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Air disaster programmes on the telly!

Hi everyone,

As promised a quick rundown on the garbage I witnessed on the latest TV ‘documentary.

I don’t have time or space to comment fully and I missed half the stuff because I was writing notes.



  1. I don’t know why they ask airline pilots to re-create what happened because the flight data recorder information can be played into a simulation which shows exactly what happened. Doesn’t say why, but it most definitely says what. An airline pilot can’t do better than that.
  2. Misinformation about the location of missing cowlings that became detached on an Airbus flight.
  3. A passenger reported fire as an explosion … different things.
  4. “The things that pilots fear most of all.” Well, I’ve never met or trained pilots who “fears” anything. Cautious about, aware of maybe but ‘fear’ … defo not.
  5. programme suggested that pilots fly into areas showing up in red colour on their weather radar. Not allowed … legal closeness to a thunderstorm is 25 n.m.
  6. ‘have to see the runway.” Not true, autoland capability doesn’t necessarily require any forward visibility.
  7. Narrator commented about a shattered windscreen that to my eyes was still intact. Crazed yes, but intact.
  8. Thunderstorm cloud sequence used time-lapse to increase apparent severity.
  9. Narrator suggested turbulence was as bad in business class … obviously, a flippant comment but not appropriate when mixed in with ‘serious commentary’.
  10. I feel sympathy for those who are so frightened that they feel the need or get comfort from praying or those who cry or phone their loved ones but that doesn’t measure the so-called danger that the plane is in … it’s just indicating emotion, and it doesn’t show the level of danger. What were the pilots doing at the time?
  11. “The pilot took extra care because his daughter was on board.” What unadulterated crap. We don’t fly more carefully with a full plane than we do an empty one. I didn’t fly more carefully on the occasions that I had royalty or film stars on board.
  12. Hole in the nose cone of jumbo … come on one of my courses because I explain that as I walk to our plane.
  13. A suggestion that pilots worry about landing in La Guardia because the runway is short  Check here for facts.
  14. The suggestion that one particular runway was only 2/3 as long as Heathrow’s, but Jumbo jets still landed there. One runway at Heathrow is a hundred metres short of four kilometres … that’s almost two and a half miles! The space shuttle only needs another 500 metres. What’s short about 2/3’s of that?
  15. To show how difficult one runway was to land on the editor had superimposed  a ‘minimums’ aural warning  (normal) over a red graphic … not something I’ve seen and put on at such a ridiculously low altitude that you’d have seen more about reality in a film called Alice in Wonderland.
  16.  These programmes beggar belief in their depiction of aviation. Too annoyed to keep writing about this bilge.


Captain Keith.

Captain Keith






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