Is it really 50/50 or better that he’s saved the life of every reader?

This little-known inventor has probably saved your life

The headline question being asked by Mr McKay:

David knew his idea for a cockpit recorder was a good one. Without official support, there was little he could do about it – but he couldn’t get it out of his mind.

When his boss was promoted, David pitched his invention again. His new superior was intrigued, and so was Dr Laurie Coombes, ARL’s chief superintendent. They urged him to keep working on it – but discreetly. Since it wasn’t a government-approved venture or a war-winning weapon, it couldn’t be seen to take up lab time or money.

Black box recorder 50/50 break on saving the life of the modal BBC reader?

Think it unlikely, don’t you?

12 thoughts on “Is it really 50/50 or better that he’s saved the life of every reader?”

  1. Rebecca, I have told you a million times not to exaggerate.

    ‘probably saved your life’

    Lefties* don’t understand human behavior. Should airplane flights be so dangerous as to kill half the people, few people would fly. People like their butts and won’t do things that will get them killed.

    Nor would people spend money on planes, if they were just going to crash.

    Seales gives us a half-baked hyperbole cake.

    *Writing for BBC is enough evidence to convict her of Leftiism.

  2. Was an interesting read at least, and he undoubtably saved many lives and helped facilitate international commerce and travel.

  3. “I’ve been on a hairyplane six times and none of them crashed, so he never saved my life.”

    Ah but did not the black box from previous crashes lead to changes that prevented your hairyplane from crashing?

  4. One thing I did get out of the article was the BBC being responsible for labelling the orange enclosured flight recorders as “black boxes”. Getting things wrong, even in the fifties..

  5. A friend of mine was an army paratrooper. I was in the air force.

    I once told him I couldn’t do that, to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. He retorted that he never rode in a perfectly good airplane.

  6. An improbable rate of air crashes would be required to make this statement correct, a rate which would in fact be impossible as the planes wouldn’t be permitted to fly anywhere.

    Or perhaps the writer is a fairly typical middle-class bourgeois type, decrying air travel as evil yet clocking up enough air miles to make their statement plausible, at least for them?

  7. Surely having a black box recorder saves no lives on the aircraft that it is on when it crashes. It may just save some lives in the future if it shows a preventable cause of the crash. So the answer is no, it did not save my life.

  8. We could work this out, we have all the accident reports. Can we search them electronically to find which ones needed data from the Flight Data Recorder to discover the cause of the crash.
    Then we just need to see what recommendations were made and acted on, then we can work out the risk averted!

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    If anyone deserves credit for giving us an airline industry which prides itself on safety and has a culture of open honesty when things go wrong its the early capitalists who wanted to make money.

    They knew that to get the public onside they had to change the perception of the industry, which wasn’t good with young men crashing planes all over the place. They actively called for government regulation:

    The federal role in aviation safety began not as an industry regulator, but rather as the operator of the U.S. Air Mail Service. Beginning in 1918, the Air Mail Service served a progressively larger route system, culminating with the inauguration of 24-hour service on the transcontinental route between New York and San Francisco in 1924 [1]. The service used government-owned planes, flown by government-employed pilots, and in a marked contrast to the norms of the day, placed a strong emphasis on safety. Elements of the safety program included strict criteria for selecting pilots and requiring regular medical exams for them, careful aircraft inspections, the use of a 180-item checklist at the end of virtually every trip, and regular engine and aircraft overhauls every 100 and 750 hours, respectively. The activity absorbed tremendous manpower: the ratio of mechanics to aircraft was nearly four to one, and 94 percent of airmail service employees were ground personnel [2]. The safety benefits were obvious: the fatality rate for the Air Mail Service was one per 789,000 miles flown between 1922-1925, while the comparable figure for itinerant commercial fliers (for 1924 only) was one per 13,500 [3]. The level of safety attained by the Air Mail Service was one of many factors that led aviation industry leaders to call for the federal government to provide safety oversight. Unlike other cases of federal intervention, aviation safety oversight was a response to the pleas of the 1
    overseen rather than their misconduct. As Herbert Hoover wrote in 1921, “It is interesting to note that this is the only industry that favors having itself regulated by government.” [4] The reasons for this wish ranged from the public-minded to the self-interested. Statistics like those cited above, as well as direct experience with the reality they represented, supported the claims that the public “is likely to suffer from badly engineered, badly built or badly repaired aircraft” and that “a great many fatal accidents are daily occurring to people carried in airplanes by inexperienced pilots using aircraft that have not been inspected.” [5]

    That’s from a PDF you can find by Googling “History of Aviation Safety Oversight in the United States”

    Everything else was just building on this culture. There may have been some push back by capitalists when looking at costs, but the culture generally won. Except at Boeing – see the 737 Max debacle.

    H/T Tim Newman on the Boeing link.

  10. There is/was a good docu on youtube about David Warren and his endeavours to create the “black box” flight data recorder and for manufacturers/airlines to install them.

    In many ways similar to Barnes Wallace, Turing, Whittle etc battle to beat nay-sayers & bureaucrats… Rather like Leave EU

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