On March 31 of this year, Dr. Pat Anderson was featured on AVweb.com for his article titled: The Uncrashable Airplane is Within Reach. The article was posted at http://www.avweb.com/blogs/insider/Guest-Blog-The-Uncrashable-Airplane-is-Within-Reach-223775-1.html, and the article text is appended below.
“Are we asking the right questions with respect to the Germanwings tragedy? How do you teach a door to determine friend or foe? That is a tough one. Here is one that is not so tough; how do you teach an airplane not to fly into the ground? From the technical standpoint, that is easy. The real question to be asked is what is society ready for?Is it ready for the airplane to be the last say in an argument with a pilot or other person? Or, are we going to start probing the minds of our already over-poked and prodded professional pilot population? How do you make an airline career even worse? Have a psychologist asking how your marriage is an hour prior to each flight?
On the other hand, if society is ready for the airplane to have the last say, this is an easy fix with today’s modern fly-by-wire airplanes. The airplane already has a digital map of the elevation for all of Earth’s terrain. We already have systems that provide an alert as to an impending intersection with the ground. Is it that far a stretch in technology to have the airplane fly away from that impending doom on its own?
No. In fact, the newest software load on F16s has just such a system. This system is constantly comparing the projected trajectory of the aircraft to the digital map of the Earth. In the event that it predicts an impending intersection, the aircraft assumes control and employs a […]