View Full Version : BBC Ad in Flt. Intl.

9th Apr 2001, 15:22
Just noticed a small advert in Flight (page 67). BBC are planning another program about Airports. Quote:" Looking to talk to flight crew (working and retired) about "challenging" charter destinations - particularly Greek Islands and the US. Call Sarah confidentially on 0161 244 3938."
Thoughts anyone? Sensationalism or genuine concern? I'm certainly not ready to destroy my career on this one!! Who's going to tell the stories about the likes of Samos then!

9th Apr 2001, 15:29
Does "challenging" = "cock-ups" ????? They sure won't get anything from me - & yes, there have been plenty of "challenges" !!!

Anti Skid On
9th Apr 2001, 16:35
Upwiththe birds - "particularly Greek Islands and the US" - looks like Aunties staff want to ctach some rays at the licence payers expense!

PPRuNe Towers
9th Apr 2001, 16:35
The Towers has had a lot of contact in recent weeks with the producer of the programme. She writes here as talkingtelly and her profile is utterly upfront about who she is.

Regarding the Greek Islands she's actually researching the infrastructure there not when you got the flaps out.

In particular, after 30 years of IT flights to the islands with all the attendent nav and landing charges just what has been done to maintain or improve navaids, instrument landing systems, approach and runway lighting, taxiway and runway surfaces, ATC co-ordination and quality of training?

Now you can view this from two extremes:

The Greek Islands are my rice bowl. They are the breed and butter for my company and keep me employed. Assisting any hatchet job by the beeb is cutting my own throat.

Conversely you might take this view: I've never personally paid a penny in nav and landing charges for operating in the Greek islands - My passengers paid the lot. After an entire generation of IT flights there investment seems to have been zero and partly because of this my airline has actually equipped the aircraft with TCAS and EGPWS long before there was any statutory requirement to do so. The ATC system there adds considerably to the costs affecting my company's future and to my stress levels.

Many of you will fit somewhere between those views depending how recently you went into Kos or circled for 17 at CFU. The same goes for those operating in African airspace.

Sarah is not a pilot but she does have an extremely good grasp of the general situation, the legalities and ICAO requirements and has thoroughly researched every possible safety report. She's after the facts of operating in these areas not tales of derring do or our mistakes.

Regards from the Towers
[email protected]

9th Apr 2001, 17:37
I've spoken to 'talkingtelly' on this subject, and she certainly seems switched on!

9th Apr 2001, 18:23
Anti Skid On, I appreciate it was a light hearted comment, so I'm not picking a fight, just offering information....

Could I just nip the BBC licence fee myth in the bud. You may not be aware of this, but we pay at least twice as much for ITV as we do for dear old Auntie Beeb. The ITV advertising revenue actually comes from: 1p on your packet of biscuits, 5p on your packet of soap powder, probably several hundred quid on the price of your car etc. etc.

There has always been a public relations problem with the licence fee, but it is interesting to note that many viewers seem happy to pay much more than the BBC licence fee to receive SKY for example.

Wig Wag
9th Apr 2001, 23:53
I wouldn't talk to the press about my job for love nor money. Firstly my contract prohibits it and that is definitive. Secondly I don't want my words edited, manipulated or portrayed other than I spoke them.

For some publicity is a siren call rather like the moth to the candle.

My advice is steer clear - by and large aviation sorts its own safety problems without sensational journalists.

I suppose it is possible that the Greek islands could lose trade if there was some adverse publicity. In reality the really sharp crews of UK charter companies make it safe.

That is, after all, the challenge of the job.

9th Apr 2001, 23:59
Wouldn't touch it with a bargepole unless I had full editorial control.

northern boy
10th Apr 2001, 01:28
I would have thought that after the recent C4 hatchet job on certain BA flight crew (whether they deserved it or not) most of us would be extremely circumspect about talking to the gentlemen and women of the media. TV is about entertainment, the truth will never get in the way of a good story. Aviation seems to be the latest shock horror probe subject at the moment.Its just another BAFTA award for those reptiles, its our industry. Personally, I wouldnt p**s on them if they were on fire never mind giving them more ammunition.

