Jetstream without pilot to take off from Warton Aerodrome
WOULD you get in a plane that didn't have a pilot? That is the future of air travel.
In the next few weeks a twin-engine Jetstream will take off from Warton Aerodrome in Lancashire, England and head north towards Scotland.
The pilot of the plane will not be on board. They will be in a control room with their feet firmly on the ground in Warton.
The Jetstream flight is designed to test technologies and procedures that will allow commercial aircraft to operate safely and routinely without pilots.
The future of pilotless planes is real. America's aviation regulators have been asked by Congress to integrate unmanned aircraft into the skies by 2015.
It would start with small jobs like border patrols, traffic monitoring, surf patrols and police surveillance. Then it would move to larger aircraft.
Modern planes are capable of automatically taking off, flying to a destination and landing. The tests being carried out in England will determine whether all those things can be done without a pilot actually on board the plane.
The $100m programme is backed by the British government and involves seven European aerospace companies: AOS, BAE Systems, Cassidian, Cobham, QinetiQ, Rolls-Royce and Thales.
So, would you feel safe flying in a pilotless plane? If not, you had better get used to the idea.