A Russian commercial pilot with a full passenger complement, took off from Moscow and ran into a flock of birds; ergo no functioning engines. Fortunately Moscow is surrounded by flat farm land so as the jet gradually lost its momentum the pilot glided it into a cornfield and landed safely.

Unbelievably this action has been acclaimed world-wide as “heroic” and the pilot is now to receive Russia’s highest bravery reward.

I don’t wish to sound churlish but for God’s sake, there was no heroism about this, indeed had the pilot done absolutely nothing the same outcome would probably have occurred naturally.

I say that as flying a commercial jet is one of the world’s most boring jobs. Everything is computer programmed. Pilots are present for rare emergencies although in many such cases are helpless when they occur. They also manually control take-offs and landings, only the latter requiring a smidgeon of attention.

To emphasise my point, airlines have pointed out that pilotless commercial planes are now feasible but understandably this prospect alarms passengers. But to describe the pilot’s behaviour as heroic is absurd. He did nothing, rather credit belongs to gravity.


Had it happened two months later, after the corn had been harvested, it would have b een a different matter.

Individual Responsibility August 19, 2019 at 3:03 pm

A former aviation colleague (heavy fixed-wing and helicopter captain) once explained that a pilot was not paid to fly, only to land!

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