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Terror in the Skies … with the mad professor

I watched the second episode of this Channel 4 programme last night. I took notes but I couldn’t write quickly enough …

To build an article around the programme would be very time consuming  so I’ll just list my observations in order  and hope that I can explain them well enough to give them some value.

The program started with the assertion that something has to be done about human error. Well I’ll tell you something Mr mad professor we’ve been working of this for the last 25 years and the reduction in accidents as a result has been considerable, and the increase in flight safety generally has been outstanding. Sure pilots still are accountable for 60 % of the human error bit BUT 60 % of  3 is a whole lot less than 60% of  333  (Choose your own numbers.)

An Airbus was reported to be landing outside its crosswind limit of 38 knots. The wind was reported as 47 knots.  We use the crosswind component not the actual wind value. Mathematicians will know that we take thge sin value of the crosswind and get the component.

There was a ludicrous statement that during this event it was so bad that the passengers couldn’t breathe.

A  passenger said he couldn’t see the runway, he doesn’t need to, there are lots of times when the passengers can’t see the runway.

It was claimed that a simulator could not replicate the circumstances of this crosswind … utter rubbish. Simulators  can replicate it … but not all of them can. It depends on many things  but for training purposes thay have to be capable of replicating all in flight situations.

There was a section where a ‘CT type’ scan was made of someone watching a background of moving dots  whilst having to recognise two syllable words. This scan showed that  the brain does not attend to the moving part of the image whilst involved in another task. This observation was linked  to an accident where the pilots were attending to one task and ignoring the reducing speed of the plane. How can a moving image on a screen be linked to a pilot attending to his instrumentation? I’ll tell you how and that is if you believe that looking at instruments gives a moving background image.  What the mad professor did was to link two different events with the word ‘moving’. One a moving image  the other a moving aircraft.

The statement ‘falling asleep mid flight’  conjures up the notion of in the middle of a task, indeed in the middle of a critical task. It’s the way we use that expression in English, it rarely means mid way between events. It’s colloquial. Pilots do sleep and they’re allowed to in the cruise and with at least 5 other important conditions. Since the take off is at the beginning and the landing at the end of a flight   the middle would be when the plane is in cruising flight. So pilots do sleep in the middle of the flight. Falling asleep suggests, inadvertently and illegally.

Then he went on about military pilots being better than commercially trained ones … to validate this they  bring on Chesney   the man who ditched in the Hudson River  and guess what he was a military trained pilot. I know a lot of commercially trained pilots who  could have pulled that off. In fact we all could. Chesney S did it, so full marks to him.

Military pilots are a dying breed, so are wheel rights, carpenters, shepherds and filing clerks. The world is changing, we are training to the needs of civil aviation not war. Sure there are benefits of unusual attitude flying etc  but we can train that too.

“Skilled crosswind landings save lives.”  What on earth does that mean ?

Pilots kick the rudder … They do not kick  Rudder is applied . The effect of emotive language destroys the facts of the matter and suggests danger.

Apparently you’re taking a gamble with which pilot you get when you fly. So you don’t with an unlicensed taxi driver or electrician or train driver  Arghhh this garbage makes me furious.

Runways are 40 metres wide apparently  … indeed some are,  but most international ones are 50 meters  or more.

“Pilots prefer to land into wind” …. what is this nonsense?

I’m too angry to continue










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