Archive for the ‘airlines’ Category

Press Release: “Asiana suit dismissal vindicates firefighters’ ‘heroic efforts’ in tragic crash, Dennis Herrera says”

Friday, August 7th, 2015

Just released, see below.

I don’t know. The NTSB weighed in and the SFFD certainly DID NOT get an A+ grade, to say the least:

“The overall triage process in this mass casualty incident was effective with the exception of the failure of responders to verify their visual assessments of the condition of passenger 41E.

The San Francisco Fire Department’s aircraft rescue and firefighting staffing level was instrumental in the department’s ability to conduct a successful interior fire attack and successfully rescue five passengers who were unable to self-evacuate amid rapidly deteriorating cabin conditions.

Although no additional injuries or loss of life were attributed to the fire attack supervisor’s lack of aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) knowledge and training, the decisions and assumptions he made demonstrate the potential strategic and tactical challenges associated with having non-ARFF trained personnel in positions of command at an airplane accident.

Although some of the communications difficulties encountered during the emergency response, including the lack of radio interoperability, have been remedied, others, such as the breakdown in communications between the airport and city dispatch centers, should be addressed.

The Alert 3 section of the San Francisco International Airport’s emergency procedures manual was not sufficiently robust to anticipate and prevent the problems that occurred in the accident response.”

Here’s some more on Flight 214 from San Francisco Magazine. Some quotes in there from SFFD personnel appeared to show a bit of self deception, IMO.

And there’s this, from the San Jose Mercury News:

San Francisco’s emergency personnel also were criticized. While praising firefighters for rescuing several passengers from the burning wreckage and having more than the required number of personnel on hand, the report said “the arriving incident commander placed an officer in charge of the fire attack” who hadn’t been properly trained. The responders also had communication problems, including being unable “to speak directly with units from the airport on a common radio frequency” and didn’t rush medical buses to the scene, which “delayed the arrival of backboards to treat seriously injured passengers.” In addition, the report said airport emergency officials in general lack policies “for ensuring the safety of passengers and crew at risk of being struck or rolled over by a vehicle” during rescue operations. During the chaotic initial response to the Asiana crash, two firetrucks ran over one of the teenage passengers lying outside the plane. The San Mateo County coroner ruled the girl was alive when she was hit, but the San Francisco Fire Department disputes that finding.

Obviously, this was an aircraft accident that involved pilot error, as most do. Equally obviously, some of the problems on that day showed that the SFFD wasn’t training properly, realistically.

All right, here’s the release:

“Asiana suit dismissal vindicates firefighters’ ‘heroic efforts’ in tragic crash, Herrera says. City Attorney adds, ‘Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives’ in 2013’s Asiana tragedy

SAN FRANCISCO (Aug. 7, 2015) — Parents of the 16-year-old passenger who was ejected and killed in the crash of Asiana Flight 214 on July 6, 2013 dismissed their civil lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco today. Neither the plaintiffs nor their attorneys appear to have issued a public statement accompanying their dismissal, which was filed in U.S. District Court this afternoon.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera issued the following statement in response:

“Our hearts go out to the parents of Ye Ming Yuan and to all the surviving loved ones of the three who lost their lives in the tragic crash of Asiana Flight 214. We’re grateful for a dismissal that will spare everyone involved the added heartache and costs of litigation, which we believed from the beginning to be without legal merit.
“As we remember those who lost their lives in the Asiana crash, I hope we acknowledge, too, the heroic efforts of San Francisco’s firefighters and police who saved hundreds of lives that day. With thousands of gallons of venting jet fuel threatening unimaginable calamity, our firefighters initiated a daring interior search-and-rescue that within minutes extricated trapped passengers, and moved them safely to medical triage. In the face of great danger to their own lives, our emergency responders showed heroism and selflessness that day. They deserve our honor and gratitude.”

