I spend most of my time working, or sleeping, therefore my news consumption isn’t always on point. It’s Monday afternoon and I am just learning of the two plane crashes that occurred over this Holiday weekend. Yes, I know that’s sad, but it’s also true.
From what I’ve come to understand, the Pilot involved in the San Francisco crash had very little experience at flying. As little as only 40-something hours inside the wings of a Boeing 777, according to a local news station. The pilot had also never landed an aircraft into the San Francisco airport before this day.
News regarding the Alaskan plane crash is too new.
However, I can’t help but think- Should Pilots be allowed to fly a commercial jet full of passengers before logging a set number of in-flight hours with a more seasoned pilot?
Take learning to drive a car for example. I knew many kids back in High School who rushed to the DMV to get their permits. They probably drove around in their parent’s cars 3 or 4 times before booking a road test, and somehow passing. We all know these kids. The ones who by some act of God got their Driver’s License after only one try, and begged and begged their parents till they somehow won, and got their very own winter beater to drive themselves and their friends around in. And quite frankly, these kids were terrible drivers.
It is no wonder to me anymore why my father was such a stickler when it came to teaching me how to drive. He wouldn’t give me lessons in the dark. He wouldn’t give me lessons in the rain, and he wouldn’t do it in the snow. The 16-year-old me agonized, thinking I’d never get to take my road test.
New York State mandated that every learning driver log so many hours behind the wheel with an experienced driver, something that needed to be signed off on by a parent or guardian. We also were required to take a 5-hour driving course, offered only through accredited driving schools. Though these courses were the bane of our young existence, they did teach us valuable lessons of no drinking and driving, no texting and driving, and checking your blind spots before merging into oncoming traffic.
Of course, my father refused to sign MY slip until a year and a half later, when he personally thought I was ready to take the wheel by myself, or with other passengers in the car.
I know driving and flying are two separate things. However, I can’t help but roll my eyes at some of the Tweets I’ve been seeing in regard to the recent news.
Examples: Pilots should publicly share their flight experience with their passengers before taking off. Planes just simply aren’t safe; People should drive everywhere we need to go.
That second, kind of ignorant comment is what got me thinking. Almost everyone I know has gotten in a car accident at one time in their lives. It could have been due to bad weather, lack of judgement, not paying attention to the road, or because the driver was under the influence of something. There are so many factors to consider when a car accident happens, however, no one ever says they’re going to start walking everywhere they go because automobiles are no longer safe.
Take the number of car accidents that occur every day in the United States. Heck, take even the number of accidents occurring in your metro area every day, and compare that number to the number of publicized plane crashes that have occurred since 9/11. Call me crazy, but I doubt the numbers even remotely compare.
Keeping that in mind, is it fair to jump to conclusions before investigations have been completed? Is it completely fair to lay all blame on the pilot in both incidents and claim that cars are simply safer to travel in than airplanes? And if so, what should this pilot’s punishment be?
It is really unfortunate when someone loses their life in one of these events. My heart truly goes out to the friends, families and loved ones of these victims. However, accidents do happen. Are we failing to recognize this simple fact?