The way I see it, the attitude of pilots on domestic flights are no different from those of buses on Nepal's roads. You are right in pointing out (Editorial, 'Terrain warning', #421) that there is just too much recklessness. I don't know where this comes from, maybe it is cultural, partly lack of training and partly insufficient regulation. Whatever it is, the end result is that 400 plus people have been killed in air crashes in Nepal since 1990 and most of it is due to pilot error. What are we going to do about it?
* You have painted a needlessly gloomy picture about air accidents in Nepal and blamed pilots for being reckless. It is true that there are those who do not follow rules and that they take shortcuts, just like in any profession. But Nepali pilots are some of the most experienced, and they fly in the world's most challenging terrain. They know the risks and they weigh them before every flight. The rate of mishaps is directly proportionate to the challenges of flying in and out of the world's most difficult airfields day in and day out.
* I completely agree with your portrayal of the cavalier attitude of Nepal's airlines towards safety. However, it is not restricted to the flight deck. Having been a trekking guide for many years, I have observed money changing hands during check-in, where loaders can easily be bribed to push in couple of hundred extra kilograms of baggage and cargo into the hold. There have been numerous cases during which there have been near-misses when the pilots have made hard landings based on calculations of weight which were not accurate, or when the plane was not in equilibrium.
* The fatalism that guides our attitude towards new technology, especially cars and planes, is seen every year at Dasain when goats and chicken are beheaded and their blood splattered on the machines to propitiate the gods during the coming year. With that sort of attitude is it any surprise that we have so many accidents?
Thank you for printing the brilliant panoramas by Sumit Dayal of the victims of the Kosi disaster ('Water world',#421). Two months after the big flood, millions of people in Bihar and Nepal continue to suffer. The fact that the disaster happened in the most corrupt and inept parts of India and Nepal means that relief and reconstruction is slow, and this is prolonging the misery of the people. The lesson from the disaster is that the river does not respect national boundaries, and we should similarly plan to harness rivers so it will benefit people on both sides equally.