Last night a South Korean commercial airliner crashed on landing in San Francisco, killing two teenage girls and injuring 182 others. The crash appears to be pilot error -- apparently, he came in too low, too soon and clipped a seawall, tearing off the tail. It's amazing how everyone but the two young girls survived, considering how charred the plane is. Those inflatable escape slides worked very well to save so many.
I read (in one of the Freakonomics books) that Korean airlines have crashed more than other airlines due to the cultural aspects of the Korean pecking order: copilots would not speak up to warn the captain of danger, or dare to disagree, or even to take matters into their own hands to avoid crashes. After the third crash or so, they finally investigated and arranged for a different protocol to avoid crashes, and it seems to have worked, at least up until now.
The black boxes have been recovered and it will be interesting to see what the pilot and crew conversations reveal.
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