14 April 2007

A bumpy start of the new era

This news item passed almost unnoticed save a small article by Reuters:

Northwest Airlines canceled a flight set to leave from Las Vegas to Detroit after the captain cursed on a cell phone in a bathroom, then swore at one of the 180 passengers on the plane, officials said on Saturday.
And even Reuters did not pay attention to the following significant detail:
"He used what was described to me as rude language," Ian Gregor, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration, said about Friday's incident on Northwest Flight 1190.
Why should FAA get involved in a seemingly unimportant disciplinary problem with a pilot?

And why had Northwest taken this extreme measure?
Northwest canceled the flight and flew the pilot back to his base in Detroit.
The answer is simple and shocking, ladies and gentlemen: Northwest is pioneering a new era in civil aviation: android pilots. They look totally human and behave in a manner that does not deviate from the normal human patterns. "He pinched my bottom just as he usually does when passing through the kitchenette", told the distressed flight attendant off the record.

Very soon, when the 'droid pilot's black box is deciphered, the reason for the deviation in his behavior will become known. The Detroit boffins will get to the bottom of this story, rest assured.

As for the general public: from now on, when you hear the usual "dear passengers, flight number xxx is delayed for a while due to change of equipment", keep in mind that the euphemism "equipment" does not mean just the plane anymore.