Kiwi Polemicist

July 12, 2009

• Junk Journalism: Pilot dies mid-flight – plane lands safely

Filed under: Media (newspapers etc) — Tags: , , , — Kiwi Polemicist @ 12:51 pm

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Stuff has an article titled “Pilot dies mid-flight – plane lands safely“. It was a Boeing 777 – a big commercial jet aircraft – so of course the plane landed safely. Basically the pilot died of natural causes, so the copilot took over; there was also a relief pilot on board and he took the controls as well.

This is junk journalism because this is a non-event, unless you’re a friend or relation of the dead pilot. All but the tiniest passenger aircraft have two pilots in order to cover this very situation (as well as pilot potty breaks, etc.), including the 19-seat pencil planes. One pilot can fly the aircraft with no trouble whatsoever, although safety margins might be slightly reduced due to the higher workload.

If the pilot died and there was no copilot, but the plane still landed safely, it’d be newsworthy. Otherwise it’s junk journalism, a waste of space. The media do like to make much ado about nothing.

Useless information: the two pilots eat different meals in order to reduce the risk of both getting food poisoning. If my memory serves me correctly, this policy was bought in after two pilots ate the same meal and became unwell during a flight.

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