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Fly by Wire (Anglais) Broché – 26 octobre 2010

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Descriptions du produit

Revue de presse

A wonderful story expertly told, and the ending is not just happy but uplifting: almost everyone involved comes out of it not just safely but extremely well. Except the geese. Their day totally sucked. (Geoff Dyer, Observer)

Enthralling piece of reportage ... concisely written and compelling ... Langewiesche's unblinkered analysis of Sullenberger's five-minute glide into history reveals the more complicated truth behind the creation of a modern hero (Sunday Times)

A crisp, meticulously and dramatically told account of the as yet unresolved story of how humans and advanced technology are learning to form a partnership ... [Langewiesche] writes as if his pen has wings, his laptop a pair of General Electric turbofans (Guardian)

Langewiesche is at his best ... deconstructing the modern media hero (Financial Times)

Brilliant ... Langewiesche explores the approach to this moment, from the flock of Canada geese that wrecked both engines to the expertise of Sullenberger; who used the A320's automated 'fly-by-wire' system to ditch the plane with such success (Independent) --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Présentation de l'éditeur

On January 15, 2009, a US Airways Airbus A320 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport in New York, when a flock of Canada geese collided with it, destroying both of its engines. Over the next three minutes, the plane's pilot Chelsey "Sully" Sullenberger, managed to glide to a safe landing in the Hudson River. It was an instant media sensation, the "The Miracle on the Hudson", and Captain Sully was the hero. But, how much of the success of this dramatic landing can actually be credited to the genius of the pilot? To what extent is the "Miracle on the Hudson" the result of extraordinary - but not widely known, and in some cases quite controversial - advances in aviation and computer technology over the last twenty years?From the testing laboratories where engineers struggle to build a jet engine that can systematically resist bird attacks, through the creation of the A320 in France, to the political and social forces that have sought to minimize the impact of the revolutionary fly-by-wire technology, William Langewiesche assembles the untold stories necessary to truly understand "The Miracle on the Hudson", and makes us question our assumptions about human beings in modern aviation. --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 193 pages
  • Editeur : Picador USA (26 octobre 2010)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 031265538X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312655389
  • Dimensions du produit: 14 x 1,2 x 21,6 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Par Gege le 7 novembre 2014
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Good Book
I don't know why I am forced to review this book now. Pretty annoying. But anyway, book is good
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Amazon.com: 68 commentaires
45 internautes sur 50 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
"In retrospect, what mattered most to [Sullenberger's] ultimate success was not what he did, but what he chose not to do." 10 novembre 2009
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
William Langewiesche's analysis of all the factors which contributed to the "Miracle on the Hudson" is a story that matches the events themselves in terms of excitement. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, pilot of the Airbus A320 which hit a flock of geese, lost both engines, and landed in the Hudson River with no loss of life on January 15, 2009, has rightly been lauded for his performance and has become a popular hero. But he was not alone in the making of this miracle. The plane itself contributed mightily to the successful outcome and the saving of the lives of all one hundred fifty passengers and five crew. Designed to remain stable under the most extraordinary conditions, the European-made Airbus is controlled by computerized systems which can not be over-ridden by pilots as they make split second moves during emergencies. "This marriage between electrical control circuits and digital computer [has become known] as fly-by-wire."

Langewiesche, an award-winning journalist and pilot, is at home with his subject, and he has interviewed virtually everyone who could give input into this story, creating a vibrant, lively, and thoughtful analysis of all the individual elements--including luck--which contributed to this happy ending. At the same time, he also analyzes some of the elements which may have led to the accident, including the issue of bird strikes throughout aviation history and why they happen. In his attempt to give the complete picture, Langewiesche also considers the financial problems of the airlines, the power of the pilots' unions, the comfortable relationship between the NTSB and the airlines and unions, and the competition between Airbus and Boeing. He includes a number of case studies of major accidents, many of which will be familiar to readers, and one of which is the disappearance into the Atlantic of the Air France flight from Brazil to Paris in June, 2009.

