Is actually flying a commercial airliner a dying art?

With automated cockpits nowadays and the amount of incidents I have seen and in turn the investigations concluding that the lack of pilot training actually flying an aircraft at altitude when something goes wrong, are pilots becoming less experienced as we move forward rather than more? Are too many pilots relying on autopilot and computers and need to get back to the basics and actually fly the damn plane? Why a pilot wouldn’t disengage AP the moment an incident occurs is beyond me…the Air France flight lost over the Atlantic was an example of improper pilot training that led to a disaster that could have been avoided. (Why the Senior Pilot would take leave on a flight moments from approaching the Intertropical Convergence Zone is completely astounding to me as well) May they all rest in peace.


Don´t forget the Asiana Airlines accident at KSFO. It was caused too by the lack of manual flying skills.


Turkish Flight 1961 failed to disengage the auto throttle after the altimeter failed and the aircraft just stalled and fell out of the sky. 😒


There are millions of flights a day, and maybe only one major crash a year, give or take. Im pretty sure our pilots are well trained… Don’t let the mistakes of one or two pilots ruin your view on the safety of flight.


I personally like to think that people would rather feel safer when there is somebody in the cockpit. Even though, yes, there have been a fair amount of pilot errors we forget that there are as many technological errors too. It isn’t a dying art, it’s just more of a simple house drawing rather than the Mona Lisa.


It is most definitely a concern, most of our aviators in the sky has more intelligence than to only rely on the glass displays in front of them. Some new pilots in pay-to-fly programmes in the Southeast pacific are worryingly developing those deficiencies noted above. But it’s not a pandemic and definitely not a massive issue as of now. Keep a wary eye out, there are pilots who trust their glass displays way too much. Just because the speed tape is not moving doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not losing airspeed, always feel what the plane is doing.


I had the option to train in a g1000 172 and I turned it down for the old steam gauges. They more sense to me

1 Like

Garuda 152 crashed when the captained attempted to land above the maximum speed, or the life of a Nimrods landing.

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

And as someone who flies once or twice a year I don’t really like the fact that I could be on that flight.

1 Like

No flying a jet isn’t a dying art. It is changing though. Look at the tablet computers being used as Electronic Flight Bags and you will marvel at how much info the pilot has on tap.

If you see how much automation is natively in the A380 / A350 and 777 / 787, it’s impressive.

The automation debate is a good one, and there is a case for holding back on adding more.
But we tend only to zoom in on the bad stuff - the few crashes where the automation played a part. Rarely is it the autopilot or automation that actually causes the plane to crash - it’s usually a confused pilot who does that. AF447 being a cruel example of this :(

My thoughts are that this automation silently helps keep things safer than they once were, day in, day out. And although it’s subtle, I think there would be more crashes had this tech not been adopted.

Frozen pitot tube.

Air India Express Crash in Mangalore. Cause by Pilot Error. Overran Runway

My concern is not about the safety of flying. My concern is that pilots are being trained to operate a computer and not fly an aircraft manually. My concern is when a system malfunction occurs, the pilot needs to be trained to FLY the plane and not rely on a computer. If an engine fails, I’d like the pilot to be able to figure out that indeed it is the left engine and shut down the correct one, while still being able to keep the aircraft in the sky.
Automated cockpits might be safer than a fully manual flight, but it doesn’t negate common sense.
Another example of lack of training is Stefan Rasmussen. He was an astounding pilot. A hero in every sense. But due to an automated control that he wasn’t aware of due to lack of training by SAS, he couldn’t save his aircraft and in turn, lost his confidence in the cockpit and retired from aviation. (I believe the Air Crash Investigation episode was titled “Pilot Betrayed”


MaxSez: Bottom line, to much reliance on simulators & automation. Flying is an acquired hands on skill/art. 65% of commercial aircraft accidents/incidents are Pilot Error per the Aviation Safety Institute/net. Hands on skills have decreased exponentially with the introduction of the glass cockpit and so called smart technology. For the airlines simulator training is cost effectiveness. Burning JetA or 1100LL for an hour is three time more expensive than 4 hours sim time. At this error rate Pilotless airliners will fill the sky’s in most of your lifetimes. Meet Capt. Bot… Just sayin…


If you want to experience a true art of flying, fly in general aviation only.

If you want to fly commercially and hand fly all your routes you can fly bush in Africa, Asia, s. America or Alaska.

If not, fly corporate planes.

In commercial planes carrying 20+ passengers safety, multi tasking and crew resource management is key. While the auto pilot is engaged in allows you to focus in all the other important aspects of flight. This DOES NOT take away from the joy of flying I can assure you that.


Personally I think commercial airliners should always have a pilot behind the controlls incase anything fails.

But you get in a car (presumably) several times a day and don’t consider the risks of that? Unfortunately, accidents happen and they will always happen. There hasn’t been a fatal crash involving a major airline in the UK for at least 5 years and Qantas has never had a fatal crash involving a jet aircraft. The statistics for aircraft incidents are somewhat warped by some of the small Asian airlines flying old aircraft in terrible conditions with minimal training. All in all, flying is widely believed to be the safest method of travel.

1 Like

I completely understand and appreciate your input. However, and maybe I’m being too optimistic, if we are talking about the safety of souls on a commercial airliner, then I would like to think the airline would be willing to spend the extra money, whatever it would cost, to have those same pilots trained in manual flight during multiple system/mechanical failure scenarios. I’ll use Air France 447 as an example as its the first “more common” air disaster that comes to mind, but the final report in the investigation (amoung many other crew errors) was; “the crew lacked practical training in manually handling the aircraft both at high altitude and in the event of anomalies of speed indication”

So if we are talking about safety…then manual flight is undeniably a factor.


Well these incidents happened about a year ago. Except for the Emirates. The only major incident were people died were of terroist or suicidal. Metro jet was blown up by ISIS. Malaysia was probably because of the pilot commuting suicide. German wings was crashed into the mountains because of a suicidal pilot. And the other Malaysian plane was blown up I believe by Russian forces. The other crashes that either happened in 2015 or 2016 weren’t major, no one died it was just a few injuries. I think pilots are fully trained we haven’t gotten a serious crash now in a couple of months. So I disagree with you pilots are out there doing there job I haven’t really heard of any crashes lately. :)