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31 December 2008's Airline Safety Review for 2008

The year 2008 had the fewest fatal airline crashes in any year since began it's annual review of airline safety events in 1996. This 13th annual review discusses seven fatal airline events, and fifteen other significant events from 2008.

As looks back at the fatal and significant aviation safety events of last year, the most noticeable fact about this 13th annual review is that 2008 had fewer fatal airline events than any of the previous 12 years reviewed by The most was 19 fatal events in 1997, and the previous low was eight fatal events in 2003, 2006, and 2007. counts as a fatal event any airline flight where one or more passengers are killed, including those events involving hijacking, sabotage, and military action. This review counts only those events that occur on aircraft that can carry at least 10 passengers, and that are commonly used in regular airline service in North America, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan. Significant events are those events that were noteworthy for other reasons. Several of these 15 significant events were non-fatal events involving large jet airliners, but others included crashes involving celebrities, military aircraft, and smaller airline aircraft.

One of the more interesting observations from the 2008 review is that it represents the second consecutive year with no fatal airline events involving the US or Canada. That includes any US or Canadian airliner operating anywhere in the world, or any other airliner operating to or from the US or Canada. The last such event was the crash of a US airliner in Kentucky in August 2006. Since the introduction of jet airliner service to North America in 1958, there had been no previous two year period with zero airliner passenger fatalities.

To put this in a global context, Canada and the US account for about 60% of all airline traffic involving larger aircraft. In other words, 40% of these kinds of airline flights were responsible for 100% of the fatal passenger events. In 2008, the seven fatal events included one airliner from Europe, two each from Africa and Latin America, and two from countries of the former Soviet Union.

The fifteen other events in's review were included either because of the amount of media attention they attracted, or because of the safety and security issues associated with the event. Among these 15 significant events were seven non-fatal jet airliner events. The most recent was a December 20 takeoff accident involving a Continental Airlines 737 in Denver. Although the plane experienced significant structural damage and a post-crash fire, all passengers and crew members successfully evacuated the aircraft.

The other significant airliner events included the first ever crash of a 777, two in-flight events involving Qantas, another two involving Air Canada, and a takeoff accident involving Iran Air.

The other eight significant events included an F/A-18 crash in San Diego, four fatal crashes involving small airliners, and three crashes involving celebrities. Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the head of the Unification Church, survived a helicopter crash in South Korea; Travis Barker, former drummer for the music group Blink-182, was one of two survivors of a crash of a chartered jet in South Carolina, and President-Elect Barack Obama was on board a plane that had a collision with a parked aircraft on the ground in Chicago.

For more information on all of these 2008 events, including links to incident reports, investigation updates, plane crash videos, and podcasts, please visit There you will also find links to additional information such as what you can bring on board, lists of banned items, instructions on how to successfully complain about your air travel experience, and fear of flying advice.

Listen to the Annual Review for 2008

28 December 2008

Crash of an F/A-18 Jet near San Diego

On 8 December 2008, a US Marine Corps F/A-18D jet based at the Miramar Marine Corps Air Station crashed during approach about two miles short of the runway. The pilot successfully ejected, but four people, two children, their mother, and grandmother were killed in one of the two houses destroyed by the jet. No one else on the ground was injured.

The investigation is ongoing, but reportedly the two-seat jet, flown by a single pilot on a training mission, had some kind of mechanical or flight control difficulty. The crash occurred as the pilot was returning from training on the carrier USS Lincoln, off the San Diego coast.

The F/A-18 has first entered operational service with the US Marines in 1983. The D model of the aircraft involved in the crash is used by the Marines as either a training or attack aircraft.

For the audio podcast from, visit

The video podcast is available below:

The following video was produced by Glenn Pew.

F/A-18 Crash 8 December 2008

27 November 2008

Risks from Incapacitated Pilots and Pilots Who May Deliberately Crash Airplanes

What an Air Canada Event Says About Incapacitated Pilots reviews the investigation into a January 2008 incident where an Air Canada pilot became mentally incapacitated and had to be removed from the cockpit. Once the first officer was removed, the captain was able to safely land the aircraft. The event caused some in the aviation community to question whether this kind of incident may have led to serious problems in the past. While a review of the available incident and accident record by revealed no proven cases of a mentally incapacitated pilot deliberately causing death or serious injury to passengers, there have been several cases where such behavior was suspected, and one case where a pilot crashed an airliner on purpose.

On 19 November 2008, the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Irish Department of Transport released their incident report on a 28 January 2008 event involving an Air Canada flight. The captain declared an emergency and diverted to Shannon, Ireland due to the incapacitation of a flight crew member.

The Air Canada 767 was on a scheduled flight from Toronto to London and carried 146 passengers and nine crew members. After the first officer became incapacitated, the captain declared an emergency and completed the flight with the assistance of a flight attendant who was also a licensed pilot.

According to the incident report, the first officer had arrived late for his flight, with the captain having already completed all preflight preparations before the first officer's arrival.

During the early phases of the flight, the first officer left the flight deck several times for short periods, and made it clear to the captain that he was tired.

At one point, the captain allowed the first officer to take a controlled rest break in cockpit. Over an hour later, as the aircraft was near the midpoint of its ocean leg, the first officer began to display unusual behavior, including rambling and disjointed conversation.

The first officer left the cockpit again, and after he returned he didn't follow proper cockpit reentry procedures, and also neglected to fasten his seat belt. It became apparent to the captain that the first officer was suffering from an unknown medical condition which impaired his ability to carry out his required duties on the flight deck. The captain summoned the lead flight attendant to get the first officer removed from the cockpit. The lead flight attendant removed the first officer with the help of other flight attendants. One of those flight attendants sustained a wrist injury during the removal.

After the removal of the first officer, the captain had the lead flight attendant check to see if there were any flight crew members among the passengers. None were on board, but one of the flight attendants held a commercial multiengine license, and she assisted the captain as the flight diverted to Shannon, Ireland.

The first officer was hospitalized in Ireland for 11 days before being transferred by air ambulance back to Canada for further treatment.

News reports about this incident focused on the more dramatic elements of the event, such as what the first officer said after being removed from the cockpit, or how and where the first officer was restrained in the cabin. However, this incident raised more serious issues in the minds of many passengers, such as whether the mental state of a pilot should be a concern, or whether a mentally unstable flight crew member has ever caused serious injuries or deaths to airline passengers. not aware of any reliable, publicly available information about the number of pilots in the US or elsewhere who have been removed from flight status due to some kind of psychological or psychiatric issue.

The information is more clear when it comes to cases where an airliner crashed as a result of deliberate flight crew actions. Quite simply, there are no proven events where an airline pilot's deliberate actions or mental state led to the deaths of one or more passengers. Correction (28 March 2012) - On February 1968, 24 passengers were killed in the crash of a JAL DC8 in Tokyo after the the captain deliberately disengaged the autopilot and flew the aircraft into Tokyo bay. All of the crew members survived, but 24 of the 166 passengers were killed. It was later reported that the captain had been suffering from schizophrenia.

