Last year, a company called Cirrus created a private aircraft to show journalists a new technology called Autoland. With this help, any passenger on board can initiate an automatic emergency landing by pressing a big red button on the plane’s ceiling.
This is only possible if the pilot is unable to fly the plane, so that anyone inside the plane can press this button to safely reach the landing strip, as stated by the company.
Autoland was developed by the navigation and avionics company Garmin. Starting next year, Cirus plans to introduce Autoland, which they call Return Return, as standard equipment on its personal jet with a Vision engine. Each aircraft, however, with this system must be certified separately by the Federal Aviation Administration. The company expects to certify the aircraft by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Garmin hopes that other companies will implement this technology. They follow the principle that all mankind is going over time to board a plane, to press a button, to take off to the destination, to land safely, and ready. With this technology, I argue, we are heading for this dream.
Sometimes even some sophisticated commercial aircraft land on their own. The pilot only carefully monitors the autopilot system. In fact, the system is designed to be functional and to land when the pilot is unconscious or dead. Thus, if the button is pressed, the multiple display screens show all warnings that passengers must keep their hands and feet away from the control button. If the pilot regains his knowledge, the plane can be restored to human control.
Once started, the system will look for the nearest usable airport, taking into account the size of the aircraft, the circumstances and will contact the control tower. A computerized voice tells the control tower that the plane is in a state of emergency and is preparing for an immediate landing. Further, the control tower will tell the other aircraft to clear the route immediately.
This system also comes with a number of other features, all designed for a secure automatic landing. It remains to be seen if this will be a successful one and whether it will be implemented on commercial aircraft in the future.