By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the plane crash in Kentucky (http://articles.news.aol.com/news/_a/runway-route-had-changed-before-crash/20060827082709990001).
Have you noticed that non-terrorist plane crashes overwhelmingly occur in small jets, like the Canadair Regional Jet? Most of the flights between Colorado Springs and Denver seem to be on these RJs, and I used to fly a lot in a previous job, so I’ve flown my share of RJs. Normally, I try not to pay too much attention to plane crashes, because they’re pretty rare, comparatively.
But this one shook me.
Because it drove home just how much trust we’re placing in a single person, the pilot, when we fly. (Two people, if you include the co-pilot.) This pilot somehow got on the wrong runway, one that was just too short for a plane that size. It also X-ed the main runway, so you’d think it would have been obvious they were using the auxiliary runway. If it wasn’t pilot error, but an “honest mistake” due to a miscue in the markings or something, shouldn’t the runway markings have been more obvious?
It’s just scary that this kind of mistake could even be made. Isn’t safety supposed to be the highest priority? (No, I don’t mean that airlines are mean corporations only interested in profits. The planes and the pilots, who tend to be the first casualties in plane crashes, are the airlines’ most valuable assets, so it follows that avoiding plane crashes is the fiscally responsible course. Ergo, safety must be the #1 priority for any airlines wanting to turn a profit.)
Anyway, it shook me. We just flew to Chattanooga recently, and planned to fly to Alabama and/or Texas in October, and I know we’ll have to take RJs on those trips.
I hope my pilots will be paying attention.