Safety in the air

In January, when Anna and Malia accompanied me on the trip to Chicago, we flew Southwest Airlines. The flight from Raleigh-Durham to Midway was on a very new, nice, and comfortable airplane. I remember telling the girls how nice it was to have so much leg room. The plane was a Boeing 737 MAX 8.

That plane, and all Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes around the world, are grounded as officials study the cause of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 on March 10. The Seattle Times has published its investigative reporting about the way the 737 MAX 8 was certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Aviation crash investigations take time, and the truth may emerge differently than we think we understand the causes and effects today.

I’ve loved Boeing jets since I was a boy, watching 707s take off from the Phoenix runway and touring the Boeing visitor center on a family trip from our home in Idaho to Seattle in the late 1970s. (I was a Seattle Supersonics and Dennis Johnson fan at the time; a few years ago, I met the parent of Anna’s classmate, who turned out to be UNC standout Tom LaGarde, also a member of the 1979 NBA champion Sonics.) Even my post about our trip to Australia gushes about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

I’ll be in the air again soon, hoping for a safe flight and wishing for that spacious seat on the MAX 8. Let’s hope the aviation regulators, experts, and engineers find their answers and solutions so the airplanes in the skies are safe for all.



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