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New Aircraft Is Pilot Optional

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the designated-pilot-program dept.

The Military 76

Zothecula writes "Although the use of unmanned aerial vehicles such as Global Hawk and Raven for military information gathering has increased sharply in the last decade due to the maturation and miniaturization of enabling technologies, conventional piloted aircraft can still be a better option depending on the mission at hand. Northrop Grumman has unveiled a new intelligence gathering aircraft called the Firebird that falls into the category of an Optionally Piloted Vehicle with its ability to be flown robotically or with a human pilot on board."

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Who can fly it? (2)

gone_bush (578354) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102218)

If the computer systems are built on Windows, anyone will be able to hack in and fly it!

Re:Who can fly it? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102250)

    Just like a computer though, you have to have a way to reach it. I kind of doubt they'll just give it an IP. :) You'll probably have an awful hard time gaining physical access too. I don't know much about hacking encrypted government satellites, but I'd have to guess it's a little more than trivial.

Re:Who can fly it? (2)

RightwingNutjob (1302813) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102490)

Didn't they catch the Air Force uplinking Predator/Global Hawk video in the clear a few years back?

Re:Who can fly it? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102894)

    I was about to say you were wrong, but you are correct [latimes.com] .

    There were other incidents several years ago, where people on the east coast of the US with antennas pointed down to the horizon, or people in Europe, could pick up the occasional unencrypted transmissions.

    The gov't runs several different satellite systems. There are encrypted and unencrypted transmissions. As far as I know, none of them manipulate brain waves though (had to include that for the tinfoil hat crowd). I'd be sure that the control signals are sent over the encrypted channels. There are less encrypted channels available, so they are used for more sensitive data. Flying around on an average flight may not have constituted "sensitive" data, and could have been in the clear. If they knew it would be viewing a target of any value, it would have been on an encrypted channel.

I saw this on Tailspin (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102290)

those robot pilots didn't do as well as Ballu

Re:Who can fly it? (1)

cababunga (1195153) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103438)

Shouldn't Firebird be as multiplatform as Firefox and Thunderbird?

Re:Who can fly it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105454)

More importantly, if they can build planes that fly themselves, surely they can build planes that don't require a complex pilot's license exam/training. If the plane can abstract flying into concepts like "take off", "head to Florida", "enter a holding pattern", and "land", then why not allow users to fly them that way?

looks good (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102274)

I effin' love twin-tail planes. Watched too much tailspin as a kid.

Re:looks good (2)

camperdave (969942) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102374)

I effin' love twin-tail planes.

They're especially handy if you crash in the desert [imdb.com] .

Re:looks good (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102926)

    You'd think they would have known the solution a lot quicker the second time [imdb.com] .

    I know, I know, horrible remake. Don't let that ruin a perfectly good joke. :)

How about cargo UAVs? (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102288)

Seems to me that there must be a market in Canada and Alaska for aerial supply where you can fly in weather that's too dangerous to risk a pilot.

-jcr

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102454)

Unmanned drones can be made cheaply because they're small, and do not need the volume and life support systems needed to house a pilot. Something intended for cargo is going to be large and expensive. Satellite links don't have the latency for reliable remote operations, and autonomous flight control systems are not yet particularly good at adverse conditions. You're not going to risk the supplies and aircraft unless they are vital to survival of the outpost/mission, and then you're going to want a veteran pilot in the cockpit who can adapt to whatever situation that arises.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103410)

>Something intended for cargo is going to be large and expensive.

That depends on the cargo. It may be sacks of flour (really heavy), or it may be medicine (not heavy at all). Also, if you're not paying for a pilot, you're saving the weight and the expense of carrying a man wherever that payload needs to go. Not to mention, since computers don't need to sleep, you can fly the UAV 24/7 if you want, and only stop it for refueling, loading and unloading the cargo.

-jcr

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

bhiestand (157373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36114812)

>Something intended for cargo is going to be large and expensive.

That depends on the cargo. It may be sacks of flour (really heavy), or it may be medicine (not heavy at all). Also, if you're not paying for a pilot, you're saving the weight and the expense of carrying a man wherever that payload needs to go. Not to mention, since computers don't need to sleep, you can fly the UAV 24/7 if you want, and only stop it for refueling, loading and unloading the cargo.

