By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Captain "Sully" Sullenberger's book about his engine-out ditching last January is already on the newsstands, but joining it this week is a very different look at the same events, by writer William Langewiesche, who is also a pilot. In Fly By Wire: The Geese, the Glide and the "Miracle" on the Hudson, Langewiesche "uses Flight 1549 as the pretext for a smart, confident, wide-ranging discussion of commercial aviation," says a review in The New York Times. He also examines the role of the Airbus A320 itself in handling the zero-thrust glide, and says that some of the credit for the good outcome should to Bernard Ziegler, an Airbus engineer who developed the airplane's fly-by-wire control system. The Times reviewer describes the book as "prickly and uneven but plainspoken." Aviators are sure to find it interesting, whether or not they agree with all of Langewiesche's opinions or his interpretations of events.
The Langewiesche name may be familiar to pilots who recall his father's 1944 classic, Stick and Rudder. The younger Langewiesche grew up around airplanes, and began his writing career at Flying magazine, then left to find work as a professional pilot. In 1990, he returned to writing as a correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, and since 2006 has been on the staff of Vanity Fair. He has written several books, including one about his experiences as a pilot: Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight. His new book is in bookstores now. Click here for a lengthy excerpt from the prologue, posted on the New York Times Web site.