Latest Posts  

Maintaining Focus in the Cockpit

New

This article by Key Dismukes, Grant Young and Robert Sumwait is based on their research at NASA to study the problem of crew preoccupation. They reviewed NTSB reports of accidents attributed to crew error and concluded that nearly half of them involved lapses of attention associated with interruptions, distractions, or preoccupation with one task to…

Read more… 17 Sep 21

Crash at Pensacola: “I wasn’t ridiculously low”

On Tuesday the 13th of August 2019, a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, registration N84287 crashed into a sand bar on the Escambia River near Jay, Florida, near the Alabama border. The pilot held both commercial pilot and flight instructor certificates with over 1,000 hours flight time, 798 hours in the aircraft make and model. The aircraft…

Read more… 10 Sep 21

VSS Unity: Trajectory Deviation at Mach 3

On the 11th of July 2021, Virgin Galactic’s space vessel, VSS Unity, was launched from the Spaceport American facility near Truth or Consequences in New Mexico, which I have to admit sounds more like a Hunter S. Thompson novel than a real place. There were two pilots and four passengers on board, including company founder,…

Read more… 3 Sep 21

A Little Bit of Everything

There’s so much great aviation writing and video out there and I’m always appreciative when people send me fun things; it seems a shame not to share them! So here’s a collection of pieces that caught my eye this month. My Favorite Aunt Nancy (FAN) sent me this one about the tragic end of the…

Read more… 27 Aug 21

The Mount Erebus Disaster

On the 28th of November 1979, a sight-seeing flight to Antartica crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board. The Mount Erebus Disaster, as it came to be known, is famous not just for the tragic accident, New Zealand’s worst peacetime disaster, but also because the final accident report’s conclusion was overturned within a…

Read more… 20 Aug 21

Dreamliner Pre-flight Maintenance

On Wednesday, the 16th of June, British Airways flight 881 from Moscow arrived at Heathrow airport. The aircraft was registration G-ZBJB, a Boeing 787-8 which had been converted from a passenger aircraft to cargo transport. This was one of four Dreamliner aircraft that British Airways began operating in 2013. The next scheduled flight for the…

Read more… 13 Aug 21

Accident Reports

Engine Failure Before Take-Off

Last week, we looked at an accident in a business jet which ran off the runway during a failed take-off run. I tried to give you all of the information…

Runway Excursion on Take-Off

This accident happened some time ago but it is new to me. A twin-engine business jet departing from Portland, Oregon, crashed shortly after take-off with four on board. The Aerospatiale…

Demystifying

Maintaining the Stores

We don’t often talk about parked aircraft because it is not very common for them to be involved in crashes. However, one of the side-effects of these pandemic times is…

How Many Successful Ditchings of Commercial Airliners?

When I was learning to fly, I remember someone in the pilots’ bar insisting that all that talk about life jackets under your seat was a waste of time; if…

History

An Icon of Aviation

I have a guest post this week by Nicholas Brown, the Campus President of Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology. The college has been rebuilding a replica of Little Stinker,…

The Last Known Whereabouts of the White Bird

The disappearance of L’Oiseau Blanc in 1927 is one of the enduring mysteries of aviation history. The pilots eventually achieved their goal of changing aviation history, but certainly not in…

Fun Stuff

The Tetris Challenge

When the Kantonspolizei Zürich (the police department of the Swiss canton of Zurich) posted a photograph on Facebook showing the contents of a standard patrol car, they had no idea…

The History Listen

I was on the radio on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in a show called The History Listen. They asked me to tell them about a famous story in Australian and…