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The Air France Flight



June 07, 2009 – Comments (2)

As someone who's done and continues to do a lot of long distance flying over oceans, I've been fascinated/horrified by the complex investigation into what happened to the Air France flight seemingly crashed amid a storm off the coast of Brazil.

This study on is the most thorough work I've seen.

Ultimately the question will be why? Why did the plane try to fly through such violent storm conditions?

One answer would be that the pilot didn't know it would be violent...which you could point to some kind of systems malfunction. The second would be that he was reckless and didn't care (doubtful). The third would be that it didn't look so severe on the systems and that the pilot thought he could fly through it.

Why could this be relevant to investing? There's a fascinating book by Laurence Gonzalez called Deep Survival. It investigates several disaster scenarios and explains why certain people died and certain people lived. The conclusion is that you live when you 1) are prepared (well, sure) and 2) are willing to make the difficult, conservative decision.

Not saying this happened, but imagine if you were the pilot of that plane and had to decide between flying through/over a storm that didn't look so bad, or explaining to 200 people and your crew why you were turning around and going back to Brazil. All of a sudden it becomes a lot easier to put lives at risk than endure the hassle of angry customers, coworkers, and 8 wasted hours of one's life. That sort of peer/perceived pressure, Gonzalez shows, can dramatically affect even the most highly-trained individuals.

The dangerous decision is often the easy decision. Write that on your hand and remember it when you're making financial decisions or convincing yourself that you can drive home after a few beers.

2 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 07, 2009 at 7:45 PM, lennysims (88.15) wrote:

     I really don't have any comments and I think when your right and there's no real arguement you don't get many comments. Like the post on gold so what if you keep up with inflation sometimes, your still for the most part out of the market; but I'm not going to lose anything--your still out of the market(stocks).

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#2) On June 07, 2009 at 8:43 PM, dwot (29.01) wrote:

I had a flight cancelled due to weather earlier this year.  The pilot previously had a crash that killed his wife and refuses to take any chances.

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