several times. Depending on the subject, test conditions, use of automation, amount of coaching, etc, a non-pilot can successfully fly and land an airliner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lw6mjVIdbbc

But the OP's question asked could his aunt "learn to fly...an Airbus". This implies not a single contingency event like taking over for a dead flight crew, but could she learn (evidently over time) to operate the plane more comprehensively? That involves more than stick-and-rudder handling but academics, operating procedures, etc. He implied her motor skills operating a car made this questionable but probably of greater importance is whether she could master the details of the complex machinery and operational procedures.
  #45  
Old 05-10-2019, 11:19 AM
Llama Llogophile is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: 50% chord point
Posts: 4,076
Quote:
Originally Posted by joema View Post
Thanks for that correction. To a non-pilot, a fully coupled approach to low minimums might be called an "automatic landing", since the plane captures the glideslope/localizer by itself, tracks it down to the runway environment while autothrottle controls thrust. In this case the pilot (or the OP's aunt) would have to flare the aircraft but the difficult part of maintaining a stable descent is handled automatically. I think some Primary Flight Displays can provide "flare guidance" even when autoland is not armed.
Flying a coupled approach can be a lot less "automatic" than it sounds. The business jet I fly is pretty high-tech, but here are a few things going through my mind and the tasks I have to accomplish to execute an ILS or WAAS-enabled GPS approach (meaning there is vertical guidance to a decision altitude). And this is with all the available automation working, including auto-throttles:

- Hopefully we've programmed the approach correctly. There may be multiple initial points. More likely, we're being vectored, but still must have programmed it correctly with regard to our distance from relevant fixes. Even with a good briefing between the pilots, minor changes in ATC handling can necessitate quick fixes.

- If we are doing a visual approach backed up with an instrument procedure, have I put the plane at the proper height to utilize the glide slope? In some ways, visual approaches present problems that aren't generally there in instrument conditions.

- Does everything I'm seeing match up with the chart? Are we passing fixes on the approach as predicted and at the right altitudes? I'm going to lower flaps and gear as we go, and I had better be planning that in advance.

- Does the automation successfully grab the localizer (lateral guidance) and glide slope (vertical guidance)? This is much more iffy than you might think. As Richard Pearse mentioned, airplanes on the ground can momentarily blank out ILS signals and I've seen my plane fail to pick up one or both on a number of occasions. They are also separate events - it could get one and not the other, requiring me to intervene. GPS tends to be more reliable in this way, which is why I'm coming to prefer those approaches to the traditional ILS.

- Assuming the automation has captured both the localizer and glide slope, complete the before landing checklist and verify that the auto-throttle is trending our speed down toward Vref.

- If we're in IMC I'm thinking about the decision height and making sure my first officer is calling it out in reference to mean sea level, not confusing it with the height shown on our radar altimeter (which displays height above ground).

- If we're in wind I'm paying even closer attention to the speed. In really rough wind I may be using an alternate mode for the autothrottle which will require me to manually adjust the speed.

- According to company and aircraft rules, I need to turn off the auto-throttle and auto-pilot at a certain height, at which point it's all me. In visual conditions I'll frequently turn it all off well in advance.

- Whether flying by hand or with automation on the approach, I have in the back of my mind the steps for a go-around. These vary a bit depending on how low we are. If we are asked to go around early you don't want to hit the TOGA button (take off / go around) because that will automatically kick off the autopilot and engage takeoff power through the auto-throttle. I know a crew who got themselves in trouble doing that. Rather, I'll intervene through the automation and systematically cancel the approach and reconfigure the plane. Down low, it's TOGA, flaps 12, positive rate - gear up, then follow ATC instructions.

So... automation brings its own complications and utilizing it correctly and efficiently is a task. Not nearly as simple as it sounded to me when I was a Piper Cherokee guy with a wing leveler.

Bringing this back to the OP, I'll say again most people can learn to fly. When I was an instructor I had to counsel out two or three people. They each had something "wrong" with their thought processes, beyond what an instructor could address. But outside that or serious physical issues, I believe most people could do it if they are motivated. But as one progresses into more complex planes it takes more and more commitment to the craft.

Last edited by Llama Llogophile; 05-10-2019 at 11:23 AM.
  #46  
Old 11-01-2019, 12:21 PM
installLSC is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Tacoma, WA
Posts: 2,653
Sorry to be so late in this fascinating thread, but what legally disqualifies you from being a pilot? Eyesight, criminal convictions, etc?
  #47  
Old 11-01-2019, 12:29 PM
Andy L is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Posts: 6,755
I've read of one person who learned to fly before he learned to drive. For him the hard part was apparently suppressing his instinct to pull back on the steering wheel and accelerate when the car in front of him slowed down.
  #48  
Old 11-01-2019, 01:42 PM
Limmin's Avatar
Limmin is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 177
My father flew for airlines for a living. They had a lot of check-ups, check-outs and various training they had to keep current. The way you fly is, to professionals, noticeable and important.

Contrast that with the misbehaviors you see people try to get away with when driving, deliberately, or plain bad driving by the oblivious. He summarized this as most drivers of cars are "unprofessional" and certainly act that way.

I believe that a skilled, competent and aware driver of cars could transition to airplane piloting given the motivation, and provided they pass physical checks and did not, for instance, get airsick or have trouble seeing or staying awake.

However the vast majority of drivers would need a lot of work to get their skills to pilot level. Or it simply may be impossible to teach some people.

...which is why the dream of "flying cars" will have to wait until we have a system for foolproof autopilot flying from takeoff to landing. And we don't even have that yet for ground cars (a much simpler 2D problem).

Last edited by Limmin; 11-01-2019 at 01:42 PM.
  #49  
Old 11-01-2019, 02:48 PM
Anglachel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy L View Post
I've read of one person who learned to fly before he learned to drive. For him the hard part was apparently suppressing his instinct to pull back on the steering wheel and accelerate when the car in front of him slowed down.
As a private (small plane) pilot, I cannot imagine anyone running into a situation like that enough while flying for it to become an instinct. Maybe the kid got that from simulators/games though.
  #50  
Old 11-01-2019, 02:50 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,922
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou Drains View Post
I don't know how it compares but when I used a PC flight simulator it was pretty hard to correctly land the plane at first but it did not take me too long to make a safe landing.
My father, who was a private pilot, pointed out that Flight Simulator was completely unrealistic. Light planes are designed to be hard to crash, but the software made the slightest error into a disaster.

So it would be easier IRL than in the simulation.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.

Last edited by RealityChuck; 11-01-2019 at 02:51 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:16 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2019 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017