Posts with the tag ‘air safety’


Aviation Year in Review Has a Star Wars Sci-Fi Feel

December 29, 2015

Star Wars dominated the end-of-the-year entertainment news. Harrison Ford, the ageless superstar most associated with the ageless film franchise also arrives on my list of top aviation news stories as I wrap up the year with a look back at 2015. It was March (and the movie was already in the can) when Ford, a pilot for nearly a quarter century, lost the engine on his Ryan Aeronautical ST3KR, shortly after takeoff from Santa Monica Airport. He crash landed on a golf course about 800 feet from the airfield. The NTSB determined a carburetor malfunction allowed too much fuel to flow into the engine causing… Read More…


Happy Birthday from Syria and Other Places in a Troubled World

December 19, 2015

>One of my Facebook messages today Not long after my eyes opened this morning I enjoyed reading some of the early birthday greetings posted on my Facebook page. (Don’t judge me.) It is heartwarming to be remembered by friends and family of course. Then I noticed something else; the remarkable number of countries from which those greetings came. I counted eleven even before 9:00 o’clock. My host family during my 2006 stay in Syria, my daughter’s former boyfriend in New Zealand, an au pair from Spain, a tour guide from Morocco, a pre-teen acquaintance from Australia, an a septuagenarian from Japan, business associates from Norway,… Read More…


Science Shows Metrojet Crash Triggered by a Bomb

November 13, 2015

The blast that took down a Russian Airbus A321 over the Sinai last month, had to be triggered by a bomb, an experienced explosives expert said today. “If the information about the plane being at 31,000 feet is reliable, it’s not a fuel air explosion,” Merritt Birky, a former safety investigator with the NTSB told me. Lacking any indication that a missile hit the airplane, Birky’s conclusion eliminates the other possible scenario, that the plane came apart mid flight due to an explosion in the plane’s center fuel tank. >Birky (L) in 1996 Birky, now retired, was the principal explosion and chemical expert in the… Read More…


Eyebrows Ascend as Airline Execs Demonstrate Their Plonker-ism

November 3, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how often senior airline bosses will prattle on regardless of what they know about the subject. The latest you’ve-got-to-be-kidding remarks come from Alexander Smirnov, the deputy general director of the airline, Metrojet whose Airbus A321 crashed over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Sunday. “We rule out a technical fault of the plane or a pilot error,” the executive said at news conference in Moscow on Monday and adding fuel to the speculation that the Airbus A321  was brought down by a terrorist. “The only possible (sic) could be a purely mechanical external impact,” Smirnov said. >Smirnov news conference photo from Poskotanews Well he can… Read More…


The Eye Opening Experience of Passing out at 25K

September 16, 2015

You got to hand it to the folks at Taiwan’s EVA Airlines; they’re taking the hypoxia threat seriously. Each of its pilot cadets learning to fly airliners at the University of North Dakota’s Mesa, Arizona flight training center will take a ride in a hypobaric chamber before leaving the USA to go back to Taipei and fly the airline’s big jets. Nearly a decade ago, air safety officials in Greece suggested that that all airline pilots undergo hypoxia training, following the loss of a Boeing 737 on a flight from Cyprus to Athens that killed 121 people on August 14, 2005. Neither the captain nor… Read More…


Mud Stud or Desk Detective, Two Seminars for Air Crash Analysis

September 9, 2015

Platinum Jet crash at Teterboro in 2005 Who is an air crash investigator? On those television documentaries, there’s always some government sleuth who cracks the case with extraordinary tenaciousness and a lot of taxpayer money to spend on labs, test flights and reconstructions. The ever-popular NBC News commentator and Greg Feith usually makes an appearance, which gives me a chance to remind my readers that his nickname is “the Mud Stud” picked up during the ValueJet crash of 1996. >Bob Benzon appears on Aircrash Confidential Bob Benzon, Bob MacIntosh, and other folks not named Bob but but with experience working for a government  accident bureau… Read More…


Aviation Reveals the Mystery of Human Resiliency

August 19, 2015

One month before Orville Wright’s birthday (which we remember today on National Aviation day) he was injured in a plane crash while demonstrating the Wright Flyer to the U.S. Army in Ft. Myers, Virginia with Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge on board. On their fifth circuit of the field, the Flyer’s right propeller broke unleashing a cascade of other problems that caused the plane to nose dive. Selfridge, a pilot and airplane designer was killed. There is little doubt in my mind that these aviation pioneers understood the risks associated with taking to the sky. Of the uncertainties for aviation pioneers, Wilbur Wright wrote this beautiful warning; “If… Read More…


High but Not So Mighty American Dreamliner Damage Photos

August 2, 2015

Updated Thursday August 6th with news from inspection in Dallas >Radome damage Glass half full: This American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner, returned to Beijing safely after flying into a hail storm at 26 thousand feet (ish) after takeoff on July 27. All 209 passengers and a crew of 13 were able to continue on the way to Dallas albeit on a different airplane and with a delay. Glass half empty: Travelers had the beejeebies scared out of them during the encounter. Passenger Dallas Rueschoff told a reporter, “We were going sideways, up and down…we dropped a good few hundred feet at least.”  Or as a 787… Read More…


Egg Heads Unlikely Malaysia 370 Heroes in the Bamboozle Era

July 30, 2015

In the past I’ve referred to them as the kids who couldn’t get a date for the prom. Now, I bet the engineers at the British satellite communication company inmarsat will be the coolest kids of summer if the portion of an airplane found in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean turns out to be from Malaysia Flight 370. Jonathan Sinnatt, director of corporate communications for inmarsat said the company is not making any comment – certainly not before a determination is made about whether the 6 foot long piece of what appears to be part of a wing, is actually from the missing Malaysia… Read More…


Beauty Takes The Runway on A350 Tour (Just Don’t Look Too Close)

July 17, 2015

>F-WWCF the Airbus A350 MSN #2 in Newark on Thursday The Airbus A350 XWB that flew into Newark Liberty International Airport this week on another stop on its tour of the Americas looked awfully pretty parked out on the ramp by Signature Aviation Services. But like many of us gals in the prep stage of a special event, one should not look too closely or the hairclips and Spanx might be visible.   That’s because this plane MSN #2, just one of two prototypes with a full cabin configuration, is still running a variety of tests. Is the cabin too humid? How are the structure… Read More…


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