@SysKoll - and - FBW Systems
@SysKoll - just checking to make sure you got the comments on PAN and MAYDAY. Actually, having been on the other end of radios receiving same, as well as in an aircraft calling a PAN once, I can assure you they are pronounced in English (the mandated international language of aviation) exactly as written.
FBW - well, where to start with the whole field of Safety Critical Systems. It's too large to cover here, but I have studied and practised. Overall, I'd say many more systems should be categorised as Safety Critical than actually are, and the treatment of such systems should be more robust. For example, if done properly, SCS software should be developed by 'formal methods' that 'prove' correct software function in every conceivable instance rather than simply complete a range of tests that didn't recognise any bugs during the testing period. It adds to cost, though ....
I recently did a refresher course on software standards - now I'm not currently a software designer, and this was just a refresher for me - but I swear of the 12 students and 1 presenter, I knew more about mission critical/safety critical development than anyone in that room ... much more ... which was scary, since they all worked on projects developing such systems. Of course, they could run rings around me in web development or database techniques, but when it comes to high risk/critical systems, there's arisen (IMHO) a pretty big hole in competence that wasn't there before.
Maybe El Reg should do some investigative journalism ... guffaw ... OK, maybe just some poking around ... and write a series of articles on the loss of some skills that we used to take for granted.