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The Problem with Pilots

How Physicians, Engineers, and Airpower Enthusiasts Redefined Flight

Timothy P. Schultz

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An illuminating look at how human vulnerability led to advances in aviation technology.

As aircraft flew higher, faster, and farther in the early days of flight, pilots were exposed as vulnerable, inefficient, and dangerous. They asphyxiated or got the bends at high altitudes; they fainted during high-G maneuvers; they spiraled to the ground after encountering clouds or fog. Their capacity to commit fatal errors seemed boundless. The Problem with Pilots tells the story of how, in the years between the world wars, physicians and engineers sought new ways to address these difficulties and bridge…

An illuminating look at how human vulnerability led to advances in aviation technology.

As aircraft flew higher, faster, and farther in the early days of flight, pilots were exposed as vulnerable, inefficient, and dangerous. They asphyxiated or got the bends at high altitudes; they fainted during high-G maneuvers; they spiraled to the ground after encountering clouds or fog. Their capacity to commit fatal errors seemed boundless. The Problem with Pilots tells the story of how, in the years between the world wars, physicians and engineers sought new ways to address these difficulties and bridge the widening gap between human and machine performance.

A former Air Force pilot, Timothy P. Schultz delves into archival sources to understand the evolution of the pilot–aircraft relationship. As aviation technology evolved and enthusiasts looked for ways to advance its military uses, pilots ceded hands-on control to sophisticated instrument-based control. By the early 1940s, pilots were sometimes evicted from aircraft in order to expand the potential of airpower—a phenomenon much more common in today's era of high-tech (and often unmanned) aircraft.

Connecting historical developments to modern flight, this study provides an original view of how scientists and engineers brought together technological, medical, and human elements to transform the pilot's role. The Problem with Pilots does away with the illusion of pilot supremacy and yields new insights into our ever-changing relationship with intelligent machines.

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The Problem with Pilots

Timothy P. Schultz

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Reviews

Reviews

This book does what any good history book should do — introduce new ideas, new ways of looking at old ideas, and it pushes its field (aviation history) in new directions, opening new doors for further study and generating interesting new questions. Highly recommended.

The Problem with Pilots is a worthy addition to the scholarship on how aviation evolved during the first half of the twentieth century and its influence on the decades that followed. It benefits from thorough archival and published primary source documentation.

Is the original concept of the pilot, going, going, gone forever in this modern high speed, highly technical, highly manoeuvrable, flying world? You will have to read the book...

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
280
ISBN
9781421424798
Illustration Description
10 halftones
Table of Contents

Timeline
Abbreviations
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. The Pathology of Flight
3. Engineering the Human Machine
4. Flying Blind
5. The Changing Role of the Human Component
6. Flight without Flyers
7

Timeline
Abbreviations
Preface
Acknowledgments
1. Introduction
2. The Pathology of Flight
3. Engineering the Human Machine
4. Flying Blind
5. The Changing Role of the Human Component
6. Flight without Flyers
7. The Modern Pilot, Redefined
8. New Horizons of Flight
9. Conclusion
Coda
About the Author
Notes
Index

Author Bio