Monday, November 29, 2010

Recent Accidents & Incidents

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


November 28 - A Delta Air Lines flight made a safe emergency landing at Denver International Airport after two passengers lost consciousness due to medical conditions during a scheduled flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles.

November 27 - An IL-76 cargo plane crashed into an under-construction apartment complex shortly after takeoff from Karachi, Pakistan, killing all eight aboard and four on the ground. Witnesses reported seeing flames from one of the plane's engines before the crash.

November 26 - A regional jet operating on behalf of United Airlines made a safe emergency return landing to Greater Rochester International Airport in New York after a warning light indicated a brake failure. The warning light was determined to be faulty.

November 25 - The pilot of a Mooney was killed after crashing near Hollister Municipal Airport in Hollister, California. Rescue efforts were reportedly hampered by muddy roads.

November 25 - An Mi-8 helicopter crash-landed in the Omsk region of western Siberia, killing seven of 10 aboard. The flight was reportedly en route to oil fields in Krapivinskoye at the time of the crash.

November 24 - A Mexican Air Force cargo plane crashed on takeoff from Monterrey International Airport in Mexico, killing all five aboard.

November 23 - The pilot of a Robinson R44 police helicopter was struck in the face by a pigeon after the bird came crashing through the canopy over El Monte, California. The pilot was able to make a safe emergency landing in the parking lot of a nearby public school.

November 22 - Both aboard a Piper Comanche were killed after crashing near Norfolk, Nebraska.

November 21 - All three aboard a Beech Musketeer were killed after crashing in the Pacific Ocean off Newport Beach, California. The aircraft was reportedly en route to Torrence, CA from Mexico at the time of the crash.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thinking Outside the Crotch

The Don’t Touch My Junk Guy is catching up with the Take My Job and Shove it Guy and the Fake it Till You Still Don’t Make it Guy for 2010’s YouTube Gold.

We’re going to reach up your thigh to your groin from the front and the back …

(Yes, you’re still reading an aviation blog).

National Opt-Out Day, whose promoters state they have no desire to disrupt air travel, is on for the busiest air travel day of the year.   Airline passengers are invited to opt-out of airport body scanning on Wednesday in favor of getting a feel-up by a TSA official in full view of other passengers.  It’s not disruptive to airline travel.  It’s like, making a statement, man.

Our forum discussion on the subject covers the polemics.

One Side: If you don’t maintain surveillance over everyone and everything placed on airliners you will never prevent explosives from being placed on airliners.

The Other Side: Hands off my junk, man.

An argument like this tends to get lots of people focused on crotches to the point where no one is seeing the forest for the … oh, never mind.  

Explosive devices can be hidden in baggage, shoes, clothing, “junk,” feminine hygiene products, surgically implanted, etc. They can be carried by a guy with a towel wrapped around his head or your unwitting Aunt Martha or some hard-up ex-Lehman Brothers exec who wants his family to keep the estate on Long Island.

People who have direct access to airplanes can be bought or infiltrated.  Baggage, galley supplies, that new cockpit panel installation -- watch everything.  And let’s not forget about missiles, airspace control hijacking, and mind control implants in Captain Oveur.

Yet on September 11, 2001 terrorists killed 3,000 people with nothing but box cutters and a plan.  

The sheer simplicity of 9/11 and subsequent fizzled shoe and underwear bombing attempts makes bomb detection efforts look misplaced, yet the threat of the successful bombing of an airliner remains … especially since we are this week drawing a torso line between just enough and too much airline security.

Be sure that once we emphatically define that line it will be crossed with impunity by the bad guys.  

In this case we’re defining the line on a very large stage.  

The Don’t Look at or Touch My Junk crowd is essentially shouting to the world that they would rather take the chance on someone blowing up their flight with a jockstrap bomb than submit to government invasion of their personal spaces.

Or are they?  Maybe we need to look at the route that got us here.

The goal of law enforcement and security is public safety, yet tact is more often than not buried under layers of procedure in the mindset of these professions.  Whether airport security, crowd control, or routine traffic stops, the you will comply mentality often steers the narrative.  

Let’s say a full body scan is the best way to screen for body-borne explosives.  Do we really need to get in everyone’s face about what these machines can see, who’s going to see the images, and what the consequences are for not walking through?   Why aren’t we using modern technology to interpret body scan results, calling humans to the in-person screen only when something unusual walks by?  

This is a “tweak” TSA Chief John Pistole might look into.

The question of whether airliner travel is safer since 9/11 or we have simply become Elmer Fudd shooting our house to dust as we draw ghost beads on a too-wascally wabbit remains open.  A lack of a successful attack argues for the former, but count this blog firmly in the corner of Mr. Pistole for not backing down on full body scans in the face of popular outcry and congressional hearings.

Be sure that terrorists will always exploit weak links in the system, and that only relentless surveillance and tough, consistent follow-through can hope to thwart these attacks.

Be sure that smart, flexible thinking still counts for everything, whether it’s smart, flexible thinking on behalf of security authorities who opt-out of paying some $15-an-hour guy to look at nads all day or smart, flexible thinking on the part of airline passengers who choose to opt out of too-invasive airline security by taking the train rather than causing a screening jam at the airport. 

To “The Terrorists have Won” crowd: Terrorists can’t lose at this game whether they kill people or compel the free world to slow to a crawl searching every cave and crevice for their evil.  
The balance of the free world can’t win at this game until we stop producing terrorists.

