Archive for January, 2009

Moron The News

Posted in Uncategorized on January 25, 2009 by luckyjet

Somebody did it again.  The news reports that a valued passenger arriving in Phoenix got out of the airplane through an emergency exit. 

After arriving safely at the gate.

We should all wonder what a person uses in place of a thought process when they do something this dang weird. 

Imagine trying to explain this to a fifth grader. Why were you gone so long daddy? Oh, I got tired of waiting to get off of the airplane and felt a little anxious so I bolted out onto the wing,  slid down a ten foot drop to the concrete and ran like a rabbit.

I rarely offer unsolicited suggestions to the FAA but the following signage might be an improvement  for the Over-wing exits.

 

 

 

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Heroic Stuff Indeed

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2009 by luckyjet

In May of 1988 an Aero TACA Boing 737  full of passengers was on approach to New Orleans in an area of rain showers and thunderstorms.  The Honduran Captain was at the controls when descending through about two thousand feet both engines failed. The pilots attempted to restart the engines but this often takes a while, and it didn’t work. They were going down about a thousand feet per minute and were less than two thousand feet high.

Just as they broke through the clouds the co-pilot pointed out what looked like a road they might be able to crash land on.  The airport was much too far away to consider making it to a runway. A crash was certain.

With no engines running the Captain maneuvered for a safe and uneventful landing on the levee road. The road was barely as wide as the landing gear of the 737 and only a few thousand feet long.

The airplane was not damaged and there were no injuries. These were mostly little brown people from Honduras and the airplane wasn’t destroyed so media coverage was limited.

Boing put some new engines on the lucky jet and flew it out.

 

Another time on departure from Austin Texas I was making the takeoff, the First Officer said BIRDS and pointed straight ahead just after we left the runway. 

I selected the FLT / BOTH position for the engine ignition and increased the rate of climb a little by raising the pitch of the airplane above the standard pitch profile.

Several Geese flashed by and we heard one good thump. Within a minute or so the ignition was  put back to Left / Continuous and a normal climb resumed. No real damage was done and the rest of the day was uneventful.

Stuff  like this happens more than we usually remember. Frankly, I think airline pilots are all heros and should , by Presidential Executive Order, be compensated at an inflation adjusted rate for the job  as it paid in 1960. The difference could easily be made up by the Federal Government and would help the economy.  

Pilots are expert at two things. Managing resources in difficult dynamic situations to ensure the optimal desired outcome to avoid disaster and spending money.

So let’s hear it for a HERO stipend for Airline Pilots. Set our pay back to 1960 inflation adjusted rates and make some pilot friends.

Happy Landings (on and off airport), Ditchings, Whatever

Hudson Smhudson Flight 1549

Posted in Uncategorized on January 16, 2009 by luckyjet

I usually insist that a really good landing requires that the airplane be available for re-use. It is a little early to make conclusions but I am willing to make a tentative exception in this instance.

We have to leave it up to the birds to get out of our way. They usually do a really good job of doing so but didn’t manage it today. It is amazing to see a bird trying to maneuver to avoid collision with an airplane.  They fold one wing under and extend the other. Flapping and purposely rolling inverted they dive like a bullet.  It looks like it would hurt.

As for hero talk  …. it was a fine execution of competence and professionalism. The hero thing must be spread around to the cabin crew, rescuers, volunteer bystanders, and passengers though. 

The Captain reportedly did everything but complete the paperwork for the flight, and might even have brought the logbook with him from the sound of things.

Nothing in our FAA required training  would prepare pilots adequately for this.  There is a little litany pilots are supposed to remember regarding in flight engine restart and ditching but there are  no regular drills or practiced procedures for this.  

The sort of preparation that results in this sort performance is individual, not standardized.  Airline training programs do NOT provide drills for dual engine failure, wake turbulence, cabin fires, electrical failure, or farting in the cockpit.  All of these are likely occurances.

The vast majority of pilots do not prepare themselves for the big nasty unlikely events either.  The airlines aren’t really required to train us for these. Those of us that want to be prepared for this sort of thing do it on our own.

This is accomplished through  visualization of a series of unfortunate events and  devising a reasonable course of action just in case it should ever happen.

These people were lucky.  There are more than one Luckyjet out there.

Happy Landings, Ditchings, whatever.