Discuss as:

The Left Seat

By Brian Williams, Anchor and managing editor

"The Left Seat" is the title of a long-running column in Flying magazine. Among pilots, the left seat is shorthand for pilot in command -- in a two-seat cockpit configuration, that's where the pilot sits, unless the adjacent first officer is flying that leg of the flight.

If you're like a lot of us, when you board a plane you find it somehow comforting to see the pilot -- to make eye contact with him or her, as if there is some determination our lay eyes can arrive at -- as if that brief visual relationship will guarantee a good heart, a good soul, ability and bearing -- and a safe flight.

Please read the accounts of today's hearing in Washington -- read about the young First Officer on the Colgan Air flight in Buffalo that claimed 50 lives -- read about the crew and realize what's going on here. This accident may result in enough consumer outrage to lead to re-regulation of aspects of aviation -- an area where both Government and industry may have some explaining to do. To read the transcripts of the cockpit conversations, and to hear the testimony in this case so far -- is a harrowing experience for those of us who fly or have loved ones on airplanes...and those of us who love aviation.

For those following the Supreme Court vacancy, the AP has received a leak/information dump on just who the President is considering. Interesting.

We hope you can join us tonight -- our Making A Difference series continues, and a lot more.