There has been at least one case of a pilot deliberately crashing an airliner.
On 11 October 1999, an Air Botswana pilot, who had been grounded for medical reasons, took off alone in an Air Botswana ATR42 airliner, and crashed it into two of the airline's other ATR42s on the ground. Fortunately, there was no one else in the other two aircraft. The pilot was the only person killed in this event.

There were two other crashes that many in the aviation community suspected were caused by pilot actions, but investigative authorities found no conclusive evidence that they were deliberately caused by one of the pilots. On 31 October 1999, an EgyptAir 767 en route from New York to Cairo, crashed in the Atlantic, killing all 217 on board. The NTSB concluded that the airplane's departure from normal cruise flight and subsequent impact with the Atlantic Ocean was a result of the first officer's flight control inputs, but could not determine a reason for the first officer's actions.

On 17 December 1997, a SilkAir 737, traveling between Jakarta and Singapore, crashed into a river, killing all 104 people on board. While there was ample evidence that the captain was under great personal stress, and indications that both the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder were turned off prior to the crash, there was no evidence that either pilot deliberately brought the aircraft down.

These past events, as well as the most recent event involving Air Canada, remind the public that while there's always a possibility that a pilot would deliberately put passengers or aircraft at risk, there have been no passenger deaths or serious injuries associated with incidents where such behavior was proven.

A copy of the Air Canada incident report from the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit is available at

You can hear the associated podcast at:

21 November 2008

Interview on 'The Gregg Knapp Experience' - 18 November 2008

This interview from the Radio America show The Gregg Knapp Experience focused on a TSA behavior detection program that singles out passengers for extra screening based on what the TSA describes as suspicious behavior. Since the program began in 2006, over 160,000 passengers were pulled aside for additional checks such as a pat-down search or an interivew. Less than one percent of those passengers were arrested, often on charges related to drugs or carrying false identification. The TSA didn't mention whether any of those searched or arrested were on any kind of terror watch list, or intended to commit a terrorist act. During this interview, Dr. Curtis and Greg Knapp discussed the effectiveness of this TSA program.

For more information about what passengers can do to deal with TSA security issues, please visit There you'll a number of resources, including extensive information on current TSA rules, advice on packing, advice on traveling with duty free items such as alcohol and perfume, and links to airline complaint resources.

You can hear the associated podcast at:

22 October 2008

Complacency and the Qantas A330 Accident of 7 October 2008

The accident earlier this month involving a Qantas Airbus A330 on a flight from Singapore to Perth seriously injured several passengers, but didn't result in any fatalities. While the event drew substantial news media attention in Australia and Asia, there was very little mention of it by major US media. This is very likely another example of how when it comes to airline events, it's difficult to get the attention of the US public, or of the policy makers in the US, if no one is killed.

My belief was that there would have been more media attention in the US if there had been at least one recent fatal event involving a US airline. While researching recent fatal US events, I found that the most recent passenger fatality on a US airliner was in August 2006. Looking back further, I realized that the US airline industry had quietly passed a milestone. The 26-month period between the last fatal US event and the date of this recording on October 21st, 2008 is the longest period without a passenger fatality on a US airliner since airlines in the US first began using jet aircraft in 1958.

One could argue that there's a certain amount of public complacency about airline safety when there are no major accidents. Looking through my archives, I found that this wasn't the first time I'd dealt with this subject. In late May 2004, the US airline industry was in the midst of another fatality-free period. At the time, it had been nearly 17 months since the last fatal US airline event. That month, I was interviewed as part of a National Public Radio program on airline safety that discussed some of the reasons for that absence of fatal events.

In the following segment, you'll hear my interview with Mike Pesca of NPR about some of the reasons behind the reduction of accidents. Also interviewed was David Evans of the publication Air Safety Week, who talked about how accidents drive the regulatory process.

Five months after the show aired, a regional airliner crashed in Missouri, killing both crew members and 11 of the 13 passengers, bringing to an end a 21-month period with no US passenger fatalities. Currently, the US airline industry has gone 26 months without a passenger fatality. This current fatality-free period is a sign that in spite of all the problems faced the industry, that the risk faced by passengers continues to decline.

Although this record is a positive sign for the industry, the recent Qantas event demonstrated that no airline, even one with no passenger fatalities in its history, is immune from accidents.

I'd like to remind the audience that however good the system may be, there's always room for improvement. One way to improve things is to learn from those rare events such as what happened with Qantas earlier this month. will continue to follow the accident investigation, and any future podcasts about the event, or news from the investigation, will be available at

You can hear the associated podcast, which includes my interview with NPR, at:

11 October 2008

Interview with a Passenger on the Qantas A330 Accident Flight of 7 October 2008

This show features an interview with Keesin Ng, a passengers on a Qantas A330 aircraft that experienced a violent in-flight upset during a flight from Singapore to Perth on 7 October 2008. About 75 passengers and crew members were injured during this event, with 14 hospitalized with serious injuries such as fractures and lacerations.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau, or ATSB, is currently investigating this event, and because of the extent of the injuries on board, the ATSB has classified it as an accident. In a media briefing three days after the accident, the ATSB reported that the Qantas A330-300 aircraft was in level flight at 37,000 feet when the pilots received messages from their aircraft's monitoring system indicating some kind of control system problem.

The aircraft reportedly had a uncommanded climb of about 200 feet, followed by a return back to 37,000 feet. About a minute after returning to cruising altitude, the aircraft abruptly pitched nose-down, to a maximum angle of about 8.4 degrees, and descended about 650 feet in about 20 seconds, before returning to the cruising level.

About 70 seconds later, there was a further nose-down pitch, to a maximum pitch angle of about 3.5 degrees, and the aircraft descended about 400 feet in about 16 seconds. During the first pitch-down event, a number of passengers and crew members were thrown about the cabin, resulting in a range of injuries.

The crew declared an emergency and diverted to Learmonth, landing about 40 minutes after the start of the event.

The interview occurred three days after the event with passenger Keesin Ng, who provides additional details about the in-flight drama. You can hear that interview at the link below:

Interview with Keesin Ng (MP3)

For additional information, including's initial video and audio podcast about the accident and updates to the ATSB's accident investigation, visit

08 October 2008

Serious Injuries on a Qantas A330 Flight on 7 October 2008

A Qantas Airbus A330-300, with 303 passengers and 10 crew members on board, was on a scheduled international flight from Singapore to Perth. While in cruise, the aircraft reportedly experienced some type of sudden and unexpected altitude change. The crew issued a mayday call before diverting the aircraft to the airport at Learmonth, near the town of Exmouth, about 1100 kilometers or 680 miles north of its intended destination of Perth.

