Technology, regulation weighed to keep pilots alert

11/2/2009 | · Newsweek

As technological advances allow aircraft to fly themselves for long periods of time, airlines and regulators are looking for ways to ensure that bored pilots don't doze off or lose their focus. Some carriers have protocols that require pilots to perform certain inputs every 15 minutes; failure to do so sets off an alarm in the cockpit. Meanwhile, regulators are discussing a federal ban on personal electronic devices for pilots, along with cockpit cameras to detect violations of the policy. But Bill Voss, CEO of the Flight Safety Foundation, says such steps could be more symbolic than substantive. "If regulation solved all the problems in aviation, we'd just have to outlaw crashes," he notes.

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