Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Airblue Airbus A321 Crashes on Mountaintop Near Islambad

An Airblue Airbus A321 has crashed on a mountaintop near Islamabad, Pakistan, killing all 152 aboard. Heavy fog was reported at the time of the crash.  Recovery efforts are being hampered by the mountainous terrain. (AVSIG Discussion)  (Times of India Report)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Aviation Accident & Incident Update for July 27, 2010

Accidents & Incidents published by [url=][/url] are preliminary and not meant to reflect the complete or official record of aviation accidents/incidents and their causes.


July 26 - A Delta Connection Flight Saab 340 operated by Mesaba Airlines made a safe emergency landing at Muskegon County Airport in Muskegon, Michigan after shutting an engine down during a flight from Wausau, Wisconsin to Detroit.

July 26 - No injuries were reported after a the landing gear collapsed on a twin-engine plane operated by Nantucket Shuttle upon landing in Barnstable, Massachusetts.

July 26 - Two Cessna 152s collided over North Island, Wellington New Zealand, killing both aboard one aircraft.  The other aircraft made a safe landing at a nearby airstrip.

July 26 - No injuries were reported after an aircraft struck a hangar wall while being taxied at Waco Regional Airport in Waco, Texas.  Authorities believe the throttle on the aircraft became stuck open during taxi.

July 25 - A Beechcraft Bonanza made a safe emergency landing in a field west of Oshkosh, Wisconsin after its engine quit on approach to EAA Airventure.

July 25 - A Eurocopter Dauphin crashed in mountainous terrain in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan, leaving five of seven aboard reported missing.  The helicopter was en route to rescue stranded mountain climbers at the time of the crash.

July 25 - An Allegiant Airlines MD-83 made a safe emergency landing in Flagstaff, Arizona after an engine reportedly caught fire during a flight from Billings, Montana to Phoenix. 

July 25 - The pilot of a single-engine plane received minor injuries after a gust of wind flipped his plane while landing at an airport in Iroquois, Ontario Canada.

July 24 - A Ryanair B737 made a safe emergency return landing to South Charleroi Airport in Brussels after striking a large bird shortly after takeoff.

July 24 - The pilot of a Beech Musketeer was injured after crashing shortly after takeoff from Muskegon County Airport near Norton Shores, Michigan.

July 24  - A DeHavilland Beaver crashed near La Grande Rivière, Quebec, Canada, killing two and injuring three.

July 24 - No serious injuries were reported after a Cessna 172 registered to Apollo Aviation, Inc. crashed in a cow pasture on takeoff from Eagle's Nest Airport near Waynesboro, Virginia. 

July 24 - A Piper Warrior on approach to Black Hills Airport near Spearfish, South Dakota, killing one and injuring one.  The pilot reportedly struck a tree near the runway end.

July 24 - Both aboard an Indian Air Force MiG-27 were killed after crashing in Moinaguri, West Bengal, India.  Two on the ground were also reported injured.

July 23 - An American Eagle Embraer 135 bound for LaGuardia International Airport from Montreal made a safe emergency landing at Stewart International Airport in New Windsor, New York after the crew was forced to shut down an engine in flight.

July 23 - A Cessna 206 crashed in Lake Michigan near Ludington, Michigan, killing four of five aboard.  The crew of a nearby fishing boat was able to help the pilot from the water.  The pilot reported that his engine quit before the crash.

July 23 - The pilot of a Canadian Forces F-18 safely ejected before his aircraft crashed during practice for the Alberta International Air Show in Lethbridge, British Columbia Canada.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Aviation Experts, Stupid and Brilliant ...

The ego wars on AVSIG are rare, and almost always over high-stakes issues like Bonanza flap settings and whether or not it’s OK to use a hand-held GPS to navigate around a TFR in D.C. (it’s not -- turns out a hand-held GPS can’t be used concurrently with more than two acronyms, GPS inclusive, in any flight scenario ... FAR 7689.456.76BS).  

