reply to post by pai mei
No, wrong...it's already been pointed out that THIS statement lacks the research:
This test - had no real benefits, except learning how to make a big airplane remote controlled, and how to fly it.
IF you looked into it more deeply, you would see they had great difficulty, both in designing the 'remote' system to retro-fit, and in the actual
Thing is, WE (I was already flying for a large US commercial passenger airline by this time) were very interested in it, and it was obviously a
'one-off' event, due to the complexity, and cost. (and difficulty)
Unfortunately, most of those details aren't on the Internet. Would have to research, best might be some old Aviation Week & Space Technology
magazines (might be archived onto microfiche by now).
Stock Boeing 757/767s don't come "ready made" for something you can just "drop in" to place, either!
The complexities involved would still be enormous, AND time consuming.
There is NO evidence of any B757/767 being taken out of service, let alone FOUR of them, for the months, and many man hours of work that would have
been involved...IF it had been possible...AND, the compnents needed would have hd to be BUILT by some company, somewhere, specifically for this sort
of 'project'. There is no way an endeavor of such magnitude would have gone unnoticed, too many people would have been required.
In any case, we have the DFDRs from AAL 77 and UAL 93 that survived, and were readable, and they show that there was NO 'remote control', that there
was constant Human manipulation of various controls, and switches.
A snippet, for illustration, from the above NTSB Report:
(Regarding AAL 77):
A few minutes after the hijackers took control of the cockpit (at approximately 08:52), the horizontal mode was changed to a heading select
and the airplane began a 180-degree turn back towards Washington. After the new heading was selected, and up until the last nine
minutes of the flight, the autopilot operated in modes that receive inputs from the MCP (i.e., target values of altitude, speed, and
heading set directly by the operators of the aircraft) rather than from the FMC.
A few acronyms, there:
'MCP' = 'Mode Control Panel'
Here is an image of one:
(Note...that is selected because it's a good, clear photo...it IS a B-777, though, and not a B-757. But, the layouts are very similar, only minor
Here, to keep from describing in words, is a link that does it for me:
'FMC' = 'Flight Management Computer'
In normal operations, the FMC is programmed, by the pilots, and it interfaces with the Flight Director and the Autopilot(s). Mainly, the FMC contains
the Navigational databases. It provides guidance information both laterally, and vertically (although the 'vertical' aspect is not very precise,
even in today's more modern GPS installations. The 'vertical' planning refers more to fuel consumption calculations, climb/descent restrictions,
that sort of thing...)
Here, is some description for the FMC:
But, the FMC settings don't do anything to the A/P unless the MCP is used, programmed, and proper buttons are activated, as needed.
Point is: There was actual activity, in the cockpit, after the hijackers took over...THEY wer operating the controls, NOT some 'remote' system.
Since this is known, and verifiable, to have occured on TWO of the airplanes, it is logical to assume (based, as mentioned, on the difficulties
involved in a 'retro-fit') to assume that ALL were operated similarly.
To add...I was wrong, in suggesting that the airplanes would have been 'down' for this 'project' for only a few months:
Before the final flight on December 1, 1984, more than four years of effort passed trying to set-up final impact conditions considered
survivable by the FAA. During those years while 14 flights with crews were flown the following major efforts were underway: NASA Dryden
developed the remote piloting techniques necessary for the B-720 to fly as a drone aircraft...
I had forgotten it was NASA, and Dryden. Pretty cutting-edge, back then. A lot has been learned, in the two+ decades since...Witness the success of
the UAV fleets. BUT, the technolgy is best utilized when designed-in from the start, before any metal is cut on the vehicle...NOT as an
[edit on 9 June 2010 by weedwhacker]