Aircraft Accidents: Learning from History

I read an article relating to the 1996 ValuJet aircraft accident and the tragedy’s investigation. The author wrote a review of the event on what had become a difficult examination.
But what impressed on me most? He wrote about the aircraft accident two years after the fact; I was working in Newark at the time. Even then the aftershock from the accident faded from public memory as newer news replaced old.
But less than seven years after the ValuJet aircraft accident – in 2003 – similar problems brought down another airliner, again, shortly after take-off. Analysis discovered that some of the problems that plagued ValuJet were present in a noxious brew of complacency, blind trust, and an apparent lack of supervision that contributed so blatantly to ValuJet seven years earlier. Had we, as an industry, not learned or do we choose to forget over time? The memorials raised for ValuJet 592, TWA 800, Air Midwest 5481, and others will eventually be lost, whether to the elements or to memory. All things, from mountains to oceans, eventually lose out to time.
Time heals all wounds; it scars over deep cuts. Perhaps we should not be so quick to heal.

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