1: Just because it's legal doesn't necessarily mean it's safe
|Boeing latest aircraft, the 787 Dreamliner|
In relation to flight training, I have often been told by instructors that just because something is legal doesn't necessarily mean it's safe, and I am grateful for such diligent instructors. Take the minimums regarding visibility which are needed to go flying in VFR. Here in Ireland, if you are flying at or below 3,000 AMSL and at 140kts or less, legally you can fly in visibility of 1500m. Now if I'm flying at 140 knots in one direction and another pilot is flying directly towards me at 140 knots also, how long do we have to avoid each other after we make visual contact?
If you take it that we're approaching each other at 280kts, that's 518km/h and we only have 1500m potential separation, that means we have 6 seconds to avoid each other! 6 seconds? How can that possibly be classified as legal? I don't think I need to labor this point apart from saying that I would always take a legal requirement with a pinch of salt.
2: Don't count your chickens before they hatch
According to this article, Boeing execs were given a wrap on the knuckles for giving a press conference outlining their suggested fixes for the Dreamliner battery issue without the backing of the NTSB on the suggested solution. I think they might have been jumping the gun here a bit, but you can understand their urgency to do some damage control.
|787 after making an emergency landing in western Japan|
3: Every decision made or action taken has a knock on affect
What with all the work carried out to get the battery issues fixed it looks like this might have a knock on affect on the 787 ETOPS certificate. According to this article, this may have to be looked into now, which, if ETOPS was lost, would be a massive blow to Boeing. The Dreamliner was built to fly long range over oceans. This has still to be determined.
Every decision made as a pilot can have knock on affects, some with very serious outcomes. Deciding to fly when you are obviously fatigued can impair your judgement and decision making. Deciding to drop down below unexpectedly low cloud cover without knowing exactly whats below or ahead could be disastrous. Letting "Get-there-itis" take over before or during a flight has been mentioned on many an accident report. I'm reminding that every decision made or action taken has a knock on affect and I need to be mindful of that.
Well, I guess as one famous flight instructor always says, "A good pilot is always learning" (mzeroa.com). As much as I hate to see a fantastic airplane such as the 787 grounded, I'm reminded that in every situation, we need to keep learning. If we continue to learn, we keep our minds open. In keeping our minds open, we grow more accepting of others and aware of how much MORE we have to learn.
So, always look out for the next learning opportunity and take it with both hands when it comes.