Continental Flight 61 and the media

There's nothing more irritating than when the media tries to report on a story and distorts the facts because of ignorance. I've listened to a number of respected news agencies try to turn this flight into a major emergency. One reporter even stated that the first officer is on board just in case the Captain can't land. Are you kidding me? The only difference between the captain and first officer is their date of hire. Another network reported that the first officer has at least 1500 hours of flight time, so he is certainly qualified to land the plane. As if this wasn't bad enough, the media has tried to drum up drama by reporting on the weather and how it was going to make the landing more difficult. Note to media: Next time you want to report on a story that you know nothing about, contact someone who does. The next thing we're going to hear is how one of the first officers is going to get a three million dollar book deal to write about how he landed the plane.

The real story that is going to come out of this is the pilot's age – he was reported to be 60 (or 61 depending on which news channel you listen to). This is unfortunate. I just hope Congress doesn't jump on this and try to reverse the mandatory retirement age. If anything, the fact that there is always more than one pilot on board should be sufficient to assuage any concerns. This flight proves that the current rule is safe.

My condolences to the captain's family.


  1. Amen. First of all this aircraft was operated with the captain and two highly-qualified first officers and a back-up crew was riding deadhead. The 777 is a two-pilot airplane. Rookies don’t get to fly heavies like a 777. I would be shocked if any of these pilots had much less than 6,000 hours each. Their log books are probably all in the five figures. At no time was there any danger to anyone. Period. The crew performed professionally. That is what they are trained and paid to do. Must have been a slow news day in NYC.
    Or maybe it is sweeps week. This kind of sensationalism ultimately disserves the media and the public. It is a craven attempt to exaggerate and dramatize a routine, albeit tragic, event to capture viewers/listeners/readers and just another example of why people distrust the media in record numbers. Shame on the jackels who facilitated this.

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