10th Apr 2001, 02:42
Eastern Airways going to the dogs?
Heard a rumour tonight that Eastern Airways, the Humberside based JS32 operator, are in trouble.
Gossip says, ( and I hope it is just gossip) that they are over committed on their routes, crews are being stretched beyond capacity, and they are plagued by unservicabilities.
Anyone know anything?

A and C
10th Apr 2001, 13:00
Thank you northern boy for issuing such a clear warning about the press ,i could not agree more with your comments.

10th Apr 2001, 13:14
Me too, I'm afraid I just couldnt trust them.

'Keep the Stress Down'

12th Apr 2001, 23:53
Does Talkingtelly feel like responding in person, and telling us why we should trust the journalists then?! "Once bitten etc etc."

Lou Scannon
13th Apr 2001, 00:20
Sooner or later this profession of ours is going to have to get our collective heads out of the sand. We need the press as much as they need us and it is up to us to ensure that our views and opinions receive the same publicity as that of our our critics.

I have just spoken to the lady in question and she seems totally straightforward. Lets give her a chance. If she turns out to be one of the dishonest members of her profession, we can deal with it when it arises.

13th Apr 2001, 00:33
With respect Lou, without full editorial control you can ensure nothing. If a journalist twists your opinions and then broadcasts them via whatever media, it's too late. Any subsequent retraction is only closing the door after the horse left the country let alone bolted.
Lets hope our ego's don't ever get the better of our collective scepticism.

Dr Tre
13th Apr 2001, 01:13
The only 'challenge' I have down route is that of trying to get to the bar when there's sooooo many journalists getting in the way!

13th Apr 2001, 03:55
I wear a metal caliper on one leg, and it sets off the metal detectors in airports, Eurostar stations, House of Commons public entrance, and everywhere else I have had to walk through one of those detector doorways - - except one. That exception was Athens airport.

Someone told me they turned the sensitivity level down because it kept going off.

I know that's Greek mainland rather than island, but it did remind me once of a rumour of where a bomb was thought to have possibly entered a plane.

13th Apr 2001, 13:51
No way would most pilots get involved in this project, no matter how tasty TALKNINGTELLY is ;)

Good television is that which gets ratings, and that involves usually controversial views, and with avaition absolutely little relevance to the truth. Just see the majority of peoples feelings on this thread.

Good luck with the project, i hope you get some truth and reality into the programme...

13th Apr 2001, 21:06
maybe if our industry had the reputation of telling the truth the whole and nothing but the truth we wouldn't have to be so shy and retiring. Lets have a strand on most original 'white lie' fed to strapped in SLF on a never ending delay....

16th Apr 2001, 03:11
I pay to receive SKY tv because i have a choice , i have to pay a fee to the beeb even if i never watch a program, as for talkingtellys research she free to speak to anyone she likes, but if she spent her days on my jump seat it would make pretty boring tv. you only have to look at the easy jet tv show to see how contrived the whole project becomes, they move thousands of pax a week to get a few shots of the odd drunk and nerds who turn up without passports!!!

i say "go around" and you go around, what power!!!

16th Apr 2001, 17:40

I feel you have a pretty good grasp on TV Types, boring telly...not if they can help it.

As a non-flyer (at present) Just let me go over what takingtelly wants. She wants you guys to "grass up" "snitch" "spill the beans" on the airports "oh theyre crap" "they dont invest" blah blah etc etc..?..Is that about the gist of it?

Airports sayeth do unto the pilots what has just been done unto you..psalms 12:15


As it is that time of year I will use a short piece from the bible.

..and Jesus did say of Judas...Well he seemed alright when I spoke to him!!!


I saw a UFO land in my garden last night...but hey, you dont want to know about that...lets talk technical airport stuff - Im sure the public will love it!!


16th Apr 2001, 22:55
Journalists all seem very knowledgeable, serious and be your best friend whilst they are tricking you into giving them some juicy gossip.

Pprune Towers et al, please don't be so naive.


17th Apr 2001, 15:54
Bearing in mind the reluctance, wether you consider it justified or not, of BALPA, IATA, ICAO etc. to openly condemn or blacklist the Greek ATC system in the past, perhaps the beeb will do us all a favour! Tell it like it is I say. Just make sure they send a copy to someone who has some influence in such matters, if there is such a person in Greece.
By the way, as a passenger through the new Athens airport last week....nothing except the distances involved has changed. While I was there a child managed to get itself on to the baggage conveyor and was last seen in the bowels of the airport heading for an Alitalia flight! Security...forget it.

