So Which Is It American Airlines?

For the third consecutive day, American Airlines canceled flights to perform inspections on older MD-80 jets. Some of their MD-80s have had landing gear problems that disable the anti-icing systems. It follows whistle blower revelations from FAA inspectors that both FAA managers and Southwest Airlines were allowing aircraft to fly that had not passed mandatory safety inspections.

Oberstar and the whistle-blowers charged the FAA, the federal agency tasked with watching over the airlines, has become too cozy with the industry it oversees, putting the interests of the airlines ahead of those of the traveling public.

According to CNN (my emphasis), “American Airlines canceled more than 900 flights Thursday as it continues to perform safety inspections on certain jets” …

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Dubious Report in Aircraft Crash Again

The public has a fascination with aircraft crashes. I understand why commercial airline crashes attract attention, but have no theory as to why many other aircraft crashes get the publicity they do.

As someone working in the aviation industry I am interested in crashes from the analytical/investigative side. It’s useful to note the chain of events that is always present leading up to an aircraft/aviation accident(s) in order to prevent future incidents. Over time this approach has obviously enhanced aviation safety.

The latest crash to make the headlines was a Cessna Citation I crash in England that occurred on Sunday in which five died. The accident itself wasn’t that notable or odd, but I immediately noted the following in the …

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Hero Pilot or Simply Lucky?

After a video of a Lufthansa Airbus 320 jet attempting a crosswind landing at Hamburg, Germany on March 1st was posted online the story made a lot of headlines. Some news reported the pilot was a “hero” while others were quite a bit less complementary.

This picture appears to even show the left wing striking the runway during the landing attempt.

Lufthansa Wingtip Drag

In the U.S. FAR (Federal Aviation Regulation) 91.3 states that: ” (a) The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.” In other words, ultimately the pilot in command is responsible for the safe operation of an aircraft. I’m assuming the Germans/Europeans have a …

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My Brush With a News Item

I talked to the Airbus Industries A380 (actually a A388 apparently) today while at work as an air traffic controller.

We don’t normally generate paper flight progress strips on aircraft anymore at high altitudes since URET was installed at the air traffic control centers, but I got one as a souvenir.

(Note the high quality of the printout as well – the horizontal breaks in the printing are really there! It’s thermal paper by the way.)

Air traffic controllers are required to call the aircraft “Super” in all radio communications, to differentiate it because the wake turbulence vortices it generates are even greater than aircraft in the “heavy” category, such as the Boeing B747. Not surprisingly FAA controllers are still …

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