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Going Direct: 8 Observations On The Future Of Flight

Aviation is faced with a number of disruptive trends, some of them good and others, well, not so much.

Isabel Goyer looks at the future of flight. Photo by papi8888/Shutterstock
Isabel Goyer looks at the future of flight. Photo by papi8888/Shutterstock

1. Comments made by NASA head Jim Bridenstine on the future of autonomous flight were simultaneously refreshingly and disturbingly honest. In an interview with EAA head Jack Pelton during EAA’s Spirit of Aviation Week, Bridenstine, a former FA/18 pilot and homebuilder, said offhandedly that planes flown autonomously would be safer than those flown by pilots. First, ouch. Second, I’m happy that we’re a long way from the point at which this will threaten what we do, though it’s not hard to envision a future in which human pilots are seen as a societal risk. Politicians and the mainstream public are already too quick to demonize pilots and aviation, both of which present negligible risk to public safety, especially when, without naming names, compared to activities that are broadly accepted.

NASA Head Suggests Future Planes Will Be Safer Without Pilots

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