Just what mistakes did various Fox reporters make this weekend? Well here’s a few:
- “The plane skidded on its back down the runway.” That gem was repeated for fully five hours after the accident and after half the free world saw the plane sitting upright in the dirt next to runway 28L.
- "We don't know if there were one or two pilots. Presumably there were at least two." You don’t know? There are ALWAYS at least two pilots on a commercial flight. This time there were four.
- “The plane overshot the runway.” Heard this several times. Tell me … if you overshoot a runway how do you manage to leave a debris field at the very beginning of the runway? Look up “undershot.”
- “The plane cartwheeled down the runway.” Though it did lift in the air at one point before it slammed back down, the plane actually spun down the runway. It did not turn cartwheels.
- Explaining video of one of the jet engines: “That’s the engine. That’s what makes it go.” Really? Now to be fair, don’t remember if I saw that one on CNN or Fox.
- Now here’s one I didn’t hear myself, but got it from multiple Twitter followers. One reporter said that the problem might have been caused by the plane landing into the wind. Uh huh. Airplanes always land into the wind, Sherlock. Also heard that one reporter said that the airplane “landed first, then crashed.”
- I truly thought that if kept listening I would soon hear someone say that the accident was either caused by global warming, George Bush, or the fact that gravity is always stronger over water than it is over land.
- This wasn’t a part of this particular incident, but I am reminded of an accident in Atlanta. A small plane encountered a sinkhole while taxiing to the runway for takeoff. A wheel went into the pothole and the prop struck the ground. The local news anchor said “the plane crashed on takeoff.”
Part of my angst here is surely due to my own personal interest in aviation. I studied aerospace engineering. I’ve been a pilot for about 35 years. I’ve heard liberals like Obama demonize the evil “rich” people who own and fly their own private aircraft, even though the average value of a single-engine piston airplane flying today is less than the cost of a new bass rig.
Aviation and the flying public are poorly served by people who know nothing about the subject engaging in wild and mindless speculation when an incident happens. Fox, CNN and the rest of the broadcast media can, and should, do better.