Business: The Third Man Theme

Will two in the cockpit do?

Two pilots in a commercial jet are company, but do three make a crowd? For years airlines and pilots have bickered over the number of people who should be in the cockpit. In the 1930s, planes like Boeing's Flying Boat had five: a pilot, copilot, navigator, radio operator and mechanic. With improved technology, the count generally dwindled to three. But airlines and planemakers have long argued that only a pilot and co-pilot are needed.

Now Boeing, the largest manufacturer of commercial aircraft, has weighed in with statistics showing that two-member crews on planes like its own 737...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!