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Media and Aviation

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Media and Aviation

Old 4th Jan 2008, 21:36
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Thumbs down Media and Aviation

Icelandair 757 Diverts to BIEG after 2 failed landing attempts in BIKF:
http://www.mbl.is/mm/frettir/innlent...n_afallahjalp/
(in icelandic)

Rough translation and summary:

"Passenger onboard an Icelandair jet received medical attention after the flight diverted to Egilstašir (BIEG) due to bad weather in Keflavik. The 757 made two (2) failed landing attempts before diverting. The flight was returning from Las Palmas at 4 am Friday morning carrying 189 passengers. Around 50 pax elected not to continue by air from Egilstadir but by road. Passengers report shouting and crying in the cabin and descriping a terrifying experience. Some say that the plane was moments [some mentioned cm] from touchdown when go-around was performed and during climb-out the plane plunged down for a moment"


Well, the usual media-drama. No interviews with experts or somone with a hint of aviation-releted knowledge. Just horror stories from terrified passengers who thougt they were on a highway to hell. This kind of reporting does help eliminate the fear of flying among the common crowd. I thougt the purpose of the media was to inform and educate.....
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Old 5th Jan 2008, 07:53
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Cool

I thougt the purpose of the media was to inform and educate.....
No, in privately-owned media organisations, the purpose is to maximise value for shareholders; informing and educating has nothing to do with it.

Of course, without the aviation industry providing accurate and timely infrmation to the media, they will make up all they want to and publish sensational accounts. Companies who control their media exposure very carefully, like easyJet, fare well in this respect.

Oh, and websites run supposedly for 'professional pilots' on which there is a vast amount of uninformed speculation don't help either...
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Old 5th Jan 2008, 10:52
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Such remarks are a bit rich coming from someone in the USA. Why should you think that comments on an a/c landing in Iceland would be covered in the UK papers. Despite the dubious quality of the aforementioned daily papers the said UK readers would most certainly have a better grasp of world events than their American cousins. Many of us in the UK do not care who is in charge so long as she has large breasts.
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Old 5th Jan 2008, 11:36
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Yes but...

Around 50 pax elected not to continue by air from Egilstadir but by road. Passengers report shouting and crying in the cabin and descriping a terrifying experience.
It's entirely possible of course that the 50 pax actually found themselves landing nearer to home because of the unplanned diversion, and therefore able to continue more conveniently by road. But that would spoil a good story.

But I have to ask whether, if pax are genuinely terrified by what is in essence a routine incident properly handled by the flight crew, there is something more that the industry itself can do to improve passenger awareness. Fear of the unknown is always worse than knowledge of a problem.

For instance, did the crew make a P/A before final approach to advise that visibility was poor and it might be necessary to go-around at low altitude, so that pax were not so alarmed by the sudden manoevre? A few reassuring words in advance from Capt Speaking might have made all the difference.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 04:23
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The role of the media that prunt this type of crap is to deceive and titalate.

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Old 6th Jan 2008, 04:42
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Yeah, and the ones that print it are not without blame either
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 18:00
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Another perspective

Being relatively new to this forum (I visited here first after the TAM 3054 incident) and an active member of the group criticized here (journalists) I'd like to say hello to a great and informative forum and add my two cents.

I admit that media reports on a variety of complex topics (including, but not limited to, aviation) tend to deliver an explosive blend of misinformation, exaggeration and hearsay. While not wanting to defend my profession here (we should know better), I'd like to point to the fact that journalists (like airline pilots) are subject to increasing economical pressure that affects quality. And, yes, people like to read sensationalist stuff, it sells newspapers.

That said, I think there is another side to factor into that quotation: the passenger, or as you guys put it, SLF. When passengers are scared stiff by what is a routine or standard procedure for aviation experts, there surely is some education needed. While it is our job to get the facts right, there can be a lot more done by airlines and their personnel to educate passengers about what is a dangerous situation and what is not.

