13.10.15

The truth behind Malaysia Airlines flight ‪MH17‬

A storyline from Mark Felton-Aksoy




Animation released by the Dutch Safety Board shows the path of the missile that hit Malaysia Airlines flight #MH17 http://bbc.in/1VQgnJr
Posted by BBC News on Tuesday, October 13, 2015







 I am a retired airline pilot AND retired Royal Air Force aircrew with several thousand hours of Cold War flying experience behind me. I offer the following based on my knowledge and experience.

First and foremost, the commander of the aircraft bears the ultimate responsibility for the safety of his or her aircraft and everyone on board. There is no: "But I was only following orders". This fact is set in law.

This captain took his flight over an active war zone. That other did the same is no excuse. We have ALL had similar training and if others choose to put their hands in the fire, that's their lookout. MH17 captain knew the rules, yet chose to ignore them. Harsh? Well, a couple of hundred people were blown up. How harsh does it get?

In mitigation, Eurocontrol (the body in Europe responsible for air traffic control and the safe conduct of flights in their airspace) made a negligent declaration: that it was "safe" to fly above 30,000 feet. This was crass stupidity because it took no realistic account of the capability of current Russian-built or Soviet-era weaponry. Think about this for a moment. If you are a pilot or not, if there is the likelihood of guns or missiles being fired in the vicinity of your flight, even if they may not be aimed at you, would you feel safe with, at most, an 8,000 feet margin? Bloody fool if you do!

There are other factors that will demolish any confidence in the fortune cookie pronouncements of a Brussels baboon:

In a war zone, the threat might not come solely from the ground! What about fighter aircraft - of which each of the belligerents has plenty. Now, my next point requires careful explaining.

Stabilising altitude and drift down. Pilots will understand these terms well enough. VERY BASICALLY, an aircraft can only fly if the air at that altitude is sufficiently dense to support it and there is sufficient thrust from the engine(s) and lift from the wing. If an engine should fail, even increasing the thrust on the remaining engine will, at the sort of altitudes jet transport aircraft tend to operate, will be insufficient to keep pushing the aircraft along at the same speed as before. For several reasons, drag will be increased and the aircraft MUST drift down to an altitude at which the air density is sufficient to keep it buoyant once more. You can bet it will be below the stupid safe (missile) level as pushed out by Eurocontrol. Now, you ARE in the DANGER ZONE! As a passenger with, presumably, life, experiences, loved ones ahead of you, would you find it acceptable behaviour if a retard at the controls was to place everything you are and everything you hope to be, in peril?

EVERY public transport flight IS REQUIRED BY LAW to be planned on the basis of an engine failure. Now, if you, the captain, are criminally negligent enough to even consider flying through a declared war zone, then perhaps ALL of the aviation rules are somehow irrelevant to you!

Another thing. You've all watched the safety briefings. That bit about cabin pressurisation failure and oxygen masks deploying from the panel above you. One requirement imposed on pilots in such a situation is to get on oxygen themselves and then commence a maximum rate descent to 10,000 feet. It is held that most people will survive, given the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere at that altitude.

I have given you two plausible reasons why any aircraft would be compelled to descend well below the pathetic "safe zone" that Euro-Out-Of-Control promulgated.

In all probability, we may NEVER know who pulled the trigger. But on that day, THAT MH17 captain knew there was a war on. Eurocontrol knew there was a war on. All the other airlines, whose captains plodded on, thumb up the bum, mind in neutral, knew there was a war on. ONLY the person who pulled the trigger knew WHEN (and WHY) they were going to do that. All the other flights got lucky. MH17 did not.

Yes, there are commercial pressures and I myself succumbed, once, in my early years. I vowed never to do so again and went from enfant terrible in my "management's" eyes, to bête noir! I know what it is like. But there is ONE piece of advice that EVERY pilot needs to hoist on board: "If you can't justify it, DON'T do it". I hope there are some captains out there who have consciences. If YOU have not learnt about flying from this sorry episode, then hang your heads in shame, for you draw your salaries under false pretences!
This captain took his flight over an active war zone. That other did the same is no excuse. We have ALL had similar training and if others choose to put their hands in the fire, that's their lookout. MH17 captain knew the rules, yet chose to ignore them. Harsh? Well, a couple of hundred people were blown up. How harsh does it get?In mitigation, Eurocontrol (the body in Europe responsible for air traffic control and the safe conduct of flights in their airspace) made a negligent declaration: that it was "safe" to fly above 30,000 feet. This was crass stupidity because it took no realistic account of the capability of current Russian-built or Soviet-era weaponry. Think about this for a moment. If you are a pilot or not, if there is the likelihood of guns or missiles being fired in the vicinity of your flight, even if they may not be aimed at you, would you feel safe with, at most, an 8,000 feet margin? Bloody fool if you do!There are other factors that will demolish any confidence in the fortune cookie pronouncements of a Brussels baboon:In a war zone, the threat might not come solely from the ground! What about fighter aircraft - of which each of the belligerents has plenty. Now, my next point requires careful explaining.Stabilising altitude and drift down. Pilots will understand these terms well enough. VERY BASICALLY, an aircraft can only fly if the air at that altitude is sufficiently dense to support it and there is sufficient thrust from the engine(s) and lift from the wing. If an engine should fail, even increasing the thrust on the remaining engine will, at the sort of altitudes jet transport aircraft tend to operate, will be insufficient to keep pushing the aircraft along at the same speed as before. For several reasons, drag will be increased and the aircraft MUST drift down to an altitude at which the air density is sufficient to keep it buoyant once more. You can bet it will be below the stupid safe (missile) level as pushed out by Eurocontrol. Now, you ARE in the DANGER ZONE! As a passenger with, presumably, life, experiences, loved ones ahead of you, would you find it acceptable behaviour if a retard at the controls was to place everything you are and everything you hope to be, in peril?EVERY public transport flight IS REQUIRED BY LAW to be planned on the basis of an engine failure. Now, if you, the captain, are criminally negligent enough to even consider flying through a declared war zone, then perhaps ALL of the aviation rules are somehow irrelevant to you!Another thing. You've all watched the safety briefings. That bit about cabin pressurisation failure and oxygen masks deploying from the panel above you. One requirement imposed on pilots in such a situation is to get on oxygen themselves and then commence a maximum rate descent to 10,000 feet. It is held that most people will survive, given the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere at that altitude.I have given you two plausible reasons why any aircraft would be compelled to descend well below the pathetic "safe zone" that Euro-Out-Of-Control promulgated.In all probability, we may NEVER know who pulled the trigger. But on that day, THAT MH17 captain knew there was a war on. Eurocontrol knew there was a war on. All the other airlines, whose captains plodded on, thumb up the bum, mind in neutral, knew there was a war on. ONLY the person who pulled the trigger knew WHEN (and WHY) they were going to do that. All the other flights got lucky. MH17 did not.Yes, there are commercial pressures and I myself succumbed, once, in my early years. I vowed never to do so again and went from enfant terrible in my "management's" eyes, to bête noir! I know what it is like. But there is ONE piece of advice that EVERY pilot needs to hoist on board: "If you can't justify it, DON'T do it". I hope there are some captains out there who have consciences. If YOU have not learnt about flying from this sorry episode, then hang your heads in shame, for you draw your salaries under false pretences!



No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!

Blog Archive