Flying Lessons Blog

No Proof of Muilenburg’s Claim Boeing’s Self-Certification Makes Skies Safer

October 30, 2019

Among the many claims made by Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg that does not pass the smell test is the one he made on Tuesday, asserting that America’s broken process for certifying the airliners is in fact, enhancing air safety. Boeing has attained never-before-levels of autonomy in self-certifying the airworthiness of its designs after lobbying Congress for that authority and in fact, actually helping to write the new laws, according to The New York Times.  “The creation of the delegate authority has enhanced safety,” Muilenburg told members of the Senate’s Commerce Committee on Tuesday. “There has been a 90 percent improvement in safety, a portion of… Read More…


Boeing Practiced in Hiding Information from Investigators

October 29, 2019

Boeing’s decision to keep from investigators text messages from 2016 in which a 737 Max test pilot, Mark Forkner, worried that there were egregious problems with the airplane’s flight control system prompted the Administrator of the Federal Aviation  Administration two weeks ago to demand answers from Boeing. In a letter to Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, Steve Dickson wrote that he expected an immediate explanation. Likely, members of the Senate Commerce Committee will make a similar demand of Muilenburg when he testifies on Tuesday. To be clear, however, this is not the first time that Boeing purposefully withheld information that would have been useful to investigators…. Read More…


Lion Air Crash Report Urges Realistic View of Pilot Capabilities

October 25, 2019

The final report on the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 tells a lengthy but ultimately old story; many things combined to lead to the October 29, 2018 disaster that killed 189 people. The National Transportation Safety Committee details nine as it lists the shortcomings of Lion Air, Air Nav Indonesia and Boeing. Incorrect, flawed, erroneous, incomplete and ineffective are just some of the damning words that litter the list of contributing factors. But it is its recommendation to Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration that goes to the heart of the global debate that heated up with the twin Max disasters. What is the… Read More…


Most Experienced B-17 Pilot in Command of Plane that Crashed

October 4, 2019

The 75-year old California pilot in command of the B-17 Nine-O-Nine that crashed in Connecticut on Wednesday was the highest time pilot on that model aircraft in America with 73-hundred hours, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Ernest McCauley, 75, of Long Beach, California was also the safety officer of the Collings Foundation, which owned the airplane since 1986 and operated it as part of its Wings of Freedom Tour. Jennifer Homendy, the NTSB board member at the scene told reporters “a lot has been accomplished” during the investigators’ first full day at the scene at Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford. “We’ve requested… Read More…


Warbird Operators Worry After B-17 Crash As Senator Calls for Closer Scrutiny

October 3, 2019

Having survived combat and oftentimes years of neglect, flying warbirds in America and their owners may be headed into a new battle. Triggered by Wednesday’s fatal crash of the Collings Foundation B-17 Nine-O-Nine at Bradley International Airport, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal says more scrutiny is needed for passenger flights on historic aircraft. Seven people were killed and six others on the airplane injured along with two people on the ground when the Nine-O-Nine crashed shortly after takeoff. The Flying Fortress was to make a 30-minute fly-around the area during the foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour that started earlier in the week. Responding to a question… Read More…


Irony of Pilot Laying Blame On Pilots in Boeing 737 Max Disasters

September 21, 2019

Full disclosure, I own and have read nearly every book ever written by William Langewiesche. He is a gifted writer with a stunning intellect and this is just an aside, he’s quite the looker. I have interviewed him twice but with his latest article in The New York Times Magazine, I think my crush is over. In a lengthy piece just published, Langewiesche weaves the known facts of the two 737 Max disasters into a jumble of opinion, pilot-bashing and Western superiority. Ostensibly, he is informing Times readers that not all pilots are Chuck Yeager and to justify the headline of the article, when it… Read More…


United Pilot’s Revenge Porn Case Exposes Larger Problem

September 18, 2019

After being charged by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission with fostering a hostile work environment by failing to take action against a pilot posting revenge porn, United Airlines is now said to be in settlement discussions with the Federal agency. Perhaps, after years of pretending a flight attendant’s torment wasn’t the airline’s problem, United will finally do the right thing. When it comes to pilots behaving badly, it’s hard to beat the now-retired United Capt Mark Uhlenbrock of Chesterfield, Missouri. From 2006 until 2015 when he was arrested by the FBI, he posted nude photos of the United flight attendant with whom he’d had a… Read More…


Should Epstein’s Pilots Have Foiled His Child Sex Trafficking Ring?

September 7, 2019

As new reports emerge about the various ways the late convicted pedophile Jeff Epstein procured and pimped young women to some of the most influential men in the world, the public has heard little from the pilots who greeted the VIPs and the underaged girls as they boarded Epstein’s private jets. Larry Visoski and David Rodgers flew for Epstein for nearly two decades. How could they be unaware of what the boss was up to? Still, Visoski and Rodgers, both of Florida, remain free to work as commercial pilots with no enforcement actions taken against them from the years Epstein pled guilty to those activities…. Read More…


An Aviation Day Wish to the World’s Would-Be “Piolet”s “Layer”s and “Writter”s

August 16, 2019

In her career as a lawyer and law professor at Washington College of Law, my sister Lee Negroni mentored many aspiring professionals. But how far —and how long — do ripples of inspiration travel? Recently, she came across a packet of thank you letters she received in 1993 after speaking to elementary school students in McLean, Virginia. I suspect Lee, who specialized in mortgage finance law, did a great job explaining her work to the 7-year olds. In one of the notes from the students, Christopher Herring wrote that he also wanted to “work and solve peoples (sic) problems”.  Eleanor Ennis said that her “dad… Read More…


California Congressman Lands Sully in Bid to Legislate Runway Safety

August 9, 2019

With the help of the pilot who is arguably the most popular aviator since Charles Lindbergh, a California Congressman is proposing legislation that strengthens the power of the nation’s air investigators in dealing with the Federal Aviation Administration. But some are worried about inserting politics into aviation safety. At a news conference on Thursday, Cong. Mark DeSaulnier and Capt. Chesley (Sully) Sullenberger the now-retired US Airways pilot of Miracle on the Hudson fame, announced a need to correct flaws in the nation’s safety system. Referring to the uniformed airline pilots who shared the stage, Capt. Sully said of their job, “These gents and their colleagues… Read More…


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