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!


Rae said...

It's odd that I don't like crowds either, but I love airports. It's the people watching that I like. I could care less about talking to any one. Although I don't mind flying, the news about those pilots is unsettling. Makes me wonder if anyone is safe on a plane anymore.

Did it MY way said...

I love to fly. Shortest distance between A & B. But I have not flown but a couple of times since 9-11, and the bullshit you have to go thru just sucks. So I don't fly any more. Just another freedom lost.

Can't we just shoot the bad guys?

I better go get a cup of java and a cig before I start another rant. Perhaps after the coffee some recoil therphy.

See ya

Stephanie in AR said...

Well if the driver is going to be playing with a lap top I'd rather they be a few thousand feet in the air than on the highway with me - less traffic & all but I'm all for staying on the ground.

Kyddryn said...

Mister Hermit, sir, I used to love flying. I flew often as a child, usually along. It was such fun! Of course, it was easier back then, not so many rules, not as many people in the air, not as much fear that someone would blow the plan up, or crash it into a building, wider seats and free-flowing cocoa for all!

What passes for commercial flight these days is...distressing...to an OCD, agoraphobic, xenophobe who has no patience for rude, selfish, and thoughtless crowds.

I still very much enjoy flying on small planes. Well...the idea of it, anyway, as I haven't been in an aircraft in many years. I wouldn't mind flying again one day, if only the FAA hadn't taken all the fun out of it...

These days, I drive where I need to be, although I do hope to travel overseas again one day...and for that...I'll have to fly. Perhaps by then I'll have won the lottery and have my own aircraft and pilot...

Shade and Sweetwater,

TEAM HALL said...

Morning Jim! Oh I'm with you, friend! I HATE it!! I'm just a freakin wreck for weeks beforehand stressing about it. I've even flown to China (12 hr flights) twice, you know, for my wee babes. Waaaay too long without ground under my feet! Eeeyikes! hehe
The worst flight ever was going from Beijing to Nanning in a cramped cigar tube making these horrendous 90 degree turns! Apparently, the words "sweet Jesus" are easily translated because the entire plane erupted into laughter at the scared Canadian chick.
Thanks for the memory Jim...now I'll need a whiskey instead of coffee! hahaha
Have a great day!

HermitJim said...

Hey Rae...
I have been on a plane several times, but somehow I just never found the comfort level that the rest of my family has with planes!

People watching is a lot of fun sometimes...but I have pretty much given it up!

Thanks so much for coming by today...!

Hey Tony...
Seems like the more the government gets involved in our personal lives, the worse things get for us!

I guess the nicest thing about not liking to fly, is that I don't miss it! I guess that I would do it if I had to, but man...what a hassle!

Sounds like a little recoil therapy is in order for sure!

Thanks for the visit!

Hey Stephanie...
I'm with you as far as NOT wanting him on the road with me! Does make you wonder about the safety of everyone on board...

I understand a little distraction, but going 150 miles passed the airport and not being in contact with the ground controllers? That's not a good thing!

Thanks so much for the visit today!

Hey K...
I guess that flying is another of those things that was more fun in days long past!

Seems like slowly but surely, the fun is being taken out of many things in life!

I just don't think I could fly in a small plane at all! Guess I'm just a coward in that respect...

As far as going overseas, you could always travel by boat, then all you would have to worry about is the Pirates!

Hey, thanks for coming by this morning, girl!

HermitJim said...

Hey Cath...
Think I'll have to join you in that whiskey...why don't we just have a shot in our coffee and enjoy both!

I can only imagine what flying to some place like China must be like! I guess that I'm lucky that I never really wanted to go anywhere overseas at all.

Sorry about bringing back some bad memories for you this morning...but at least you're here to tell the tale, right?

Thanks for the visit today, my Canadian friend!

The cottage by the Cranelake said...

If it wasn´t for the throwing up thing I tend to do when flying, I think it´s quite nice :-) :-)
Have a great day now!

HermitJim said...

Hey Christer...
I can see where that would keep the flying to a minimum, for sure!

I can sympathize with you!

Thanks for the visit today, my friend!

Anonymous said...

do they drive planes in Arkansas? HE HE Im just a kiddin , my family is from there. I try to joke about arkies every chance I get.

HermitJim said...

Hey OGT...
I believe that they DO fly in Arkansas...couldn't be any worse than these guys, that's for sure!

I'm sure that your kin don't mind a little joking ...

Thanks for stopping by, buddy!

theotherryan said...

I fly when I need to.