Cody P
  • Member for 5 years, 9 months
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Would a slower speed and lower altitude reduce fatal incidents?
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65 votes

I'd like to answer this question by debunking the premise of the question: that most plane crashes happen when planes fall out of the sky, and that it's like rock climbing where the higher you are, ...

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Why are on-board computers allowed to change controls without notifying the pilots?
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50 votes

There is a general design principle, that some, but not all, of the behavior of the flight guidance system or autopilot should be visible to the pilot. Usually automatic engagement or disengagement ...

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Do safety-critical avionics systems run Linux?
33 votes

The short answer is that no safety-critical avionics systems that I'm aware of use Linux, and the highest criticality systems often don't use a commercial operating system at all. However, Linux is ...

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Do helicopters have an auto hover system?
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33 votes

Yes, advanced flight directors and autopilots for helicopters can control the aircraft in all axes, and often they have modes for hovering built in, including maintain altitude, lateral veloctiy hold, ...

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Is flying during the day safer than flying at night?
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27 votes

First, I should reiterate that commercial flights at any time of day are extremely safe. Saying flights at night are more dangerous is like saying going to buy groceries at night is more dangerous. ...

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How miraculous was the miracle on the Hudson?
18 votes

"Ask the Pilot" author Patrick Smith addressed this question. I'll include excerpts of his post here: As the public has come to understand it, Sully saved the lives of everybody on board through ...

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What is the longest range single-pilot certified (FAA and/or EASA) business jet?
15 votes

There aren't any civilian, current-production jets that come close to the range of the SJ30 for single pilot operations based on my research, although one or two turboprops have comparable ranges. I ...

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Why is Python used on aircraft although it may not be certifiable?
14 votes

There are three basic areas of coding for aviation engineers. Software code that runs on flight computers and other avionics equipment, software that formally verifies and creates that code, and ...

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How does a jet engine handle suddenly entering a lot of rain?
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12 votes

In another question there is an excellent answer for how thermal expansion is handled in a jet engine. It's an established fact that jet engines can handle fast temperature swings. Have you watched ...

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What is more environmentally friendly? An A320 or a car?
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11 votes

Overall, the two very different methods of transportation have surprisingly similar amounts of emissions, so close it's tempting to oversimplify things to a statement like "planes are 20% more ...

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Which CPUs and programming languages are used in new airliner flight control systems?
11 votes

Note: I focused more on changes in aviation hardware and software than what's currently used since the question linked about programming languages is still current for "new" aircraft. I do not wish ...

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Is this opinion on personal computer flight simulators too strict or is it actually true?
10 votes

First, the ins and outs of avionics are hard. This might be a trivial difference for an amateur trying out an old Cessna 172, but at the other end of the spectrum, if you're a real pilot trying to ...

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Is 3 crew cockpit safer than 2 crew?
10 votes

Your question seems to imply that having an extra hand on deck would help prevent an accident, which is not always true. Firstly, let's make a historical note that you're far from the first one to ...

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Who pays airline pilots?
10 votes

Professional airline pilots are paid by the airline for their flight hours, similarly to other transportation workers. Time spent in preparation for flight or even preflighting the plane itself is ...

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Are seaplanes allowed to taxi in residential areas?
10 votes

There's no regulation that forbids all seaplane usage near the shore in all residential areas. After all, in many jurisdictions your neighbor can moor their seaplane right on their shore if he fills ...

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How are avionics updates delivered?
8 votes

Different kinds of Software We need to distinguish between several categories of software. Field-loadable software (FLS) is, loosely defined, any software which can be reconfigured, updated, or ...

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How do pilots see at night if airplanes don't have front lights?
7 votes

Many other answers have covered lights for seeing on the ground, which are invaluable during taxiing, takeoff and landing. They've also covered how most obstacles (like other planes) should be ...

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Why are the cockpit controls of airplanes so complicated?
6 votes

In short, aviation, especially at the commercial level, is a little more complex than a car or other vehicle, and even those other vehicle interfaces are complex if you're unfamiliar with them. A ...

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Why do we still use pilots to fly airplanes?
6 votes

Current manufacturer initiatives As to the current state of fully autonomous passenger jets technology (in 2017), there is some interest by manufacturers in the technology, particularly by Boeing, ...

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How is a conflict between aircraft with TCAS I and II resolved?
6 votes

According to AC 120-55C, the TCAS II aircraft will issue a TA (Traffic Advisory) and an RA (Resolution Advisory) if necessary and the pilot should follow any RA immediately and safely. The TCAS I ...

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Would a wireless fly by wire system be practical?
5 votes

There are several pros and cons to the system, and several great links to existing research have been provided by others here. Manufacturers like Gulfstream and Boeing have prototyped some examples of ...

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How does Kalman filtering work in inertial navigation systems?
5 votes

A Kalman filter is used on all kinds of IRU's and INS's, even with airspeed information as in an ADIRU. A Kalman filter is just a general method (and a very useful one) for state estimation and ...

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When does the overspeed alarm goes off in a plane?
5 votes

The overspeed clacker on the CRJ 200 series will sound "at" a calculated limit speed which is either VMO or MMO (depending on altitude) according to the documentation available at smartcockpit.com . ...

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What distinct challenges are faced in taxi operations that aren't found in other phases of flight?
5 votes

Well in air you don't have to worry about kangaroos in your path or a wheel falling off unnoticed, or people beside a taxiway mistakenly indicating you won't hit a golf cart. Heaven forbid you ...

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What geographic reference system do airport towers use?
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4 votes

I've only done passing research on the matter before, so if anyone knows more please chime in. As far as I know the FAA uses NSRS (National Space Reference System), and the NSRS currently uses NOAA ...

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Finding Angle of Attack/Angle of Sideslip using East/North/Up Coordinates
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4 votes

What you've proposed is a reference frame translation of the aircraft velocity, so instead of the velocity referenced to East, North, and Up (ENU), it's referenced to the direction the aircraft is ...

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Why does the autopilot disengage even when it does not receive pilot input?
4 votes

The general philosophy is that autopilot is a tool, not an extra pilot, and as such, it disengages when anything goes seriously wrong. Inertial sensor failure? Engine loss? Unusual attitude? Hand ...

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What are the restrictions preventing more intelligent autopilot systems?
4 votes

I'm not an expert, especially on the regulatory framework, but I can make a limited answer. In some ways aircraft already are making incremental steps towards more automation and fail-proofing: ...

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Is there (some form of) penetration testing in aviation?
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4 votes

There isn't true penetration testing for the scenarios you're describing in aviation, from my understanding. Penetration testing and cyber security is about how leniency and bugs in the system allow ...

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Can TCAS give an RA for one aircraft and a TA for another?
4 votes

It's hard to give a definitive answer without more information. My go-to for TCAS details is the FAA's Intro to TCAS II. In general, an RA will try to coordinate with the other aircraft, but such ...

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