The occasional perils of navigational precision

The “law of unintended consequences” states that no matter how positive the intent of an action, there will almost always be unforeseen negative consequences. A grim example of this axiom is contained in a story by William LangeWiesche in the February 2009 edition of Vanity Fair magazine. LangeWiesche’s piece examines a mid-air collision that occurred on September 29, 2006, over the Amazonian jungles of Brazil. A north-bound Legacy 600 private jet (an example of this type jet in photo) and a south-bound Boeing 737 improbably met at 37,000 feet. The result was significant damage to the Legacy, but the complete destruction of the 737 and the 155 passengers and crew aboard.
    What’s significant about this accident is that in an earlier age, it might never have happened. Had the two aircraft been maintaining their position in the flight corridor using an older radio navigation system such as VHF omnidirectional range (VOR), they might only have experienced a terrifying near miss. But ultraprecise differential GPS put both planes in virtually the same airspace, the law of unintended consequences intervened and a tragic accident occurred.

By Ocean Navigator