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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Would you fly in a Boeing?

8 May 2024

Boeing was once one of the USA's showcase corporations.

Its aviation and aerospace products were world-leading and for many decades its airliners have been standard equipment for most of the world's air carriers.

The venerable 747 and 737 craft have been the backbone of air passenger transport for longer than most of us can remember and I doubt there's any one of us who haven't taken at least a few flights in one of these aircraft.

Until recently there was a saying "If it's not Boeing, I'm not going" however, recent events and revelations have turned that right around and now many air travellers are thinking twice about boarding anything made by the company.

And, when you thought things couldn't get any worse for Boeing, it has.

The Max 9 fiasco, which cost hundreds of lives before it was addressed, was followed by failing door plugs and a list of other problems that, once again, endangered those who flew in these craft.

Today, a new inquiry has been announced by authorities into inspection failures on the Boeing 787 line of aircraft.

What's more, another ten whistleblowers have come forward to give evidence as to the company's flawed practices and failures.

How did this all happen?

Where was the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) during all this and why did they fail to properly carry out their duties as the agency responsible for overseeing the companies activities and verifying the safety of their craft?

Well it seems that the FAA has been gorging itself on donuts and coffee whilst Boeing burned.

Nothing, it seems, shall be allowed to stand in the way of those donuts and that coffee being consumed within the halls of the FAA, not even public safety.

I may sound a bit flippant in saying that but I also came across this video the other day which kind of backs up what I'm saying. This was an "auditor" who'd received a tip-off that the FAA was acting like a bunch of bully-boys so he called into one of their federal buildings and put things to the test. Check out the action at 14:30 in that video... where the FAA guy who was supposedly available "by appointment only" turns up and, wouldn't you know it, he has "coffee in hand".

Coincidence?

I don't know... but what I do know is that an acquaintance of mine has now been banned by the courts from flying any/all drones in the USA.

Yep, that's right, he's not even allowed to fly the smallest toy drone inside his own house because the FAA has spent an inordinate amount of time and effort making an example of him so as to try and create a chilling effect within the ranks of the wider drone community.

When SpaceX launched a rocket (complete with 3,400 tonnes of explosive rocket fuel) into the skies over the USA without the necessary FAA approvals they were simply threatened with a $175,000 fine but they were allowed to continue operating in the wake of this breach.

However, when Michael Deciurcio flew his small plastic DJI drones in the skies over the USA he was *actually* fined $182,000 and is now banned from flying anything, even in the safety and security of his living room.

Am I the only one who sees that the FAA appear to have lost the ability to prioritise their activities based on the risk to public safety?

We know that SpaceX rockets sometimes explode in a shower of flame, unspent rocket fuel and bits of metal -- small plastic drones don't do that.

We know that the FAA was so busy that it abdicated it responsibilities in respect to overseeing Boeing's production operations to the company itself -- and hundreds died as a result.

Yet, despite all this, the FAA has invested untold hours of time and effort in the prosecution of one guy who flew some plastic drones in breach of the FAA's rules -- rules that are already being waived for those corporations (such as Google and Amazon) that have enough money to buy such privilege.

Yes, Mr Deciurcio couldn't fly a 249 gram drone over his own home without being hit with a total ban and a $182,000 fine but Amazon is now fully entitled to fly its 36Kg drone over people, highways, houses and more -- and well beyond line of sight.

I think that "dysfunctional" doesn't even come close to describing the FAA right now because, it gets worse.

Air Traffic Control (ATC) in the USA is a mess and several well informed/qualified people involved in the commercial aviation sector have issued warnings that there will soon be a tragedy at a US airport as a result. This is another situation that the FAA is supposed to be controlling for the purposes of ensuring safety -- but with near misses occuring regularly and more frequently, it's clear that they're failing here too.

Watch this video from Juan Browne, a current US commercial pilot who flies airliners and is in a very good position to make comment. In particular, check out his comments at the 20:05 mark.

Perhaps the root cause of the problem is too much coffee and too many donuts at the taxpayers' expense. Clearly this has created a level of arrogance and incompetence that is unacceptable -- yet nobody seems to care and it's inevitable that more lives will be lost.

However, as the death toll continues to rise as a result of FAA incompetence, laziness or arrogance, I'm sure they'll all be patting themselves on the back that the evil Mr Deciurcio has been grounded and that his toy drones no longer pose a threat to anyone. (note: Unlike Boeing, Mr Deciurcio never injured anyone or damaged anyone's property with his drones in all the years he's was flying them -- but that doesn't matter to the FAA).

Once again I'm left stating the obvious: The world has gone mad.

Carpe Diem folks!

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