Category: Demystifying

Factual Version of the Clipper Eclipse crash featured in the Oatmeal

This week The Oatmeal presented a comic strip entitled It’s going to be okay about Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, who survived a plane crash in 1947. It’s a motivational comic meant, the author says, to remind us that our journeys are short. You can read the comic here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/plane. It’s a lovely…

Read more… 13 Nov 15

Creative Air Marshalling

It’s not often that aircraft marshalling hits the headlines but this video of ME1 Tan Wen Kai of the Singapore Airforce has gone completely viral. Aircraft marshallers use hand-signals to communicate with aircraft on the ground, for example to give directions. It’s the equivalent of guiding someone into a parking space, except there’s not much…

Read more… 5 Sep 14

Banner Planes in Action

I’ve long been obsessed with banner planes. They are fascinating and amazing to watch. When I did my PPL in Spain, I was lucky enough to see them in action every weekend. All excerpts from You Fly Like a Woman: The weekends were busy at Axarquía now that high summer was here. Broad-shouldered young men…

Read more… 6 Dec 13

The Story Behind an Unbelievable Photograph

A reader mailed me this amazing aviation photograph and I knew I wanted to know more. I was surprised at how much I discovered about the photo, which at first glance I thought might be a fake. But the story of who took the photograph and how he managed to get the shot is a…

Read more… 1 Nov 13

5 Things About the Dreamliner That I Didn’t Know

1) The Dreamliner’s noise reduction tech is the results of decades of NASA research The Dreamliner has chevrons – serrated edges on the engine nacelles – in order to reduce the noise. Passengers on the plane before it was grounded say that it is quite noticeably quieter but I hadn’t understood the background. “Evolution from…

Read more… 1 Feb 13

Why do aircraft still have ashtrays in the lavatory?

We’ve all seen this in the toilets of commercial aircraft: a large no-smoking sign with a plainly marked ashtray underneath. Obviously airlines who allow in-flight smoking have ashtrays as a part of the standard model. But are there any of those left? The US banned smoking on domestic flights in 1990 and soon followed up…

Read more… 14 Dec 12

Accident Reports

How to Drop a Gulfstream IV into a Ravine: Habitual Noncompliance

Everyone involved with aviation knows checklists. They are the cornerstone of aviation safety, meant to protect against the ever increasing complexity of aircraft and the limited attention span of the…

Engineer Sucked into Jet Engine

In an awful piece of news from Mumbai, it seems that an Air India technician died at Mumbai airport after he was sucked into an aircraft engine as the flight…

Demystifying

5 Surprising Facts about Black Boxes

Today, aircrash investigations centre around the black box – that is, the flight data recorder (FDR) and the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). I have always thought of them as rather…

Motion Induced Blindness

I received this from reader Albert Masetti as a demonstration on eye fixation. Michael Bach, a Professor at the University of Freiburg has a full page of Optical Illusions and…

History

Aircraft Lost to the Bermuda Triangle: Airborne Transport (1948)

As aviation and maritime safety has increased, one doesn’t hear so much about the Bermuda Triangle so much anymore. Known as the “Devil’s Triangle”, it wasn’t so long ago that…

The Mystery of Northwest Orient Flight 2501

On the 23rd of June, 1950, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 was flying from New York’s La Guardia airport to Seattle Washington when it disappeared into the night. Northwest Airlines…

Fun Stuff

Top Ten Posts of 2015

It’s that time of year again! A moment of retrospection as we look at the most popular posts on Fear of Landing in 2015. Number 10: The teenager who flew…

Crazy about Drones

I got a drone for Christmas! I haven’t had a chance to play with it yet but, in view of the bad reputation drones have in the aviation world, I…