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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.