I'll put this post in Journalism, because I'm more annoyed with the way the media handled the issue than I admire the pilot's great job of bringing the plane in safely. And folks, that's saying something, because the pilot did a hell of a job.
We just can't help ourselves any longer, can we? We have to run our mouths incessantly, and we must have sensationalism. Simply MUST have it. "News coverage" is nothing without drama, to the point we're mindlessly absent if we have no conflict.
Yesterday, I got home just in time to see the Airbus on about a three-mile final. We had the TV tuned to one of the stations in Portland -- I won't say which because frankly, they were all acting the same (I mean come on, I was listening to Hannity & Colmes cover it on the radio on the way home). For the love of God, please talk only one fifth of the amount you did last night the next time a crisis erupts. They just could not shut up -- just braying for the point of justifying their existense in the moment.
- The plane is over the threshold: "The captain will try to touch down just after the end of the runway. You see the various markings on the runway there, the white stripes at the end, the red lights." You're talking about runway markings?
- The main gear touches down -- one of the anchors is indignant: "WHERE IS THE FOAM?" They decided against foam because it's very slick and....well, let's see....this is a landing gear problem and foam might make it worse. Get yourself out of the 1970s airport disaster movies.
- The nose gear touches down, the tire wears off and sparks erupt -- she can't stand it: "Oh, I don't like this." You don't even know what you're talking about.
- The plane starts to slow: "Where are the emergency crews?" It's not like you don't know. They're right there, maybe just out of camera range?
- The plane stops: "It appears the immediate crisis is averted, but it's clear the emergency crews must get passengers off the plane as fast as is possible before there's a potential explosion." Please.
Quick....let's invent another medium to compete with TV, the Internet, radio, my Blackberry and everything else so we can throw even more hysterics into our lives.
Separately, my hat is off to the Jet Blue captain and his crew. From what I've read, they kept the cabin calm, prepared the passengers, and kept everything together. The captain did a great job -- it looks like he really handled it like a pro. I remarked to my wife last night that he even kept the nose gear right on the centerline. I hope the debrief becomes available somewhere -- I'd like to see if there's anything to learn from it for other pilots.