Friday, May 27, 2011

The Tale of One Tail

It's hard to miss all the stories this week pinning the fate of Air France 447 on iced-over pitot tubes.

Two years after the Airbus 330 crashed in the Atlantic the French Bureau of Investigations and Analyses is finally reviewing data from flight recorders found at the bottom of the ocean after an exhaustive search.  Preliminary investigation shows that conflicting airspeed information from onboard sensors caused the Airbus to disconnect the autopilot, leaving the crew to fly manually.  A stall warning followed by several control inputs and the still confusing reaction of the pilot flying to pull up followed.

Even as some media outlets play this story like a zigged-when-he-should-have-zagged repeat of the crew proficiency issues in the Colgan Air tragedy, it's important to remember that these latest details of the crash must share the glare of scrutiny with the above photo of the A330's neatly-severed vertical stabilizer, which was found floating in the ocean some miles from subsequent debris fields in the days after the crash.

That is one pristine piece of airplane.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Recent Accidents & Incidents

May 21 - A Delta DC-9 made a safe emergency landing at Austin Straubel International Airport in Green Bay, Wisconsin after the odor of smoke was detected in the forward galley during a scheduled flight from Detroit to Minneapolis.

May 20 - The pilot of a Lancair Legacy was killed after crashing into a mountainside in El Dorado National Forest in California.

May 19 - Both aboard a Bellanca 17 were killed after crashing near Rock Springs, Wyoming. Heavy snow was reported in the area at the time of the crash.

May 18 - A B707 operated by Omega Air Inc. as a refueling tanker under contract with the U.S. Navy crashed on takeoff from Point Mugu Naval Air Station near Los Angeles, injuring all three aboard. An engine reportedly caught fire before the crash.

May 18 - All 22 aboard a Sol Saab 340 were killed after crashing in Argentina's southern Patagonia region. The airline reported receiving a distress signal from the flight prior to the crash.

May 17 - All four aboard a twin-engine plane were killed after crashing near Sao Paulo, Brazil. Controllers reported losing contact with the pilot for some time prior to the crash.

May 16 - A US Airways flight returned to its gate in Indianapolis after the first officer passed out shortly after pushback.

May 15 - The crew of an American Airlines MD-82 made a safe emergency landing in Little Rock, Arkansas after reporting an engine fire shortly after departure from Dallas.

May 15 - Both aboard a Tiger Moth biplane were seriously injured after crashing in Dorsett, England. Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to be performing aerobatics before the crash.

May 14 - The pilot of a SportCruiser was killed after crashing on takeoff from Arlington Municipal Airport in Arlington, Washington. Witnesses said the aircraft appeared to enter an aerodynamic stall before the crash.

May 13 - A US Airways A319 returned to Atlanta after the crew noted a mechanical malfunction with the main landing gear.

May 12 - The pilot of a A-29 Super Tucano was killed after crashing near Natal, Rio Grande do Norte Brazil.

May 11 - All four aboard a single-engine plane were injured after overrunning an embankment during a takeoff attempt at Rock Airport near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Two middle school students and their science teacher were aboard the flight, which was reportedly operating on behalf of a school field trip.

May 11 - An unidentified airliner made an emergency landing at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport after a passenger reportedly gained access to the cockpit and attacked the flight crew during a scheduled flight from Poland to the United Kingdom. The passenger reportedly sustained substantial injuries while being subdued.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Recent Accidents & Incidents

May 8 - A passenger aboard an American Airlines flight was subdued and handcuffed after he approached the cockpit and banged on the door as the flight approached its destination in San Francisco.

May 8 - A Continental Airlines flight made an unscheduled landing in St. Louis after a passenger tried to open an emergency door during a scheduled flight from Houston to Chicago. Passengers subdued the man.

May 7 - A Merpati Nusantara Airlines Xian MA60 crashed into the sea on its approach to Kaimana Airport in the West Papua province of Indonesia, killing all 27 aboard. Heavy rain was reported at the time of the crash.

May 7 - Both aboard a Ravin 500 were killed after crashing while trying to return to Lone Star Executive Airport in Conroe, Texas. The pilot reported smoke in the cockpit prior to the crash.

May 6 - The pilot of a Czech Sport Aircraft was killed after bailing out of his spinning plane near Spring Hill, Florida. Witnesses reported the aircraft broke apart in midair.

May 6 - Both aboard a single-engine plane were killed after crashing on approach to Albert J. Ellis Airport in Richlands, North Carolina. The pilot reported loss of fuel pressure before the crash.

May 5 - A Cessna 172 crash-landed in a school yard near Burlington, Ontario Canada after the pilot reported low fuel. No injuries were reported. The aircraft sustained substantial damage after the wings clipped trees.

May 4 - An AirTran B717 bound for Atlanta from Charlotte, North Carolina made a safe emergency landing at Greenville Spartanburg International Airport after encountering engine trouble during the flight.

May 4 - The pilot of a Rockwell Commander was uninjured after running off the runway during a landing at Griffing-Sandusky Airport in Sandusky, Ohio. The pilot reported encountering a strong cross-wind before the accident.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Recent Accidents & Incidents

May 3 - A freight-carrying single-engine plane operated by Goma Air overshot the runway during a landing attempt and crashed at Juphal Airport northwest of Nepal, causing extensive damage to the aircraft. No injuries were reported. Authorities attributed the overrun to a brake failure.

May 2 - A freight-carrying Beechcraft 18 owned by Aircap Management crashed into a fence and van during a takeoff attempt from Opa-Locka Airport in Opa-Locka, Florida, killing the pilot.

May 1 - A single-engine plane crashed near Elephant Butte Lake in Truth Or Consequences, New Mexico, killing the pilot. Witness reported seeing flames coming from the aircraft before the crash.

May 1 - A Delta B757 bound for Palm Beach International Airport made a safe emergency landing in Tampa after smoke was detected in the cabin during a scheduled flight from Atlanta.

April 30 - The pilot of a Piper Archer III lost control of his aircraft and clipped trees while landing at Sky Acres Airport near Poughkeepsie, New York, resulting in injuries to the passenger and substantial damage to the aircraft.

April 28 - Both aboard a Yak-52 were killed after crashing into a lake near Essex, England. Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft performing aerobatic maneuvers before the crash.

April 27 - The pilot of a Cessna 180 was killed after crashing on Mount King near Golden, British Columbia. A dog aboard the aircraft survived the crash.

April 27 - An air traffic controller was found stabbed to death in a secure area of EuroAirport in Saint-Louis, France.