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April 21, 2024
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In the wake of the recent Germanwings 9525 crash of an Airbus A320 in France, which prosecutors have attributed to a suicidal pilot intentionally bringing down the aircraft, the German Air Traffic Controllers union is calling for the installation of software to remotely control the aircraft in such instances, allowing ATC to take over and bring an airplane to a safe landing, much as flying a drone.

Such capabilities may already exist in the form of a Boeing Uninterruptible Autopilot (BUAP), which was brought to light in a lawsuit by a former Northwest Airlines captain and its existence disclosed by Boeing, in testimony, as having been installed on Boeing aircraft built since 2007. The goal of such technology is to prevent a hijacking and potential use of the aircraft as a terrorist weapon.   While this link has additional details about the technology, it does not reveal who has access to or controls that technology, specific aircraft it has been installed on, and who can turn a commercial aircraft, effectively, into a drone.