Posts Tagged ‘airways’

Aviation Writer James Fallows Commits the MSM Blunder of the Year with “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines” in the NYT

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Hoo boy: “Don’t Blame Malaysia Airlines

“Was this disaster somehow the airline’s fault? The answer is no — but to understand why, you have to look at the complex realities of modern commercial aviation.”

My isn’t this a touch patronizing? Well, obviously the primary fault is with the crew and commanders of the Gadfly missile system used to shoot down the plane. But Malaysian Air Systems is partially to blame for its negligent operation.

“Malaysia Airlines, already world famous because of the still-missing flight MH370, appears to have been following all normal safety rules.”

Is anybody suggesting that this flight was somehow illegal? I don’t think so. So talking about Malaysian following the “rules” is pointless.

“…explicit prohibitions are critical, because the entire aviation system works on the premise that unless airspace is marked as off-limits, it is presumptively safe and legal for flight.

OK again, Jimmy, the flight was unsafe but legal. Nobody’s suggesting that the flight was not legal.

“…when they crossed this zone at 33,000 feet, they were neither cutting it razor-close nor bending the rules, but doing what many other airlines had done, in a way they assumed was both legal and safe.”

Again, Jimmy, why are you harping on what’s “legal” to make your point that Malaysian wasn’t negligent? It’s as if the New York Times has turned into the Public Relations arm of Malaysian Air Systems or the government of Malaysia.

All right, it’s time to review. Here’s a partial list of airlines that were specifically avoiding this part of eastern Ukraine before the shootdown:

Asiana Airlines

Korean Air Lines  

China Airlines

Air France

British Airways

Air Berlin [Germany's second-largest airline]

The operators of these airlines would have been able to fly over eastern Ukraine legally, but they chose not to. Why’s that, Jimmy? Why would these airlines spend more on kerosene for no reason?

Mr. Fallows continues in The Atlantic:

Somehow I suspect that if it had been a Lufthansa plane that was attacked, there would be fewer starting-point assumptions that the carrier had somehow been cutting corners at the cost of its passengers’ safety. 

This sounds like it came straight from Malaysian Airlines, this racism (or whatever) argument he’s pushing. In any event, corner-cutting at the expense of passenger safety is exactly what occurred here.

And here’s the stinger:

“If a government or rogue faction shoots down a commercial plane, is that really an “air safety issue?” 

Well, hell yes it is, Jimmy. It’s exactly an air safety issue. That’s why all those airlines cited above, plus others, were avoiding the area. For safety.

Comes now aviation writer Christine Negroni to offer views contrary to that of flyboy fanboy James Fallows:

So while Malaysia is self-evidently correct it its statements; the airspace was open and hundreds flights between Europe and Asia were using it every day, it is a weak reply to a valid question of responsibility

Indeed.

Why James Fallows wants to shut down the conversation about the question of responsibility is a mystery to me…

Two Words That Don’t Belong on the Same Press Release Headline Together: “JetBlue and KaBOOM!”

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

You know, like this:

“JetBlue Airways and KaBOOM! Embark on their 15th Playground Build Together”

Speaking of which, do you know how long it’s been since somebody in America got on a big jet plane and then died from an aviation incident?

It’s been 11 years.

It’s been 11 years since a pilot above Lon Guyland destroyed an Airbus by treating his rudder pedals like a StairMaster machine.

KaBoom:

 

Click to expand

But that was all the way back in 2001.

A pretty good record, non?

When I was as young as you, Gentle Reader, Boeings and Airbuses and McDonnell Douglases and Lockheeds would fall out of the sky all the time. Engines would fall off, planes would crash into each other, terrorists would hijack and whatnot, but the past decade there’s been nothing.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but that was a propeller plane, not a jet.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but that was a little jet, one of them tiny corporate jets, or a “regional” jet, not a “big jet plane.”

