Flying Lessons Blog

Black Boxes Pulled as French Open Probe into Air France Go-Around

April 6, 2022

  Frances’s air accident investigation office has opened a probe into Tuesday’s near-disaster of an Air France flight from New York to Paris.  Flight 11, a Boeing 777 was on final approach and descending when air traffic control heard a transmission from the cockpit of human grunting and alarms. The controller repeated the runway clearance information several times before the crew answered. Controllers saw that as the plane continued its descent it veered off the flight path and to the left. At this point, the pilots initiated a go-around. In the ATC tape of the episode which can be heard via the Airlive YouTube channel… Read More…


United 767 Makes Emergency Landing as Engine Quits on Zurich Flight

March 28, 2022

This post has been modified to reflect a wise reader’s observation that the age of plane is less relevant than the age and most recent maintenance of the PW4000 engines, which this person believes must be considerably younger. I do not have this information as Pratt & Whitney and United declined to answer questions. Passengers boarding United’s Sunday flight from Newark to Zurich had to be pleasantly surprised to discover the cabin was only half full.  That is unusual as airlines struggle to keep up with post-pandemic passenger demand. But the good news stopped before the Boeing 767-300 had even crossed the Atlantic, as the… Read More…


New Recorder Find Should Narrow List of Theories in China Eastern Disaster

March 27, 2022

Officials looking into the fatal crash of China Eastern Flight 5735 told reporters Sunday morning that they had located a critical piece of wreckage from the main debris site, the Boeing 737’s flight data recorder. The find was made by one of several teams of local fire and rescue personnel in an area determined to be a likely spot based on where other key debris was found. Mao Yanfeng head of aircraft investigation at the Civil Aviation Administration of China board told reporters the FDR will provide a raft of “real and objective” information for determining what caused the crash. Included in this list, Yanfeng… Read More…


Jetliner Debris Found Miles from Crash Scene May Indicate Pre-Crash Breakup

March 24, 2022

Chinese authorities say they have found a piece of the China Eastern airliner, six miles from the area where the Boeing 737 NG crashed on Monday. While the main debris field is concentrated as a result of the plane’s near-vertical plummet from the sky, this separate piece, a distance away, indicates that prior to the crash the airplane was shedding parts. Whether the piece coming free of the plane triggered the disaster or if it was a consequence of the high-speed dive is not known but is certainly a question the investigators will try to answer. An airliner dropping nose down so dramatically and rapidly… Read More…


China Eastern Crash and What You Don’t Know About 737 NG

March 21, 2022

News bulletins today related to the crash of China Eastern Flight 5735 include the disclaimer that the Boeing 737 that plunged to earth killing 132 people, is not the notorious 737 MAX. Most news consumers, indeed most air travelers, know at least a glimmer of the story of the MAX, a flawed Boeing product that produced two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. They know less about the 737 NG. What remains practically a secret, is that the 737 NG was the subject of a decade-long series of court cases filed by Boeing whistleblowers who say the NGs are poorly constructed and at risk of… Read More…


FAA Officials Channel Perry Mason – Tell Prosecutors of Mark Forkner in 737 Max Case, “You’ve Got The Wrong Man”

February 15, 2022

So who are these FAA officials who want to tell the truth about former Boeing test pilot Mark Forkner and the 737 Max? I don’t know their names, but I wish I did. Even more, I want to know why the Federal Aviation Administration lawyers spent weeks and weeks trying to keep them from talking to Forkner, the only individual to be criminally charged in the 737 Max debacle. This is important because these folks say that Forkner is a scapegoat. So wouldn’t anyone interested in the truth want to know why FAA insiders think that? Last fall, the unidentified four gave a PowerPoint presentation… Read More…


People Killed in Two 737 Max Crashes, Not Victims, US Attorney General Says

February 8, 2022

False claims Boeing made to the Federal Aviation Administration about a critical system on its 737 MAX airplane may have led to a fatally flawed product being sold to airlines around the globe. In the legal world, however, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the people killed in two subsequent air crashes are victims, according to a legal filing by Kenneth Polite, US Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division in a Texas courtroom on Tuesday. The law surely allows lawyers like Mr. Polite and his boss, Attorney General Merrick Garland, to argue over semantics but when it comes to who is impacted on the most fundamental level… Read More…


Ethiopian Airlines & Boeing Share a Tone Deaf Moment & Cake As 737 MAX Returns to Flight

February 4, 2022

Trust a crisis manager to be attuned to how to get it right when an airline is returning to service a plane as notorious as the 737 MAX. Ethiopian Airlines, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have even heard the music let alone thought about the right chord. On Wednesday, executives from the airline and Boeing joined journalists, government officials, and yes, even customers for cake and bonhomie for a demonstration flight to mark the return of the MAX to service. This is not the way to respect or acknowledge the MAX backstory. On a day in March nearly 3 years ago, 157 people… Read More…


US Carriers Embrace Pilot Cadet Training – Diversifying Cockpits in the Process

February 1, 2022

  To much fanfare and a curiously ironic twist, United Airlines became the latest American carrier to open its own pilot training program. On January 27th it officially welcomed the 30 cadets who arrived ready to learn to fly at Arizona’s Goodyear Airport two months ago. The fanfare is justified. United now occupies and runs Aviate Academy, formerly the flight school of Lufthansa, and it is proud that 80 percent of its first students will provide a demographic diversity previously not seen in airline cockpits that remain overwhelmingly white and male in the United States. What’s ironic is the timing. United is several years behind… Read More…


Airlines Push Travelers to VeriFLY App But The Price May Be Surrendering Privacy

January 28, 2022

On Data Privacy Day, yep, you read that right, Google it, I’m here to share the story of 17-year-old Daisy Fichthorn of Darien, Conn. May it be a warning that despite the fact that 51 countries note the importance of privacy and data protection, in the airline world this means less to some companies than others. Anyway back to Daisy. The Connecticut teen downloaded the coronavirus vaccination verification app, VeriFLY to her phone earlier this month because she hoped it would make it easier to navigate through the gauntlet of Covid-related travel restrictions before her flight to Zaragosa, Spain. In emails, American Airlines was pretty… Read More…


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