Good journalism is a difficult art few seem to master. It means digging out information, discovering correlations, understanding complex issues and being able to explain these to an audience suffering from a chronical information-overload. But it means also withstanding the temptations to publish something damaging or offending only for the sake of attention (or rating).
Several weeks ago, we saw the results of such a temptation. Various Irish newspapers printed on the cover pages the transcript of a Cockpit Voice Recorder. This transcript covered the last minutes of the lives of four people that were on board of a rescue helicopter. The final words of the crew members were placed on public display.
But can we ‘blame’ the media, when the CVR transcript was actually handed over to them on a plate by the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU)? The AAIU published the CVR transcript, because they deemed it “very relevant” to their preliminary accident investigation report. But what they did was ‘Unwarranted, unacceptable, counterproductive' – as ECA & IFALPA criticised. Even if there was no intention to fuel sensationalism, this was the end result. Even if they didn’t think of the consequences that such an act could have for the Just Culture environment in aviation, it’s now affected.
Pilots around the world have accepted the fact that every word that we speak on the flight deck is recorded, for potential use in an accident investigation – and this for the sake of safe aviation. I know no other profession that accepts anything comparable to this at its workplace! We do so, because we believe in our leading responsibility for aviation safety and we will continue to do so.
We will not accept the misuse of data gained via Flight Data Recorders & Cockpit Voice Recorders – to see it end up in ‘catchy’ headlines for the Sunday morning edition
But we will not accept the misuse of data gained via Flight Data Recorders & Cockpit Voice Recorders – to see it end up in ‘catchy’ headlines for the Sunday morning edition!
The four crew members risked their lives many times, rescuing those, who needed help in desperate situations. Their names were:
Captain Dara Fitzpatrick Captain Mark Duffy
Paul Ormsby Ciaran Smith
Our thoughts are with their family & friends!
by Capt. Dirk Polloczek