AirBlue Flight 202 Remembered

Saturday, July 27, 2013
By George Hatcher

This day, July 28 is carved in history as the day 146 passengers and six crew boarded an Air Blue plane to Islamabad Pakistan. They arrived in heavy rain going the wrong direction and flew into a hillside. They arrived, but they went up in a cloud of blue fire and black smoke. They arrived, but the families who were waiting for them in 2010 will be waiting forever.

Airblue Flight 202 was a scheduled domestic passenger flight which crashed on 28 July 2010. We can remember the crash, and write it on our calendars to remember the event again next year, and the year after that. Our remembrance, unlike all the kings horses and all the kings men, will not put together those who were lost; but it will give us an opportunity to also recall the report of the crash. That report is notorious now; it was missing transcripts, black box recordings, and evidence. It was repudiated by the Peshawar High Court, a landmark pronouncement in itself. The lack of transparency, the lack of scholarship and truth has consequences in future Airblue and Pakistan flights. This is because, in order to fix the problems, problems must be reviewed, analyzed, taken apart, studied, examined in the clear light of day. Problems are opportunities for correction. The examination of such flaws is the only way that future tragedies can be prevented.

It is probably the saddest thing of all that the problems on this flight could have been prevented with adequate CRM (crew resource management) training. Simply put, CRM is methodology designed to improve efficiency. A crew well-trained in CRM knows how to step up and handle issues when the pilot in control has lost touch, as it appears happened on Flight 202.

We can only hope that Air Blue and other Pakistani air carriers are now undergoing adequate CRM training that will give flight crews procedures that will enable them to survive.

To the families who lost loved ones and friends in this tragedy, let us all again make our condolences. We can only hope that time will ease your loss.

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