Peanuts, monkeys and pilots

The following is a US-flavoured comment, but thoughtful and illuminating. It’s penned by a senior US airline pilot who posts under the name Seaavi8tor, but he’s real alright. Some of you will know him and his views. You can read what he says here, but the following quote provides a flavour of his subject: “In terms […]

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Fatal distraction

Spanish investigators have just released more information about the Spanair MD82 take-off accident at Madrid Barajas in August last year. If you remember, the crew attempted take off having omitted to set the flaps, and there was no take-off configuration warning to alert them to their mistake. The aircraft was destroyed and almost all on board were […]

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Airbus automation: is enough enough?

Airbus is considering automating another pilot function when it introduces the A350. Highly automated aircraft include all the airline types rolling off all production lines today. But Airbus, a child of the digital age, is often tagged as being even more automated than Boeing. This perceived difference generates a lot of heat - but very little light – among […]

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Which way is up?

Capabilities of the VS Learjets

Loss of control accidents are the world’s new big killers since the installation of airborne terrain awareness warning systems (TAWS) dramatically reduced the numbers of controlled flight into terrain crashes. The US FAA is considering mandating an upset recovery training programme for airline pilots. But what does it think is the best training method?     Right […]

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Don’t marry an airline pilot (Part 2)

About this time last year I suggested reasons why marrying an airline pilot might not bring you the lifestyle you had in mind. Today David Nicholas, who frequently posts comments here, has kindly sent me a link to a human interest story on the BBC website – including a video – which rather backs up my […]

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Winter thoughts in the northern summer

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Are pilots ever really ready for winter when they have just flown through summer? They could be this year…   It’s not just about de-icing, its about which de-icing fluid to ask for under which circumstances. It’s not just about contaminated runways, it’s about what the runway is contaminated with  – and how much of […]

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Why has airline safety stopped improving?

“Unless there is a dramatic improvement in airline safety performance between now and the end of 2010, then 2001-10 will become the first decade since the Second World War when global airline accident rates did not show improvement.” You will shortly be able to read those words in Flight International’s review of global airline safety […]

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Do we do nothing if AF 447 remains a mystery?

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It is still possible that the AF 447 recorders will be found. But if they never are, can the industry afford not to explore what is likely to have happened, rather than what is merely possible? The list of theoretical possibilities is, at present, so long that an assumption by the industry that any of them might have […]

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Safety and politics don’t mix

European transport commissioner Antonio Tajani and several French politicians have seen fit to pronounce on aviation safety in the wake of the Yemenia Airbus A310 accident in a way that reflects a distressing degree of nationalistic prejudice.   Without any knowledge of what caused the Yemenia accident, they have clearly pre-judged the carrier as not […]

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The unvarnished truth about all airline accidents

The following statements apply to all accidents involving all airlines flying all types of aircraft, whether people in them were hurt or not: 1. If the accident involves a big Western-built jet airliner with lots of people on it, it will either be an Airbus or a Boeing, because they are the only Western aircraft manufacturers left on the […]

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