But should these arguments reach the last pathetic gasps that some web discussions do, knock-down, drag-out fights over grand subjects on AVSIG are always found to be no different than disagreements over Ford vs. Chevy (Chevy.  Fords smell funny) or Angelina Jolie vs. Jennifer Aniston (neither: it’s always Mary Ann, silly) on other forums.  In the end they are propped up to their last withering stands by at least one fragile but proud soul who can’t tell gray from black or white.

A few years back on AVSIG we witnessed one of those petty little ego dust-ups.  John Wiley, an AVSIG member most famous for using an instrument panel with all kinds of dials and switches on it as his avatar (oh, and plus being a retired airiline pilot who flew some fun stuff in Southeast Asia back when Wavy Gravy was keeping unruly flower children in line with seltzer bottles and cream pies) had the nerve to show up on CNN to help Miles O’Brien discuss an airliner accident.

Within hours, another AVSIG member who once had a gig doing aviation commentary for another network showed up on the forum to lambast Mr. Wiley for taking food from his mouth: A retired airline pilot with a pension taking aviation commentary work from a working journalist.  

Sigizens couldn’t help but spend a few days asking different versions of the question “Really?” ... keeping everything within our strict posting rules until the conversation somehow devolved into a discussion about underwear.

That was supposed to be the end of that.  Just more warped human logic on display for everyone out there on the internets, courtesy of the fully-voluntary submission of its producer, same as with this blog.  

But now some airline pilot who blogs for Salon is also taking shots at Wiley.  Patrick Smith, who writes the Ask the Pilot blog for magazine, recently whined that the Associated Press contacted Wiley instead of him for insight on this week’s United Airlines turbulence incident between Dulles and Los Angeles.  He went on to call Wiley’s commentary “stupid” and to suggest he might have supplied smarter insights had the AP only had the wisdom to contact him.

This humble blogger wants to chalk up this apparent smear to misunderstood English humor, since this Patrick Smith writes like an Englishman, using the word, “Bloody” and claiming to still jot down bursts of creative brilliance on hotel stationary ... though it’s possible he’s just some Yank who’s gone Madonna, idiom-wise, after attending Farnsborough.

See, English humor is very sophisticated, and people in other parts of the world just don’t get it.  When Benny Hill parades around in a waitress uniform sporting volleyball falsies and smacks a customer who gets fresh, causing the patron to go tumbling out the coffee shop entrance and into the street at high speed to the accompaniment of popcorn-popping sounds, it’s always funnier than we think it is.

“Stupid” could be an affectionately cute term in an  English humor sort of way.

But what if in-fact this is another real case of sour grapes aviation-commentator-on-aviation-commentator violence?  

And Wiley?  Again?

It takes some kind of troublemaker to end up in all these dust-ups, regardless of the apparent provocateur, right?

There’s a bigger question begged by all of these complaints of retired airline pilots taking all the commentary glory from working aviation journalists.

Just what is an “aviation journalist” nowadays?  

A print stalwart like David Learmount?  Any old web punk with a blog?

It’s a tough distinction , as serious journalists of all stripes have been taking it on the chin ever since those pouty-lipped silicone babes started showing up on the local Action News reporting overturned tankers spewing pneumonia all over the roadways.  Ted Koppel has to bristle at sharing the camera with some of these clowns ... so why wouldn’t a real aviation journalist get ticked off at being usurped by some great pretender out there ... by some guy with decades as a professional pilot and instructor and two Aviation Journalist of the Year awards?

Still, the biggest question of all weighing on me this morning is why on earth a hairstyling magazine is publishing an aviation blog.  (Please save your angry comments about the author thinking Salon is “a hairstyling magazine.”  I happen to know salons give massages and mud baths too -- pickle slices at the classier places).


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

In Other News: Before Pigs Flew

In case anyone is still wondering about the whole Capitalism Thing, it’s alive and well in Russia, where some enterprising bizfolks sent a donkey parasailing over a beach in the southern part of the country to promote their parasailing company this week.  You have to wonder, all animal abuse considerations aside ... whether Golubitskaya’s soaring donkey returned to his donkey flock to extol the beauty of flight.

OK, you really don’t have to wonder.

The AVSIG International Aerodrome & Farm Department of Wordplay predicts company officials will see a parahandcuffs before they see any new parasailing business. 


