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May 12, 2014

"Two Weeks Ago, I Almost Died in the Deadliest Plane Crash Ever "

Weightless and staring downhill at the thirty-some rows of passengers ahead of me,
I had a rare and terrible reminder of the absurd improbability of human flight. We were hairless apes crowded into a thin metal tube hurtling through the sky at a speed and height beyond anything evolution prepared us to comprehend. The violence was over after a few seconds. United 1205 leveled out, having dropped at least 600 feet without warning.
— Editor’s Picks — Medium

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 12, 2014 9:59 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

GPS/FMS navigation systems are so accurate these days that airlines actually introduce a SLOP Factor so they don't zip EXACTLY down the centerline of a navigation corridor. It's common to fly right of the centerline by 1-5 miles, IIRC.

BTW SLOP is an acronym for Strategic Lateral Off-set Procedure.

The hardest thing to see is another aircraft coming directly at you, head-on. Another nearly impossible aspect is the right-angle. Yes you can see for many miles in clear air, what you are looking for appears like a tiny bird until the last second.

Check out this video.
http://youtu.be/P7DygPsJ_sA

Start looking at 3:20, on the far right edge of the horizon line in the fighter pilot's HUD. He's about to "encounter" an airliner, very closely.

Posted by: Scott M at May 12, 2014 1:10 PM

Happened to me in a Connie between Paris and Amsterdam, headed for the Azores. Cruising at 16,000 in smooth clouds, we suddenly began to gain altitude and bounce around. Engineer reduced power to minimum allowable and I knocked off the autopilot and pushed the nose down. We still were climbing and airspeed increased rapidly. It quit climbing at about 19,000 and about 240 IAS, and started sinking. Engineer put on climb power and I pulled the nose up sharply until IAS fell to about 150. We popped out of it at about 15,000 and 150K IAS. It all happened in what seemed like a minute or so, but who knows. Passengers weren't required to, and didn't wear seat belts at cruise altitude in those days. A passenger or two ended up with bruises, and one had a small cut. Nobody sued, blogged about it, or otherwise made a big deal out of it to my knowledge. I think these kinds of encounters were probably much gentler back then because we were only doing about 250K TAS, compared to the 600K they do now.

Posted by: BillH at May 12, 2014 1:58 PM

"...the absurd improbability of human flight"
He's definitely not going to like the bit about bumble bees.
I guess he MIGHT have meant flight for the common man's whim, where mere cargo is treated as a god, merely for electing to doing so.
I'm told it's MUCH better if someone else is paying for the chauffeured and attended flight.

Posted by: CaptDMO at May 12, 2014 3:01 PM

Well, he's managed to figure out that flying is not 100% safe. Who would ever have thought it?

Posted by: Jimmy J. at May 12, 2014 8:30 PM

Sometimes Carlin makes sense, other times he talks like a man with a paper asshole. I put him in the entertainment category, things I discard first.

As for flying, the dangers according to govt statistics and insurance actuary tables puts it as safer than medical malpractice and highway driving.

Me and the missus don't like flying, it is surrender of control and artificial environments and the NSA draconian screening process. We do vehicle trips to anywhere in the Continental US; anywhere else, we don't wanna go there. I like to drive and she likes to tell me what to do so it is win-win.

Posted by: chasmatic at May 13, 2014 2:20 AM

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