The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the crash of Asiana flight 214 was caused by the Asiana flight crew’s mismanagement in approaching and inadequately monitoring the airspeed of the Boeing 777 on its approach to San Francisco International Airport, according to the NTSB’s June 24, 2014 announcement. The NTSB also found that the flight crew’s misunderstanding of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems contributed to the tragedy.

On July 3, 2014, NTSB Member Mark R. Rosekind issued a concurrent statement that praised San Francisco’s first responders: “The critical role of the emergency response personnel at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and the firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department cannot be underestimated. Although certain issues regarding communications, triage, and training became evident from the investigation and must be addressed, emergency responders were faced with the extremely rare situation of having to enter a burning airplane to perform rescue operations. Their quick and professional action in concert with a diligent flight crew evacuated the remaining passengers and prevented this catastrophe from becoming much worse. In addition, the emergency response infrastructure and resources at SFO that supported firefighting and recovery after the crash are admirable, significantly exceeding minimum requirements.”

Asiana Flight 214 struck the seawall short of SFO’s Runway 28L shortly before 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 6, 2013, beginning a violent impact sequence that sheared off the tail assembly, rotated the aircraft approximately 330 degrees, and created a heavy cloud of dust and debris before the aircraft finally came to rest approximately 2300 feet from its initial site of impact. The sheared-off tail assembly and force of rotation resulted in the ejection of five people: two crewmembers still strapped into the rear jump seats, and three passengers seated in the last two passenger rows. All three ejected passengers suffered fatal injuries: two died at the scene, and one died six days later.

With nearly 3,000 gallons of jet fuel venting from fuel lines where two engines detached during the crash sequence, a fire started in one engines that was wedged against the fuselage. A fire also began in the insulation lining the fuselage interior, beginning near the front of the aircraft. The interior fire produced heavy smoke inside the aircraft and posed extremely dangerous conditions given the volatility of leaking jet fuel and its proximity to potentially explosive oxygen tanks. In the face of imminent explosion, the rescue effort safely evacuated and triaged of some 300 people. Asiana flight 214 carried 307 individuals: 4 flight crew, 12 cabin crewmembers and 291 passengers. Three of the 291 passengers were fatally injured.

The case is: Gan Ye and Xiao Yun Zheng, et al v. City and County of San Francisco, et al., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, case no. C14-04941, filed Aug. 13, 2014. Learn more about the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office at http://www.sfcityattorney.org/.”

San Francisco’s Cutest Vegetarians Have Gotta Be the Botta’s Pocket Gophers of Golden Gate Park

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

As seen in Caddyshack:

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The Dashcams of Taiwan: Incredible Video of the Crash of Transasia Flight GE235 – Sullenberger-Style River Landing Saves Some Lives?

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Nothing goes unrecorded by the car dash cams of Taiwan:

TransAsia Airways Flight 235 looks to have lost a lot of power from its left engine. But assuming that the propeller blades of the failing engine were feathered to lessen drag, there’s no reason why a properly-loaded ATR 72 shouldn’t have been able to climb out to a safe altitude using the remaining engine.

There appears to be a lot of data recorded on this crash, so they mystery should be solved soon…

How the Giant Airbus A380 is a Fuel-Hungry Dinosaur and How Smaller Mammals are Eating Its Eggs – The 80 Meter Box

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Here you go, let’s take a look at two recent flights out of SFO.

An Airbus A380:

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And here’s a Boeing 777, which is an older design, but it’s not yet a flying dinosaur:

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Here’s why. What are the differences you see? Doesn’t the A380 look sort of stubby to you? Part of that has to do with the 80 Meter Box, which is the reason why the wingspan is 79 point-something meters. The wings were made as long as possible, so they just barely fit inside that box. The result is a design that isn’t aerodynamically efficient. Also the wings were made too big and too strong* in order to accommodate anticipated future stretched models. So that means that if the A380 never gets stretched, then it will be burdened by too short, too strong wings for its whole life. (And look at the A380’s huge tailplane in the back – that’s another sign of its stubbiness. It’s too close the wings, so it needs to be bigger and heavier, ala the even-stubbier Boeing 747SP.) Future 777s will have folding wingtips, the better to be long and thin in flight, but easier to move about the gate area. Mmmm…

