“Charlie Victor Romeo” a timely dramatization of cockpit crises


Screen shot from http://charlievictorromeo.com“Charlie Victor Romeo” is the radio call sign for cockpit voice recorder, or CVR. In 1999 an ingenious stage drama of the same name debuted, written by Bob Berger and Patrick Daniels. The play is basically a series of blackout scenes wherein actors in a barebones cockpit set dramatize the final moments of six major airline emergencies by faithfully recreating the dialog of their crews, as recorded on recovered CVRs.

In 2012, Berger and Daniels raised money on Kickstarter to fund a film version of the play. The film debuted at festivals last year, to generally very positive reviews.

I first heard about the play from my sister. A healthcare worker, she and her hospital colleagues were assigned to attend a daytime staging as a sort of mini-seminar in crisis management. As I recall, she said that some of the scenes depict cockpit crews whom are hopelessly oblivious, but some depict cockpit crews whose calm under crisis prevents bad situations from becoming much worse. She said it was one of the most gripping things she’d ever seen in her life.

I’ve got a morbid fascination with this stuff. Of course, we may never know what happened, exactly, with Malaysia Air flight 370, but that real life slow motion drama reminded me that I need to see this film. Trailer follows.