Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Carrier Landings

I'm watching a Discovery Channel show called "Anatomy of the FA-18". It's a great show, but I have a question: why do we still have our boys making aircraft carrier landings by hand? Isn't this something that can be computerized by now? You'd think it would be a lot easier to get a computer to automatically land on an aircraft carrier than to train our pilots to do it.

Actually, why do we have our guys in the plane at all? Shouldn't they be able to fly these planes remotely by now? It's 2006 already. From 200 miles away, the control latency would only be 2ms. Seems pretty reasonable to fly from that distance, or does it?


Tim said...

the Navy's UCAV (x-47?) was cancelled. But it was supposed to take off and land from the carrier. Many 747's and whatnot tend to 'land themselves' with minimal input from pilots. But the runway doesn't tend to rock and bank.

Other UCAVs are slowly making headway. A new Predator which is larger and armed straight out of the factory has already seen deployment in afganistan.

The F-35 will probably be the last manned fighter procurement, expect more UCAVs to show up in the next decade.

brianc73 said...

Right on Trimbo. The Pentagon's just getting the rest of the life out of the investments in the jets (just like the airlines with their older less automated planes like the DC9's and 737-200's). It is pretty tricky for automated landings on that floating, rocking, runway. All of the replacements will be like what you and Tim wrote about (UCAVs).