Aircraft Accidents and Building a Frenzy

The Simpsons had an episode one time where a bear rifled through the neighborhood garbage cans for food. The town people’s reaction to this rare – albeit shocking – occurrence was to launch a bear protection defense with patrols, helicopters, etc. … for one bear, which had been sedated and donated to a zoo. The episode – naturally – turned into a circus. I don’t like making analogies for tragedy by referencing the Simpsons, but the episode’s theme was striking.
On Tuesday, July 7 an F-16 had a midair collision with a Cessna 150 over northern Charleston, SC. It was a tragedy, an unfortunate series of events that led to the deaths of two people. The details of the probable cause were still in investigative infancy, but facts never seem to get in the way of the frenzy.
By Wednesday the call went out about the enduring safety crisis of military and GA flying in the same airspace. One must scratch their head at this; there is no long overdue conversation about military versus GA as sure as there is no epidemic of first officers locking the cockpit door before diving an airliner into a mountain. The imposed frenzy usually leads to mourners being paraded for the world to see, demanding justice for their family member/victim; resolute congressmen standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the families to demand passage of a new law.
The job of an accident investigative body is not to ramp up the frenzy. It is meant to dole out information as it becomes substantiated and only if it proves an accident occurred; criminal investigations should be turned over to the proper authorities immediately. We don’t have to fix unbroken aspects of our airspace or limit private piloting for – what boils down to – an accident.
Bottom line: Stop the frenzy!

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