Who’s Flying the Plane?

Authors: Paul L. Friedlander, MD, David J. Doukas, MD, Marc J. Kahn, MD, MBA


With an estimated 44,000 flights daily for more than 2.7 million passengers, airplane travel has become very commonplace in the United States.1 Commercial pilots are required to have at least 250 flight hours, including 100 hours of pilot-in-command time and 50 hours of cross-country flying. They also need to have at least 10 hours of instrument training and 10 hours of experience in a complex aircraft.2 This is in addition to passing both written and practical tests. The fortunate low numbers of flight mishaps speak to the talent and training of commercial pilots worldwide, but who is really flying the plane?

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