Saturday, 10 November 2007

Wake the pilot

I've never been afraid of flying. So even the story about the pilots being asleep as the plane came into land didn't bother me.

Yes, you read that correctly. It's just emerged that a plane en route from Baltimore to Denver was getting frantic calls from air traffic control as it neared Denver Airport at twice the normal approach speed and well over the normal altitude.

They managed to arouse the pilot and co-pilot from their blissful slumber and the plane fortunately was landed safely.

The blame is put on long shifts and inadequate rest periods in-between. Plus the boredom of a routine flight.

Personally it only makes me more confident about flying when I hear that a plane can land okay despite snoozing pilots. Clearly the safety procedures are robust enough to allow for human errors like these.

In fact I'm far more nervous about hospitals than I am about planes. The death rate on scheduled flights is miniscule, while the death rate in hospitals from superbugs, blood clots, drug overdoses and surgical errors is alarmingly high.

As I've said before, the chances of coming out of hospital with an extra ailment you didn't have on arrival are pretty huge.

So if I get off a plane and someone tells me the pilots were fast asleep ten miles from the airport - no worries. I'll just head for baggage reclaim with the usual spring in my step.


Wisewebwoman said...

And of course, Nick, we never get to hear about the 'near misses' which happen far more frequently than we are told.
I had a dreadful fear of flying years ago, I was flying too much for business and something seems to build up in a mathematical mind (i.e. odds running out, etc.) I had to have therapy so am totally sympathetic to anyone with the fear.
Through a form of bio-feedback I can now fly anywhere, without getting floothered or pilled up.

Nick said...

Sorry to hear you got so fearful, www, but glad you found a way of dealing with it. Yes, I'm sure there are many, many near-misses that get hushed up. Funny, that still doesn't bother me. Either I'm remarkably sanguine about this, or I'm in total denial!

Medbh said...

I have a major fear of flying. If something goes wrong in a hospital or in a car you have a greater chance of survival. Plus there are plenty of contagions circulating in a plane.

Manuel said...

I fell asleep at work danger to anyone though....just no danger of getting dinner ....which isn't the same thing...

Nick said...

Medbh - Sorry to hear of your fear of flying. Perhaps you should try the method that worked for www? I think the chances of survival in a hospital or car are pretty slim if the situation's serious. If a juggernaut ploughs into your car, not much you can do. And I'm sure there are plenty of germs in the average office.

Manuel - Ah, maybe that's why we had to wait so long for our pizza - the chef was fast asleep, dreaming of truffles.