Also, four engines vs. two. Well, if you want to build big big big, then four engines is the way to go, but why would you want to build so big? Well, efficiencies, but landing slots at big international airports aren’t as precious as Airbus anticipated. If you think that international flight will grow spectacularly and that the hub and spoke system will dominate, well then, yeah, it’d be nice to get as many passengers as possible into the limited number of flights you’re allowed. But that’s not the point we’re at now, so maybe Airbus built the A380 “too soon?” It’s sure looking that way. And then Airbus is stuck with four older-style engines sucking up fuel. Unless, they want to hang newer style engines off of the wings, but that change would take a long time and cost a lot of money. But then it’d still be too stubby.

It’s incredible how it is was billed as some kind of revolutionary “green” aircraft just eight years ago. Anyway, that’s the fuel-hungry dinosaur part.

Now, where are the smaller mammals? Well they’re coming, they’re the Boeing 787 and the Airbus A350. Look at what you can do with them – you can more easily avoid those those big, crowded airports, right?

So we’ll just have to wait and see how things go for the A380. Maybe the world will change soon enough for the A380 to start making sense, despite its shortcomings. But until that happens, the A380 is nothing but a superjumbo jobs program, something the Euros can waste $20 billion of development money on, to put workers to work, all over Europe and in a few American states as well.

(It’s like the Concorde program all over again, spending big bucks to sell thirsty four-engined aircraft at less than cost.)

Oh well.

IMO, if Airbus wanted a big hub and spoke airliner, it should have built a big big twinjet, which would have fit into the 80 meter (or whatever) box more efficiently.

Boxes are efficient for watermelons, but not for jetliners – that’s how it works.

It’s halftime for the A380 and it’s down by three touchdowns.

Oh well.

Maybe it was just a bad idea…

*Or I should say designed too strong. The wing crack issue is there, but it doesn’t go to show how the A380 was fundamentally a bad idea for its time. It was just something that happened. My point is that the wings on the current and only A380 don’t really match the rest of the current and only A380, even leaving aside the 80 Meter Box

Cowboy Pilots, Air Safety and the Metric System: A Modest Defense of Fox News on AirAsia Flight QZ8501

Monday, December 29th, 2014

So cue the outrage here.

I don’t watch the cable TV news myself, but here are a few points:

1. American-style measurements are all over the aviation industry, like measurement of speed (in nautical miles per hour) and altitude (in feet). Pilot confusion with differing measurement systems has killed passengers and crew IRL.

2. And yes, international travel isn’t as safe as domestic travel, for a host of reasons. American pilots have better training, on average, and they have an easier job of it, not having to deal with the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Russian paramilitaries, for starters. Not a single passenger has died due to a crash on a domestic flight on a large (we’re talking about something bigger than a private jet or a regional airliner) jet since 9/11. And if you want to talk about international flight on 100+ seat jets either going to or coming from America, we’ve lost a total of three passengers (on an Asiana flight at SFO) since 2001, that horrible year.

3. And the thing about cowboys – that’s a reference to the Boeing / American approach to automation vs. the Airbus / international approach. So a “cowboy” pilot has greater power to do something stupid, but also a greater ability to get out of trouble. A “cowboy” is more likely to have military experience. A cowboy is the opposite of a “college boy.” Oddly enough, the computer-assisted cowboy and cowgirl pilots are doing better, on average, than the auto pilot-reliant college boys and girls.

The job of these hosts is to be appealing (by looking good in a suit or a fuchsia(?) minidress(?), to look somber (due to the tragedy) and to goad the invited expert into saying what s/he knows in an interesting way. Seems as if they were getting that job done.

So yeah, asking about the metric system sounds like a stupid question, I’ll agree. But everything the hosts were talking about comes from real life, it comes from someplace. It’s not just Fox News waving the flag.