Overview of the Event

Other Podcast Links
Audio: MP3
Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

About 36 passengers and crew members were injured, with over a dozen severe injuries. Reportedly, several occupants were slammed into the ceiling during the event. Most of the injuries were to passengers and crew in the rear of the aircraft, and at least one person was carried off the plane in a stretcher. About 13 of the most seriously injured were flown to Perth by four aircraft from the Royal Flying Doctor Service. One flight attendant was hospitalized with suspected head and spinal injuries. Other serious injuries included fractures, lacerations, and a concussion.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has a team of seven investigators currently working on this incident, and it will likely be several days before a preliminary cause is announced, and several months before a final report is issued.

This is the first significant passenger safety event for the A330. Qantas currently has 15 A330 aircraft in its fleet, including 10 of the A330-300 model.

This is the second significant safety event for Qantas this year. On July 25, an exploding oxygen bottle blew a hole in the fuselage of a Qantas 747 en route from Hong Kong to Melbourne, causing a rapid decompression and forcing an emergency landing in Manila. No passengers were injured in that event.

Other significant safety events for Qantas in the last decade include a 2000 event in Rome involving the collapse of a 747 landing gear, and in 1999 a landing overrun in Bangkok severely damaged another Qantas 747.

In August 2008, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia conducted a review of Qantas safety and found no system-wide safety issues, but did recommend an audit of the airline's maintenance practices, including a full maintenance audit of one aircraft from three of the models flown by Qantas, the 737-400, 747-400, and 767-300. No maintenance audit was ordered for the airline's A330 fleet.

Additional information about this event, including updates or findings from the investigation or from the Qantas maintenance audit, will be available at

More Details on this Event
Other Videos

03 October 2008

Discovery of the Steve Fossett Crash Site

On September 3rd, 2007, adventurer Steve Fossett took off from Yerington, Nevada on a short flight in a Bellanca Super Decathlon, and went missing. After more than a year, a hiker found some of his personal effects high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California on September 29, 2008. Two days later, authorities spotted wreckage from his aircraft. Possible human remains were also found at the site.

The aircraft crashed into a steep granite slope at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, seven miles west of the town of Mammoth Lakes, California. The crash site is about 93 miles or 150 kilometers south of Yerington, Nevada. Pieces of the plane were scattered over a steeply sloped area, with the engine about 300 feet from the fuselage wreckage. There was also evidence of a post crash fire. Fossett was the only occupant.

About Steve Fossett
According to an earlier NTSB report, Fossett's most recent medical certificate was completed seven months before his final flight. At that time, he had over 6,700 hours of flight experience, with 350 hours in the previous six months. He was certified as an airline transport pilot, and was also certified to fly a balloon, helicopter, seaplane, and glider.

He had set over 100 records in five different sports, including over 90 in aviation. Among those aviation records was the first solo nonstop flight around the world in an aircraft, as well as the first solo round the world balloon flight. Outside of aviation, he had also sailed around the world and swam across the English Channel.

About the Bellanca Decathlon
The accident aircraft was a Bellanca Decathlon, a two-seat, single engine aerobatic aircraft. That model was produced between 1970 and 1981, and the accident aircraft was manufactured in 1980. According to the NTSB, between 1973 and 2008 there have been 105 Decathlon accidents, with 80 resulting in fatalities.

Accident Investigation
The NTSB has sent a team to investigate the crash, and is headed by the NTSB chairman Mark Rosenker. The investigation, including a determination of the probable cause of the accident, will likely take several months to complete.

Additional information about this event, including updates or findings from the NTSB investigation, will be available at

Below are links to the podcast and video about this event.
Audio: MP3

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

Video Report on the Fossett Crash

More Details on This Event
Other Videos

28 September 2008

Fatal Jet Crash Injures Blink-182 Drummer Travis Barker

Travis Barker, former drummer for the music group Blink-182, Adam Goldstein, more widely known as DJ AM, and two other passengers were in a Learjet 60 aircraft that was on a chartered flight from Columbia, South Carolina to Van Nuys airport in Los Angeles. The crash, which happened shortly before midnight, occurred during takeoff. According to information from the plane's cockpit voice recorder, the crew was attempting to abort the takeoff because of what they thought was a blown tire. The NTSB also reported that accident investigators reviewing the recording heard sounds consistent with a tire blowout.

The crew was unable to stop the aircraft before it departed the runway. The plane struck a series of antennas and lights, crashed through a fence, crossed a nearby highway, and came to rest on an embankment where it burst into flames.

The crash and subsequent fire killed both flight crew members and two of the four passengers. The two survivors, Barker and Goldstein, escaped the aircraft but suffered severe burns. Goldstein is also the former fiance of television personality Nicole Ritchie. Barker and Goldstein had performed at a concert earlier in Columbia, and the two passengers who did not survive were support staff for the artists.

The aircraft was operated by Global Exec Aviation of Long Beach, California. Less than an hour before the accident, the plane had arrived in South Carolina from Teterboro, New Jersey. The FAA and NTSB online incident and accident databases showed no other events involving this aircraft, or the aircraft operator.

The Learjet 60 first flew in 1991 and was certified in 1993. This was the second fatal Learjet 60 crash, with the first occurring in 2002 in Brazil. According to the NTSB, there were six other Learjet 60 accidents and serious incidents, including one during flight testing in 1992. The FAA lists 23 less serious incidents since 1996.

The NTSB has dispatched an 11-member team to investigate this crash. The investigation, including a determination of the probable cause of the accident, will likely take several months to complete.

Additional information about this event, including updates or findings from the NTSB investigation, will be available at

Accident Overview

You can also use the links below for the podcast:
VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For Other podcasts, visit

23 September 2008

Two Veteran Airline Captains Discuss the Crash of a Spanair MD82

The previous podcast reviewed the initial findings from the Spanish accident investigation. The video version of the podcast also included portions of a security camera video that captured the final moments of the flight. This podcast features a discussion that was originally recorded on August 23rd, 2008, three days after the crash of the Spanair MD82, and featured Capt. Tom Bunn of the SOAR fear of flying organization, and Capt. Steve Fisher, a veteran airline pilot who has flown for a major US airline for over two decades.

Capt. Bunn has been a guest previously on the show, and in this episode he'll talk about some of the anxieties and concerns that have been expressed to him by some passengers.

In the days following the Spanair crash, I brought Capt. Bunn and Capt. Fisher together to provide insights into the mechanics of flying a large jet transport, especially the MD82, and to give the audience an idea of the kind of training and preparation pilots go through to prepare for emergencies during takeoff.

Early on in our conversation, the two captains discussed some of the issues that came up during the the first few days of the investigation, including a problem with a temperature sensor that caused the crew of the accident aircraft to return to the terminal after its first takeoff attempt.

