I no longer fly. In light of events occurring at this time I feel vindicated in my belief the personnel associated with maintenance and the actual operation during flight can cause any plane to fall from the sky. I’ll explain.
Years ago, (pre-9/11) I flew to and from Rhode Island for the purposes of attending a religious rite. It wasn’t a pleasant trip. During the flight to Rhode Island we encountered turbulence causing the plane to drop over five hundred feet in an instant. The resultant impact when the plane dropped onto a more stable wind current was reminiscent of falling off of a ladder and landing on your tailbone. It wasn’t pleasant or pretty. Books, coffee cups and other materials went flying and some people who didn’t do as the pilot told us and buckle –up, were airborne at the point of regaining control. I sat at the window and watched as the wing literally flapped like a goose in flight and prayed it stayed within its stress limits.
But, we survived with an understanding flight is still something carrying inherent dangers the NTSB can’t poo-pooh with statistics saying air travel is safer than driving on America’s highways or getting hit by lightning. When you’re involved in an incident you’re not a statistic. A statistic involves some specific fragment of possibility denoting the position held saying how many times it could happen. When the incident commences, you’re 100% involved and the outcome could swing from possibility to probability to actuality.
It’s that actuality put the fear of God in me.
Secondarily, (and far less dangerous) an incident happened on the flight home. A large and corpulent lady was assigned to sit next to me. I was trapped at the window again and couldn’t escape should any kind of incontinence struck me as it nearly did in the earlier incident. She had more junk than could be placed in the overhead bay and the rest didn’t fit under the seat. I was stabbed several times as her knitting needles perforated her carry-on. Then I learned she was hideously drenched in cologne; possibly to cover the stench of severe body odor – it didn’t work.
But the worst was yet to come. She was hyper-flatulent and every other emanation was oral indicating halitosis (bad breath) or that a squirrel took residence in her throat and was decaying after death. It was a miserable flight. But I digress.
My Dad was a Naval Air Crewman. He was a Flight Engineer and a valued member of a team served this nation during the decades of his career. My pride knows no bounds.
But, he and his men flew the craft they serviced and maintained daily. They understood their fate was controlled by how well they performed their jobs. That type of dedication doesn’t always happen now. We have people controlled by unions saying the union posture on any self-serving program can cause a labor walk-out and inconvenience to the public flying at any given time. Grievance procedures and union interference in airline operations can keep incompetent personnel on the flight-line for years. I know of few airplane maintenance personnel actually fly on the craft to assure all goes well. Assuredly, there’s no way to pull over to the next cloud and change the engine, but there’s also no personal stake in making sure that bird stays in flight.
But, lest you feel this will be about unions and my distaste for how it can become extortionist in its actions; I promise you it isn’t.
This is about how one person can take an airplane and affect its performance and change or take the lives of hundreds of people. One person fails to do his maintenance work properly can cause the bird to fail in flight. Now, one nutcase with an agenda can take that plane and pilot it into a mountain at speed and obliterate all aboard to the point of making them unrecognizable from the surroundings they become a part of on impact.
What’s happening today in the French Alps is indicative of how air flight has taken on new dangers. One man or woman can cause a plane to crash. 9/11 proved this. But, nobody is checking the air crews. They grope you and your grandmother and your babies but it’s regularly shown shady characters are ripping off the cargo set to fly. What’s stopping insurgents from sabotaging the plane? I have no faith in the NTSB or Homeland Security’s “safety” procedures.
So I’d suggest you be very, very careful when flying. It involves more than knowing when they changed the oil and washed the windshield. It involves telling people what safety measures have been taken to ensure your safety from nut bags and fundamentalist religious crazies seeking to assure a healthy sex-life after the ascension.
As Icarus flew too close to the sun as a personal choice, your fate is being decided by people who may or may not take their jobs as seriously as they should.
It’s sort of like America; one person can make a difference in how long the world’s greatest democracy stands as it was meant to stand. That person can be you by participating in your own governance: or it can be the effect of one man fundamentally changing your country to something unrecognizable as a democracy.
YOU decide which one person will control your life.
Thanks for listening