IMO.

So laugh at Fox if you want, but they’re doing their job better than Jezebel / Isha Aran is doing its job of debunking Fox News. And, bonus, Fox News consulted an expert and Jezebel, which doesn’t know much about aviation, did not.

So, Fox News 1, Jezebel 0.

The End of an Era: 2014 is the Last Time Any Airline Will Boast of Its Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets – Air China’s 747-8

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

I was surprised to see this ad:

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Here’s how things looked back in 1968:

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And here’s how things looked back in 2008 for Boeing’s jumbo jet competition, the Airbus A380.

Where’s our jumbo jet scorecard?

Boeing 747 1st Generation = SUCCESS! Unquestionably, but now obsolete

Boeing 747 2nd Generation = SUCCESS! Unquestionably, but pretty much obsolete

Airbus A380 1st Generation = FAILURE! Pretty much. A big money pit for Airbus

Boeing 747 3rd Generation = FAILURE! Approaching obsolescence faster than expected 

See a pattern here?

Here’s How Larry Ellison Runs His Hawaiian Airline: $4000 Bonuses Paid to Pilots at “Island Air” Being Recalled

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Why would you give people a bonus right before the holidays and then take it back right before the holidays?

And then you plan on giving the money back* again next year, maybe?

What a mess!

Hey, here’s a solution for LE.

Why not just sell your POS Toyota LFA and then use the proceeds to fund the bonuses?

Oh, here it is, parked on Van Ness in front of the House of Prime Rib:

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That would cover it.

(Now, here’s the thing about the LFA. The suits at Toyota felt the program was taking waaaay too long, which it was, so they said, “Forget about the tranny, just finish that car!” So they slapped in a slushbox** and called it a day. That “awful” transmission totally doesn’t match the rest of the car. Oh well! But don’t take my word for it… [“One big giant squirrel.” “Awful transmission.”]

Anyway, this is the kind of thing what makes up your Legacy, Larry.

Don’t you care about your Legacy, Larry?

Or, if not, do you care about unnecessarily pissing off all your pilots? 

*These bonuses weren’t exactly Christmas Bonuses, they were WE’RE FINALLY GETTING NEW AIRPLANES Bonuses. So I guess the Island Air people weren’t happy with the Airbussy prop planes they bought, so now they want to switch over to the Canadian competition? And then there was some kind of bonus for the pilots connected to that. Which planes would be best? Well, you just don’t know. You’ll never know, actually. Perhaps Island Air just doesn’t make sense as a bidness? I’ll tell you, back in the 1990’s people’d be trying to start up inter-island airlines just for the PR value, just to have fun. The idea would be to lose money on the airline (ooh look, we have all-jet aircraft!) to build up goodwill to use for another purpose. It didn’t work out..)

**Look at all those words in Wikipedia about the chassis and engine and then there’s just one line about the awful transmission…

What’s This – Asiana Airlines is Actually Happy About Its Recent 45-Day Ban from SFO? And Its Stock Price is Up?

Monday, November 17th, 2014

Man, this recent report on Asiana Flight 214 from Anadolu Agency, the official press agency in Turkey(!), sure is informative – every line is pure gold.

Check it:

“We have two weeks to appeal and nothing is set in stone, but we are still considering what to do because to be honest we have got off light,” said the man, who did not wish to be named given the sensitivity of the case.

Well gee, this is true or somewhat true or not at all – how do you prove it? IDK. But man, this is not good for Asiana to have an employee/insider celebrating like this, for various reasons.

Three people died – one of them run over by a fire truck responding to the scene – and more than 180 of the 307 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777 were injured when it clipped a sea wall and crashed into a runway at San Francisco airport on July 6 last year.

The SFFD gets a lot of criticism over its performance on that day, at least from outside of SF. (Here’s the rosier view from inside SF, FYI.)

United States National Transportation Safety Board officials have accused the pilots of mismanaging the landing due to a failure to manage speed and altitude, along with a reliance on an automatic throttle they didn’t fully understand.