It bears repeating that terrorists can be well-funded and well-organized Middle Easterners or some fellow who was just-yesterday an All-American boy draped in undoubting Thank You for Your Service to Your Country patriotic feel-good hoo-hah.

Be sure that the day an airliner is brought down by a body-borne bomb because we decided that body scanning was too invasive, this week’s congressional grandstanders will claim to have been for body-borne explosive scanning before they were against it and will resume holding conversations out both sides of their mouths over bean soup and coffee.

Be sure that the “Don’t Touch My Junk” guy will have a brand new You Tube mash-up.


From the Smart, Flexible Thinking Dept:

An Israeli security expert says gimme a dog any day … (thanks to one of our members for the link).  

… Maybe travelers will wear this thing through security … Big Bro Consequences/Law of Unintended Consequences unknown at post time.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Accident & Incident Update for November 15, 2010

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


November 15 - A Qantas B747 made a safe emergency return landing to Sydney after smoke began billowing from the cockpit control panel. The flight dumped fuel as a precaution before the landing.

November 14 - A student pilot soloing a Cessna 150 was killed after flipping during a touch-and-go attempt at Ryan Airfield near Tuscon, Arizona.

November 14 - A helicopter crashed on private property south of Lubbock, Texas, killing one and injuring one.

November 13 - The pilot of a single-engine plane made a safe emergency landing in a farm field near Schodack, New York after his engine quit during a pleasure flight.

November 12 - A Qantas B767 made a safe emergency return landing to Perth after the crew noticed vibration in the left engine shortly after takeoff.

November 12 - A South Korean military surveillance plane crashed near Jeonju during routine operations. Search and rescue operations were under way at post time.

November 11 - A Piper Seminole owned and operated by the Florida Institute of Technology crashed on takeoff from Palm Beach International Airport in Florida, killing all four aboard. The flight was reportedly on an instructional flight at the time of the crash.

November 11 - A passenger plane owned and operated by Tabco, Inc. crashed in the western Darfur region of Sudan, killing a still-undisclosed number of the 35 people aboard.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Accident & Incident Update for November 8, 2010

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


November 7 - A helicopter operated by Fishtail Air crashed on Mount Everest near Nepal, leaving both aboard missing and presumed dead. High winds were reported in the area at the time of the crash.

November 6 - A Ural Airlines A321 skidded off the runway while landing at Koltsovo International Airport in Yekaterinburg, Russia. No injuries were reported.

November 6 - An AirTran B717 bound for Milwaukee from New Orleans made a safe emergency landing in Memphis after smoke filled the cabin shortly after takeoff.

November 6 - The pilot of a WWII-era T-6 trainer drowned after crashing into a river on approach to Fitchburg Municipal Airport in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. The aircraft's engine reportedly quit before the crash. (AVSIG Discussion)

November 5 - All 21 aboard a Beech 1900 operated by JS Air Company were killed after crashing shortly after takeoff from Karachi, Pakistan. The crew reported an engine problem prior to the crash.

November 5 - A Cape Air flight bound for Boston from Nantucket made a safe emergency landing at Barnstable Municipal airport on Cape Cod after the crew reported engine trouble.

November 4 - An American Airlines flight made a safe emergency return landing to Salt Lake City after two passenger became involved in an altercation shortly after takeoff. One passenger was taken into custody upon arrival.

November 4 - An AeroCaribbean ATR-72 crashed in Guasimal, Santi Spiritus Cuba, killing all 68 aboard. The flight was en route from Santiago to Havana when the crew declared an emergency of a still-undisclosed nature. Witnesses reported that the aircraft made several abrupt maneuvers before crashing.

November 4 - A Delta Air Lines flight made an emergency landing at its destination of Chattrapathi Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai after officials at the flight's origin airport in Amsterdam reported that a suspicious package had been loaded on the plane. Explosives detection equipment was deployed in the cargo hold. No explosives were found.

November 4 - A Qantas A380 made a safe emergency return landing to Singapore after reportedly suffering an uncontained engine failure. Debris from the engine reportedly fell on a house in the flight path. (AVSIG Discussion)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Aviation Accident & Incident Update for November 1, 2010

October 31 - A TSA checkpoint and public lobby were evacuated at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut after a TSA official found a suspicious object in a piece of screened luggage. The suspicious object was determined to be a snow globe.

October 31 - A Vision Airlines 767 made a safe emergency landing in Baltimore after smoke was reported in the cabin during a flight to New York.

October 30 - One was killed and three were injured after a helicopter crashed near Thomas, West Virginia. The helicopter crew was reportedly working on the Trans-Allegheny Interstate Line power line project at the time of the crash.

October 29 - The pilot of a single-engine plane made a safe emergency landing in I-65 near Huntsville, Alabama after he noticed the engine running rough.

October 29 - A Cessna 180 lost power and crashed shortly after takeoff from Nueces County Airport in Robstown, Texas. No serious injuries were reported.

October 28 - All four aboard a AS350 Squirrel helicopter were killed after crashing near Dumont-d'Urville, Antarctica. The aircraft was attached to the ice-bound French research vessel L'Astrolabe. Weather was reported poor at the time of the crash.

October 28 - A SkyWest CRJ made a safe emergency landing at its destination of Salt Lake City, Utah after officials received a telephoned bomb threat against the flight during its trip from Helena, Montana.