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April 17, 2024
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In the wake of the disappearance and assumed crash of Malaysian flight 370, industry chatter regarding uninterruptible autopilots installed on Boeing aircraft has intensified. Boeing was awarded a patent for this technology in 2006, and reportedly began installations a year later. According to an August 2009 story (requires a login) from FlightGlobal, Airbus considered equipping the A350XWB with an automated system that would put the aircraft into an unaided emergency descent should unsafe cabin pressure be detected.

An uninterruptible autopilot is a device that could be activated in the event of a hijacking, or attempted takeover, of the aircraft that locks out control of the aircraft from the cockpit and enables the aircraft to be remotely flown to a safe location and landed. The technology is essentially similar to that used in remote control flying of drones.