Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Boo the crew?

A recent Miami-New York flight was canceled when the late-arriving crew felt threatened by a booing crowd. This created a long discussion thread at Flyertalk, but the articles in New York Magazine are funnier. First, from 8 July:
To which we say: Screw that. Air travel in this country is an unmitigated nightmare. If you're a real New Yorker, you'll raise hell if you are unfairly or stupidly delayed. When we read the headline on this story in the morning, we immediately knew it must be a flight headed to New York — and we couldn't have been more proud.
and an amusing fish out of water story of a New Yorker waiting for a table in a restaurant in San Francisco:
California, it turns out, has no sense of urgency. Our sandaled friends whom we visited on the trip assured us that it was because people there have their priorities all figured out. They know what's important, and that does not include getting impatient and frustrated over a few minutes of waiting. When I pointed out that I like to choose how I use my own time, not have to waste it on other people's being slow, they just observed that I was choosing to use my time on anger.
But seriously, where this started out was I was looking at the new ETOPS rules (nice summary here), particularly thinking about how the FAA's rule against "dual maintenance" (i.e., the same mechanic can't work on both engines) could relate to software development (yes I know about N-version programming). ETOPS also has rules about parts inventories. The point is to avoid CMF (common mode failure).

A single mechanic working out of the same parts bin is not a good idea. The story of a plane losing all engine and gliding to Miami has been going around for years. As far as I can tell, here is the real story, and some of the permutations in the Risks Digest: here (the airline is now United, not Eastern) and here (the restart altitude is much lower) and here (the aircraft is now a 727).