Monday, July 19, 2010

Aviation Accident & Incident Update for July 19, 2010

[Accidents & Incidents published by are preliminary and not meant to reflect the complete or official record of aviation accidents/incidents and their causes.]


July 18 - The pilot of a U.S. Marine Corps Harrier safely ejected before his aircraft crashed in Ocala National Forest in Florida. Rescue personnel located the pilot in a nearby treetop.

July 18 - A Cebu Pacific ATR-72 made a safe emergency landing at Nino Aquino International Airport in Manila after a landing gear failure.

July 18 - A Beechcraft Bonanza clipped a car while attempting to land on a public road near Phoenix, Arizona. The pilot sustained minor injuries in the crash landing; the driver of the car was uninjured.

July 18 - A two-seat experimental plane crashed shortly after takeoff from Denton Municipal Airport in Denton, Texas, killing one and injuring one. Witnesses said the aircraft struggled to gain altitude before the crash.

July 18 - A Turkish Airlines B737 made a safe emergency return landing to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey after an unspecified cockpit warning light activated.

July 17 - A Delta Air Lines MD-88 made a safe emergency return landing to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta after the crew detected smoke in the cockpit. The crew reportedly extinguished a cockpit fire that erupted during the landing.

July 17 - Both aboard a Yak-52 were killed after crashing on a city street shortly after departing Portland International Jetport in South Portland, Maine. Witnesses reported that the aircraft made a sharp turn before plummeting to the ground. No injuries were reported on the ground.

July 16 - The pilot of a Pilatus PC-12 made a safe emergency landing at Albany International Airport in Albany after losing power during a flight from Chicago to Westchester County Airport in New York.

July 16 - The pilot of a single-engine airplane made a safe emergency landing at Coleman A. Young International Airport in Detroit after determining the aircraft's nose gear was inoperable. The pilot circled the airport to burn fuel before the landing.

July 16 - A DeHavilland DHC-2 Beaver crashed into the side of a mountain near Chute de Passes, Quebec, killing four of six aboard. Heavy fog was reported in the area at the time of the crash.

July 16 - A Robinson R44 helicopter crashed while attempting to land on a pickup truck trailer at Salt Lake City International Airport, killing one and injuring three. The fatality involved one of two people standing by the trailer during the maneuver.

July 15 - No serious injuries were reported after a Piper PA-14 crashed near King Salmon, Alaska. The pilot reported being in a holding pattern in bad weather when the engine lost power.

July 15 - The pilot of a single-engine kit plane was killed after crashing in a bean field on approach to Iowa Falls Municipal Airport in Iowa Falls, Iowa. Witnesses reported that the aircraft appeared to lose power before the crash.

July 15 - A Batavia Air flight made a safe emergency return landing to Sultan Syarif Kasim Airport Pekanbaru, Riau after passengers reported hearing two loud explosions from the left engine of the aircraft shortly after takeoff. Passengers also reported flames coming from the left engine. The crew circled the airport for two hours to burn fuel.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Accident & Incident Update for July 12, 2010

[Accidents & Incidents published by are preliminary and not meant to reflect the complete or official record of aviation accidents/incidents and their causes.]


July 11 - All three aboard a Cessna 177 were killed after crashing on approach to Gundy's Airport in Owasso, Oklahoma. Witnesses said the aircraft nose-dived before the crash.

July 11 - A single-engine Cessna made a safe emergency landing on a golf course near Chino Hills, California. The pilot reported running out of fuel before the landing.

July 11 - A single-engine Cessna made a safe emergency landing on the beach near Rapid Creek in Darwin, Northern Territories, Australia. The aircraft reportedly ran low of fuel before the landing.

July 11 - An American Airlines B777 made a safe emergency landing at Shemya Air Force Base on Shemya Island in Alaska after the crew received indication of a cargo fire over the Bering Sea during a flight from Dallas to Tokyo. (AVSIG Discussion)

July 10 - A twin-engine Cessna crashed in a public park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, killing one and injuring three.

July 10 - Both aboard a biplane were killed after crashing shortly after takeoff from White Waltham Airfield near Rotherfield Greys, South Oxfordshire U.K.

