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Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson

Overview

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, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, managed to glide it to a safe landing in the Hudson River. It was an instant media sensation—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...
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Overview

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, Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, managed to glide it to a safe landing in the Hudson River. It was an instant media sensation—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 past twenty years?

In Fly by Wire, journalist William Langewiesche takes us on a strange and unexpected journey into the fascinating world of advanced aviation. 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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With inflection and timing, narrator David Drummond turns the playbacks of other less fortunate flights into thrilling nail-biters." —-AudioFile
Clyde Haberman
As in American Ground, his 2002 account of the cleanup at the World Trade Center site, Langewiesche is less interested in human drama than in clinical analysis…No doubt, brave pilots like Sullenberger and Skiles deserve hero worship. But Langewiesche makes a convincing case for the valiant A320. The enduring image will be of its drifting nose-high in the icy Hudson, "refusing to die."
—The New York Times Book Review
Dwight Garner
Fly by Wire is not just about Chesley Sullenberger…Mr. Langewiesche uses Flight 1549 as the pretext for a smart, confident, wide-ranging discussion of commercial aviation…He painstakingly reconstructs what happened that January day on Flight 1549, and spends a good deal of time talking about the damage birds can do to an aircraft. He writes about how the National Transportation Safety Board goes about its work, and about the physics of gliding. The book is also filled with hair-raising stories of other flights in peril, the kind of thing Mr. Langewiesche writes about as well as anyone alive. He is so familiar with airplanes that his descriptions of how they work are simple and revelatory.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
Much more than a straight retelling of U.S. Airways flight 1549's miraculous landing on the Hudson, Langewiesche's latest uses the story—and the heroism of pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles—as a lens through which to examine the advances in and flaws of modern air travel and piloting. David Drummond delivers a solid reading, relaying the detail-laden text—the backstories of the pilots, the technical information, the gripping blow-by-blow—with clarity and careful pacing. A subtle performance that enhances and never overwhelms the material. A Farrar, Straus & Giroux hardcover (Reviews, Nov. 9). (Jan.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400145461
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/21/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Library - Unabridged CD
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


William Langewiesche is the international correspondent for Vanity Fair and the author of Sahara Unveiled, American Ground, The Outlaw Sea, and The Atomic Bazaar.

David Drummond has made his living as an actor for over twenty-five years, and he received an AudioFile Earphones Award for his first audiobook, Love 'Em or Lose 'Em.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Great read, a side of flying we never see

    Everyone has seen People magazine coverage of Chesley Sullenberger and
    his heroic landing on the Hudson last year. We've seen the videos of the
    crash and later of his smiling grandfatherly face. Fly by Wire goes
    beyond those images and brings you the story of the plane, the pilot and
    the years of work that made the landing a success. The author relates
    how computerized upgrades make it possible for pilots make correct
    decisions in emergency situations. Highly technical situations are
    explained so they can be understood and the final chapter brings to the
    surface the final moments of the landing and the courage of the average
    person. Excellent.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2010

    Good review of how the public thinks of commercial airplanes

    Well researched on the Airbus side; not as well on the Boeing side. It took half the book to get into the title premise. Excellent for those of us in the industry to remind ourselves how our customers think.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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