Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Planes Collide At Heathrow, Investigation Launched

Two big planes collided at Heathrow Airport in London on Monday evening.

One of them was a British Airways 747, the other an Airbus A340 registered to Sri Lankan Airlines.

Fortunately they were on the ground at the time, and they barely clipped each other.

Nobody was injured, and

Initial reports said neither plane had suffered any damage, which seemed amazing. Airplanes are not built like bumper cars; you don't normally have a collision without any damage.

And according to the latest from the BBC, the report of "no damage" was false.

But to me the most amazing part is this: the collision happened at 2213 BST (British Summer Time) and by 2344 -- just an hour and a half later -- the BBC was quoting a British Airways spokesman saying an investigation had been launched.

The BBC article on the incident has been updated since then, but this is what it said when I first saw it:
Last updated: Monday, 15 October 2007, 22:44 GMT 23:44 UK

Two aircraft collide at Heathrow

Two aircraft have collided while taxiing on the ground at Heathrow Airport in West London.

One was a British Airways Boeing 747 departing for Singapore and the other was a Sri Lankan Airlines Airbus A340.

The London Fire Brigade has confirmed that no-one has been injured in the incident which happened at 2213 BST.

The brigade said that one aircraft "clipped" the other but there were no reports of fire and neither plane sustained any damage.

A spokesman for British Airways described the incident on flight BA011 as a "minor collision", adding that no-one was injured and an investigation had been launched.
A more current report speaks of some damage, but not much:

A spokeswoman for Sri Lankan Airlines said the "minor incident" involved flight UL502 to Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka, via the Maldives, which had 286 passengers and crew on board.

She said: "It is reported that the wing tips of the two aircraft brushed against each other while taxiing.
But a reporter who was closer to the scene provided more detail:
An eye-witness, aboard the Sri Lankan airliner, claimed it hit the BA aircraft from behind while manoeuvring on the runway.

"We turned our wing, almost hit what looked like the tail end of the British Airways flight, and we ended up chopping off a bit of wing. It cut through it like butter," said Danish journalist Annasofie Flamand.

"It's pretty incredible to see something like that in a place like Heathrow airport. Thank God it was on the ground and not in the air."
I echo the concluding sentiment precisely. And just to make myself clear (for once), I don't know anything of the progress of the investigation. For all I know, the spokesman may have been blowing smoke; the investigation may not have been launched before he spoke the words. But we can be fairly sure that a full investigation is on the cards.

It may sound like "a minor collision", and in relative terms it certainly was. But when aircraft are involved, there is no such thing as a minor collision. They investigate everything.


Steven Dutch of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay talks about "Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism" at his website, and to those who disagree with him, he offers this challenge:
I will respond to questions and comments as time permits, but if you want to take issue with any position expressed here, you first have to answer this question:

What evidence would it take to prove your beliefs wrong?

I simply will not reply to challenges that do not address this question. Refutability is one of the classic determinants of whether a theory can be called scientific. Moreover, I have found it to be a great general-purpose cut-through-the-crap question to determine whether somebody is interested in serious intellectual inquiry or just playing mind games. Note, by the way, that I am assuming the burden of proof here - all you have to do is commit to a criterion for testing. It's easy to criticize science for being "closed-minded". Are you open-minded enough to consider whether your ideas might be wrong?
If Steven Dutch has anything to say about mishaps involving aircraft, I can't find it. But this minor collision in the UK reminds me that I've been thinking of his offer lately and wondering whether I'm open-minded about some other mishaps involving aircraft, specifically the mishaps of 9/11.

Elsewhere I have written that I recognized 9/11 as a black op while it was happening, and I've described how badly I didn't want to believe that what I was seeing meant what it appeared to mean.

I was in serious difficulty there, and very open-minded for a while, but eventually, as more and more of the story was revealed, reason won out over sentiment, and I was forced to admit to myself that my brain had been smarter than my heart.

And lately I've been wondering: at that point, did I become closed-minded about 9/11?

I've also been wondering: What if Steven Dutch were a supporter of the official story and what if I wandered over to his site and answered his question:
What evidence would it take to prove your beliefs wrong?
If I were honest, I would have to say that there is nothing Steven Dutch could say or write or post that would convince me I was wrong about 9/11.

Does that mean I'm closed-minded?

I don't think so. I think it means it's too late. And it's not up to Steven Dutch anyway.

In other words, there was a time when I could have been convinced, and there were people who could have convinced me. But they didn't. Instead they did the opposite.

For example, I can't help wondering how much different I would have felt if President Bush had appeared on national TV on 9/11 -- not necessarily within 90 minutes of the attack, but at some point during the day -- and said "an investigation has been launched."

But ... No! It took more than a year. And then...

Our story continues with a video, "9/11 Press For Truth".

Please take the time to watch it, if you haven't seen it yet.

Or even if you have.

Maybe you'd like the DVD, to share with some friends...


I found it after all. Have a peek if you wish.

Nutty 9-11 Physics