Aviation needs to Connect with THE PRESS

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Crash course in accident reporting

AOPA finds excellent example of Expert local aviation reporting

Press: some great, many not so good

Individuals need to Connect/Educate with Press


August 15, 2018 By Amelia Walsh

Thanks to AOPA’s Ms. Walsh, the story about KTLA’s Christina Pascucci, a pilot, spoke about the misconceptions surrounding airplane accidents. Ms. Pascucci is an honors graduate of the University of Southern California in journalism and was nominated for an EMMY. She also earned her private pilot’s license and based on what she learned there was able to use her expertise to explain a local accident:

Speaking from her own firsthand experience while flight training, Pascucci says a number of factors could have played into the accident. She explained that an engine failure would cause an airplane to glide rather than plummet to the ground, noting that the Cessna 414’s nosedive may have been caused by an aerodynamic stall that led to a spin.

Pascucci also spoke about asymmetric thrust, in which one engine on a twin loses power and thrust from the “good” engine and drag from the failed engine make the airplane difficult for the pilot to control.

Here is her full report on KLTA.



Likely you have listened to a talking head, professing to be an aviation expert, or read an article in a reputable newspaper and wondered HOW that person was “qualified” to make such statements. Equally, you worried that readers, who may not have any aviation expertise will accept this erred report and pass negatively on your profession based on this “fake news”.

In fact, a retired aviation association executive earned his first job after college (with a degree in aeronautical engineering) by clipping articles from a major newspaper in which serious errors were published. With a folder full of such erroneous (or is it aeroneous?) statements, he convinced the editor to hire him.

Some favorites:

On the other end of the scale there are some talented journalists who cover aviation with knowledge:

  1. Andy Pasztor of the Wall Street Journal.
  2. Christine Negroni, a Fortune contributorchristine negroni lithium ion battery ban,
  3. Those who toil in the trade press, for example





More examples of positive propeller professionals:

Jay Donoghue, great aviation journalist, cleared usque ad coelum

CBS eyes FAA’s exceptional pilot addiction recovery program success-HIMS

WSJ’s Pasztor exposes the new SMS safety concept to readers

There was a time when the World Leadership Forum, Ltd, of London, England issued Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards, issued from 1996 to 2009-2010. NBAA annually recognizes lifetime work in aviation journalism with the David W. Ewald Platinum Wing Award. NATA annually recognizes Aviation Journalism Excellence with an award.

Public opinion increasingly impacts local and national aviation policy. It is incumbent on individual aviation professionals to take time to talk with reporters whom they know. Creating a link with a person, who can influence her/his readers on issues which impact our business, is a good use of your time. More importantly, airlines, aerospace companies, airports, unions and those organizations involved in this sector NEED to devote resources to basic aviation education. More Ms. Pascucci’s are needed!


Since the French Revolution the term the Fourth Estate was defined as an alternative to the existing power structure (clergy, the nobility, and the commoners). Today, the power of the press is even more apparent, Aviation needs to be aware of this force and assure that these influencers have the facts.




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