Yep. It could be that it’s especially hard to learn on a modern Airbus and then switch over to the Boeing system. People should be looking into this…

“We can choose when to start the suspension, and if we do it during our off-peak season the damages will be greatly reduced,” he added.

Again, it’s OK to think this, but you shouldn’t come out and say this, IMO

The source said that he expected Korean Air – Asiana’s main rival – to be furious with the decision. As evidence, he highlighted that its services to Guam were stopped for more than four years after a 1997 crash claimed 228 lives, and that it was one of only two airlines that fly into South Korea’s Incheon International Airport that had refused to petition for leniency for Asiana – the other being its budget division Jin Air.

Sounds kind of petty, Korean Air.

Asiana had argued that suspensions had not been shown to improve safety.

Mmmm… I’m inclined to agree. I’m not sure about the effectiveness of this old school-style punishment.

The company’s stocks rallied on the local KOSPI bourse on Friday, rising 4.58 percent as the lighter-than-expected suspension was announced.

Did not know that.

You know, there are still a lot of stories to tell about Asiana 214. Like what about the people that received serious injuries – how are they doing?

On it goes…

Whoa: Asiana Airlines Flights To and From SFO “Likely” to be Suspended for as much as Four Months – Punishment for Flight 214

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

From San Francisco-based military writer Kyle Mizokami comes word of a plan to temporarily suspend Asiana Airlines flights between Incheon International Airport (ICN) and SFO:

Asiana Faces Suspension of San Francisco Flights

“Under the plan, the ministry will ask Korean Air to use larger aircraft on the Incheon-San Francisco route to increase the number of seats, bring in chartered planes, or channel passengers on transit routes. A senior ministry official recently visited concerned lawmakers at the National Assembly to brief them on the plan.”

Does this seem real to you? It seems real to me. Or perhaps elements of the Republic of Korea are trying to scare Asiana straight after the Flight 214 disaster?

Korean Air currently uses Boeing 747 and 777 aircraft on this route – might it be tough for it to expand capacity just for a few months? IDK. I can’t think of too many options for KA to use planes larger than these, excepting for one or two of their ten newish double-decker superjumbo Airbus A380’s, but it’s not like those aircraft are just sitting around waiting to be used this way.

This suspension idea doesn’t make sense to me – I suppose we’ll find out tonight…

[UPDATE: Well, a 45 suspension just got handed down, but Asiana wants to appeal the decision.]

It’s Finally Happening: Emirates Airlines Launches Daily Airbus A380 Superjumbo Service Between SFO and Dubai December 1st

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

Well I just saw a banner ad, so consider that confirmation that, as of December 1st, 2014*, Emirates is finally offering daily flights to and from Dubai out of SFO on its shower-stall equipped** Airbus A380 double-decker superjumbos.

So, chalk that up as a victory for SFO.

Here’s your Emirates A380, equipped with a horseshoe bar in the back, upstairs, for Business and First Class passengers only:

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It was back in 2008 that Emirates brought a then-new A380 to town, to show it off. Get all the deets on that visit right here.

But, IRL, they ended up using the smaller Boeing 777-300ER twinjet instead. When asked, the Emirates people said they were “considering” the A380 for daily flights to and from SFO. Well, six years later, the day has come.

Oh, here’s my take on SFO + A380 readiness right here. IMO, the A380 was, is, and will continue to be Just Another Airplane. Sorry.

Oh well.

*The writer is saying that the new, longer-range A380’s are lighter?  Uh, I think he should have said heavier instead. More fuel = more range, right? That’s the case here. It’s still a very heavy aircraft, one that’s still heavier than designed…

**What happens to your used shower water after your five-minute-max spritz is over? Emirates wanted to dump it out in-flight but I don’t think they got permission to do that. So, there’s a holding tank that gets emptied out after landing. So, Emirates needs to burn more fuel to carry a useless load of soapy water waste water. Not too “green,” huh? Oh well.