For Farnborough and Oshkosh, explore our Airflow newsfeed for all the latest industry headlines.

FedEx and Sikorsky quietly begin single-pilot tests for cargo airliners

A modified ATR 42 began flight trials last week in Connecticut as part of an effort to test technology for single-pilot operations.

Log-in here if you’re already a subscriber

Release Date
February 18, 2021
FedEx and Sikorsky quietly begin single-pilot tests for cargo airliners
To listen to the air traffic control frequency at Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut from the afternoon of February 10, nothing appeared out of the ordinary. But as a FedEx Express-owned ATR 42-300 turboprop was cleared for takeoff a few minutes before 4pm, the package freighter became the largest known commercial aircraft to test technologies designed to enable flying with just a single pilot at the controls.

Related: Emergency Autoland puts Garmin on the bleeding edge of autonomous flying

The secretive start to flight trials with the aging turboprop are the latest steps by Sikorsky and the logistics giant to advance its development of autonomous technologies for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, according to those familiar with the tests. The use of the package freighter as a test bed, a converted 48-seat airliner, will likely intensify both the technology development amid a steady transformation in the economics of e-commerce and a heated public debate around single-pilot operations.

Continue Reading...

Zeen is a next generation WordPress theme. It’s powerful, beautifully designed and comes with everything you need to engage your visitors and increase conversions.