July 10 - A Delta Air Lines MD-88 made a safe emergency landing at its scheduled destination of Kansas City International Airport after cockpit warning lights indicated a landing gear failure on approach to the airport. The aircraft flew by the control tower to confirm that the gear was down.

July 10 - A telephoned bomb threat forced an Air France flight bound for Paris from Rio de Janeiro to make an emergency landing in Recife, Brazil. The aircraft was removed to a remote area of the airport and searched. No explosives were found.

July 9 - The pilot of a Cessna 172 was injured after crashing on takeoff from a private airfield near Wichita, Kansas. Witnesses said the aircraft struggled to gain altitude before the crash.

July 8 - The pilot of a single-engine experimental aircraft received minor injuries after crashing near Coral Springs, Florida. No injuries were reported on the ground.

July 8 - The pilot of a single-engine Cessna reported chest pains before crashing on Penmar Golf Course in Venice, California. Rescue personnel found the pilot deceased in the wreckage. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft nosedive before the crash. (AVSIG Discussion)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mama Tried ... Now Check your Tie-downs.

Lots of the fun and romance has been sucked out of general aviation over the past few decades.  Popular wisdom says liability lawsuits, terrorist attacks, and everybody being broke has forever buried those carefree days when operating a personal airplane was considered only slightly more indulgent than operating a powerboat.

Now we have new single-engine planes that go for 1970s Learjet money.

Retina scans at the ramp.

F-16 escorts for just one impulsive lazy Sunday afternoon route diversion.  

(Oh, and no money).

But like so many parts of life, good times and bad times are largely illusion.

Yeah, the stock market is still in the dumps, the house you bought in 2006 is worth half of what you paid for it, and you’re surrounded by foreclosed houses that have had their heat pumps jacked and copper wiring stripped.  The only nice houses on the block are lovingly cared for by squatters.

Yet even as we blog, there’s a carefree young fellow out there who flies where he wants when he wants.  This guy never files a flight plan. Never arrives at the airport two hours early.  Never chumps-up dough for aircraft cost-of-acquisition, tie-down fees, or big-buck engine overhauls.  He rarely even pays for gas.

Do you like this guy already?

There’s more.  

He never had to sweat through an FAA check ride.  Doesn’t bother with log books or proficiency training.  

This new age flying Bohemian is so footloose and fancy free that he rarely even wears shoes.

He’s the Barefoot Bandit and he may be coming to a town near you.  He’s had no formal flight training, but readily boosts airplanes, flies them to exotic locations like the Yakama Indian Reservation, dumps them and goes looking for cars ... V8 Fords, maybe ... before taking to the skies on his next flight adventure.  

Six- and four-cylinder cars and even those odd 5-cyls made by VeeDubya aren’t snubbed by this bandit, nor are bicycles, or any other form of transport.  An empty vacation house is as good as any night in the woods between capers.  Anyone else’s cash and credit cards gladly accepted.

This is the sub-10k-Dow 2010s, when nobody had any money or prospects, and the world needed someone glamorous and free besides LeBron James to live vicariously through.  We turned to folk-hero criminals named by media pundits who have watched too many Home Alone sequels.  Rooted them on.  Even the feds helped out, by keeping the bounty low.  When we found out our hero-felon was six-foot-five, we automatically made him our favorite six-foot-five fugitive.  (Seriously ... how are all these six-foot-five guys hiding so well)?

A Cessna 400 Corvalis stolen from Bloomington, Indiana on July 4th and found ditched off Abaco Island in the Bahamas yesterday is believed to the be latest joy ride of this so-far-non-violent modern-day celebrity delinquent.   

If you’re still living the dream of flying your own airplane, please consider yourself forewarned regarding Colton Carpe DiAirplane Harris-Moore.  He’s after your lifestyle and gives not a whit for bills and all that other silly paperwork.  

Lest you think it might be an honor to have your airplane listed on the Barefoot Bandit's Wikipedia rap sheet, he takes off well but picks the most hull-damaging out-of-the-way places to land.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled, responsibility-filled modern-day hard times.