The statistics of sanity.

29 Mar

There are inherent risks to staying in bed all day with lights off, the door locked. There inherent risks in getting up ambling into the loo and down the stairs to cook porridge, risks in eating bacon and eggs. The risk matrix escalates as you venture out the front door into the wide world. By the time you get to work you have been exposed to some of the statistically highest risk levels known to man kind. It is a dangerous world. Once you manage to get safely on board your aircraft to travel, you have, statistically at least, arrived in one of the safest environments known to mankind. There are percentage chances a wing-bolt will break, there are percentage chances of an in-flight fire, there are even percentage chances that the FA will spill a pot of hot coffee over your groin.

So what then are the chances one of your aircrew will have some form of psychological issue – it’s probably about the same as any work place. What chance then one pilot is a suicide contemplating mass murder, I’d argue they are a lot less than any other place on the planet. How many suicide bombers do see a week? how many die at the hands of ‘terrorists’ every day – every hour? – a damned sight more than have ever been killed by ‘whack job’ pilots. The hysterical cries for action on this incident are from a world with a lot more mental problems than the aircrew which will, despite their daemons, calmly, quietly and efficiently deliver you today, as safely as possible to your destination. Millions of passengers today, airborne right now, don’t believe the risks are terribly high; after all, they all boarded, travelled as usual, disembarked as usual, on time at the right destination (or near enough) didn’t they? QED – perhaps.

Airbus and EU have much to gain and little to loose from a convincing, leaked early, moody ‘rogue pilot’ scenario. But seriously, how many fair dinkum nut jobs are there flying at airline level?

One point for discussion here, I do wonder about the long term effect of the so called ‘recreational’ drugs on the mental well being of the younger aircrew. Do NOT misunderstand me, I am only wondering about it as being part of a causal chain. Used to be ‘booze’ and cigarettes, now it seems it’s a popped pill, two litres of water and boogey all night and into the next. Not that the boogey all night is unusual for young aircrew, this is neither new or unusual; what is new is the ‘chemical’ (for want of better) residue and it’s effects on the next day ‘state of mind’. “Eccy Tuesday” I have heard it called. Understand, I am fishing but it’s a new risk and it is (IMO) interesting to explore the possibility and understand the risks.  One of the few differences in the behaviour of ‘young men’ I can discern is the ‘poison’ of choice – all the normal ‘things’ young folk contend with being equal, that is.

Another is the direct entry through cadet ship into an airline environment, without passing through the ‘other’ experience filters, such as GA which weed out some of the less ‘stable’ early in the piece. There is much of value gained from an ‘apprentice-ship’ in the school of hard knocks.

I just cannot come to terms with a pilot having a mindset that would deliberately take 150 + souls along on what is a sole journey. ‘We’ (pilots) are very cognisant of the responsibility, careful of the lives we are entrusted with; and, work very hard to ensure that ‘delivery’ is complete with the minimum of fuss, call it professional pride. So, I seek alternate reasons, for IF this young man has, (and not yet convinced) indeed committed this awful crime, I for one would like to know the why.

Those who would deliberately seek to destroy aircraft must be laughing their socks off, watching the expensive, ineffective security system run around in ever diminishing, fear driven circles. A knee jerk usually only mangles someone else’ nuts, which is a sure fire winner; until they get up, cranky and respond. Shooting from the hip, as anyone ‘competent’ in the use of firearms will tell you, only one of two possible results are certain, a shot foot or a miss. I might add, neither ‘reaction’ has any practical or intrinsic value.

Toot toot.

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