04 October 2006

Unwitting testimony?

Joe Sharkey noted the altitude of the corporate jet he was riding, 37,000 ft., just moments before it struck a Gol airlines, Boeing 737. The pilots of the corporate jet landed the badly damamged aircraft at a nearby military base, everyone aboard safe, though understandably shaken. All 155 people on board the 737 died. Whose fault was the crash?

The 737, flying from Manaus to Rio de Janeiro, was on a south easterly heading. East flights fly at odd thousand altitudes (e.g. 37,000 ft). The corporate jet was flying to the Manaus from Sao Jose dos Campos, a north westerly heading and therefore should have been at an even thousand altitude (in fact it was cleared to 36,000 ft). According to the Sharkey's article in the New York Times, the jet was at 37,000 ft right before the crash. The pilots should never have stayed at this altitude in straight and level flight. I wonder if the journalist unwittingly provided testimony against the pilots he called "heros."

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