It’s something that many of us take for granted: commercial air travel. We check in, squeeze into our tiny seats, buckle up, prepare for lift-off, and eventually, for landing.
Of course, every once in a while, things don’t go quite as planned. There are malfunctions, bird strikes, and worse. Still, plane travel is still one of the safest ways to travel.
This month, however, a whole model of planes is being grounded for safety reasons. After an incident in Boston and another involving the emergency landing of a plane in Japan, Boeing 787s around the world are being held on the ground by regulators.
What’s the issue with the Boeing 787? And will it fly again? And as we move towards an era of greater technological reliance, is American training enough engineers to keep us the pace?
Miles O’Brien is a broadcast news journalist specializing in aviation, space and technology. He is the science correspondent for PBS NewsHour, and a regular correspondent for the PBS documentary series Frontline.
And Dr. Cynthia Bir is a biomedical engineer and professor at Wayne State University.