Category: Demystifying

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

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 a motivational comic meant, the author says, to remind us that our journeys are short. You can read the comic here: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/plane. It’s a lovely…

Read more… 13 Nov 15

Accident Reports

Preliminary Report on Lion Air flight 610

On the 29th of October 2018, Lion Air flight 610, a Boeing 737-8 (MAX) crashed at Tanjung Karawang, West Java after departing from Jakarta. On Wednesday, the KNKT (the Indonesian…

"It must be fictitious!" Aeroperu 603

On the 2nd of October in 1996, Aeroperú 603 made history with a frantic and heartbreaking 25-minute flight that ended with the loss of the aircraft and all on board.…

Demystifying

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…

Creative Air Marshalling

It’s not often that aircraft marshalling hits the headlines but this video of ME1 Tan Wen Kai of the Singapore Airforce has gone completely viral. Aircraft marshallers use hand-signals to…

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

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…

In case you were wondering what to get me for Christmas

There are lots of private jets up for sale but this one is special… It is a 1962 Lockheed JetStar 1329. The JetStar was a private project at Lockheed, originally…