Posts with the tag ‘aviation safety’


Nice Landing or Scary Takeoff A350 Enters Service With Both

December 18, 2015

>A350 arrives in Brazil photo courtesy TAM What a difference a week makes. Early this morning, TAM Airlines happily welcomed its first Airbus A350 when it touched down uneventfully in Brazil after a flight from Airbus HQ in Toulouse France. Earlier this week, however, it was quite a different experience when a Qatar Airways charter flight with aviation writers enjoying a look at the fancy new wide body, attempted to leave New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.   >Honig’s blog post on the Qatar experience In that case, what appeared to be a normal takeoff roll was suddenly aborted. Zach Honig, The Points Guy… Read More…


Science Shows Metrojet Crash Triggered by a Bomb

November 13, 2015

The blast that took down a Russian Airbus A321 over the Sinai last month, had to be triggered by a bomb, an experienced explosives expert said today. “If the information about the plane being at 31,000 feet is reliable, it’s not a fuel air explosion,” Merritt Birky, a former safety investigator with the NTSB told me. Lacking any indication that a missile hit the airplane, Birky’s conclusion eliminates the other possible scenario, that the plane came apart mid flight due to an explosion in the plane’s center fuel tank. >Birky (L) in 1996 Birky, now retired, was the principal explosion and chemical expert in the… Read More…


Prudence and Probable Cause Not the Same Thing in Metrojet Crash

November 5, 2015

>UK Prime Minister Cameron Government photo All over the news today is the story of the UK and Irish governments canceling flights out of Sharm el Sheikh. British Prime Minister David Cameron told reporters “ a bomb was more likely than not” to have brought down the Airbus A321 flown by the Russian charter airline, Metrojet. But be cautious about drawing conclusions based on the reaction of government officials concerned about protecting the lives of citizens flying out of the Egyptian resort town. It is the job of Prime Ministers and other political leaders to be prudent and investigate what could have happened to determine if a… Read More…


Eyebrows Ascend as Airline Execs Demonstrate Their Plonker-ism

November 3, 2015

It never ceases to amaze me how often senior airline bosses will prattle on regardless of what they know about the subject. The latest you’ve-got-to-be-kidding remarks come from Alexander Smirnov, the deputy general director of the airline, Metrojet whose Airbus A321 crashed over Egypt’s Sinai peninsula on Sunday. “We rule out a technical fault of the plane or a pilot error,” the executive said at news conference in Moscow on Monday and adding fuel to the speculation that the Airbus A321  was brought down by a terrorist. “The only possible (sic) could be a purely mechanical external impact,” Smirnov said. >Smirnov news conference photo from Poskotanews Well he can… Read More…


The Eye Opening Experience of Passing out at 25K

September 16, 2015

You got to hand it to the folks at Taiwan’s EVA Airlines; they’re taking the hypoxia threat seriously. Each of its pilot cadets learning to fly airliners at the University of North Dakota’s Mesa, Arizona flight training center will take a ride in a hypobaric chamber before leaving the USA to go back to Taipei and fly the airline’s big jets. Nearly a decade ago, air safety officials in Greece suggested that that all airline pilots undergo hypoxia training, following the loss of a Boeing 737 on a flight from Cyprus to Athens that killed 121 people on August 14, 2005. Neither the captain nor… Read More…


Mud Stud or Desk Detective, Two Seminars for Air Crash Analysis

September 9, 2015

Platinum Jet crash at Teterboro in 2005 Who is an air crash investigator? On those television documentaries, there’s always some government sleuth who cracks the case with extraordinary tenaciousness and a lot of taxpayer money to spend on labs, test flights and reconstructions. The ever-popular NBC News commentator and Greg Feith usually makes an appearance, which gives me a chance to remind my readers that his nickname is “the Mud Stud” picked up during the ValueJet crash of 1996. >Bob Benzon appears on Aircrash Confidential Bob Benzon, Bob MacIntosh, and other folks not named Bob but but with experience working for a government  accident bureau… Read More…


Aviation Reveals the Mystery of Human Resiliency

August 19, 2015

One month before Orville Wright’s birthday (which we remember today on National Aviation day) he was injured in a plane crash while demonstrating the Wright Flyer to the U.S. Army in Ft. Myers, Virginia with Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge on board. On their fifth circuit of the field, the Flyer’s right propeller broke unleashing a cascade of other problems that caused the plane to nose dive. Selfridge, a pilot and airplane designer was killed. There is little doubt in my mind that these aviation pioneers understood the risks associated with taking to the sky. Of the uncertainties for aviation pioneers, Wilbur Wright wrote this beautiful warning; “If… Read More…


Wing Flap Should Elevate MH 370 Investigation

August 5, 2015

  The section of wing found on Reunion Island in the South Indian Ocean last week came from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or at least enough of a positive identification was made today for the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to announce he’s satisfied. While not a surprise to anyone who has seen or read the news since the part was found on a rocky beach, Razak’s statement is a six foot bit of certainty in the still-mysterious disappearance of the Boeing 777 on March 8, 2014. Even the confirmation today is not without equivocation, as Razak says yes, and others say, probably. The… Read More…


High but Not So Mighty American Dreamliner Damage Photos

August 2, 2015

Updated Thursday August 6th with news from inspection in Dallas >Radome damage Glass half full: This American Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner, returned to Beijing safely after flying into a hail storm at 26 thousand feet (ish) after takeoff on July 27. All 209 passengers and a crew of 13 were able to continue on the way to Dallas albeit on a different airplane and with a delay. Glass half empty: Travelers had the beejeebies scared out of them during the encounter. Passenger Dallas Rueschoff told a reporter, “We were going sideways, up and down…we dropped a good few hundred feet at least.”  Or as a 787… Read More…


Egg Heads Unlikely Malaysia 370 Heroes in the Bamboozle Era

July 30, 2015

In the past I’ve referred to them as the kids who couldn’t get a date for the prom. Now, I bet the engineers at the British satellite communication company inmarsat will be the coolest kids of summer if the portion of an airplane found in Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean turns out to be from Malaysia Flight 370. Jonathan Sinnatt, director of corporate communications for inmarsat said the company is not making any comment – certainly not before a determination is made about whether the 6-foot long piece of what appears to be part of a wing, is actually from the missing Malaysia Boeing… Read More…


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