Friday, April 3, 2015

Germanwings plane crash, questionable information

I have a few questions. I'm not a pilot neither am I a professional in any way, but some of the findings from the investigation of the downed germanwings airbus has struck my common sense nerve. 

In response to the question, how did they know that the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz, intentionally brought the plane down, they responded that according to the voice recordings he was breathing normally. 

I put myself in the co-pilot's shoes for just a few minutes and I imagined myself behind the windscreen of a huge plane with full intention to pulverise 149 others including myself, I would be nervous, excited and pumped full of adrenaline. In fact every time I made a move to block my pilot from coming in I would experience a surge of adrenalin. 

Surges of adrenalin may have been small in the first few minutes after locking the captain out but there is no way at all my breathing would have been normal. 

Now imagine seeing the plane hurtling towards the alps knowing that there was absolutely no turning back, imagine them getting closer and closer while you constantly override your instincts to survive and pull the plane up. That must be one hell of an adrenalin rush. And somehow this guys breathing remained normal and he kept absolutely silent?

Ever watched a bunch of bungee jumpers as they get closer and closer to the ground knowing that they probably won't but could well be heading towards their end? Do they stay in compete silence? Do you think their screams are so voluntary that they could suppress them? Do you think that Andreas Lubitz suppressed his overwhelming desire to scream? Do you really think he forwent his final opportunity to have his last words? Even if only to himself? Do you honestly think a man would have cared about the investigation after the crash so much that he would have opted for total silence?

Ok, so if this recording exists, let us hear it. I bet I am not the only one standing here shouting that from the peanut gallery. So, cleverly 'they' leaked out a copy of the transcript to the tabloids. As though this was the same thing. 

These very same tabloids apparently got hold of a cellphone video which was found in the rubble. How does a cellphone video get found in rubble and exactly how would one recognise a cellphone video if they ever saw one on the ground?

Well let's assume that this was just a case of a poorly worded news item and a video was in fact shot by someone in the plane. 

Let's go back to the imagining game again, shall we? You and your fellow passengers suddenly become aware that the plane is going down and it's taking you all with it, no exceptions. The first thing you do is whip out your phone and start shooting a video? And you would do this so you could keep it as a souvenir of your final moments on earth? Most cellphones would be off during flight and if like the repairs say the plane had just reached the desired altitude, the cabin crew night have given the word to turn on cellphones.

Every aspect of this cellphone video is so far fetched that finally they admit that this is a hoax. The same 2 tabloids that published the transcript of the onboard voice recordings claim to have seen this video, labelled as a lie. Now we know we can't believe a word printed in these 2 papers. So that goes for the transcript too?

I have another question. They say according to the voice recordings that the passengers only realised in the final minute that the plane was going down and that they were going to die. Are you kidding me? It took the germanwings co-pilot 8 minutes to bring the plane down from 38,000 feet to the point of impact. The plane would be seriously nose diving, wouldn't it? And you are telling me that the passengers sitting in their seats wouldn't be leaning right up against the back of the seat in front of them? And that they would not be alarmed at all by the angle if the plane and their discomfort? What about the amount of turbulence they would feel? A significant drop in altitude would mean a massive change in cabin pressure. And it makes no sense to me that the occupants of the doomed aircraft would not have noticed this until the final minute? 

Neither had the cabin crew noticed since no one came to the rescue of the captain who was reportedly trying to break down the cockpit door unaided. The pilot didn't even turn to his crew to ask for help knowing that if he did not change the course of the plane it would be the end of them all? 

The initial story of the crash says that one minute before contact was lost with the ill fated germanwings plane that the tower received an emergency call. This has not been touched on again. Who made this call and how? Speaking of contact with the ground, are the only points of contact from the plane to the ground found in the cockpit? What if the system fails? Are there satellite phones available that can be used by any crew member in the event of an emergency? Can a co-pilot situated in the cockpit cut off communication? Does he really have that kind of power? I'm no professional in matters such as these but as a person who has entrusted my life to airlines and pilots on numerous occasions I have always believed they have a complicated set of systems that back up even the backup systems and that they have protocols to deal with system failures. Why do I suddenly feel like air travel has been poorly thought out? Or is it the cover up story that has been poorly thought out?

What if what really happened was a general failure of the aircraft and that this huge piece of metal free fell almost 38,000 feet, picking up speed as it went? What if that was the case? Germanwings and Lufthansa would be facing a law suit that would bring the company to their knees, forcing them into bankruptcy while hundreds of employees lost their jobs. 

With the plane shattered into a million pieces and every single passenger of the plane pulverised into the French alps it has become a case of 'dead man tell no tales' and every single remaining clue has to be sent to the lab for processing. Likely story old chaps. Likely story 

Monday, September 17, 2012

I always wanted to be able to say that I lived in the mountains once...

