On Frequency - Week 2: Flying with just one pilot - What do you think?

On Frequency - Week 2

Question: Flying with just one pilot - What do you think?

Welcome to On Frequency - A weekly discussion topic. The idea is simple: Every Week we ask the community a new question in a thread that stays open for the rest of the week. For one week you will have the opportunity to exchange your views on the given topic, share your opinions, and discuss with other community members.

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More about the week’s topic

Most passenger flights today still have two pilots on board. However, airlines and regulators are looking to change this. The European equivalent of the FAA, EASA, has been working for some time on standards that would allow airlines to operate flights with only one pilot. More than 40 nations have now approached the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to work on global rules on this issue.

More information can be found Here:

Our question of the week is based on this news: What’s your view of passenger flights operated by a single pilot?

Share your opinions and views, respond to those of other community members, exchange ideas, teach new things, learn new things and discuss.

Let’s Discuss!


After the Germanwings (and possibly the recent China Eastern) disaster(s)? No, thank you very much.


Big no-no for safety reasons. Also, one pilot is not capable of handling the responsibility that both pilots carry.


I would not agree on this, because as mentioned in the one above, one pilot cannot fulfill all the obligations that 2 pilots do today. It may be dangerous for someone who is not really experienced with flying alone an aircraft. That’s a 100% No from me.


It’s a interesting concept.

One could argue that it could be no different to driving a car by yourself.

However I believe that the co-pilot offers way too many benifits to be phased out despite better and better technologies being implemented by the year.

Not only do they provide a critical asset in the numerous tasks performed by pilots on any given moment, but they also provide an even more critical level in safety.

Lets be honest, do we really think that autopilot is so well developed that it can fly a multi million dollar aircraft in every stage of flight without a single input from the pilot.

Overall I think all it takes is for that one pilot to become incapacitated to put potentially hundreds of lives in danger.

Unless we want to put our lives in the hands of technology (which is a bad idea as it is,) it’s a no go from me.

  1. qantas 7335
  2. envoy 3556
  3. american 550
  4. that on flight where the passenger had to land the c208

the list goes on. honestly, one pilot isn’t a smart idea when it comes to commercial flying. all these flights where pilots have gone incapacitated could’ve have gotten so much worse if they were the only ones in the cockpit.


Honestly I don’t agree with this there have been many stories of pilots having medical emergency and issues and it’s honestly better to have 2 pilots in the cockpit I would not fly if it was only 1 pilot

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What would need to change for you to be comfortable with having only one pilot on board? I’ve been asking myself this. If for example flying a plane becomes as simple as driving a car, where by the push of a button a passenger would be able to land it, I’d probably be comfortable with it. Right now I’d agree, that two pilots are still required. But who knows where technology will take us.

Air France 447 be like

There were three pilots in the cockpit when AF447 crashed, and even more pilots on board the airplane. As hard as it sounds, it wouldn’t have made a difference if this was a single-pilot flight.

From my point of view the question is this: What would need to change in terms of technology to make single pilot operations work? Personally, I don’t think it’s a question of if it will happen. It’s a question of when it will happen and what needs to change to get there. We’re not there yet, but we will be at some point.

Honestly, I don’t you could do anything for me to feel comfortable with a plane being operating on one pilot.

We have seen from numerous recent technological developments in aviation go horribly wrong.

The 737 Max’s MCAS system Preliminary Report: Ethiopian Airlines Flight Repeatedly Nose-Dived Before Crash : NPR

Multiple issues with quality control on the 787 Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Issues Will Cost $2 Billion

And most recently, a faulty power supply part in the KC135’s autopilot system caused two of the jets to enter unexpected nose dives. Investigation finds faulty power supply part caused KC-135 nosedives

In the case of the KC135, no autopilot could save an airplane from such situation without human element.

Simply put, If your autopilot is malfunctioning, and your one single pilot is somehow incapacitated or unable to preform maneuvers or various tasks which can save the aircraft alone at the same time. What do you think will happen then?

I know what I would do, buy myself a parachute and personal ejection seat. Because screw that! Not putting my head between my legs and kissing my behind goodbye. Furthermore I wouldn’t even step foot on that plane in first place, PEROID! 😜

No matter how good we talk about our advancements in technology, we can never fully depend on it over the human element. Until someone can prove beyond a shadow of doubt that we can truly 100% depend on technology without worrying about single issue, malfunction, or curses of the boogie men happening, then you can talk to me about booking my ticket.


Please no Marc Vietnam war flashbacks here 😅


Very bad flashbacks of crashes…

No no no no no no no no no… I cant emphasise enough. Just no. Completely dangerous for people on board and the ground. In emergencies, it has always proven that having more than 1 pilot to manage the load has saved the day. Autopilot is not smart enough to manage situations anywhere near the human level. With 1 pilot, there would be, and would have been, many more accidents. I cant believe companies are willing to risk and throw away people’s lives just to save some money…

Interesting view, thanks for sharing. I get what you mean with the human factor. There are things that technology simply isn’t able to do just yet. But I think we’ll come to a point in the future where the probability of technology and pilot failing at the same time will become so extraordinarily low, that it will be safe to have planes operated by a single pilot. Again, we’ve got a long way ahead. But it’s the same with self-driving cars. It used to be unimaginable and look where we are now.

I’d be comfortable to fly with a single pilot, if the conditions of safety are met. But I’m really curious to see how the path to get there will look like. Maybe it’ll never happen, who knows?

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Germanwings 9525 is a reason for big no.😔

Absolutely not. I cant even imagine the workload it would be.

Absolutely not, if the incident last week with the Envoy Air didn’t already explain why a multi crew cockpit is essential then I don’t know what will. Absolutely don’t see this happening

Is there anything that would need to change when it comes to technology for you to be comfortable with flying on a single-pilot operated flight; or is it a general hard no?

Wait what??