Originally posted by Chump:
And then what will our clothes be made of?
Anyway, modern planes are pretty good at assisting takeoffs and landings (every pilot I've ever talked to believes that the only reason the 767 doesn't have an "auto-landing" button is that they would have been out of a job and their union protected them), but they're even better at auto-piloting around in the air. Why? Well, for one thing, it's much easier to fly than to land (or take off). So, if you're looking for a "realistic" explanation, that isn't going to cut it.
Personally, I like the alcohol explanation.
However, you shouldn't discount that fact that Fry is pretty inconsistent in general. And it's not just Fry; even Zoidberg has occasionally done successful work.
Futurama just doesn't put quite as much effort into continuity as, say, Star Trek. Star trek will go out of their way to come up with ridiculous explanations for things just to make sure the fans don't come up with their own--usually less ridiculous--answers). Futurama realizes that the fans will have more fun doing it themselves.
So, sometimes Fry can fly--but I wouldn't trust him to fly my ship.