Posts with the category ‘Flying Lessons’


Scant Coverage of Boeing Hacking Should Make Flyers Wannacry

April 2, 2018

Say “dead puppy in the over head bin” or “comfort peacock” and I’m guessing most folks will know what you’re talking about.   A Google search finds nearly two million references to the event last month in which a dog suffocated after a flight attendant ordered its owners to put the crated puppy in the overhead bin. A stunning 16 million references litter the Google landscape related to the passenger who tried to board a United flight with a comfort peacock in tow. Without diminishing the trauma of the family of the pup, “Coquito” or the curiosity factor related to anyone choosing to fly with a… Read More…


Pilot Considered Landing in NY’s Central Park Before Fatal Crash in East River

March 27, 2018

The pilot of the Eurocopter AS350 that lost engine power while flying over New York’s Central Park on March 11, briefly considered putting the helicopter down in Central Park but concluded there were too many people on the ground below. Instead, Richard Vance tried to slow the helicopter’s descent as he flew toward the East River in the aircraft on which the doors had been removed to enhance visibility for sightseeing. In an interview with the National Transportation Safety Board after the accident that killed all five passengers, Vance, 33, said when the helicopter first hit the river and began to fill with water, he… Read More…


More Than Show Stoppers, Air Force Thunderbirds Demonstrate the Power of Teamwork

March 25, 2018

The invitation to fly in an F-16 with the US Air Force Thunderbirds that arrived in my inbox early March, required only one word of reply, but I offered three. “Yes. Yes. Yes.” I knew that the Thunderbirds and their Navy counterparts the Blue Angels invite reporters and others we today call “influencers” to fly backseat on demonstration flights. The practice is not limited to military teams. Acrobatic performers have invited me into their airplanes in the past; John Klatt and Dell Coller, and Rob Holland all hosted me in their Extras. And once, I donned a parachute for a harrowing flight designed to teach airline pilots how… Read More…


Passenger On Fatal East River Helicopter Crash May Have Triggered Disaster Sole Survivor Says

March 13, 2018

The pilot of the sightseeing helicopter that crashed into the East River in Manhattan on Sunday night killing all 5 passengers, told investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board that the man seated beside him may have inadvertently triggered the chopper’s plunge by cutting fuel to the engine. The Associated Press is reporting that Richard Vance, 33, suggested a strap from a bag may have gotten tangled with the emergency fuel shutoff. Vance was piloting the helicopter from the left seat. A photo posted on Instagram from 26-year old Trevor Cadigan early in the flight, shows he was seated to the pilot’s right.   In that case,… Read More…


Supporters of Trump’s Pilot for FAA Defend Choice Say Agency is Expendable

March 2, 2018

After criticizing President Trump for putting forth his personal pilot as a candidate to lead the Federal Aviation Administration, I was chastised by some on my Flying Lessons Facebook page, who argue aviation’s stellar safety record was not the result of the FAA, but in spite of it. That’s preposterous. The idea that left to their own devices, aviation stakeholders will always act in the best interests of the flying public has been disproved time and again. It is the rare but not unknown circumstance when an airline or airplane manufacturer purposely hides known design flaws. (See these two books on Turkish Flight 981 and… Read More…


Times Have Changed: Breitling Stops Ads That Objectify Women

February 13, 2018

Breitling, the Swiss watch company that has taken heat for using scantily-clad women in advertisements and store displays, announced over the weekend that the practice will end. The company’s new chief executive, Georges Kern, told the German newspaper SonntagsZeitung that those themes are “no longer suitable and do not reflect values of today’s society.” Kern, whose college degree was in political science, knows the direction the wind is blowing. It was just one year ago at a Breitling store party in Manhattan that the company arranged for models to be in attendance, posing as pilots in caps, epaulets and stiletto heels but notably missing their pants. The year before, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly and… Read More…


Private Jets and Physicians; A Photo Story of Generosity in Puerto Rico

January 12, 2018

Aviation writers get a lot of press releases pitching private jets; buy ‘em, sell ‘em, rent ‘em, blah blah blah. But the best story about private jet ownership came from my Puerto Rican niece, Xamayta Negroni.  When her charitable side kicked into overtime following Hurricane Maria, it was a private jet owner who helped her deliver. Xamayta is not one of those doctors who owns a plane, she’s not even a pilot. What she does do is help very sick children as a pediatric nephrologist in Ft. Lauderdale. After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, she and other physicians in a Facebook group called Doctoras Boricuas, (Puerto… Read More…


Hard hits and Close Calls Characterize Aviation in 2017

December 29, 2017

The year coming to a close will have to be remembered for the relentless onslaught of aviation drama and near-disaster. Outrageous behavior in the passenger cabin and eyebrow-raising piloting made the news as did end-of-days-like weather that played havoc with airports and the logic-defying conduct of world leaders and government decision-makers. So let’s get to it, 2018 will be here before we know it. One year ago, Australia’s decision to put an end to the sea search for Malaysia 370 unleashed a fury of criticism as families claimed the failure to find the Boeing 777 keeps the world from finding out what made the plane… Read More…


Dollars Not Enough to Fill Cockpits For The Holidays at American

December 11, 2017

When American Airlines chief executive Robert Isom sat down with the president of the Allied Pilots Association, Daniel F. Carey last week, it took mere minutes to come to an agreement, according to APA spokesman Dennis Tajer. “They had this,” Tajer said of the close-call American had with cancelling ten thousand or more flights during the busy holiday travel season. American agreed to pay pilots double time if they would return to the cockpit, filling flight decks left vacant after a software problem allowed too many pilots to opt out of holiday flying. But as I reported for Forbes, not all pilots are taking the… Read More…


This Christmas, SAAnta Pilots Earn Double Time

December 4, 2017

Last week I wondered how much will it cost to fix the American Airlines pilot scheduling snafu? This week I can tell you the answer: Double time pay for all American Airlines pilots who fly over the Christmas holidays. In a communication to members this weekend, the Allied Pilots Association said that the union and American management had agreed that those would-be Santas would be paid double their hourly rate for flying for the carrier between December 17 and the end of 2017. The terms came a day after a joyfully playful announcement by the union and the airline that read, “If Santa is flying,… Read More…


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