Robert Tells Cliverton To Be More Understanding Of Barbados PM
Flying a loaded airliner has very little to do with flying.
That might sound a little funny to many of our readers, but pilots who handle heavy metal made by Boeing, Airbus and Antonov know exactly what I’m talking about. It is all about systems and controlling momentum – especially momentum.
When you have 700,000 pounds of aircraft barreling down Runway 20 Left (short) and your go/no-go decision speed is just about NOW and number four engine flames out, there are two certainties in life…
1/ That sucker is not going to fly before the end of the runway… and
2/ That sucker is not going to stop before the end of the runway.
Momentum. Boeing 747’s take a lot of time and distance to turn or to stop, and, if you find yourself half way through the takeoff suddenly inserted into the left-hand seat as pilot-in-command and facing a “situation” – it takes a while to make that airplane do what you want it to do.
The situation is much like that faced by our Prime Minister, David Thompson, as he finds himself flying our Barbados 747…
The last pilots – “Rum-breath” Owen Arthur and his cranky co-pilot Mia Mottley – never spent money on maintenance or training. They were busy cricket partying and buying new uniforms. They painted our Barbados 747 to make it look beautiful, but they never spent a dollar repairing the engines. The tires are worn and the brakes are spongy. Anti-skid doesn’t work anymore and the backup hydraulic system is “iffy” – because Owen and Mia never spent a dime on the important systems, only new paint.
Then we had an election and changed the pilot-in-command to Captain Thompson – and inserted him in the middle of the takeoff roll. Maybe we could have continued the flight somehow, but the “US Economy” engine gave up the ghost, the “Oil Price” engine is overheating and the “tourism tires” that hold up the whole airplane have suddenly gone flat.
So while the old pilot-in-command lies drunk and silent on the floor, and the old co-pilot is still screeching what she thinks should be done, our Captain Thompson has a few command decisions to make about what to do with this ailing airplane called Barbados.
But there is momentum to contend with and the end of the runway is approaching.
It may be that Captain Thompson has been placed in a “no win” situation and the best he can do is to try and limit the damage so that people don’t get hurt too badly. “Any landing you can walk away from…” and all that.
But whatever is going to happen, it will be a rough ride – so tighten up those seatbelts folks, and maybe Cliverton should lighten up on the new Captain for a while. He’s got his hands full right now and we might all need a change of underwear when this baby finally lands…
Photos: May 25, 2008 – Brussels Zaventem Airport (EBBR) – Kalitta Air Boeing 747-209F aircraft (registration number N704CK) rejected takeoff after engine failure. Five crew, no pax. Everybody walked away.
747. Heavy load of cargo and 150,000 pounds of fuel. No fire.
Thank you LORD!