You can use the following link for the podcast: Audio: MP3

Additional information about the Spanair accident, including links to a video showing the crash, and links to further updates from the investigation, will be available at

For other podcasts, visit

19 September 2008

Preliminary Findings: Crash of Spanair MD82

According to a number of media reports, Spanish Authorities have completed a preliminary report about the August 20, 2008 crash of a Spanair MD82 in Madrid. Among their findings were that the flaps were not properly configured for takeoff and that there was no flap warnings or alarms presented to the crew.

The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled domestic flight from Madrid to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. The aircraft was briefly airborne, and crashed just to the right of the departure runway. The aircraft broke up and there was a severe post-crash fire. 154 of the 172 occupants were killed.

The accident occurred during the second takeoff attempt. The crew had returned to the gate after the first takeoff attempt due to problems that so far appear to be unrelated to the subsequent accident. During the second takeoff attempt, the crew reported reaching V1, or takeoff decision speed. The aircraft was airborne for about 15 seconds, reaching a maximum altitude of about 40 feet.

A video taken by the Spanish airport authority showed that after touching down, the aircraft slid for a considerable distance and appeared to be relatively intact before breaking up and exploding. Contrary to early reports on the day of the accident, the video did not show any sign of a fire or explosion while the aircraft was airborne.

Among the key early findings of the investigation was that the aircraft’s flaps were not properly deployed at takeoff. Also, there was no indication that the flap configuration alarm was activated. This sequence of events was similar to that of a 1987 MD82 crash in Detroit, Michigan.

After that accident, the manufacturer recommended that the flaps and associated warning systems be checked prior to each flight. Spanair procedures called for a check of the flaps and warning systems prior to the first flight of the day and after each change of flight crews during the day. There was no pre-takeoff check of the flap warning system prior to the accident flight.

For additional information on this crash, including links to related audio and video podcasts and updates on the investigation, visit

Preliminary Investigation Findings

You can also use the links below for the podcast:
Audio: MP3 Video: WMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

For Other podcasts, visit

14 September 2008

Crash of Aeroflot-Nord 737-500
on 14 September 2008

The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Moscow to Perm, Russia. Contact with the aircraft was lost shortly before landing when the aircraft was about 3,600 feet, or about 1100 meters, above the ground.

The aircraft was completely destroyed in the crash, coming down outside of the city of Perm and near the tracks of the Trans-Siberian Railway.

All 82 passengers and six crew members were killed in the crash. There were seven children, including one infant, among the passengers.

About Aeroflot-Nord
This was the first fatal event for Aeroflot-Nord, which is one of the regional airlines of Aeroflot. The company that became Aeroflot-Nord was originally formed in 1963, and acquired by Aeroflot in 2004. Aeroflot-Nord currently flies a combination of 737s and Soviet designed airliners.

About the 737
This was the 66th fatal event involving the 737, and the third involving the 737-500 series. The first 737 aircraft began commercial operations in 1968, and the first of the 737-500 series began service in 1990.

The first fatal event for the 737 was in 1972. This latest crash was the 20th fatal 737 event since 2000, with three of the 20 involving a 737-500.

All of the fatal events involving the 737-500 have been in Europe or Asia. The last fatal 737 event in North America or the European Union was a crash in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1994.

For additional information on this crash, including links to related audio and video podcasts and details about other fatal events involving airlines of the former Soviet Union, visit

Initial Review of the Accident

You can also use the links below for the podcast:
Audio: MP3 Video: WMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

For other podcasts, visit

31 August 2008

Airline Travel Issues and Hurricanes

When hurricanes or tropical storms threaten the Gulf or Atlantic coastal areas of the US, passengers across the country may be affected. Dr. Todd Curtis of reviews some of the steps that passengers should take if hurricane or tropical storm approaches.

Airline Travel Issues and Hurricanes

You can also use the links below for the podcast:
Audio: MP3 Video: WMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

For additional information, including links to storm-related information for passengers, visit

For Other podcasts, visit

29 August 2008's First Open Lines Conference Call 29 August 2008

Join on Friday 29 August 2008 for the site's first open lines conference call. Talk with founder Dr. Todd Curtis, and other visitors about whatever is on your mind. If you have questions about the recent crashes of Spanair and Itek Air, complaints about airline service, or comments on any other issue of interest, please join us at 11 am PDT (1800 UTC) for the one hour conference call.

To use the conference call line, please do the following:

* Dial-In to the Conference Number 712-432-3000
* Enter your Conference Bridge Number: 323888

Please keep in mind that portions of conference calls may be used in future podcasts. Please review's privacy policy for more information on how your information may be used.

25 August 2008

Crash of Itek Air 737-200 on 24 August 2008

The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, to Tehran, Iran. About 10 minutes after takeoff, the crew turned back to the departure airport and also reported some kind of technical problem, crashing short of the runway. There were about 83 passengers and seven crew on the aircraft, including 17 members of Kyrgyzstan's national basketball youth team. Seven team members reportedly survived. At least 65 of those on board, including five of the seven crew members, were killed.

Banned from the European Union
Itek Air had been banned from operating in the EU according to a list published on 24 July 2008.

About the 737
This was the 65th fatal event involving the 737, and the 47th involving the 737-200 series. The first 737-200 series aircraft began commercial operations in 1968, and the last 737-200 was delivered in 1988. The first fatal event for the 737 was a 737-200 crash in 1972. This latest crash was the 19th fatal 737 event since 2000, with 11 of the 19 involving a 737-200. The last fatal 737-200 event in North America or the European Union was a crash in Colorado Springs, CO in 1991.

For additional information on this crash, including links to related audio and video podcasts and updates on the investigation, visit

Initial Review of the Accident

You can also use the links below for the podcast:
Audio: MP3 Video: WMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

The transcript of this podcast is available at

For Other podcasts, visit

21 August 2008

Crash of Spanair MD82 on 20 August 2008

The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff on a scheduled domestic flight from Madrid to Las Palmas in the Canary Islands. Early reports indicated that the left engine experienced a major malfunction during the takeoff. The aircraft was able to get airborne, but the crew set the aircraft down in a area to the right of the departure runway. The aircraft broke up and there was a severe post-crash fire.
There were 162 passengers and 10 crew members on board, and 153 of the 172 occupants were killed. Among the passengers were 20 children and two infants. Both infants reportedly survived. Many of the 19 survivors suffered burns, some of them serious.

This was also a code share flight with Lufthansa, and that airline reported that seven of their passengers had transferred to the Spanair flight from a previous Lufthansa flight. , and that airline reported that seven of their passengers were checked in for the flight.

About Spanair
This was the first fatal event for Spanair, the second largest of the five airlines in the SAS Group. The airline began operations in 1988. At the end of June 2008, there were 65 aircraft in the Spanair fleet, averaging 13 years old. The fatal event aircraft was built in 1993.

About the MD80
This was the 15th fatal event involving the MD80 series aircraft. Four fatal events have been in Europe, and four in the US. The aircraft began commercial operations in 1980, with the first fatal event in 1981. This latest crash was the eighth fatal MD80 event since 2000.

