Britten-Norman planning to automate Islander aircraft


Britten-Norman planning to automate Islander aircraft- UK Defence Journal

It does not appear that they are getting rid of pilots altogether. However, the interesting bit is:

The firm also say that the project’s breakthroughs will allow regional air transport to compete with traditional ground services.

“A zero-carbon aircraft that was able to offer higher frequency services, with more day return scheduling and reduced travel times, could become a significant rival to road and rail journeys. This is critical to the UK’s levelling up agenda, improving transport links between the UK’s regions and cities.”

Members of the project, led by UAV specialist Blue Bear Systems, include hydrogen-electric powertrain developers ZeroAvia and green hydrogen experts Protium, satellite communications authority Inmarsat, regional airline Loganair, regional airport group Highlands & Islands Airports Limited, award-winning architect firm Weston Williamson + Partners, global vehicle hire company Fleetondemand and Edinburgh Napier University.
Hmmm. So what exactly will the bloke sat in front of you ( literally in the case of the old islander) be doing to earn his hard earned cash then, as he will need to be there for insurance ( and no doubt lots of other legal )reasons, if they are carrying passengers.
And personally speaking , if I have to have a man in the front left seat id like him to be as current as possible, not some cheap bloke who when the claxon goes off,will “ have a go”,when the automation goes tits up.Which it will, a lot at first ,probably.


The future of commercial aviation is a cockpit crew of one man and a dog.

what’s the dog for?

to bite anyone who tries to touch the controls

whats the point of the man?

to feed the dog.
@Lardbeast you fly / have flown these havent you?


BN tried to sell it as a Carrier Onboard Delivery aircraft. Landing on (HMS Hermes - 1968):


What exactly could/can it do that a helicopter cannot in terms of payload? The speed might be a bit faster, but other than that...

At least one UK Police force uses it in lieu of a helicopter.


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and what's to stop some swivel eyed loon from reprogramming the plane to land in the middle of the airport, or to fly a final approach through a skyscraper of their choice?
@Lardbeast you fly / have flown these havent you?

Got a couple of hours on them paradropping. Not great.

As for automation, bimbling about down in the weeds in crappy weather will require a meat computer to make good decisions. I'm already seeing one bad decision here and that's thinking the thing is an airliner. Waddling about at little more than walking pace, unpressurised and at great cost for the automation and massive maintenance input to keep it all working is not a winning formula.

Viking is finding similar problems with the DHC6-400. Trying to turn a very capable bush aircraft into an airliner at great cost by removing a lot of the capability so that stupid inexperienced children don't kill themselves.

The world's biggest operator of the type is going for an upgrade on older airframes in the main, in large part to retain the capability that is inherent in the type.
Sow's ear to silk purse always seems to be a bad idea. The aircraft was designed for a specific purpose in mind and to try and convert that into another purpose will lead to tears.

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