Actually the issues today, I was getting at, are the computer control of everything. 99% unnecessary in my opinion.
The best tool pilots have today is the autopilot; no question asked, in my opinion. Although the skill and concentration required to hand fly an airplane is necessary, that doesn't mean that it should be the main method of flying airplanes, or rather ones any bigger than perhaps a piston twin. Yes, we flew planes in the past with stick and rudder the entire time, and we trimmed instead of autopilot. But in 1914, when Lawrence Sperry successfully demonstrated the autopilot, it was the greatest safety innovation to ever hit aviation. Why? Well, because the autopilot fly the plane the way you tell it to: tracking a heading, holding altitude, making precision turns, and in turn easing teh job of the pilot. With automation, flying becomes safer, because the pilot isn't in the constant state of trimming the plane, and making sure everything is on course. With this excellent device of automation, pilots can concentrate on navigation, aircraft systems, and passenger comfort. Because having a long flight without an autopilot is exhausting, and the climb, cruise, and even descent are times that don't require the tiring hands-on approach. Again with automation, we achieve a higher level of efficiency, as systems are able to manage themselves better, plan out turns, climbs, descents, and perform all those with an unvaried precision. Another great feature of automation for airliners, is the auto land. Although usually only used in IMC conditions (for the most part, although pilots will practice it for proficiency) it allow a precision approach to be flown, so the airplane and its cargo can fly below normal minimums, and safely land.
Computers controlling flight controls in fly-by-wire airplanes enable the airplane to be built more aerodynamically (and thus unstable, but FBW gives back the stability) and allows for the utilization of different technologies that make efficiency, comfort, and speed safer, and easier to do. The fly-by-wire system also allows the airplane to keep itself from entering unsafe situations and maneuvers, which is always a good thing. The 'logic' between Boeing and Airbus is different, but achieves the same affect of safety and efficiency. There are many who argue that many of the ways by which Airbus implements its systems aren't the optimal ones, but the frequency in which an event occurs that would be due to such technologies is so small, that it has happened probably only five times, out of millions upon millions of flights, and not each incident results in fatalities.
The computers used to control systems on commercial airliners are hardly a computer in the sense we know them; they aren't Windows 7 powered computers that crash, reboot, install updates, or turn off on you. These are very heavy-duty, nearly indestructible, proven machines that have received FAA approval (which is the greatest challenge in aviation), and there isn't just one computer, there's three, or five. So if you're afraid of computers screwing up, don't be, there shouldn't be an iota of worry in your system. Again, there are those who argue that modern commercial airline pilots barely fly, and that computers do the whole spiel. Well, pilots still do the takeoff (and always will), they do the landing almost all the time, and they go to recurrent training every nine months where they fly in simulators that make them fly hands on; perhaps you wouldn't want them stepping right into a C-46 without training, but they aren’t useless sacks of water, they are skilled professionals. Automation is our friend, a synonym to safety, and it is by no means, unnecessary.
And for all those emissions standard, the ones we have seen prior to 2010 aren't by any means pointless, they are taking technology that does exist, and makign cars cleaner and more effecient. i don't think anything is more disgusting on the road than a big rig spewing all that diesel exhaust into the air. Cleaning up diesel has proved to help improve power, mileage, and it makes oru air cleaner. I personally don't believe in all this global warming 'B.S' (my opinion), but I don't have any objection, and rather I support the gradual cleaning of our new machines, if we can, why not? Cleaner is better no matter what!