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You'd imagine the pilots would notice if the auto-pilot started flying erratically. I'm sure it could be used to confuse the hell out of the pilots though.



Instrument failure isn't always detected by the crew. In the case of Air France 447 in 2009, even the instruments that were working correctly weren't properly understood.

The black box transcript from AF 447 is quite an interesting read: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/crashes/...

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I remember reading that - it is quite terrible but fascinating. It seemed pretty clear that the the crash was 100% human error due to the co-pilot basically panicking and losing his mind. Though it was initiated by an instrument failure.

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Planes have crashed for lesser reasons...

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Even if the pilots didn't, ATC would (and the plane's own GPS unit's internal checks might notice as well) - and then it's simple enough to disable GPS and use VOR navigation (or radar vectors, in a pinch).

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Couldn't the same thing happen with a drone? After all they are being controlled by someone one the ground. If you notice it behaving erratically or ATC notices and contacts you about it you could correct the issue. In fact that is exactly what happened in this situation the drone's autopilot was overridden by another pilot to prevent it from crashing.

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