The MoD’s nice little earner

RAF Northolt, next to the A40 trunk road in north west London, is one of the RAF’s oldest continually used airfields, and it accepts up to 12,000 civilian (mostly business aviation) movements a year on a commercial basis. Only London City airport is closer to London’s centre, and Heathrow no longer accepts business aviation movements, […]

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North Sea helicopter safety and the oil price

The UK Civil Aviation Authority looks as if it is – finally – doing a great job shepherding British offshore oil support helicopter operations into a safer future. When helicopter operators in the UK sector of the North Sea suffered five serious accidents or incidents in the period 2009-2013 the CAA’s initial response was defensive. […]

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An old fashioned fatal accident

Bhoja Air doesn’t exist any longer. In its recent incarnation, the Pakistani domestic carrier flew commercially for less than a year, suffered a serious fatal accident in April 2012, and was grounded before it was wound up. According to the ICAO universal safety oversight audit programme (USOAP), which rates national aviation authorities on their capabilities […]

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Tropical accidents: the evidence is building

Accidents to aircraft cruising through tropical or sub-tropical zones are repeating often enough now for the industry to have cause to refresh its pilots on the risks – if they have not already done so. There have only been three other accidents in the last ten years that merit comparison with AirAsia’s flight QZ8501 accident […]

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Considerations for ditching MH370

Since Capt Simon Hardy revealed in Flightglobal/Flight International his calculations about where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is likely to have come to rest, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau – leading the MH370 search team – has spoken at length to him. One of the features of the Flightglobal release of Hardy’s work is that, despite […]

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The 2014 myth

2014 wasn’t a bad year for airline safety, even if it felt like one. In fact the reverse is true: it was the safest year in the history of airline safety – if only  marginally. The fatal accident rate was one in 2.38 million flights. Not exactly Russian Roulette. So why didn’t it feel safe? […]

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AirAsia accident inquiry

We now know the AirAsia A320 crashed out of control into the sea not far from where the crew reported that they were trying to avoid bad weather. The question to which the Indonesian investigators have to find the answer is: why was it out of control? Here are some other accidents in which the […]

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Is this where MH370 is?

Some time ago, talking in this blog about MH370, I remarked that we should get used to the idea that we might never find the missing aircraft. My logic was based on the fact that it had disappeared into a very big ocean and we knew very little about which way it went after it […]

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Seventy years of international air travel

  ICAO is the enabler of routine international flights, and its founding treaty was signed 70 years ago on 8 December in the Grand ballroom of the Chicago Hilton. On Monday the world’s aviation and United Nations heads will meet again there to commemorate this history-changing event. Imagine the world without international air travel   […]

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Back to the Battle of Britain Bunker

What kind of time is this to be a military leader? The enemy is no longer a recognisable hostile State fielding battalions of uniformed men, but many ad hoc groups of armed individuals coalescing around an idea or creed, their ranks constantly reinforced by a self-generating flow of perversely idealistic kids from countries around the […]

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