I am very familiar with the air-show industry. Your recent “Plane Stupid” feature article [August 16] was extensively researched and I respect the time you invested in your piece.
You however ignored your own conclusion, the air-show industry is amazingly safe. The FAA is doing its job by keeping this entertainment medium safe for the spectators. It appears to me that you had a bias against the industry and attempted to prove your bias with your research.
That no one has been killed since the inception of the FAA almost 40 years ago, your conclusion should have been very much in favor of the FAA safety standards implemented in the U.S.
Tragically performers lose their lives performing air shows, but that no spectator has been killed during a performance is the real issue. That attendees’ aircraft (nonperformers, by the way) have crashed returning from visiting an air show is totally irrelevant. More spectators are killed driving their cars to and from air shows. Perhaps we should ban air shows because people die getting to them?
Taking this logic further, we should ban all public gatherings that cause loss of life either getting to or from. Good-bye to the Bears, Bulls, and concerts. Life is not safe, there are no guarantees, and people will lose their lives. More people died last year playing football than flying in air shows, and if I follow your argument, football should be banned.
If you are really worried about airplanes falling out of the air, perhaps you should concentrate on the closing of Meigs Field. The closure will put more air traffic over the city and the possibility of aircraft crashing into the city will increase. How about the Horizon Center in Rosemont? It sits one-half mile from the end of runway 14R and fully loaded DC-10s routinely land over crowds of 20,000 people attending concerts. This is a prescription for a real tragedy, a heavy jetliner 300 to 400 feet above a crowd, landing low and slow, the most likely configuration for a crash.
Be it Indy 500 cars, airplanes, or your personal auto, there is a risk of injury and death. That you would be so bold to suggest that pilots be prohibited from flying air shows suggests that people should not be free to do the things they want to do even if there is a risk to their own lives. I really can’t believe that you would suggest restricting personal freedoms.
Frankly, though well researched, your article smacks of yellow rag journalism.