Today’s Incorrectly Navigated Yet Truly Morbid Fact!
The most publicized crash of the first fully-automatic jet airliner, the Airbus A320, happened on January 20, 1992 when an A320 belonging to the French domestic airline Air Inter careered into the Vosges mountains on a domestic flight from Lyon to Strasbourg, killing 82 of its 90 passengers, and five of the six crew.
The bare facts alone are enough to raise the hairs on the back of the neck. The accident happened after the flight crew – hurrying to get in on time – incorrectly entered navigational information into the plane’s computer. The Aviation Safety Network explains: “While trying to program the angle of descent, ‘-3.3’, into the Flight Control Unit, the crew did not notice that it was in HDG/V/S (heading/vertical speed) mode. In vertical speed mode ‘-3.3’ means a descent rate of 3300 feet/min. In TRK/FPA (track/flight path angle) mode [which the crew believed they were in], this would have meant a [correct] ‘3.3 deg descent angle.”
A -3.3 deg descent angle equates to a rate of descent of just 800 feet per minute – so the aircraft was dropping almost four times quicker than the pilots believed. At 7:20 p.m. it was dark – and in any case the peaks were swathed in cloud. Uniquely for major airlines, Air Inter did not equip its aircraft with ground proximity warning systems. Blind and unsuspecting, the crew flew straight into the side of the mountain.
The authorities’ initial reaction to the accident was woeful – astonishingly so, according to a local television journalist, Jean-Pierre Stucki. When he and his crew arrived at the nearest village, they say they saw “hundreds of men in uniforms near the gendarmerie and the fire station not doing anything – just waiting.”
Unable to get any official information, Stucki spoke to the villagers, who confirmed the plane had gone down nearby – they had heard it happen, and the smell of smoke and kerosene was filling the air. The reporter followed his nose to the site of the crash, arriving there after a mere quarter of an hour. There, he found badly-injured survivors calling desperately for help. The first rescuer to arrive – a further 15 minutes later – was a gendarme, whose initial reaction was to tell Stucki and his crew to leave the scene. There was total chaos, according to the journalist. “The first survivor to be taken away from the site was a little girl of 18 months,” he said. “A gendarme took her in his arms to an ambulance on the road and then, little by little, the survivors able to walk were evacuated.”
But it took hours to rescue the more seriously injured, and, in the meantime, at least two people had died who might otherwise have lived. Of 96 people on board, 9 survived.
Photos of the crash site:
Culled from: Black Box: Inside the World’s Worst Plane Crashes
I don’t know… I kinda think that not having the ground warning system might be better in cases like this. I mean, if they had heard the “Pull Up! Whoop Whoop! Pull Up!” warning – would they have been able to do anything to avoid the accident anyway? And at least this way their last few seconds of life weren’t spent in a panic. Oh, BTW, after the crash, they changed the flight system so that you have to enter the two different modes in different numeric formats, to avoid confusion. Die and learn time, again!
Arcane Excerpts: Polluted Edition
Here’s an illuminating excerpt from What A Young Boy Ought To Know (1897) by Sylvanus Stall. In this “Cylinder” we have the most ridiculous reproductive analogy ever written, and a dire warning to young boys!
The Sexual Member a Part of the Reproductive System—The Reproductive System Defined.—Illustrated By a Watch.—The Different Parts of the Digestive System.—God Gave Us a Reproductive System for the Wisest and Most Beneficent Ends.—By Wrong Thoughts of Them, We Dishonor God.—To Be Held in Purity and Honor.—Our Bodies the Temples of the Holy Ghost.—The Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies.—The Wonderful Mystery of Creative Power.—How the Mind, Imagination, and Heart Are Polluted.—What the Bible Says Upon These Subjects.
MY DEAR FRIEND HARRY: Last night I told you how some young boys, and older boys also, pollute and degrade their own bodies by unnecessarily and injuriously handling or scratching and chafing the sexual member. God gave us this member to serve us in the removal of the wasted or worn out fluids of the body, and also made it one of the parts of the human reproductive system. What the reproductive system or organs are to plants I told you on a previous cylinder. They are the organs in the male, and also in the female plant which are engaged in the production of the seeds from which life is to be reproduced.