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but that was a airport worker what got killed, not a passenger.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but that was a flight leaving Brazil, not a flight leaving or coming to America.

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, but that was an accident what occurred before 2002.

A remarkable record, IMO.

But even so, “JetBlue Airways and KaBOOM!” probably shouldn’t be so close together on the same press release.

Took my chances on a big jet plane 
Never let them tell you that they’re all the same. 

Straight Out of Emeryville – AMTRAK’s So-Called Train From Hell and Its Whiny Passengers

Monday, January 11th, 2010

How much would you expect from Amtrak if you paid $145 to board the California Zephyr in Emeryville, CA on January 3rd, 2010 with the expectation of getting to Chicago in a day-and-a-half? Well, what if your fellow passengers called this ride the “Train From Hell” or something?

How did it get that name? Well, the train arrived in Illinois almost a day late a few days back due to it hitting a truck abandoned on the tracks(!) and encountering snowdrifts  higher than an elephant’s eye  in Nebraska and other typical travel issues.

The number of deaths and injuries continues to be reported as zero. So how does that earn this particular Zephyr the sobriquet “Train From Hell” or whatever?

Amtrak’s CZ on a happier day: 

via Patrick Rasenberg

Perhaps Amtrak’s riders took a lesson from the whiny passengers of Flight 1549, famously piloted by CoCo County’s Captain “Sully” Sullenberger? Those particular airline passengers are getting at least $15k-$20k, plus free traumatic stress counseling sessions, plus a refund of their ticket cost, plus upgrades to first class on other flights  for the past year, etc., and yet some of them are still whining.

Sometimes when you travel, Things Happen.* Please make a note of this.  

Lower your expectations and you’ll never be disappointed… 

*People used to die on jetliners – not Beechcrafts nor Cessnas oh no, we’re talking about your Boeings, Airbuses, Lockheeds, McDonnell Douglasseses – people would board and then die, it happened all the time. But how many passengers have died due to jetliner crashes in America since 2001 (which was a bad year, of course)? That’s a Big Fat Zero.

So count your blessings the next time a flock of birds or a pickup or a snowstorm or an Act of God or an Act of Gaia wettens your iPod and/or delays your Journey Through Life.

Our Captain Sullenberger is Getting Dissed from France – Was Sully’s French Plane the Real Hero?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

I don’t know, it seems like writer William Langewiesche, currently residing in France, wants to have it both ways with his new book, Fly by Wire: The Geese, the Glide, the Miracle on the Hudson. He wants to rip on Sully, thusly:

“His performance was a work of extraordinary concentration, which the public misread as coolness under fire. Some soldiers will recognize the distinction.”

“Like it or not, [French pilot Bernard Ziegler] reached out across the years and cradled them all the way to the water.”

But then when Langewiesche gets a little blowback, he folds up like a deck chair, talking about how he’s surprised by Sully’s reaction, and how he’s neither pro- nor anti- fly-by-wire, and how he thinks cockpit automation is merely “a part of the story,” anyway, of Flight 1549. Well, duh, it’s a part of the story. 

But that’s Langewiesche’s “Truth About the Miracle on the Hudson” – that’s it, that’s all there is?

Haven’t read Fly by Wire myself. Probably would rather read it more than Sully’s less-techy book (mostly about the his Search for What Really Matters), which I haven’t read either. Oh well.

sully-copy

Obviously, there are pros and cons to Die by Wire. If William Langewiesche is now going around saying that, as he is, then there’s not much of a dispute anymore, we’ll take solace in the certainly that the bruised egos of French Airbus execs (who want Sully to thank Gaia for Airbus every chance he gets) will heal over time.

I don’t know, pretty cheesy (fromagey?) Monsieur William Langewiesche.

Pretty cheesy.

Captain Sully Sullenberger to Appear at SFO for Book Signing on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

Monday, October 19th, 2009

East Bay local Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger is back flying for U.S. Airways, but he’s still had time to write a book and go on tour. Sully will be at SFO tomorrow, in case you want to drop by at 11:00 AM. Otherwise, it costs $90k to arrange an appearance these days, so this is a good deal.

