“60 Minutes” and MH370 No Female Experts!

In a piece called “Why no Woman’s Voice in MH370 Discussion?”, Christine Negroni, author of  The Crash Detectives, objected to the absence of women (notably herself or another who had written on MH370) from the panel of experts appearing on the Australian TV program called 60 Minutes

The UK’s BBC is trying to have more female experts appearing on it news programs, but this does raise the question whether they are the most “informed”. In the case of Australia–a long way from anywhere–the cost of flying in experts would be considerable, and the idea of having just one for each area of expertise seems reasonable. Also, with less than 5% of commercial pilots being women the odds of having one would be slight.

FEMALES IN AVIATION SAFETY ROLES

However, this would be a good opportunity to point out that in the US at least, women have featured prominently in the area of aviation safety, though not necessarily at the nuts and bolts level.

The following immediately come to mind:

Carol Carmody, an NTSB Board Member at the time of the American Airlines Flight 587, November 12, 2001 crash (the copilot swished the rudder violently back and forth when caught up in wake turbulence on taking off from New York’s JFK causing it to break off );

Mary Schiavo, a former U.S. DOT Inspector General, who rustled a lot of feathers in the aviation industry, criticizing the FAA, and writing a book called Flying Blind, Flying Safe.

and Deborah Hersman, NTSB chair, at the time of  the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco, in 2013.

It is said that women are often better than men in intelligence work (e.g. UK’s MI5) involving the picking out leads from massive amounts of data. It would be interesting to know if the NTSB, for example has found this to be the case.

In a follow-up piece, “Bombshell  TV Program on Malaysia 370 Fueled by Alternative Facts”, Negroni not only lambastes the program but takes to task the Washington Post and CBS News for repeating  its claims.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

In our book, Air Crashes and Miracle Landingswe describe the disappearance of MH370 and conclude (as did 60 Minutes) that the coincidences are so many that the diversion to the South Indian Ocean must have been intentional with the captain the most likely perpetrator.

We mentioned Victor Iannello as the best source of information on MH370 and true to form he has produced a must-read critique of the 60-Minutes arguments. He even says why some investigators believe the flaps and flaperons were not deployed when the aircraft hit the water. The pair found washed up off Africa had marks showing they were touching at the time of impact which would only be the case if they were stowed.

Ianello’s critique is called “Sixty Minutes Australia Story on MH370 is a Sensation“.

DANGERS OF ASSUMING THE “MOST LIKELY” TO BE WHAT HAPPENED

In 1989 the Cargo Hold Door of a Boeing 747 opened midflight ejecting some business class passengers near Honolulu.

Believing the door opening mechanism could not operate inflight because there was no electric current, the NTSB concluded the locking mechanism must have been damaged by poor ground handling. Later through a great feat the US Navy recovered the door from the bottom of the ocean. It showed the door had been opened electrically due to a short-circuit with other wiring.

Without definitive proof, speculation can never be definitive. To the present author there seem to be far too many coincidences consistent with an intentional act, but that does not mean Christine Negroni’s theory as to the cause is certainly wrong.

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