ABC News interviewed me today for a 20/20 show that will air Friday (tomorrow) evening (10 pm Eastern). The topic was to what extent a mentally ill pilot can continue to work for an airline (previous posting on the subject) with some background on how pilots are screened and medically evaluated. I fear the by the time it is all edited there will be demands for more FAA regulation in an attempt to keep everyone perfectly safe (who can argue against that?). I wish that I had said that we are all our brother’s keeper to some extent. So yes either of the two people up front in a modern jet could send us into the ground (even just through incompetence!), but at the same time the safety record of airlines shows that our faith in our fellow men and women is not misplaced. And I did note that how can you be sure that the 17-year-old in the 6000 lb. SUV next to you on the highway is in a good mental place?
[Separately, I learned a few things about network broadcast journalism. ABC News captures in 720p on the theory that this somehow results in fewer motion artifacts for sports than 1080p. They used Sony cameras and Sennheiser and Lectrosonics wireless mics for this project. The crew consists of talent (Ryan Smith, a former attorney), a producer, a more senior producer listening from New York (via speakerphone tucked into the cameraman’s jacket), a cameraman, a sound engineer following behind the cameraman connected by cables (a camel-like arrangement). The idea was initially to film at Hanscom Field, a taxpayer-owned airport managed by Massport, but Massport management and media relations refused to allow ABC News onto the field (sort of odd that the public’s access to publicly owned property has been reduced in this manner, but this seems to be Massport’s general rule based on previous requests; this is an especially large reduction because at one time there were some TV station helicopters actually based on the field and therefore media were permitted to be present 24×7; I’m wondering how much of the rest of what happens in the U.S. is now walled off from the public by image-conscious government agencies.) So we flew over to a friend’s hangar at KLWM, a city-owned airport where they don’t have enough staff on the payroll to hassle journalists being escorted by hangar tenants. It took about 2 hours to get what will likely turn out to be 3 minutes of broadcast footage.]