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My sympathy goes out to the father of 1st Officer Griesbach who was killed in the UAL Bryce Canyon accident. He wrote the most heart rending article in the Chicago Tribune, which paper saw fit to publish it right on the front page a few days after the accident. However, an accompanying article in the same issue virtually indicted all the AA and UAL pilots for flying the DC-6 was nothing but a power keg all the time; and I can’t find much sympathy in my heart for the guys who did fly it with nothing worse happening to them than being scared to death all the while they were in it. They all knew, or most of them knew, how dangerous that gasoline heater was. Every ship which was subsequently examined after the grounding order showed traces of fires in the boiler room, all of which naturally had extinguished themselves, or to put it more aptly, had burned themselves out. With this advance knowledge, why didn’t the AA and UAL boys simply go to their respective companies and say, “Look here, boss. These things are no good like this and we are scared to death of them. We have to fly them, the public has to ride in them, you have to ride in them occasionally. We don’t want to fly them any more until you get these heating accessories fixed.”

The pilots have never been known to refuse to fly a new type of aircraft. The only grounding of a certain type aircraft in the history of the industry has been done either by CAA or by the companies themselves. Why don’t the pilots exercise this prerogative themselves? We don’t have to fly a dangerous model simply because our employer puts it on a schedule. We can refuse to fly them until the dangerous defects are corrected and we have perfect assurance that we will have the public’s support.

This industry has gone steadily backwards ever since I have been associated with it. Our safety record grows progressively worse. We have made very little progress toward establishing all-weather service with the possible exception of ILS, which incidentally should be termed LAS, inasmuch as it is definitely not an instrument lending system but a low approach system. It is absurd to be forced to admit that we have not as yet conquered the fire in flight hazard. This should be one of the easiest of our problems to whip, yet we sit idly by and fly airplanes which we know are dangerous. We don’t even stop when 52 people are killed following a running account, blow by blow, which Captain McMillen courageously handed down to posterity. No, we don’t quit until another ship load of human cargo nearly meets with the same fate. What in the world is the matter with us? We scorn the CAB’s accident decisions when they invariably accused the dead pilots, but if you want to get right honest w it’s yourself, we are guilty of pilot error every time we continue to fly their lousy junk. Can you give me one good Reston why the the pilots continue to fly that wild Rube Goldberg creation call the Martin 202? They know it is not satisfactory with those snow plows which Martin uses fir propellers, but they jump right in them and fly them. It doesn’t take a prophet to predict that a couple of these will have to go in with a great loss of life before anybody wises up and dies anything. These alleged propellers on this otherwise seemingly well designed airplane are ridiculous. I heard one pilot last week excuse the props by saying they are “only a temporary installation”. He certainly is right!


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