Posts with the tag ‘air safety’


New Book Challenges Finding Of Pilot Error in Famous Near-Disaster

July 9, 2018

Anyone who has ever watched one of those air disaster programs on television can be forgiven for believing that there is always an “ah hah” moment, the penultimate step to discovering what went wrong. From the disappearance of aviatrix Amelia Earhart in 1937 to the still-missing flight of Malaysia 370, accident probes are never easy and rarely are they independent. They are clouded with complications; The biases of the investigators, the agendas of interested parties and the pressures from industry and government. In his new book, Scapegoat, A Flight Crews’ Journey From Heroes, to Villains, to Redemption, author and airline pilot Emilio Corsetti III tells… Read More…


Safety Report: Westjet Flight Just 3 Seconds from Crashing in St. Maarten

June 4, 2018

A Canadian probe into the WestJet Boeing 737 that flew astonishingly close to the water on approach to St. Maarten’s Princess Juliana International Airport last year, shows the plane was less than three seconds away from hitting the water. The stunning event, caught on camera by aviation photographer Christine Garner, has been under investigation by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. On Monday it released its final report detailing a list of findings and risks exposed by the near disaster on March 7, 2017. The flight from Toronto, with 164 people aboard was 63 feet above the Caribbean flying through heavy rain when the proximity… Read More…


NASCAR Crash Points Out Disparity In Aviation Safety Standards

September 17, 2017

It is an odd situation that a man who successfully competed in race car driving, ostensibly a dangerous sport, should die in an airplane crash. On Saturday, NASCAR racing legend Ted Christopher, 59, was killed along with pilot Charles Dundas while flying through Connecticut en route to a race in Long Island, New York. The men were flying in a Mooney M20. A few factors, however, should make this news less than surprising. Over the past few months, Connecticut has been the scene of nine general aviation plane crashes, four of them fatal. The troubling statistics prompted Connecticut’s senator Richard Blumenthal to send a letter… Read More…


The Lady Vanishes Igniting 80 Year Old Mystery

June 30, 2017

Eighty years ago as Amelia Earhart waited in Lae, New Guinea for weather to clear so she could begin her homeward flight across the vast Pacific, she gave thought to the fact that on this, one of the last legs of her month-long, round-the-world flight, she’d be crossing the International Dateline. “Clocks turn back,” she noted. As with all errors of judgment, the sweetest idea is the impossible one; turning back the clock and starting afresh – armed with the lesson learned. As I wrote in my book, The Crash Detectives,  Earhart the adventurer and global role model, made several errors in planning her record-setting… Read More…


ICON Aircraft Founder Kirk Hawkins Disputes Post on Pilot Error in A5 Crash

June 8, 2017

Having experienced its first fatal crash last month, the founder of ICON Aircraft Kirk Hawkins is understandably on edge. I’m to blame for some of that, apparently. In a previous post, I suggested he was pointing the finger at the pilot of the A5 that crashed on Lake Berryessa on May 8. Here’s why. On the day the National Transportation Safety Board issued its preliminary report into the accident, ICON published on its website, a statement that offered even more information than the NTSB. “We’re unsure why the plane flew into such a narrow canyon that had no outlet,” the company statement read. Knowing Hawkins’ off-stated… Read More…


Icon Suggests Pilot Erred In A5 Plane Crash

May 18, 2017

Investigators don’t know what caused the fatal plane crash last week of the new and highly-anticipated light-sport Icon A5, but in a statement on the company website, Icon’s director of flight, Shane Sullivan suggests pilot error was an issue. “We’re unsure why the plane flew into such a narrow canyon that had no outlet,” Sullivan wrote.  Such speculation by an interested party during the investigation is highly unusual and frowned upon by the National Transportation Safety Board. On May 8, aeronautical engineer and chief test pilot Jon Karkow was piloting the two seat amphibious A5 with Icon’s new director of engineering, Cagri Sever on board as a passenger…. 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…


Independent Investigators and Malaysia 370

May 16, 2016

My post on Forbes.com last week suggesting the number of clues on the ground that could shed light on what happened to Malaysia Flight 370, generated much interest but particularly the suggestion that a new independent group be selected to give a fresh eyes view to the case. This idea came from Peter Fiegehen, an air traffic control specialist from Australia who also worked with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Peter suggests a small team not previously connected to the investigation could be effective. The problem is that ICAO Annex 13 which provides guidance to air safety authorities can be interpreted in such a way that it excludes outsiders. “States… Read More…


Lawsuit Questions Lufthansa’s Supervision of Student Pilot in GermanWings Crash

April 18, 2016

The lawsuit filed on behalf of nearly eighty of the 150 victims of the suicide-induced crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 on March 24, 2015, directs attention to the training of the pilots who fly for the airline (now called Eurowings) and its big brother, Lufthansa. Full disclosure before I continue. From 2001 until 2008, I was the primary investigator for Kreindler & Kreindler, the American aviation law firm that has sued Lufthansa’s pilot training center, called Aviation Training Center of Arizona or ATCA. In October 2010, I spent a week living and flying with the cadets who would, as Lubitz did,  go on to become pilots with the airline. I wrote several… Read More…


United Makes Peace by Reinstating Fired Crew, Qatar Not So Much

March 11, 2016

Two stories with big consequences for the participants and lessons for the rest of us were in the news this week. After years of fighting their firing for expressing concern about the security of their aircraft, 13 United flight attendants have been reinstated. You may recall from a previous post on my blog, that in the summer of 2014, the cabin crew on a flight from San Francisco to Hong Kong, grew concerned about disturbing graffiti on the tail of their Boeing 747. Drawn in the grease were two faces and the words “bye bye”. The airlines operations staff dismissed the drawing as a benign prank… Read More…


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