Re: High tech jets = High risk jets?

From:         kls@ohare.Chicago.COM (Karl Swartz)
Organization: Chicago Software Works, Menlo Park, California
Date:         27 Dec 95 21:43:50 
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>I believe there has been at least one accident (Korean Air, I think)
>attributed to an expat crew being unable to communicate in the cockpit
>- American co-pilot and Korean pilot, I think - about two or three
>years ago.  Anybody have any more info?

That sounds like the KAL A300-600 that crashed at Cheju on August 9,
1994.  The captain was Canadian, the first officer Korean.  I remember
there being some communication problems but I thought it was a case of
them arguing about what to do and the FO taking actions contrary to
what the captain had ordered, not a language barrier.

Treading gingerly back to an earlier part of the thread ...

>>Do you really think that the nationality of the crew makes any difference
>>in terms of proficiency and professionalism?

Cultural differences are unquestionably a factor, though perhaps not
the overriding factor the original poster suggested.  Taking an extreme
example, in Russia, pilots pick up badly needed extra money by taking
on more payload than is safe.  Sometimes they crash as a result -- that
is just a cost of doing business.  Within the context of most European
and North American countries (and others who I don't mean to slight by
their omission), these actions are highly unprofessional.  This is all
subjective, of course -- they may well look with some disdain on our
rigid adherence to safety rules, turning away cargo that probably
could be squeezed on board for an extra profit.

In certificating third-world repair stations, the FAA has exhibited
similar concerns regarding cultural biases which place profit above
less tangible factors such as safety.  Presumably, they look for
procedures and training that minimize the risks.

I could cite other examples, but I hope the point is clear -- cultural
factors can be an issue in safety, though appropriate training and/or
procedures can be taken to minimize the risks.  I think it's better to
acknowledge the presence of such issues and to deal with them rather
than to claim prejudice and ignore them.

Karl Swartz	|Home
Moderator of sci.aeronautics.airliners -- Unix/network work pays the bills