Thursday, September 22, 2005

Jet Blue

Ignorance irritates me. Misinformation is even worse. Thanks to absurd movies and TV shows, and what laughingly passes itself off as "news" media, people have all sorts of idiotic ideas about what is dangerous and what isn't. This is almost universally true when the subject is airplanes. People think that if an engine quits, airplanes come screaming out of the sky. (They don't. They just keep flying, but quietly, and gradually lose altitude in a controlled glide.)

So a whole planeload of JetBlue passengers, ironically watching their own story on TV as it unfolds, is in a panic about what was going to happen when they landed with the nosegear stuck sideways. I heard the story of the airplane burning off fuel (the Airbus can't dump fuel? Hello?) before landing, and knew right then it was going to be the non-event that it turned out to be.

That panic was so needless! Know how many fatalities there have been since WWII (when planes sometimes landed gear-up with full bomb loads) in gear-up landings?


A gear-up landing is what's known to aircraft owners as "expensive" and, when it's the pilot's fault, "embarassing". But it just ain't a life-or-death matter.

So why didn't the JetBlue crew explain that to the passengers? Perhaps because they don't know themselves.

I hear the pilots did their job very well, at least.