Category: Demystifying

Extreme Turbulence in Singapore Airlines flight 321

A few days ago (21st of May 2024), Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 encountered heavy turbulence on a passenger flight from London-Heathrow to Singapore. There were 229 on board, including eighteen crew members. The flight had been uneventful until about ten hours into the flight. The aircraft was cruising at FL370 (37,000 feet) while breakfast was…

Read more… 24 May 24

Training an AI Copilot To Spot Gliders

My friend Maria at Daedalean wrote this article about how they are using AI to help pilots detect gliders. I thought it was fascinating and Daedalean gave me permission to share it with you! I hope you find it interesting as well. Training A Helicopter/Airplane AI Copilot to Spot Gliders Noticing all fixed wing, rotercraft…

Read more… 15 Mar 24

The Missing Bolts from Alaska Airlines flight 1282

On the 5th of January 2024, Alaska Airlines flight 1282 had just taken off when it lost a door plug, leaving a gaping hole on the left side of row 26. I wrote about the incident that week. The NTSB released a four-minute video of the investigators on the aircraft and I found it interesting…

Read more… 16 Feb 24

Descending into Illusion: The Black Hole Effect

With no moon or city lights to guide you, the runway lights up ahead should be a beacon of safety. However, it might be a trap known as the black hole effect. Understanding our position, motion and attitude is critical to safe flight. Spatial disorientation is a collection of sensory illusions which lead us to…

Read more… 6 Oct 23

Sharing a Runway: Fed Ex vs Southwest at Austin

On Monday, two commercial aircraft had a near-miss on the runway at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Texas. The airport at Austin has two parallel concrete runways which run north-to-south: 18L/36R and 18R/36L. The numbers 18 and 36 signify 180° and 360° and L/R is left or right, as seen when flying towards the active runway.…

Read more… 10 Feb 23

Flying Blind: The Importance of NOTAMs in Aviation

On the 11th of January 2023, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the US stopped all departing commercial flights, grounding aircraft all over the US. Hot on the heels of what’s now being referred to as the “Southwest meltdown,” outdated IT systems are once again centre stage. Wednesday’s outage caused the most extensive ground stop…

Read more… 13 Jan 23

Accident Reports

Continental flight 11

Sixty-two years ago, on the 22nd of May 1962, Continental Airlines flight 11 broke up at 39,000 feet. Flight 11 was the last flight of the day: a one-hour commuter…

Air Taxi Prototype Crash at Cotswold Airport

On the 9th of August 2023, a VX4 crashed at Cotswold Airport in Gloucestershire during a test flight over the runway. The VX4 is a prototype air taxi, designed and…

Demystifying

Post-Pandemic Mystery at Heathrow

In June 2021, the British Air Accident Investigative Branch (AAIB) initiated a fascinating investigation after they noticed three similar incidents at London Heathrow over a three-day period. Soon, they realised…

I am a teapot

A reader contacted me to ask about a missing flight 404; they had heard on a trivia podcast that the original computer error message 404 was based on two flights…

History

Gladys Ingle Inflight Wheel Change: Emergency Action or Stunt?

This video of a mid-air wheel exchange goes viral once a year or so, but I never get tired of watching it. Last week, it showed up on Reddit and…

The Disappearance of the Hawaii Clipper May Not Be as Mysterious as Was Thought

This week, we have a guest post by J.B. Rivard who wrote an article for the American Aviation Historical Society (AAHS) and used one of my articles as a reference.…

Fun Stuff

Terminally Early: The Berlin Viewing Platform

Mistakes were made. All of them were mine. Before I left for Dresden, I planned out my full itinerary. Berlin is a much busier airport than Tallinn, so I needed…

A Few Good Stories

I’m in Dresden at the moment and I’m afraid I haven’t had a free moment to write you a new article. Luckily, lots of other people are on the internet…