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Author Archive | David Learmount

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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Learn to fly an A350

Airbus’ “learning by discovery” concept entails putting pilots into the A350 full flight simulator to experiment with the full range of aircraft manual handling characteristics far earlier in the type rating course than would traditionally have been done. And experimenting is genuinely encouraged. Director of A350 flight operations and training support Capt Christian Norden gave me […]

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The MH370 search

With the arrival of the southern hemisphere summer, the search for the lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has resumed and is well under way. Meanwhile Dutch accident investigators have begun the wreckage recovery operation on the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine. It has been seven months since MH370 went missing, and no trace of the […]

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