-jcr

On the medicine side, it actually makes sense, but more as a SAR bird. I can imagine the Coast Guard deploying a large fleet of UAVs, able to stay up 24x7, scan for wreckage/ships/survivors, mark locations, and potentially even airdrop some basic relief supplies (life raft, etc.).

They already use C-130s for this, but 130s require a large crew, are fuel limited, and there just aren't that many of them... Granted UAVs still require maintenance, but I really do expect this to happen in the future.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105272)

Unmanned drones can be made cheaply because they're small, and do not need the volume and life support systems needed to house a pilot.

That's why this "pilot-optional" concept seems so silly to me. The craft needs to carry around all the equipment weight and body size needed to have a pilot, yet may often fly without a pilot? Sounds like a massive waste.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105390)

In this case, 'pilot-optional' makes sense. One of the primary uses for it and the Proteus craft before it is a development platform. You can develop systems and hardware for autonomous and remotely operated vehicles, but still have someone in the cockpit ready to take control if needed.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

BranMan (29917) | more than 3 years ago | (#36109210)

Maybe not such a waste in some situations - if you make some of the equipment needed for a pilot easily removable - like the seat for instance - you can use the weight savings of not having that equipment, or the pilot, aboard. Carry extra fuel to extend the range, or increase the cargo capacity. Can make it a lot more flexible

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

MJMullinII (1232636) | more than 3 years ago | (#36114954)

Unmanned drones can be made cheaply because they're small, and do not need the volume and life support systems needed to house a pilot.

That's why this "pilot-optional" concept seems so silly to me. The craft needs to carry around all the equipment weight and body size needed to have a pilot, yet may often fly without a pilot? Sounds like a massive waste.

I'd be very surprised if the pilot support system was not highly compartmentalized specifically so it could be removed to save weight. Alternatively I'd be surprised if the space allotted to it could not be reused for other purposes when it isn't need.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105990)

Dude, a cargo plane in Alaska is a Piper Cub or American Champion Scout, if you can make the autopilot cheap enough it would probably make sense considering bush pilot is one of the most dangerous jobs in the US.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 3 years ago | (#36112188)

The problem with flying in Alaska is the wind, specifically the way winds change do to the mountains, humans have a hard time accounting for these rapid changes and as a result crash, a typical UAV would not be able to handle those problems the response time is way too long, that is why take off and landing of predator planes is done locally. The B2 crash is another lesson the plane stalled out and crashed because a sensor was wrong and the software overrode the pilot and decided to pull up causing a stall at takeoff.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36108080)

Well, the problem is in Alaska and Northern Canada, communities are literally cut off for months at a time because the weather gets so bad it's impossible to get supplies in and out. And these communities may require assistance - e.g., their generator is broken and they're relying on a backup.

Even SAR can be aided since they can fly around without risking SAR flight crew's lives.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102484)

That's a really good idea... I don't think people would be willing to fly on an airplane without a pilot, but cargo is entirely different (if not rationally so, at least in the human mind). I could see having cargo aircraft that are remotely piloted at takeoff and landing, but computer-piloted for most of their trip; not just for remote airstrips but for all kinds of situations. Commercial cargo and also military- have a robotic cargo plane or helicopter to airlift your equipment into combat zones, for instance.

But another thing occurs to me. Why not make all aircraft 'pilot optional', if only as a backup system? Being able to switch over your aircraft to computer-controlled or remotely-piloted could be useful if something went wrong, for instance if the computer was able to detect if the human pilot lost consciousness, it could kick in and take control of the aircraft. And the copilot is in part there as a backup for the pilot, people might not be willing to go as far as replacing the pilot, but would they be willing to see the copilot replaced by a computer?

Pilots are optional on commercial airliners ... (1)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102634)

... Why not make all aircraft 'pilot optional' ...

My understanding is that we are pretty much there today. I believe for certain modern commercial aircraft the autopilot can land the aircraft. I think occasional auto-landings are even required. So a modern commercial jetliner can navigate from waypoint to waypoint, approach and land on autopilot. Can they take off too? I believe some carrier based military aircraft, F18 for example, launch on autopilot.

Re:Pilots are optional on commercial airliners ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36102760)

Keywords there are "pretty much."

Re:Pilots are optional on commercial airliners ... (3, Funny)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103014)

Well, someone has to operate the Manual Inflation Nozzle from time to time.

