This, as air crashes go, was pretty ordinary – something went wrong, it crashed, everyone died. You’d expect some reasoned discussion, bearing in mind that one of the most modern and newest planes in the sky plummeted into the South Atlantic little over a month ago.
This is what the BBC said about it near the end of the piece:
The plane was built in Russia in 1987.
It was the third deadly crash of a Tupolev Tu-154 in Iran since 2002.
The BBC’s Jon Leyne says Iran’s civil and military air fleets are made up of elderly aircraft, in poor condition due to their age and lack of maintenance.
Since the Islamic revolution of 1979, trade embargoes by Western nations have forced Iran to buy mainly Russian-built planes to supplement an existing fleet of Boeings and other American and European models.
West v East technology
This is all well and good, but the deadly tone with an emphasis on old and/or Russian aircraft makes a bad taste in the mouth, does it not?… Why?
A. Because there’s very little technical difference between the Russian and Western aircraft.
Indeed, on the very day that the Shuttle takes off, I’m reminded of the technical superiority of Russian astronautics and space exploration. While not putting a man on the moon, they pragmatically put a robot there instead, paving the way for the robots we now have placed on Mars & Venus, etc.
They have a long and distinguished history of space “firsts”… But the ultimate irony is that the much vaunted Space Shuttle has had very public catastrophic failures in the past and is soon to be retired. And until the US gets a new launch vehicle, for the next 4-6 years they will be relying on the Russians to put men in space!
So much for balance! The BBC article then continues in a box-out,
IRANIAN PLANE CRASHES
Looks bad doesn’t it?
Compare and contrast this to this little list of large plane crashes (from the BBC article, but as a link), and count the relative abundance of Eastern versus Western manufactured planes…..
15 July: A Caspian Airlines Tupolev plane crashes in the north of Iran en route to Armenia. All 168 passengers and crew are reported dead. – E
30 June: A Yemeni passenger plane, an Airbus 310, crashes in the Indian Ocean near the Comoros archipelago. Only one of the 153 people on board survives. – W
1 June: An Air France Airbus 330 travelling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris crashes into the Atlantic with 228 people on board. Search teams later recover some 50 bodies in the ocean. – W
20 May: An Indonesian army C-130 Hercules transport plane crashes into a village on eastern Java, killing at least 97 people. – W
6 April: An Indonesian army Fokker-27 crashes on landing near Bandung, West Java, killing 24 people. – W
25 February: A flight from Istanbul to Amsterdam crashes short of the runway at Schiphol international airport. Of the 135 people on board, nine are killed and at least 50 injured. – W
12 February: A passenger plane crashes into a house in Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 people on board and one person on the ground. – W
8 February: A passenger plane crashes into a river in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, killing 24 people, most of whom were from the same family. – W
14 September: A Boeing-737 crashes on landing near the central Russian city of Perm, killing all 88 passengers and crew members on board. – W
24 August: A passenger plane crashes shortly after take-off from Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, killing 68 people.- W
20 August: A Spanair plane veers off the runway on take-off at Madrid’s Barajas airport, killing 154 people and injuring 18.- W
Three days of mourning was declared after the Madrid air disaster
2 May: South Sudan’s defence minister is among 22 people killed after engine trouble causes a plane carrying a military delegation to crash about 400km (250 miles) west of Juba. -N/A
15 April: Some 40 people die when a DC-9 skids off the runway while attempting to take off in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo city of Goma during heavy rain, smashing through a wall and into a busy residential area.- W
24 January: Nineteen people die when a Polish Casa C-295M military transport plane crashes in the country’s north-west, carrying officials who had attended an air safety conference.- W
For 2008 to 2009, I make the totals, as reported by the BBC, 1 unknown, 12 (W)estern manufacture, 1 (E)astern manufacture.
Now do you see the technological xenophobia that I’m talking about?