After all, Sully is Your Homeboy, right?

sully copy

The SFO Hudson Bookseller is located pre-security (near the BART Station) in the Main Hall of the International Terminal on the “G” Area side.

October 20, 2009 – Tuesday

Sully Sullenberger Book Signing
When: October 20, 2009 – Tuesday 11 a.m.
Where: Hudson Books, International Terminal (near Bart) San Francisco
What: Sully Sullenberger will be signing his new book “Highest Duty My Search for What Really Matters”

Fremont, CA Overrun With Canada Geese. “Sully’s Bane” is Spreading

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger got famous after running into these critters earlier in the year, but you don’t need an airplane to encounter monstrous Canada Geese. Oh no. Just head over to Fremont, CA. They’ve got thousands of ‘em.

Click to expand:

IMG_7064 copy

First, they got Oakland, now they have Fremont.

Is San Francisco next?

Is Hero Pilot Sully Sullenberger Jewish? No, But That’s O.K.

Sunday, February 8th, 2009

Popular Bay Area local Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III was just seen on the East Coast in his debut interview on 60 Minutes. Not that I ever watch that show, but I’ll check it out tonight, just for kicks. The reminder that his interview with Katie Couric was going to be on tonight came from the spike in traffic this blog just received.

It seems America is still curious about the issue of whether Sully is Jewish (see below for the online search terms people are trying right now), a question that probably wouldn’t have occurred to me otherwise.  The Jewish Post of New York (Your Gateway to the Jewish Worldlooked into it and signs point to no. But that’s O.K., right? A better question might be why he was prepared to act correctly on that day.

The Cap’n

Of course we have a lot of knucklehead pilots up there, so how do we get more like Sully? He stands out with his military experience, the amount of experience he has generally and the number of hours he has spent cogitating about accidents. It’s nice to know that he and his ilk won’t be forced to retire at age 60 (which, until recently, was a hard and fast rule.

And speaking of Sully’s future, it looks like San Francisco politico and Sullenberger family spokesperson Alex Clemens of Barbary Coast Consulting and the famous The Usual Suspects website will have his hands full sorting through all the offers, including one from Richard Branson of Virgin Air.

Anyway, here are some of the search terms people across America are using today:

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Ungrateful Passengers of Flight 1549 Want More Money, Money, Money

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

The thing you’ve got to realize, is that sometimes things just happen. It’s not your fault, it’s not anyone else’s fault, it’s just, you know, things happen. Kind of like the time spokesmodel and romance novel cover-boy Fabio got hit in the face with a bird when he was on a roller coaster. Whose fault was that?

That’s something to ponder when you consider the whining of some of the passengers of famous Flight 1549, piloted by Bay Area local Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger. You see, they gots to get more money than they’ve gotten so far from U.S. Airways

Of course, the airline isn’t done talking with people yet: 

“US Airways Vice President Jim Olson says that an insurance claims specialist is contacting passengers and that they’ll be reimbursed for expenses or losses above $5,000. The airline wants to ensure no passenger is “losing money for the inconvenience or anything lost during the accident,” he says”

But that doesn’t stem the whining. Obviously, this was a traumatic event, but unless passengers want to allege something about defective engines (as Geraldo Rivera seems to be doing) or negligent bird vigilance by somebody, then maybe these passengers should be happy to take the five G’s, file any additional claims and then move on with their lives.

Just saying.

An old story:

A grandmother is sitting at the beach, watching her young grandson play in the water. Suddenly, an enormous wave crashes over the boy’s head, and when it recedes, the boy is gone, washed out to sea. Frantic, the grandmother cries out to God, “Lord, what has my grandson done to deserve this? Please bring him back to me, and I’ll forever be grateful to you!” Moments later, another enormous wave crashes against the shoreline, returning the boy to the beach, soaked but unharmed. He begins happily digging in the sand, oblivious to what just occurred. The grandmother looks at the boy, then raises her head to the sky. She shouts, “He had a hat!”

