Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Even the courts agree: praying is NOT what to do in an emergency!

The causes behind air crashes are more numerous than stars in the skies, but in any problem that causes an aircraft to go plunging towards the ground faster than one would wish, when computerized systems and failbacks have all failed and are useless, the only line of defence left between a saved plane and a burning crater of rubble and debris in the ground, are the pilots. Well, the pilot, specifically (the co-pilot usually only being a navigator or assistant instead of actually 'flying' the plane). What pilots need to rely on, as air crashes have made all-too-clear, are their their innate aviator talents, their skills, their training, their abilities with the plane they're trying to control – NOT in the help and mercy of an omnipotent flying fairy with less power than a sick injured swamp-fly.

You will, of course, remember the 'miraculous' Hudson plane crash a little while ago now, where pilot Chesley Sullenberger's outstanding skills and quick-thinking allowed him to save the plane and everyone on board without any or fatalities or serious injuries. Now, whom/what did the crew thank and accredit their survival to? Simple: their training and skills, and keeping their heads on straight and thinking their way out of the disaster-to-be.

Not all pilots are this competent or honorable. Back in 2005, a Tunisian pilot, facing an emergency (something about a malfunctioning fuel-guage), decided the better course of action, rather than thinking straight, following standard procedure and even trying to find a frickin' airport to land at, was giving in to panick and – most ironic of all – praying out loud.

The plane crashed at sea off Sicily and shattered upon impact. 16 poor souls died.

There is a good facet to this story: a court has now condemned the incompetent pilot's praying as earning him a full decade in jail, along with his co-pilot.

There is some justice in this world after all. When your pilot is directly responsible for your death by being a grade-a idiot who chooses to hail his almighty Gawd instead of actually flying the goddamned plane, he deserves to rot behind bars a little. (The article is silent as to his pilot's license; one does hope it's been burned by now.)

I'm starting to think, in addition to State, religion should be banished from public services, such as air transportation.


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