People are getting dumber. The smartphone has screwed up the average attention span. Secondly, the generation of airline pilots who nursed shot-up P-47s back to base with 50mm cannon holes all through the airframe, missing an elevator and an aileron and a canopy, is gone. People don't work mechanical problems as instinctively anymore because they're not exposed to them. No one fixes a toaster anymore. (Almost) no one rigs a carburetor with a coathanger. Kids don't play much sandlot baseball anymore.
Ah, yes, it was always better in the Stone Age...
Besides not knowing what sandlot baseball has to do with anything, I'll simply point out that the generation you're so intent on admiring through rose-tinted glasses crashed a lot more airplanes. Today's aircraft are the safest that have ever flown, and today's pilots are the safest that have ever flown them. Yes, planes still come down. Yes, when they do it's still usually because of the pilot. Both things happen much, much less frequently than they used to. Your central thesis of generational degradation doesn't have any statistical basis, and it smacks of forgetting that the Good Old Days never really existed.
Would you rather get on a commercial airliner tomorrow, or back in 1950?
We have no idea what caused this crash. I doubt it was not spending enough time fixing toasters. Stick to the data.
My point was that with the increase of automation in all aspects of life, people are increasingly out of touch with how to fix a malfunctioning device on the fly. I don't know how old you are, but I'm old enough to have jumped out of a car at a stop light and rig a flooding carburetor with a nail I found on my floorboard, and get back behind the driver's seat before the light turned green. Girlfriend at the time was impressed and stopped ragging me (as much) about my old cars.
My statistical basis of generational degradation can be somewhat proved through the simple experiment of sitting at a traffic intersection and counting how many cars get through the average left-turn arrow now, compared to 20 years ago when they weren't bobbing their heads up and down and poking at a device, and every third car introduces an unacceptable delay due to distraction. Back then, people drove. Now, people browse, and drive when they feel like it. This is a major cause of traffic.congestion.
Sticking to data without peripheral vision can drive one straight into a lake, as has happened more than once with people fixated on GPS directions. I'm not trying to take this off-topic, because my points certainly weren't. Sandlot baseball in neighborhoods everywhere was the de-facto farm team for American pros. Look at how many American citizens play for Major League Baseball teams now, as opposed to 50 years ago. Akin to fewer GA pilots learning the craft. That's what it had to do with the topic, to spell it out. To take it back firmly to "data," Boeing has recommended that pilots perform what sometimes is called a "kludge," by disabling a system (MCAS) which, in essence, is malfunctioning because it is fighting the pilots. That doesn't seem much better than my jumping out of my car to rig my carburetor before the engine catches fire from a stuck float, does it? In fact, what we see here is a "kludge" of a "kludge." A double-kludge. The first kludge is the MCAS to prevent the engine nacelles from stalling the aircraft, and the second kludge is for the pilots to figure out that the first kludge is malfunctioning and to disable it before it crashes the plane. I know that sounds harsh, but isn't that close to what we're dealing with here?
In the old days, I think the average pilot had disassembled more farm equipment and was more practiced in cause and effect, especially in mechanized countries.
Fixing an appliance exercises the brain. Too bad too few people do it anymore. This shrinks the pilot pool, in my opinion. Just my 2 cents.
I won't take this discussion any farther, but it does circle back to overloading the pilots with the necessity to diagnose a glitchy system and - while the world waits for the Lion Air conclusion - successfully implement the "Boeing Kludge"
at low altitude and not crash the aircraft. I don't feel like we are in a good spot. Boeing, NTSB, FAA, had better put the pedal to the metal here, for a number of reasons.
Last edited by CO953
on Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:16 am, edited 9 times in total.