Episode 38 - Newark Airport’s “umbrella of death” and Jimmy Doolittle’s clear ways
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
2w ago
This episode we’re going to take a look at commercial airliners that have hit obstacles near runways and how three accidents in the small town of Elizabeth New Jersey in 1951 and 1952 led to rules about clear ways and re-zoning. It’s important though to stress how the rules have changed improving safety particularly with regard to clear ways. Take one of the the earliest which was the 1933 Imperial Airways Ruysselede incident on 30 December 1933 when an Avro Ten collided with a radio mast at the town of Ruysselede, West Flanders, Belgium and crashed killing all ten people on board. The Avro Te ..read more
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Episode 37 - Sharing the skies: A short history of bird strikes and improved safety
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
3M ago
This is episode 37 and we’re dealing with bird strikes. The most famous of these was US Airways flight 1549 from New York City's LaGuardia Airport to Charlotte. Pilot Sully Sullenberger and first officer Jeffrey Skiles ditched the Airbus A320 in the Hudson River off Midtown Manhattan after a bird strike led to both engines failing - All 155 on board were rescued. This was known as the Miracle on the Hudson — but this episode is not going to focus on that miracle. What we’re going to do is cover some of the history of bird strikes and how there’s been a consistent attempt to deal with this chal ..read more
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Episode 36 - The 1971 Aeroflot Antonov twin crashes and the ATR-72’s achilles boot
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
6M ago
This is episode 36 and its icy cold out there - it’s time to check out the incidents involving icing - starting with a short list and general description of the causes, then focusing on the two Aeroflot Atonovs accidents in 1971 and a design fault in the ATR-72. There’s an unfortunately long list of commercial airliners lost due to icing, more than 540 accidents and events caused by aircraft icing by the late 1980s in the United States alone and most of these were fatal. Anti-icing and de-icing research can be traced back to the early 1930s and in 1948, two scientists, AG Preston and Calvin Bl ..read more
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Episode 2- Air France 447, frozen pitot tubes & confusion on the flight deck
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
This is the series that tracks air disasters through history and how each has led directly to the safety we almost take for granted every time we climb aboard an airliner. Last week it was the story of the first recognized commercial air crash involving a dirigible over Chicago in July 1919 that killed 13 people, three on board and 10 on the ground. That led to new no-fly rules over city central business districts. This week we have jumped forward to the crash of Air France 447 which took place in June 2009. Two hundred and twenty eight crew and passengers were on board. None made it out alive ..read more
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Episode 24 - Alaskan Flight 1866, American Airlines Flight 965 and Don Bateman’s brilliant EGPWS
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
This is episode 24 and comes courtesy of a suggestion by one of my listeners called Russell – surname withheld as he’s an operating commercial pilot. Don’t want to upset the corporation you know. First of all, a big thank you to Russell for the research documents and information provided. This has helped a great deal preparing for this episode. We’re looking at Terrain Awareness Warning Systems or TAWS and Ground Proximity Warnings Systems, GPWS – now with the added advantage of an E – Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems. In 2006 the International Civil Aviation Organisation published a ..read more
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Episode 22 - – A History of Traffic Collision Avoidance Systems
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
This is episode 22 and we’re going to hear more about an accident in the skies over India that was the final push in the drive to deploy traffic collision avoidance systems known as TCAS. Initially we need to go back to the days days of commercial aviation in 1922. Unfortunately the first collision between aircraft took place almost immediately as commercial aviation launched in the same year as earlier aviators were ignorant about each other’s plans, altitude and track. They also spoke many different languages which also didn’t help. It took another 70 years before a system was introduced to ..read more
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Episode 21 - “An orchestrated litany of lies" the Mount Erebus disaster and a tainted investigation
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
This is episode 21 and we’re taking a close look at the Mount Erebus disaster where an Air New Zealand McDonald Douglas DC-10 crashed on 28th November 1979, killing all 257 passengers and crew. At first it looked like straight pilot error - a CFIT or controlled Flight Into Terrain accident. But that would change as inquiries led to court cases. Of all the accidents I’ve described, this one has some of the most unfortunate set of circumstances and one of the most difficult recoveries afterwards of any aviation accident in history. Mount Erebus is on Ross Island part of the Antarctic archipelago ..read more
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Episode 19 - Cockpit Voice Recorders (CVR) and Flight Data Recorders (FDR)
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
It was Australia that initiated the mandatory installation of cockpit voice recorders after an accident in 1960, while we’ll also probe a mid-air collision involving United Airlines and Trans World Airlines aircraft over New York in the same year. That led investigators to call for more information when accidents were being analysed. So let’s find out more about how these two crucial bits of tech ended up in all commercial aeroplanes and helicopters. The flight data recorder or (FDR) preserves the recent history of the flight through the recording of dozens of parameters collected several time ..read more
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Episode 16 - The mystery of MH370 & Malaysia’s hapless response
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
This episode is fraught because we just don’t know what happened to Malaysian Flight MH370 and many pilots would say any sort of scientific conclusion is going to be a jump to a conclusion. However, I am going to take you through this event again and describe what the likely scenario was on that terrible morning back in 2014. Part of what we do as aviators is to know the truth about risk, then act accordingly. In this case, we have some truths and then, we have deception. Unfortunately I am going to explain how the deception involved aviation officials in Malaysia who treated both the Chinese ..read more
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Episode 14 - Covid-19 crashes Global Aviation but here are the likely future scenarios
Plane Crash Diaries
by Desmond Latham
8M ago
This is episode 14 and I was expecting to continue with the planned series but I’m afraid the world has changed in the last few weeks. Needless to say, if anything has to be done right now, it’s to understand what may happen to commercial aviation in the future. Some airlines are close to bankruptcy, others are being bailed out. Most have cut back on operations and are considering their next moves. There is a lot of politics, a lot of economics and not a lot of physics happening other than gravity dragging the revenue curve sharply downwards. Let’s see if we can make sense of what is going on ..read more
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