17th Apr 2001, 20:16
Thanks for all your comments re the ad in Flight International and I totally understand all of your suspicions. I have been a journalist for eleven years and as we occupy one of the most despised professions in the world (second only after politicians, I believe!or is it third after estate agents?!) it kind of goes with the territory.
However, if you would at least allow me to explain the premise of the programme.
This is NOT an attempt to stitch up crew/ airlines/ the industry. We are not secretly filming. We are researching well considered topics on air travel, that have been brought to our attention as areas of interest and sometimes concern. They have been brought to our attention through people with a thorough knowledge of particular areas such as the unions, (both here and the US), consultants, pilots, lobby groups.
one area I am currently researching is that of improvements in destinations that have, in past years, been cited in IFALPA's 'black star' report.
I am aware that some things have changed for the better, and others have not. I am also aware that there are organisations that have systems in place to monitor these changes. I am also aware that perhaps they have little power over how quickly these changes are made.
We invariably have to approach retired pilots or those pilots who are approved by the airlines, to talk 'on the record', however in order to garner as much up-to-date information as possible it is helpful to talk off the record to flight deck crew flying today.
From my point of view, I am in no position to take anything further until I have 'stood up' a story. This means researching something thoroughly, through all the correct channels. It is as much in my own best interests as in those of the industry to deliver a truthful and accurate story.
If there isn't a story then so be it - if there is, then it is my job to find out - which is why I placed the advert in FI and questions on Pprune.

Happy flying!

17th Apr 2001, 21:34
Nice try talkingtelly, why not dress up as a sheik and make up your own story, after all newspapers and television print/broadcast any old crap these days. Your market is sensationalism for the gulible not facts for the intelligent.

17th Apr 2001, 22:28
How on earth do any of you critics ever expect to be able to improve any reporting if you take the imbecilic, childish attitude that some of the replies contain? Why do you think a lot of people believe that we are just bus drivers and childish? Some of the replies on this thread and in other topics are reason enough to give some less respectable journalists fodder for sensationalist programmes because the respondents come across as uneducated extremists.

If a journalist is prepared to come forward and request sensible information then just maybe they will be able to produce something that isn't just trash aimed at the lowest common denominator... the Sun reader! In this case the journalist/researcher has provided her credentials yet there are still little angry men who insist that no one should even talk to her just because she is a journalist. A bit like saying don't talk to a pilot who reads Pprune because they must all be morons like some of the more voiciferous posters who have a lot to say but no content... if you get my drift.

Get a grip those of you who slag of all journalists no matter what their credentials and reputation. Just consider that they won't be approaching you for your comments anyway because your arguments are flawed and the sentences you manage to string together are barely literate anyway.

Hopefully this program will be able to present an interesting case with fairly accurate content and appeal to a wider audience than just the screaming anti-journalist, 'let's criticise every teeny item that isn't exactly to our likin brigade.

17th Apr 2001, 22:54

I've got one hell of a story for you..

Journalist use underhand, illegal methods, lies, tricks, jiggerypokery to "get that story".
If any industry/profession needs looking at very very closely it must be that of the journalist.

I'm sorry, I find it hard trust to a profession that rummages through dustbins to get "a good story" of an individual getting a divorce, filing his tax returns etc. or, has its senior management being investigated by the DTI for insider/illegal share trading...ermm am I tarring you all with the same brush? You bet I am.

Are you honestly trying to tell a community of pilots this "story" is going to benefit either, them/the industry/the public?.

How many airplane disasters/crashes/near misses will this programme feature?

Lets have your creds' TELLY - what other "sensitive" "well thought out" "fairly reviewed" stories have you covered?

Who is this story for? Newsnight? Panorama? Worlds Greates Air Disasters? When pilots turn bad?

If you have genuine concerns for passenger/pilot safety, I suggest you take it up with the relevant INDEPENDANT authority. Which is not a "closed shop" unlike the Press Complaints Commission which has fought so hard and long to stop "people meddling in the affairs of journalists"


Let him without sin cast the first stone.

