Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Better Seats for the B-52 Bomber?

As reported in the Los Angeles Times recently, a US military navigator decided to bring rubber seat cushions on board a B-52 bomber to provide extra comfort for a long-range flight. This creative fellow, knowing the agonies that a stressful bombing mission would inflict on his ass, stored the cushions underneath his seat to be used at the opportune moment.

Alas, they were too close to a heat vent. The cushions caught on fire and the bomber wound up crashing. Small detail: it was carrying nuclear warheads which could have wiped out a good portion of our homeland, not to speak of the fact that it went down within close range of a vital top-secret military base. 

I would like to know why the Defense Department doesn't make nicely padded seats for the backsides of its brightest and best when they are on these kill missions? Or maybe they do have great seats, like first class commercials airlines, but this particular navigator had special needs with regards to his sits bones.

Obviously the warheads never detonated, because if they had it would have been a nuclear accident of historic proportions. But with all the high tech sophistication of the plane and the training their pilots undergo, this incident points to a sad but true fact.

Our Star Wars style military jets are built to outsmart themselves, with all sorts of features upon features to warn, back-up, revert, switch over, turn off, and so on. Unfortunately, the human design -- psychological, physiological or otherwise -- does not seem to have the same built in capacities even if we do have some primitive mechanisms at work such as "fight or flight."

In the meantime, perhaps the Air Force could consider upgrading its B-52 bomber seats; a small price to pay considering the cost of a nuclear accident on anyone's soil.

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