Fly By Wire Summary

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Book Review: “Fly by Wire” by William Langewiesche
I. Book Summary Fly by Wire is an impressive, must-read master piece written by William Langewiesche. In his book, William Langewiesche humorously examines the changing landscape of today’s aviation industry. The book artfully and clearly renders the rich history of civil aviation and explores recent developments in technology, aviation unions, and financial challenges facing the industry. The author posits that aviation is a field whereby human capabilities have been surpassed by machines. Recent advancements in aviation, including fly by wire, led the author to conclude that it might be necessary to cede authority to technology
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Langewiesche’s FAA qualifications, including Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) and expired Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) certifications, confirm that he is equally qualified as a flight captain. Langewiesche’s book upstaged President George W. Bush’s farewell public address to the families of victims involved in the Airbus A320 incident. The text begins by examining the principle victims and villains of the fatal incident. For example, Langewiesche discusses the explosion of the Canadian goose population from 200,000 to 4,000,000 between 1970 and 2009. The explosion is attributed to “creation of non- migrant flocks of populations in Canada by the wildlife authorities simply by flipping the wings of the geese (53).” Worth noting are two sections of the book namely: “Fly by Wire” and “Survival.” These sections are interrelated. The former details uncertainties associated with an automated flight control system and its intervention capabilities in the event of a disaster. On the other hand, the former explores alternative human options to safe …show more content…
With respect to technology, airplanes configured with fly by wire systems tend to achieve the desired glide. In addition, the system effectively gears up the flaps in order to retract possible spoilers. In this regard, the fly by wire system in Airbus A320 was perhaps, instrumental to the safety of the crew. With this system, the plane was already configured for the most optimal glide at a varied range of airspeeds and thus, the pilot was simply required to adjust the speed depending on the flight conditions. The recommended gliding speed in civil aviation ranges between 200 and 250 nautical miles per hour. In the Airbus A320 incident, gliding beyond the critical vertical velocity was unnecessary (Langewiesche 125). Perhaps, the plane would have landed gentler if the pilot had flown northwards. Subsequently, there would have been no need for ground

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