You know that feeling you get when you are on the right path? Well in the world of Ying and Yang there is an equally intense feeling of being on the wrong path.

I am not one to continue down the wrong path for very long. Think about it...being in a forest KNOWING you are heading in the wrong direction and actually continuing is pure insanity.

It's not about knowing where you ought to go, it may even just be another wrong path, but as you start eliminating wrong paths you are closer to finding the right path.

And so it happened exactly like this when I was 27. Interestingly enough I had done not one stitch of travelling before then. For the convicted believer that I am I started quite late. I had never left SA, in fact I had never even left Cape Town since arriving in the early 80's.

This whole revolution was triggered by eating too much chocolate cake. Not the regular variety but rather the green tinged variety. For hours every sense inside of me was heightened especially the one that told me I was in the wrong place doing the wrong thing and that this path was just heading me in the wrong direction. I have to admit I was probably high for a few days but I thoroughly researched alternative 'paths'.

Don't ask me how I happened to find out about Hogsback in a spontaneous binge of Internet surfing, but it happened. I convinced my boyfriend it was just an 8 hour drive and within 2 weeks we embarked on the 12 hour road trip arriving on a steep gravel road in the pitch dark.

We woke up on the edge of a cliff.

And fell in love.

Four weeks later I moved in officially and so began the Itchy Feet phase of my life. As beautiful as Hogsback was and is I fell head over heels for Alice and Lushington as well.

I got married in King Williams Town (where I had attended school 20 years before), spent my honeymoon in the Katberg mountains and bought my first house. It was here that Chloƫ learnt to speak English and Xhosa (of which she remembers nothing) and where we all saw snow for the first time.

This is where my travels started and the more I have seen the more I have been driven to discover for myself. Chloƫ once told me that if she were to be reincarnated she would want to be the child to a traveller again.

Friday, September 14, 2012

So how did I land up in Costa Rica anyway?

To me the answer is logical since I was present during all the events leading up to this moment.

But in reality this is not very typical South African behaviour. While it is common for single people to pack up and relocate to Australia, England or Europe due to a complete lack of opportunities in our home land, very few venture off to the Other Side Of The World.

My circumstances, as usual, are extreme and actually they make for quite an interesting tale so here it is all laid out before ya.

I resigned from life The Way It Should Be for reasons that are likely to derail the storyline a little and I was hunting for a comfort zone. In the process I moved to a tiny apartment (or flat as I would call it) in Table View. It was far from great but it did a good job of serving its purpose. This flat was at the back of a massive hose divided into apartments which were rented to whoever would stay there.

So here I am with my 2 kids in Table View and as it turns out I must have urinated heavily on someone's battery. The residents of this house had been watching my comings and goings a little too closely for me to be comfortable with and one day when I left my beloved monsters to watch tv while I went out briefly, one of the taloned huntresses seized her opportunity.

She had the misfortune of working for the SA Police which gave her access to a fair amount of power which she decided to abuse reporting me directly to the minister of social services and accusing me of neglecting my kids.

You know what? Give me your best shot, I said. I have nothing to hide.

A social worker was sent over, who wrote up a brief report and suggested an open and shut case. O if only it were so simple! This case was sitting on the desk of the MINISTER for social services and it needed a more thorough investigation. I was miffed but I agreed to the excessive amount of documentation they were asking me for. They needed bank statements, letters from Mr X, Mrs Y and various other sources. They wanted my medical records and bank statements. All of which I agreed to despite the absurdity.

On about day 2 of this very out of proportion ordeal the social worker had been to my place to pick up some of the docs. She was struggling to believe that her superiors were taking this to the extent they were and decided to bring a colleague along with her as some kind of witness. Her actions kept me motivated that this was kinda under control.

My day went on as usual. Until she called me.

She explained that she had been given orders to remove my kids. The reason was based on the fact that the house was clearly a toxic environment.

You are dam right. I did not take the news well. I told her that she should know better than to make any such attempt and that I would do whatever possible to protect my kids.

Within a matter of minutes I was on the phone to my sister in Zimbabwe and the formidable force that we are together arranged passports and plane tickets for my kids within less than 48 hours.

When I got back from dropping my monsters off in Jo'burg I was fully expecting to be arrested for obstruction of justice. As it so happens the social worker had been buying me time and the order had not been formalised. My kids were out of their jurisdiction and I was safe.

This was the beginning and from here I went to see my beloved cousin in George and awesome friend in Grabouw and then I commenced on the epic 3 day bugg trip which landed me in Jo'burg.

When I got the email asking me if I would be interested in going to Costa Rica my bags were packed, my house rented out, my stuff on storage and I was moving. I just didn't know that it was to The Other Side Of The World. I also didn't realise how open I'd be to making that move.

Within 2 weeks of my 20 minutes Skype interview I was on a plane. But basically the reason I am in Costa Rica is because it happened at just the right time. How do you argue with that?