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Emergency Pilot Override

"Attention pilots of flight AB123. Cockpit and flight profile monitoring has detected a threat. Your aircraft will be automatically landed at the nearest airport."
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Cameras and data uplinks are constantly monitored for pilot deviations from the flight plan beyond standard acceptable adjustments. Upon monitors detecting a threat, the pilots are immediately contacted by ground control personnel. If their response is not forthcoming or indicates a possible criminal takeover of the plane, the following emergency override system is activated.

The controls are disabled and the autopilot is locked into a pre-programmed landing profile that will fly it to an automated landing at the nearest available airport suitable for that aircraft. Now here's the important part: these landing profiles are installed in the plane before takeoff and can't be changed by anybody once airborne. The only thing the pilot override can do is tell the plane to safely land at the nearest airport. You can't hack in and fly it into a building or a mountain.

Upon activation any air marshals on the plane are notified as are the passengers. The airport is also obviously notified that there's an emergency landing with a possible criminal takeover in progress so emergency procedures can be in place as necessary.

This might seem like overkill for the very rare instance that a pilot might do harm to his own plane, but the bigger picture is it would make hijacking of a plane by somebody other than the pilot impossible. Pilots would also have the ability to activate this emergency landing option should they feel in danger of loosing the aircraft.

I think this is a pretty good idea.

doctorremulac3, Mar 28 2014

Autolander Autolander
[theircompetitor, Mar 28 2014]

Like this? http://www.complex....flatable-auto-pilot
,...virtually obligatory Airplane film reference [not_morrison_rm, Mar 28 2014]

[link]






       I hope there's a weather uplink and some ability for the air traffic controllers to override this, given the need to fly around storms, make adjustments in crowded conditions, avoid guys in balloon-lifted lawnchairs...
RayfordSteele, Mar 28 2014
  

       marked-for-tagline -   

       " I think this is a pretty good idea. "
normzone, Mar 28 2014
  

       There are several ways that pilots can reset, override, adjust or interact with the autopilot. All of these would have to be modified.   

       Given about 50-60 million flights per year, I think that embedding equipment so intimately linked to the plane's controls is more likely to cause accidents than to prevent hijackings.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 28 2014
  

       I'm thinking the practical way to do this would be going forward, have new aircraft implement this and it would be relatively easy. Certainly nobody would argue against all new airliners being able to land themselves. The override option to this system would be a minor adjustment if incorporated into a new design.   

       I'd rather spend a little more money on mechanical fixes to hijackings than having my junk x-rayed every time I get on an airplane. The cost of treating everybody like a criminal before they get on a plane isn't cheap so you need to take that into consideration as well.   

       I also like the idea of a solution that's not satisfying to the hijacking community. There are people in the world who no doubt are proud that people stand in long lines at airports as an homage to their having made the skies a more dangerous place. This would be a way of saying we outsmarted the scumbags on our terms.
doctorremulac3, Mar 28 2014
  

       //I'm thinking the practical way to do this would be going forward//   

       You're almost certainly right - reversing a plane to a safe landing is especially tricky.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 28 2014
  

       I once landed a Grob 109 in a kind of reverse take off i.e. the wind made my airspeed enough to make my ground speed negative.
bs0u0155, Mar 28 2014
  

       I was thinking maybe just lose the airliners and go back to airships, that way the buggers don't get the chance to rapidly flee to obscure parts of the world...
not_morrison_rm, Mar 28 2014
  

       Perhaps it could include an override with a keypad for which the pilots are given 2 codes, one for 'pilot in control, but deviating from flight path' (useful for when engines fail etc and the nearest airport might not be best suited for an emergency) and one for 'this is a hijack' just there to immitate the system turning off, but actually alerting those who need to know.   

       Of course, having to type in a code adds one more thing to do in an emergency when pilots have more on their minds.
TomP, Mar 28 2014
  

       // lose the airliners and go back to airships, that way the buggers don't get the chance to rapidly flee//   

       I think the fundamental problem with MH370 was that the plane shouldn't have been allowed to rapidly flee in the first place. They had it on military radar, and if anyone had been watching the screen they could have tracked it in realtime and sent fighters up to shadow the thing.   

