Home Aviation Sikorsky and FedEx testing single-pilot cargo aircraft

Sikorsky and FedEx testing single-pilot cargo aircraft

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Sikorsky is teaming with FedEx on technology tests that would enable single-pilot operations on large commercial aircraft.

FedEx Sikorsky
A Fedex ATR 42-300, the aircraft now being tested. Photo by Aldo Bidini/Creative Commons

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.

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Phil Hall's writing for Westfair Communications has earned multiple awards from the Connecticut Press Club and the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists. He is a former United Nations-based reporter for Fairchild Broadcast News and the author of 10 books (including the 2020 release "Moby Dick: The Radio Play" and the upcoming "Jesus Christ Movie Star," both published by BearManor Media). He is also the host of the SoundCloud podcast "The Online Movie Show," co-host of the WAPJ-FM talk show "Nutmeg Chatter" and a writer with credits in The New York Times, New York Daily News, Hartford Courant, Wired, The Hill's Congress Blog, Profit Confidential, The MReport and StockNews.com. Outside of journalism, he is also a horror movie actor - usually playing the creepy villain who gets badly killed at the end of each film.

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