Frequent Flyer: One Plane, One Passenger, and the Spectacular Feat of Commercial Flight
Delta Air Lines' ship 714 is a wide-body jet that over the last twenty years has successfully flown more than two million Americans over half the planet - threading skies filled with other planes, and navigating storms, wind, and the financial chaos that has wrecked many airlines. And ship 714 has done it so easily that the people sitting 33,000 feet in the air - where humans normally can't be - spend more time thinking about whether they want beef or chicken than the miracle of magic and technology that got them there. On a cold morning in Atlanta, Georgia, Bob Reiss strapped himself into the jump seat of ship 714, as pilots prepared for takeoff, and began a voyage that millions of air passengers only dream about. For the next three days, he stayed in the cockpit to discover everything that goes into seventy-two hours of operation of one commercial airliner. Reiss had already sat down with the chairman of Delta in his office, crawled with the mechanics into the engines, and tagged luggage with the baggage handlers. He had met the people who designed ship 714, the test pilots who first flew it, the FAA inspectors who inspect it, and the antiterrorist personnel who protect it. He watched air traffic controllers guide the plane through the sky and joined dispatchers at 3:00 A.M. sessions. He looked over the shoulders of schedulers, weather forecasters, salesmen, labor leaders, and senior management as they orchestrated an enormous industrial symphony. Reiss went to flight attendant and pilot training and even "flew" the multimillion-dollar simulators - which he kept "crashing" into the side of the computer-generated hangar. Reiss learned all that there was to see and more - the ghoststories, the sex-in-the-plane stories, and the close-call stories. Everything that has ever happened in aviation - from the Wright brothers to virtual reality, from corporate warfare to pilots' personal lives - is part of the singular, breathing machine, ship 714, and the spectacular, thrilling, and reassuring experience of flight.
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agents Air Traffic Control aircraft airline airplane airport Alger Allen altitude Angeles asked Atlanta aviation baggage Bill Berry C. E. Woolman cabin captain Captain X checklist cockpit copilot crack crash crew Delta Air Lines Delta pilot Eastern employees engine fares feet flew fliers flight attendants flight plan flown flying Fred Gordon fuel fuselage gate Greene ground head Honolulu landing gear Lockheed looked Malcolm McMahan mechanics miles minutes needed never night passengers Paulette percent plane Porter problem radar radio Rick Ron Allen route runway Salt Lake City schedule screen seat sengers ship smiled someone speed started stewardess story takeoff talk there's thing thought Tina told TriStar trying turned walked watch weather wind wing Woolman York