Category: Demystifying

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 Hot on the heels of what’s now being referred to as the “Southwest meltdown,” outdated IT systems are once again centre stage.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

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 that the three incidents, all involving blocked pitot tubes, were related. As the investigation continued, several more incidents were discovered. The pitot tube measures the…

Read more… 26 Aug 22

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 404 that disappeared. I tracked down the podcast episode and while talking about the number 4 and then the 404 File Not Found error, they…

Read more… 20 May 22

Accident Reports

Madness on the Runway at Manchester

The Manchester Airport Group Plc owns and operates three airports: Manchester, London Stansted and East Midlands. Manchester Airport is the third busiest airport in Britain. Their website says Manchester Airport…

Mid-air Collision of Wingsuit Flyer and Pilatus PC-6

On the 27th of July 2018, an experienced pilot departed with ten parachutists on board for a routine drop mission. It was the pilot’s fourth flight of the day in…

Demystifying

The Legend of the Ghost of Kyiv

On the 25th of February 2022, Plane & Pilot magazine shared a video of the “Ghost of Kyiv” overflying Kyiv in a Ukrainian MiG-29. An unnamed Ukrainian fighter pilot shot…

Questions and Answers: It's Your Turn

A Fear of Landing reader asked me a great question in email. Is there some way of asking general technical questions that relate to aircraft or airport operations rather than…

History

A Brief Word About Icelandic Aviation

Aviation in Iceland started with an airline, not an aircraft. Flugfélag Íslands, the first Icelandic airline, was founded in Reykjavík on the 22nd of March 1919. They did not (yet)…

The Wright brothers and the dream of flying

I’ve lost most of the day to unexpected research and one of the fascinating items that I discovered was the Air Force Historical Research Agency and their amazing photo collection.…

Fun Stuff

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…

Flying Fails and Airshow Considerations

Long-term readings of Fear of Landing know that my favourite aerobatics show of all time is Kyle Franklin’s Ben Whabnoski Comedy act. Just in case some of you haven’t seen…