CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Airlines across the world are hoping to shrink the cockpit in the face of a pilot shortage.
If approved, it would allow the number of pilots on some passenger planes to be reduced from two to one.
With thousands of hours of flight time under his belt, local pilot Aaron Hollewell has seen the power of technology in planes and the teamwork that drives it.
“It’s two people kind of working in synergy to operate a safe flight. Maybe one is communicating on the radios while the another is flying the aircraft. So, right now it really does create a great team environment and a backup in case of an unforeseen circumstance or emergency,” the Director of Strategic Planning & Business Development at the Academy of Aviation said.
In the midst of a pilot shortage, more than 40 counties including the UK, Germany, France, and Spain are asking aviation safety regulators to look into the possibility of sing-pilot flights.
In a letter to the International Civil Aviation Organization, the European Union said the move would have to be just as safe as current two-pilot flights – relying heavily on automation.
“I would never fly on a commercial airliner with just one pilot,” Hollewell said. “All it would simply take would be the pilot to have a heart attack or something so similar like that that could be catastrophic and instead of one life being in jeopardy, now we have the lives of hundreds of individuals at play.”
Hollewell says the conversation around shrinking the cockpit has been floating around for years as more pilots age out of the system. While he says one day that single-pilot flights might make sense, it is not the answer right now.
“Realistically, the answer to the pilot shortage is to train more pilots,” Hollewell said.