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Dave Ross

Dangerous machines

This image released by the National Transportation Safety Board, Sunday, July 7, 2013, shows the interior of the Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines Flight 214 aircraft. The Asiana flight crashed upon landing Saturday, July 6, at San Francisco International Airport, and two of the 307 passengers aboard were killed. (AP Photo/NTSB)

I wouldn’t say I’m a nervous flyer. I would say I’m an attentive flyer. I look at my watch during takeoff – I like to be off the ground no more than 30 seconds after we start rolling.

As we land, I watch the flaps extend, I listen for the clunk of the landing gear, I try to get a look at the runway as we bank into final approach, and I’m grateful that those white stripes on the tarmac always seem to show up at just the right time.

I wonder what I’d do if something went wrong like what happened in San Francisco.

It’s reassuring that so many people survived. It’s reassuring that the people in the exit rows didn’t just jump, but stayed behind to help others.

But the bottom line for me is that this is another reminder of the trust we place in our machines and the people who run them.

The other big accident over the weekend – that oil train in Quebec that was left unattended, and started coasting and then jumped the tracks and exploded, obliterating that small town – there’s a case where the victims were just spending an evening out, feeling completely safe in a place where trains had passed by thousands of times without a problem, except this one time.

We focus on these mishaps because they’re spectacular, and we wonder was it carelessness, lack of training, some kind of impairment? And yet, isn’t it ironic that we very likely heard about these incidents while sitting in a car, which, because of so many careless, impaired, and poorly trained operators, is still the most dangerous machine of them all.

Listen to the latest on the Boeing 777 crash at SFO

Read more:
Asiana says it was pilot’s first landing of a Boeing 777 at SFO
Photos: Boeing 777 crashes at San Francisco airport
Officials probe why crashed SF jet flew too slow

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About the Author

Dave Ross

Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.


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