Pilotless Planes: Are We There Yet?

Sep 06, 2013 No Comments by

“We’re ready to take control” confirms Bob Fraser, a well-seasoned pilot who has been flying for 37 years. ”And proceed,” replies flight test engineer Duncan Casey.

Fraser and Casey are looking at computer display screens, tracking the position of a BAe 146 aircraft flying north towards Scotland — but there is one vital difference. Casey is high in the sky while Fraser has his feet firmly on the ground.

Casey is one of the flight test engineers onboard the test aircraft equipped with state-of-the-art drone technology along with the two pilots in the cockpit for the take-off and landing phases. After taking-off and climbing to an altitude of 7,000 feet, the pilots hand over to the flight test engineers who in turn hand over to Fraser.

For video and the complete story by Ayesha Durgahee of CNN, click here.

Photo by CNN

 

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Online Editor I've been around airplanes since I was a kid. That's when my uncle, a professional pilot, showed me how to fly his Cessna 177 Cardinal. l later became a writer and editor, so covering the exciting and ever-changing aviation industry -- which I've been doing in Flight Journal's Flybys since the late '90s -- was a natural fit.
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