Thursday, January 17, 2008

Another Beneficial Crisis

Boeing 777
Shane Greer ponders whether Gordon Brown may have been the target of the Boeing 777 which crash landed at Heathrow today. Considering the dour one's ability to drain the life force from anyone within a two mile radius through force of personality, I'd have thought that the CAA might list the presence of the Prime Minister as one of the potential causes.

Seriously though, for a vehicle the size of a modern commercial aircraft to suffer what sounds like such a complete systems failure and for the passengers and crew to walk away with only a handful of minor injuries is a great testimony to the skill of the pilot who flew it and of the engineers who designed it. To transition from a run of the mill, doubtlessly computer assisted approach to a seat of the pants recovery from potential disaster at the end of a long flight shows just why the training is so rigorous.

Naturally though there are always those who emerge from such near disasters with less credit. To be fair Brown's PR team did not whisk their man to the other end of the runway to help grateful survivors down the escape slide, however the greenies seem to have scented blood, or at least aviation fuel.

News 24 has had a delightful interview with someone from the 'Green Sky Alliance' or some such set of progress hating goons. Apparently, today's near disaster is a death knell for the prospects of there being a new runway at Heathrow, as the more flights there are, the more accidents there shall be also. Naturally this is almost certainly true, but also completely irrelevant to the case for or against a new runway at Heathrow, so as long as there is no proof of a likely increase in the relative rate or severity of incidents, a case the spokesman didn't even attempt to make.

More remarkable was the spokesman's claim along the lines that 'aircraft are as safe as they ever will be'. Like many such dubious claims from the environmental lobby it is easy to accurately restate their proposition to prove it's absurdity; try 'There will never be any further progress in aircraft safety' for example, it's not exactly a proposition I'd put much money on.

I suspect the beneficial crisis rapid response unit of the EU will also be up to full speed by now looking for some tenuous European angle to demand further transfers of powers from the CAA to the EASA despite the regular criticisms of the latter's questionable performance.

Watch this space.

PS Apologies for the lack of posting for the last week, real work and real beer and an irritating technical problem have got in the way, as has a bout of 'Hain Fatigue' - kicking dog's when they are down gets a bit boring even with NuLab mongrels.

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