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Why airplanes might soon have just one pilotIf you boarded a passenger plane in 1950 and peeked into the cockpit, you would have seen five people in there (almost certainly men): two pilots, a radio operator, a navigator and a flight engineer. (www.cnn.com) More...
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Did any airliners in the 1950s ever actually have a crew of five? I'm aware of some models (DC-8, maybe?) having four (captain/FO/FE/navigator) but never heard of radio operator being a separate position, except on WWII bombers
British Airways used a crew of 6 on the Stratocruiser.
Some international airlines had a radio operator. He was way back in the cockpit area with no windows but keeping warm with hot valve tubes on HF. The Navigator had a plexiglas dome on top to look through with a sextant at the night sky. Some vintage photos of the Connies show the dome on some models. (I was a little kid then but I remember my Dad's cockpit being a crowded place, though I don't remember a dome--perhaps those were on the earlier 749 models.)
Yes, radio operators were very common on those transatlantic flights of the post-war '40s era.
Single pilot airliners? in a two dimensional setting an automobile with an incapacitated driver may kill some, in a 3 dimensional environment like flying, incapacitating the one pilot will kill everyone. Bad idea, so far.
"you would have seen five people in there (almost certainly men)", Wow cnn, you could not even write an article about airplanes having one pilot without adding your self righteous slur about men. Guess it should not be a surprise however coming from such a fine and outstanding "NEWS" organization like yours...