Thursday 9 September 2010


It has just been discovered that almost 200 commercial pilots in China have falsified their flying experience and essentially do not have the hours or experience necessary to be flying commercial airliners. That’s really comforting. This comes on the heels of one of their worst plane crashes in six years when in August over 42 people died.

[Note to self: do NOT fly in China].

They blame this debacle on the surge in China’s aviation industry and the huge demand for pilots. Apparently, military pilots have been faking their experience and qualifications so that they can get jobs in the commercial industry. And I thought exaggerating that my French was better than it was on my CV was bad. The worst part of it, it is common knowledge amongst Chinese pilots that this has been occurring. Way to stick together guys. And the airline companies are said to have essentially looked the other way, as they are pleased that the demand for pilots is being met. Imagine what some of the airlines slogans could be: “We’ll get you there on time; just don’t ask who is at the wheel.” Or, “Fly the friendly skies. Just take out really good insurance before you do.”

Seriously, you’re flying planes, planes with people in them! People that breathe! I don’t care if you’ve flown a military plane, if you haven’t spent years in a commercial jet, I don’t want you in the cockpit wondering if you should push the red button or the blue one cause the control panels look different. If you fake your CV at the bank what’s the worst that can happen - well I suppose embezzlement is the worst possible scenario. But that is a lot less harmful than someone with no experience flying a commercial airliner full of people. I mean worst-case scenario, you’re giving 152 passengers a close-up view of the Great Wall of China as you careen into it going mach 4. Not my idea of a good time.

I’m thinking if there is any time to be vigilant on behalf of the airlines and the aviation administration it is in a case like this. They claim they are taking it very seriously and are investigating dubious pilots. In some cases revoking their licenses or demanding they take extra training. Gosh, there’s showing them.

And people ask me why I’m afraid to fly. 
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