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"pilots almost superfluous"

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Well-known member
Nov 2, 2004
William Langewiesche’s new book, “Fly by Wire,” “The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson”
What 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.”
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Wait, Capt. Sullenberger didn't have to do anything? Guess he just sat there and watched as the plane did all the work. Mr. Langewiesche is a d0uce bag.
Yeah-What a clown....

This guy is so clueless.. Let's all think about the things that never made the papers. Remember all the times that some computer crapped out, and you figured out some other way to do things-or some way around the problem

Some minor system malfunction in a fully-automated aircraft has the potential to kill everyone on board. Think about how many times you have picked up the checklist, hit some buttons, and solved the problem. What if no one was there to it these buttons.

I can think of secan think of several times during my airline experiences where something happened, and there was no checklist for that failure. We firgued things out, landed and things were O.K. A computer will just crap its pants and you will literally get the "blue screen of death."

These things happen every day, the plane lands fine, and the people in the back have no idea that we just saved them a lot of anguish. You cannot create a computer which cannot fail-you cannot design a system which will not crap out on you in new and inventive ways. We have come to take human intervention for granted-but it is a very important part of this equation.

-I know I will never set foot on any fully-automated airplane. You can take that one to the bank.
This guy should ride along with me on one of my DC9 5 day trips. The only thing "superfluous" in my flight deck is the recline lever on my chair.
I notice these people aren't very quick to say they'd be perfectly happy riding in the back of a pilotless aircraft.
Maybe someone should take him up in an airplane, enter into a stall or spin and see if this guy can do any better recovering from it. He's on the outside, looking in.

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