Flying Lessons Blog

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…


Wait. Stop. Please Don’t Threaten Prosecution in Ukrainian Crash

January 12, 2020

Despite the tragic loss of 176 people onboard the Ukrainian International Airlines flight shot down over Tehran on January 8, no one should applaud the promise made in a Tweet from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, to prosecute those responsible for the attack on a civilian airliner. And let’s not get too excited either about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. Retribution sounds satisfying in the heat of the moment, but it will not make another attack less likely in the future and that should trouble everyone who flies. Since the news first broke that the Ukrainian International 737 crashed… Read More…


Remaining Objective While Missile Theories Fly in Tehran

January 10, 2020

Much of the evidence so far in the crash of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 seems to suggest a missile brought down the airliner on Wednesday. A surprisingly illuminating video posted by The New York Times shows a pin of light ascending, then intersecting with what is presumably the plane, followed by a large explosion. The plane continued in some sort of flight before crashing. Whether it turned back to the airport purposefully, is difficult to discern from the available information. Twelve seconds after the intersection of the purported missile with the airliner, the camera records the sound of the explosion. (Someone better at math… Read More…


Iran Includes US & Boeing and Considers Explosion In Ukrainian Crash Probe

January 9, 2020

#BREAKING: It is now known that the Flight PS752 of #Ukraine International Airlines exploded mid-air before impacting ground in #Shahriar, near #Tehran, #Iran. Cause of the explosion of this Boeing 737-8KV with UR-PSR register is unknown.This video shows it moments before crash👇 pic.twitter.com/b1n6TVBccD — Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) January 8, 2020 Iran plans to include the United States, Boeing and the joint American/French CFM Engines in its probe into Wednesday’s crash of a Ukranian International Airlines Boeing 737 that killed 170+ people. In a rapidly filed report (in Persian) with the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Iranian government indicated it would follow the United Nation’s internationally… Read More…


What’s a Hunch and What’s Hooey in Ukraine 737 Disaster in Tehran

January 8, 2020

There’s a lot we don’t know about what caused a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737 to crash shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Wednesday morning. But two things are already abundantly clear. First, a number of people who should know better are spewing baloney when they say they know what didn’t happen. Second, what is known so far is consistent with a possible missile strike considering Iran’s launch of 22 missiles just hours earlier. This doesn’t prove anything, it is simply a hunch worth sussing out. In a video posted on Twitter, a ball of light can be seen streaming… Read More…


A Decade in Aviation Departs Leaving Challenges in Its Wake

December 31, 2019

The request for an email interview arrived in my inbox from Namibia shortly after Christmas. The journalist wanted my thoughts about, what else, the Boeing 737 Max. The October 2018 and March 2019 crashes of two of Boeing’s newest jetliners and the subsequent grounding of the fleet for an unprecedented 9 months (and counting) is the aviation story of the decade. Like a pebble tossed into a pond, the ripples continue to radiate outward, making the Max debacle a story of global significance. Norway, Indonesia, Argentina, China, Mauritania, Iceland, Morocco, airlines in these and other nations have been impacted by decisions made at Boeing and… Read More…


Grinch Arrives at Airport Where Santa Died, Pilots Say

December 24, 2019

On the Friday before Christmas in 1959, private pilot Charles Chase Jr. died dressed in a Santa suit. The 39-year old father and aviation aficionado had taken his airplane over Central Maine, loaded with Christmas presents for the children in the town of Dover-Foxcroft. It was an annual tradition that would see him land right back on the private airstrip he helped develop and distribute presents to the kids eagerly awaiting their flying Santa. Gifts and Santa are an unbeatable combination but sixty years ago, one can imagine that the kids were probably equally excited about the airplane. On this particular Christmas, however, Santa’s arrival… Read More…


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