As Langewiesche describes the flight from takeoff to landing in the Hudson a mere five minutes later, he really hits his stride, creating a fast-paced narrative full of tension and human drama. Co-pilot Jeffrey Skiles, air traffic controller Patrick Harten, and the flight attendants, are praised. Ultimately, Langewiesche grants enormous credit to Sullenberger for his decisions, including the decision to head for the Hudson when many thought he might have made it to an airport. "Sullenberger made the right decision. No matter what," Langewiesche says. Sullenberger also made a few original decisions based on his feel for the plane and his intense concentration during the emergency, despite the fact that these moves have never been included in any operations manual. One of these decisions helped prevent a more catastrophic loss. A serious study which nevertheless has moments of humor, Fly by Wire is a thoroughly absorbing account of a great moment in aviation history and the people and the plane which made this moment a "miracle." Mary Whipple
24 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The Miracles on the Hudson 26 novembre 2009
Par William Holmes - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
After reading "Fly By Wire" on a recent trip, I find it interesting to visit Amazon.com and see a recapitulation of the passionate debate that Langewiesche describes in his book. On the one hand, there are those who feel that "fly by wire" technology is overrated and perhaps even dangerous--these reviewers tend to give the book low marks and hard reviews, some of which strike me as a bit unfair. Other reviewers--admirers of Langewiesche's journalistic style or the cogent explanations that he offers--give him high grades. On balance, I enjoyed "Fly by Wire," but I can understand how it will hit some raw nerves.

For the record, Langewiesche has nothing but high praise for Captain Sullenberger and his crew. He agrees that they did a superb job under incredibly difficult conditions, and the fact that they did it in an Airbus A320 takes nothing away from their accomplishment. As near as I can tell, the crew of US Airways Flight 1549 are real heroes and deserve the praise they have received.

"Fly by wire" technology combines electrical control circuits and digital computers to replace traditional hydraulic and mechanical flight control systems. Langewiesche really "pokes the bear" and elicits a strong emotional response from many of his readers when he suggests that "fly by wire" was a major contributor to the Miracle on the Hudson. Readers who want their heroes to be like Beowulf, brave and omnisciently skilled, dislike the suggestion that Captain Sullenberger and his team may have been helped by the revolutionary design of the A320. Pilots who are concerned about losing control over their aircraft to computers are also bound to take issue with Langewiesche's core theme, which is that the revolution in "fly by wire" technology pioneered by Airbus has saved lives and will continue to save them. It's not unreasonable for people to argue with Langewiesche's thesis, but I'm glad that he and others are having this debate--I suspect that in the long run many air travellers will be safer for it.

Regardless of your views on this hot topic, the book is worth a read. The author is an experienced pilot, so he is able to offer more insights than most journalists who covered this story. He does a good job of discussing bird strikes (especially the somewhat unusual one that crippled Flight 1549), the development of the A320, several crashes where "fly by wire" technology might have saved hundreds of people, and other examples where highly skilled pilots "pushing the envelope" in passenger aircraft have confidently done things that are amazingly dangerous, with disastrous results.

At the end of the day, I'm sympathetic to Langewiesche's argument that even great pilots can make mistakes, and that computers can help them accomplish things at the edge of their skills and experience that they would have a hard time doing on their own. Whether the computer or the crew was the decisive factor in The Miracle on the Hudson is at some level beside the point--not every pilot will be as skilled or capable of concentration as Captain Sullenberger, and computers can help prevent mistakes by crew who are pushing the outer edge of their experience and abilities.

