No Comments on the Crash of Continental 3407

A very strange thing happens when a commercial airplane crashes. All of a sudden every person related to this industry feels the need to write about it following the standard script.

1) Report that there was an accident
2) Offer “thoughts and prayers”
3) Link to one news story with details and air traffic control tapes if available

If you search around your favorite industry blogs and other news sources today, that’s what you’ll find. A quick Google search of “3407 thoughts prayers” comes back with more than 6,000 results so far. I’m pretty sure that there’s no other reason for that number (the flight number of the downed airplane) to be linked with “thoughts and prayers,” so this is all about the accident. (And yes, I realize that my blog will show up in that search now as well.)

So what’s my point? I’m not writing about it. I have absolutely nothing to add. Like most of you, I sat there glued to CNN with a sinking feeling in my stomach last night. Is there anything I can add? No. You all know that I don’t like to speculate on the cause of accidents, so I know pretty much what everyone else knows right now.

As soon as I think I can add some value to the conversation, I’ll do it. Until then, I’ll focus on other subjects where I hope I can add perspective. So if you don’t see me immediately comment on accidents in the future, it’s not because I don’t think it’s important, and it’s not because I don’t care. It’s simply because I don’t know how to add any value.


20 Responses to No Comments on the Crash of Continental 3407

  1. A says:

    My sympathy goes out to the families of the victims. That said, with every accident and investigation comes added safety for future flights. Unfortunately the media rarely follows up with that story which is the real legacy to accidents like this one.

  2. b757capt says:

    Nice job Brett. I wish the folks on Fox news and CNN could follow in your shoes. Stop talking about the possibilities and start reporting the KNOWN FACTS

  3. Stuart says:

    I applaud your use of basic common sense in staying clear of the MSM hysteria on airplane crash causes – especially so early on in the event. As a frequent flyer my main interest is always wanting to understanding how these things happen. I’ll wait for the NTSB.

    Like others I feel horrible for all involved and my prayers are with those lost and efffected.

  4. Graham says:

    After watching some idiot on CNN asking some Pilot Expert if he thinks communications are important between the Captain and the FO during flight, I couldn’t agree with you more. Way to stay above the fray, Brett.

  5. Ryan says:

    Thank You! That was the most honest approach to this terrible situation. I wish more of the media would report the facts and avoid the endless speculation that almost always turns out to be incorrect.

  6. Dan Webb says:

    So, I pretty much followed the outline you followed today on my blog. I don’t like to speculate (I honestly don’t know enough too), but I feel bad *not* posting about the crash, even though it follows that basic formula as a sign of respect.

    Just my thoughts.

  7. EyeNo says:

    You’re absolutely right. I did post a short one and tried to stay away from the speculation though I did mention the icing PIREPS from about the same time. Since then I’ve listened to all the normal hot air from the “experts”.

  8. Oliver says:

    Thank you, Cranky. I may be lower-case cranky and heartless, but while I feel sorry for the victims’ families, I am sick and tired of hearing and reading the “our thoughts and prayers” mantra. In 2007, an average of 112 people died on US roads every day (http://www.autoblog.com/2008/08/18/traffic-deaths-down-u-s-roads-reach-record-level-of-safety/). Do all those bloggers, blog post commenters, reporters, car industry executives etc. wake up every morning with thoughts and prayers for the victims of last nights’ traffic accidents, too?

  9. james says:

    The media is competitive and constantly trying to one-up each other.

    They have hours and hours to fill so they find quasi experts on everything to opine about nothing.

    Remember when Howard Stern’s folks used to prank call networks after disasters and breaking news events? He’d lead them on – and after revealing the ruse the flustered and juvenile the prankster was.

    True as that is – it really shows how much the callers and “eyewitnesses” are checked and screened before being allowed to trumpet their expertise to the world…

  10. CF says:

    Dan – I understand what you’re saying about feeling the need to post something. I actually struggled with that this morning and that’s why I made this post. It let me post about it without actually, well, posting about it. In the future, I may just ignore completely if I don’t have anything to add, but I certainly feel the same tug that makes me want to write . . . something.

