Egyptair 804 Plus Aviation’s Dumb and Dumber

By Robert Mark on May 22nd, 2016

Egyptair A-320 –

Egyptair 804 Plus Aviation’s Dumb and Dumber

It’s an old ATC trick … using the word “appears” that is.

Whenever a pilot would ask us tower guys to give their landing gear the once over because of some odd cockpit indication, the airplane would make a slow pass, then wait for an opinion. Using “appears” was a clever way of telling the pilot what we could actually see without extending a guarantee the gear wouldn’t collapse on touchdown because of something we couldn’t.

I first learned about the missing Egyptair A-320 just before bedtime Wednesday night. Out of habit, I checked the local weather in that part of the Mediterranean and noticed nothing unusual before I turned out the lights.

The first reporter called me about 12:15 am wondering if I knew anything. “Sure,” I said. “Doesn’t appear to have been any significant weather along the last few hundred miles of the route.” And so it went the rest of the night every half hour or so on the phone, until one of them could get me in front of a camera for a live update. We didn’t even know about the crazy turns early Thursday morning, of course, so my only options were what appeared to be a possible mechanical failure, explosive device or a highjacking. Not rocket-science of course, but just a couple of years of experience talking early in the game. I figure better for me to give them my two cents than someone who claims it was aliens or something equally goofy.

So I’m still trying hard to figure out what, as the investigation continues building around Egyptair 804, could possibly interest our presidential candidates in commenting on the accident. But no sooner had Thursday’s morning news cycle begun when The Donald tweeted …


Donald Trump on Egyptair 804 –

Not surprisingly, he made it sound as if he had an inside track to the details, which of course he didn’t.

Then the Egyptian aviation minister Sherif Fathy claimed terrorism was more likely than a mechanical failure in the Egyptair 804 accident, of course offering no facts for the call. The Egyptians here seem to have taken a page from the Malaysian government’s MH370 playbook of talking out of both sides of their mouthes.  Later that day, Hillary Clinton told CNN, “It does not appear it [804] was an act of terrorism.” Presidential candidates chiming in on aviation accidents halfway around the world? Maybe if it had been a U.S. airline I’d have cut them a little slack, despite the addition of new facts like the possibility of a cockpit area fire for some time before the accident.

So which is worse, such confident speculation with zero facts just for a silly sound bite, or that our Presidential candidates are all sounding like part-time reporters from the The National Enquirer? Probably both I guess. At least President Obama had the forethought to remind everyone it was way too early for speculation. Especially from politicians I’d add.

Are these kind of idiotic prognostications really what we have to look forward to when one of these two guys starts regularly heading to the Oval Office in January? Maybe the NTSB’s Chairman Christopher Hart might want to sit down with both sides and remind them that the safety board exits for a reason … to learn the probable cause based on the facts.

Rob Mark

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3 Responses to “Egyptair 804 Plus Aviation’s Dumb and Dumber”

  1. Jim Says:

    The candidates appear to be idiots!

  2. paul west Says:

    seems to me that those families of the victims deserve better and more honest truthful details. Why in a world of terrorist do we act like they don’t exist. Obama is not being truthful or he has his head in the muslim sand. Name calling and blame game garbage is all he does! Hillary is the same!

    Why is someone labeled an idiot if he thinks different! From one to ten what are the possibilities of a terrorist act! Would you tell us if you knew!! How safe do you feel flying these days!! Put yourself in those peoples shoes for a change obamaites!

  3. Robert Mark Says:

    I’m assuming you’re referring to Mr. Trump Paul, when you say “someone who thinks different.”

    Personally I don’t have a problem with someone who thinks differently. It’s the fact that neither Mr. Trump nor Hillary Clinton understand squat about aviation and what might have brought down MSR 804, so I think the whole pack of them should leave the speculating at least to someone with a little industry experience.

    We don’t have the need to prove a point such as the Democrats being smarter than the Republicans or the other way around … at least I don’t.


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