A New Low in the World of Trust
- John Frazier
I was flying an ILS in the sim a few years back, night of course, everything as it should be; on speed, in the window with “George” connected and doing the usual good work, when about halfway down the GS the sim crashed. I mean simulated an impact with the ground. The whole flash-bang-crash bit. Unexpected, sudden, and upsetting, aside from the insult. It turned about to be a sim software glitch.
It was very unsettling; like a really bad dream. All your years of experience-built assumptions blown. Your worst nightmare come true; everything normal and bang! You’re Dead.
But we were in the sim, right? In the real world of the aircraft, locked into the safe envelope of a published instrument procedure, alien forces don’t reach out and turn your few remaining hairs white in the middle of the night, do they? Don’t we bet our lives every day on the idea that if you fly the published instrument approach procedure and everything is as it should be with the airplane, you won’t get hurt?
If you have not yet read this recent article in AIN Online, please do so now. http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/aviation-international-news/2012-08-01/fly-plate-and-you-wont-get-hurt
Now that you have read the article, and perhaps some of the comments that follow below it, let’s sum up the outcome of this specific situation before you do anything rash. The author/pilot has been completely exonerated, the aircraft insurer sued and got a settlement, the offending trees were all cut down, and the approach has been restructured and republished. We can only hope that the individuals responsible for this event have been given cause to reflect on their personal lack of integrity.
What’s the take-away for us guys and gals? Can we be satisfied that not a single other situation like this exists out there? That used to be the case, but now it isn’t? Do we need to preach some more in training that you are ‘visual’ and on your own once you leave the MDA? No more VNAV visual descents to a runway at night at an unfamiliar airport? Will the next one of these occur on an ILS or a WAAS LPV?
I don’t have the answers, but I do hope that this story will get the appropriate players in our aviation system on their horses and riding into action, including alphabet gang members such as the NBAA and ALPA. It is imperative that we get satisfaction and closure on this issue.