Wednesday, April 7, 2010

News from Down Under

Qantas Airways crosses the 'drome & farm news desk this week, not for any accident or incident, but for having people onboard their airliners bent on crashing them.

Not terrorists, even.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that a government workman's compensation body in Australia has ordered Qantas to pay pilot Bryan Arthur Griffin $160,000 for failing to take him off the flight line after he expressed his compulsion to crash the airliners he flew during the trailing end of his Qantas career in 1979-1982. Griffin claims he had to leave the cockpit on several occasions while fighting the urge to shut down all engines in flight. On one occasion the newspaper reports that in the cockpit Griffin was ''forced to immobilize his left arm" to avoid moving other controls in an effort to crash the airplane.

Griffin reportedly told several colleagues about his urge to crash the airliners in his command, but after being examined by several doctors was cleared for takeoff and repeatedly scheduled to fly Qantas jets.

Three decades later the airline appears to take such threats more seriously.

This week a passenger threatened to crash a Qantas 747 "with his mind" during a flight from Sydney to Singapore. Crew members immediately restrained the man in his seat.

Bravo.

But if a pilot can get a large payout just for being permitted to fly suicidal on Qantas 30 years ago (instead of the payout going to, say ... paying customers who were put in harm's way), who knows what will happen when some similarly odd-minded government body figures out that physical restraints were the best thing the airline could come up with when faced with the threat of a mind-activated airliner crash.

We're betting on matter over mind here.

M.O.

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