Posts with the tag ‘aviation safety’


WestJet Denies Close Call Caught on Camera at St. Maarten

March 9, 2017

Air travelers to St. Maarten expect a thrilling view approaching Princess Juliana International Airport. But thrills turned terrifying for passengers and observers of WestJet Flight 2652 from Toronto on Tuesday. When the Boeing 737 descended through the clouds it went well below the minimum descent altitude. The scene of the jet skimming the surface of Maho Bay was captured by aviation photographer Christine Garner,  shooting from the roof of a nearby building. She said she thought the plane was going to crash. “When this plane came out of the cloud, I was so shocked,” she said. “The surprising thing was he was lower than me. Normally they pass… 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…


Quest For More From CNN From MH-370

March 6, 2016

Full disclosure: The Crash Detectives, my own book on the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370, will be published by Penguin in September. This may have colored my perception of Richard Quest’s new book, The Vanishing of Flight 370. Then again, maybe it really is a rehash of CNN’s original undisciplined coverage. Quest, CNN’s business correspondent, is well known for his out-sized personality and his “say anything” interview style. But in the book he has produced for Penguin Berkley and timed to the second anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia 370, all his insouciant charm is gone. Without that, Quest’s demonstrated ego wears thin long… Read More…


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…


Nice Landing or Scary Takeoff A350 Enters Service With Both

December 18, 2015

>A350 arrives in Brazil photo courtesy TAM What a difference a week makes. Early this morning, TAM Airlines happily welcomed its first Airbus A350 when it touched down uneventfully in Brazil after a flight from Airbus HQ in Toulouse France. Earlier this week, however, it was quite a different experience when a Qatar Airways charter flight with aviation writers enjoying a look at the fancy new wide body, attempted to leave New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.   >Honig’s blog post on the Qatar experience In that case, what appeared to be a normal takeoff roll was suddenly aborted. Zach Honig, The Points Guy… 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…


Prudence and Probable Cause Not the Same Thing in Metrojet Crash

November 5, 2015

>UK Prime Minister Cameron Government photo All over the news today is the story of the UK and Irish governments canceling flights out of Sharm el Sheikh. British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters “ a bomb was more likely than not” to have brought down the Airbus A321 flown by the Russian charter airline, Metrojet. But be cautious about drawing conclusions based on the reaction of government officials concerned about protecting the lives of citizens flying out of the Egyptian resort town. It is the job of Prime Ministers and other political leaders to be prudent and investigate what could have happened to determine if a… 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…


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