Foreign Airline Safety

In response to a Malcom Gladwell book that discussed why foreign airlines are not as safe as major US carriers, pilot and web consulting pioneer Philip Greenspun wrote a detailed rebuttal here. Note that Greenspun disagrees with Gladwell’s logic, but he’s not arguing that foreign airlines are safe. It’s very interesting (and scary) reading, especially if you fly overseas.

Bringing this closer to home, ONN reports on a crash in Guatemala that really details some of the key equipment differences that flight crews on foreign carriers must contend with. Highly recommended. (Click through if your feed reader doesn’t display a video below.)

2 thoughts on “Foreign Airline Safety”

  1. I’m so lazy that I did not bother responding to this article because I did not want to look up Gladwell and find out if he wrote the book “Outliers.” (He did). I was too lazy to spend about 1.5 seconds to look it up. This instant access to information has really spoiled me.

    I remember when you had to e-mail a librarian and they would give you an answer within the hour. And *that* was fast.

    Anyway, Gladwell is wrong about the “culture theory of plane crashes.” You don’t crash a plane because you are Korean, latin, female, etc. etc. You crash planes because you don’t have enough flight experience gained thru thousands and thousands of hours of flight time. He is way wrong on that count and possibly many, many others in his book “Outliers.”

    I just like the fact that if you publish this conjecture in a slick-looking book, and promote it on TV talk shows, you gain credibility. I mean, I know of a really intelligent, college-educated person that saw the Discovery Channel mockumentary on dragons and believed it. Pretty slick stuff.

  2. First, I really hoped you watched that video. It’s an absolute must-see.

    Greenspun is a programmer and pilot, so it’s all about facts for him. Gladwell is a journalist. Essentially, he’s a nonfiction storyteller, and a good one at that. He makes observations, and from those draws conclusions. We do this every day. The difference is, millions don’t take our conclusions as fact like they do with Gladwell.

    But people are catching on, and a most of his stuff is being taken with a hefty sack of salt. About the only thing in Outliers that most I know agree on is that yes, working hard at something for about 10,000 hours – with an emphasis on continual learning and improvement – will make you an expert. At least that *sounds* right.

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