Monday, September 13, 2010

Ryanair’s O’Leary Calls for Single-Pilot Commercial Flights

1st\NW Quadrant: The Approval Matrix

From Ainonline by Charles Alcock

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary is pushing for single-pilot commercial aircraft operations. In a September 8 interview with the Financial Times, O’Leary argued that copilots are essentially redundant in modern airliners because “the computer does most of the flying.”

“Given the sophistication of our aircraft we believe that one pilot flying can operate safely on short routes and reduce fares for all passengers.”

O’Leary argued that since regulations allow trains to operate with just one driver, the practice ought to be safe for short-haul flights.

“In 25 years with over about 10 million flights, we’ve had one pilot who suffered a heart attack in flight and he landed the plane,” he told the Financial Times, adding that flight attendants could cover for copilots, who he maintained are essentially required only to “make sure the first fella doesn’t fall asleep and knock over one of the computer controls.”

O’Leary has a track record of making what some would regard as outlandish proposals for the future of air transport, including floating a plan to charge passengers to use aircraft toilets.

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