This letter was written by a pilot working for an Indian airline. But given the situation here in Pakistan it resonates a lot and the way media treats aviation professionals we thought it will be appropriate for our readers.
Aviation is a strange profession ! I love it to death but the strange part is, if I meet my end in my line of work it’s most likely that I’ll be blamed. I’ll be blamed long before any proof is brought forward, I’ll be blamed by the media, I’ll be blamed by people, I’ll be blamed by the passengers if they survive. In a week the Data recorders will be analysed and then maybe they’ll find that it’s not my fault ! That I fought for hope amidst hopelessness till my dying breath.
Sadly that won’t make as good a headline as “pilot error”, “pilot veers off runway when aligning for takeoff”. In fact it was nothing to do with aligning that brought this ill fated crew to a halt just short the peripheral wall at Dabolim this morning.
How I wish I could explain concepts of asymmetric thrust to the number of people passing silent judgement and being armchair jurors! How do I tell someone about how much thrust 27 thousand odd pounds is. How do I reiterate what a reverser unlock is. How do I tell the person that the same 27 thousand pounds is now in an opposite direction. Most of the crowd probably doesn’t even know what a moment arm is or a couple. They dropped physics in 8th grade as it was to complex. That said they blame the human machine who earns his bread and butter, putting in to practice what they felt was too complicated! To be honest it’s disgusting flying this kind of passenger and taking responsibility for his life for however long it may be!
How do I explain not being able to see three taxiway lights in front of me to a crowd that says anyway you auto land in fog ? How !? It’s at the brink of frustration that I’m writing this !
Back in the day an old grey instructor told me, “son in this world of civil aviation its best to be a nameless faceless pilot who does his job and goes home!”. I probably didn’t understand it then but now, more than ever I totally understand. The sad part is be it a Cactus 1511 with Sully or the 9W aircraft.
Sadly with technology improving in the home and workplace the human has become the weak link. Sometimes ones must note that the human is the strongest link. Without them shutting down the malfunctioning engine they might have gone into the terminal increasing the statistics of loss of life!
As an appeal to the non aviation public, believe that we as pilots love what we do and would never put anyone’s life in jeopardy! We are sons, daughters, wives, husbands, parents, just like you. We haven’t fallen from the realm of Asgard and into the helm of these metal ships, it takes years of hard work to achieve it.
Media folk this is an appeal to you! It’s you whose sensationalised our profession with scandal, malpractice, etc. Paint the right picture of pilots worldwide. Tell people that we are there to save lives not take them ! Make an honest effort to redeem your name when you’re standing at heaven’s gates or you’ll probably have the boatman remove you from the boat. Educate the masses who you manipulate to get more views to the actual facts of thrust, lift, weight and drag! Tell them from start to finish what happens from takeoff to touchdown. Do tell them when they see that wind looping out of the window and the tip moving, there is a hand guiding this giant metal bird through the skies!