I’m opposed to selfies. I’m not saying that 100 percent of selfies are completely unnecessary, but the vast majority certainly are. While they aren’t necessary, could they be dangerous? Well, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, they may very well be.
Half an hour after midnight on May 31, 2014, a Cessna 150 — a fairly common aircraft — took off from an airport in Watkins, Colo. Shortly thereafter, the plane crashed, killing both the pilot and a passenger.
Upon investigating the incident, the NTSB came to the conclusion that multiple selfies, along with several other factors, contributed to the deadly crash.
The flight took place under instrument conditions — meaning the pilot relies on flight instruments for orientation, navigation, and maneuvering of the aircraft — which can be dangerous in and of itself. To make matters worse, the pilot was not certified for instrument flight, nor was he allowed to fly at night with passengers on board.
Essentially, the pilot fucked up. Bad. To make matters worse, he had the flash of a cell phone camera distracting him. Aside from deteriorating his night vision, the flash likely caused debilitating spatial disorientation. Spatial disorientation and the disability of a pilot to determine his position, altitude, and motion relative to the surface of the Earth and other objects makes it exceptionally difficult and oftentimes impossible for one to maintain control of an aircraft. This is what likely led to the plane’s rapid descent — about 1,900 feet per minute — and subsequent catastrophic crash.
Investigators were able to view footage from a GoPro camera that had been on board to piece together what happened. The footage showed both the pilot and passenger snapping photos of themselves with their cell phones at multiple points during the flight. They even took pictures during takeoff. You don’t have to be a pilot to know that that is simply insane.
There are two lessons to take away from this. First, don’t be a dumbass. If you’re in the cockpit of an airplane sitting next to the person flying it and keeping you alive, don’t distract him. Second, and most importantly, unless you absolutely have to, don’t take selfies..
[via Washington Post]
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