Safety Riddle

Safety Riddle: Does the mishap cause the hazard to occur or does the hazard cause the mishap to occur?
According to the FAA, Congress and airline transport associations safety experts, every thing is fine, until every thing is not fine. Read this case below:

Crash Puts Focus on Air Safety-Senate Panel Plans Further Hearings (Washington Post, May 15)

A U.S. Senate committee is planning to hold a series of hearings next month looking into the safety practices of commercial airlines, following revelations of a number of safety lapses from the crash of Continental Connection Flight 3407.

The announcement came on the final day of public hearings by the NTSB into the Feb. 12 crash near, which killed 50 people. The crash was the first fatal commercial aviation accident in two years and has been described by the NTSB as the worst transportation accident in seven years.

In an interview yesterday, Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees aviation, said he was “stunned by what I’ve seen and heard on the evidence” from the safety board hearings.

“There are issues of training, crew rest, exam failures, acquaintance with icing,” Dorgan said.

“There are so many things that are troublesome. It calls for a real serious investigation.”

Dorgan said he met yesterday with families of victims of Flight 3407. He said his committee’s hearings will examine the safety practices of the regional airline industry, which has grown as major airlines contract out service to smaller cities. Colgan Air, which is the Manassas-based unit of Pinnacle Airlines, was operating the Buffalo flight as a regional partner of Continental Airlines. The hearing will also focus on the development of safety standards for the airlines by the Federal Aviation Administration. “We’ve had a remarkably good record [in aviation safety],” Dorgan said. “But it’s my understanding that those commercial airline crashes in recent years have overwhelmingly been commuter carriers.

My question is this. Didn’t the safety hazard issues exist before the crash occurred? Why is Congress, FAA and other safety experts looking at these issues after the crash occurred? Why didn’t they look at them before the crash occurred?
Do they believe that the crash caused the hazards to occur? Is that why they are looking at them now? But in contrast, wouldn’t the average person believe that the hazards were there all along, waiting for a challenging situation to bring them out? Any pilot can fly on a fair day. But does it not take a well trained pilot to fly on a dark and stormy night?

Would you agree that the hazard occurred before the mishap and in fact was directly related to the cause of the mishap?

So what is Congress doing? Here is the answer. Congress are lawyers. In tort law, you have to have an offense before you can go to court. You have hearings also before you go to court, to determine if a court proceeding is justified. So these hearing and the Congressional action is related to finding blame for the damage done. That is why the hearings are taking place after the mishap occurred, That is what lawyers do. They take injured parties to court and try to get recompense from the parties that injured them. That is what is going on here.

This is not safety. It is too late to practice safety when the mishap has already occurred. This is just tort law proceedings under the guise of Congressional hearings. The goal may be legislation, but to do what: To make the FAA live up to their own policy of “ONE LEVEL OF SAFETY”?

Published by Capt. Paul Miller

Aviation safety expert with 43 years in the sky

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