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Giant Member
Nov 28, 2001
Miles O'Brien, CNN's Aviation "Expert", just referred to pilots "cruising at Flight Level 360 - that's 36,000 feet" (direct quote)
-Where do they get these guys??? And why cant I have that job?
You would think that they could at least find a real- live retired airline pilot, instead of some Private Pilot who probably isn't even current, to be a genuine "expert".
What's the problem with the quote "cruising at Flight Level 360-that's 36,000 feet"? I believe that's all accurate information. While I'll be the first to admit that these so called "experts" leave much to be desired, and in many cases are down right laughable, in this particular quote, I see no problem.
Either you think he is being patronizing or you're splitting hairs because FL360 is determined by standard SLP and is not truly 36,000 feet. If the former is the case, you have to remember who his audience is. If it's the latter, well...c'mon. Like flx757, I don't see a problem with the statement. Is this a trick?

I suppose another point of contention would be that you don't normally see traffic at FL360, at least in the States. However, it's certainly possible, and I have no idea if FL360 is a standard cruise altitude over there.
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The reports I saw this morning all state that both aircraft had innitiated decents from a higher altitude - the DHL 757 due to a TCAS RA and the 72ski was just late in complying with ATC instructions. On another note... I think Europe is now RVSM, so wouldn't that make FL360 an available Flight Level?
Correct on the RVSM and FL360.

And Groover....three chili-dogs and a malt? Now, that's what I"M talkin' about!!
Almost all airspace in Europe is RVSM airspace above 240. That means that all airplane flying west maintain 240,260,280,300,320,340,360,380,etc. Flying east 250,270,290,etc. All aircraft must be RVSM certified and equipped that means TCAS etc. is installed in all aircraft. The news events from this incident are pretty accurate so I would pay close attention to them. I have flown in Europe a lot and this was not due to bad communication etc. Zurich controllers are very good and their English is very easy to understand. In a multi-pilot flight deck it is very easy to get "off-line" unless communication is maintained between flight deck personel. Time will tell what happened but with the antique flight and voice data recorder on the Tu-154 with more than likely will never know what really happened.
Remember people this is the same guy that said that a 182 carried 3,000lbs of fuel.

Get rid of him, I don't care if he is correct this time, just an obvious error like he made before he should no longer be considered an expert.
You are all correct, however I should have stated that he was discussing the drunken pilots story: "flying around the United States at flight level 360" - this guy has obviously never seen the flight levels from the front seat. Just curious as to why these networks can't find a bonafide expert to provide info, surely there are plenty of retired guys who would be much better qualified to be the networks' "aviation expert".
Probably because a "bonafide expert" knows enough not to go on TV 2 seconds after a major air disaster and tell not only what happened but also how and why. I mean, if someone is not able to give us the cause of what went wrong immediately after it happened, then he's no "expert", right? And if you're not willing and able to go on TV and not only speculate as to the cause, but do it in such a way that you present it, not as speculation, but as an actual fact, then you're not worth much to the networks as an "aviation expert". And most people who have worked in the industry are not willing to destroy their credibility by doing that.

I understand your point of view. There are probably many, many examples of "reporters" informing the public about things they have little knowledge of. I once saw a reporter during the Gulf War describing an F15 squadron scramble. He referred to what was obviously afterburner effect as, "some kind of rocket thrusters."

If they are so uninformed about things we know about, just think about the stories we see and read everyday that we have little or no working knowledge of. How much can be believed? Uninformed reporters are just one aspect of this monster. Think about the creative editing of a news report, add some emotionally evoking music, artistic liberties in the writing, and a good actor... I mean reporter, and you have a drama that does not depict real life. Ever see a news camera crew shooting video at a remote site? Watch them closely and you will see how phony and misleading a typical news report can be.

Overall, the news media in the US has been transformed into a "Hollywood style" entertainment industry. They endeavor to give the American public instant gratification by whatever means neccessary, expert or not.

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