"pretty much", just like machine translation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103736)

Yup, same way we "pretty much" have automatic translation: when it works, it's kind of okay; when it doesn't, it's a major clusterfuck of fail. The problem remains: nobody actually wants a mission-critical system that sorta-kinda-works, but breaks down catastophically in unexpected circumstances.

Re:"pretty much", just like machine translation. (1)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105386)

The problem remains: nobody actually wants a mission-critical system that sorta-kinda-works, but breaks down catastophically in unexpected circumstances.

Arguably that is what we already have, if you just consider the pilot part of the system. I think the issue is our contorted liability law. If you held the aircraft vendor liable for provable pilot error on the principle that they built the aircraft with the inclusion of pilot controls, then perhaps you'd see more of a move towards automation. Aircraft manufacturers are liable for automated system failures, but not for pilot error, and thus they have no incentive to get rid of the pilot - especially when training should give them some remote chance of recovering from a system failure and you can hang a defense on that.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102666)

Hmm, why do pilot unconsciousness remind me of GITS:SAC?

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105736)

IIRC there was an episode where this was a plot point. A pilot of a combat helicopter was put into a coma but not killed, because the backup AI would return to base, or something like that, it's been years.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (3, Interesting)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102698)

Interesting, about 15 years ago I wrote a short story in which commercial airline pilots were "figureheads". Most had lost what pilot training they had from years of atrophy. The pilot was only there to reassure the passengers that someone could fly the thing if the computers failed, but because the systems were designed for computer control and reflexes, it was pretty much impossible for a human to pilot them anyways.

The aircraft companies were able to take lots of shortcuts in the design of the planes because they could count on computer control to compensate before stress became too great for the airframe to handle, using minute adjustments billions of times a second to keep the planes infrastructure as free of stress as possible.

Ahh.. mid-90's.. when Popular Mechanics was a great source of fiction inspiration.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (3, Funny)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103658)

"In the future, airplanes will be flown by a dog and a pilot. And the dog's job will be to make sure that if the pilot tries to touch any of the buttons, the dog bites him." — Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame).

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105032)

And if anyone is wondering why the pilot is there, it's to open the cans of dog food.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102900)

Perhaps, but most crashes are the result of pilot error, and unless something has changed, Airbus planes won't even let the pilot assume full manual control. Boeing planes will, but it's only for rare circumstances when there's a serious malfunction. And just look at the technology that's gone into drones, it shouldn't too hard, comparatively speaking, to scale those up to the size of a small plane, or scale the larger planes down to cover that gap.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103544)

There is a good reason Airbus does not allow the pilot control in the ever-twisting spaghetti that their A330s and A340s are. Go to the rear on one of those when the curtains are raised and look forwards how the body bends all the time.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105132)

> Airbus planes won't even let the pilot assume full manual control

[citation needed]

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103420)

I don't think people would be willing to fly on an airplane without a pilot

Maybe not yet, but after there's a record of a couple of years and thousands of flight hours where you can show that the autopilots have a lower rate of failure than human pilots, I would expect that to change.

-jcr

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103676)

I don't think people would be willing to fly on an airplane without a pilot

Maybe not yet, but after there's a record of a couple of years and thousands of flight hours where you can show that the autopilots have a lower rate of failure than human pilots, I would expect that to change.

I had the exact same discussion yesterday about the automated Google cars. He said that if they became commercial, after the 1st crash lawyers would sue them into oblivion, which isn't false. But if after a couple billion miles there are 100 times more driver incidents than non-driver, then expect manual driving to be banned for good.

Re:How about cargo UAVs? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102640)

Well there is already work on a optionally manned helicopter for a similar reason.

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Kaman_K-MAX [wikimedia.org]

With all of those 'legs' on it... (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102300)

At what point does it go from the current version to the 'Squids' in the Matrix?

Re:With all of those 'legs' on it... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102384)

Those were called sentinels.

Re:With all of those 'legs' on it... (1)

Kitkoan (1719118) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102404)

They were called both Squiddies and Sentinels. Squiddies was their nick name, Sentinels was the official name.

Re:With all of those 'legs' on it... (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102910)

That was a good movie, it's a shame that they never made any sequels.

You can track it real time (2)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102410)

The prototype shown in the pictures is a civilian aircraft with a tail number so it can be tracked. If you go to http://flightaware.com/live/ [flightaware.com] and type in the tail number N355SX you can find out where it is. I just looked and it seems to be on route as I am writing this. This must be the manned version, because UAV aircraft would not have a tail number as a civilian aircraft.

