Friday, 12 October 2012

Are Channel 4 full of it?

This evening, I watched Channel 4 crash land a Boeing 727 into the desert in Mexico.

It was an interesting programme. They bought an old mothballed airliner for £300,000, put a load of high tech state of the art crash test dummies (£100k each) inside it, and stuffed it to the gills with high speed cameras.

To make sure the plane crashed in the right way and in the right place, they rigged up a way of controlling the plane by remote control. Human pilots got it off the ground, and into the general area of the crash site, then another pilot, a passenger in a nearby plane, took over.

This turned out to be a source of problems. The chase plane had to be within 50 metres of the Boeing for the radio control to function properly, and the first plane they used struggled to keep up with it. They switched to a higher performance plane but that had problems with a fuel pump right at the last moment, and they had to switch back to the underspecified Cessna they were using in the first place.

In the end, they managed to get what they wanted. The plane pancaked, and broke apart. The cameras caught what there was to catch. The dummies gathered the data they were supposed to gather.

Everyone went home happy.

But just hang on one moment here. They spent £300,000 on an old airliner, hired aircraft, invested in a whole load of high tech cameras and crash test dummies, which wouldn't have come cheap. They will have had to pay for the presence of Mexican Police, Fire and Ambulance services, which the Mexicans apparently insisted on providing. Yet they could only get hold of a radio control transmitter with a range of 50 metres?

I spent about five minutes searching before I found one with a range of 30 kilometres. That's 30,000 metres.

The price of such a system? $269. That's about 200 quid.

Channel 4 crashed a plane, and they decided it wasn't exciting enough as it was?

Fuck off.

driving lessons in Wallasey? learn to drive in Wirral? driving instructor in Birkenhead?

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