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  • @vollkontakt

    The reason Airbus always comes up in those conversations is because Airbus has automated almost every aspect of flight. When you look at their cockpits, there is a keyboard in place of a control stick (I'm speaking only half-way facetiously). It's a design choice they made. Airbus has chosen to automate almost every single flight function in their aircraft. They have a stated desire to do so, in part because it helps allow smaller, less industrialized nations fly their aircraft (it's fairly non-complex, so you don't need a high-level education or years and years of training).

    Boeing, on the other hand, has chosen to let pilots keep most of the control, probably in part from pressure from pilot's unions.

    Airbus can be flown manually, but they mostly choose not to. Boeing can be flown almost completely on autopilot (I'm not sure about landings and takeoffs), but pilots still retain a lot of the authority.

    So, yes, in a way, Airbus is "ahead" of Boeing in that they have these automatic control laws active in aircraft right now. But, no, it's not a regulatory thing (as far as I know) - what Airbus has really is just a high-level autopilot, and the US Govt has no problem with that. It's simply that most US airlines have bought US aircraft for decades.
  • 3D Robotics
    I just listened to this one (first one I wasn't on!) and it's perhaps the best one yet. Missy is fascinating and her insights into the culture of manned aviation and the "boredom problem" of humans overseeing increasingly automated machines is a must hear.

    If for nothing else, listen to this one to understand why this picture reflects the trauma of the man-machine transition in flight:

  • Missy made some very interesting points. Thanks! Every time highly automated civil airframes came up, Airbus was mentioned (and not Boeing). Does anyone know more about this, i.e. are Airbus aircraft 'ahead' of Boeing or is it just down to regulations?
  • Naval aviator heroine! Major Marcy's got nothin on her although M.M. would be more into this management & coordination stuff than us.
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