Charter Safety Tips From The Journal?


Perhaps AVweb should start dispensing financial advice after the next stock market crash. In the wake of the crash of a King Air that killed Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone and members of his family, The Wall Street Journal has published a list of tips that it believes can make your next charter flight safer. Numero uno on the Journal’s list is to ask whether the plane has cockpit voice and flight data recorders. Although neither device has ever caused or directly prevented a crash, those pricey extras (they aren’t required on most charter aircraft) are apparently an “indicator of the operator’s commitment to safety.” As charter customers, we’re also supposed to ask if the airplane is for sale. Not because we want to buy it, but because the owner might be trying to dump a poorly maintained aircraft on an unsuspecting buyer who’s never heard of a pre-purchase inspection. Finally, we’re to ask whether the pilots regularly fly this aircraft or whether they were called specifically for this trip. Where this well of on-call pilots is, we’re not sure. Meanwhile, investigators still haven’t determined what caused Wellstone’s flight to crash two miles short of the runway … and if it had something to do with the crummy weather or whether the plane was for sale. As for us, four words: Buy low, sell high.

NOTE: If you’re a Wall Street Journal subscriber, you can read the article online.