Placeholder on the 'Let's Open the Airplane Windows' Quote

By James Fallows

I've just re-entered Internet land after 24+ hours out of contact. (Previous two posts were in the queue for publication at set intervals. Thus I didn't see and fix typos in them until just now.) On re-entry I see the news about the possible electrical fire that forced Ann Romney's plane into an emergency landing a few days ago. Plus a mailbox full of queries about Mitt Romney's response to the incident:

"When you have a fire in an aircraft, there's no place to go, exactly, there's no -- and you can't find any oxygen from outside the aircraft to get in the aircraft, because the windows don't open. I don't know why they don't do that. It's a real problem. So it's very dangerous. And she was choking and rubbing her eyes. Fortunately, there was enough oxygen for the pilot and copilot to make a safe landing in Denver. But she's safe and sound."

The whole topic of electrical fires in airplanes is more interesting than you'd think. More about it within a few hours. Spoiler: I don't think that Mitt Romney is confused about why airplane windows cannot be opened at high altitude, but I do think that his larger relationship with the world of airborne travel is interesting. In the meantime, I'll use this as an excuse to direct you to Patrick Smith's new Ask the Pilot site. For many years Smith did a successful, instructive, and entertaining "Ask the Pilot" column on Salon, which I read frequently and often directed people toward. He doesn't yet have an item about Air Romney at the new site, but he's a great source for aviation topics generally.

Back in touch in a few hours.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/09/placeholder-on-the-lets-open-the-airplane-windows-quote/262799/