Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A postscript to the Ron Burgundy post - who got hurt in the story?

Yesterday, Asiana announced that they would try to sue KTVU for the announcement contained in the Ron Burgundy lives post. But for a suit to be successful one needs to understand just who got hurt in the accident and subsequent story.  Asiana has a bigger problem than the prank.

The New York Times describes their bigger problem, namely that there is serious question about the level of competency of the pilots on the plane -

"The South Korean pilot, Lee Kang-guk, who was in training for the 777, was landing the plane at the San Francisco airport for the first time, making a visual approach.

He had logged more than 9,700 hours of flying on Airbus A320s, Boeing 737s and Boeing 747s, but he had only 43 hours of flying time with 777s and had made eight landings with them. A senior colleague with more experience landing 777s sat beside him as co-pilot, but he was flying as a 777 instructor for the first time.

As Asiana prepares to bolster its training, the crash has created a debate among pilots in the United States about training, automation and cultural factors. The crash is the third involving a fatal error by a Korean carrier on American territory in which crew coordination appears to have been a factor. There is also a lingering argument about pilots relying too much on automation. The Boeing 777 crashed on July 6 during a manual landing."

From my perspective, the target of the bad taste joke was not the airline but the "profession" of news readers.  The goof who read the lines should have read the copy before she put it on the air.   But in the 24/7 news cycle news readers rarely do that.

Asiana may think it can divert attention away from the crash by filing a politically correct lawsuit.  But I doubt even in San Francisco that anyone will be diverted from understanding just who was injured here.  What the lawsuit does is make the airline look like it is more interested in CYA than in addressing some more serious problems about their pilots.

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