17th Apr 2001, 23:05
If it were not for some hard nosed journalists there would be a great deal more Railtracks, Mandelsons, Nixons, Real IRA's and nasty little men in the former Yugoslavia getting away with it....

18th Apr 2001, 00:50
If we're going to insist on tarring everyone with the same brush, then all pilots must be a bunch of alcoholics who can't control themselves on a nightstop in Barcelona.

Or maybe such a simplistic view is a little unfair.

18th Apr 2001, 02:30

It is a pleasure to read reasoned posts such as yours, in what appears to be a sea of paranoia & arrogance.

tonyt & cobbler,
Thank you for turning the relevant arguments on their heads! The thread was in dire need of a proper sense of perspective!

To the rest; I am NOT an airline pilot, I DO fly though, and am hoping to become what you are, and must almost take for granted;

I can tell you that as a relative Joe Bloggs-man-on-the-street type of person, Pilots are still regarded in high esteem by most of Joe Public, despite the sometimes adverse publicity the Industry gets ("World's worst air disasters" et cetera).

Whilst the Channel 4 documentary you all love to hate gained widespread publicity, the public opinion was akin to "Well, it's bound to happen, lets hope something good comes out of it".

So I think this business of your reputation being in pieces due to such journalism is not quite accurate.

If you value your reputations, and which to remain being admired as professionals by the people that you fly around the world, you shouldn't lambast Talkingtelly so easily.

How do you know she is a windup? How do you know she isn't going to produce a decent piece of well-researched journalism, with your help?

Answer is you don't, and a lot of you are jumping the gun, EVEN IF you don't beleive the media portrays your careers in an accurate light.

I would urge you to re-read Ozdude's posting!


[This message has been edited by AJ (edited 17 April 2001).]

18th Apr 2001, 07:24
Talking Telly
Pilots work on hard facts and within strict rules, which might explain why we sometimes use this forum to 'let off steam' when expressing our views.
I am also somewhat suspicious of your motives, but would welcome a well researched and more importantly, well produced documentary.
However, I can not ignore the the distinct possibility that although you may have the best intentions, your boss / editor might have other ideas.
As a consequence of the vast number of TV channels available, the attention span of the average viewer is one of the reasons why programmes are becoming more sensationalist and dumbed down. In our profession one slightly misquoted comment can leave the lay-man ( sorry, I hate that expression ) with entirely the wrong impression, as has been demonstrated in the past.

You say ' If there isn't a story so be it, if there is, it is my job to find out'.
So, what constitutes a story ? The fact that more Greek airfields should have ILS ( Instrument Landing System ). The poor standard of English amongst some controllers ? Greek / Turkish airspace disputes ?

In defence of the Greeks, you cannot fly to a small Greek island and expect to find a major airport there. They are only used on a regular basis for half of the year so why should large amounts of money be thrown at them ?
The smaller airfields were never intended to accept the likes of a 747 and it is the airlines responsibility to ensure that the aircraft they use into these airfields are suitable and the pilots properly trained.

Some of the airfields are challenging at times, but that is what we are paid for.

Good luck with your project, I hope this is of interest and that you and your bosses do the right thing.

18th Apr 2001, 13:18
Talking Telly:

If you want a really good story why don't you do a piece on pilot fatigue in the UK?

Its a hard issue in the industry right now; particularly with the low cost carriers who are working pilots to the maximum in order to keep the ticket price low.

The crew flying you into London last thing at night might be on their sixth flight that day at the end of a very tough week. Hardly desirable in terms of being fresh to the job in the busiest airspace in Europe.

You might get good copy from agencies like DERA, The CAA, Aviation Medical Practioners, Chirp, BALPA and the AAIB. Airlines would deny the problem exists. Pilots won't talk publicly for fear of sanction by their employer.

But, the issue exists and needs addressing as a matter of public safety.

[This message has been edited by Caractacus (edited 18 April 2001).]

18th Apr 2001, 15:59
OZDUDE, a couple of questions: 1. are you a journalist or 2. are you shacked up with talkintelly. Either way, show me high profile news broadcasts that are'nt sensationalised and i'll show you a director that does'nt like shuffling share certificates. Finally repeat after me journalists dont give a **** who they harm along the way to get that story.