Aviation safety is about people as much as technology, says Jeff Skiles, the first officer of the US Airways jet that landed safely on the Hudson River after colliding with a flock of geese. Skiles says the rigid, top-down management style of many airlines has changed gradually over the past two decades. "Captains gave commands and delegated authority only when they chose to. They had no training in management or team-building." When accident investigators pinned more and more mishaps on pilot error, training began to stress shared responsibility and decision-making by the entire team, according to Skiles. "We came to understand that the best safety device wasn't an electronic box. It was the pilot sitting next to us, and the eyes and the ears of flight attendants in the back."
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