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David, As you are aware I'm an aviation consultant and an active 767 Captain at a major international airline. I enjoy your Blog and have commented on several occasions. We know condemning the actions of all airline Captains by your perception of two incidents is absurd. I'll try to enlighten you a bit as to what goes on behind the scenes. First and foremost the Captain is responsible for the safety of all passengers aboard the aircraft and is named in all litigation by passengers against the airline. We take a very conservative approach in regard to the seatbelt sign. There is no warning for clear air turbulence and sometimes it seems the seat belt sign is on unnecessarily when in fact it should be on. In regard to the air return to Madrid. Most of the time in these situations the pilot uses the satellite phone to discuss the options with the airline operation center. Many people give their input to the pilot prior to making a discussion where to land in an emergency. The "crazy naked man" may have turned in to something very serious. He could have been a distraction used by other dangerous terrorists aboard the aircraft. In regard to the other incident it's really hard to comment when you are not there in person being as news reports are very unreliable. Remember these a two incidents out of millions of flights per year. In most cases the Captain is the most experienced in handling customer issues. Our careers at the airline are longer than the other employ groups by decades. We are bound to our positions by a seniority system that does not allow for job changes. We are highly motivated to see our customer arrive safely and on-time to their destinations. We know our customer trust us with their lives and the lives of their children. We don't take this responsibility lightly and deliver our customers safely to their destinations with an amazing safety record. We are the final authority to determine the safety of any flight. "Crazy pilots on a leash" indeed very humorous wife may like the idea...LOL Cheers Capt. Ivan Klugman
There are many issues still to be resolved in regard to this accident. It is very premature to point the finger at the pilots. The pilots are now an easy target being that they are not here to defend themselves. Certainly Airbus and the French authorities would like to place blame anywhere outside of the aircraft. Remember Airbus is partially owned by the state. The modern Fly By Wire aircraft flight control logic is quite complex. There is a technical and lengthy discussion that we as pilots have in regard to Airbus flight logic v Boeing. I have experience as a pilot on both aircraft each has strong points and weak points. That being said both manufactures have excellent safety records and statistically the odds of dying an aircraft operated by a major carrier are a lot less than driving in your car. Let's wait a while before we go around pointing finger at professionals that may eventually end up exonerated of any wrong doing.
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Jun 3, 2011