Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Two Different Approaches to Two Crash Landings?

Asiana 214 at San Francisco International Airport. Photo by NTSB
Considering the startling similarities between the crash of Asiana Flight 214 in San Francisco on July 6 and Southwest Airlines Flight 345 in New York on July 22, and what they could be telling us about pilot techniques globally, am I the only one wondering why information about the two investigations is being handled so very differently?

Monday, July 22, 2013

Southwest Nose Gear Accident Mirrors American Flight 1740


The latest airplane accident at New York's LaGuardia Airport shows once again how much progress has been made in making airplanes safe even when things go wrong. Just eight of the 150 passengers and crew members on board were reported injured.

Around dinnertime this evening, Southwest Airlines Flight 345 from Nashville to New York landed either without nose gear or with the pilots uncertain that they actually had nose gear locked into place. At this time, its not clear which.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ethiopian 787 Fire Sparks Question: Is Lithium Ion Ready to Fly?

Boeing may have to take back in that big sigh of relief it expelled when the Air Accidents Investigation Branch cleared the Dreamliner's two lithium ion back up power batteries from culpability in the fire aboard an Ethiopian 787 at Heathrow last week.

That's because a variation of the same controversial chemistry is used to power the emergency locator transmitter according to Lewis Larsen, a theoretical physicist whose work requires him to have a depth of knowledge about lithium ion batteries.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Boeing 787 Requires Hand-Holding, Inspires Hand-Wringing

AAIB ISSUES UPDATE. Link to the PDF at the end of this post.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the cause of the fire on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner is not going to be keeping air safety investigators awake nights for long but something else might. The origination of the blaze may already be known by the Air Accidents Investigation Bureau and that is one giant step towards finding how why it started.

I am not buying the fire-in-the-battery of the emergency beacon or for that matter the cigarette-in-the-trash-can scenario. Nor am I inclined to write this one off as just another shake out issue on the world's newest airplane. My suspicions are fueled by a few people I know who have intimate knowledge of the Dreamliner, its innards and the carbon fiber material out of which it is constructed.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

In the Sea of Information from Asiana Crash, Pilots Not the Captains of the Ship

The Air Line Pilots Association is making a big deal over the National Transportation Safety Board’s release of information from the initial stages of the investigation into the crash of Asiana Flight 214. They’re right and they’re wrong.

The statements made over the past 4 days by board chairman Deborah Hersman, have unleashed a torrent of speculation and premature judgments.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Hubris Has Starring Role in TWA 800 Missile Documentary

It is a testament to the considerable film-making skills of Kristina Borjesson that the TWA 800 documentary she produced had me actually paying attention to Thomas Stalcup, believing for some of the 90 minutes I watched the program that he actually had discovered something new.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Story of TWA 800 Reconstruction Dispute Undermines Conspiracy Theory

In the beginning of the new documentary about the 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800, amateur investigator Thomas Stalcup stands in front of a huge reconstruction of a section of the Boeing 747. The patchwork of torn aluminum airplane skin is tacked onto a frame that extends 90 feet. Stalcup looks on quietly for a moment before beginning to explain why he thinks missiles brought down the airliner. In Stalcup’s version of events, government investigators collaborated to hide the true story of Flight 800.