Sensationalism Dominates The Halladay Crash
When very famous people crash airplanes, both press and tabloids are generally very quick in producing sensational reports based on speculation, hearsay, innuendo and guesses. No different is the crash of our fellow pilot, friend and colleague Roy Halladay. It may be almost fortunate that he doesn’t have to experience the currently ongoing frenzy surrounding his crash and untimely demise. Not so lucky are his family and the aircraft manufacturer ICON Aircraft.
In this particular scenario, the current coverage is highly embarrassing for anybody with a clue about flying or airplanes. No less than 1.5 million people hastily ingested the foul language video footage TMZ Sports acquired shortly after the crash, bringing a flurry of coward comments that always appear when news websites pick and share spectacular news. We’ll spare you the video and the link.
Instead, we’d like to prove this whole point above by simply sharing how reporters desperately attempted to squeeze information out of a seemingly frustrated NTSB Investigator who had the pleasure to give a press conference. Please note how every other question tries to extract some kind of sensational revelation out of this lady. Caution: There is nothing exciting to see, just current, factual information, no blood, gore or otherwise disturbing graphical content, not even foul language. The video is 12 minutes long.
As of last night there had been some 250+ in part devastating comments on ICON’s Facebook page, ranging from attacks on the company and staff, flat-out false accusations, libelous attacks against ROTAX and a multitude of disparaging statements from self-declared experts and armchair quarterbacks. There is rampant and extremely tasteless speculation about Brandy Halladay attempting to talk her husband out of purchasing this particular aircraft.
Meanwhile, people in the news & tabloid press have reached out to us, trying to get further information, after media outlets like People.com, NYPost.com and now even FoxNews.com have linked to our article about Roy taking delivery of his plane, which was a simple press release! Countless email- inquiries and several thousands of hits on this one single article later, it becomes painfully apparent, that the average news journalist is barely capable to fact- check or compare and contrast information.
The press literally pokes holes into nothing and many of us can’t wait to see the NTSB come out with the flight data analysis. Like in both previous accidents, pitched as caused by ICON and later found to be pure and simple pilot error, the information will be factual and sober. Unfortunately, most news & tabloids will have moved on to their next favorite catastrophe, leaving ICON and our whole industry with incredible damage, disparaged businesses, people and another ton of misconceptions in the public eye, behind.
Current Speculations Range Far & Wide
The laundry list of wild guesses is long, ranging from hotdogging, showboating, accidental gear down landing, engine troubles to medical issues. There is even speculation on why ICON removed the delivery video from its Youtube channel. While the foul language video with a new, anonymized “Youtube Superstar” (who happened to be in the right place at the right time, with his dingy and a camera in hand) leaves some scratching their heads about the erratic maneuvering, some in the aviation news media are a bit quick to judge and jump to conclusions on ICON by placing blame on their “aggressively marketing the aircraft as a jet-ski for rich kids”.
How about staying cool and factual, how about not playing into the hands of yellow journalists, fear and scandal-mongering scribes, rampant speculators, innuendo and hearsay spreaders, harsh social media shit-storms and Facebook Judges, in response to the understandably emotional loss of a very gifted Baseball player and fellow pilot? Roy Halladay was a human being with a life and a family beyond the hype and celebrity status. How about some very basic piety?
Amphibious aircraft, no matter if they are large or small, light or heavy, fast or slow, cheap or expensive, LSA or full sized will always demand a professional attitude, training, experience and common sense based airmanship, with lots of discipline. Nothing less will do.
For years, our industry has refrained from speculative guess-work, has aimed to learn from accidents and worked hand in hand with others, sometimes even the competition, to maximize the hidden learning opportunity that comes with each and every new accident. There will be lessons to learn from the Halladay crash, too. That’s how its been ever since the Montgolfier brothers sent their first manned balloon upwards in 1783.
Our sincere condolences to the Halladay family and those who are likely now scrambling to figure out how to deal with the incredible damage that this accident has left our water flying industry with. Fly safe and have fun, out there!