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Barmy European Union bid to ditch co-pilots on airliners ‘could put planes at risk’

PILOTS have slammed an European Union-backed scheme to cut co-pilots on airliners, saying it could increase risk of accidents.

Pilots

GETTY  Airliners could be working towards a single-pilot operations on commercial jets


The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) have warned an increase in automation would put planes at increased risk of hackers and computer failures.The stark warning comes after it was revealed that the EU plans to improve onboard safety by reducing reliance on crew members in the flight deck.

In addition, the Advanced Cockpit for Reduction of Stress and Workload (ACROSS) project also hopes to cut the cost of flying.

Stephen Landels from Balpa said: “Pilots welcome the introduction of technology designed to make flights safer, but we have concerns that the Across project could lead to too heavy a reliance on automation.”

At current 35 companies and research groups across Europe, including Boeing, Airbus and BAE Systems are working on the EU-funded project.If ACROSS is successful, airliners could be working towards a single-pilot operations on commercial jets within years.

Planes

The EU plans to improve onboard safety by reducing reliance on crew members in the flight deck  GETTY


Brussels

The ACROSS scheme is co-funded by the European Commission    GETTY


According to the project leaders, the research is needed to reduce the accident rate in aviation as on average there is one accident every ten days worldwide.

They said the reduction “seems to have reached a plateau, stabilising at a rate of approximately two accidents for every million departures”.

While pilots had prevented large numbers of accidents, “issues involving the flight crew” were contributory factors in 60 per cent of fatal accidents between 1990 and 2010, its website said.

Slamming the new scheme, Balpa highlighted a number of cases in which the quick thinking of pilots had prevented potentially catastrophic accidents.

BA plane
In 2008 a pilot landed a British Airways airliner after a loss of power just short of Heathrow  GETTY


This display of quick thinking was demonstrated in 2008 when a pilot landed a British Airways airliner after a loss of power just short of Heathrow.Mr Landells added: “A reduction in the number of pilots in the cockpit could have serious detrimental consequences for fight safety due to lack of cross checking of safety-critical switches and operational decision-making.”

The ACROSS project started in January 2013 and will conclude in June.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/629970/European-Union-ditch-co-pilots-on-airliners-planes-risk

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