Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

18%
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Will "Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers" be replaced by AI & Robots?

There is very little chance of this occupation being replaced by robots/AI. However, our poll suggests a higher chance of automation: a 37% chance of automation within the next 2 decades.

Automation Risk Level

No worries

or 18% probability of automation

Projected Growth

1%

by 2024

Median Annual Wage

$127,820

or $61.45 hourly

People Employed

81,520

as of 2016

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How this compares with other jobs: 204 out of 706

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How likely do you think this occupation will be taken over by robots/AI within the next 20 years?

Job description

Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport Pilot certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, National, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.

SOC Code: 53-2011

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Comments

Sky King (Likely) says
There’s a huge push to do commercial airline/cargo operations with drones. I fly planes for a living and they can just about do everything themselves. They can land and fly by themselves. Haven’t seen a plane do a take off or engine failure but I believe these things can be accomplished with the same technology government MIC drones use now. If it saves airlines money they WILL do it.
Aug 16, 2019 at 04:56 PM
Bob says
Many areas of the world still cannot get reliable HF communication. MH370 is the perfect example of GPS positioning is not available world wide.
Even if airliners become unmanned, they will still need to be piloted or managed on the ground.
Although aircraft can auto land, most are limited up to light winds (conditions that fog would be present) UAVs that don’t have these limitations are still piloted, just from a pilot on the ground.
Jun 25, 2019 at 11:02 AM
Kevin says
Airliners are already extremely automated, but I don't see it happening any time soon.

Even the most advanced airliners today are designed and built to be flown by two pilots. It would be incredibly hard to fly say, a 737, by yourself... even if you were a qualified airline captain.

The technology is there (in theory) to build a pilot-less plane. But for it to be a money-making endeavor for airlines to consider, you'd have to jump the massive hurdle of public opinion. A lot of people are afraid of flying already, let alone going 38,000 feet in the air at the hands of a robot.

It's not exactly feasible nor is it a money-making idea at the moment.
Jun 25, 2019 at 06:56 AM
A(soon to be) pilot (No chance) says
No chance! Yea robots might be better at flying than pilots (sometimes). But because of the way they are right now they can't calculate unnatural situations like: emergencies, failures, volcanic ash etc.

Thought experiment:
the AI is operating the plane normally but suddenly the AI gets notified that an engine is failing but the engine is not failing it's the system which checks if the engine is running is failing! What now? The AI will take steps which you would take if an engine failed but the engine didn't fail.

You see the problem? It is not as easy as it may seem to replace pilots.
Jun 09, 2019 at 01:49 PM
no says
You did not describe AI. Current computers and software systems can do that. AI will take into account different situations including location, weather reports, volcanic reports and may even use photographic imagery detection which is already used in Tesla self driving cars...and they can see whether the engine is failing or not as a pilot would do and not solely trust on computer systems and numbers.
Jun 12, 2019 at 08:50 AM
Joodi Al Farsi (Could go either way) says
Can people trust a computer to take them 1000 feet above the ground? Technology has already advanced so much, so who knows?
May 26, 2019 at 07:43 AM
Vince (No chance) says
Think about it. We've had the technology to automate trains and we haven't done so. Why in the world would you expect airliners full of passengers to be automated any time soon?
May 15, 2019 at 07:01 AM
no says
We do have Automated trains in London.....so I dont see your point.
Jun 12, 2019 at 08:51 AM
Fábio Ramos (Small chance) says
No chance
May 14, 2019 at 12:03 PM

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