Flying Lessons Blog

Curious Partnership As Lawyers Race to Secure Lion Air Cases

November 29, 2018

What does a Harvard-educated lawyer and former U.S. prosecutor from white-shoe law firm have in common with a scrappy duo of sibling attorneys with no U.S. office or phone number on file? The brother/sister act’s most public legal experience is defending themselves from a range of complaints, contempt of court threats and ethical infractions. Both sides of this incongruous pairing, Curtis Miner, the aforementioned Harvard man who is a partner in the Miami firm Colson, Hicks, Eidson, and Manuel von Ribbeck and his sister Monica Ribbeck Kelly are alike in their indiscriminate pursuit of aviation accident cases with the promise of a big fat payout. Having… Read More…

NTSB Questions if Tests of 20-Year Old Jet Engine are Sufficient

November 14, 2018

The death of Southwest Airlines passenger Jennifer Riordan was as horrific as it was surprising. The 43-year-old executive from Albuquerque was partially sucked out of the window of a Boeing 737 on a flight to Dallas in April when one of the plane’s engines came apart and pieces penetrated the passenger cabin. On Wednesday, at a hearing before the National Transportation Safety Board which is investigating the accident, a representative for the Federal Aviation Administration admitted that the way the engine came apart, damaging the airplane and triggering the decompression that pulled Riordan through a broken window, should not have happened under engine certification requirements…. Read More…

737 Pilots Not Told of MAX Design Change That Could Factor in Lion Air Crash

November 12, 2018

(Updated November 13 to include Boeing comments.) How concerned are 737 MAX pilots about their new airplane? Plenty concerned. Over the weekend, two U.S. operators of Boeing’s newest model narrowbody were sending out memos with details of a new system unique to the MAX called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which may have contributed to the fatal crash of Lion Air Flight 610 last month in Indonesia. This memo had to be sent because until last week this system was a secret to the men and women who fly the plane. The MCAS on the Boeing 737 Max was added as part of its Federal… Read More…

The Hidden Message in Boeing’s Lion Air Service Bulletin

November 8, 2018

(photo courtesy From the time the pilots retracted the flaps of the new Lion Air jetliner that flew as Flight 610, they were presented with anomalous readings, chaotic warnings and an airplane that was not flying as it should. This is what can be learned reading between the lines of the service bulletin Boeing sent to airlines operating the planemaker’s newest 737, the MAX. The airplane crashed into the sea 13 minutes after taking off from Jakarta on October 29th killing 189 people. In the bulletin, Boeing says during the Lion Air crash investigation, it was determined that a faulty reading of the flight… Read More…

Boeing 747 Slides to an Unceremonious Stop – 3rd Jumbo Excursion in a Month

November 7, 2018

A Boeing 747 Sky Lease Cargo flight skidded off the end of runway 14/32 at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, after a flight from Chicago on Wednesday morning. Nathan Coleman of Canada’s captured photos and video of the jumbo jet, up to its lower cowlings in the dirt on the left side and resting on the fuselage. Video just shot at the scene @weathernetwork — Nathan Coleman (@NateTWN) November 7, 2018 The airport was shut down shortly after 5:00 am local time but some flights have resumed. Four people, all members of the crew were taken to the hospital. There does not appear to have been… Read More…

Speculation About the Cause of an Air Crash Yep, That’s a Good Thing

November 2, 2018

In what other area of journalism are reporters asked to surrender their own judgment and analysis and wait for the “officials” to weigh in?  From the very first air accident, the crash of the Wright Flyer that killed Thomas Selfridge in 1908, observers have opined about what the facts seem to suggest before and after the official probable cause is determined. And what’s wrong with that? Today, the internet connects pundits, armchair investigators and hyperspecialists. This is how, in the hours after the crash of Lion Air 610, we first learned of the plane’s erratic climb and flight and reports that the Boeing 737 MAX had come… Read More…

Not Enough Time for Lion Air Pilots to Save Flight

October 29, 2018

Data from the airplane tracking site FlightAware indicates that the flight of the Lion Air Boeing 737 Max that crashed into the Java Sea on Monday morning was irregular from the start.  The plane departed Jakarta on a clear day an hour after sunrise, with 189 people on board. Lion Air Flight 610 was headed north to the Bangka Belitung Islands. But the FlightAware data shows the flight was slow to ascend from the start and never during its ten-minute flight did it get higher than 5,500 feet. Equally distressing is the speeds of descent recorded in the last minute. Plummeting towards the Java Sea… Read More…

Bnb’ing With My Peeps; Flying a Bike and Sleeping With Airplanes

October 18, 2018

Note to readers: Many photos and all the videos in this post graciously provided by aviation vlogger and pilot Pedro Saldarriaga. Follow him on YouTube. It was a quick trip to Florida to take care of some business. I would be there and gone in just 24-hours so all I really needed was a clean, inexpensive room. But as my cursor hovered over the selections on the Airbnb website, how could I say no to the Man Cave, located, the listing said, “in my airplane hangar.” Click, and it was mine for the night. Like every other internet-age disruptor, Airbnb has its downsides, but where… Read More…

With Female Pilot, Olay Ad Sells a Future of Possibilities for Girls

October 2, 2018

Twenty-one-year-old airline pilot Tristan Mazzu thought she’d found her dream job when she was hired as a first officer at SkyWest Airlines in 2017. But the glamour of flying was elevated when she was selected by Olay to appear in an ad campaign celebrating women who take on challenges. Her inadvertent entry into the world of modeling, has turned Mazzu into a role model for girls. In the minute-long ad, Mazzu reflects on the instructor who questioned her potential, stereotypes that reinforce discrimination, voices of doubt in her own head and the raised eyebrows of others when they see her in her pilot’s uniform. She… Read More…

Fatigue and Confusion Factors in Air Canada Near Disaster in San Francisco

September 25, 2018

The pilots whose 2017 flight very nearly landed atop four loaded airliners waiting in line on a taxiway to take off from San Francisco International Airport, failed to manually tune the airplane’s navigation system for the landing. Had they done so, it may have helped them realize they were off the lateral track for the runway, according to investigators looking into the near disaster. Tuning the instrument landing system frequency was not a typical procedure for the Air Canada crews. This lapse was one but not the only factor that led the pilots of Flight 759 to get “dangerously close to other airplanes” so that at… Read More…

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