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27 December 2007

What's New on - December 27, 2007

One Laptop Per Child Program Reaches 60% of Goal
With a few weeks left before the December 31st deadline, the Foundation has reached the 60% mark for purchasing, evaluating, and placing OLPC to laptop computers. To find out how the Foundation's plans, or to make a donation, please visit

New Podcast - Evacuation Issues
This podcast has an overview of a crash involving an Air France A340 in Toronto, Canada on 2 August 2005, including a digital recreation of the accident. Also discussed are evacuation issues brought up by this event, and advice for passengers that may help them survive a crash., or you can link to one or more versions of the podcast below:

Audio: MP3 Video: iPod/MP4 | YouTube | WMV | Google Video

12 December 2007

What's New on - December 12, 2007

One Laptop Per Child Program Reaches 40% of Goal
With a few weeks left before the December 31st deadline, the Foundation has reached the 40% mark for purchasing, evaluating, and placing OLPC to laptop computers. To find out how the Foundation's plans, or to make a donation, please visit

New Podcast - Aircraft Crash Positions
The new podcast demonstrates six basic types of brace positions passengers and cabin are likely to take during an emergency, illustrating the positions derived through years of research by the FAA and the aviation industry. You can visit the podcast page at, or you can link to one or more versions of the podcast below:

Audio: MP3 Video: iPod/MP4 | YouTube | WMV | Google Video

Update to "Things You Should Not Bring On Board"
Just in time for the holiday travel rush, the "Things You Should Not Bring on Board" hazardous and prohibited goods page has be updated to reflect the latest suggestions from the TSA. A new page was also added to address how passengers traveling internationally should carry liquids, aerosols, and gels purchased at duty-free shops.

Things You Should Not Bring on Board

Issues with Liquids, Gels, and Aerosols Purchased at Duty-free Shops Wants Your Feedback
Whether you are a new visitor, or have been coming back since 1996, wants to know what you think, and also what the site should do to improve. Please go to and submit your comments.

Need a Holiday Gift Idea? Look no further!

06 December 2007

What's New on - December 6, 2007

One Laptop Per Child Program Extended
The Foundation continues to work with the OLPC to purchase, evaluate, and donate their laptop computers to children in the developing world. To find out how the Foundation's will evaluate and use these laptops, please visit

New Feedback Form and Foundation have a new feedback form at Feel free to submit suggestions, insights, or other information to

MD83 Accident Update
The investigation of the November 30th MD83 crash in Turkey continues, and the analysis of the Flight Data Recorder and Cockpit Voice Recorder is under way. One current issue being investigated is whether the aircraft deviated from its intended landing route. As information becomes available, will update its Atlasjet page at

You may also want to review the audio and video podcasts made just after the event: Audio (MP3), Video (MP4, WMV, YouTube)

Suggested Gifts for the Holidays
Holiday Items
Books by Dr. Todd Curtis of

30 November 2007

Fatal MD83 Crash in Turkey - 29 November 2007

An MD83 aircraft from the Turkish carrier Atlasjet was on a domestic flight from Istanbul to Isparta when it disappeared from radar screens shortly before midnight. The crew had requested permission to land shortly before the crash. All seven crew members and 50 passengers were killed.

Recent Fatal Events

Fatal Events Involving MD80 Series Aircraft

Description of Event
Text   Audio (mp3)   Video (mp4)   Video (wmv)

27 November 2007

What's New on - November 26, 2007

Update on the One Laptop Per Child Program
Since the Foundation has started its active support of the One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC), supporters have contributed enough to the Foundation to purchase two laptops. The goal is to get additional contributions to get to at least five laptops. OLPC has extended its deadline until the end of this year, making it easier to achieve or surpass this goal. To find out about the Foundation's plans to use these laptops in a technology evaluation program, please visit

New Accident Video
The Crash Videos site has added a computer animation of the fatal January 2004 crash of a 737 near Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Please visit for to see the video, and for links to other resources such as the the official accident report.