I wonder if the tracking site can stand up to Slashdot? We'll see...

Re:You can track it real time (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102472)

Actually, the flight was on May 2. Cool site though.

Re:You can track it real time (2)

man_of_mr_e (217855) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102738)

Actually, if you look at the photos. There is a plane in flight with N355SX and it has windows, then another picture of another plane also labeled N355SX does not have windows.

Looks like more than one plane carries the tail number.

Re:You can track it real time (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105466)

Not that I'd be shocked and amazed if the answer was no, but is that legal?

Shit! What are going to call it? (2)

amanicdroid (1822516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102434)

I know, Autopilot!

Re:Shit! What are going to call it? (1)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102530)

Autopilot could be called a precursor to this, but I wouldn't equate it. Autopilot is more of a fail safe system that doesn't have anywhere near the capabilities needed to carry out an entire flight.

Re:Shit! What are going to call it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103542)

What the fuck do you know SilasMortimer? Have you ever even worked on a fucking JET?
You don't even know the fucking difference between primary and secondary flight controls.
Your a fucking moron making comments about autopilot in canoes and such shit.

But I get it, as a psyop, you like the drones, you like the war, you like dead people.

Please come up on stage and confirm these chains (tools such as wealth, political power, corruption, influence) are real. To engage the master using the masterâ(TM)s tools in the masterâ(TM)s game under the masterâ(TM)s rules is worse than useless because it simply reinforces the masterâ(TM)s power to create the illusion. They run a rigged game in which only a fool or the insane would participate. Or those sufficiently hypnotized to believe what they are told is real.

Re:Shit! What are going to call it? (0)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103576)

Of course I know these things. I am the gubmint, after all. I know everything. I'm going to make you want a cheeseburger right now. It worked, didn't it? Of course it did.

I hope you keep following me and responding to me as AC. I'll know when you do. I'm watching from several cameras. It's very important that you keep responding to my posts. Don't stop. Don't ever stop.

Wacko.

Aren't just about all of them already? (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102474)

Not that it's a good idea, but the autopilot already does just about all of the flying. They did this on Mythbusters...the myth of the tower talking a non-pilot down. Wouldn't happen these days because the autopilot is perfectly capable of landing the plane.

I am talking about large commercial cargo or passenger planes...not bug smashers, of course.

Re:Aren't just about all of them already? (1)

timdearborn (645863) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102840)

While autopilot may be capable of landing a plane, commercial pilots still prefer to drive 'er themselves. My friend is a 737 pilot for SouthWest Airlines, and he says that he always lands manually, even in bad weather where you would think auto-pilot might have an advantage.

Re:Aren't just about all of them already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36105978)

While autopilot may be capable of landing a plane, commercial pilots still prefer to drive 'er themselves. My friend is a 737 pilot for SouthWest Airlines, and he says that he always lands manually, even in bad weather where you would think auto-pilot might have an advantage.

Indeed, you should do this. Flying a plane is not like riding a bike. The skills disappear over time if not practised.

Re:Aren't just about all of them already? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105492)

The fanciest planes can land at the fanciest airports without assistance. There's still plenty of opportunity for the civilian hero.

This kind of system would be great... (2)

SilasMortimer (1612867) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102502)

...for one way transport, don't you think? You transport troops or what have you with a human pilot, then send the plane back like a carrier pigeon.

Attach a system like this to a canoe and you'll never have to worry about crossing rivers with cannibals again. (I couldn't help it.)

Northwest Airlines (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102692)

The 'flight crew takes a nap' option.

Next step... (1)

bhsx (458600) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102818)

Next step is to make a pilot-optional UAV fighter with an armed jet-packed pilot. Something like the guy that just jettisoned across the Grand Canyon, but take that tech further, and make it more compact. Then of course you could outfit the pilot with the ability to fly the UAV while he's flying himself to safefy, or dropping himself quickly behind enemy lines. The pilot's arms would house another micro-UAV attack drone on each, which he could deploy while in the air, jettisoning himself about; to distract or target any bogeys that might lock on him or his larger UAV. Round this all out by making the whole package small enough to be launched from a larger, possilby pilot-optional craft with one or two under each wing. THEN we're talking. Pilot-optional UAVs all the way down.

