Coughlin: What do you think the first applications, in terms of market pull, will be for advanced air mobility?

Blue: I suppose it’s the urban part of advanced air mobility. Again, the weather factor is something I remain uncomfortable with. Flying is great when the weather is good, but you can get in a lot of trouble if you are not prepared for bad weather. And unfortunately, weather is a factor we all have to deal with.

I suppose it’s theoretically easier to control air mobility vehicles than it is to control unpiloted cars. The two technologies perhaps go together. If we are able to show that automated driving cars work and produce a better safety result all around, that will tell you it’s probably applicable to airplanes. In the meantime, I would not want to go up in an airplane that was totally without a pilot.

Remotely piloted airplanes for military use are something else. They have all the advantages of the mission in terms of endurance … and not having to worry about the physical needs of pilots. I’m a believer in remotely and unpiloted A.I.-enabled use of these vehicles. But we are not quite there yet. Will we get there? I would say almost certainly we will.

Susan Keen Flynn is managing editor of Composites Manufacturing magazine. Email comments to

Aviation pioneer Linden S. Blue is an owner and vice chairman of San Diego-based General Atomics.