Redesigned Home Page
The home page of the site was recently redesigned to eliminate drop-down lists and other elements. Please feel free to comment about the current design and layout.

19 November 2007

What's New on - November 19, 2007

The Holiday Travel Rush Is On
The holiday travel season has arrived, along with increased delays, more crowded airplanes, and more families traveling with children. is featuring a variety of resources that may make your holiday trip less stressful, including the following:

Holiday Travel Advice:

Child Safety in the Air:

For more information, check out the holiday travel links at the top of the home page at

One Laptop Per Child
The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project aims to provide children in the developing world with low-cost but highly capable laptop computers, giving them the opportunity to use computers and the Internet to contribute to a more productive and saner world community.

Until December 31, the OLPC project's Give One Get One program will allow contributors to purchase a pair of laptops with one going to the developing world and the second being sent to the contributor. For details on three different ways you can work with the nonprofit Foundation to support this program, visit

Close Call for Tony La Russa
A member of the Audience was kind enough to point out an oversight on the Celebrity Plane Crash page. In January 2004, St. Louis Cardinal coach Tony La Russa and four other occupants of a private jet escaped injury when a private jet came to rest beside the runway at Pueblo, Colorado.

La Russa Accident Details:

Other Celebrity Crashes:

12 November 2007

What's New on - November 12, 2007

Sixth Anniversary of the November 12, 2007 Crash of AA587
Six years ago today, American Airlines flight 587 crashed shortly after takeoff for JFK airport, killing all 260 on board and five others on the ground. A newly updated overview of the event, along with links to extensive NTSB reports on the event, is available at

Media Coverage of
Also newly updated is the media page at where you can find out about recent news coverage about or its founder Dr. Todd Curtis. Podcasts
There is one new podcast this week, featuring an interview of Dr. Todd Curtis by the Perspectives program of Voice of America. Dr. Curtis was one of several experts discussing the state of airline safety in Africa. You can find the interview at, or you can link to it below:

VOA: Perspectives - Airline Safety in Africa

New Crash Videos
The Crash Video Collection at features a link to an NTSB resource that has computer-generated recreations of selected fatal airline accidents.

04 November 2007

Recent Additions

Recent additions to the site include the following:

Additional Article Resources on
In addition to the free emailed special reports available on the Special Reports page at, has teamed up with to present additional articles. These articles focus on airline safety, airline security, and managing a family's use of the Internet.

Visit the Todd Curtis article archive at,_PhD to view the available articles or to sign up to have new articles automatically delivered to you using an RSS feed.

Three new podcasts featuring interviews of Dr. Todd Curtis by the BBC, MSNBC, and WCCO radio of Minneapolis:

BBC: Abandoned Aircraft in Nigeria

MSNBC: Airborne Disease Risks

WCCO Radio: Airport Security Issues and the TSA

New Crash Videos
The Crash Video Collection at has two additions, a video of a 2003 F-16 crash involving the USAF Thunderbirds, and a video taken by a survivor of an MD82 crash in Thailand in September 2007.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream: How a Recent NASA Controversy Helped to Publicize the Case of the Sleeping Pilots

The previous post discussed a recent decision by NASA management to withhold the results of a safety survey of 24,000 pilots. While that study, part of the $11.3 million National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (NAOMS) program has received plenty of recent media attention, it is completely different from the long running Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). In place since 1976, the ASRS collects, analyzes, and responds to voluntarily submitted aviation safety incident reports in order to lessen the likelihood of aviation accidents. These reports can be from pilots, air traffic controllers, flight attendants, maintenance technicians and others. Unlike NAOMS, which until last month NASA had planned to keep from the public, information from the ASRS database has long been widely available to the public.

