Obama Plane Did Declare Emergency

What they said then:

What they say now:

I'm not sure I care. But there you have it.

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I am glad that no one was hurt.

I think the two reports are not that far off in facts, but very far apart in tone and conclusions.

If Rush had made a joke about this incident, it probably would have been to wonder why the GOP black ops team did such a good job with Wellstone and Carnahan but muffed it with Obama. Then he'd laugh at his own wit.

Wow, it must have been a slow news day (maybe MSNBC is feeling Olympics fatigue, too?).

I guess it's news that the situation on the plane was more serious than initially reported, but the second story seems (to me) to blow it way out of proportion. I'm not a pilot, but I don't think the plane was in imminent danger of crashing. I've noticed that the media tends to blow non-fatal aircraft incidents way out of proportion (anyone remember the live coverage of the plane at LAX with a landing gear issue?).

Why weren't any pilots interviewed? None of the people interviewed seemed to be in any real knowledge about air travel. Is there really that much of a difference between "a diversion" and "declaring an emergency"? There very well may be, but I don't think we got a satisfactory answer from the story.

Seriously, doesn't the second story just seem like shoddy reporting (but good scare mongering)?

Over-reaction in the second report. It was a POTENTIALLY dangerous malfunction, so the pilot did the right thing and asked for people to be ready just in case. When things are really bad you catch everyone's attention by calling MAYDAY.

Why was this posted on Scienceblogs exactly? This barely qualifies as news.

By Chris Doms (not verified) on 15 Aug 2008 #permalink

I think the pilot handled it just fine.

Declaring an emergency from an aviation perspective gives the pilot in command the ability to do what they need to do to deal with things, and gives you priority in terms of landing.

The plane was at 30,000', which is mandatory IFR (class A airspace). Declaring an emergency gave the pilot the ability to descend to whatever altitude he needed to attain in order to determine what had happened and to test controllability, without requiring clearance for each altitude. It also gave him precedence at the airport, including the ability to choose which runway he wanted (instead of what the current active was).

The pilot did what he felt was proper, and used the authority given to him by the FAA as pilot in command to get on the ground safely.