Contact Us | About Us | Home

More garbage from the mad professor

You’ve all heard my rantings about the media so I thought I’d tune in to Terror in the Skies and just watch it like a normal person. How can anyone watch such sensationalism and stay ‘normal’.

I got about half way through and had to pick up my note pad to record and challenge some of the absurd assertions. Here we go:

“The pilot has to point the nose at the ground and plummet.”  No, the reality is that the nose attitude is lowered  thrust is reduced and as a consequence the aircraft descends … in a depressurisation the nose is unlikely to be more than 10 degrees nose down. The air brakes would be extended and the airspeed would be increased by about 15 knots and the aircraft would descend at about 5,000  to 10 000 feet per minute. Thus it would take between 3 and 5 minutes to descend to a height where oxygen was not needed. In fact a passenger won’t really need it from about 18,000 feet and below, but duty of care and litigation are the  considerations here.

So when the professor says “from 25000 feet in a matter of minutes.” he’s quite right. But the suggestion is that it’s all on a knife edge. Equally if it took 2 hours to descend he’d claim that it would be 2 hours of extra danger. He can’t have it both ways.

Then we were treated to a piece of aircraft skin that he wobbled like a Rolf Harris instrument. Yes that is the nature of thin metal! What did it prove? But what it suggested was that it was flimsy and …

Take two pieces of wood, and arrange them into a right angle and put one nail in the end  where they join. The two pieces of wood can be moved as if the nail was acting as a pivot. Now nail a piece of wood between the two ‘arms’ and the thing will be totally rigid. It’s a simple engineering process. It’s the basis of A frames that keep the roof  on our house  rigid.

The skin of the plane is thin, but compared with what?  You  could say that it’s thick enough. But that wouldn’t be scarey!

“There’s always the possibility.” well of course there’s always the possibility … that’s what possibility is  … what’s the probability? That’s the point.

See here for informed comment on chance possibility and probability.

And finally next week we bring you how a hundred passengers faced death as a bird wrecks a multi million pound engine … nature the one element we can do nothing about. 

In fact  you will see a perfectly executed emergency procedure by a highly skilled crew. Watch the flames popping from the back of the engine (where flames would normally be expected  and where they are quite safe !)  and then see them stop as soon as the wheels begin to retract. This is exactly as it should be.


In the cockpit the pilots will:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Confirm the problem with each other
  3. Raise the wheels.
  4. Re-identify the problem
  5. Call for the check list
  6. Confirm that the auto throttle is disconnected
  7. Identify, confirm and close the appropriate thrust lever
  8. Identify confirm and select Cut Off on the Fuel and ignition switch
  9. Select and Operate the appropriate Fire Extinguisher
  10. Start the stop watch
  11. Confirm fire is out after 30 seconds (If not fire second extinguisher)
  12. Continue with check list.                                   Other pilot will Communicate with ATC
  13. Confirm check list complete.
  14. Brief and prepare for landing.
  15. Inform Cabin Crew
  16. Speak to passengers
  17. Continue flight  …

So if the mad professor suggests any thing else …

Captain Keith


Comments are closed.