Perspectives

Who’s Flying the Plane?

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

Abstract

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?

This content is limited to qualifying members.

Existing members, please login first.

If you have an existing account please login now to access this article or view your purchase options.

Purchase only this article ($15)

Create a free account, then purchase this article to download or access it online for 24 hours.

Purchase an SMJ online subscription ($75)

Create a free account, then purchase a subscription to get complete access to all articles for a full year.

Purchase a membership plan (fees vary)

Premium members can access all articles plus recieve many more benefits. View all membership plans and benefit packages.

References

1. Federal Aviation Administration. Air traffic by the numbers. https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/by_the_numbers. Published June 6, 2019. Accessed January 17, 2020.
2. Houston S. 5 steps to becoming a commercial pilot. https://www.thebalancecareers.com/how-to-become-a-commercial-pilot-282898. Published February 28, 2019. Accessed January 17, 2020.
3. Rice S, Winter S. Despite passenger fears, automation is the future of aviation. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2019/03/27/plane-aviation-automation-autopilot/#.XVLPdS3MwW8. Published March 27, 2019. Accessed January 17, 2020.
4. Rice S, Winter SR, Mehta R, et al. What factors predict the type of person who is willing to fly in an autonomous commercial airplane? J Air Transport Manag 2019;75:131-138.
5. Sharkey N, Sharkey A. Robotic surgery: on the cutting edge of ethics. Computer 2013;46:56-64.