A nice example for both shortcomings (journalists jazzing things up and passengers being clueless and afraid) is a recent German news report on an incident at TXL, where a TUIfly 737-800 from Las Palmas landed without flaps (malfunction), just using brakes. Fire teams where sent to the runway, but the aircraft was able to taxi to terminal. Nothing really happened, I believe airline and airport spokespeople are correct when saying this was a standard procedure, not a specifically dangerous situaton.

Still, the story's headline is "Dramatic Emergency Landing with Blocked Flaps", and continued: "187 vacationers in terror: A fully seated Boeing from Las Palmas had to perform an emergency landing Saturday evening in Berlin". There's some drama with the crew instructing the passengers seated at the exits, the captain announcing some hard braking action and passengers with "ashen faces" tightly strapped to their seats. In the last paragraph, airline and airport sources are quoted, putting the drama into perspective.

The article probably relies partly on passenger information. I am sure there were some people genuinely afraid. They didnt know better. And I think it is also your job to educate your passengers. As professionals with more or less experience, you might have lost the feeling of completely handing yourself over to somebody you might not even see and you're asked to trust in a very complex situation you don't fully understand to begin with.

Let me illustrate that with some personal experience. On my first vacation to Samos a few years ago, there was no information by the crew on how the approach would be (judging from what I read here, SMI can be tricky). So when the plane made a sharp left in final and immediately touched down (is that RWY 09?) there was a lot of screaming on the plane. It was only later at the baggage claim I learned from seasoned Samos visitors that this was actually a pretty smooth landing. They had witnessed rougher landings, and even go-arounds, which are not unusual at SMI.

In hindsight, this pilot (Air Berlin) was surely an experienced professional and we where in very good hands. Still, some of his passengers screamed in terror. I'm sure not a single pilot would want that.

Last edited by txl; 6th Jan 2008 at 19:44. Reason: paragraph format fixed
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 18:37
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Personally I find a fully fledged 'scream of terror' over the top in most contexts.

It's absolutely ridiculous most of the tosh that the papers write with regards to aviation. But the thing is, even if pilots were to tell passengers about emergencies (which they shouldn't unless there is time because they get their priorities straight and do their primary job: operate the aircraft) the passengers would still believe what the paper would say over what the pilots would say because they'd think the pilots are simply trying to diffuse the situation. The ignorance of most people is what makes the paper get away with writing stuff I wouldnt deem suitable as toilet paper.

Last edited by BerksFlyer; 6th Jan 2008 at 18:54.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 18:41
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Smile

If flight crew were given appropriate media training, and then trotted straight out in front of the cameras after an incident, there would be less speculation and more fact, less fear and more reassurance, less criticism and more praise.

But that would mean companies trusting their flight crew and training them beyond the bare minimum, wouldn't it? Much easier and cheaper to gag them through their contracts, eh?
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 18:57
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'media training, trotted out in front of the cameras'

But that would presume that the people on the spot were in possession of all the facts to answer any and all questions posed, which is rarely the case, because it takes the relevant professionals (AAIB/NTSB) time to establish the facts and produce the accident/incident report.

So anything said too hastily is easily misinterpreted, and just as easily misquoted and utilised for other agendas.
It's also not an aviation thing. Any profession is best advised to take time in considering what it says, before saying it.

Determining what you know as fact, what you think you know, what may be determined based on professional knowledge and which is later open to revision upon new information, all takes time to avoid being misquoted.

Add to which, some people are simply not good public speakers, which can have a dramatically bad result. (Just look at GW Bush for tips on what not to do)
And now include the possibility that the person on the spot has just had a very bad afternoon.

Not a good idea, I think.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 19:10
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Cool

But that would presume that the people on the spot were in possession of all the facts to answer any and all questions posed
No, it very precisely doesn't. That's why you will see folk from NTSB and others on TV within hours of an accident, talking coolly, calmly, and with great authority, about what's happened.

That's what this type of training (which NTSB staff et al get as a matter of course) is all about.

