Charles Lindbergh on Pilots & Plane Crashes

United States
December 17, 2009 4:33pm CST
Do you agree with this quotation from Charles Lindbergh or do you find it insensitive to victim's families? "The readiness to blame a dead pilot for an accident is nauseating, but it has been the tendency ever since I can remember. What pilot has not been in positions where he was in danger and where perfect judgment would have advised against going? But when a man is caught in such a position he is judged only by his error and seldom given credit for the times he has extricated himself from worse situations. Worst of all, blame is heaped upon him by other pilots, all of whom have been in parallel situations themselves, but without being caught in them. If one took no chances, one would not fly at all. Safety lies in the judgment of the chances one takes. That judgment, in turn, must rest upon one's outlook on life. Any coward can sit in his home and criticize a pilot for flying into a mountain in fog. But I would rather, by far, die on a mountainside than in bed. Why should we look for his errors when a brave man dies? Unless we can learn from his experience, there is no need to look for weakness. Rather, we should admire the courage and spirit in his life. What kind of man would live where there is no daring? And is life so dear that we should blame men for dying in adventure? Is there a better way to die?" Journal entry (26 August 1938); later published in The Wartime Journals (1970)
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1 response
@dawnald (84152)
• Shingle Springs, California
17 Dec 09
I can understand his point of view, but there is a huge difference between a pilot killing himself in a crash and a pilot killing a plane full of hundreds of people. It's important to find out the cause of a crash, including pilot error, so that we can do things to make flight safer. But there is a difference between establishing fault and pointing the finger in blame.
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Dec 09
I totally agree.I didn't know about this guy until today.He didn't seem like a happy person, to begin with or very pleasant.However, back on topic, it does matter.What if the pilot was drunk?What is so heroic about dying in a crashed plane if they are drunk??NOTHING! It is more heroic to be like Captain Sully. :)))
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@dawnald (84152)
• Shingle Springs, California
17 Dec 09
I do know that he lost his son to a kidnapper. Something like that would make the most cheerful person gloomy. But surely he was talking about pilot error (ie an error in judgment) as opposed to gross negligence (such as drunkenness).
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