For additional information on this crash, including links to related audio and video podcasts and updates on the investigation, visit

You can also use the links below for the podcast:
Audio: MP3 Video: WMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

The transcript of this podcast is available at

For Other podcasts, visit

17 August 2008

Secrets of Dealing with Legal and Social Realities

In this sixth episode of the special series Secrets of, Dr. Todd Curtis discusses how the laws of the U.S., particularly those dealing with free speech and copyright protection, have allowed and other sites to flourish, and also how the availability of a variety of free services have allowed all who are online to be much more creative when it comes to producing and consuming online content.

You can hear the podcast at

The download mentioned in the podcasts, which includes more than 150 free online resources from the book Parenting and the Internet, is available at

The transcript of this podcast is available at

Information about the special series is available at

11 August 2008

Dr. Todd Curtis on the Discovery Channel

This show features a segment from the the Discovery Channel series "Survive This!" That segment featured the 21 September 2005 landing gear event involving a jetBlue A320 near Los Angeles. During the clip, Dr. Todd Curtis explains some of the factors that led to a dramatic, but safe end of the flight. The series "Survive This!" ran for one year during the 2007 season.

Excerpt from "Survive This"

For audio and video versions of this podcasts, use the links below:
Audio: MP3
VideoYouTube | Google Video

The transcript of this podcast is available at

For information about other significant Qantas safety events, visit

For Other podcasts, visit

03 August 2008

Interview with Amanda Ripley, Author of "The Unthinkable"

This episode of the podcast features an interview with Time Magazine senior writer Amanda Ripley, author of the book "The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes And Why."

Amanda has traveled the world, writing about and studying a number of disasters, including the attacks of 9/11, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. She currently covers both risk and homeland security issues for Time Magazine.

She has written for a number of other publications, including Congressional Quarterly, New York Times Magazine, Time Out, and Washington Monthly.

You can hear the podcast at

Related information is available at

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28 July 2008

Qantas Investigation Update and New Secrets of Episode

Update to Qantas 747 Rapid Decompression Event on 25 July 2008
Dr. Todd Curtis reviews information from provided by Australian investigators that points to a aircraft systems failure as a possible cause of the explosive decompression event. Also in the podcast, fear of flying expert Capt. Tom Bunn discusses the media's response to this incident.

To hear this podcast, please visit

For the previous podcast and links to related information, visit

For Other podcasts, visit

Secrets of Key Technology Trends and How They Are Used
In this fifth episode of the special series Secrets of, creator Dr. Todd Curtis discusses key online technological innovations, including search engines, blogs, and subscription services, that have influenced how changed over time to accommodate the needs of the audience.

You can hear the podcast at

The transcript of this podcast is available at

Information about the special series is available at

26 July 2008

In-Flight Emergency Involving a Qantas
747-400 Near Manila on 25 July 2008

On 25 July 2008, A Qantas airlines 747-400, with 346 passengers and 19 crew members on board, had an explosive decompression event over the South China Sea about 200 miles from Manila. The crew descended about 20,000 feet and successfully diverted to Manila. None of the passengers or crew were injured. A portion of the fuselage just forward of the wing root was found missing after the aircraft landed.

For information about other significant Qantas safety events, visit

For audio and video podcasts about this event, visit

You can also use the links below:
Audio: MP3
VideoWMV | iPod/MP4 | YouTube | Google Video

The transcript of this podcast is available at

For Other podcasts, visit

21 July 2008

Secrets of A How-to Guide on Becoming an Internationally Recognized Expert

In this fourth episode of the special series Secrets of, creator Dr. Todd Curtis talks about how he has been able to get interviewed by major national and international news media organizations, and he describes how he used his experiences, credentials, and published works to attract the attention of producers and editors at newspapers, magazines, and television.

Information about the special series is available at

You can hear the podcast at

The transcript of this podcast is available at

14 July 2008

Secrets of How Visitors Use the Site

In this third episode of the special series Secrets of, site creator Dr. Todd Curtis shares his observations of how visitors use the site, and how these traffic pattern continues to influence the content of the site.

Information about the special series is available at

You can hear the podcast at

The transcript of this podcast is available at

08 July 2008

Secrets of Online Resources and Content Guidelines

In this second episode of the special series Secrets of, site creator Dr. Todd Curtis discussed some of the key Internet resources that have made it possible to build and maintain an audience, and how those resources have changed over the years. In addition, he'll also talk about the criteria and guidelines that determine what kind of information shows up in the site.

Information about the special series is available at

You can hear the podcast at

The transcript of this podcast, plus links to related resources in the series is available at

30 June 2008

Special Podcast Series: The Secrets of

Special Podcast Series Begins 30 June 2008
In the Secrets of, a special series from the Conversation at podcast, site creator Dr. Todd Curtis will share many of the key insights and practices that have allowed to thrive since its launch in July 1996. Each podcast explores a different aspect of the site, and offers listeners a rare opportunity to get an inside look at how to successfully identify, expand, and serve an online audience.

Information about the special series is available at

You can hear the podcast at

The transcript of the first podcast in the series is available at

Other Recent Podcasts
Last week, released a podcast showing the rescue of the passengers of a Chilean airliner that crashed earlier in June. The passengers survived for four days in the snow on a forested mountainside before being rescued. The pilot and nine passengers survived the crash, but the pilot died two days before rescue. You can find out more about this event at, or you can hear or see the podcast through the links below:
Audio: MP3

 | VideoiPod/M4V | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

New from the Crash Video Collection
The USAF released an accident report and video from the first ever crash of a B-2 bomber. The $1.4 billion aircraft crashed in Guam on 23 February 2008 due to water contamination in the aircraft's flight control system. Both pilots successfully ejected.
More crash details, plus a video.

16 June 2008

Crash of Sudan Airways A310 and Other News Items

A Sudan Airways A310 Crashed in Khartoum on 10 June 2008, killing one of the 14 crew member and approximately 30 of the 203 passengers. The aircraft was on an unscheduled domestic flight from Port Sudan to Khartoum. The aircraft had been on a scheduled international flight from Damascus, Syria to Khartoum, but had earlier diverted to Port Sudan due to weather conditions in the Khartoum area. The aircraft landed, and then overran the far end of the runway by about 230m (750ft), coming to rest on rough ground slightly to the left of the extended center line. The right engine and right side of the aircraft caught fire, and the fire quickly spread to the rest of the plane and destroyed the aircraft.

Fatal A310 Events

Fatal Event Rates by Model

Fatal Sudan Airways Events

New Fear of Flying Podcast
This show features two pioneers in the treatment of fear of flying, Captain Tom Bunn and Lisa Hauptner of SOAR fear of flying organization. These two experts, who are both trained therapists, reveal a number of surprising facts about fear of flying, including the roots of fear of flying and the fact that the fear is often only indirectly related to flying.