Today, this tale could be updated by replacing the word “hat” with Blackberry, or cell phone, PSP, whatever.

Oh well.

A Huge Hometown Welcome for Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in Danville, CA

Saturday, January 24th, 2009

Well thousands turned out in Danville today to welcome hero pilot Chesley Burnett “Sully” Sullenberger III home. He’s been a bit busy lately, of course.

He’ll spill the beans about famous Flight 1549 to Katie Couric on 60 Minutes, February 8, 2009.

Lorrie Sullenberger with her husband in Danville today. Click to expand

We’ll just have to wait…

Contra Costa Pilot Chesley Sullenberger is Hero Pilot of Flight 1549

Thursday, January 15th, 2009

Airline pilot and local Contra Costa County webmaster (www.safetyreliability.com!, that’s his URL, srsly) really pulled the fat out of the fire today by properly ditching his crippled Airbus 320 into the Hudson River. Will he make an appearance at the upcoming Obama Presidential Inaugural Celebration or State of the Union address? (Signs point to YES.)

This former USAF fighter pilot will be soon be the talk of his small East Bay hometown: Danville, CA . [Update: It’s happened already – the MSM has staked out his family’s “spacious house” and talked to the neighbors, so the fam is hiding out in the dark, sustaining themselves on take-out fast food delivered by friends. Well, here he is, the man with “twinkly, fatherly eyes”]

www.safetyreliability.com The eye twinkling here is assisted by on-camera flash catchlights and Photoshop’s unsharp mask (USM) function, set at 20, 60, 0. Click to expand

Did he or co-pilot Jeff Skiles of Oregon, Wisconsin press the Airbus 320 “ditch button?” Maybe. That jet certainly floated like a cork for a while. Apparently, “pressing the guarded “DITCHING” button causes the pressurization system to send a “CLOSE” command to:

  • the outflow valve,
  • the emergency ram air inlet,
  • the avionics ventilation inlet and extract valves,
  • the pack flow control valves

thereby making the aircraft fuselage as watertight as possible and hopefully enabling it to stay afloat long enough for everyone to get out before it sinks.” The More You Know… Hey Boeing, do you have something simple like this?

It appears “Sully” did a masterful job all around, especially when you consider the fact that the temperature of the water was likely much colder” than 20 degrees(!), per WCBS. (You know, some captains don’t always go the extra mile for passengers when the ship is going down.) 

N106US from less eventful times, in its old livery. Via Drewski2112 Click to enlarge.

And speaking of safety, has any large (100 passengers or so and up) commercial jet airplane gotten in a crash that killed a paying passenger in America since the end of 2001? I can’t think of any flights where that’s happened. Good for us. The trend is our our friend, isn’t it? Of course, the fashion these days is having large jets with just two engines (instead of three or four). When you’re heading into a flock of birds, it would probably be nicer to have more engines than less, but this kind of thing is a fairly rare occurance.

Now, San Francisco’s SFO has had its fair share of birdstrike victims, including Virgin America Flight 837 (yes Air Colbert, named after Stephen Colbert) and, speaking of Virgin Airlines, a Virgin Boeing 747 back in 1995. Let’s hope the growing geese population of the Bay Area doesn’t start hanging out at airports. But let’s leave that issue for another day. 

Today, it’s three cheers for old-school, safe, reliable, Facebook.com cover-boy, possible nominee for U.S. Senate representing New York Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger III!

[Update: For some odd reason, a colossal number of people are searching Google right now using the terms “sullenberger jewish?” and “wesley sullenburger jew.” I don’t know the answer, but the question itself must be, in the words of famous local playwright Josh Kornbluth, “Good for the Jews“.]