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Eight Months After First Flight, Northrop Grumman Retracts X-47B Landing Gear

The cruise flight test is a critical step on the path to achieving the ultimate goal for the $1 billion unmanned combat air systems-demonstrator (UCAS-D) programme. The US Navy is paying Northrop to build two X-47Bs and to demonstrate that a tailless, stealthy aircraft with no cockpit can land on a moving, rolling runway that is occasionally obstructed by heedless (and very nearly headless) jaywalkers. ( More...

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Scott Campbell 0
WOW ! to bad nobody gets to fly that baby, on board anyway.
tomkolduer 0
If you want to be a pilot someday, better do it soon. Within about 50 years, all commercial aircraft will be unmanned like this one.
tim mitchell 0
to much liability....and way to easy of a target
Jason Feldman 0
I hope not - people feel warm and fuzzy knowing there is a human up front. In fact, my thesis in college was about this very issue. Of course it's been a few years but even triple redundant computers fail from time to time. Hijackers could hack into the systems and take a plane from the ground. I doubt that civil aviation will see unpiloted aircraft - military applications it makes sense. A captured pllot after ejection is a huge liability. Still the whole idea sounds a little too "terminator"-ish to me - skynet is a scary concept In the movies - but the human element is critical in most flying applications.
Donald Denhard 0
That's why they build Piper Cubs !
smoki 0
Anyone who seriously thinks that unmanned aircraft will be used for anything other than specialized military/national security/surveillance missions is kidding themselves. This is gee-whiz stuff and rightly so. For the past 40 years we've been down the road of unmanned "exploratory" spacecraft some of which are still advancing into deep space to the outer reaches of our solar system while continuing to datalink information back to earth. Nonetheless the need for the human onboard has not lessened nor will it for either space exploration or flight operations within our atmosphere.

Arguably we have already to a great extent replaced the human with electronic gadgetry in our commercial flying machines, so much so that when the gadgetry's ability to assimilate data and apply the correct input is required, it usually fails whence the human trained to depend on it too much is unable to take over and save the day resulting in an unscheduled "landing." All the recent revelations from the Air France accident in the Atlantic a couple of years ago confirms the need for a human pilot who is literally able to "think outside the box" and take appropriate action accordingly. I cannot foresee that ever changing regardless of whether there's an equivalent to the artificial intelligence "Hal" (Movie 2001) onboard or a human remote controller.
Jason Feldman 0
Paul - very well said

UAV's have crashed too I might add, sometimes the systems have gremlins. The cfj's were "control, alt, delete" planes. Just like when windows gets the "blue screen of death" - which would take on a new definition if comm. Aviation gous UAV.

We need at least one pilot to feed the dog, right? Lol
Ruger9X19 0
Cool aircraft! In regards to unmanned commercial flights if I'm paying for a ticket I want the guy driving to have his ass on the line with me.
Jason Feldman 0
How true - at least the way it is now we all have a vested interest of equal caliber. No one likes to lose a video game, but people hate dying even worse. From time to time a pilot will tell ATC to go to hell and they are decrlaring an emergency. That feeling in the pit of your stomoch when you see the storm in real life and not just what is shown on a radar screen. Ruger, you are right on the money.
Frank Kaiser 0
Northrup?? I believe the correct spelling is Northrop


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