Indonesia's plane crash problem


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I’m not a huge plane nerd, but my understanding from people who are plane nerds is that 30 years isn’t really particularly old, as long as all the proper maintenance is being done.


Also, not a jet.

I know it’s anecdotal, but when I flew from St. Louis to Bangor a couple of years ago on Delta we arrived ten hours late because of equipment problems with three of the three aircraft we were scheduled to use – one had to be swapped out, and two repaired at the gate. I suspect a mix of incompetence and cost-cutting happens everywhere.


I think the difference is that in Indonesia, they would have let you take off, despite the equipment problems, in those three planes.


Hey Rob,

That jet sure has some pretty funny scythe-looking things on the front of its engines, huh?



I wonder if being a necessity actually makes the situation worse? It has been my experience personally(with IT certs) and as an observer(with teaching credentials, a nasty little scandal with a local ‘asbestos abatement certification’-mill, and the wonderfully sleazy outfit who administered my ‘driver’s ed’ by taking my money and volunteering that I was obviously booking lots of observer hours as a passenger: unless people both truly believe in the need for a given best practice/safety measure/training program/etc. and can afford it, they’ll default to finding a way to satisfy the letter of the requirement at lowest possible effort and cost.

Sometimes its a failure to believe that the measures are necessary(IT people scorning cert exams, ‘driver’s ed’ courses that are cynically viewed by all in involved as little more than a stalling tactic to give kids a little extra time to get older and less stupid before they get behind the wheel); and sometimes it’s an inability to afford it(the poor bastards buying fake asbestos certs so they could win bottom-feeder contracts were not doing it because they thought it was a good idea, and it was substantially their lungs on the line; but if you are dubiously documented and need that construction job, what are you going to do?)

In this case, if you have a population of air travelers who cannot afford to do it to spec, there is going to be a powerful incentive to do whatever has to be done to ensure that air travel can still happen, corners cut or not; because the alternative is a hard “No”, which goes over poorly.


Fifty dead. Comparable with run-of-the-mill bus accidents, like this one.

Is it any special because an aircraft gets involved?


A turboprop is a jet/gas turbine engine.


An omen of death if there ever was one.


Sorry! Didn’t realize I had wandered into the last refuge of the perpetually pedantic. (Notwithstanding my own rampant pedantia, uncontrollable coinism, and incurable three-item-list-osis.)

But seriously, it’s unlikely that Rob actually paused mid-composition to ponder the specifics of this aircraft’s powerplants. The smart money says “jet” just tumbled out because that’s the word we use nowadays for any large airplane. And although that may be accurate among A&Ps and aeronautical engineers, I contend his correctness was both blind luck and a symptom of a continuing and lamentable weakening of the language.


In the case of Trigana Air, the issue is the complete lack of any kind of safety standards. Their solution to not having life jackets was just to scratch that particular item off of the list.

I can’t post a photo in the comments, but you can see what I’m talking about from I posted photos from my flight in 2007.

This is compounded by the corruption among the ranks of the officials responsible for ensuring the Airlines’ comply with safety regulations.


From Chad’s blog:



Such a perfectly narrative single image. Succinct and harrowing. 10/10


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