As promised, I am back to tell you a bit more about the movie I was involved in. It is called A Dark Reflection and, no, it does not star anyone you have ever heard of, except maybe Marina Sirtis who played Counsellor Troi on Star Trek TNG but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch it (if you can find it) because it has something important to say, something—believe me—that you will want to hear.
There is a problem in the aviation industry that executives, and governments, have been aware of for many years. To fix the problem will take effort and cost money and, since no one is aware of it, they can safely leave it alone.
Safe for them—company executives and government officials—anyway; the flight crews and passengers have been suffering due to this problem, in some cases fatally, but not many people have linked the suffering to this problem and those who have soon found themselves being stonewalled by both the industry and the government (pick one, any one—UK, US, Australia, etc.)
And this was the case for those few people concerned about the problem and determined to do something about it. Eventually, they were told, point blank, that the industry would do nothing to try to resolve this problem unless the general public got their knickers in a twist over it. I am sure the officials figured that would be the end of it, but instead the troublesome busybodies set themselves the unenviable task of making a move—an exciting, interesting, entertaining and informative move—about . . . air quality.
I do not envy them their task, nor the problems they are going to face in getting their message across. Remember these people spent years addressing government committees and meeting with industry officials so the talk they gave to us about the issue started off with a history of aviation lubricants from the 1950’s onward, and then segued into a discussion of the organophosphate tricresyl phosphate.
Incidentally, organophosphate is not to be confused with organophosphite. For those of you who failed chemistry, let me refresh your memory:
“When you fly in a jet plane, the air you are breathing has been siphoned off of the engines.”
This is a better message because practically no one knows what tricresyl phosphate is but nearly everyone understands what happens when you stuff one end of a garden hose up your car’s exhaust pipe and feed the other end through the back window.
While that isn’t exactly the scenario we are dealing with in a jet engine, the actuality is worse because of those pesky tricresyl phosphates, which are very, very, very, very bad for you.
Now, sometimes there are more fumes in the air than others, some people are more susceptible than others, and symptoms vary widely, but if you fly, you are in danger, one way or the other. Ever get off of a plane with a headache or sore throat, or feeling strangely fatigued and disoriented? That’s the tricresyl phosphates kicking in. Your symptoms will go away, and you can console yourself with the idea that you only fly occasionally, but the effects are cumulative: the more you fly, the more symptoms you get and the longer they stay with you, and nobody flies more than the flight crew. So, even if you feel fine, and are comfortable in the knowledge that you only fly once or twice a year, think of the pilot, and ask yourself if tired and confused is the condition you want him in while he’s landing your plane.
What the people making this film—pilots on permanent medical disability due to exposure to tricresyl phosphate—want the airlines to do is simply filter the air, which they, so far, refuse to do. (It’s all about the Benjamins; air filters don’t grow on trees but passengers are 10-a-penny, and there is always someone happy to fill a vacancy.)
I cannot give you a preview of the exciting action in this movie because all I know about are the scenes I was in which, frankly, were not up to high-speed-chases-with-cars-crashing-through-fruit-stalls standards. And I’m pretty sure no one gets laid.
It is, however, a worthy film, one that you should see if you get the chance. You can also support it directly; information is on their web page:
You can give as little as you like, but £100 will get your name in the “Thanks to” section at the end of the credits. £100 also buys you a share in the movie, so if it unexpectedly makes a fortune, you stand to make a few bucks. And even if it doesn’t make any money, how many of you can say you own part of a movie?
I’m buying in, so if you do happen to see the film, make sure you stay till the end and watch for my name in the credits.