26 September 2006

Are you amazed?

The British art of understatement found its expression in this article about the British Airways pilot / management decision to press on with the flight despite a fire in one of the engines.

Air traffic controllers monitoring a British Airways jumbo jet were stunned at the pilot's decision to try to "get as far as we can" after an engine caught fire on takeoff, a transcript of discussions between the plane and the control tower revealed.

"Amazed" and "stunned" was the choice of Guardian's reporter. This was regarding the reaction of traffic controllers. The passengers must have been mortified - for the whole duration of this fairly long flight. And the possible reason for this strange decision:

By pressing ahead with the flight, the aircraft avoided a £100,000 bill for delay compensation, though there is no suggestion that this is why this flight went ahead.

I wouldn't mind the valiant RAF pilots protecting me.

But having one in the cockpit of a passenger plane seems to be quite a bad idea. Especially after reading this:

The Air Accident Investigation Branch found that since April 2001, BA had recorded 15 incidents in which jumbo jets continued after an engine had been shut down.