How obsessed as CNN become with the missing plane story?
The AP says that the cable net wanted to rent real 777 airplane for its coverage, but found it impossible.
Individual airlines were also reluctant to make their simulators available. So CNN arranged time with the company uFly, from Mississauga, Ontario, near the Toronto airport, which has a simulator that is the same model of the plane lost in Asia.
Martin Savidge and his "co-pilot," Mitchell Casado, are the most visible symbols of CNN's blanket coverage of the story of the missing airplane. They have logged so much airtime reporting from the fake cockpit that the hashtag #freemartinsavidge appears on Twitter.
"I hope he is getting up to stretch his legs," one person tweeted. Another bored viewer is obsessed with flight instructor Casado's fashion sense, posting several pictures of him in different plaid shirts.
Despite spending a series of 12- to 18-hour days in the cockpit, the Atlanta-based Savidge said he's still excited about his open-ended assignment. "In a horrible tragedy, I'm at least blessed with a good place to report from, to try and bring some clarity," he said.
Savidge, who had been vacationing in Australia when the plane went missing on March 8, was sent to Canada for one day on March 14 and returned home for the weekend. The response to his reports was so positive, CNN sent him back on March 17, and he's been there since. Other media organizations have sought to use the simulator but CNN blocks them by keeping it booked.
The company won't say how much this is costing, but we're betting that it is cheaper than a real 777.