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ATC behind the scenes: VFR into IMC

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One of the biggest safety hazards in general aviation is pilots inadvertently flying into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) and losing visibility in the cloud. A private pilot who has not undergone special training for using instruments flies VFR (Visual Flight Rules), looking outside the aircraft. If the aircraft flies into cloud, the pilot loses visual…

Read more… 11 Jun 21

Fatal Seaplane Crash at Oshkosh

The flight crew is often the last safety net when things go wrong, making their failures an easy target for us to point at. After all, if the pilot can be retrained or is no longer flying, then we can consider the problem solved. This allows training deficiencies, operational issues and poor maintenance to be…

Read more… 4 Jun 21

Belarus Airspace Incident

On the 23rd of May 2021, Ryanair Sun flight FR-4978 departed Athens, Greece for a scheduled passenger flight to Vilnius, Lithuania with 126 passengers and six crew on board. The aircraft was a Boeing 737-800, registered in Poland as SP-4SM. While crossing Belarus airspace en-route to Lithuania, shortly before its arrival, the northbound aircraft squawked…

Read more… 28 May 21

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 the way that they had hoped. It has only just come to my attention that I haven’t written about this mystery here, so I hope…

Read more… 21 May 21

Mid-Air Collision on Approach to Centennial Airport

On the 11th of May 2021, a Cirrus SR-22 and a Swearingen Metroliner collided while on approach to land at Centennial Airport. Centennial Airport is a busy general aviation airport in Denver, Colorado. Centennial has three asphalt runways: 17L/35R, 17R/35L and 10/28. At the time of the incident, the parallel runways 17L and 17R were…

Read more… 14 May 21

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 the pressure put on aircraft storage and maintenance, where it is often unknown how many aircraft will need to be stored for how long. NASA’s…

Read more… 7 May 21

Accident Reports

Never Just One Thing: Air Midwest flight 5481 part 2

Last week, we looked at the weight and balance of Air Midwest 5481, which had been underestimated for a number of different reasons. However, although the aircraft was overweight and…

The Weight and Balance of Air Midwest 5481

Air Midwest, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, was originally certified as an air carrier by the FAA in 1965. The airline originally consisted of a single Cessna 206, which transported human…

Demystifying

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…

Small Plane Gets Stoned

This photograph has been posted to aviation forums repeatedly, each time with a thread of pilots wondering what the hell could have happened to cause the light aircraft to be…

History

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…

The Last Flight of B121-120

The Beagle B.121 Pup is a British, single-engine, all-metal aircraft produced in the 1960s. British Executive and General Aviation Limited, who traded as BEAGLE, designed the Beagle B.121 Pup as…

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…