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The mad professor. Terror in the skies.

… seems to have run out of death threatening situations though he did make the best of weak material.

but of course the highlights of the show were the opinions of  Messrs O’ Leary and Branson (Airline owners)  who seem to know when it’s safe to fly and when it’s not. Their erroneous reasoning is based on not really understanding how a safety culture is developed and maintained. They believe that because they have brilliant business models that they are also experts on everything else… safety included … but where these scoundrels deceive the public  is based more on publicity than the facts of safety.

They know that they do not  hold the responsibility for thousands of lives, they are merely bystanders and opportunists, they knew the final responsibility was not with them. In my opinion they’re like those kids at school who turned up when most of the trouble was over  proclaiming that ” I cannot tell a lie Sir … it was him.”

They both thought that it was safe to fly and that bureaucrats “didn’t know what they were doing.” However they didn’t surface until t he crisis was almost over and when the travelling public was probably ready to risk flying again because they were frustrated by being  stuck.

Had either of these guys been given a piece of paper to sign accepting responsibility  for the safety of every plane flying through the ash clouds the only place they might have been found would be in some Caribbean hideaway. Then they wouldn’t have had a pen to hand.

Thousands of pilots, instructors, engineers, ATC people, check in staff , re-fuellers  and experts with meticulous attention to detail keep flying safe …. a culture that we’ve built up over decades, not by chance but by accepting that we could get things wrong. That we’re human, that we make mistakes, that we need to stay aware  and then we get those guys telling us where we’re going wrong. I don’t really like giving them this publicity.

There was other nonsense too.

A wind ‘slammed’ an aeroplane into the ground.  How?

There was another ridiculous experiment where an electric charge , equivalent to lightning was was discharged into something a plane wasn’t made of. It caught fire  … well there’s a surprise. If I made a bonfire on the fore court of a petrol station I could claim that a potential disaster was likely …  I mention that because that seems to be the level of scientific testing in this series.

By contrast:

Who could have not been impressed by  the  engine failure because of  bird ingestion? What a great bit of professionalism by pilots and ATC. Did you notice that ATC told the pilot that Liverpool’s easterly runway was available … just in case it made things easier for the pilots. Did you notice how precise the communication was between ground and aircraft.

The whole incident was cool professional and safe. I’d be happy to fly with those guys anytime. Well done to everyone involved.

And dear old Ches the third, captain of the plane that ditched in the Hudson river. He was cool, he did the job, everyone was saved. But the mad professor had to add that IF … he hadn’t held the nose up and IF a wing had touched it would have cartwheeled to disaster. Sure it would , but it didn’t , and why should it have done those things?

Give me one reason professor. Just one sensible reason.


An “engine was spinning at the speed of sound” … really? … the tip speed of the turbine may close to the speed of sound  so what ….

Pilots have a short amount of time to react to weather … really? … not in my experience … anyway what’s short …   5 seconds…  I can manage to apply full power in five seconds … or if I’m avoiding a thunderstorm … I can manage  to do that in the ten minutes I get  when I first see it on my weather radar.


Apparently if I need more lift I increase power … really?   I make more lift by doing one of several things and then subsequently I might need to increase power if I wish to follow a particular flight profile  …  but power doesn’t generate lift. If so, how does the space shuttle re-enter it has wings, it has lift, it has no power?

Garbage. Not even dumbed down properly.


Then a pilot tells me that his decision is influenced by what the management might say IF  he made a Go Around. Not the right stuff. But I think it was cos he was on the tele and the editor may have cut some of the tape.

I do hope there are no more programmes like this soon.

Captain Keith










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