ASRS relies on voluntary reports, primarily from the people who may have committed a violation of FAA regulations. For pilots and others involved in the aviation industry, a key benefit of reporting a violation is that there will be no civil penalties or suspension of an FAA-issued certificate if the violation was inadvertent, did not involve criminal activity, was reported within 10 days of the event. There may be sanctions for the person reporting if the event involved an accident, discloses a lack of qualification or competence, or if the person reporting has had an FAA violation or been subject to an FAA enforcement action in the previous five years.

On the 31st of last month, NASA chief Michael Griffin testified in a hearing called by the House Science and Technology Committee of the U.S. Congress ( that the plan to keep NAOMS data from the public was a mistake and that the report would be released. The value of publicly releasing aviation safety data was illustrated in the hearing when a 2004 event from the ASRS database was discussed. During that event, the two pilots on a late night flight from Baltimore to Denver both fell asleep, with the captain being awakened by frantic calls from air traffic control. Fortunately, the crew was able to land without further incident.

As frightening and potentially dangerous as this event was, it would have been far more damaging to the level of airline safety had there been no outlet like ASRS to get this kind of information out in the open. NASA was concerned that releasing the NAOMS data would have made the public hesitant about flying. That ASRS event mentioned in the hearing certainly got plenty of coverage, but in none of that coverage was there any reports about passengers canceling reservations and avoiding airports. NASA’s administrator Griffin publicly admitted that it was a mistake to have this kind of attitude about the public. We should all hope that these lessons are followed by the rest of NASA.

Accessing ASRS Data
If you want to look at this report of the sleeping pilots, just head on over to the ASRS web site at There you can read about the organization and search the database for events of interest. The March 2004 sleeping pilot event has the event number 611329. While the report does not mention a specific airline, the only U.S. airlines flying the type of aircraft involved (Airbus A319) were United and Frontier. An edited version of the captain's narrative of the event is included below:

Had been doing four months of stand-up's. Late report, fly to DFW airport, arrive and go to motel and rest approx eight hours, fly back to Denver. For the month of March, had a schedule change to 'red eyes,' which consists of leaving Denver, fly to Baltimore and one hr turn-back to Denver. No rest, just straight 7 hour 55 minute flight to Baltimore and back. On this particular day after two previous red eyes, this being third red eye in a row, last 45 minutes of flight, I fell asleep and so did the first officer. Missed all calls from air traffic control (ATC) to meet crossing restrictions at (a particular waypoint about 60 miles southeast of Denver) of 19,000 feet altitude and 250 knots airspeed. Instead, we crossed (the waypoint) at 35,000 feet and Mach 0.82. I woke up, why I don't know, and heard frantic calls from air traffic control approximately five miles inside of (the waypoint). I answered ATC and abided by all instructions to get down. Finished all checklists and landed in Denver with no further incidents. Was not told to call ATC, but did file report with company. Attribute incident to pilot fatigue, and hopefully company is in process of changing these trip pairings.

26 October 2007

Opinion: NASA Wrong to Hide the Results of Safety Survey

The recent revelations by the Associated Press that NASA management has withheld the results of a safety survey of 24,000 pilots came as a shock to many, and the resulting public outcry over these NASA decisions should come as no surprise. Over the last several decades, NASA has been held in extremely high regard by the general public and by the aviation community in large part because the outcomes of NASA's efforts, whether triumphant or tragic, were not hidden from the public view.

As for NASA’s research efforts, there are many in the aviation community, myself included, who have worked directly with NASA on one project or another. While the results of any research project may not have met or exceeded the expectations of the participants, there has always been an expectation that the results would be available for everyone to see, and that the aviation community would get a chance to use the results of the study to enhance aviation. One only has to recall NASA's 1984 Controlled Impact Demonstration Test which was a spectacular failure with respect to demonstrating the usefulness of a fuel additive to reduce the risk of post crash fuel fires, but one that was and continues to be a very valuable source of information on crashworthiness. Had NASA used similar logic in 1984, the results of the test, and the opportunity to learn from the test, would have been suppressed because the public may have been afraid to fly after seeing images of the aircraft engulfed in flames.

