Bunbury Flying School: Boeing’s new ‘797’ could fly with just one Commercial Pilot

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Bunbury Flying School is always keeping an eye on the skies for new planes so we can prepare our students for the commercial flight landscape in our CPL course. That’s why we want to talk about the Boeing 797.

For some time Boeing has been developing a project titled the NMA – The New Midsize Aircraft. Since 2015 this has been on Boeing’s cards, and 2019 has always been the year that they had planned to decide whether to proceed with development and production. Competition is fierce from their main rival Airbus, and their problematic 737 MAX aircraft have pushed Boeing to find an edge, and the 797 may be it.


The Boeing 797

As the project name implies, the 797 is designed to capture the middle of the market, between the narrow bodied, single aisled planes, and the wide bodied, double aisled planes. Boeing expects that upwards of 4,000 mid-market planes would be sold, making them a fairly significant development.

What makes the 797 different from the rest of the market is not its size, but the prospective new engine that it may employ: The turbofan. This architecture includes a gearbox immediately between the turbine assembly and the fan, allowing each to spin at different heights and speeds. This construct would allow the engine to use power much more efficiently.

But the real potential for innovation is the prospect of a single pilot in the cockpit. A number of external and internal individuals to Boeing have raised the idea of a single pilot cockpit for the 797.

How is this possible?

Flying has always been a collaboration between humans and the technology they build, and the digital age has provided more technological support and information for pilots than ever before. The term Autopilot has even entered normal conversation. These technological advances are what would make a single person cockpit possible.

The principle is in fact still of two pilots, but rather than both sitting in the cockpit, one would be physically in the plane, and another would be on the ground. This would allow the ground-pilot to monitor more than one flight, and improve efficiency for airlines. It also means that potentially multiple ground-pilots could monitor individual flights, allowing for a more diverse range of feedback on the flight.

However; Alan Joyce of Qantas, among others, have voiced their concerns over such a concept, suggesting it places too great a load on the pilot in the cockpit. This remains to be seen, as it is not clear what the single-pilot cockpit would ask of the pilot.

What does this mean for you as a Commercial Pilot?

It is difficult to know just yet what this means for current and prospective commercial pilots. However Bunbury Flying School is keeping a keen eye on this situation, as we want to prepare our students for their careers, even 10 or 20 years down the line. It’s very possible that, even if the 797 is not single-pilot, other planes eventually will be. Bunbury’s commercial flying school will prepare you for that world.

There has been a commercial pilot shortage for some time, so you can feel confident your pilot’s career will stay in the air no matter what the cockpit looks like

Why Bunbury Flying School is the best choice for a Commercial Pilot School

Whatever the future of commercial flight, Bunbury Flying School can prepare you for a long career among the clouds. If you are thinking of getting into the cockpit, or would like more training for your career or hobby, get in touch!

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