Posts with the tag ‘Journalism’


“Bombshell” TV Program on Malaysia 370 Fueled by Alternative Facts

May 17, 2018

In an earlier post, I accused the Australian 60 Minutes program of gender bias by excluding from its  Sunday show on the disappearance of Malaysia 370, the two women who wrote books on the subject, Florence de Changy author of Flight MH370 Did Not Disappear and me. In a lengthy broadcast claiming to feature the world’s “keenest minds”, 60 Minutes featured five men in a rousing exchange of maybes and coulda beens or what is otherwise known in the aviation community as hangar talk. Best to let the men fly this plane because what’s fueling Channel 9’s MH370 coverage is not gender bias but agenda bias with… Read More…


Why No Woman’s Voice in MH370 Discussion?

May 14, 2018

In Sunday’s New York Times, David Leonhardt writes a column in support of listening to women. Published on Mother’s Day, for this mom, it couldn’t be more timely. Leonhardt finds that women experts are underrepresented in the media, citing various studies that show they are quoted about 25 percent of the time. I noted the column and appreciated the sentiment, but that was it. I awoke on Monday to the news that Australia’s 60 Minutes program was again reporting far-fetched theories about what happened to Malaysia 370. Stay with me, these two events are linked. The theory that MH370 was hijacked by its Muslim pilots… Read More…


Trump’s Somewhat Less-Than-Alarming Attack on Air Safety

January 26, 2017

The Washington Post tagged a story on Donald Trump’s first days as U.S. President with the alarming proclamation that he was “blocking regulations, including one to prevent plane crashes.” Without wading into the morass that is federal politics in America these days, let’s just be clear about what Trump actually did. Shortly after taking office Friday, Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, ordered a number of government agencies to withdraw proposed rules from publication in the federal register, the last stop before the “proposed” comes off and the rule becomes law. From the Department of Housing to the Interior Department, senior lawyers must have worked through the… 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…


Note to Allegiant: Emergency Landings Are Not the Problem

January 28, 2016

Recently a friend asked me what airlines were the safest to fly. I get asked that question all the time. I find the question challenging in part because of the chasm between risk and perceived risk. For example, most air travelers will admit to some anxiety about the safety of their flight, but few worry much about the taxi in which they are speeding to the airport. Travelers are also treated to end-of-the-year news reports about the world’s most dangerous airlines based on fatalities. That’s a false relationship as I’ve reported before. Sometimes, however, it is obvious what airlines to avoid. I was reminded of that today when I read… 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…


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…


A Soprano-Like Shakedown Squeezes Smisek out of United

September 9, 2015

United’s boss Jeff Smisek resigned from the airline today, as a probe continues into whether he and other top executives agreed to provide favors for a government official in New Jersey. In a statement, United says it has been cooperating with a federal investigation and in fact, that the airline had conducted its own probe into whether David Samson of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey demanded the airline reopen a route to Columbia, South Carolina in exchange for the go-ahead on several airport projects at Newark Liberty International Airport. As reported by Bloomberg in April, the story reads like an plot from… Read More…


Pilot Punches Holes in Post on 747 Hail Damage

July 4, 2015

>N671US in Shannon Photo courtesy Kevin Corry The Boeing 747 taken out of the desert in Arizona to replace the Delta jumbo jet pelted by hail over China, has itself gone out of service, at least temporarily after an emergency landing in Ireland on Friday. Flightaware.com shows N671US back on the ground in Shannon after departing Amsterdam for New York.  The St. Paul Business Journal reported a smoke alarm triggered the emergency landing. There were 376 passengers on board. “Wow, just wow,” was the response I received from a Delta 747 pilot who has been watching the events unfold. He then turned his attention to… Read More…


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