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    • I'm fascinated by why we humans fear some things that by the numbers are safe and we don't fear what's dangerous. We fear vaccines but shrug about pain killers. We fear air travel but shrug about cars.

      I do the Escape From Alcatraz swimming race sometimes and our friends think I'm insane. Sharks! 🦈 Tides!

      And they're absolutely right. I always acknowledge the risks I'm taking. It's a 50-mile drive to get there and anything could happen. "Oh," they say, "not worried about that." Then I explain there never has been a shark attack in the bay. No one has ever drowned in this race with all the safety boats.

      "but it's terrifying. I would never do that."

    • How do you feel about the situation?

      Gee, which story sells more eyeballs to view your media:

      "Ho-hum, another boring day - move along, nothing to see here"

      ...or...

      "Ohmygawd, another aeroplane has fallen from the sky!! Video here NOW!"

      A slight amount of hyperbole above, but I think my point has been made.

      Mass media for the masses is mass hysteria.

    • I was talking to a friend of mine about the 737-Max 8's and they brought up how even though they are a seasoned professional and accomplished traveler, flying STILL makes them nervous. It's a phenomenon that started to happen to them in their 30's; when they were a kid, they viewed flying as a fun adventure. I think that flying anxiety (which I've gotten much better about, but I'm still aware as a factor that can affect my plans) is very commonplace and as a result, even seeing a YouTube video like the below is triggering for many people.

      We put our trust in pilots, amazing navigation systems, and strong equipment to keep us safe. To find out that one of those things is unreliable... well, that's a gigantic "heck no" for most people.

    • Since we all believe we are "above average" drivers, I can easily understand ( and relate ) why we don't feel the fear we feel when we strapped inside an aluminum beer can in which we can't see where we are going, hurtling down the runway depending on thousands of very, precise rapidly spinning parts to thrust us up into the sky like we are shot out of a gun. What could go wrong with that?!

      On the other hand, I spent the weekend driving from my home in Indiana to Fort Worth Texas to see "The Lure of Dresden" in the Kimbell Art Museum - a beautiful exhibit - no reflections anywhere on ANY of the large paintings covered with protective museum glass. Beautifully executed and worth my trip.

      https://www.kimbellart.org/exhibition/lure-dresden

      When I planned the trip I expected modest weather with dry roads, and what I experienced was Winter Storm Ulmer going both southery and a couple days later, northerly. The winds were gusting to 45-50+mph with numerous tornados in Arkansas as we drove thorugh it in torrential blinding downpours of windblown water. I covered 1700 miles, and at least half of it was in seriously compromised visibility due to rain and spray off the roadway from the heavy truck traffic. I spent more than a couple hours contemplating a change of plans as I drove along in the terrible weather with its associated motor vehicle risks. But did I stop? No of course not, I am an above average driver for my age.😉. Even driving after dark in farm and forested fronted road ways, did I stop? No I never REALLY felt endangered, although the reality is that I was in dramatically higher risk than I normally would have been in more favorable weather, or had I flown. The risks of driving have little to do with our skills, but a lot to the skill and attention and conditions affecting drivers around us.

      As for the TV media reporting about the 737 Max 8, I decided long ago that their business plan was not to provide reliable information to viewers, but to elicit emotions and anxiety in their viewers to keep them hanging on and watching their screen. I even think the weather channel leans that way. But what do I know, I drive in the rain in the dark in gusty wind conditions, at my age.

      I am interested to hear what the final determination of the cause of the terrible accidents to the two 737 Max 8 planes. Was there a defect in the performance of the airplane itself, or was some other factor at fault?

      When I ride in modern aircraft I am always amazed by them, but also aware that one's life is at some small risk whenever one is off the ground. I have flown in many smaller airplanes where we had to buzz the runway to get the cows or the zebras or the goats off the runway so we could land. In Costa Rica, many years ago, there was an airframe of an unsuccessful landing in the river at the end of the runway we landed on, so.....

      Motortcyclists routinely accept risks much greater than flying or even driving, don't they?

    • Fear alone isn't enough to grab eyeballs, but fear plus novelty will do it every time. And airliner crashes are scary and rare.

      But I think it's important not to discount the actual dangers here, and the value of bringing them to light on the world stage.

      All the evidence points to a very real design flaw with the MCAS system in the 737 MAX series. What's worse is that it's a design flaw that probably could have been a minor issue if Boeing had created proper training materials for pilots, and if they hadn't made the inexplicable decision of only providing a critical warning light if the customer paid for an optional upgrade package:

      Lion Air 610 should never have been allowed to get airborne on October 29, a conclusion shared by those familiar with the inquiry. The plane simply wasn’t airworthy. According to the preliminary investigation, PK-LQP’s Angle of Attack sensors were disagreeing by 20-degrees as the aircraft taxied for takeoff. A warning light that would’ve alerted the crew to the disagreement wasn’t part of the added-cost optional package of equipment on Lion Air’s 737 Max aircraft. A guardrail wasn’t in place. Once the aircraft was airborne, the erroneous Angle of Attack data collided with an apparently unprepared crew with tragic consequences as the MCAS system repeatedly activated, driving the jet’s nose into a fatal dive.

      Yesterday I read a fascinating recap of an earlier mechanical problem that plagued Boeing 737s in the 1990s and caused several crashes. By all accounts it was a far more serious problem than the MAX's MCAS flaw. And by many accounts, Boeing was aware of the problem and for years tried to hide it instead of fixing it.

      In that case, it took many crashes and lots of news coverage and regulatory pressure before Boeing finally fixed the problem. While reading about it, I reflected on the several flights I took on 737s during that time. All those planes were susceptible to the fatal tail rudder issue. Any one of them could have crashed. But luckily for me, the planes I was on didn't crash.

      If I had known about the problem at the time, would I have gotten on those planes? Absolutely not. Even though the overall chance of a crash was relatively small, that mechanical issue made it much higher than it should have been. For the same reason I also wouldn't fly on a 737 MAX today, or drive a car with dodgy brakes. It's just an unnecessary risk.

    • I spent the weekend driving from my home in Indiana to Fort Worth Texas to see "The Lure of Dresden" in the Kimbell Art Museum - a beautiful exhibit - no reflections anywhere on ANY of the large paintings covered with protective museum glass. Beautifully executed and worth my trip.

      Sorry to interrupt a thread about airplanes, but I want to know more about this driving 1700 miles to see an art exhibit. Do you do this kind of thing regularly? I am intrigued. Are you an artist?

    • Interesting to see the training issues that are beginning to surface, though how much relates to the changes Boeing made in these aircraft.