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A Dog Copilot

Safety is the major concern
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I read about how new passenger airplanes are designed to eliminate human error by making everything that a pilot must do, controlled by a computer with non-human sensors and actuators, from starting the engines, take-off, navigation, altitude, landing and arriving at the passenger gate. With the new designed planes, neither the pilot nor co-pilot will be busy or useful as the plane safely flies a few hundred or so passengers to their destination without human intervention and error. In other words there will not be a need for a pilot or co-pilot. Still, I can’t imagine that the public is ready for pilot-less passenger airplanes yet. There will still be a public-relations need to maintain at least one pilot on the plane for travel. He or she will probably spend time walking about in a nice uniform giving confidence to the passengers that all is well.

The problem will be that a pilot is human and has a need for control. That’s what he is trained to do and the need for control guided him into that endevor. I can vision a pilot while sitting in the pilot’s seat, perhaps resting from his strolling about the plane, may be tempted to turn off the automatic controls or somehow override them in order to control the plane,as he is trained. This, of course will expose the plane to human error, a dangerous situation for the passengers and crew.

What I proposed is to employ a vicious guard dog co-pilot. The dog will be trained, perhaps by Homeland Security to protect the passengers and crew. The dog will sit in front of the controls facing the pilot. In the event that the pilot starts to place his hand near any of the controls, the dog will viciously attack the pilot, in the face arms and hands, perhaps leaving permanent scars as a reminder not to touch the controls, thereby saving the passengers and crew of an uncertain future.

I haven’t figured out how to design the co-pilot’s cap for a dog and the design of its fancy uniform.

El dueno

el dueno, May 28 2008

A concise version of the pilot and dog joke: http://www.funnyhumor.com/jokes/65.php
[Amos Kito, May 28 2008]

...way to go. http://images.mirro...5CDB3FD24E4F86D.jpg
[xandram, May 28 2008]

designers had no trouble back when http://cache.viewim...C0AA55A1E4F32AD3138
[xandram, May 28 2008]

From Electronic Arts http://www.mobygame...t/gameCoverId,8418/
Note the admonition in the fortune cookie... [lurch, Jun 15 2008]

[link]






       its obvious - just have the dog!
po, May 28 2008
  

       po, the pilot's job is to feed the dog. [Link]
Amos Kito, May 28 2008
  

       I thought it was the astronaut's job to feed the monkey.
po, May 28 2008
  

       Very old joke - here, have a bone for the dog.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, May 28 2008
  

       I was starting to like it until I got to the part about //a vicious guard dog co-pilot//. I like nice dogs. [neutral]
xandram, May 28 2008
  

       In most cases, Pilots do not have anything to do on a modern airplane - except punch navigation data into a computer. The plane flies itself to the destination airfield and the pilot takes over at about 200 ft away from touchdown.   

       It's purely cosmetic - the automatic system tends to touch down nose wheel first, and evidently the pilots do not like it.   

       Only when something out of the ordinary happens does the highly trained pilot have to take over the controls. And, then, you do NEED that highly trained, highly overpaid, and essential man - with no dog to distract him.
neelandan, May 29 2008
  

       [neel] - um, did you say nose wheel first?   

       Does that work? I"m only skirting around the issue of knowing what I'm talking about here, but I thought the physics of the thing were that you had to come into a landing nose-high. I mean I thought it was a glide-angle - post-stall - thrust VS lift thingy, that only works when you're nose-high.   

       But I'm not a pilot. I'll take your word for it, but do you care to elaborate?
Custardguts, May 29 2008
  

       Since autopilots don't taxi, I guess this means the plane never leaves the gate. While I agree that eliminates many of the dangers, it seems to somehow defeat the purpose of getting on the plane.
lurch, May 29 2008
  

       <obligatory "dog is my co-pilot" joke> <oj>
csea, May 29 2008
  

       "Does that work?"
Landing nose gear first is a Bad Thing. I have trouble believing an automatic navigation system would be designed to land that way.
phoenix, May 29 2008
  

       I don't have trouble believing that big jets are flown in (by automata) rather than flared in. Beyond that... not sure.
FlyingToaster, May 29 2008
  

       [neel] Autoland systems still maintain the flare component of the landing for all of the reasons that Custardguts states. In fact, it is the key reason why Category III ILS equipped aircraft need the radio altimeter. The radio altimeter provides more precise altitude readings than the pressure altimeter and therefore ease the potential flaws of calculating flaring distance where the pressure setting may be approximate (or wrong).
reap, May 29 2008
  

       OK. Then, will the COCKpit get renamed to DOGpit?
neelandan, Jun 14 2008
  

       A. The wonders of technology never fail. B. The pilot is superfluous. C. Dog attacks pilot if he attempts to actually fly the plane.   

       Is that about the gist of the idea?   

       Have you ever flown? Do you know what a "squawk sheet" is? I've been in planes with a single working nav & com, inop autopilot, close to annual and slightly out of rig with a placarded compass. You better believe my hands will be on those controls and dog be damned. [-]
Klaatu, Jun 15 2008
  

       Having been a pilot for over 25 years, the comment about autoland systems going nose first is false. Also, I first heard this joke about 20 years ago at an FAA safety meeting. Regarding the lack of a need for a pilot -- well, these systems just ain't there yet. That's a big myth. Finally, there ARE some systems that auto-taxi.   

       Is there an MFD for plagarism of bad jokes?
zigness, Jun 15 2008
  
      
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