A seguir, mais um brilhante texto do Enderson Rafael, sobre sua percepção de como está sendo voar em tempos de Germanwings – desta vez, escrito em inglês.
A pilot’s view of how the Germanwings tragedy affected passengers
It’s in their eyes. In the way they look at us. They always have looked, as we cross the airport with our black bags with wheels and uniforms on. They used to look at us respectfully, sometimes even with some jealousy, maybe, thinking of how privileged we are by staying at fancy hotels, traveling the world for a living. Respectfully as well, those who don’t fly too much, as if we were a kind of special being who know how to lift tons off the ground. The frequent travelers also used to be respectful, since many judged us, fairly, as their companions on this global lifestyle which has its ups and downs, and is not as cool as it looks from the outside.
But it all has changed in the last weeks. It was not the first time this has happened. Actually, less than two years ago, it happened in Africa with an Embraer 190 captain. From time to time one of us – although it’s hard for us to admit they are anything like ourselves – decides to kill themselves and take their own crew and passengers with them in the process. It happens, and there are no simple or magic measures to end it. It’s human nature, and no psychological tests, which every year take away the dreams of lots of good pilots and allow some not so good one’s to continue, can get that deep into people’s mind’s. An extra crewmember, will not work either. As pilots, the power to save and to crash an aircraft is equal. But public opinion is hard to reach in a heterogeneous way. Some people are going to get it right away, while some are not. For us who are used to studying aviation safety, there’s nothing really new on the horizon. The events are there, they happened, and even though the impact for those families is unimaginably painful, statistically it still is a very rare event. No one should really think twice before getting on a plane because of what happened in the Alps. But that was Europe, that was an important airline, that was a young pilot who had the life many of us dream of. That’s why it calls for the attention of the public so strongly, and it’s hard to say how long, if ever, it will take for people to forget it.
But now, they have it on their mind certainly, because of their look. While we walk through the terminal area, they stare at us. When we return the look, they fix on our eyes trying to decode what’s in our mind. We talk to the ground team, cross the gate, and they are still looking, mulling, sometimes whispering to the passenger close to them what they think they might have gathered from that ephemeral sight. At the airplane, when you need to leave the flight deck, they look the same way…sometimes even harder. Aside from the bad jokes and inconvenient questions they’ve been telling and asking flight attendants, because of one pilot, an entire group of hundreds of thousands have lost the faith of their clients… of the people who pay their tickets so we can work on something we love. We dedicate our life to flying, to take them back to their families, while we stay far away from our own. It’s a price we pay, and we understand its part of the business. All that sacrifice might not be in vain, since we keep doing our job properly, through fatigue and bad weather, with passion and commitment. Our passenger’s faith and trust is part of the deal, and we have been missing it lately. I hope we can get it back soon.