Information about this episode is available at, and the podcast itself is available at

Frequent Flyer Program Basics
A new page with basic frequent flyer program information is now available at

New Contact Options
The contact page at
has added options for leaving voice mail at 206-279-1832 or through Skype using Skype name 'airsafe'

Recent Massive Mailings of News Items
Those of you on the mailing list likely received a massive influx of emailed new items in the early hours of Saturday June 14th. These older news items were sent out by mistake. regrets any inconvenience this may have caused.

03 June 2008

TACA Has First Fatal Jet Airliner Event

A TACA Airbus A320-200 crashed in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on 30 May 2008, killing the captain, two passengers, and two people outside of the aircraft. The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from San Salvador to Tegucigalpa. The aircraft touched down on the runway on its second landing attempt, but after landing it departed the runway, went beyond the airport perimeter, and struck several vehicles on a nearby road.

There were 124 passengers and five crew members on board the aircraft. In addition to the three onboard fatalities, about 65 other passengers were injured.

The fuselage was broken in several locations with one of the engines was separated from the wings. Although there was a fuel spill and a post crash fire, most of the aircraft was not damaged by that fire.

At the time of the accident, the runway was wet from the passage of tropical storm Alma earlier in the day.

This was the first fatal jet airliner event involving TACA. Prior to this fatal event, the airline had two significant events involving its jet fleet.

On 24 May 1988, a TACA 737 flying to New Orleans lost power to both engines due to water ingestion from a storm. The crew was able to glide safely to a landing on a levee next to a waterway.

On 6 April 1993, a TACA 767 overran the runway during a landing in Guatemala City, and crashed into a nearby neighborhood. Although three people in the neighborhood were injured, no one was on the ground or in the plane was killed.

The crash in Tegucigalpa was the eighth fatal event involving the A320, with the first occurring in 1988 and the previous one, involving the Brazilian airline TAM, in July 2007.

The civil aviation authorities of Honduras are leading the investigation, with support from TACA, Airbus, the engine manufacturer, the NTSB, FAA, and civil aviation authorities from France and El Salvador.

Because of the crash, and because of ongoing concerns about the main airport in Tegucigalpa, that airport was immediately closed to all aircraft, and even after the airport is reopened, large jet airliners will not be allowed at the airport.

Commercial jets are now operating through the city of San Pedro Sula, and later this year the Honduran government plans to allow larger jets to land in Soto Cano Air Base (formerly known as the Pamerola Air Base).

Updates or findings from the investigation will be posted on as they become available.

If you would like more details about this podcast and about the fear of flying, please use the links below:

Podcast from the Day of the Accident (MP3)

Podcast Transcript

Fatal and Significant TACA Events

Fatal Airbus A320 Events

23 May 2008

Fear of Flying - A Basic Overview

This podcast about the fear of flying and how people are affected by this type of anxiety was first published on 23 May 2008. The transcript of the podcast, as well as a link to the MP3 audio file for the podcast, is available at

Fear of flying is a complex psychological issue, one that has been made more complex by the security concerns of the last few years. There are many books, videos, and other resources that deal with the fear of flying, so deciding what may work for you may be a difficult process.

The podcast provides a basic definition of what fear of flying is, and points out that a fear of flying may be caused by a number of factors that have no direct connection with an aircraft flight.

The podcast also provides list of symptoms or behaviors that may indicate if a person may be affected by a fear of flying.

If you would like more details about this podcast and about the fear of flying, please use the links below:

Podcast Audio (MP3)

Podcast Transcript

Fear of Flying Overview

Signs that You May Have Fear of Flying

Selected Fear of Flying Resources

21 May 2008

Investigation Update #4 for the British Airways 777 Crash of 17 January 2008

This is the fourth update from on the ongoing investigation into the accident at London's Heathrow Airport involving a British Airways 777. This update is based on information released by the AAIB the week of 11 May 2008.

This article is based on the podcast published on 20 May 2008. The podcast, available at http:/, presents the highlights of the most recent update from the Air Accidents Investigation Branch concerning the status of the investigation. There is a brief review of the details of the accident, followed by a discussion of the new information provided by the AAIB report, and an analysis of the progress of the investigation.

The accident aircraft was a scheduled international flight from Beijing, China to London, England, and the flight was routine until about two miles from touchdown. The engines would not respond to commands to increase thrust, and as a result the aircraft touched down about 1000 feet short of the runway. There was a significant fuel leak, but no post-crash fire. All 136 passengers and 16 crew members were able to successfully evacuate the aircraft, and the most serious injury was a broken leg suffered by one passenger.

The three previous AAIB updates in January and February 2008 provided detailed information about the flight, including the state of the fuel and fuel systems, and the condition of the engines and their associated control systems. You'll find details about the previous updates, as well as links to previous podcasts describing the accident sequence, at

For the last several months, the AAIB has focused on the fuel and fuel systems of the aircraft. Extensive examination of the aircraft and detailed analysis of information from the flight data recorder and other onboard recording systems have revealed no evidence of an aircraft or engine control system malfunction.

The fuel was extensively tested, and showed no evidence of contamination or excessive water content. Although the aircraft had experienced very cold temperatures, the fuel temperature remained well above freezing. Detailed examination of the fuel system revealed a loose connection in one of the fuel lines as well as the presence of small pieces of debris, but these conditions led to no unusual deterioration or physical blockages.

The ongoing investigation has also found no evidence that a wake vortex encounter, bird strike, engine icing, or electromagnetic interference played a role in the accident. The focus of the investigation continues to be the fuel system and the engines, with the goal of understanding why neither engine responded to demands for increased power even though all of the engine control functions operated normally.

Under the direction of the AAIB, the engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce and the aircraft manufacturer Boeing are conducting further tests on the engines and fuel system with the goal of replicating the fuel system performance seen in the accident flight. Additional work is being conducted to gain a more complete understanding of the dynamics of the fuel as it flows from the tank to the engine.

No individual parameter associated with the accident flight was outside of previous operating experience. However, the AAIB is using a data analysis team to review data from a large sample of flights on similar aircraft to see if there was a combination of parameters that was outside of previous experience.

Unlike the last AAIB interim report issued in February 2008, this report did not contain any recommended operational changes for the 777.

I'd like to take a moment to share my opinion about the progress of this investigation. This crash investigation has not yet come up with an explanation for what happened. This is in spite of having a largely intact aircraft, a large volume of data from the accident aircraft and comparison data from similar flights, and the combined resources the engine manufacturer, the aircraft manufacturer, and the British government. This probably means that if the AAIB does come up with an explanation for why the accident happened, the explanation will include a combination of circumstances that had not been previously anticipated by aircraft designers or aircraft operators.

The suggestions made in previous podcasts about how to evaluate what's being published about this investigation are still valid .

If you're interested in following the investigation online or in the news media, keep in mind that prior to the completion of the investigation by the AAIB, anyone outside of the investigation, including aviation safety experts and the largest news media organizations, will have access only to a fraction of the relevant information.

