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Boeing Has Another Big Idea for A New Type of Plane

Boeing Has Another Big Idea for A New Type of Plane
Jackie Reddy

It’s being reported that Boeing is working on a New Midsize Airplane (NMA) that features a single pilot cockpit. While it was initially thought that the manufacturer was going to reveal the design at the Paris Air Show, it is believed that, following the crashes of JT610 and ET302, Boeing may wait.

MSN reports that an upcoming design from Boeing could feature a single pilot cockpit craft. This latest jet – allegedly a New Midsize Airplane (NMA) – has been referred to by those in the industry as the 797.

This kind of craft is normally used for trans-Atlantic routes and can hold anywhere between 200 to 290 passengers.

According to the outlet, a note issued earlier this week by analysts at Jefferies Group, a multinational investment group, that while there would be just a single pilot in the plane’s cockpit, a second pilot would be on the ground.

It is thought that this could save carriers a considerable amount of money.

While it was initially thought that Boeing would reveal its latest offering at the Paris Air Show in June, it is believed that – as the manufacturer is currently still dealing with the fall-out from the crashes of Lion Air Flight 610 and Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 – it may opt to wait. In fact, findings by Jefferies indicate that the jet may not even enter service until 2028.

[Image Source: Boeing]

View Comments (21)


  1. GetSetJetSet

    May 22, 2019 at 9:13 am

    Sounds like a horrible idea

  2. rylan

    May 22, 2019 at 9:55 am

    No thanks. And seriously, a pilot on the ground? So what are they going to do when there is a technical fault with the plane or the primary pilot is sick and can’t fly? Got to be some sort of FAA regulation against having only 1 pilot?

  3. PHL

    May 22, 2019 at 11:47 am

    FAA regs require 2 pilots in places that are certified for 2 pilots. RIght now, the only single pilot certified jets (that I know of) are a handful of 4-8 seaters ranging from things like the Eclipse Jet, Honda Jet, and the lower capacity Cessna Citations/CJ variants. I don’t know of a single large transport plane that is certified for single pilot operation, so this will be interesting to see how Boeing gets this certified as such by the feds.

  4. horseymike

    May 23, 2019 at 4:19 am

    pretty soon they will be selling planes with no pilots….good luck with that. I think the upper management at boeing have totally lost their minds.

  5. tamnun

    May 23, 2019 at 4:20 am

    Wjhy not leave both pilots on the ground to save even more money ? Even more, why not get rid of all pilots and let the passengers take control of the cockpit ?

  6. Miles W. Rich

    May 23, 2019 at 4:21 am

    I do not want to get political, but with one particular group claiming that regulations stymie business, who knows what might be next. The EPA has been gutted, the FAA could be next.

  7. Robert Woodhead

    May 23, 2019 at 4:22 am

    You would think Boeing had learned their lesson about single points of failure.

    There is simply no way pilot-in-plane + pilot-on-ground is going to be as effective in a crisis as two-in-cockpit. Apart from the latency issues, crew coordination is going to be degraded.

  8. nickwilcock

    May 23, 2019 at 4:32 am

    797? More like 7-NO-7!

    If it’s a Boeing, I won’t be going!

  9. Tango Alpha

    May 23, 2019 at 5:08 am

    What a misleading article. A non-story.

    MSN is not a leading media in trustworthiness, but the FT-quoting is even worse. At least the original article quotes Boeing as saying, that ‘one-pilot jets would likely begin with cargo flights and it would be a “couple of decades” before passengers would be convinced of their safety.’

    Two decades… At least.

    And the economic benefit would probably not be enormous (in my opinion). A first officer is general speaking not that expensive.

    Besides, Boeing has long stated, that the NMA at the earliest would be ‘launched’ in 2020, not June 2019.

  10. bigjon1784

    May 23, 2019 at 6:45 am

    For a minute, I thought we would all have to pedal……

  11. drussum

    May 23, 2019 at 6:57 am

    A pilot on the ground doesn’t have quite the vested interest that one in the air does of saving the plane and their own life.

  12. Gilthoniel4

    May 23, 2019 at 7:25 am

    Sounds like an opportunity for a disturbed single pilot to do something dreadful. I hate this idea. What next, self-flying passenger jets?

  13. Bear4Asian

    May 23, 2019 at 7:33 am

    Yeah, no!

    How about Boeing actually putting safety first. First step fix the MAX. This idea will not do anything to reassure the public or shareholders that Boeing culture isn’t losing its soul.

  14. gacurtis

    May 23, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Seems to me that Boeing has lost the right (and certainly the flying public’s confidence) to do ANYTHING that reduces redundancy and safety in the operation of their airplanes. The shocking incompetence of their experience with the MAX airplanes should, at the very least, eliminate any plans for a single-pilot cockpit. A once great aerospace company has squandered the public’s trust and, frankly, should not be trusted one inch by regulators, now at every stage of design and testing.

  15. White Eagle

    May 23, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Really?? Not for me!! This is unbelievable. Perhaps Boeing should have a couple of experienced airline pilots on its Board of Directors. Someone who really KNOWS what flying is about…Airbus is looking better all the time—-

  16. SFOpaul

    May 23, 2019 at 9:19 am

    This is a terrible idea. I guess Boeing is assuming airlines would save money by having the second pilot also pilot other planes at the same time? Otherwise, I don’t see how it would save money. What happens when the single pilot needs to use the restroom or wants to eat dinner or needs to stretch his/her legs. And if it would be used for transatlantic flights what would happen when one pilot needs to rest?

  17. 18000rpm

    May 23, 2019 at 9:49 am

    No worries guys. Boeing will reverse course and require 2 pilots to remove the single point of failure after two crashes.

  18. Okto

    May 23, 2019 at 10:40 am

    “Boeing Has Another Big Idea for A New Type of Plane”

    One that can fly straight and level?

  19. Gizzabreak

    May 23, 2019 at 11:52 am

    A couple of mentions of ‘no pilot’ passenger airliners. Excellent. At least machine intelligence doesn’t suffer home life problems, religious evangelism, etc, etc. “Open the airlock Hal” … “Open the airlock Hal” …

  20. BC Shelby

    May 23, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    …this sounds more like something I’d read in “Popular Science” or “Popular Mechanics” that is right up there with the atomic powered flying car,

    The FAA and International regulatory agencies would never permit a single person crew. Remember Germanwings 9525? Since then, if one of the flight crew needs to exit the flight deck (say to go to the loo) a member of the cabin staff must temporarily take his/her seat.

    Also how is it expected that a person on the ground can assist in an emergency particularly when the plane is hundreds or thousands of miles away? There have been a number of cases where it took the combined physical effort of both flight deck members to safely land a plane that ran into trouble, such as partial loss of hydraulic pressure which required the strength of both to handle the control surfaces. or one manning the throttles while the other manned the controls.

    Of course Airline management (Ryan Air I’m looking at you) would no doubt love such an idea as it means even more profit, but even so, I don’t expect such an idea will “fly” as like I mentioned, government safety boards will have the last word.

  21. Boogie711

    May 27, 2019 at 9:39 am

    You guys are hilariously inept. Guess what the SINGLE greatest cause of airplane accidents is?

    The Pilot.

    You may be horrified about the very idea, but the fact is – autonomous flight is safer, and is absolutely the way of the future.

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