I had dinner with my cousin, a plastic surgeon. He is a very friendly and warm person and donated his time to help operate on Haiti’s earthquake victims. He participated with a charitable organization called Operation Smile. At the time of his trip, Operation Smile had two sites in Haiti, my cousin’s was in Fond Parisien, a 7 hour bus ride from the Dominican Republic while the other was in Hinche, a 12 hour bus ride. The actor Harrison Ford is involved with the charity and agreed to fly the team to Hinche from the Dominican Republic, and this is where the iPhone comes in.
The medical team boarded Ford’s plane and flew to the GPS coordinates of Hinche. One of the doctor’s had been to Hinche before and was familiar with the location and topography. The plane arrived at the coordinates and was unable to find Hinche airport. The doctor looked out the Window and told the pilots that he did not recognize the area. They kept circling and then headed towards a nearby airport to reconfirm the coordinates. The tower provided the same GPS information and so the plane flew back to the same location and was still unable to find the airport. Clearly the frustration was growing in the aircraft.
Continue reading Haiti, the iPhone and airplane guidance: A true story