Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Why I Don't Fly...!
I don't like to fly! Never have, never will!
I just don't like the idea of not being the one in charge of my fate when traveling. Oh, I know how all the statistics show how safe flying is, how it's safer to fly than drive, how much faster you get there...I know all that!
But I'm a Hermit, remember? As a Hermit, I have very firm hermit-like attributes, like not liking crowds! What's a crowd? The answer depends on who you ask, but for this hermit any gathering of more than 3 people constitutes a crowd. I avoid crowds every chance I get, especially here in the big city.
In general, I don't like the public, especially those that are rude and loud and angry! Believe me, if you want to go to a place that's crowded with loud, rude, and angry people...then take a trip down to the local airport!
On top of that, you are putting yourself in the hands of pilots you don't know, and trusting them to be professional enough to get you from point A to point B in a safe manner! Then along comes a story like this one from the Houston Chronicle!
By JOAN LOWY Associated Press Writer © 2009 The Associated Press
Oct. 26, 2009, 3:24PM
WASHINGTON — Two Northwest Airlines pilots have told federal investigators that they were going over schedules using their laptop computers in violation of company policy while their plane overflew their Minneapolis destination by 150 miles, the National Transportation Safety Board said Monday.
The pilots — Richard Cole of Salem, Ore., the first officer, and Timothy Cheney of Gig Harbor, Wash., the captain — said in interviews conducted over the weekend that they were not fatigued and didn't fall asleep, the board said in a statement.
Instead, Cole and Cheney told investigators that they both had their laptops out while the first officer, who had more experience with scheduling, instructed the captain on monthly flight crew scheduling. The pilots were out of communication with air traffic controllers and their airline for more than an hour and didn't realize their mistake until contacted by a flight attendant, the board said.
Many aviation safety experts had said it was more plausible that the pilots had fallen asleep during the cruise phase of their flight than that they had become so focused on a conversation that they lost awareness of their surroundings for more than an hour. Air traffic controllers in Denver and Minneapolis repeatedly tried without success to raise the pilots by radio. Other pilots in the vicinity tried reaching the plane on other radio frequencies. Their airline tried contacting them using a radio text message that chimes.
Authorities became so alarmed that National Guard jets were readied for takeoff at two locations and the White House Situation Room alerted senior White House officials, who monitored the airliner carrying 144 passenger and five crew members as it flew across a broad swath of the mid-continent completely out of contact with anyone on the ground.
"It's inexcusable," said former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall. "I feel sorry for the individuals involved, but this was certainly not an innocuous event — this was a significant breach of aviation safety and aviation security."
So, in spite of the facts and figures presented to convince me of how safe it is and how silly I am NOT to fly, I'll continue to just keep my feet on the ground or at least, no higher than the floorboard of my truck! I think I can survive a fall out of my truck or out of a car much easier than a fall out of the sky in a crowded aluminum tube, tanks full of high explosive fuel, and flown by two guys either asleep or playing with their laptops while we are flying at several thousand feet in the air! Call me silly!
Now, let's get some coffee and sit around the table...raining outside again!