Flight into terror with no-one at the gauges
Conspiracies are YouTube’s thing, so Zooming with the Zumas had at least landed in the right place
Back in the days when airliners had propellers and raucous, oil-spewing, avgas-guzzling radial engines, there was normally a third person on the flight deck.
This was the flight engineer whose main job was to look after the engines — the very things that kept the aircraft airborne and moving forward — nursing them so they did not drink too much avgas (aviation gasoline), use too much oil or overheat and catch fire. In-flight fires are often catastrophic, especially when they occur in the proximity of a wing full of avgas.
Flight engineers were the unsung heroes. Not for them the glory and adulation — or the pay, for that matter — heaped upon the Ray-Ban-wearing pilots, but instead frown lines and nervous tics, and a world view of quivering gauges. Temperature. RPM. Manifold pressure. Alarms. Fire warnings.
About eight minutes into watching episode 2 of Zooming with the Zumas on YouTube, my attention drifted to the right hand side of the screen where the other videos are: Im cockpit der Super Constellation: Rundflug in schönsten Flieger aller Zeiten (In the cockpit of the Super Constellation: sightseeing flight in the most beautiful plane ever)".
The four-engine, tri-tail Super Constellation was the Jacinda Ardern of airliners.
Distractions are YouTube’s thing. Also more conspiracies than you can shake a stick at, so Zooming had at least landed in the right place.
That’s the problem with unfiltered social media — the blowback can be as scorching as a petrol fire. Just ask "Angry, White House". Or, worse: it could be nothing at all.
The balm that might ease this country’s soul is not a conversation between former president Jacob Zuma and his son but the arms deal trial — which he has repeatedly said he wants.
Until then, one thing we know for sure is that what the Zuma presidency really needed was a great flight engineer. You know, to keep the plane in the sky and the passengers safe.