Who is flying the plane?

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Hour 2

Airbus A320 cockpit
Airbus A320 cockpit

The common airline passenger concern of how a plane stays in the air may now be replaced with ‘who is flying the plane?’ The idea of the captain in the cockpit piloting a plane as a grace-under-pressure act of courage may be a dated convention as the development of digital computers controlling flight instead of relying on mechanical back-ups has become more standard. Our guests include PATRICK SMITH who writes the Ask the Pilot column for Salon.com and WILLIAM LANGEWIESCHE, writer, pilot and international correspondent for “Vanity Fair,” whose new book Fly By Wire describes this new strain of airplane and what it means to modern air travel.
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[audio: 120809_110630.mp3]

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