The average person may not have cared about or understood the results of the study, but the public's reaction has shown that they care very much about how NASA behaves. In this case, NASA is behaving badly, and it is likely that the almost universal condemnation of NASA over their recent decisions has happened because NASA's actions are seen by many as being detrimental to aviation as well as a radical departure from the organization’s normal behavior.

Perhaps the study was so badly conceived and executed that the results will do nothing to further aviation safety. It may even be true that the general public would fear getting on an airplane once the report were released. Those are judgments that should be made by the general public and by the aviation community and not by NASA management. In my opinion, the best option for NASA is to publicly admit that keeping the study from the public was not a good idea, and to release the results of the study to the public as soon as possible.

There are many organizations, including my organization the Foundation, that benefit from the open exchange of information. The web site is mostly dedicated to providing information on events that have caused the deaths of airline passengers. During the 11 years it has been up and running, I've received many comments from the public. While some have told me that looking at the site makes them afraid to fly, the vast majority appreciate the information and find it useful. I have no doubt that once NASA does the right thing and releases the data, the public will have a similar reaction.

BBC Interviews on this Issue
In October 2007, I was one of the experts interviewed by the BBC on NASA's plans. Excerpts are available at

20 October 2007

New Plane Crash Video Resource at and the Foundation launched its newest blog today, Crash Videos at This blog features a range of crashes involving jet airliners, general aviation, and military events. You can find out about this blog, the other blogs, as well as other featured site content at the Special Features page.

19 October 2007

New Features Added to

Over the last several months, several features have been added to the site, including several blogs in addition to the News blog. You can get familiar with these features by visiting the Features page at There is also a link to the Features page in the menu bar of many of the site's pages.

15 October 2007

Free Report Resource Page Added

A new resource page with links to free reports about airline safety and online safety was launched today. A joint project of and the Foundation, this page allows visitors to choose from a variety of reports about airline safety and security issues, as well as reports containing advice on how to address common online safety and security concerns.

By simply sending an email request, the full reports will be sent immediately. As an added bonus, users are allowed to reprint any of these reports in a blog, newsletter, or other publication.

Visit for details.

08 October 2007's New Airline Complaint Blog

Every month, forwards hundreds of airline travel complaints to the Department of Transportation. A new blog, Complain About Your Airline, will showcase a sample of the most interesting and unusual complaints. Feel free to add your comments to the blog, or to submit your own complaint to

07 October 2007

DOT Changes Complaint Submission Rules

As of October 2007, passengers and others are no longer able to submit complaints directly to the DOT using email. The options are to use a DOT online form or to mail the complaint to the DOT. will continue to forward complaints to the DOT, so you may still use the Online Complaint Form. For details on your current complaint options, please visit the Complaint Page.

17 July 2007

17 July 2007 - TAM A320 Crash in Sao Paulo

The TAM A320 was on a scheduled domestic flight from Porto Alegre to the Congohas Airport in Sao Paulo (CGH). After landing, the aircraft departed the runway, crossed a major road to the left of the runway, crashed into a building, and caught fire. Early reports indicated that there were 176 occupants on the aircraft and that more than 200 people had been killed.

A320 Fatal Events
Fatal Events Involving TAM
Map of the area of the accident

14 July 2007

Crash of Cessna 310 Kills Five in Florida

10 July 2007; Cessna 310; Sanford, FL

The aircraft was on an unscheduled domestic flight from Daytona Beach, FL to Lakeland, FL. According to media reports, the pilot reported smoke in the cockpit, declared an emergency, and attempted to divert to Orlando-Samford International Airport (SFB). The aircraft crashed into a pair of houses in a residential neighborhood about five miles (eight km) from the airport. The two occupants of the aircraft and at least three people on the ground were killed.The aircraft was registered to a company associated with the NASCAR auto racing association.

Because this event did not involve an airline passenger flight, this does not constitute a fatal event as defined by

Fatal US Events involving Cessna 310 aircraft from 1964 to 2007