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Lessons From Pilots

I am treading on dangerous territory because I am about to discuss plane crashes. I say dangerous because I don’t like to fly; which also means that I don’t enjoy plane crash thoughts. So, you can already be assured that this is a positive blog. I promise promise!

Studies of plane crashes between 1940-1990 always showed the same statistic. 65% of the time, airplane crashes were due to pilot error. It didn’t matter what the airlines did.

They increased pilot classroom training. They implemented aviation reforms. They required specific flying hour limitations. Still, no matter what the airlines did, bad decisions in the cockpit still caused crashes 65% of the time.

Then that statistic changed! In the late 1980’s, airlines introduced realistic flight simulators. Now pilots could practice landing in a sudden downdraft thunderstorm, or with only one engine. They could learn what it was like to land a plane with landing gear problems; or fly without wing flaps.

Their experience of problems was better than training by “chalk and talk”. They were doing, even though it was by simulator. Federal Aviation representatives labeled it as “the goal is to learn from those mistakes when they don’t count; so when it matters, you can make the right decision”.

This training process was coupled with a method called CRM (Cockpit Resource Management), which made flying a team effort to include the other members of the flying team. Soon, pilot error as the cause of crashes had been reduced to 30% of all crashes, which also meant that there were far less crashes. More specifically, it now became safer to fly than drive in a car. See… positive!

I believe that same thought applies to trial work. Experience and team! No matter how many seminars you attend on trial and depositions, nothing replaces actually doing it.

What does this mean at the firm? Well, I always try to make sure that our lawyers have a second chair with them. That’s part of the team concept. Also, it’s experience in the courtroom. It doesn’t mean that we don’t keep attending seminars. That’s the chalk and talk of our work.  Unfortunately, there is no substitute for experience. Right?

And for pic o’ day, this isn’t to mean that I don’t enjoy work. Still…. he makes me laugh!


The Shrinking Seats

A few years ago, I read a story about the salary cap in the National Football League. Part of the motivation for having a cap for players salaries was based on the fact that owners did not believe that they could govern themselves. So, they all wanted to be governed by the league to control their own spending.

By the way, I thought that this was a good time to throw a money pic o’ joke in here. Do you remember getting all those emails from Nigeria, about someone wanting help to get money out of the country? Well, you might get a good laugh out of this picture:















Which brings us to the analogy to those owners in football. Would it surprise you that there’s a movement to get more people to fit on a airplane. Should government get involved in regulating. In fact, here’s an article (here) that describes a Columbian based airline named VivaColumbia who want to fly with planes that have no seats. Without regulation, they could fit more people for the ride. Here’s their idea to “make flights cheaper” More of a standing lean:








This is a good case of considering government regulation versus the right of private business. Should there be seating regulations? Well, a federal court thinks so. (Bloomberg)

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., has ordered aviation regulators to consider setting minimum standards to guarantee seating space on airlines.

This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote on behalf of the appellate three-judge panel. “As many have no doubt noticed, aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers have been growing in size.

In the case mentioned, the court found in favor of Flyers Rights, a nonprofit advocacy group, which argued that shrinking legroom and seat size create a safety hazard. Safety concerns should require the Federal Aviation Administration to impose restrictions.

Do you agree, or do you think that the free enterprise system should just control?

And finally, I received this pic o’ day for posting, and it gave me a smile!


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