I’ve heard it all. Nothing, however, gets me sputtering more than misunderstandings about cockpit automation — the idea that modern aircraft essentially fly themselves, with pilots on hand merely as a backup in case of trouble. “Baby sitting a flying computer” as one smartass letter writer recently put it here on Salon.
This is so far from the truth that it’s difficult to get my arms around it and begin to explain how. Baby sitting a computer? Really? I’ll keep that in mind during my next recurrency training and simulator check; the next time I’m weaving around thunderheads over the Amazon; shooting a VOR approach in Africa in a rainstorm at 4 a.m., or setting up for an ILS in blowing snow and a quarter-mile visibility….