The AAIB will likely provide several more updates prior to publishing a final report, and these updates represent the most authoritative sources of information about the ongoing investigation.

Podcast Audio and Video
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

Podcast Transcript

Additional Accident Details and Related Podcasts

12 May 2008

Revised Bumping Compensation Shortchanges Passengers

by Dr. Todd Curtis

As of May 19, 2008, passengers will get additional protection from the Department of Transportation in the form of an increase in the maximum allowable compensation for passengers who are delayed due to being bumped, or involuntarily removed from a flight due to overbooking. This is the first increase in the maximum compensation in 30 years. Unfortunately for passengers, this increase in benefits does not keep up with inflation. What may upset passengers even more is that the DOT was well aware of what it would have taken to keep up with inflation, but chose not to do so.

Currently in the U.S., most passengers who are involuntarily bumped are eligible for denied boarding compensation. If the airline can arrange alternate transportation that is scheduled to arrive at the passenger’s destination within one hour of the original planned arrival time of the overbooked flight, no compensation is required. If the airline can’t do that, there are specific kinds of compensation that airlines are required to provide to passengers, including cash compensation.

If the alternate transportation is scheduled to arrive between one and two hours after the original planned arrival (between one and four hours on international flights), the compensation equals 100% of the passenger’s one way fare to his or her next stopover or final destination, with a $200 maximum additional cash compensation . If the airline cannot get a passenger to the destination airport within two hours (four hours on international flights), the compensation rate doubles to 200% of the passenger’s one-way fare, with a $400 maximum additional cash benefit. This compensation is in addition to the value of the passenger’s ticket, which he or she can use for alternate transportation or have refunded if not used.

The last time the rule was substantially changed was in 1982, and the last time the maximum additional cash benefit was raised was in 1978. For 2008, the DOT made several changes, the most important was a doubling of the maximum cash compensation to $400 for domestic flights and $800 for international flights. While at first this appears to be a win for consumers, in economic terms it is in fact a step backwards from when the compensation was last changed in 1978. In addition, the policymakers who approved the change were well aware that a doubling of the compensation would not have kept up with inflation.

When the DOT proposed these rule changes in 2007, it applied the government’s consumer price index (CPI) data to the 1978 compensation and concluded that to keep up with inflation, the dollar amount would have to go from $400 to $1,248 for the maximum benefit. That value has increased since 2007. According to the Department of Labor online inflation calculator, on May 12, 2008 it showed that $200 in 1978 had the same buying power as $654.99 in 2008, and $400 had $1,309.99 of buying power. The bottom line is that when the new compensation limits take effect, they would have to be about 60% higher to have actually kept up with inflation.

Air travelers, especially those who may get bumped in the near future, should keep in mind that the airlines did not directly decide on the new maximum compensation limits (though the Air Transport Association, an association of the larger U.S. airlines, did not object to the larger compensation limits). The DOT issued this rule change to double the compensation, even after reviewing options that included one that would have allowed the compensation to keep pace with inflation, and another option that would have done away with a maximum limit altogether.

In the end, the DOT approved a change in maximum compensation for bumped passengers that increases passenger compensation but does not keep up with inflation. In comments posted by the DOT on April 16, 2008, DOT Secretary Mary Peters stated that the rule will ensure flyers are more fairly reimbursed for their inconvenience. The airline industry apparently found this result to be fair as well, even though the rule change leaves a bumped airline passenger holding the (somewhat smaller) bag. welcomes your feedback on this article. Please feel free to send your comments to


Rights of Passengers on Overbooked Flights

April 16, 2008 DOT Announcement of New Bumping Rule

July 9, 2007 DOT Proposal for Compensation

Historical Consumer Price Index Values

Department of Labor Online Inflation Calculator

DOT Regulation 14 CFR 250 on Oversales (Bumping)

Federal Register from April 18, 2008 Announcing Rule Changes

Subscribe to the Mailing List

26 April 2008

Join the New and Improved Mailing List

Periodically, the email newsletter version of the News updates the focus of mailing list to enhance the level of information and service. The new and improved mailing list will feature more more frequent deliveries of articles and other resources from throughout the site. The new version of the list has been active only for a few days, so even if you have already signed up in the past, do so again today if you want the enhanced version of the service.

With a new subscription, you will receive a number of reports that you can reprint for free in your newsletter, blog, or other publication.

To subscribe to the enhanced and expanded mailing list, please

If that link does not work, you can also visit Offers Free Online Class

Answering questions about aviation risk and aviation safety can be
difficult, especially if you lack time, resources, and organizational
support. The biggest problem is usually a lack of a clear
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Anyone who asks or analyzes questions about risk, safety, reliability,
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While the online version of this course is normally offered for over
$300, is offering this course for free for a limited time
to the subscribers on the Flight Safety Information newsletter.
Register today at

If that link does not work, you can also visit

17 April 2008

Changes in Compensation for Involuntarily Bumped Passengers

As of May 2008, there will be major changes in compensation for passengers who are involuntarily bumped from an overbooked U.S. flight and who unable to reach their destination from one to two hours of the originally scheduled arrival time for domestic flights (or from one to four hours for international flights) will have maximum compensation increase from $200 to $400, and maximum compensation for delays of more than two hours (or more than for hours for an international flight) will go from $400 to $800. Also, bumping compensation will apply to flights on aircraft with 30 or more seats rather than the current restriction to aircraft with 60 or more seats.

In the U.S., the only passengers who must be compensated for flight delays are those who are delayed due to being involuntarily bumped. This is quite different from the European Community where passengers are also legally guaranteed compensation for many categories of delayed or cancelled flights. Passengers on EC flights are also compensated if they are downgraded in service to a lower flight class than that for which the ticked was purchased.

For details about the upcoming changes and about the differences in compensation in the U.S. and the European Community, visit at

16 April 2008

Crash of a DC9 in Africa on 15 April 2008

15 April 2008; Hewa Bora Airways DC9-51; Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Goma to Kisangani. The aircraft developed a problem during takeoff, and reportedly departed the runway and collided with several buildings in a nearby neighborhood. There were at least 21 fatalities, but it is unclear if any of the fatalities were from the aircraft. There were seven crew members and 79 passengers aboard the aircraft.

Because there are no reported fatalities among the passengers, it is not counted as a fatal event as defined by However, this may change if new information arises.

The most recent fatal event involving a DC9 was a crash on 10 December 2005 at Port Harcourt, Nigeria involving a Sosoliso Airlines DC9-32.

Fatal Event Definition

Fatal DC9 Events

November 2007 Podcast on African Air Safety

14 April 2008

Interview on the Radio America Show 'The Gregg Knapp Experience' - 14 April 2008

This interview from the Radio America show The Gregg Knapp Experience focused on issues that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee discussed in their hearings that started on April 3rd, 2008. Topics covered included the threats that were alleged to have been directed at whistleblowers in the FAA who wanted to report problems with the oversight process.

