• NC Software is having a Black Friday Sale Event thru December 4th on Logbook Pro, APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook, Cirrus Elite Binders, and more. Use coupon code BF2020 at checkout to redeem 15% off your purchase. Click here to shop now.
  • NC Software is proud to announce the release of APDL - Airline Pilot Logbook version 10.0. Click here to view APDL on the Apple App store and install now.

Vanity Fair article on the GOL 737 and Legacy mid-air

Abernathy

Truthiness
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Posts
1,490
Total Time
Lots
William Langewiesche writes as though he is an airline pilot. Though he is often vaguely referred to as a former "commercial pilot," the only real biography I can find of his hardly alludes to it:

He quit his job after two years, and considers the next decade of his life his time in the wilderness. Though he never stopped writing, he saw few things published, and flew airplanes commercially to pay the bills; hating it all the while. By the time he broke into the Atlantic he was 36. (sfgate.com, 2007)

Who flies airplanes commercially for a little while to "pay the bills"?

Anyways, the article I'm referring to is from the current issue of Vanity Fair (the one ALPA's latest fastread was about). It transcribes much of the CVR tapes from the last 40 minutes or so. Quite honestly, the presentation of the CVR transcript makes it look like both CA and FO didn't know shi t about their airplane. They were fumbling around with the FMS trying to figure it out, and they didn't know where the IDENT button was. One of them was trying to figure out some Embraer software on a laptop, unsuccessfully, and so needless to say, they didn't notice the TCAS OFF or Transponder STBY messages. The article also describes how they were fumbling around with a digital camera, trying unsuccessfully to figure out how it works (leaving the reader with the assumption that these two poor bastards couldn't figure out how to do damn near sh*t when it came to anything at all--let alone the airplane). The camera mention was journalistic icing on the cake.

The publication of CVR tapes shouldn't be allowed. And I agree with the latest ALPA newsletter.

This article could cause a lot of problems with public perception. Not that it really matters anyways. From the point of view of the article, as soon as the airplane took off, it was "let's try to figure out how to fly this airplane...oh shi t, how do you do this? Hey how does this part work?" Not exactly flattering. The GOL 737 pilots, who I think we can agree have the least blame, if any at all, weren't spared, either. Apparently they were "flirting" with flight attendants, looking at pictures, and having a grand old time.

You can read the article free online.


Not a huge fan of this style of journalism, but this article seems to be getting a lot of attention.
 
Last edited:

Raoul Duke

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2008
Posts
932
Total Time
18000
this is why it is so important to refer underperforming coworkers to professional standards or the company
 

Abernathy

Truthiness
Joined
Mar 4, 2008
Posts
1,490
Total Time
Lots
I'm not passing judgment on either pair of pilots. Just responding to the tone of the article, which I thought hurt the perception of pilots in general. I don't get why every reporter who has had 25 hours in a 172 is all of a sudden a "professional pilot."
 

LowlyPropCapt

PBR For Life, and Beyond!
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Posts
1,256
Total Time
8000+
How many of us have missed something small in our cockpits? I don't fly glass... My TCAS has failed before and even with a TCAS "Fail" symbol appearing on the IVSI it might take me a bit to notice it if I am not looking for it.

"There but for the grace of God go I." It is useful to remember that small things and chance can get you very dead in an airplane. Sometimes no matter what we do, or what we THINK we are doing, things can turn out for the worst. Maybe these guys made some mistakes. Maybe not. Certianly they were being anything but careless in the operation of thier aircraft.

I for one will keep them in my thoughts and prayers. This has to be one heck of a thing to live with.
 

BoilerUP

Citation style...
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Posts
5,311
Total Time
1500+
There were MANY human factors involved in this tragedy...and the article was well-written to hit on most of them. Unfortunately, it did paint the Legacy crew in a poor light and spun the specific human factors deficiencies such that it appeared they were the primary or a contributing cause to this accident.

And the author HATES bizjets!
 

RJLoser

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2008
Posts
934
Total Time
00000
Found this:

Are you a pilot who writes or a writer who flies?

I'm a writer. Even when I was a pilot I was a writer.
The truth is, you don't have to be smart to be a pilot. The best pilots are people who are dutiful, functional, golfers—hobbyists. They repair antique cars in their garages.
 

BoilerUP

Citation style...
Joined
Nov 11, 2003
Posts
5,311
Total Time
1500+
I'm a writer. Even when I was a pilot I was a writer.
The truth is, you don't have to be smart to be a pilot. The best pilots are people who are dutiful, functional, golfers—hobbyists. They repair antique cars in their garages.

That's an interestingly asinine quote, especially coming from the son of "Stick and Rudder" author Wolfgang Langewiesche. I suppose he's never witnessed the multitude of f-ups resulting in bent metal or worse from "hobbyist" pilots.

I'm also guessing there's a reason he doesn't fly professionally anymore...and it doesn't have anything to do with his "smartness".
 

Stifler's Mom

MILF...MILF...MILF
Joined
Oct 12, 2003
Posts
5,125
Total Time
4000
Found this:

Are you a pilot who writes or a writer who flies?

