Experience is not everything.

In this week’s “ask the pilot”, (link on blogroll) Patrick Smith writes :

“Facing a serious pilot shortage, airlines are hiring crew members with remarkably little experience. What does this mean for safety?”

Typically, scare-mongers in the press are forecasting disaster. Patrick Smith disagrees, and so do I. Whilst I would not want a “learner driver” at the controls of my holiday jet, too much experience and seniority can let bad habits and complacency creep in.

When a KLM jumbo took off without permission from Los Rodeos airport on Tenerife on 27th March 1977, colliding with a PanAm Jumbo and killing 583 people, the pilot at the helm of the KLM Jumbo was Jacob Van Zanten, KLM’s most senior pilot and their main supervising and training captain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenerife_disaster

When a BEA Trident crashed in 1972, seconds after takeoff from Heathrow, killing all 118 on board, the pilot who incorrectly commanded “droops retract” at too slow an airspeed, Stanley Key, was likewise very experienced. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_European_Airways_Flight_548


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: