The flights of the future
Air travel is experiencing a period of great change. The constantly growing number of passengers deriving from the exponential ability to travel is about to bring new challenges for the airlines. At the same time the technological improvements in the aircraft are going to further enhance safety and efficiency during flights. Captain Zisis Pehlevanoudis, Accountable Manager of Aegean Airlines talks about the technological progress in aircraft development, including the role of Artificial Intelligence and the ecological inclusion of better fuel efficiency and shares his vision about the future of aviation.
Mr. Pehlevanoudis, in a rapidly-evolving world, in the age of digitalization, what is the importance of the new technologies in the aircraft?
The technological evolution and especially the development in the field of electronic computers, offers more assistance to the pilots and enhances significantly flight safety. Formerly, the aviator had to assess information provided via analogue instruments without being able to notice immediately the impact of system failures, without time consuming further analysis. Today, the digital technology offers a clearer depiction on screens and even in abnormalities, offers clear solutions to the problem and contributes much more to flight safety.
Can you please mention a couple of the latest technological additions in the cockpits of Aegean Airlines?
Aegean’s aircraft are equipped with all the latest technological tools and devices. Now generally speaking, the aviation community is a very open community. We share our experiences to prevent re occurrence and to identify threats that need to be managed. The reaction of the industry is to develop systems that if they were in place, this kind of events could have been avoided.
For example, Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (EGPWS). the aviation community realized that controlled flight into terrain was contributing greatly in the past at the overall accident numbers, although all airplane systems were functional. This was mainly due to loss of situational awareness combined with adverse weather. The new technology offers a digital depiction of the topography in relation to the position of the aircraft. If the aircraft approaches high terrain beyond a preset threshold, the pilot is alerted not only visually but also aurally. This then triggers immediate actions which have been engraved in the pilot’s mind via training. If we look at now the international controlled flight into terrain accident statistic it went down to zero.
Another system worth mentioning, is the Traffic Collision Avoidance System called TCAS. This system provides a clear depiction of the air traffic around our airplane on the screen. The system alerts the pilots visually and aurally if another aircraft threatens our flight path. It even goes as far, that the computers of the involved aircraft collaborate and in case of an eminent threat, instructions given to the crew for the one to climb and for the other to descent This is a technology that did not exist in the past 20 years and makes busy airspace safer.