Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Again, An Aviation Safety Lesson In Cockpit Management

I still am still interested in aviation safety, a reporting beat I carved out at the old Milwaukee Journal.

So when I read today that the mysterious Air France Airbus crash into the ocean in 2009 appears to be linked to a distracted crew, it rang some bells.

I remember writing for a series on air safety about the 1972 crash into the Florida Everglades of a then-state-of-the-art jetliner, a Lockheed L-1011.

In that case, too much attention was paid to a warning light and not enough attention paid to the plane's descent.

And the 1985 crash of a Midwest Express DC-9 in an Oak Creek woodlands after takeoff from Mitchell Field was related to problems what the experts call "cockpit management" - - productive, coordinated teamwork and communication between the pilot and co-pilot.

I don't like the term "pilot error,"  unless there is evidence of truly reckless conduct. It gets in the way of remedial action to prevent additional tragedies, which should be the goal.

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