Category: Demystifying

What Is Going On With The Boeing 737 Max 8?

The news is dominated right now with the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max 8 after a second fatal crash of a passenger jet which could be related to the onboard systems. There’s a LOT of questionable information out there and many of the explanations presume a certain level of aviation knowledge. I’d like to…

Read more… 15 Mar 19

Thirty Years Since Air France Flight 296

Thirty years ago, on the 26th of June 1988, a brand new Airbus A320 crashed during a demonstration of its fly-by-wire capabilities, killing three passengers and demolishing the plane as airshow guests watched helplessly. The tragic accident was filmed from start to finish, one of the few commercial crashes captured on video. But it wasn’t…

Read more… 29 Jun 18

Drone Killer

When I’m not obsessing about aviation, I write speculative fiction, including science fiction featuring near-future technology. So you can imagine I was pretty excited when I saw a headline last week that the Oceanside Police Department in California has recently acquired a Drone Killer. I had visions of The Terminator but it turns out that…

Read more… 20 Apr 18

Crash in the Desert (Controlled Impact Demonstration)

This post started, as so many of them do, with a seemingly unbelieveable photograph with no attribution information. It didn’t take long to find a Reddit thread discussing the photograph and tracing it to a television show called Destroyed in Seconds, a Discovery Channel series featuring ‘video segments of various things being destroyed quickly”. Episode…

Read more… 10 Nov 17

The 1% rule and air disaster avoidance

I asked my friend, Robert Dawson, to help me understand the numbers behind risk assessment and the 1% rule. Robert writes fantastic science fiction and poetry, however I contacted him in this case because he teaches mathematics in Nova Scotia at Saint Mary’s University and is absolutely excellent at explaining numbers to me. Although he…

Read more… 13 May 16

Airplane Pens

This is a bit of a short post today to make up for all the heavy posts recently. Me, I’m enjoying the long weekend and a bit of sunshine… This photograph from Heathrow Airport was posted to Reddit with the question: What is this plane doing in this enclosed bay? The correct answer is the…

Read more… 25 Mar 16

Accident Reports

Stall and Fatal Crash at Houston Hobby

On the 9th of June 2016, a Cirrus SR20, registration N4252G crashed during a go-around at William P. Hobby airport, killing the pilot and two passengers. I first heard of…

What happened on Ethiopian flight 302: a breakdown of the preliminary report

Yesterday, the 4th of April, the Ethiopian Accident Investigation Bureau investigating the crash of Ethiopian Airlines flight 302 released the Preliminary Report (local version stored at bottom of this post).…

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…

Piper Comanche Full of Arrows

This photograph was sent to me a couple of times with questions of what it might portray and I just had to track it down. The photograph was first posted…

History

Building a B-29 Piece by Piece

I’m in Austria this week, giving a presentation about the representation of old women in science fiction. So it seemed only right to celebrate a woman in aviation who might…

The Odd Story of Richard Floyd McCoy Jr

I’ve been working hard on volume two of Without a Trace and, of course, I can’t resist a chapter on Dan Cooper, who successfully hijacked a Northwest Orient aircraft and…

Fun Stuff

2019 Valdez Fly In and STOL Competition

Every May in Valdez, Alaska there is a fantastic aviation competition which requires astounding performance and precision from both from the aircraft and from the pilot. The Valdez STOL competition…

For your amusement: weird and interesting NOTAMS

I was browsing around looking for interesting news when I saw that Reddit user justachamelion had posted a great question for /r/AskReddit: Pilots of Reddit, what are the weirdest or…