I'm a writer. Even when I was a pilot I was a writer.
The truth is, you don't have to be smart to be a pilot. The best pilots are people who are dutiful, functional, golfers—hobbyists. They repair antique cars in their garages.

This guy seriously responded with this quote??????

What a fool. That has got to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard about aviation.
 

wmuflyguy

flunky
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Posts
2,006
Total Time
5k+
From the article:

You can include the corrupted tax structures that allow airplanes as questionable as the Legacy to be built, sold, and flown.

I have never flown an Embraer, but to call it questionable is a flat out lie. There are 1000's of these things flying and I can't recall an accident that was attributed to it being a "questionably" built airplane.
 

Jungle_Jet

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2004
Posts
115
Total Time
>500
What's obvious is that we create far more systems managers these days than aviators. Those who flew for PanAm, TWA and the like 40 or more years ago would be grossly appalled at the lake of skills these two possessed (the Legacy crew).

Oh, and the author's description of FSI as creating pilots who fear bureaucrats was right on.
 

LowlyPropCapt

PBR For Life, and Beyond!
Joined
Jul 14, 2005
Posts
1,256
Total Time
8000+
Those who flew for PanAm, TWA and the like 40 or more years ago would be grossly appalled at the lake of skills these two possessed (the Legacy crew).

Oh, and the author's description of FSI as creating pilots who fear bureaucrats was right on.

What is this Lake of Skills of which you speak? I know there was a Lake of Skulls in a He-Man episode. Come to think of it, that must have been a pretty good job for those guys if they could afford to buy a lake! Sure it wasn't just a little pond?

I am sure your aviation powers far exceed your editing powers. I bow before you in awe, and offer you a sacrifice of two virgin FOs and one shrubbery!

No, I think I shall refer to you as a feminine cleansing product instead.
 

bailout

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
Posts
988
Total Time
3.5
the CVR audio tapes are in a thread on the Corporate boards of FI. Judge for yourself...
 

j41driver

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 31, 2002
Posts
1,300
Total Time
11000
I have never flown an Embraer, but to call it questionable is a flat out lie. There are 1000's of these things flying and I can't recall an accident that was attributed to it being a "questionably" built airplane.


I think he was talking about business jets in general being questionable.
 

Axel

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 3, 2003
Posts
1,132
Tree hugger.

It's in the article early on. Very critical of the concept of a biz-jet in reference to the environment. He is offended by the very existence of any biz-jet.

The Legacy occupies a position toward the high end of private jets—among airplanes like Gulfstreams, Challengers, and Falcons—which by political, ethical, and environmental measures are abhorrent creations, but which nonetheless are masterworks of personal transportation. The Legacy weighs 50,000 pounds fully loaded, and is powered by twin Rolls-Royce turbofan engines mounted aft against the fuselage, delivering a total of 16,000 pounds of thrust at a price to the atmosphere and global oil reserves of about 300 gallons an hour.
I wonder if the two Falcons his employer, Vanity Fair, operates out of GSO are also abhorrent.
 
Last edited:

Hamburger

*************************
Joined
Jan 13, 2006
Posts
1,158
Total Time
5000+
Get Off of My Lawn!!!

Those who flew for PanAm, TWA and the like 40 or more years ago would be grossly appalled at the lack of skills these two possessed (the Legacy crew).

Third world controllers manage to get two airplanes in the same piece of sky and they hit each other. These guys got a crippled plane on the ground in the middle of the Amazon and save everyone on board. What an appalling lack of skills. Yeah.

If only they were more like those infallible, superhuman old school PanAm and TWA guys.

I'm sure the crews of PanAm flights 806 (CFIT), flight 812 (Failed cross check in Bali), Flight 845 (set the bugs wrong), flights 759 and 214 (flew into thunderstorms) and flight 151(unauthorized descent below minimums) are spinning in their graves over the appalling lack of skills displayed by these guys who got the plane on the ground.
Let's not forget Tenerife. No breakdown in the chain there, right?

How about the amazing old school omniscience at TWA? Flights 3,128, and 514 are CFIT. Flights 2 and 266 are MIDAIRS that didn't make it to a runway. Hikers call it the 'TWA Canyon' now after flight 260.

You're just another in a centuries long line of losers that refuses to let facts and common sense get in the way of making irrational, ridiculous claims that people who happened to be alive in the "good old days" are somehow superior to those who happen to have not had the unbelievable honor of being born then. :rolleyes:
 
Last edited:

SBD

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 19, 2006
Posts
379
Total Time
Y2K
I don't know if anyone saw the piece on 20/20 about a week ago about this incident. It was interesting to say the least. I'll try to get a linky.
 

Fernando

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 26, 2005
Posts
186
Total Time
1700
Third world controllers manage to get two airplanes in the same piece of sky and they hit each other. These guys got a crippled plane on the ground in the middle of the Amazon and save everyone on board. What an appalling lack of skills. Yeah.

You forget to mention that this was with the help of the 1st world pilots that turned the transponder off right?
 
Top