Excerpt from "Capitol Hill Brief" from ALPA (Air Line Pilots Association), Apr 25, 2011
"Call to Action: Support One Level of Safety ALPA Pilots Urged to Participate in the Legislative Process
Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Both the House and Senate bills have provisions related to the integration of Unmanned Aircraft Systems into the NAS. The House version is of concern because it mandates a deadline for integration of UAS into the NAS and does not make accommodations for safety oversight. ALPA’s position is that no UAS should be allowed unrestricted access to public airspace unless it meets all the high standards currently required for every other airspace user. The House provision is a step backwards and does not promote One Level of Safety". "
(Bolding mine, DB)
Actually, they are completely wrong. The House Bill does indeed have provisions for safety oversight, 2 in fact, the Miller and Shuster amendmments passed. Seems they didn't even read the Bill. Hope they fly better than they write based on this erroneous and msleading propaganda message.
Slightly off topic, but lights-out manufacturing is more common than you might think, especially in Eastern Europe, China and Japan. It's a mistake to think that manufacturing went to China and Eastern Europe for the cheap labour, because most volume manufacturing requires very little of it. When you invest tens of millions of dollars per employee in machinery and automation, the cost of labour is a small factor compared to the interest cost of money and the risk of investment down-time.
On the subject of the ALPA announcement, someone should remind them they share the airspace with an increasingly large number of experimental-amateur built aircraft these days - IFR and all! I'll bet ALPA have something (irrelevant) to say about the high standards that might need to be applied in this field too...
I agree, skilled labor is what we should be preparing most of our children for (I am biased, being a tech teacher). Sadly, our school system, parents and Govt are more concerned with young people being unemployable intelectuals with liberal arts degrees (BTDT). Setting kids up to fail IMHO. My nephew dropped out of H.S. to take a $80K programming job after being written up in Forbes (twice) for a program he and a freind wrote. He is now working on a mind controlled computer interface (IE: think to type).
You're right of course. The trend is undeniable. I've heard about shipping ports where dock workers are being replaced by autonomous cranes.
I still think it'll be a long time before people are willing to trust precious cargo to machines independant of operator supervision.
Lights out manufacturing is still a rare thing with most CNC still being conducted under the supervision of an operator.
I guess my point is the growth borne from efficiency creates jobs for skilled labor, and that I think many pilots would prefer to play Ace Combat from the comfort of their hometown than live out of a suitcase.
If you read some of the Govt plans for the "airport of the future" you will see there are plans to make the entire system autonomous... How about an Airbus without a pilot and no air traffic controllers? UAS are the least of the commercial pilots worries.
Remember when autoworkers thought they were irreplaceable? How many tailors, shoemakers, switchboard operators, and cartwrights in your town? You can trace modern automation back to the steam engine in the 1700's where machines started replacing human labor by virtue of being faster, more accurate and extremely increeased rate of production. It also caused unprecedented sustained growth and prosperity. In the two centuries following 1800, the world's average per capita income increased over 10-fold, contrary to fears of automatin causing massive unemployment, starvation and homelessness.
Disappointing but not surprising. Automation is rarely a welcome newcomer. It seems doubtful that UAS will be replacing commercial pilots anytime in the near future. But when you charge annual fees for membership, it's important to look busy. Killing this baby in the cradle probably seems like a safe target to go after.
UAS will be as disruptive to the profession of piloting as RC cars were to NASCAR drivers. More million dollar UAS in the sky means more jobs for skilled pilots to protect the investment. ROVs haven't unemployed commercial divers. UAS will expand aviation like ROVs expanded the oil and gas industry.
If commercial divers had smothered ROVs there wouldn't be any drilling going on deeper than 1000 ft.
Off topic: found a funny quote while fact checking that number:
"We have guys right here locally that have done in the neighborhood of 1000 feet with a single alum 80. They must be trying for a time down record as well because we think they are still down there."