Yesterday I shared the rather odd story of a lady who was flying Transaero from Tel Aviv to Moscow when she noticed something wrong with the wing, and demanded they return to the gate. If you haven’t read the original account, I’d suggest checking it out.
Without judging the validity of the story as such, a few thoughts immediately came to mind:
- The story was being recounted by her dad, who wasn’t on the flight. The story would have had at least a bit more credibility if it came from her, as opposed to her dad.
- It’s only natural for parents to be overly proud of their kids, though his account came across as extremely presumptuous, essentially claiming that his daughter saved the lives of everyone aboard.
- The story as such sets an interesting precedent. How does this woman know when something isn’t “right?” Not only that, but she was so determined to have the plane return to the gate that she got up while the plane was taxiing and disobeyed crewmember instructions. In the US that would potentially get you arrested.
I never really questioned whether or not the story as such happened. Which isn’t to say that I believed her account of the story, but I did indeed believe that the plane returned to the gate.
Interestingly CrownHeights.info now has a statement from Transaero regarding the incident:
Transaero Airlines: flight safety is key priority of the airline’s operations
A number of Israel’s media have published an information assuming that a passenger of Transaero’s UN312 flight carried out on April 12, 2015 contributed to detecting a defect in the aircraft condition.
As the initial information was published in the Israel’s media outlets with no comments requested either from the airline nor from independent aviation experts who could have helped to understand the actual state of the matter, the information was misinterpreted.
The airline finds it necessary to clarify the real circumstances. When carrying out the mandatory pre-flight system check at the engine starting point, the flight crew reported the indication of asymmetric work of slats. The flight crew called for specialists of the handling company of Ben Gurion airport. The diagnostics, carried out by the specialists, showed that the aircraft having this defect should not be operated on this flight.
At the time when the flight crew and the specialists of the airport were carrying out checks, one of the passengers reported to the cabin crew that she heard ambient noise. Although the passenger, in dread, drew higher attention to a strange for her noise, the decision to suspend the aircraft from operations was not made upon the information received from her, but as the result of the technical check of the aircraft. The aviation has strict regulations and rules of control over all systems of aircraft as part of pre-flight checks and preparatory operations. They were fully observed by the crew as well as by the specialists of the handling company.
Over 24 years of Transaero’s history, flight safety has always been and, at present, remains one of the top priorities of Transaero Airlines. Transaero has always been following the strict rules of preflight aircraft checks. Due to the airline’s highest consideration to safety issues, Transaero Airlines is included in the top 20 safest airlines in the world and the top 6 safest airlines in Europe in the international ranking of JACDEC research agency.
I am inclined to believe this story, and that it was probably just a very strange coincidence. We put our lives in the hands of pilots every day, and virtually anything that could go wrong with a plane can be detected based on the instruments in the cockpit. If not, that sure would change the dynamic of being a passenger, as we’d constantly have to be the pilots’ eyes and ears.
While “if you see something, say something” is a good policy on the subway, it’s less of a good mindset on a plane, at least when it comes to stuff outside the cabin.
So I’d be willing to bet instruments did actually indicate there was a problem with the plane during their pre-takeoff checks, and that whatever the woman reported wasn’t actually a factor here.
Ultimately I believe the woman had good intentions with reporting her issue. It’s a good thing this incident didn’t happen in the US, because she would have likely been arrested for not following crewmember instructions.
What do you make of this Transaero story?