William Langewiesche’s new book, “Fly by Wire,” “The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson”
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/11/books/11book.html?ref=todayspaperWhat the public doesn’t understand, he writes in “Fly by Wire,” is the extent to which advances in aviation and digital technology have made pilots almost superfluous, perhaps even “the weak link in flight."
He assesses the low morale at most major American airlines caused by bankruptcies, pay cuts, union strife and the decimation of retirement pensions. He refers to these things as “the insults of an airline career.”
“If you had to pick the most desirable trait for airline pilots, it would probably be placidity,” he says. He adds that “with exceptions, the ‘best and the brightest’ have never chosen to become airplane pilots, at whatever salary, because of the terrible this-is-my-life monotony of the job.”