Yesterday, Fox’s Anna Kooiman and Charles Payne speculated that a foreign measuring system and/or culture was to blame for the loss of AirAsia Flight QZ8501, still missing as I write this.
Kooiman has no apparent expertise in aviation but that didn’t stop her from suggesting to the real expert, former FAA official Scott Brenner, that the metric system caused the crash before he had a chance to speak.
In her introduction, co-host Kooiman noted that Brenner thought that the differences in pilot training might have had to do with the plane’s loss. As it turned out, Brenner was talking about the reliance on autopilot. But before he could explain, Kooiman jumped the gun in her first “question.”
KOOIMAN: Let’s talk about the differences. I mean, even when we think about temperature, it’s Fahrenheit or Celsius. It’s kilometers or miles. You know, everything about their training could be similar, but different, right?
Brenner talked about “the large reliance on automatic pilot” more than in the U.S.
Kooiman responded, “So it’s not just differences in the way that we measure things, it’s a difference in the way that our pilots are actually trained. Is it not as safe in that part of the world? ‘Cause our viewers may be thinking, international travel – is it safe, is it not safe?”
Brenner said it is “incredibly safe.” He went on to note that American pilots are better trained to actually fly the plane in the cockpit whereas many foreign pilots are often required to use autopilot in the air.
Co-host Charles Payne served in the U.S. Air Force so he presumably knows something about aviation. But Brenner's thoughts were about the Asian temperament: “What about cultural aspects, certain respects for procedures?" Payne asked, "Not the cowboy attitude, 'I’m not gonna wait for someone to tell me to move out of the way.' Could that play a role also? Because it’s been suggested even before the last 24 hours that there is a distinct difference.”
Watch it below, from yesterday’s Fox & Friends, via Raw Story.
I don’t want to lead you astray on this. It’s not that all media here were “going on and on” about this radar thing. But it was being reported and discussed fairly widely for a while. Now that the wreckage has been more or less located, attention has shifted to the recovery process.
U.S. cable news and U.K. news can be quite different, with U.S. eagerly and endlessly indulging in speculation when something like this happens, some of it really quite fascinating.
The radar image was leaked by somebody, and its authenticity hasn’t been confirmed by Indonesia. (They haven’t disavowed it, either.) That’s most likely why even SkyNews hasn’t reported on it there.
CNN U.S. and CNN International know very well they have different audiences and different media environments, and their programming is pretty autonomous. CNNI is seen all over the world, so they have many different national sensibilities and cultures to worry about and tend to be more sober and cautious than CNN US.
Rather than the reasons for the crash, I am intrigued by what appears to be a total disconnect between the high intensity of attention given to the radar screen grab in the USA and the almost total nothing on the channels I have access to. If you hadn’t provided the link, I would not have known that that screen grab even existed.
The channels I viewed this morning(I’m recovering from the flu) continued to ignore the whole radar thingy entirely. Only SkyNews (UK-based version of FNC) made a very brief, vague reference to what might have happened but that’s all. The other channels limited themselves to saying that the flight recorders, the condition of the plane and the bodies, etc. will provide the needed facts, etc. etc. No speculation at all.
The disconnect caught my attention because you wrote that the media were going on and on about the possible reasons using that radar screen grab as inspiration and I’d not even heard about the thing. It’s that that piqued my curiosity and I have no theories as to why (especially with regard to CNN America and CNN International: aren’t they the same owners?)
The only explanation I can think of other than deliberate action by the pilots would be if they got hit by lightning and lost some of their instruments and didn’t realize they were going up. But that seems a stretch.
The famous Air France 447 that was lost over the Atlantic between Rio and Paris wasn’t shoved up by turbulence, the pilots took it up. Going high through a similar kind of massive thunderstorm, their pitot tubes, which tell them their altitude, got clogged by ice, the autopilot disengaged, the panicky pilots overcompensated (basically, they couldn’t fly the plane properly), intentionally went up, lost airspeed and went into a stall. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffin_corner_%28aerodynamics%29
Wikipedia has a good rundown here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_447
The faulty pitot tubes were replaced on these planes after that accident, so presumably, the AirAsia plane’s had been fixed, though nobody’s been able to confirm that absolutely that I’ve heard.
It sure is a similar accident, but the precipitating factors may be different— it, a lightning strike blowing the instruments rather than icing.
CNN America has specialized in plane crashes since their weeks of wall-to-wall coverage of MH370, so they’ve had extensive, even endless discussion of all the possible factors in this one, too.
Detailed coverage of the event by CNN International also mentioned this as a likely possibility, referring to the same thing having apparently happened to an Air France flight in the Caribbean (?). They went on to discuss the implications in terms of training. Only the BBC even mentions that radar screen. Funny how different the coverage of an event can be so different.
Anyway, from what little I know about flying (a few hours of flight training), anybody who decides to change course or altitude without permission from air control is doing something a bit like deciding to drive in the wrong lane on a turnpike.
Fuck these people.
Anyway, seems like we’ll find out eventually, though it usually takes months before they get the black boxes analyzed, and that’s in this country. Who knows how long it will take Indonesia or whoever does the analysis on this one.
I’m sure you could find this on various U.S. news sites, too, but this was the easiest find through Google.
I’m no aviation expert, but the various “analysts” on TV who are say this is too slow. (Note that it’s ground speed, not air speed.)
I’ve not (yet) seen anything like that on the channels here, not even on Sky24 (part of Murdoch’s empire). Only that the pilot had asked for permission to rise to 35000 feet and that air control was too busy to respond immediately.
I sincerely doubt that any pilot would even think about wilfully disobeying an order from air traffic control: they know full well how crowded the skies are and that any deviation from their agreed course would carry a serious risk of colliding with other planes. The whole idea strikes terror in the heart of all pilotes. As per European media, the response from air control was belated and the airplane had already disappeared from the radar when they answered his call. Seems they’ve found the plane (sufficiently intact to be discernable from the air), so we should know the facts very soon.
Amen to Jane’s final shot: the foxies are beyond belief.
It’s bad enough to speculate that pilot error caused this (which at this point, CNN’s analysts very sensibly and honorably refuse to do), but it’s in a whole other realm to extend that to assumptions about what kind of error caused by what kind of “cultural differences.”
Aria Prescott – I don’t know if it’s Sinophobia or not, but coming from Fox it’s gotta be one kind of phobia or another (they have so many to choose from, after all.)
Been married to a Muslim for eighteen years, have been flying to or from our home130 klicks from Surabaya (Juanda) via Singapore or Hong Kong for eighteen years unknowingly in planes that land themselves, have been driving on roads all over east Asia where speed is measured in KPH but all is not lost, when utilizing metrics I’m a double digit man where size matters!