Something of the nature and office of the reproductive system may be learned by supposing that a watch could be built and given power to keep its own wheels, and all its works in repair, so that it would not have to be taken to the jeweler’s to have any worn parts replaced by new parts. Then suppose that in addition to this renewing power it should also be endowed with a power to reproduce other watches; so that while it was keeping accurate time, renewing its own wear and wasting of the wheels and all the parts, it should also have the power to reproduce other watches; little baby watches, which should also have imparted to them the power to grow and, when they became fully grown and were large watches, then also in turn, from time to time, they also should produce other watches. This new power by which the watch would produce others would be called the reproductive power, and if there were certain parts in the watch which were devoted wholly to the production of these little baby watches, such portions of the watch would together be called the reproductive organs.
Now the sexual member is only one part of the reproductive system: the same, as in our bodies, we have a digestive system composed of several members or parts. The food is taken into the mouth and, after being chewed or masticated, as we say, is passed into the stomach, where it undergoes changes which fit it to be received by the intestines, so that it may be converted into blood, and thus strengthen the body and maintain life. Now the mouth, the passage-way into the stomach, and such portions of the intestines as are engaged in the work of digesting and preparing the food for use in the blood – all these different members together constitute the digestive system. So the sexual member is one portion of the reproductive system, and the other portions in men are partly without the body and partly within the body. So, when taken together, we speak of the sexual organs and their functions as the reproductive system, and this portion of our body has been created by God Himself for the wisest and most beneficent ends. Sometimes boys think of their sexual parts in a very low and degraded way, and thus greatly dishonor God and wrong themselves. Whatever God has created deserves to be held in honor and esteem. God has endowed us with no holier or more sacred duty that that of reproducing our species, and we should receive and accept this high and holy office from the hands of our infinite Creator with reverence, and maintain these members of our body in purity and honor. R. Sperry, a Christian physician, says “The propagation of our species is the highest, the divinest act of our physical life.” And no man, with a pure heart and a thoughtful mind, can come to any other conclusion.
I am glad, my dear friend Harry, that your parents often study the Bible with you, that they may make its truths plain to your mind. It is therefore very proper in talking with you to-night upon this subject of self-pollution, that I should refer you to First Corinthians, sixth chapter, eighteenth and nineteenth verses, where Paul, in writing upon this very subject, says, “Flee fornification… He that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” Now the Temple at Jerusalem was one of the most sacred buildings in all the world. The entire structure was sacred, but within the building there was a place called “The Holy Place,” and in the interior of that Holy Place there was a still more sacred inclosure [sic]called “The Holy of Holies.” Here dwelt the unapproachable divine presence, and toward this Holy of Holies the Israelites throughout the entire nation and throughout the world, never turned faces but in devout reverence. So our entire bodies are holy, and are to be held in perpetual honor, but I am sure that no thoughtful person can properly study this subject of the human body without thinking of the reproductive system as the holy of holies in which God dwells within us in the wonderful mystery of reproductive power.
Before saying good-night to you I want to remind you that the body may not only be outwardly polluted by the hands, but the mind, the imagination, and the heart may be polluted by means of the eye when we look upon improper things and upon indecent pictures; and we may also produce the same bad results with the ear, by listening to vile stories, bad words, and evil suggestions. The eye and the ear are gateways into our minds and hearts, and we should guard them with great care. These are some of the avenues by which the sacred temple of our bodies is entered by evil influences, and we should remember that the Bible also says in First Corinthians, third chapter and nineteenth verse, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy.” I am sure that you do not desire to be banished from the presence of God, and therefore you should also remember what it says in another place (Matthew v. 8): “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
To-morrow night I shall tell you what are the consequences in boys of the misuse of the reproductive organs.
[I know, you can’t wait, can you? – DeSpair]