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Postcards from the Edge of Coronavirus

March 24, 2020

It is an old tradition that travelers send postcards to loved ones back home. With the Coronavirus putting a halt to travel and creating a near-universal sense of isolation and fear, I propose the reverse. From my home in America, I am sending digital postcards to some of the people I have met on my travels. Each in their way has taught me we have much in common, no matter what country we call home. To: Doreen Sekento Kumum in Maasi Mara, Kenya Habari Doreen, Thanks once again for teaching me the very basics of stringing beads during my visit to the Karen Blixen Camp…. Read More…


Pilot in Fatal Pegasus Crash Released to House Arrest

After two weeks in prison, Mahmut Arslan, the captain of the Pegasus Airlines jetliner that crashed killing 3, was released to house arrest on Monday, according to Turkish journalist, Didem Kuzu. Capt. Arslan was incarcerated after being discharged from the hospital where he was being treated for injuries sustained in the accident. Pegasus Flight  2193 sped off the runway after landing at Istanbul’s secondary airport, Sabiha Gökçen on February 5th. The Boeing 737NG hit two structures and then plummeted down a steep embankment. During his interview with the Chief Public Prosecutor, Capt. Arslan pointed out the many factors that were in play on the rainy… Read More…


Flying Lessons That Can Help Us Navigate Coronavirus

March 19, 2020

This is not the post where you will be told to wash your hands and avoid touching your face. No, this is a continuation of my long-held philosophy that pilots have useful practices that we can all use to deal more successfully with the uncertainties of life. The global pandemic of Coronavirus rages, governments differ in how best to respond to the threat. Confined to our homes we worry. Now think about this: Airline pilots use well-established techniques that assure they work safely on every single flight. If, metaphorically speaking, flight is life, then we are the captains who can take advantage of this knowledge… Read More…


The Corona-Killer Airlines Opted to Ignore

March 16, 2020

A history of ignoring the role of airliners in spreading diseases like the Coronavirus is coming back to bite the industry on the butt. Airlines are cutting their schedules which means cutting staff. They are parking airplanes and watching as share prices fall by double digits. “The turn of events as a result of COVID-19 is almost without precedent,” said Alexandre de Juniac, Director-General of the International Air Transport Association. And yet, Devin Liddell, a futurist and consultant with the Seattle-based design firm, Teague argues that Ebola, MERS, H1N1, SARs, and other global health scares provided plenty of warning. Airlines and the governments that regulate… Read More…


Will Boeing 737 Max Deaths Matter?

March 10, 2020

Today, families from many countries will remember the lives of those who died on Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, which crashed one year ago today. I suspect they will be joined by the survivors of the Lion Air Flight 610 accident, bound forevermore with Ethiopian in the corporate and government scandal of the Boeing 737 Max. In the two decades I have been writing about air safety and even more so during the years I worked for an aviation law firm, I heard many grieving families vow to make sense of senseless death. Among them  Jillian Gustafson  (TWA 800) and Gail Dunham (United Airlines 585) who… Read More…


Boeing Workers Warn of 737 NG Structural Problems – Then 4 Planes Fracture

February 17, 2020

There’s something very worrisome about the wreckage photos of the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 that overran the runway at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen Airport on February 5th, killing three and injuring nearly everyone else on board. Check out the photos below and see the eerie similarity to the way the fuselages fractured in almost exactly the same way in three previous runway excursion events involving Boeing 737 NG aircraft. If you are wondering what this could mean about the model’s structural integrity and its ability to protect passengers in events like runway excursions, you are not alone. Concerns that substandard structural elements were installed on the… Read More…


NTSB Releases Photos of Kobe Bryant Helicopter In Clouds – Why, Remains Shrouded Too

February 7, 2020

The Sikorsky S-76 that crashed in California nearly two weeks ago, killing Kobe Bryant and eight others flew into clouds then hit the side of a hill near Calabasas north of Los Angeles, according to a preliminary report on the accident released Friday by the National Transportation Safety Board. The investigators relied on multiple photos from people in the area at the time and at least one security camera. A low, thick cloud layer blanketed the hills as the helicopter disappeared into the clouds. Ara Zobayan, the 50-year old pilot for Island Express Helicopters, the charter company hired by Bryant, had received proficiency training for… Read More…


Strong Winds, Rain and Worrisome Landing Record for Pegasus Whose Latest Crash Kills Three

February 6, 2020

The death toll in the runway excursion of Pegasus Airlines Flight 2193 has risen to three according to Ali Yerlikaya, governor of Istanbul. In a news conference, Yerlikaya updated the number of people aboard the plane as well, saying the Boeing 737-800 was carrying 177 passengers and six crew members when it skidded off the runway at Sabiha Gokcen, Istanbul’s secondary airport shortly after 6pm local time on February 5th. In addition to the rising death toll, government officials also said 179 people, nearly all of those aboard were injured. Various videos taken by people at the airport and traveling on the highway near the… Read More…


One Killed as Pegasus Jetliner Splinters in Istanbul Runway Excursion

February 5, 2020

One person was killed and many others injured when a Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 skidded off a runway, breaking into parts and igniting. It was the airline’s third runway excursion over the past 3 years. In an ominous development, the chief prosecutor’s office announced it had started an investigation according to USA Today. #pegasus #İstanbul #Turkey PEGASUS BOEING 737 plane crash …hope everyone are safe …. pic.twitter.com/hPcN0cokVC — Narendran (@naren156258) February 5, 2020 There were at least 177 people on board the low-cost carrier which had flown from Izmir to Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport. After landing the jetliner appears to have exited the runway and… Read More…


“An Unthinkable Day” as Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash Kills Parents and Children

January 27, 2020

President Obama’s characterization of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant on Sunday as as “an unthinkable day” speaks to more than the loss of a sports legend, but to the devastating effects on four families. Nine people were on board the Sikorsky S-76; Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna. Thirteen-year-old Alyssa Altobelli and her parents Keri and John Altobelli. Christina Mauser, a basketball coach and the mother of a 10-year old boy who was not on the aircraft and three others including the pilot, who at this writing have not been identified. Such a loss is indeed unthinkable as the former President said,… Read More…


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