No matter how superhuman pilots may look like; how well equipped, trained and experienced they are – they can still make occasional dumb mistakes (just like every human being does). As recently reported, the human factor has been named as the main contributor to more than 75 per cent of all air accidents and incidents. But maybe some of them were not actually caused by the human factor directly? Maybe the surrounding world which directly affects our behaviour is the one to blame? Let’s have a look into a few quite humorous accidents and try to pinpoint the real reasons behind them prior to making any premature judgements.
When holding such a responsible position stress becomes your normal condition and it is sometimes simply impossible to avoid mistakes. When a human thinks that everything goes smoothly, he relaxes his brain and draws his mind away from the plane controls. That’s when all the mistakes and accidents usually occur. One might recall the incident that happened to Captain Thomas Joseph Morrow and First Officer Robert Eugene Saltsgaver, the pilots of a U.S. Airways jet on January the 19th, 2010, at Yeager Airport. When, during the takeoff a warning light indicated that his flaps were set wrong, Morrow aborted takeoff. According to CNN, the jet came to a halt ’about 100 feet short of the edge of a steep hillside.’ No one was hurt. And this happened because of a single most obvious reason – according to an official National Transportation Safety Board transcript of the cockpit voice recorder, instead of concentrating on their takeoff duties, pilots had an extended conversation about their dream sports cars, a house and even the prom that had happened some 30 years before. In short, their minds were already in the clouds, before even taking-off from the actual ground.
Another funny accident, which could have easily turned into a disaster, occurred in Mumbai, in 2008. An Air India flight heading from Dubai to Mumbai overshot its destination by more than 350 miles. According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), a source told the Times of India that the pilots were napping. The report said that the air traffic control had become so concerned about a potential hijacking that they had ‘buzzed the cockpit and woken up the pilots, who had then turned the plane around.’ Air India has denied this; Mumbai’s airport manager claims the aircraft suffered a communications failure. What could be better than napping in the sky? Probably nothing, but napping in the sky with over 100 passengers under your resposibility is definitely not the best idea.
Pilots are not unlike any other human beings in most respects – they also have parties, celebrate birthdays and sometimes drink an occasional rum with coke. The only thing that separates them from me and you is the fact that they hold many lives in their hands. And as we all know, that is why not everyone who Wants to become a pilot actually Can become one, and this is how the most talented and determined pilots are selected for their job. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee, that the pilot will do everything right and will not cause any emergency situation.
There are many capturing stories from the daily lives of aviation professionals. Some of them are very funny, some – tragically sad. But nothing happens in our life without an input of human factor. If you find a place on earth where only perfect life exists; without slopes and mistakes; where everything is already invented and discovered and everyone follows the rules; where even squirrels know how to fly better than the human pilots – pinch yourself or ask a friend to do it, because there’s a real chance that you are that sleeping pilot on the plane from Dubai to Mumbai! Now take control and direct your plane the right way, because there is no one else in this world who could do that for you.
Admission to the Baltic Aviation Academy’s Ab Initio studies has already started. For full information, please visit www.bit.ly/startpiloting.
Have a good flight!