May I suggest: I know f-all about flying the Blenheim, so I won't post about it. If you know f-all about the media, move on to a post about something else.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 19:59
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Media relations

I don't think that pilots or crew involved in an incident should be talking to the media, for their own sake as well as their company's. Spokespeople and media relation personnel are there to do that, they're trained (well, mostly) to do just that. But I second you that these people need more training, especially how to respond to emergency situations that can't be handled by the book.

But when asking for more communication from crew, I hadn't serious incidents or emergencies in mind, but rather non-incidents that nevertheless are perceived as dangerous or frightening by passengers due to lack of information.

Last edited by txl; 6th Jan 2008 at 20:36.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 20:09
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Some say that the plane was moments [some mentioned cm] from touchdown when go-around was performed ...
They usually are aren't they? Can't say I remember doing a go-around in the cruise......
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 20:18
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Originally Posted by txl
But when asking for more communication from crew, I hadn't serious incidents or emergencies in mind, but rather non-incidents that nevertheless are perceived as dangerous or frightening by passengers due to lack of information.
I agree - its all about setting realistic expectations in the mind of the passenger.

Some pilots tend to forget that what is routine for us, may not be so for the passengers.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 20:48
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That's why you will see folk from NTSB and others on TV within hours of an accident, talking coolly, calmly, and with great authority, about what's happened.
As I said. It takes time. Within a few hours, there have been discussion about what can or cannot be said, and I suspect governed by some framework to ensure that hasty release of the poor information doesn't make matters worse.

May I suggest: I know f-all about flying the Blenheim, so I won't post about it. If you know f-all about the media, move on to a post about something else.
I accept. If you tell me you know f-all about blenheims, I'll believe you. Me too. Never flown one.
However, I have prior experience of dealing with the media, hence my view. For me, a question I cannot answer is simply that. For you, that appears to be licence to draw conclusions that do not necessarily fit the full facts, or to make inflamatory comments in the hope of obtaining a response that can be twisted to fit another agenda.

However, if someone wanted to provide such training (a what cost, I wonder?) so be it. Could be interesting.
I can't see many of my colleagues or myself hanging around to discuss events hours after. Not my cup of tea, thanks.
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Old 6th Jan 2008, 22:00
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Not sure if they still do but SIA used to give a short course in dealing with the media, (given by a media professional and one time journo), notwithstanding the fact that we were still forbidden by contract to talk to the media.

Remember him saying if you do find yourself talking to them just be very sure after you finish and turn away you don't say to your sidekick something along the lines of, "That should confuse the bastards long enough to cover it up" etc. etc. as some journos are taught to lip read and many media organisation employ the use of very high tech listening equipment that will hear what you say from the top of a high building across the street etc.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 01:42
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You can't always blame the media. The media serves the public interest. The public picks the paper they buy based on the content they want to read in the simplest terms to fit their intelligence.

The easiest job we all have in this is to educate the educated to what they need to know when they need to know it. The most difficult job we have is to educate the public that reads the trash that we criticize so much. Trying to train a crew to do this is like thowing meat to a hungry lion, you just might lose an arm.

My advice is to stick to feeding the better press and pray that some of it flows downhill.
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 07:12
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<<Some say that the plane was moments [some mentioned cm] from touchdown when go-around was performed >>

I'd have got one away in that gap.......
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 07:24
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your younger bretheron might have!
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Old 7th Jan 2008, 08:12
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TOP PILOT CHATROOM IN CHAOS OVER 'DEATH DIVE' POSTING

Readers scream "Oh no, not again!" as board captain wrestles with server

"We were seconds away from dying of boredom" admitted pilot Nigel "Nigel" Nigel. "The sound of escaping gas was deafening"

Reader MS Flyte-Simms said "I looked into my Windows and saw a picture of a school, but then I realised that you can get arrested for downloading that sort of thing these days. It was terribly brave of me to tell the flight crew that they should declare a fool emergency."

Journalist Red Topp was first at the scene. "Disaster! Shock! House price collapse causes wi-fi cancer meltdown! Any of these headlines would have been more interesting than this old tosh being wheeled out again", he said. "Is that a bottle over there? Cheers!"
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