Friday, April 30, 2010

Tarmac Rules Trap Passengers and Airlines on a Flight to Nowhere

I’m beyond weary on the subject of air traveler complaints. I started to feel a little grouchy after my story on baggage fees ran in The New York Times a few weeks ago. The story explained that all passengers are not created equal. Those traveling with heavy or multiple bags cost the airline more. It’s this simple; weight and space equals cost.

Friday, April 23, 2010

What’s Safe Above is Safe Below Applying Aviation Safety Lessons to Mining

I’ve sent my share of criticism in the direction of the Federal Aviation Administration since writing my book Deadly Departure about the crash of TWA Flight 800. But in today’s New York Times, there’s a startling account of federally documented safety lapses at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, leading me to believe air travelers have it good compared to coal mine workers.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ash Wednesday one week, ascension the next!

This photograph was sent to me tonight, by my friend Joe Wheeler in Perth, Australia. Since there was little to smile about in international aviation over the past week I thought I'd pass along this light relief.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Runaway Sub Hampers Air France 447 Search

A runaway mini-sub temporarily halted progress on the French government’s search of the Atlantic for the black boxes from Air France Flight 447. The remote operated underwater vessel, the Remus, is part of a team of recovery watercraft hired by the French as they investigate last June's crash of an Airbus 330.

David's update -- Onward to Florida

David Paqua posts an update on his flight from Danbury Municipal Airport to Sun 'n Fun in Florida in his homebuilt Acro Sport...including clarifying that Blackberry trouble!

Plane is fine, phone was dead.

Well this isn't David Paqua's Blackberry, but I'm guessing his was resting in a similar spot on Tuesday.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kinston for fuel

From David Paqua's Blackberry: "Nice and warm here. I'm watching a 767 do touch and go's. A lot of fuss and bother."

Yep, its 73 degrees and clear at Kinston Regional Jetport in North Carolina where David appears to have stopped to fuel up the Acro Sport. Well have to wait for details on the 767 activity. I have no idea...

David's GPS shows him on the ground at 12:30. Must be time for lunch. Follow his trip south to Sun 'n Fun by clicking here.

Ocean City

And he's off!
My friend David Paqua has completed the first leg of his trip to the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in his homebuilt Acro Sport. He landed for fuel in Maryland minutes ago. David left on this solo, cross country flight from Danbury Municipal Airport just after 7:00 a.m. Monday. His route took him west over Briarcliff Manor and he turned the plane south over the Hudson.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Follow David's Adventure

This weekend, my friend David Paqua will take off from Danbury Municipal Airport on a great adventure, flying his little two-seat biplane from Connecticut to Lakeland, Florida for the annual Sun 'n Fun Fly In.
This is not just any cross-country flight and David's Acro Sport is not just any airplane.When I think about it, David's not just any pilot either. He's my friend and I'm very proud of him.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pilot with embellished story flying armed? Who knows.

In an earlier blog posting, I wondered what new revelations might emerge about American Eagle pilot Timothy Martins, the cover boy who may have embellished his life story in a profile about him in the Air Line Pilots Association magazine's April edition.
You may recall that in the story, written by technical editor Jan Steenblik, and pulled off the digital newsstand within days of its publication, Martins was said to have been a paramedic, New York city fire fighter, Air National Guard fighter pilot, and graduate of Dowling College School of Aviation.
Officials with each of these organizations deny that Martins fought their fires, flew their planes or graduated from their school. The denials, while interesting don't explain how these fictions wound up in print. I'm getting nowhere with ALPA. Spokeswoman Linda Shotwell tells me no one at the union has anything to say about the matter.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Reluctant Pilot Remembers Personal Resurrection

Professionalism is a concept much-discussed of late in the world of aviation. My news story and blog post, about the American Eagle pilot whose profile in Air Line Pilot magazine turned out to contain a number of fabrications, has ALPA, the union of airline pilots reeling.

It’s not just pilots who show lapses of judgment. In February, an air traffic controller was suspended after allowing his children to issue clearances to commercial pilots flying in New York airspace.

But focusing too much on such events can contribute to a distorted perception of aviation. The story of Doug White and the half-dozen air traffic controllers who last Easter helped White and his family through a harrowing event provides a counter-balance.