Sunday, 20 January 2008

Coward praised for bravery!

Well, as far as I know that wasn't the real headline, but I think it would have been a better one.

As you might already know, a Boeing 777 crash-landed at Heathrow on Thursday.

Luckily there was no loss of life, and for this our thanks should go to the inaptly-named co-pilot Senior First Officer John Coward, who managed to bring the plane down safely.

Incidentally, some have suggested that those on the plane were "touched by God", which of course is nonsense; if God had got involved then He could have simply averted the engine failure which caused the crash in the first place...but there's always someone who'll thank God for, essentially, causing a nasty accident but having the good grace to allow at least a few of those involved to "miraculously survive".

To help us gain a better understanding of what happened, the BBC provided its website-viewers with what is perhaps the least meaningful info-graphic ever produced outside of The Onion's offices.

Here it is:

Now, one of the dangerous things about coming in below the normal landing trajectory is the risk of hitting buildings or the landing fence (indeed, the BBC article quotes Mr Coward as saying "I didn't think we'd clear the fence at first").

Obviously Mr Coward hadn't seen the BBC's infographic.... if he had, he'd have got the impression that the fence and nearby buildings weren't a problem. But then, the BBC graphic features an angle 10-15 times greater than the actual one, thus giving a somewhat inaccurate appearance of coming down well above the ground-based obstacles.

Also, if the graphic gives the suggestion that the engine problem ocurred about 5 plane-lengths away from the airport (when it was actually 2 miles) and also gives the impression that 183m is about 3 times longer than 305m. Which, as the mathematicians amongst you will know, it isn't.

In defence of the Beeb's graphic, it does point out that it is not to scale, and it does show what a 3 degree angle really looks like. But with every single particular of the diagram being wrong, you have to wonder what the point of it is.

Once we accept that the angles, distances, heights of buildings and the size of the plane are all wrong relative to one another, all we can really take from the graphic is that the plane came down to the ground.

Which to be honest, we could probably have deduced without a picture!

But anyway, pedantic whinging about the picture aside, the main thing is that everyone got out alive, the worst injury being a broken leg. And when you've got a lump of metal weighing half a million pounds coming down without its engines doing their bit, that's a pretty damn good result!

Three cheers for the Coward!

1 comment:

TheSlade said...

Hahahaha, very good.