       All of these responses to MH370 miss the basic point that this thing only happened the way it did because of a truly mind-boggling series of major failings. It doesn't require a technological fix - it just requires people who do their jobs.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 28 2014
  

       //It doesn't require a technological fix - it just requires people who do their jobs.//   

       Well, on the very slight off chance that people might not do their jobs from time to time, have technology step in and help out.   

       //this thing only happened the way it did because of a truly mind-boggling series of major failings//   

       That or there was only a single malfunction, that of the pilot who went nuts and knew how to skirt systems designed to avoid a plane being lost.   

       Anyway, I like the idea of flying on a plane that goes Terminator on any would be hijackers and shuts down human control if necessary. If it were hard to do that's one thing, but planes being able to fly and land by themselves have been around for a long time. I suggest this should be used as a backup in case of hi-jacking either by pilot or passenger.   

       It would also come in handy in an accident where the crew became incapacitated due to a fire, loss of air supply etc. There's still some speculation that this was a ghost jet flying with a dead or incapacitated crew. It has happened before. The ability for ground control to throw a "Land at nearest airport" switch could be useful.
doctorremulac3, Mar 28 2014
  

       My friends it is possible that this incident was an example of hacking. A digital hijacking, either from within the plane or without. Has this possibility been entirely eliminated?
WcW, Mar 28 2014
  

       Snowden? I don't think he's going to suddenly go missing without some sort of stink happening. I'm thinking more along the lines of a can-bus spoofing scheme that lets the hacker disable critical systems then hijack the instrumentation or autopilot system.
WcW, Mar 28 2014
  

       The 777 is on a unified fly by wire system. From what I read the entire cockpit, controls and instrumentation is on a common network, the entire damn plane runs the same network protocol and the power regulation and fuse systems that could disable the communication equipment is also accessible. On some level it is completely possible to take complete control of a 777 without being in the cockpit.
WcW, Mar 28 2014
  

       I'm not bunning this until it has the over-ride pilot is like the autopilot on Airplane.
not_morrison_rm, Mar 28 2014
  

       A similar system might ...   

       In an elevator - move to the ground floor open and freeze.   

       In a computer - reboot or freeze   

       In an auto, bus, truck - slow down, pull to the curb, and be very harder to restart.   

       In a cruise ship - nearest pier that can handle the situation.   

       In a mall - dim lights and ask people to leave   

       In a bar - free drinks
popbottle, Mar 28 2014
  

       I'm leaving right now - put my drink in the freezer.
normzone, Mar 28 2014
  

       they are all soft drinks...<opens another bottle of Pocari Sweat>
not_morrison_rm, Mar 28 2014
  

       I have an idea, let's change the skill requirement to hijack a plane from "get past security, understand much of the workings of the plane, have a way to break open the cockpit door, probably know how to fly, and be ale to fight off planeclothes officers" to "break into a secure computer system". And let's change the level of risk from "try once and you're done" to "unlimited chances as long as you're not IP traced".
Voice, Mar 29 2014
  

       // "break into a secure computer system". And let's change the level of risk from "try once and you're done" to "unlimited chances as long as you're not IP traced".//   

       The most you'd be able to do is make the plane land, not hijack the plane. Kind of a lot of work to risk getting busted for air piracy just to throw some passengers off their schedule.
doctorremulac3, Mar 29 2014
  

       //<opens another bottle of Pocari Sweat>//   

       Did you know that a pocari is the supportive strap worn by Turkish wrestlers?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 29 2014
  

       Pocari Sweat is very well named.
Voice, Mar 29 2014
  

       // I'd rather spend a little more money on mechanical fixes to hijackings than having my junk x-rayed every time I get on an airplane. The cost of treating everybody like a criminal before they get on a plane isn't cheap so you need to take that into consideration as well. //   

       I agree to some extent, but this idea protects against someone taking control of the airplane. It doesn't protect against bringing the plane down with a bomb.   

       So even if this idea was workable, it wouldn't get us out of the insane security circus.
scad mientist, Mar 31 2014
  

       //us out of the insane security circus.   

       For some reason west to east leads to more checks than east to west
not_morrison_rm, Mar 31 2014
  
      
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