Thursday, 26 March 2015

ON A WING AND A PRAYER

Eyewear the blog has long considered the aviation industry less safe than it could be. Of course the safest plane is one that stays on the ground, and some risk is always involved in lifting a ton of tin 36,000 feet into the sky. However, one thing has clearly become obvious today - one of the oldest myths about flying is now outmoded and needs to be replaced.

Given that we now know the German plane was intentionally crashed into a mountainside by the young co-pilot, after he had locked the pilot out, and then gradually eased the plane into a gentle if fatal descent, we have to face a fact that is ugly: we are no longer safe to assume that pilots have our best interests at heart when we fly.

It was once said that since no pilot wanted to die, every pilot who flew us up and down was obviously reassured of the safety of the plane and route being flown. Though accidents will and do happen, we counted on the expertise and glamour of the pilots to keep us aloft.

But that is a feeble 20th century idea now.  In the starker, more nakedly cruel and insane 21st century, in many ways a 15th century world of crusade and fanaticism, persons seek to kill themselves and others more often, more violently, for more delusional reasons. In the absence of a God, or in the presence of a cruel one, some persons derive some measure of strange delight in destroying themselves and others by piloting aircraft into the ground or buildings.

We must now expect from airlines far more stringent testing on their pilots and their backgrounds; their private obsessions and ideologies; and we must of course work out a system to allow manual over-ride of a rogue pilot bent on destruction. This is one of the most sickening and senseless mass murders of recent times - they are all horrific, but the utter randomness (seemingly) is all the more chilling, even existential.

We can only assume the killer was bound to fail his next medical in June 2015, and needed to act fast.  Was this always a pathological obsession from youth? Or a revenge against employers or a steward or stewardess (or both) who had jilted him? Paranoia? Or even terrorism by another name?

All we know is, stranger danger now applies to pilots as much as anyone else. We live in a world where some priests, politicians, police officers, surgeons, doctors, pilots, teachers have recently all been shown to abuse their power to abuse, kill or hurt others. No profession is untouched, no one is genuinely to be trusted.
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