Friday, April 11, 2008

Fly the Scaredy Skies

While [the FAA's former director of flight standards, Nick] Lacey says there was no immediate danger, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Eyeshum Cory says any noncompliance — no matter how small — is a safety issue, and the alternative is unthinkable.

"You may be inconvenienced for a few hours, you may be inconvenienced for a day. But you'll have that day. And you'll have another day," Cory says.
Airlines Scramble as Grounded Planes Cause Chaos - NPR

American Airlines has canceled thousands of flights to check the spacing of fasteners securing sleeves on bundles of wires in the wheelwells of MD-80 airliners. Cory's statement is a scare tactic, pure and simple, and relies on two basic premises, both of which are likely false:

1. Improper fastening of the bundles in the sleeves creates a significant likelihood of a fatal airplane crash.
2. Inspecting for proper fastening of the bundles in the sleeves eliminates the likelihood of a fatal airplane crash.
The job of the FAA isn't to be apologists for the airline industry. And I think that they really have no business attempting to frighten people into thinking that a massive disruption of the domestic travel industry is the only thing that stands between the flying public and a fiery death in an airplane disaster. I find it difficult to fathom that there wasn't a less disruptive means of accomplishing the same ends. But if nothing else, this is pretty much impossible to miss, and so the FAA and American are certainly seen to be doing something - even though it's something that they should have been doing behind the scenes for years.

1 comment:

ben said...

While I'm not normally one to defend scare tactics (especially anything terrorist related) I think the insane attention to detail we see in the airline industry is a really good thing. Modern planes are unbelievably complex and have a safety record that's very close to 100% perfection. That's very impressive.

When flying-by-wire, if a wire chafes and shorts, you're no longer flying.

If you look at a history of crashes most were caused by something unbelievably minuscule.