  11. Paula Berg says:

    So you do have a cranky side, after all. While those words may seem trite to some, based on my own experience, I think they can still be comforting to those who are suffering, whatever the reason. Imagine if you personally experienced something horrible and no one said anything or even acknowledged you simply because they didn’t have anything “substantive” to say. I think that would be a lot worse than someone letting you know that you were in their thoughts and prayers.

  12. CF says:

    Paula – I understand what you’re saying, but it always seems so hollow to me. The one that makes me the most insane is “deeply saddened” since that seems to be the default term used by politicians and execs. It rarely seems sincere. Of course I feel bad for everyone who knew someone on that plane, and after watching CNN until it was time to go to bed, I couldn’t fall asleep because my heart was beating fast and I had sweaty palms just from thinking about it. But this blog is here to provide information or perspective on the industry, and if I had some, I’d write it. I don’t mean to be “cranky” in this case. I simply just don’t have anything that I can add.

  13. JC says:

    I’m a flight attendant with one of the US majors, and I agree with Paula.

    How the rest of you can be so jaded…I can’t comprehend. There is not ANYTHING wrong with offering thoughts, prayers, silence, or any other form of human compassion.

    Criticizing the actions, as well as the kind words… of strangers…people who just wanted to simply take a moment to say they cared.

    Simply unreal.

  14. David SF east bay says:

    “””No Comments on the Crash of Continental 3407″””

    Well by having this blog today, you seemed to have made a comment.

    I did find it interesting that after last nights crash all of a sudden an increase of people on that CO Denver accident filed a law suit today. Guess the lawyer told them that now with two accidents CO will be more in a rush to settle out of court so as not to have two accidents in court.

  15. Continental didn’t have two accidents. Continental had one and Colgan had one, but an aircraft flying in Continental livery is a difficult PR situation. There were reports today of ice on the wildshield and leading edge of the wings upon approach to Buffalo — and that the pilot had deployed ice-fighting systems tho’ it wasn’t yet known whether everything was functioning. Too bad there wasn’t a wide river to land on.

  16. Dave says:

    A wide river won’t help you when you’re nose down and spinning out of control. The crew would’ve likely needed an extra 10,000ft or more to get it under control. Naturally EVERYONE has theories about accident causes whether they want to vocalize it or not. I believe fear drives a unique reaction from the flying public whenever A/C accidents happen. It’s that underlying discomfort of knowing you have NO control of your destiny when you sit in the cabin, unlike when you sit in a car or even in some ways a train. Unfortunately these recent string of accidents in a short period of time will likely affect summer bookings for all of the airlines.

  17. Ken says:

    I have a comment regarding Continental’s decision to allow this kind of airplane to fly into climates like Buffalo with know weather issues. They allowed less expensive to fly prop plans with “de-icing” capacity to replace the regional jets with “hot wings” that prevented icing in the first place on most routes to Upstate NY.

    In my opinion, the “wing over” design of these planes combined with a less effective ice prevention system are going to be shown to major factors in the preventable tragedy. I was standing outside on the 12th…I know what was coming from the sky and a pilot needed every resource available to be safe.

    Cost savings was placed in front of safety.

  18. Dan Webb says:

    Ken, I honestly think that opinion is premature. Based on your logic, Air Canada should ground a good chunk of its Jazz fleet, as they operate numerous aircraft from the Dash-8 family.

    Let the NTSB do its work. We know icing played a factor, but that’s it.

  19. John says:

    I have no comment on Cranky’s no comment. Wait, dose that mean that by saying I am not commenting on Cranky’s no comment, I just commented on Cranky’s no comment?

  20. Pingback: The Crash in Buffalo | Flight Wisdom

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