Posts Tagged ‘flight’

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”

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…

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.


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.

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:


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.

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


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

Flying Over San Francisco on Hershey Bar Wings in Cotton Candy Skies: Youtube Video Shows Flight Above the Fog Layer

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Let’s take a flight in an early-1970’s Piper Cherokee PA-28-180 Archer:

Samuel L Jackson Selfies Show Him Going from Glad to Sad on His Recent Trip to Beijing, China – Air Quality

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Here’s SLJ on a small, snake-free plane on his way to China:

“‘Bout to go wheels up from London to Beijing. Might have to get my slumber on!”

But when he got there, he was dissatisfied with the Air Quality (AQ) level:

“Even w/ lights, you can only see 2 1/2 blocks…maybe! AQ 312!!”

Poor SLJ!

Asiana Air Crash Update – Reviewing KTVU TV’s “Sum Ting Wong” Fiasco from 2014 – TRIGGER WARNING: Speculation

Friday, January 24th, 2014

1. So KTVU, the way to make up for your error is to disclose what occurred, IMO. The way NOT to do it is to air “Success Makers*” featuring “Survivor” winner Yul Kwon interviewing other notable Korean Americans. This tit-for-tat, Black-Eye vs. Feather-in-the-Cap, yes-but-is-it-good-for-the-Jews accounting system is a big fat joke and everybody knows it. If you all want to air this kind of “aspirational” bullcrap at 7 AM on a Sunday morning, well then be my guest, but you don’t need to commit the U.S. Media Blunder of the Year 2013 first, right? One thing has nothing to do with the other, IRL. You can throw a bone to the Asian American Journalists Association whenever you want, right? Why connect the two?

2. OTOH, KTVU, if you want to go through the pretty much pointless process of sending out take-down notices hither and yon so that certain people, certain older, out of touch people, can see that you’re trying to placate them, well, at least that makes more sense than Success Makers.

3. So, KTVU, what happened? Your viewing public is confused. And rightly so, since you’re hiding your own story from them. Some think that you all got punked by another TV station as payback for all the crowing you were doing about your Asiana coverage up to that point. Others think that some low-level KTVU employee made a joke and then things got out of hand. But that’s not what I heard.

4. My theory. Some aviation buff from the Midwest, let’s say in Illinois or a neighboring state, posts on a regional forum that the names all the pilots have just been revealed: “Sum Ting Wong,” “Wi Tu Lo,” “Ho Lee Fuk,” and “Bang Ding Ow.” This joke just sat out there for a day or so and then it started getting repeated on other boards and Twitter and the like. A retired pilot, somebody that KTVU had dealt with in the past, came across the names but didn’t get the joke. So he earnestly passed the names along to a contact at KTVU and that’s what got the ball rolling. Do you want a guess on who that person is? Well, my WAG is a former United Airlines pilot who’s now living in a leafy East Bay suburb. Someone who is older. He’s younger than my grandmother, who would not have gotten the joke either, but old enough to have grown up in a more sober-minded era. (That’s an era where a kind of blue-collar, single-income fam could actually afford to buy a Brady Bunch kind of house on an ironically-named street just before it massively appreciated.)

5. So then, the KTVU crew runs the names by a Chinese-American(?) woman who  doesn’t wonder why all the Korean pilots have Chinese-sounding names? (NB: If you don’t have a Kim, a Lee, or a Park in there, then something might very well be suspect.) And the news reader lady, who, after all is pretty much mindlessly reading the Teleprompter, pronounced one of the names as Fook instead of Fuck and boy aren’t we clever to not make that mistake

6. I’ll tell you, it’ll take a long time before a carrier like Asiana has four Chinese national pilots on one of its widebodies. OTOH, there were a heck of a lot of Chinese passengers on the Korean plane. Why’s that? Well, I’ll tell you, one of my former co-workers flew to South Korea last year just before the SFO disaster and this person specifically avoided using the two big Korean carriers even though it cost hundreds more to do so. Why? A strong mistrust of South Korean aviation safety. So, a Chinese carrier, Taiwanese, American? Sure, but not Asiana. One assumes that Asiana had pretty low fares in the summer of 2013…

7. So KTVU, as long as your happy, huh? You had a problem, you dealt with it, you fired some people, you paid off some settlement(s) for firing some people, you aired an aspirational TV show to several thousands of viewers and that’s that. What this all reminds me of is what the San Francisco Chronicle went through after it posted DIARY OF A SEX SLAVE, which was a major investment in time and money.** Boy, that one really hit the fan. After this similar kind of backlash, the Chron agreed not to syndicate the series, which prolly cost the Chron big bucks I’m guessing. Oh well.

