Flying Lessons Blog

2016; The Year Delta Flyers Never Expected To See This

January 1, 2017

  Over the past month, five passengers were ejected from flights on Delta Air Lines and those are just the ones that made news. One has to wonder if it is a symptom or a consequence of the polarizing political upheavals seen around the globe in 2016. Right before the year ended, Los Angeles residents Blake Fleisig and Anna Koosmann created a bit of drama on a flight home. Reports say Koosmann tried to get out of her seat to go to the bathroom while the plane was still on its ascent out of Minneapolis and when she refused first the flight attendant’s instruction to sit back down,… Read More…

Time To Stop Obsessing About MH370’s Black Boxes

November 28, 2016

After 31 months of uncertainty and more than $120 million dollars spent in the search for the wreckage of Malaysia 370, it is long past time for investigators to broaden the focus of their search. Since March 8, 2014 when the plane made an inexplicable change of course and flew into the Indian Ocean with 239 people on board, air safety investigators have pinned their hopes on finding the cockpit voice and flight data recorders. The Malaysians have gone so far as to say that without the boxes, they will never know what happened to the jetliner. This has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. What’s notable,… Read More…

The Engine Took Out A 767 – AA Flight 383-Photos

November 2, 2016

For an update on this event from the NTSB click here. Uncontained engine failures are relatively rare. Rarer still is the failure that leads to a hull loss. But American Airlines Flight 383, a Boeing 767 routed from Chicago to Miami was on its takeoff roll on Friday afternoon when passengers reported a loud explosion quickly followed by black smoke and fire just outside the right side of the aircraft. “People are yelling, ‘Open the door! Open the door!’ Everyone’s screaming and jumping on top of each other to open the door,” Sarah Ahmed told Chicago’s ABC television station, WLS. Ahmed said she could smell smoke… Read More…

American Airlines Fire Shows Lessons Were Learned in Previous Catastrophes

October 28, 2016

Take a look at this video of American Airlines Flight 383 which was headed from Chicago to Miami on Friday afternoon when an uncontained engine failure prompted the crew to abort the takeoff. Another video — Jose Castillo 🎃 (@Kryptonlogic) October 28, 2016 Jose Castillo, using the twitter handle @Kryptonlogic posted the video on Twitter reporting that his father was on the plane which “exploded” just before takeoff around 2:30. One hundred and seventy passengers and crew were on the Boeing 767, when the General Electric CF6 engine on the right wing erupted into flames. The first passengers to evacuate the wide-body started taking… Read More…

Samsung Note 7 Upside, Igniting New Thinking on In Flight Fires

October 15, 2016

At noon today, October 15th,  Samsung Note 7 phones will no longer be allowed on airplanes, the U.S. Department of Transportation has ruled. “The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device is considered a forbidden hazardous material,” reads the press release issued by the DOT. Passengers carrying one will be denied boarding and those who try to evade the ban surreptitiously, “are increasing the risk of a catastrophic incident” and could be subject to prosecution. Samsung is still unable to identify what about its newest gadget is causing the batteries to go into thermal runaway, spewing flames and toxic smoke. But the Samsung mystery is prompting a few airlines… Read More…

Sick Isn’t Subtle. Why GermanWings and MH370 Aren’t related

October 3, 2016

Are airline pilots more likely to commit suicide than other professionals? Statistics aren’t clear. But the subject took on a new urgency in 2015 with the crash of GermanWings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Andreas Lubitz, a first officer flying in defiance of medical  advice appears to have intentionally put the Airbus A320 into a descent on a flight from Barcelona to Dusseldorf, crashing the plane and killing all aboard. Within days, reports of the 27-year old’s previously hidden mental health issues became public. When my children were little and I worried about whether they were coming down with a cold, their pediatrician used to… Read More…

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Girls In Aviation Day Recap

September 26, 2016

A mechanical engineer talked about her role in helping protect US sailors and soldiers from missile strikes with her work on early warning radar systems. A mechanic recalled her enthusiasm at  getting her first paying job working on helicopters after a childhood spent tinkering with machines. Loretta Alkalay, a professor at Vaughn College, and a licensed drone pilot took her quad copter on a short but exciting flight in the auditorium of a school in Manhattan and for all of it a crowd of girls aged 9 to 17 looked on with rapt attention. Girls in Aviation day events were held at schools and airports and… Read More…

Another Day Another Fine for Air Methods

September 15, 2016

The Federal Aviation Administration just announced another fine against Air Methods, a large operator of helicopter ambulances – this one for nearly $900,000 for a particularly egregious infraction; knowingly flying patients in an aircraft with a serious safety defect. Between November 4 and the 11th in 2014, the FAA claims, Air Methods continued to use the helicopter after an FAA inspector told the company the pitot tubes were “severely corroded.” The FAA called this behavior, “reckless and careless”, endangering lives. “Operators are expected to respond appropriately when FAA inspectors alert them to airworthiness concerns,” Administrator Michael Huerta said in a statement to journalists. Huerta made nearly similar statements in pointing out other infractions… Read More…

Six Ways to Celebrate The Miracle of Flight on Aviation Day

August 18, 2016

On August 19, we celebrate Aviation Day. Granted, most people don’t actually celebrate. Most people probably don’t even know about this American holiday created 77 years ago. It was a birthday gift of sorts, to Orville Wright, who was still alive in 1939 when President Roosevelt set aside this date to promote flying. These days, with nearly two and a half billion people taking to the sky every year, aviation needs less promotion and more affection. That’s because mentioning air travel to anyone other than aviation geeks is most likely to prompt grumbling. Oh how quickly we take for granted the shiny new thing we were so excited about yesterday, to paraphrase… Read More…

Australia MH370 Pilot Suicide Theory Flies in the Face of Facts

July 31, 2016

Australia’s news program 60 Minutes told viewers on Sunday that the only possible explanation for the disappearance of Malaysia 370 is “that a skilled pilot deliberately landed the 777 on the water.” Headline-making to be sure, but it’s unlikely to have gone down the way the program suggests. The twenty minute report by correspondent Ross Coulthart, rejuvenates the pilot suicide theory with the help of Larry Vance, who was a senior investigator for the Canadian Transport Safety Board during the crash of Swissair 111 in 1998. The key to the MH370 mystery, according to Vance is in the flaperon, a flight control surface located at the back of the wing…. Read More…

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