With the support of the British government, the use of unmanned civil aircraft for scheduled services is currently being tested. The first upcoming test flight will be from Warton Airport in the UK to Scotland using a Jetstream propeller aircraft.
Lancashire (England). The use of unmanned aerial vehicles, so-called drones, has long been part of everyday life in the military. The unmanned drones, which cost several million euros, have been precisely heading for a specified target for years and then land safely on the runway again. The highly technical aircraft, controlled by joystick, can also cope with critical weather conditions without any problems. However, the military very rarely rely on a fully computerized flight. The next step that will change the history of aviation is now beginning in England: the use of unmanned passenger planes in scheduled public transport.
The first flight will be performed with a modified Jetstream propeller aircraft. To do this, the aircraft flies a few kilometers independently through open airspace. The test flight should only be the first of many further trial and test flights. The engineers want to gradually adapt the technology to civil aviation.
The engineers currently have 77 million euros in research funds at their disposal. They are not only supported by the British government, but also by seven European aerospace companies, among others.
On the first test flights, the aircraft should take off without human intervention and land safely again at the destination airport. Nevertheless, pilots are initially in the cockpit so that they can intervene immediately in the event of technical problems and land the aircraft safely.
In this way, pilots of the future could control several aircraft at the same time from the ground and bring the passengers safely to the desired destination. However, until this is so far, numerous test flights with the unmanned passenger aircraft will probably be necessary. Scientists and engineers estimate that it will be at least 30 years before remote-controlled flight in an unmanned passenger jet becomes part of everyday life.