I continue to be irritated by the media response to airplane crashes. There were a number the week of the fatal I blogged about, and I know the media was contacting pilots unconnected to the events for comments on the "state of flight training" and the "safety of small aircraft." I know they have to do something to sell newspapers, but why is the response so different than when there is a rash of automobile crashes?
When people die on the roads, the media questions the decisions made by the driver: were they drunk, speeding, fatigued, passing unsafely or driving a vehicle with poor maintenance? They look at the conditions: rain, dark, snow or wind. They might question the infrastructure: narrow roads, poor sightlines, a need for a traffic light at that intersection. Occasionally they even question the particular automobile, suggesting the CofG is too high. But I don't remember ever seeing them question the driver training process, or the general safety of humans driving cars in the first place. Have you ever seen a roving reporter ask people at a mall about how safe they feel our automobile transportation systems are?
And I am still irritated, ever single time in ever single story by reporters who can't take the time to learn the difference between an engine failure and a wing stall before writing it down and submitting it.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Reporter, if an investigator or pilot witness tells you that the airplane stalled and you write down that the engine stalled that makes about as much sense as if you reported a break in a window as a brake failure. If you find out anything about an airplane accident and you don't know about airplanes could you at least ask, "does that mean ..?" before printing lies that you made up in your ignorance?
Do reporters get it this wrong about your area of expertise?