March 27, 1977 World’s deadliest aviation accident caused by impatience and failure to listen

On this day in 1977 theTenerife airport disaster occured: As per wikipedia “Two Boeing 747 airliners collide on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). Sixty-one survived on the Pan Am flight.”

And it was down to an impatient and behind-schedule KLM chief pilot not willing to hear the doubt/uncertainty in his co-pilot’s voice over whether they did indeed have permission to take off.

The aviation industry initiated major changes after this, in how crews were trained to interact, and in the language they use when communicating with Air Traffic Control.

Sadly, our ability to learn from slower, but far more deadly, disasters, appears to be fundamentally limited…

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