The death of the Polish President and 95 members of his entourage recently on April 10th in an air-crash has now been speculated, not to be due to pilot error, but to this modern-day syndrome.
‘VIP passenger syndrome’ means simply that a very important passenger uses his or her clout to influence the pilot and/or crew to make a bad decision under pressure. Could this also be the real reason for the deaths of Dodi and Diana when their chauffeur could have been persuaded to drive at extreme speeds to avoid the pursuing paparazzi?
In the Polish president’s case, the Telegraph speculated that President Lech Kaczynski had previously tried to sack a pilot who refused to land a plane for him in dangerous circumstances. In that incident in 2008, the President shouted furiously at a pilot who had disobeyed his order to land his plane in then war-torn Georgia for safety reasons. He later tried to have the pilot removed from his post for insubordination.
In last Saturday’s crash, black box recordings have confirmed that the pilot, Arkadiusz Protasiuk, an experienced airman serving with the Polish air force, had ignored warnings to divert to another airport because of heavy fog. It was speculated that the late President may have put some pressure to land as he did not want to miss a ceremony for the 22,000 Poles massacred by Soviet forces in the Second World War and may have urged the air crew to continue trying to land the plane.
I must confess that I have never heard this syndrome before, and it surely ranks as one more of new modernistic terminology describing illnesses of the new millennium!
More examples of VIP Passenger Syndrome:
http://gvk2.wordpress.com/2009/10/21/a-matter-of-accountability/ -an Indian leader.
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