People are just clueless about UAVs (4, Informative)

lsdi (1585395) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102836)

I've been piloting for more than 10 years and I'm a UAV enthusiast but, I'm sorry: Globalhawk is piloted by humans, it has the same autopilot that any good airplane has, including a (similar) ILS-CAT-III and inertial system. (in fact, they use EXACTLY the same honeywell/rockwell autopilot than most modern planes) Yes, it can land and take-off on it's own (in specific circumstances), just like ANY Airbus and Boeing NG does. Autopilots do not fly airplanes, they just move control surfaces based on angles and speeds, it's just a script/formula. It does not learn how to react to unexpected situations, and it does not accumulates experience: required to "override" information read by instruments. Making a car that follows marks on ground is not driving. It took decades to make cars actually drive them by themselves, yet, they cheat by using radars.

Re:People are just clueless about UAVs (1)

e70838 (976799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36104162)

The autopilot could be fixed to do most of the tasks of a pilot except one: correctly react to a technical failure.
Human pilots (should) understand enough of their aircraft to make sound decisions when something go wrong.
In fact technical problems are not seldom at all, most of the time passengers do not know there was a problem.

Re:People are just clueless about UAVs (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105508)

Making a car that follows marks on ground is not driving. It took decades to make cars actually drive them by themselves, yet, they cheat by using radars.

Giving the car additional senses that we don't have isn't cheating, it's much of the point of building robots in the first place.

With that said, when someone figures out how to give me sunglasses with active RADAR integrated that doesn't simultaneously give me brain cancer and which can run for more than five seconds on a charge then I'll be highly interested. Wake me up when I can pull a flying car out of a briefcase.

Re:People are just clueless about UAVs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36115328)

I've been piloting for more than 10 years and I'm a UAV enthusiast but, I'm sorry: Globalhawk is piloted by humans, it has the same autopilot that any good airplane has, including a (similar) ILS-CAT-III and inertial system. (in fact, they use EXACTLY the same honeywell/rockwell autopilot than most modern planes)

Yes, it can land and take-off on it's own (in specific circumstances), just like ANY Airbus and Boeing NG does.

Autopilots do not fly airplanes, they just move control surfaces based on angles and speeds, it's just a script/formula. It does not learn how to react to unexpected situations, and it does not accumulates experience: required to "override" information read by instruments.

Making a car that follows marks on ground is not driving. It took decades to make cars actually drive them by themselves, yet, they cheat by using radars.

Great comment

Awesome. Wake me up again when... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36102962)

Now, please wake me up when they finally get to the point of having a pilot for which the vehicle is optional.

Re:Awesome. Wake me up again when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104760)

Now, please wake me up when they finally get to the point of having a pilot for which the vehicle is optional.

Obviously you've never met a real pilot.

Done before? (1)

formfeed (703859) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103026)

the use of unmanned aerial vehicles

Didn't Amelia Earhart have an aircraft decades ago that could fly both manned or unmanned?

Re:Done before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103990)

Didn't Amelia Earhart have an aircraft decades ago that could fly both manned or unmanned?

no

It has finally happened (2)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103064)

When I was learning to fly my instructors used to say that the commercial airliner crew of the future would consist of a pilot and a dog. The pilot's job is to feed the dog. The dog's job is to keep the pilot from touching anything.

bean counter says: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103078)

What's wrong with a underslung pod on a Predator, a midget, a Fubata, and a scuba tank?

Soon to be (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 3 years ago | (#36103158)

Hello, welcome to the new Boeing 666 with fully automatic pilot and stewardesses. Now that we've taken off, please note that we have secured the passenger seat locks so that you cannot move. The flight attendants will now bring out the beverage cart and mobile surgical units. Do not be alarmed. Do not be alarmed. Nothing can go wrong. Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do. I'm half crazy all for the love of you.

uh oh (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36103216)

"...All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record."

You know what happens next...

aka back seat driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104148)

Turn left - no the other left!

for military information gathering... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36104170)

...not to mention to drop bombs on suspects of terrorism.

Yes, we're noticing Obama's infamous 'drone war', even though certain parties avoid mentioning it.

Making the obvious comment (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | more than 3 years ago | (#36105792)

Am I really the first one in this thread to suggest that maybe "Firebird" is an unfortunate choice of name for a 'pilot optional' aircraft? Really?

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  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>