The Help Pilots Need

Monday, October 8, 2007

Second-guessing pilot error with perfect, after-the-fact hindsight has been a characteristic of aviation as far back as Icarus ["Controller, Flier Both at Fault, Panel Finds," Metro, Sept. 28].

Stressed far less frequently is the importance of furnishing pilots with the timely information they need. A. Scott Crossfield's accident reaffirms that, in this era of sensors and communications furnishing comprehensive weather information, it makes little sense for controllers to expect a "mother may I" call for help before they offer assistance to a pilot. Rather, precisely because they have more information and a better overall picture, they have a responsibility to furnish the pilot with warnings and suggestions as they see a potentially hazardous situation developing.

Those of us who were privileged to know Mr. Crossfield will always remember him for what he was: a consummate flier whose flight planning and execution were always hallmarks of true professionalism.



The writer is an aviation historian and a fellow at the National Air and Space Museum.

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