Category: History –  Page 2

Arrow Air flight 1285: icing or explosion?

On the 12th of December 1985, a DC-8 Jetliner operating as Arrow Air flight 1285 crashed on departure from Gander, Canada. This was an international charter flight carrying US troops from Cairo, Egypt to their home base of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with stops to refuel at Cologne in West Germany and at Gander. The flight…

Read more… 24 Jul 20

The Real “Bionic Man”

Some of you may have spotted the recent comments on Wingless Flight in the M2-F1 by aerospace journalist and author Nigel Macknight, who had written about NASA’s M2-F2 pilot Milt Thomson, whom he knew when he was editing and publishing Space Flight News back in the 1980s. In the article Nigel was commenting on, I…

Read more… 8 May 20

Flight 19: The Point of No Return

I was interviewed about Flight 19 for a documentary recently and although I’ve limited the details of the experience to supporters of my personal Patreon (for travel writing and essays), there was one question in the pre-interview that I wanted to share more widely. We were talking about the fact that radio stations triangulated their…

Read more… 7 Feb 20

Wingless Flight in the M2-F1

Sometimes, the most interesting aircraft are the experimental ones that barely made it off the ground. Sometimes the most intriguing stories come out of things I don’t understand. ​ I was thinking about hybrid airships and I was struggling to understand the concept of a lifting body. My attempt to understand how a wingless vehicle…

Read more… 23 Nov 19

Alcock and Brown: Part 3

Last week, we looked at the teams and the aircraft who were competing to be the first to fly across the Atlantic. Alcock and Brown arrived in St. John’s, Newfoundland on the 24th of May, a few days before the NC-4 completed the first aerial crossing of the Atlantic. The Daily Mail prize, however, was…

Read more… 23 Aug 19

Alcock and Brown: Part 2

In part 1, I introduced Jack Alcock and Teddie Brown along with the context under which they raced to become the first to fly across the Atlantic in less than 72 hours. Of course, they weren’t the only ones. In all, there were seventeen teams who wanted to attempt the crossing but most of them…

Read more… 16 Aug 19

Accident Reports

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…

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…

Demystifying

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…

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…

History

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 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…

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…