22 September 2005

We Don't Need No Stinking Nose Gear

A huge Bravo Zulu to the crew of JetBlue 292 for their excellent performance yesterday as they safely landed their Airbus A320 with an inop nosegear. As malfunctions go, this one is easier for a flight crew to deal with than others, but still not a good thing to have happen.

In the "Brave New World" of the 21st century, the passengers on board the stricken aircraft were able to watch their fate unfold on the seatback in front of them. SpinDaddy has some general aviation flight time, and a great deal of exposure to the major airline industry, as such I will offer an opinion here. If I were PIC in such a situation I'm not sure I wouldn't pull the circuit breakers for the inflight television system.

The cabin crew on board commercial aircraft are charged with maintaining passenger safety, they are especially trained to perform and facilitate safe evacuations, in just such situations as this. They are not there to bring you peanuts and Coke. Back in the Thirties and Forties it was a requirement that flight attendants be trained nurses.

It seems to this blogger that the cabin crews job could be made much more difficult in this case where perhaps easily excitable passengers without much knowledge of flying could have had their concerns amplified unnecessarily. Especially given the MSMs propensity to get the story maybe half-right, and to exaggerate utterly insignificant elemements of the story.

I am not trying to second guess yesterdays crew; they did a text book job with the situation, and were probably busy with checklists in the cockpit, but I'm sure they were aware of the problem before CNN's LA desk was. Perhaps as part of airlines CRM policies, they should examine this and add this as a checklist item.

Again, my point here is to assist the cabin crew as they are going to have their hands full after touchdown, and need to be prepared to perform this task with as little distraction and drama as possible. I think I would have pulled the circuit breakers. -SpinDaddy