For those who are convinced that "fly by wire" can never outperform a great pilot, consider two things. First, the question is not really whether fly by wire can outperform Captain Sullenberger, but whether it can outperform the average pilot with the average level of experience and savoire faire. Put another way, the next time you board an airplane, ask yourself whether the pilot flying your aircraft is one of the greats who will act like Captain Sullenberger, or one who has less skill or experience (the law of probability suggests that on any given flight, you are more likely to have the latter at the controls). Second, if you believe that "great" pilots are superhumans who never make mistakes, read Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, which describes how KLM's famous and accomplished chief pilot made a series of errors that resulted in the worst air disaster in aviation history. Everyone, no matter how skilled, makes mistakes--"Fly By Wire" helps us to understand how we can harness our technology to avoid errors at the edge of the envelope where the skills or experience of most people gets spottier.
65 internautes sur 75 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Too much "fly by wire" hype 25 novembre 2009
Par Richard P. Shipman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
As a retired airline pilot who flew both Boeing and Airbus aircraft, I was "teased" into reading this book by the implication that somehow the automation of the A320 was a major factor in the successful ditching. I had heard the author on a NPR radio interview extolling the virtues of the Airbus fly by wire system (which the author uses interchangeably for aircraft automation}, and I was hardpressed to see how this affected the outcome. After finishing the book, nothing the author wrote convinced me that the ditching would have been any less successful had Captain Sullenberger been flying a Boeing under the identical conditions. While the book was a quick and enjoyable read that provided some interesting insights into the airline world these days, I really didn't learn anything new about the accident and there was a lot of "padding" in areas of little interest - i.e. migratory geese. Another complaint I had with the book was the author's advocacy of the Airbus design philsophy that basically takes as much control away from the pilot as the engineers can achieve. It seemed to me that he was using the Hudson ditching as a validation of the Airbus design philosophy, when in reality, it was the captain's skill that brought about the successful outcome. The author gives ample credit to the pilots, but he also credits the Airbus automation with "keeping the wings level," and "preventing a stall" just before touchdown, both conditions easily controllable by a capable pilot. Clearly, the extent to which aircraft should be automated is a hotly debated topic among pilots, engineers and air safety experts, with Boeing engineers leaving considerably more control in the hands of the pilots that does Airbus. A book written on this topic with the pros and cons of each design philosophy would be most interesting and informative for the flying public, but this book proves nothing except that experience and skill in the cockpit are still the most important factor in air safety.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Could/Should have been better 9 décembre 2009
Par Colin Povey - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Just finished reading this book. It really is not that good. A lot of the book is devoted to the 'fly-by-wire' philosophy of Airbus, in fact, the author strongly advocates that philosophy.

But there is not much research in this book. He did seem to talk to the pilot and first officer, and did attend the NTSB hearing, but beyond that, it seems he did little work. He does point out that there was nothing miraculous about the water landing, it was a combination of good design and great piloting. He does bring up the fact that 99% of the time, airline pilots job is very routine, and in fact, fighting apathy and boredom is one of a pilot's main job. But surely there are better book on this subject.

In addition, the books just seems to stop. It stops, but does not end, and does nothing to tie up the information in the book. I'm going to donate my copy to the library.

If flight disasters in general are what you are after, a MUCH better book is 'The Mystery of Flight 427', by Bill Adair. In this book, the author makes you feel like one of the NTSB accident investigators, as they try to find out why some planes, near landing, suddenly tumbled out of the sky.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Is Langewiesche a pompous ass or not? 25 juin 2013
Par Loren - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
First you should know that I am a retired US Airways pilot. I not only flew the Airbus aircraft, I flew THAT Airbus, just not on that day. This is a shortened version of my review of "Fly by Wire" that I wrote some time ago for a friend who asked my opinion. That friend is also a retired aviator.

William Langewiesche rubbed me the wrong way within the first dozen pages. He impressed me as a pompous ass who is willing to judge others who understand things much better than he does.

On page seven, he belittles the president of the NTSB hearing by saying, "...and he seemed to have trouble tracking some of the testimony that followed."

On page seven, he belittles pilots with statements such as, "...he was capable of intense mental focus and exceptional self-control. Normally these traits do not much matter for airline pilots, because teamwork and cockpit routines serve well enough." And on page eleven, "Sullenberger ... ignores the fact that, with exceptions, the `best and the brightest' have never chosen to become airline pilots..." And this: "If you had to pick the most desirable trait for airline pilots, it would probably be placidity." This is hooey!

First, the best and brightest have almost always sought careers with the airlines. This is because the pay and working conditions for an airline pilot are almost always better than any other flying job. Second, many other personal traits are much more important to being a successful airline pilot than placidity. One of these is intelligence, a trait he pooh-poohs as not only of low importance, but also as generally absent among airline pilots. I was a Mensa member when I started my airline career and I'm sure that many of my fellow pilots could also qualify.

It is clear that Langewiesche has never spent any significant amount of time getting to know airline pilots as a group. There are several traits that are shared by most of us. These include intelligence, self-confidence, leadership under pressure, almost obsessive attention to detail, an ability to prioritize tasks at hand, and a generally inflated ego.

In spite of my poor initial impression of the author, the discussion of the event is good. Langewiesche goes into more detail on geese than I need, but his chronological description of how things unfolded is good and well written.