You can download the episode directly at
You can also find other podcasts at

Other Resources
Notes from shows on related subjects

Interview on the BBC Show 'The World Today' - 7 April 2008

This interview from the BBC show The World Today focused on issues that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee discussed in their hearings that started on April 3rd, 2008. Topics covered included the role of whistleblowers in the FAA and whether the FAA is doing their job of protecting those who fly.

You can download the episode directly at
You can also find other podcasts at

Other Resources
Notes from shows on related subjects

03 April 2008

Interview on the Ankarlo Morning Show on KTAR Radio in Phoenix - 3 April 2008

This discussion with KTAR host Darrell Ankarlo focused on issues that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee would likely discuss in their hearings that started on April 3rd, 2008. The key issue of concern in the hearing was the relationship between the FAA and the airlines, specifically whether the recent problems with the FAA's oversight of Southwest Airlines were a symptom of a broader problem within the agency.

You can download the episode directly at
You can also find other podcasts at

Other Resources
Notes from shows on related subjects

01 April 2008

A Discussion of Concerns After a String of Airline Safety Events

The recent safety FAA safety audit that was triggered by the actions of the FAA and of Southwest airlines has so far led to two safety-related groundings by American and Delta, and an upcoming hearing in the U.S. House of Representatives. This podcast episode was a roundtable discussion, broadcast on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU radio on 1 April 2008, that featured Dr. Todd Curtis of, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of Aviation Daily Jim Matthews, and the vice president for operations and safety of the Air Transport Association Basil Barimo.

You can download the episode directly at
You can also find other podcasts at

Related Resources
Notes page from the interview and related links

28 March 2008

The FAA Inspection Process and Southwest Airlines

In this podcast, Dr. Todd Curtis discusses a proposed $10.2 million dollar fine against Southwest Airlines and how problems with FAA safety inspection process allowed the airline to continue to fly airplanes that were not in compliance with a mandatory safety inspection. Dr. Curtis also discusses the role the FAA played in allowing Southwest to fly out of compliance aircraft, and how subsequent actions by the FAA may ensure that all airline operators may be following the rules but may also inconvenience passengers and undermines their confidence in the FAA.

You can download several versions of this episode:
Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

If you visit, you will find links to the podcast, as well as a transcript and links to additional resources.

You can also find other podcasts at

05 March 2008

Interview with Airline Pilot Patrick Smith, Author of the Book "Ask the Pilot"

Patrick Smith,in addition to being a pilot for a major U.S. airline, is also an air travel columnist and author of the 2004 book "Ask the Pilot."
In this Conversation, Patrick Smith and Dr. Todd Curtis discuss several issues, including popular misconceptions about airline safety, the role of the Internet in shaping the public's perception of airline safety, as well as how the TSA should be changed in order to enhance airline security.

You can download the episode directly at
You can also find other podcasts at

Related Resources
Notes page from the interview
Buy the book "Ask the Pilot"

03 March 2008

Lufthansa A320 Has Close Call in Hamburg

On 1 March 2008, a Lufthansa Airbus A320 arriving from Munich was attempting a landing at Hamburg, Germany under high crosswind conditions. The left wingtip struck the ground during the attempt, and the crew successfully executed a go-around. The aircraft landed without further incident. At the time, winds at the airport were gusting up to 49 knots. The left wingtip and winglet were damaged, and there were no injuries to any occupants..

Video of the Event

Photos of Event and the Aircraft Damage

23 February 2008

ATR Crashes, Kills All 46 on Board, in Venezuela

21 February 2008; Santa Bárbara Airlines ATR 42; near Mérida, Venezuela: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Mérida to Caracas, Venezuela. It crashed into a mountain about six miles (10 km) from the airport, at about the 12,000 foot level of the mountain. All 43 passengers and three crew members were killed.

Fatal ATR Events:

21 February 2008

Investigation Update #3 for the British Airways 777 Crash of 17 January 2008

This is the third update from on the ongoing investigation into the accident at London's Heathrow Airport involving a British Airways 777. This update is based on information released by the AAIB on 18 February 2008, and focuses on analyses of the fuel system, the engines, and their associated control systems. You can listen to or watch the podcast at the following links:

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

The links below will take you to additional related resources.

Additional Details About this Accident:
Transcript and Timeline for this Podcast
Other Podcasts

Video of the Podcast

14 February 2008

Show Notes Added to the Coversation at Podcast

The Conversation at Podcast has added detailed show notes for selected podcasts. The first three shows with notes, which include a transcript, timeline, and links to audio and video versions of the podcasts are for the latest show, "Things You Should Not Bring on Board," and two shows from last month that were first update and second update of the accident investigation for the 17 January 2008 crash of a British Airways 777 at London's Heathrow airport.

The following show notes pages have a synopsis of the show, links to the audio and video versions of each podcast, links to additional resources, the show's timeline, and the show's transcript:

Show #39: Things You Should Not Bring On Board - 13 February 2008

Show #37: Crash of British Airways 777 at Heathrow on 17 January 2008, Update 2 - 25 January 2008

Show #36: Crash of British Airways 777 at Heathrow on 17 January 2008, Update 1 - 23 January 2008

13 February 2008

Podcast: Things You Should Not Take on Board

This show from February 13, 2008 provides an overview of the things passengers should know in order to deal with TSA and airport security with a minimum of hassle. In addition to providing suggestions for checked and carry on baggage, this show also provides a link to numerous other resources on baggage, banned and restricted items, and making complaints about your airline service.

For more information about the show, or about how to subscribe using iTunes, visit the home page of the Conversation at at

You can also download the episode directly at

Additional Resources
Baggage and Security Insights and Information

06 February 2008

Interview with Kate Hanni of the Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights

Kate Hanni is one of the founders of the Coalition for Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights. On December 29, 2006, she was a passenger on one of the more than 120 American Airlines flights that were diverted to alternate airports due to weather. Passengers on dozens of those flights were forced to wait on board their aircraft for more than three hours. On Kate Hanni’s flight, the wait was over eight hours, an ordeal that included overstressed toilets, a lack of fresh water and fresh air, and an even greater lack of compassion from the airline.

Kate did far more than just complain about her flight, she and other stranded passengers formed their nonprofit group with the goal of having legislation passed to ensure that this kind of event would not happen again. Her work and the work of her group have been frequently profiled by major news organizations. She’s also testified to the U.S. Congress and to state legislatures around the country.

This interview from February 5, 2008 covers several of the areas of interest of the group, including changing the airline industry's rules on how delayed passengers should be treated. Also discussed was the role that the audience can play in bringing about these changes.

Coalition for an Airline Passengers' Bill of Rights

Passenger Complaint Resources

For more information about the show, or about how to subscribe using iTunes, visit the podcast page at
You can also download the episode directly at