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Nonsense in the New York Times

Nonsense in the New York Times

Old Aug 6, 2013, 7:03 am
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Nonsense in the New York Times

A story in the Times's "Frequent Flier" column recounts a tale of disoriented pilots and 90-degree turns on a flight into Chicago.

But did it really happen?

You can read my response in www.askthepilot.com

Here's an excerpt:

"...I can also assure you that the angle of bank was nowhere remotely close to 90 degrees. This gets into something I call PEF or Passenger Embellishment Factor, the tendency for passengers to grossly exaggerate the sensations of flight. A commercial airliner will almost never bank at more than about 25 degrees. That doesn't sound like much, but a 25-degree turn appears awfully steep to the typical passenger, just the way a twenty degree climb or a five-degree nose-down descent appears much steeper. In a sixty degree bank, never mind 90, the G-forces would be so powerful that a passenger would barely be able to lift his or her feet from the floor.

It infuriates me that passengers are taken at their word when it comes to things like this. Mr. Hill clearly knows nothing about flying, yet the most prestigious newspaper in the world will go ahead and print an account in which, despite having no credible evidence, he accuses airline pilots of being lost and making reckless maneuvers. He couches it carefully with the likes of 'it seemed,' and surely the paper will say that his subjective observations are just that, and fair game. But of course this story will be quoted and passed along as fact. And it's precisely this kind of thing that helps perpetuate the many myths and fallacies of commercial air travel..."

Patrick Smith

GateHold is offline  
Old Aug 6, 2013, 1:12 pm
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Nice piece, Patrick.

I recall having a similar vomit reflex when I read the Noah Shannon article. "My brain felt humid." GAG!

This one is not quite as bad, but it's definitely in the same ballpark, and I agree with you completely that NYT seems to have abaondoned all pretense of true, objective, fact-based journalism in favor of tabloidesque sensationalism.

Oh, by the way - I'm no pilot, I'm not even a frequent flier, but even I know that a commercial airliner that did a 90-degree bank would probably start doing cartwheels, all the way to the ground, especially at low speed.
WillCAD is offline  
Old Aug 7, 2013, 8:57 pm
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Same issue when people try to cite elevation angles.
xiKiNGix is offline  
Old Aug 8, 2013, 3:56 pm
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I think the NYT piece was humor, not meant to be taken seriously. At least, I thought the writer was joking all the way through.
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Old Aug 9, 2013, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by WillCAD
Nice piece, Patrick.
^ A well written piece, indeed. It is a newspaper and should be reasonably close to the truth; in this case you're obviously one to point the stupidity and I applaud you for doing so.
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Old Aug 11, 2013, 7:01 am
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It infuriates me that passengers are taken at their word when it comes to things like this.
It's only going to get worse.
A quick vox pop will always hit the press before an informed response, and actual investigative reporters are an endangered species now.
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Old Aug 12, 2013, 5:30 am
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Originally Posted by mandolino
It's only going to get worse.
A quick vox pop will always hit the press before an informed response, and actual investigative reporters are an endangered species now.
Exactly, and by the time the investigation has been done, the story is old news since it has been "reported" on already.
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Old Aug 12, 2013, 8:50 am
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when is the media not nonsensical?
Kagehitokiri is offline  
Old Aug 21, 2013, 1:27 pm
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Passengers, and people in general often are wrong about degrees in general. Ever hear that a person made a complete "360 degree" change? They're in the exact, same, position.
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Old Aug 26, 2013, 1:38 pm
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this is the same NYT that has railed against the AMR/US merger because it "increases prices" Then 2 days later whines that airlines operate so cheaply.

[Removed political comment better suited to OMNI/PR]

Last edited by cblaisd; Aug 26, 2013 at 2:00 pm Reason: Please take political argumentation/characterization to OMNI/PR once you have qualified for that forum. Thanks.
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