Editorial: Current Events

By Ed Downs

As implied by the title of these editorial thoughts, current events often drive the creative rants offered by those who share their opinions in public. This month is no exception, although the quantity and volume of news stories parading through the TV media and web makes it hard to choose which one to go with. The obvious answer to, “which subject do we exploit,” is to simply combine several stories together. How about recent events, which include an embarrassed movie star, the “lying” media, a famous cartoonist, and of course, a lesson from the FAA’s favorite subject, Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM). Tough assignment? “Heck no,” as they say in red neck country, “Hold my beer.”

The embarrassed movie star is an easy story to pick up on. Once again, actor Harrison Ford is in the news with a flying adventure. In today’s world of smart phone cameras, it is virtually impossible to make any kind of mistake without someone catching it on video, ready to run on the 10 o’clock news. Such was the case when Mr. Ford lined up with a taxiway, as opposed to a parallel runway, at John Wayne Airport in Southern California. Ford has a large collection of aircraft (can you sense the envy?) based at the besieged Santa Monica airport, which he frequently takes out for a local flight. 

Readers might recall his forced landing in a beautifully restored PT22 a couple of years ago when the engine failed (a part failure in the carburetor) while departing Santa Monica. It was generally agreed that his survival was a demonstration of remarkable flying skills under the worst of possible conditions. However, this most recent incident gave the “lying” media an excellent opportunity to come up with a story that makes yellow journalism look like Pulitzer Prize writing. 

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