8. Anyway, KTVU, that’s what some people might be thinking, but not saying. Try to focus on what’s correct, not what’s confirmed, you old MSM dinosaur you. The way you handled this mess is a bigger problem than the initial mess itself is what I’m saying. Go and sin no more. And I’ll tell you, the FAA / NTSB gets an A+ so far for the accident investigation. It’s like a WHAT WENT WRONG SO WE DON’T DO THIS AGAIN kind of thing. Why doesn’t KTVU do the same kind of thing so we can all benefit?

*”I’ll be hosting a special on KTVU tomorrow night after the 49ers-Seahawks game. The show is called “Success Makers” and I profile/interview four Asian American trailblazers, including Gideon Yu (president of the 49ers and former CFO of Facebook) and Daniel Dae Kim (star of Lost and Hawaii 5-0). Their stories are fascinating, and notwithstanding the painfully rusty host, the show is actually pretty eye-opening.”

**The problem was that the important parts were single-sourced. (“Typical college student?” Please.) IMO, that was the real prob with it. 

What SFO Needs are Longer Runways that are Farther Apart, What SFO is Getting are $7000 Fritz Hansen “Egg” Chairs

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Look what UAL has in store for you at SFO:

“Comfortable seating options that include the iconic Fritz Hansen “egg” chairs and swivel lounge chairs”

All is forgiven, United, ’cause I’m sitting on one of your “iconic” egg chairs.*

And of course the rest of Terminal 3 will soon be loaded up with every other flavor of the month airport accessory.

But the citizens of San Francisco don’t owe the flying public an assortment of googaws, no no. What the citizens of San Francisco  owe the flying public are longer, better runways that are farther apart from each other, you know, runways that don’t need a special dispensation from the FAA. To wit:

Damn the torpedo fish (or whatever else is down there), full speed ahead (with longer and better runways farther apart)

OK then.

And oh, the concomitant Egg™ Footstool costs thousands of dollars  as well.

Happy Flying!

*If United sprang for leather, then the retail price is $16k each, srsly.

Ever more deets after the jump.


Beaver Surprise! This Tourist Airplane Over San Francisco Used To Be a Part of CIA-Owned Air America, Inc.

Monday, December 16th, 2013


This 1955 de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver, operated by Seaplane Adventures (aka San Francisco Seaplane Tours Inc) of Mill Valley, Marin County USA  and recently seen flying over Market Street…

…this one…

…used to operate out of Thailand as a part of the CIA-owned Air America, Inc a half-century ago.

See? It’s one of these:

“Six Beavers lined up* at Udorn, probably in 1962 (UTD/Fink/ photo no. 1-JF25-16-PB1)”

Get all the deets right here:

AIR AMERICA: DE HAVILLAND CANADA DHC-2 (L-20) BEAVER by Dr. Joe F. Leeker Last updated on 4 March 2013

To wit:

“DHC-2 (L-20) L-202 833 1 March 62 leased from US Army 54-1693

Service history: arrived at Bangkok in crates on 15 February 62, to be operated under the Madriver Contract AF62(531)-1674, based at Vientiane, but maintained at Udorn (Minutes ExCom-AACL of 23 January 62, in: UTD/CIA/B7F1); assembled by Thai Airways according to contract no. BKK 62-001 (Memorandum dated 9 February 62, in: UTD/Fink/B2F16); officially received at Bangkok on 1 March 62 (Aircraft list of June 62, corrected to Sept.1963, in: UTD/Kirkpatrick/B1F1).

Fate: was to be returned to the US Army in October 62 (Minutes ExCom-AACL of 30 October 62, in: UTD/CIA/B7F1); returned on 21 April 63 (Aircraft list of June 62, corrected to Sept.1963, in: UTD/Kirkpatrick/B1F1); sold to R. N. Nelson Earth Movers as N5220G in March 92; sold to Kenmore Air Harbor Inc, Kenmore, WA, in 92; sold to San Francisco Seaplane Tours, Mill Valley, CA, on 13 July 94; current in March 2004 (request submitted to the FAA on 13 March 2004 at; current in November 2008 (request submitted to the FAA on 23 Nov. 2008 at”

So there you have it. Head on up to the Sausalito / Marin City / Mill Valley area and take a ride on a piece of flying history, if you want. $179 and up.

* Heh.