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Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson | [William Langewiesche]

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

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. 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?
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Audible Editor Reviews

In 2009, a minute and a half after takeoff, a US Airways Airbus collided with a flock of geese, leaving its engines destroyed. In less than three minutes, Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger managed to glide the plane to safety in the Hudson River. William Langewiesche explores how much of the "Miracle on the Hudson" was due to advances in technology rather than Sullenberger's ability, using this event as a starting point for his insightful analysis of the changing world of commercial aviation.

Award-winning narrator David Drummond's unrushed performance is casually informative, making technical descriptions easy for listeners to grasp. Drummond also picks up on Langewiesche's sly humor, especially in the chapter on goose behavior.

Publisher's Summary

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 20 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.

©2009 William Langewiesche; (P)2009 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"In this expertly researched book, rendered in spare, pitch-perfect prose, Langewiesche has turned a feel-good tabloid story into an enduring work of literature." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (62 )
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4.4 (17 )
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  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-27-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 04-27-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Abridgement"

    This is Langewiesche's "take" on the miracle pilots Sullenberger and Skiles and their Hudson River landing. I got more than I expected out of the deal. After you finish with this wonderful book you have been introduced to Kitty Hawk, aircraft engineering and design, the life of pilots, airline economics and all manner of things airline related.

    This book is well written, will keep your attention, informs the listener throughout, and Drummond's reading is great. Even if you have absolutely no interest in airliners or "The Miracle on the Hudson" pick this one up. You'll be a better informed traveler.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12
    Joshua Kim Etna, NH, United States 06-10-12 Member Since 2005

    mostly nonfiction listener

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Soaring"

    Every time I read one of Langewiesche's "pilot books" I feel much calmer about flying. Going on a commercial airline flight is about the safest thing we can ever do. Particularly if we are flying on a big modern jet. The story of how the career of an airline pilot has morphed from a high-status / high-pay profession to one barely paying professional wages is particularly dispiriting. Apparently, nobody likes working for the "legacy" carriers - one of the reasons why nobody likes flying them either. If you think you know the whole story about that famous landing in the Hudson (I did), than you are in for a treat. Langewiesche uses this freak event to tell a much bigger, and much more important, story about how airplanes and the airline business has changed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Larry Graber Memphis, TN 08-06-12
    Larry Graber Memphis, TN 08-06-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Truth stranger than fiction"
    Would you listen to Fly by Wire again? Why?

    No, because I already heard it.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What went through the pilots mind in the 2 minutes that he lost power before he ditched it in the Hudson.


    What about David Drummond’s performance did you like?

    Pleasant to listen to.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    I love to learn how things unfold behind the scenes. I am not a pilot, but I learned a lot about what it is like being a pilot and how they respond to emergencies. I also learned a lot about the "fly by wire" planes that we all fly as passengers. I truly enjoyed the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amadeo 05-25-12
    Amadeo 05-25-12
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    "Absolutely fantastic"
    Any additional comments?

    It is literally a second-by-second examination of the event. Great attention to detail (you'll learn quite a bit about the A320 avionics - and you will enjoy it), superbly written. An incredible book. Langewiesche at his best.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teravaxis DULUTH, GA, United States 05-07-12
    Teravaxis DULUTH, GA, United States 05-07-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great Blend of Technology, Human Interest & Drama"

    Do not think that this is just another adoring story of Capt. Sullenberger's amazing landing on the Hudson. Langewiesche does a superb job of storytelling and provides an exceptionally researched background narrative concerning the development of the first totally fly-by-wire commercial aircraft. As the story of flight 1549 unfolds you will hear about what really happens during a bird strike and how jet engine manufacturers test for such events (somewhat bizarre), some amazing (as well as some very tragic) tales of stalled-engine landings, and the pioneering efforts of aviation visionaries such as Airbus executive Bernard Ziegler to develop the fly-by-wire concept in the face of dogged opposition. A great story made even better by a superb performance. I was sorry to see it end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Germantown, TN, United States 12-11-10
    Mary Germantown, TN, United States 12-11-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Very technical"

    This book is not a good listen for someone who knows little about aircraft engineering. A bulk of the story addressed the technical aspects of aeronautics and other accidents. I appreciate the importance of aeronautics and the pilots' vast knowledge for making a successful landing that day, however It is not a great listen for someone who wants to know the story of the day and the circumstances of this particular accident. The title implies technical content which I did not realize.

    0 of 5 people found this review helpful
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