Monday, March 21, 2011

Recent Accidents & Incidents

March 20 - A Cessna 210 crashed near Barstow-Daggett Airport in Barstow, California, killing all three aboard.

March 19 - A single-engine plane crashed west of Butte, Montana, killing the pilot. A witness reported the aircraft was flying at low altitude before the crash.

March 19 - A Delta CRJ made a safe emergency return landing to Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan after smoke filled the cockpit shortly after takeoff.

March 19 - The pilot of a homebuilt was killed after crashing on takeoff from Laurens, South Carolina.

March 19 - A firefighting helicopter crashed near Camerena, Spain, killing all four aboard.

March 18 - A single-engine plane crashed in a residential yard shortly after takeoff from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. No serious injuries were reported.

March 16 - A Beech King Air crashed on takeoff from Long Beach Airport in California, killing five and seriously injuring one. Witnesses said the aircraft made a sharp left turn shortly after rotation. (AVSIG Discussion)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Oliver at the Beach 2011

This week we are reminded of our old friend Bob Besco, who has periodically published the Oliver Ostrich Head-in-the-sand awards celebrating those who issue clueless rationalizations for minimizing the reality of safety risks in aviation.

These awards ignore the relative cost-benefit arguments implicit in aviation safety risk management and zero-in on statements that just plain betray blissful denial.  They highlight the imagery of the perpendicular Cheshire Cat left beaming at the world once one's head is fully ensconced in sand.

The usual suspects are airline suits, but that once-treasure trove of quotes has dried up thanks to our nothing-you-say-ever-goes-away new media-everywhere world.

In any case, Mr. Besco made certain the recipients of these awards remained anonymous to minimize embarrassment in favor of spreading enlightenment.

In that spirit we cloak the identity of this week's nominee submission (and paraphrase to fend-off Google sleuthing), which comes by way of a midwestern city elder who asks whether a proposed runway overrun barrier will result in any new customers at the local airport.

New customers?  Some marketing wank could probably invent lots of them.

Return customers?  More likely, which is what progress in aviation safety is all about, and not a bad cost-benefit argument, either.

The floor is open for new aviation risk-denying submissions in the comment section below.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Recent Accidents & Incidents

March 13 - The pilot of a helicopter was injured after crashing on the Raytheon Corporation campus in El Segundo, California. The helicopter was reportedly engaged in rooftop air conditioner lift operations at the time of the crash.

March 12 - The pilot and wing walker of a husband-wife aerobatic team suffered serious burns after crashing at the Air Fiesta 2011 air show at Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport in Texas. (AVSIG Discussion)

March 11 - The pilot of a Cessna 310 registered to Hudson Management Corporation was killed after crashing shortly after takeoff from Smyrna, Tennessee. A witness said the aircraft appeared to struggle to gain altitude and clipped trees prior to the crash. (AVSIG Discussion)

March 10 - An Austrian Arrows F70 made a safe emergency return landing to Vienna International Airport after the cabin began losing pressure shortly after takeoff.

March 9 - The owner/operator of a mine tour helicopter was killed after crashing near Keswick, Cumbria, England.

March 8 - Both aboard a single-engine plane were killed after crashing near Tara Field in McDonough, Georgia. A witness said the aircraft appeared to struggle to maintain altitude before the crash.

March 7 - A Diamond DA-40 crashed near Somerset, Maine, killing one and injuring one. Heavy snow was reported in the area at the time of the crash.

March 6 - An Atlantic Southeast CRJ operating on behalf of Delta Air Lines made a safe emergency landing in Albany, Georgia after the crew noticed a crack in the windshield during a scheduled flight from Atlanta to Tallahassee, Florida.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Recent Accidents & Incidents

March 5 - All six aboard a Russian An-148 were killed after crashing in central Russia. The aircraft was reportedly being tested by Myanmar Air Force pilots prior to delivery at the time of the crash.

March 5 - A Cessna 172 operated by the Aeroflyer Flying School crashed during touch-and-go training at Cirebon Airport in West Java, Indonesia, causing minor injuries to the instructor and student. The plane's nose gear reportedly broke before the crash.

March 3 - An Austrian Airlines Fokker F70 made a safe emergency return landing to Franz Josef Strauss International Airport in Munich after a landing gear wheel fell off the aircraft during takeoff rotation.

March 3 - Both aboard a single-engine plane were killed after crashing near Mahanayim Airport in the Upper Galilee region of northern Israel. The pilot reported engine trouble before the crash.

March 1 - Both aboard a helicopter were injured during a hard-landing crash at Tooele Valley Airport in Erda, Oklahoma.

March 1 - A French Air Force Mirage 2000 crashed near Saint-Pres-Oradoux Crocq in central France, killing both aboard. The aircraft was reportedly on a low-altitude training flight at the time of the crash.

February 28 - Two Kfir fighter jets collided over Colombo, Sri Lanka and crashed during a training exercise. Both pilots reportedly ejected; their fates were undisclosed at post time.

February 27 - All four aboard a McKinnon Turbo Goose G21G owned by Triple S Aviation were killed after crashing shortly after takeoff from Al Ain International Airport near Dubai.

February 26 - The pilot of a 1969 BAC-167 Strikemaster was killed after crashing into the Hudson River near Rhinecliff, New York. Witnesses said the aircraft struck the frozen river in a nosedown attitude. The pilot was reportedly performing a fly-by for friends on his maiden flight in the vintage military jet. (AVSIG Discussion)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Rake 22: Grounded No More

The high-stakes, high-speed world-wide ongoing difference-of-opinion was invented on AVSIG.  Before online discussion forums no other venue allowed so many people from so many backgrounds to debate on one worldwide stage.

There is no speaker list in online discussion.  No "Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, and goodnight."

Instead a multitude of oft-times divergent opinions dispensed from anywhere at any time that shape and form issues by the hour.

An evening of back-and-forth on glass cockpits stretches for weeks.

Who's this new guy who claims to drive Concordes?  Who's this lady who says she makes helicopters stay in the air?

Where are these know-it-alls from, and why are they banging out posts at three in the morning?

Over the decades we've had our share of industry Type As, unaccustomed to having their expertise so-challenged, punch-out of our little 24-7 electronic aerodrome in a huff.

But some stayed and embraced the highs and lows of controlled online free-for-alls, and one was John Wiley.

Wiley was that rare combination of 50,000-pound-thrust expert moderated by a unique yaw and pitch control system made up of equal-parts tough skin and biting humor.  A decorated Vietnam vet, airline pilot, and award-winning journalist who didn't wear any of it on his sleeve.

As a regular air safety commentator on CNN, Mr. Wiley drew both plaudits and bile.  Last July we blogged about John's unique capacity for getting AvSafety talking head wannabes to throw public tantrums about being left on the Look-at-Me-I'm-on-TV dance hall wall.

Those of us who were treated to John's whimsical retorts won't soon forget them.

A few years back John hit a pothole during a high-speed descent on his bicycle.  He had spent many tortured months repairing a broken shoulder, and was hopeful of getting back on the bike and back up in little airplanes soon.

Last Friday John suffered a fatal heart attack while working out at the gym.  He leaves a wife, two daughters, and many other family members and friends to repair broken hearts.