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1997-10-10 16:07:55


Comforting Rhetoric: "Planes Falling from the Sky!"



Again and again, I see references to "doomsday scenarios" that predict "planes falling from the sky." I now think that this line is tossed out by a speaker or writer to calm himself: anything this silly need not be feared.

The fact is, no planes will be flying if the various air safety regulatory agencies are not convinced that their systems are compliant. If the FAA and its sister agencies in other countries are not sure that all systems are compliant, they will ground all flights. Today, there is no compliant air traffic control system. The FAA is nowhere near compliance -- not rumor; fact.

Here is the real doomsday scenario: a world of just-in-time production methods, heavily dependent on FedEx, UPS, and all the other overnight air delivery services, shuts down because the planes are not flying. This is what I predict will happen.

But, for the record, here is another "planes falling from the sky" rumor about what unidentified doomsday scenarios predict. It is linked with bank runs -- no doubt another implausible scenario, he wishes!

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Scenarios too implausible for a sci-fi movie are routinely proffered at Year 2000 business conferences and on the Internet: large-scale power outages, erroneous inmate releases, runs on banks, planes falling from the sky, nuclear meltdowns, weapons systems gone haywire, the general breakdown of society -- all because of the two missing digits.


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