formerly "The View From Up Here"

Formerly titled "The View From Up Here" this column began in the Liberty Gazette June 26, 2007.

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September 24, 2013 Chicken wings

The Liberty Gazette
September 24, 2013
Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely

Mike: A major aviation data company has just begun another round of data collection directly from airline crews. The data is collected using i-devices (iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch) and is given to scientists to analyze and advance pilot fatigue prediction models. It will be a topic of discussion on aviation message boards, but I wonder what ever happened to just saying, "I’m tired."

Linda: Of the many topics with relevance to aviation with which we strive to keep up, I recently came across one that, well, makes sense that it comes up for discussion in some circles, but it’s one I hadn’t given thought to before, happily not being in the depths of the airline business. See what you think of this question: "Are there restrictions concerning supplying on-board airline passengers meat with bones?"

In the professional aviation forum where this question hatched, a hearty demand for chicken wings was the impetus. Of course, no thanks to those who love litigation, this society is afraid of its own shadow now, and there is such a thing as "aviation food safety."

So if you were responsible for this decision at your airline, would you go for the wings, or stick with peanuts, and pretzels for those with nut allergies? What if cost wasn’t an issue? After all, regional airline pilots are only volunteers, and are saving the airlines millions.

I know the first thing you’re thinking – health concerns, the potential for choking on chicken bones, or e-coli from blood in the bone. Well, we’d have to peel back the layers and look deeper. Weight of the bones could be a factor. Bones with meat, as opposed to boneless meat, requires a bigger serving container and more room to heat the dish. Reheating meat on the bone is a bit trickier than heating it without.

And then there are the questions of disposal. Bones add both weight and volume for handling at the destination. Where would bags of bones be stowed until disposed of?

Plenty of input came from forum members but one question surely topped it all: What about opportunistic enemies and other nut-jobs who watch way too much television who would convert a broken chicken bone into a weapon and use it to attempt a highjack?

Okay, maybe while we try to digest this we shouldn’t get the Chick-fil-A cows too excited just yet. Have you had an inflight meal recently? Sizes are now down to what, snack size kiddie meals? Perhaps passengers should just fly without their wings; after all, they’d be more likely to enjoy a larger portion and the sauce and seasonings of their choice with a preflight meal in the terminal. On the other hand, maybe with the cost of food going up higher than the airlines’ flight levels passengers could buy boneless wings and get a free flight.

Mike: So speaking of what you’re willing to pluck from your wallet for air travel, just curious, how much above the ticket price would you pay if airlines offered to pack a parachute under the seat? Of course back in November of 1971 Northwest Orient Airlines actually provided one passenger with not one, but four parachutes and paid him $200,000 to take them. And where is D. B. Cooper now?

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