Courtesy of the fabulously efficient US Coast Guard comes this video of a Cessna 310 being ditched with great panache in the Pacific last week. I suppose everybody's been watching Sully videos these days, just in case. (Sully, however, had a robust excuse ready for the aircraft owner, whereas we are yet to hear the full story of this one.)
A remarkable memorial flypast was organised four days after the loss of the First Air Boeing 737-200 at Resolute Bay. Not wholly surprising in a part of the world that is truly aviation country, but a terrific job all the same. Best seen in full-screen HD with audio.
The heroic, but ultimately futile, attempts by the avian community to fight back against powered intruders continue. In this terrible scene a single white bird, cautiously identified by somebody-or-other as a pelican, loses (just) a bill-to-radome skirmish with an Embraer EMB-145 of Expressjet / Continental Express at Salt Lake City.
More seriously, birdstrikes remain firmly in the "accident waiting to happen" category. We have been very lucky so far but all the evidence is that the threat is increasing.
Some of you may remember an incident in May last year in which a British Airways Boeing 747-400 suffered an uncommanded slat-retraction on rotation at Johannesburg. I suggested that the aviating skills displayed by the crew were worthy of note.
My story of the volcano is just one of a gzillion of course - but educational for travellers. You can follow the saga of what happened to my wife and I on Facebook. In brief, we just failed to get out of Madrid on Thursday night as our flights (him on business on Easyjet, her on holiday on Ryanair - long story) were in the first wave of cancellations. What happened next was interesting.
Naturally enough the report on the Airbus A320 fatal loss at Sao Paulo Congonhas in 2007 has sparked all kinds of debate about the design and human factor issues regarding thrust-reversers, spoilers, and warning systems. Natural - but overlooking the devastating critique of the Brazilian regulatory system and of TAM's operational management that the report contains.
I spend quite a bit of time trying to explain to the general media why the global safety record exhibits the well-documented two-speed phenomenon, with the developed world reaching previously unimaginable levels of safety and the rest still plagued by numerous unavoidable avoidable disasters.
For anyone who wants to understand the difference between the two environments, the TAM 3054 report is perfect reading material. Not the technical discussion - important though it undoubtedly is - but pages 47-55, summed up on p72, and then 87-90. It's a horrible chronicle of safety being at first slowly, and then rapidly crushed under the twin burdens of commercial pressure and indolent regulation. Finally the accident that has been waiting to happen in those circumstances does happen.
The point is that the situation described there in shocking detail (by Brazilian investigators) could more or less be summarised as an absence of all the safety-management techniques that together have made the developed world record the extraordinary achievement that it is.
Landing at London Stansted in the small hours of this morning on a Ryanair Boeing 737, I was almost tempted to join in the smattering of applause from the rear of the cabin. (Almost but not quite - I do have some dignity). I could barely see the runway edges in the fog, and what I could see was large amounts of snow. Impressive stuff, and our flight was only one of umpteen still turning up. I trust Michael O'Leary's contemptuous attitude towards his staff is just for show and in reality he appreciates what they're achieving out there.
But then I saw this video below of an incident at Glasgow Prestwick this morning, and read this post here and started to wonder. (I'm still impressed though - my subsequent drive home through the ice and fog was horrible.) This is worth a read too if you're interested in the whole subject.
This is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it's a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines. The F/A took it to show her manager what was happening on the aircraft (757???) and why she was unhappy about it. Seems the guy paid for only one seat and the gate staff let him board.
You can see the F/A's point of view - how the heck is s(he) supposed to deal with it. Sympathise with the guy or not, he's a major safety hazard in an evacuation, a gross inconvenience for the cabin crew, and I would suggest a totally unacceptable travelling companion for the guy next to him.
I don't know what the actual outcome was but it seems unimaginable that he was allowed to fly in the end. Not that anything on a commercial airline is actually unimaginable, but close anyway.
A good friend of mine had a similar experience sitting next to a guy who was big but I don't think as big as this, for a long-haul flight and was effectively injured by sitting for several hours in a contorted position with his fellow pax half on top of him. The airline that did that to him was utterly unsympathetic throughout a lengthy correspondence afterwards. OK, Emirates since you ask. Ironically my chum is now in a senior position with another carrier.
Anyone know how how the American affair turned out?