Sikorsky is teaming with FedEx on technology tests that would enable single-pilot operations on large commercial aircraft.
According to a report in The Air Current, an aviation industry trade journal, the companies are experimenting with the gear on an ATR 42-300, a high-wing airliner powered by two turboprop engines, that was converted into a freighter. The concept of a single-pilot airline class aircraft has been discussed for decades and the ongoing tests are taking place on the largest aircraft to be outfitted for this operation.
The tests are being conducted at Waterbury-Oxford Airport in Connecticut and have not been publicly announced by the companies. The Air Current added that Stratford-headquartered Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin subsidiary, is planning to use the results from these tests for the development of autonomous systems for helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft.