On the 22nd of August 1985 British AirTours flight, 28M was sitting on the runway at Manchester Airport. Loaded with British budget holiday makers who were no doubt looking forward to their holiday in Corfu wherein the tradition of English tourists they would get legless most nights, complain a Greek Island didn’t have food like home and get so sunburnt they all resembled large tomatoes.
Shortly into the take off roll, the pilots heard a large thump, fearing they had blown a tyre they quickly aborted the take off, nine seconds after the thump was heard fire warnings began sounding in the cockpit. The aircraft was quickly brought to a halt and evacuation of the plane was begun, with remarkable speed, the crew began trying to offload the plane via the emergency exits and very shortly after that fire crews took on the task of trying to bring the fire under some sort of control.
Despite the extraordinary efforts of the crew and the remarkable speed with which fire crews were on scene of the 137 on board some 55 were killed in the inferno. During the subsequent enquiry, several technical faults were identified that impeded efforts to save those on board. However, what is interesting is in some of the witness statements is the observation that when they looked back into the cabin before heading out of one of the forward doors they saw passengers not heading towards safety but rather trying to wrestle their luggage out of the overhead bins. This is despite being pressured by passengers behind to move and constant instructions from the cabin crew to keep moving.
In a situation where their lives were in mortal peril, people found it hard to follow the simple instruction of move forward and leave their luggage.
Trading is a dull robotic affair that is governed by your own instructions – not someone else’s and what I have observed is that most people are crap at following instructions. Over the past year, I have reviewed dozens of trading plans and their subsequent results and somewhat obviously I have found that people who follow their trading system do well and those that don’t follow their system do poorly. You would think this would be blindingly obvious but for some reason, in many traders, it isn’t. There seems to be a basic human inability to follow instructions even when their lives depend upon it as was seen in British AirTours flight 28M.