Saturday, September 17, 2011

Tragedy in Reno...

   When I work on a computer, I occasionally multi-task: if there's a process that cooks on its own, like a backup, restore or virus scan, I'll take a quick peek at a news website.
   Last night a particularly harrowing one caught my eye: a vintage plane crashed during the Reno Air Show, killing the pilot, and injuring or killing quite a few spectators.
  I'm not an aviation enthusiast, but I really enjoyed the Balloon Race that took place during the GBR.  As the sun came up and I watched balloons inflate and ascend, I caught two overflights of vintage propeller driven fighters with my video camera.  In both instances they flew in perfect, tight "v" formation, although one group peeled off to honor the "missing man."  It was a glorious sight.
  What I hope comes out of this: a renewed appreciation for the dedication, time, money and effort it takes to keep vintage aircraft running, as well as the skill to fly them.  And perhaps a slight re-jiggering of spectator positioning and participant flight corridors to further minimize the chances of casualties if another plane experiences such a massive mechanical failure in the air.
  What I hope doesn't come out of this are hordes of brainless safety fascists, who will regulate events like this out of existence.  The problem is that they usually aren't happy "solving" the "problem at hand."  There's potential for them to expand their mandate to anything that burns petrol, makes lots of horsepower and noise, and goes really fast.
  Regulations have their place, but there are limits.  You can't engineer perfect safety into our world, but there are starry-eyed, brain-dead bureaucrats who will quench all legitimate risk-taking in an attempt to get us to that point.

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