Boeing Honeywell Uninterruptible Autopilot

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The Boeing Uninterruptible Autopilot is a system designed to take control of a commercial aircraft away from the pilot or flight crew in the event of a hijacking.

If implemented, the system would allow the craft to automatically guide itself to a landing at a designated airstrip.[1] The "uninterruptible" autopilot would be activated either by pilots, by onboard sensors, or remotely via radio or satellite links by government agencies, if terrorists attempt to gain control of a flight deck.[1]  

Both Boeing and Honeywell have contributed significantly to the introduction of digital autopilot technology into the civil aviation sector.[2] A patent for the system was awarded to Boeing in 2006.[3] Honeywell has also been developing a system with Airbus, and a prototype has been tested on small aircraft.[4]

Conspiracy theorists have claimed that the technology has been secretly fitted to some commercial airliners. Some, including historian Norman Davies, have blamed it for the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, whose cause is unknown as of 2021.[5][6][7][8][9][10] According to Bob Mann, an airline industry consultant, evidence of the Boeing Uninterruptible Autopilot system being installed in a commercial airline has not been publicised and is not proven to exist.[11] Safety concerns, including the possibility that such a system could be hacked, have prevented its roll-out.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Reed Business Information Limited. "Diagrams: Boeing patents anti-terrorism auto-land system for hijacked airliners". flightglobal.com.
  2. ^ "The Evolution of Flight Management". Honeywell Aerospace. Honeywell International. Archived from the original on 28 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Boeing wins patent on uninterruptible autopilot system". 4 December 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Flying Safety Put on Auto-Pilot". Wired News. Wired News. 2003-08-12. Retrieved 19 July 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "'This is where MH370 crashed': Fisherman claims he saw Malaysian Airlines plane go down". January 16, 2019 – via www.nzherald.co.nz.
  6. ^ "New theories claim MH370 was 'remotely hijacked', buried in Antarctica" – via www.newshub.co.nz.
  7. ^ Davies, Norman (December 7, 2017). Beneath Another Sky: A Global Journey into History. Penguin UK. ISBN 9781846148323 – via Google Books.
  8. ^ "MH370: Four conspiracy theories that almost got away with it - Features - The Star Online". thestar.com.my.
  9. ^ "CIA withholding information on flight MH370, says former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  10. ^ Barbara Tasch. "Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Former Leader Says CIA in MH370 Cover Up". TIME.com.
  11. ^ Jonathan Marino. "This is the biggest factor keeping planes from fully flying themselves". Business Insider Australia.
  12. ^ "Germanwings: Crash leaves many unanswered questions". BBC News.