It seems that he doesn't really understand aerodynamics when he tries to explain (on pages 77 and following) something about how a fixed-wing (as opposed to a rotary-wing helicopter) airplane glides. He confuses glide ratio (also called glide angle, measured in feet per mile) with rate of descent (feet per minute).

He is also under the misconception that the A-320 can maintain a 1000 feet per minute glide rate with no power from the engines. This is incorrect. In a sustained glide, Sully's Airbus would have descended at about 2000 feet per minute. The additional time in the glide was due to some combination of the left engine's meager thrust output and the momentum of the aircraft as it lost power at the top of the descent, not because it somehow has overcome the laws of physics through better design.

Langewiesche seems to have the idea that pilots don't like the Airbus and its computer-based flight protections. He says as much on page 156. "...to acquire airplanes that diminish the authority of pilots in flight." If he thinks that the type of airplane I fly diminishes my authority as captain, he is seriously misinformed. The captain's authority has less to do with actual airplane handling (stick and throttle) than with flight conduct and management.

While I do like the Airbus and its systems, I don't like the Airbus's restrictions on engine power. There are times when you really do want 110% from your engines, but the Airbus won't let you have it. The Airbus engineers have decided that even though the engines will be destroyed along with the rest of the airplane as you descend into the ground during a bout with a downburst, you will not be able to risk breaking those engines by overboosting them. Other manufacturers don't think like that. In the Boeings I have flown, it's possible to get 5-10% more thrust from the engines than they are rated to produce. Sure, it will damage the engines, probably requiring them to be changed, but isn't that better than flying into a bridge in Washington, DC, as Air Florida did? If they fail while giving 110% you are no worse off than you were before, since 100% was going to result in a crash anyway.

Around page 137, Langewiesche implies that many airline accidents are caused by poor piloting. While some are, we are learning more and more that most of them are not caused by that. Historically it has always been expedient to blame two dead pilots for a crash. If the authorities can do that, then there is nothing wrong with the airplane design, with the training, with ATC, with weather monitoring, or with anything else that might need expensive modification. How many crashes in the 1940's and 1950's were caused by downbursts and microbursts before these weather phenomena were discovered? How many of those crashes were blamed on the dead pilots?

Langewiesche blames the captain of the Colgan Air (often incorrectly described as Continental Airlines) flight 3407 as the cause of that plane's crash while on approach to Buffalo. That crash resulted from failure to recognize the stick pusher as the last warning before a stall. The captain pulled back against the pusher when the airplane automatically tried to pitch down to recover from an impending stall.

I don't know how Colgan Air trains its crews, but I have been familiar with stick shakers and stick pushers since I first flew an airplane that had them. My training included approaches to stalls in simulators to allow me the opportunity to recognize and recover from them. Did Colgan Air do the same for its crews? According to the Wall Street Journal (11 May 2009), they did not. "Capt. Marvin Renslow had never been properly trained by the company to respond to a warning system designed to prevent the plane from going into a stall..."

It appears that in the case of Colgan Air 3407, the failure was more with the airline's pilot training and not so much with the pilot.

It's easy for Langewiesche to blame the dead pilot, while proclaiming that an Airbus would never allow that situation to develop, but the Airbus crash reported on pages 140-151 belies that view. Airplanes, like other machines, can never be made idiot-proof because idiots are too ingenious.

I had no idea that Sully's airplane was so badly damaged during the touchdown. I had heard that a male passenger pushed past the aft flight attendant and opened one of the rear floor-level doors, thereby admitting the flood. While on page 191, Langewiesche tells us that this is correct, the main flooding appears to have come from the holes in the floor at the rear of the fuselage.

In spite of Langewiesche's apparent disdain for airline pilots, I thought this was a great read. He gave good, concise descriptions of several accidents besides Sully's that I had heard of previously. He did get a few technical details muddled, but I don't think I caught him in one true error. This tends, to me, to lend credence to his entire book.

The one thing that is overlooked by so many who review this accident is the single most important thing that occurred in those few minutes following the engine failures was the DECISION to land in the river. There are many pilots who could have made that landing, but very few who would have made the decision to ditch rather than to find someplace on land to put the plane down. Sully's skill at airplane handling certainly helped, but it was the decision that saved all those people.

If it hadn't been for the note taking for this review that I did along the way, this would have been a fast read. It was certainly entertaining and enlightening. Maybe Langewiesche isn't such a pompous ass after all.
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