Near-Fatal Accident Part 1

For my first entry in the logbook devoted to commentary on current events, I can’t avoid the topic of aviation because to an aviator, this is an attention-getting story.

AVweb is an excellent source of current events in aviation. The link on this page will take you there. As of a moment ago when I checked, the lead story includes three astonishing pictures of a twin-engine jet crash that put the pilot and a passenger in the hospital.

Learning of an aircraft accident engenders in most non-flyers a primal fear of being totally helpless and dependent upon pilots to keep them safe. Pilots often view the news from a different perspective.

First, they are curious about exactly what happened and why. This isn’t a voyeuristic impulse. From personal experience, I can attest to what might appear to be a selfish or arrogant attitude, and in a sense, it is.

Accident investigation pursues the same objective, to determine cause for the sole purpose of enhancing flight safety. Knowledge is power, and specific knowledge of what happens to other pilots involved in a crash becomes part of an aviator’s universal knowledge base. I may have never flown the type of airplane involved, but I’m looking for details that transcend the vehicle, if you will, and focus on what I can learn from any accident that will keep me safer.

It may not reflect well on me or any other pilot I inadvertently paint with the same brush, but I believe there’s another common key element feeding a pilot’s interest. After all the speculation, and pilots will almost always engage in “what if-ing,” we want to conclude when all the evidence is in that “what happened to that pilot will never happen to me.”

Do most of us think we’re better then the other guy? Yes, and that undoubtedly plays into the equation more often than not. Pilots usually have swallowed a healthy dose of confidence before they even think about doing what they do.

But there’s a downside to excessive confidence best illustrated by the term “bulletproof syndrome.”

Please visit again soon for more commentary on this and other topics.

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