Author Archive


Like A Greek Tragedy, Congressional Report on 737 Max Disasters Replete With Tales of Chicanery and Hubris

September 16, 2020

  Over the course of 7 months in 2011, Boeing did an about-face. While in January it eschewed the idea of putting new engines on its 44-year old workhorse, the 737, by July, executives embraced the idea. The change in attitude was in response to the re-engined Airbus A 320 neo, which was racking up orders for the Toulouse-based planemaker, including some from formerly loyal Boeing airline customers. The calculation that it would be cheaper and faster to tweak an old model than to design a new one, led to the Boeing 737 Max. Like a Greek tragedy, with all of the sorrow, the intrigue,… Read More…


Finding Travel Treats Close to Home

September 8, 2020

The virtual traveler may be all the rage, but for those of us working at our computers during the coronavirus, more time in front of a screen seems like the opposite of a getaway. So on a recent walk not five miles from my home in Greenwich, Connecticut, I was delighted to find the ruins of a mansion hidden deep in the woods off the trail of a city park. I’m a sucker for the large historical artifact, which I wrote about in this article for The New York Times. I’ve written about my visits to historic sites in Iceland, England, Germany, Turkey and Syria…. Read More…


Is the 737 Max Awaking from Hibernation “Sleeper” Style?

September 1, 2020

American Airlines flew its last Boeing 737 Max airliners home to its maintenance base in Tulsa, Oklahoma last week, bringing to 24 the number of grounded planes still awaiting their wake-up call. Am I the only one who is reminded of the Woody Allen movie Sleeper? Back in 1973, Allen played Miles Monroe, a health food store proprietor and jazz musician who dies unexpectedly on the operating table. He is preserved, frozen until 2173 when a more scientifically advanced society brings the sleeper back to life.  He quickly discovers things have changed. America is now a police state ruled by a dictator. (Need I say… Read More…


Jeffrey Epstein / Dean Kamen Connection Through Aviation Influencer

August 14, 2020

Nadia Marcinko, a celebrity pilot whose adolescence was spent in the company of the now-dead pedophile Jeffrey Epstein and the now-incarcerated Ghislaine Maxwell, had a curiously close and previously undisclosed years-long relationship with Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway. This is according to people familiar with her activities during her time in New Hampshire and public records. In 2008 and 2009, Epstein was locked up for the first time for engaging in sex with underage girls in Palm Beach, Florida. Marcinko, who lived with Epstein and was accused by victims of participating in some of the sexual assaults, spent the period of Epstein’s incarceration visiting… Read More…


Controversial Doctor Who Identified TWA 800 Victims Dies

August 2, 2020

Charles Wetli, the medical examiner responsible for identifying all of the 230 people killed in the 1996 crash of TWA 800 in July 1996, died last week at the age of 76. The flight from New York to Paris exploded shortly after takeoff from John F. Kennedy Airport and fell in pieces into the Atlantic Ocean. Among his peers, Dr. Wetli was lauded for using an array of new technology to successfully identify dismembered and decomposed corpses submerged underwater for extended periods. Even so, Dr. Wetli was less than a hero to many of the victims’ family members. They claimed his office worked too slowly… Read More…


A Corona Death Every Day for Flyers When Middle Seats Are Sold

July 19, 2020

American air carriers that choose to fill middle seats rather than leave them open during the coronavirus pandemic are subjecting their customers to an increased risk of contracting Coronavirus, according to a study by an MIT statistics professor. While a number of air travelers (myself included) have suspected this, the report by Arnold Barnett at the Sloan School of Management puts a rough number on that risk. In Covid-19 Risk Among Airline Passengers: Should the Middle Seat Stay Empty?,  Barnett finds that airlines selling middle seats (American Airlines, United and Spirit) put their travelers at a 44 percent higher risk of contracting corona than Delta,… Read More…


Two Epstein Aviatrixes Called New Hampshire Home

July 8, 2020

When helicopter pilot Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested last week, some thought the former companion and accused accomplice of the now deceased pedophile Jeffrey Epstein was hiding in a rather unlikely spot; Bradford, New Hampshire. But she is not the only Epstein aviatrix to call New Hampshire home. While Maxwell was seized at her newly purchased 154-acre estate in the woods, Nadia Marcinko, also linked to Epstein’s sexual assaults of teen girls and known as the celebrity pilot and social media influencer Global Girl, used New Hampshire as a place to reinvent herself. Marcinko settled in the shadow of one of the state’s most well-known companies,… Read More…


Investigation Shows Early Deception by Boeing on 737 Max

July 2, 2020

Boeing’s campaign to underplay and withhold information about a software system linked to two deadly air disasters goes back to the earliest days of the airliner’s design, a new report from the Department of Transportation’s Inspector General says. The report released on Wednesday is one of several launched following two crashes of Boeing 737 Max airliners that killed a total of 346 people in late 2018 and March of 2019. After the second accident, Boeing’s brand new airliner was grounded globally and it hasn’t flown in commercial service since. It is a record-setting halt in operations for a new airliner, surpassing even the infamous British… Read More…


Let European Ban Trigger More Responsible Travel

June 24, 2020

Would-be summer travelers to Europe will likely have to keep their plans on hold as the European Union considers a ban on international travelers from the United States, Brazil and Russia. Composed of 27 European countries from Ireland in the west to Romania in the east, the EU was scheduled to re-open its borders to international visitors next week on the first of July. New and seemingly unabated coronavirus infections in the US, Brazil and Russia appear to be prompting EU decision-makers to consider anew the risk of importing infections into Europe.  In a sign of how much has changed over the past few months,… Read More…


Will the 737 MAX Fly Again?

June 17, 2020

For those who like to gamble, the stakes are pretty high on one simple yes or no question, Will the Boeing 737 MAX fly again? I think it is unlikely, but on that, I am in the minority. Wednesday’s U.S. Senate hearing at which FAA administrator Stephen Dickson is scheduled to testify could provide some clues to the airplane’s future. (You can watch the hearing live here, beginning at 10:00 a.m. EST.) Over the past few weeks, I’ve reached out to industry insiders for their opinions. Few shared my gloomy view about the MAX. It seems that the sixties-era, twin-engine jetliner with the fancy new… Read More…


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