Taking The Pilot Out Of Flying

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While many of us are somewhat familiar with TCAS (Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System) and GPWS (Ground Proximity Warning System) some new high-tech in-cockpit technology promises to go a step beyond the current level of safety-conscious warnings. Honeywell Aerospace is studying whether to produce a product that would take over the aircraft's flight controls from a pilot who did not respond to alert and audio warnings from an impending in-flight collision. Honeywell spokesman Ron Crotty told The Wichita Eagle the device would return control authority to the pilot once the danger threat was eliminated. Before you begin to imagine the scenario of a runaway airplane, Crotty explained the device would likely come with an option for pilots to override the system. At the moment, this system is only in the discovery stage, but you'll remember this is not the first use of control-limiting equipment. Fly-by-wire systems have been employed in commercial and military aircraft. Airbus' fly-by-wire fleet has the capability to limit control movement when the aircraft nears a stall or other dangerous flight condition.