Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Half-Flanagan


You remember Tommy Flanagan (pronounced Fla-NAY-gan), Jon Lovitz’s memorable Saturday Night Live character who was incapable of uttering the truth?


Well, here we see a half-Flanagan, from an interview in the November issue of Airline Business magazine with Richard Lark, the chief financial officer at the Brazilian airline Gol.


(A Gol 737, you will also remember, went down in the Amazon with 154 dead on Sept. 29, 2006, after colliding with a business jet while both aircraft were flying head-on at 37,000 feet under Brazilian air traffic control instructions.)


Said Lark, speaking of the crisis in Brazilian aviation:

“What is happening in Brazil are attempts to find the guilty parties, to initiate criminal proceedings rather than concentrating on discovering the cause of the accident. Once you introduce a blame culture people will start to withhold information. This situation creates a disincentive to find the truth. We have the best safety system along with Canada and the U.S.A., but this now is being questioned, with emotion taking over from rational thought.”

True Fact: “...What is happening in Brazil are attempts to find the guilty parties, to initiate criminal proceedings rather than concentrating on discovering the cause of the accident. Once you introduce a blame culture people will start to withhold information. This situation creates a disincentive to find the truth.”

(An assertion that, by the way, has been made repeatedly in this space for over a year).


Whopper: "... We have the best safety system along with Canada and the U.S.A., but this now is being questioned, with emotion taking over from rational thought.”

Well, let's apply some rational thought to that statement. Let’s see, 154 died in the still-inexplicable Amazon accident (to which Gol, it should be noted, has not yet addressed itself publicly, while the American pilots of the business jet and four low-ranking air traffic controllers are on criminal trial.)


Then in July, another 199 died when a Brazilian Tam airliner crashed at notoriously unsafe Congonhas airport in Sao Paulo.


Then last Sunday, eight people died when a business jet taking off from another airport situated in a crowded urban area of Sao Paulo crashed into a neighborhood – just days after three separate helicopter crashes killed another three people.


“We have the best safety system …”

Yeah, that's the ticket!

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2 comments:

Cassandra_Moderna said...

Either I have been in this country too long and have gone native or you really are a bit insensitive. Geez!

airWatch said...

Sharkey,
Why are you so worried about Brazilian *unsafe* air space if you won’t come back anymore to Brazil? I think that there are a lot of things that should concern you and are close to you. Why don’t you say anything in your American blog about the NASA mum on plane data that might scare us? Is it because the unprecedented national survey of pilots by the U.S. government has found that safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than previously recognized? Why the government is withholding the information? Are they fearful it would upset air travelers and hurt airline profits? Is it because a lot of airlines fund you? Why NASA ordered the contractor that conducted the survey to purge all related data from its computers? I’ve read that a senior NASA official, associate administrator Thomas S. Luedtke, said that revealing the findings could damage the public's confidence in airlines and affect airline profits. Luedtke acknowledged that the survey results "present a comprehensive picture of certain aspects of the U.S. commercial aviation industry”. Is this true?
Regards.