Automated Pilots

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joefremont
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Automated Pilots

Post by joefremont » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:32 pm

A problem many of our VA's face is not enough pilots to fly all there aircraft, so I had an idea that I though I would share and see if there is any interest. The idea is basically that airlines would be able to hire automated pilots that could fly aircraft for them without having to have an actual human to do it. Here are some of the details.

- For each platinum account a VA could hire 10 automated pilots and for each gold 2 automated pilots.
- A VA could create a 'schedule' of connected routes and then assign an aircraft and pilot to that schedule.
- The automated pilot would then wait until the next scheduled start time/day of the first route in the schedule and then fly the flight.
- The flights would be flown at 1x speed (no bonus) at a lower multiplier than what the VA uses and probably not more than 10x.
- If the schedule starts and ends at the same airport it could be set to repeat.
- To make sure we don't overwork our Automatons, automated pilot would not be allowed to fly more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period and the automated pilots would not fly if the repair status of the aircraft was below 96%.
- There could be some restriction on assets/flights before you could hire pilots or maybe a minimum ratio of human flights to automated flights.

In this case we would finally be using the schedule time/days on the flight plan, we of course would assume the times were all UTC.

Would this be of any interest to anyone?
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by MrJTSZ » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:53 pm

This is a really interesting idea!!!
In case this idea continue... those pilot could fly all the airplanes of the fleet? Or only a specific fleet?
Personally I like this idea
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by joefremont » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:15 pm

MrJTSZ wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:53 pm
This is a really interesting idea!!!
In case this idea continue... those pilot could fly all the airplanes of the fleet? Or only a specific fleet?
Personally I like this idea
I had not though about fleets, I assumed they would not need type ratings but if they were assigned 'ranks', ranks can restrict the aircraft you can fly by fleet. We would need some way of saying a specific automaton belongs to a fleet and who is allowed to give them assignments.
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Cat
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by Cat » Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:05 pm

At the risk of popping your 'happy balloon' on this idea, you would have to keep the autobot pilots out of the new cargo system or they will milk it dry leaving us hard working humans looking for work. :shock:
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by joefremont » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:33 pm

Cat wrote:
Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:05 pm
At the risk of popping your 'happy balloon' on this idea, you would have to keep the autobot pilots out of the new cargo system or they will milk it dry leaving us hard working humans looking for work. :shock:
This is true, the automatons would not be allowed to handle packages, and there flights would not be included in the statistics.
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Stan
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by Stan » Tue Aug 13, 2019 5:19 pm

This is something i thought about years ago.I came to the conclusion that if a 1 man VA couldn,t get any new pilots to join his airline then all he need do is download the AI traffic for the airline he is simulating then he has got the full fleet working all the time without altering the stats.
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by joefremont » Sun Aug 25, 2019 4:25 am

I just put a survey up on the site asking everyone what they think about this idea along with military aircraft and co-pilots.

I have do admit the reason I raised the idea of automated pilots is that recently a long time member hear sent me a message saying he was leaving for a different service and one of the reasons was it had automated pilots. I am adding many of these features in the hope of reversing the long time decline in pilots we have been experiencing, granted its not just this site, flight sim-ing in general seams to be declining but I feel I should do something to make the site more attractive.
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wings138
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by wings138 » Mon Aug 26, 2019 11:59 pm

Hi Joe and all the rest. So here is my deal, My airline here is almost 6 year old, I don't get any one to fly and I don't really fly too much. I bought AirHauler 2 that has virtual pilots, they fly the routes and get points and rank up and all that.

When you brought this up I was thinking this would be a great idea here. Except you are restricting it to like 10 automatic (virtual) pilots (non-human). I would have thought this would be a good reason to stay but I don't see that. If you could have unlimited pilots, and restrict them to being able to fly for 8 hours (two crew for longer flights), have a way for them to rank up like they were real pilots, in other words give people that want to be airline managers something to do. Then I would be here, build maintenance facilities at all my airport hubs, and pay for a yearly.

I say all this is because I think you can have all this and it will attract others into wanting to have there own airline and not give up after two weeks or a month. I think one of the things that keep people from wanting to do this is the fact that it isn't easy to find people that want to fly for you...

Great Idea, make it the best. Besides you have nothing to loose.
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by MrJTSZ » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:30 pm

any notice about this?
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by BVU-951 » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:19 pm

When is this likely to happen? Soon I hope
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by joefremont » Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:46 pm

I think we will do this, need to be careful though, of the ideas in the poll this was the least popular with 15% saying it was a bad idea. I’m going to do copilots first as it was more popular of an idea and there are parts of it I think will be useful with auto pilots.

And I need to do some research, first of which is what are the limits on how much real pilots are allowed to fly, if just completed a 4,6 or 8 hour flight, when are they allowed to fly again.
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by Cat » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:47 pm

The new rules limit pilots to a maximum of 60 hours of flight duty per week, defined as 168 consecutive hours. In any consecutive 28-day period, a pilot cannot exceed 290 hours, of which no more than 100 can be flight time. During 365 consecutive days, pilots cannot exceed 1,000 flight time hours.

The maximum flight time during the day is now nine hours, and eight hours at night. Flight Duty Period limits under the new rules range from nine to 14 hours, depending on how many segments are flown and the start time of the pilot's duty day.

Note that these regs are for USA Domestic per the FAA and international flights have other guidelines for ultra long flights, such as dual crews with sleeping quarters for rest periods on board.

Also note "flight duty hours" includes all ground time for pre-flight, weather briefings, boarding, de-planing, etc. Flight time is the actual block to block flight hours.

So to be "accurate to real world", you would need two full autobot crews to fly those 14 hour flights. I think to be conservative in the virtual world, if you went with 9 on 12 off, no more than 100 in a month and 1000 in a year, that would be acceptable and within reasonable limits concerning real world operations. The trick to your code however would be the "go / no-go" point when an automated pilot is nearing daily/monthly/annual limits.

https://www.flightdeckfriend.com/how-ma ... n-one-day/

I understand there are those who desire to be "airline managers" vs "airline pilots", and while we have found out the hard way at Fly Vegas that bigger is not always better (we have downsized by over 75 aircraft), we may be in the minority. Maybe perhaps some sort of separate Airline Manager Mode that runs independent of the regular system would be in order. That way there would be no conflicting data between automated pilots and the humans. There are some baseball video games out there where you can "play the game" as normal or be a manager and it plays automatically while you, the manager, call signals, place your defense, change pitchers/lineup etc. But the stats never cross/compare with each other, they are totally different "modes".

I see no easy/logical way to integrate a "Manager Mode" into our current "Player Mode" without causing conflicts and/or future arguments between airlines as the system begins to compare apples to oranges regarding airline stats and ranks.
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by wings138 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:06 pm

Cat wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:47 pm
I understand there are those who desire to be "airline managers" vs "airline pilots", and while we have found out the hard way at Fly Vegas that bigger is not always better (we have downsized by over 75 aircraft), we may be in the minority. Maybe perhaps some sort of separate Airline Manager Mode that runs independent of the regular system would be in order. That way there would be no conflicting data between automated pilots and the humans. There are some baseball video games out there where you can "play the game" as normal or be a manager and it plays automatically while you, the manager, call signals, place your defense, change pitchers/lineup etc. But the stats never cross/compare with each other, they are totally different "modes".

I see no easy/logical way to integrate a "Manager Mode" into our current "Player Mode" without causing conflicts and/or future arguments between airlines as the system begins to compare apples to oranges regarding airline stats and ranks.
Hey Joe, got some idea about this and this is how AirHauler does it. So, there are a large number of routes (lets say as an example), all can have those virtual (automatic) pilots, so I am a pilot, and I think I want to fly the flight instead of the automatic pilot. So, I would book this say an hour before it would be scheduled, and sense I flew it for today, then the auto wont flight it. It's the only way I can think of this.

And/Or, we have another possibility, in the route creation/modification section there would be a choice of this being either a Pilot route or a Auto Pilot Route, that way you could have routes that Hired Pilots (players) could fly and routes that would automatically be flown. I do think of the second one being probably a better option.

A great example would be say your airline had a flight from KLAX to KMIA and a return, with a auto pilot that would be a great money maker, but you'd like to have it available for players, so you could have two routes and so both would be available. Another example would be say KJFK to RJAA and back, really long flight and no one has that much time to do it in real time so you just set it up as auto only. I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

Hope these ideas give you some vision into how to make it work.

By the way, thanks for all the hard work you've been doing on this, let's see how it turns out.
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by joefremont » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:38 pm

Good information on the hour limits Sam, we will probably have to work out a way to simplify these rules to make them easier to use. Maybe limiting auto's to 20 hours flight hours per week may be a useful simplification. We will of course have to make sure they get paid properly, maybe minimum a 10% pay rate.

As far as some of the limitations I am thinking about, flight multiplier limited to 10x and no cargo packages. There would need to be a way to say 'auto fly this route now' and also schedule a series of flights. Many details to work out, so we are still brainstorming this.
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Cat
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Re: Automated Pilots

Post by Cat » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:18 am

To be honest I was one of those in the 15%, but now people are discussing it, I could see a "Manager Mode" being something attractive to bean counter game player types. Integrating with flyable routes will be the trick tho. Senior Captain Stacy may be onto something with separate route numbers for auto pilot flown routes .... that would really help you with your code too perhaps. If one only wanted to be a "manager", they wouldn't even need FSX, P3D or XPlane. They could just manage automated pilots and run their airline .... "Autonomous flying is now a thing" LOL
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