Flying Lessons Blog

“Bombshell” TV Program on Malaysia 370 Fueled by Alternative Facts

May 17, 2018

In an earlier post, I accused the Australian 60 Minutes program of gender bias by excluding from its  Sunday show on the disappearance of Malaysia 370, the two women who wrote books on the subject, Florence de Changy author of Flight MH370 Did Not Disappear and me. In a lengthy broadcast claiming to feature the world’s “keenest minds”, 60 Minutes featured five men in a rousing exchange of maybes and coulda beens or what is otherwise known in the aviation community as hangar talk. Best to let the men fly this plane because what’s fueling Channel 9’s MH370 coverage is not gender bias but agenda bias with… Read More…


Why No Woman’s Voice in MH370 Discussion?

May 14, 2018

In Sunday’s New York Times, David Leonhardt writes a column in support of listening to women. Published on Mother’s Day, for this mom, it couldn’t be more timely. Leonhardt finds that women experts are underrepresented in the media, citing various studies that show they are quoted about 25 percent of the time. I noted the column and appreciated the sentiment, but that was it. I awoke on Monday to the news that Australia’s 60 Minutes program was again reporting far-fetched theories about what happened to Malaysia 370. Stay with me, these two events are linked. The theory that MH370 was hijacked by its Muslim pilots… Read More…


Engine Failure That Killed Southwest Passenger Unleashed Barrage of Debris on Airliner

May 3, 2018

Two Southwest Airlines flight attendants and two passengers were responsible for pulling passenger, Jennifer Riordan back into the airplane after she was partially pulled out of the window during a rapid decompression of the jetliner, according to an update issued today by the National Transportation Safety Board. Riordan, an New Mexico banking executive and mother of two, died of her injuries on Southwest Flight 1380. “As they moved toward the mid-cabin, they found the passenger in row 14 partially out of the window and attempted to pull her into the cabin. Two male passengers helped and the four were able to bring the passenger in, the… Read More…


Experienced Airmen at the Controls in Air Canada Near Catastrophe NTSB Says

May 2, 2018

The pilots in command of the Air Canada Airbus A320 which nearly landed on top of four airliners in San Francisco last summer, were experienced airmen, an investigation shows. The captain who was flying that night, had 20,000 hours with 4,000 in the Airbus A320 while the first officer had 10,000 hours. Still, the two attempted to land on a taxiway on which four airliners were waiting to to depart. Camera footage of the near collision of Air Canada Flight 759 was released today by the National Transportation Safety Board which is investigating what might have been a multi-airliner pileup and a disaster of record-breaking potential…. Read More…


Engine Fails On Southwest Flight Opens Hole That Blows Passenger Part Way Out

April 17, 2018

http:// What a flight! Made it!! Still here!! #southwest #flight1380 pic.twitter.com/Cx2mqoXVzY — Joe Marcus (@joeasaprap) April 17, 2018   A woman on a Southwest Airlines flight from New York to Dallas died after being partially sucked out of the window of the Boeing 737 on Tuesday morning. A failure in the left engine triggered a rapid decompression of the aircraft cabin. The woman’s father, Todd Baur, told a reporter that other passengers pulled his daughter back into the aircraft. But she later died from her injuries. In a video posted on Facebook, passenger Marty Martinez who was seated a few seats away from Baur’s daughter… Read More…


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…


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