Friday, January 17, 2014

The Lassie Protocol

What is the ideal Flight Deck complement for a modern airliner? A Captain, a Co-pilot and a dog. The dog is there to bite the captain if he tries to touch the controls, and the co-pilot is there to feed the dog.

It's an old joke meant to illustrate the declining role of the human in the modern hi-tech flight-deck.  After the rash of what I would call, unfortunate, (read stupid) blunders by professional pilots lately, clearly we need to come up with another arrangement.  Obviously, the dog's duties need to be expanded. 

1.  The dog needs to have an unobstructed view of both pilots, the instrument panel, and what's visible out the window.  The dog will not be required to issue a warning bark before a bite.

2.  If either pilot looks up from the instruments and says: "What's it doing now?" The dog shall bite that pilot immediately. 

3. Dogs have been to known to find their way home after traveling long distances.  They don't make that trek only to end up at the wrong house.  If the dog recognizes that the flight crew are trying to land at the wrong airport, the dog shall bite the captain repeatedly until one of the flight crew can locate and land at the correct airport.

4. If below 10,000 feet, the dog notices that neither pilot is looking out the window, the dog is authorized to bite the captain, and then the copilot, alternately, until a sterile cockpit is regained.

5. If the dogs hears any audible warnings in the cockpit such as "Terrain!" "Check speed!" "Check flaps!"  Whoop, Whoop, pull up!" not followed by a mad rush by the flight crew to correct the situation, the dog is authorized to resort to the Lassie protocol.  The dog will bark an SOS, which in turn releases the cat.  This is the final warning that all hell is about to break loose.

Oh yeah, as always, cleaning up after the dog falls to the flight crew member with the lowest seniority.

We're going to need more dogs...

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