Re: $%#% news media! (UA 737 engine failure in Portland, Or)

Date:         20 Aug 97 02:38:35 
From:         Chris Elberfeld <>
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Wayne Dohnal wrote:
> A United 737 lost an engine on departure from Portland, Or. Friday morning
> and returned with an uneventful landing.  The first report I heard on the
> local news said that they dumped fuel before landing.  I didn't think the
> 737 could dump fuel.  Can it?  And it was only on a 600 mile flight (to
> SFO), so I wouldn't think they'd have full fuel anyway.
> Later in the afternoon the news report said  "they switched over to the
> other engine and landed safely".  Makes me wonder what the general public
> thinks after hearing this jibberish.  Does the media ever get it right?

I heard the "breaking story" on this one on the AM drive time radio
news on a San Francisco radio station. From the initial treatment
of the story, anyone driving to SFO to pick up a loved from this
flight would have had the daylights scared out of them.
Something like "We are just learning that a Unted flight enroute
from Portalnd to SFO has an a emergency onbaord and is returning
to Portland. It's UNconfirmed but we understand that there are problems
with the landing gear, one engine, and the hydaulic system. Stay tuned
for more on this breaking story". Commercials. Traffic. Sports.
Weather. Then an inteview with someone from the PDX Port Authority, who
said that the plane had blown a tire on takeoff, one engine had been
thottled back to idle as a result of possible ingestion of tire
debris,and that the flight had returned to PDX without further incident,
and that UA was rebooking passngers on other flights.

I suppose the radio staion have waited 7-10 minutes to get the facts,
but then I might not have listened to their commercials, traffic,
sports, and weather.  When it comes to aviation safety related stories
sensationalism and specutation are the rule with most media outlets.