“It’s all on autopilot, right?”

Autonomy versus automation, a perennial discussion. But the nature of human intervention in flight is much more subtle than simply the mechanics of flying. The autopilot was selected as we climbed out of Heathrow. The blue sky beckoned, the south coast almost unnaturally stark on the clearest of summer days. A heavy Airbus A321 needs a little bit of attention on a turning departure so we had planned a pause in the flap retraction sequence until the heading change was complete. It afforded us a better turn radius. A bit more margin over the lower end of the speed range. A bit more resilience should we bounce through a bit of wake. Continue reading


If the tux fits, it’s your problem

The crackle of the envelope. A painfully long pause. The wrong name. The rest is news. Amidst the diamonds, the sparkle and the swish of the Oscars the red carpet gave us a peep behind the scenes at (PriceWaterhouseCooper) PwC this year. Let’s be clear; nobody died. The mix-up really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but, like Hamlet, we have been entertained by a melodrama which has resonance for our flying lives. Continue reading