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30 June 2015

Airline safety and security review for the first half of 2015

Promech Air crash siteIn the first six months of 2015, identified eight noteworthy events, but only the two involving passenger deaths on aircraft models commonly used by airlines in the US and the EU. Those two events would be used to compute fatal event rates for particular aircraft models .

The event which has attracted by far the most media attention, as well as the most traffic at, is the Germanwings crash in March that was apparently due to deliberate actions taken by the first officer. The first officer apparently locked the captain out of the cockpit, and no one was able the get through the armored cockpit door before the aircraft crashed. This was actually the second time in the past two years were one flight crew member locked out the other flight crew member and then crashed the aircraft. The Germanwings event also represented the seventh time since 1980 where a flight crew member deliberately crashed an airliner.

The eight total events consisted of two airliner crashes with passenger fatalities, two airliner landing accidents without fatalities, two crashes involving Hollywood celebrities, one fatal sightseeing flight, and military aircraft that crashed while carrying over 100 civilian family members of military personnel.

The eight total events for the first six months of 2015 were above the average seen in the previous decade, and two the numbered events were below the average. For the 10 years from 2005-2014, there were an average of 6.4 noteworthy events, of which an average of 3.4 were numbered events. In the past decade, the fewest events in the first six months happened in 2006, with one event, which was also a numbered event. The most total events, 12 occurred in 2008, and the most numbered events, five, occurred in 2007, 2009, and 2011.

  1. 4 February 2015; TransAsia Airways ATR 72-600; B-22816; flight GE235; near Magong, Taiwan: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight between Taipei and Kinmen Island, Taiwan. The airplane crashed into a river shortly after takeoff from Songshan Airport in Taipei. The aircraft hit a bridge, as well as a vehicle on that bridge, before plunging into the Keelung River. Shortly before hitting the bridge, the aircraft rolled sharply to the left. Four of the five crew members, including both pilots, and 39 of 53 passengers were killed. The two people who were in the vehicle were both injured.

    This was the second fatal plane crash in less than a year for TransAsia Airways. Having two or more plane crashes in less than a year has happened over 35 times since 1970.
    ATR 72 plane crashes
    Flight GE235 Wikipedia entry
    Other TransAsia Airways plane crashes

    5 March 2015; Delta Air Lines MD88; N909DL; flight DL1086; New York, NY: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight between Atlanta and New York's La Guardia Airport, and had a landing excursion that led to an emergency evacuation. The aircraft landed on runway 13 and departed to the left side of the runway, coming to rest on a dike that separated the runway area from the waters of Flushing Bay. At the time of the event, it had been snowing, with freezing fog conditions and below freezing temperatures. The aircraft was also affected by both a crosswind and a tailwind during the landing. An A319 that had preceded the Delta jet had reported good braking action on runway 13. None of the 125 passengers or five crew members were seriously injured.
    MD80 plane crashes
    Other Delta plane crashes

    5 March 2015; Ryan ST3KR Recruit; N53178; Santa Monica, CA: Actor Harrison Ford was the pilot and sole occupant of a Ryan ST3KR Recruit, a two-seat, open cockpit aircraft that was used extensively as a training aircraft by the US military in WWII. According to a preliminary report from the NTSB, Ford reported a loss of engine power shortly after taking off from the Santa Monica airport, and was attempting to return to runway 3 at Santa Monica.

    Ford chose to land on a nearby golf course, clipping the top of a tree before landing. The aircraft was seriously damage, and Ford was hospitalized with serious injuries. This was Harrison Ford's third crash involving an airplane or a helicopter.
    Plane crashes involving Harrison Ford

  2. 24 March 2015; Germanwings A320-200; D-AIPX; flight 4U9525; near Barcelonnette, France: The aircraft was on a scheduled international flight from Barcelona, Spain to Düsseldorf, Germany. About a half hour after takeoff, while at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet, the aircraft began losing altitude, and crashed about ten minutes later. The investigative authorities suspect that the first officer deliberately crashed the aircraft. All six crew members and 144 passengers were killed.
    More details on the Germanwings crash
    Lufthansa plane crashes
    A320 plane crashes
    Flight 9525 Wikipedia entry
    Airliners deliberately crashed by a flight crew member

    Early stage of the accident investigation

    29 March 2015; Air Canada A320-200; C-FTJP; flight AC624; near Halifax, Canada: The aircraft was on a scheduled domestic flight from Toronto to Halifax, Canada. At the time the aircraft entered the Halifax area, visibility was limited due to both darkness and snowfall, and the aircraft entered a holding pattern before attempting a landing. During final approach, the aircraft touched down about 300 meters short of the runway, apparently hitting a combination of power lines and a localizer array before sliding onto the runway. The aircraft slid down the runway about 1000 meters, coming to rest just off the left side of the runway.

    Damage to the aircraft included collapsed main and nose landing gear, both engines severely damaged, with the left engine sheared off, separated radome, and damage to the wings, stabilizers, and underside of the fuselage. While there was a fuel leak, there was no post crash fire. There were no severe injuries among the five crew members and 133 passengers.
    Air Canada plane crashes
    A320 plane crashes

    22 June 2015; Short S312 Tucano T; N206PZ; near Ojai, CA: Composer James Horner, who created music for over 150 movies, including "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan," "48 Hrs.," and "Aliens," and who won two Oscars for his work in "Titanic," was killed in the crash of his Short Tucano in southern California. Horner was the only person on the aircraft.
    More on this event
    Celebrity plane crashes

    25 June 2015; Promech Air; DeHavilland DHC-3T Turbine Otter; N270PA; near Near Ketchikan, AK: The aircraft was on an unscheduled excursion flight in the area of the Misty Fjords National Monument, and crashed into an area of steep, mountainous terrain. The pilot and all eight passengers were killed. The passengers were from a cruise ship, and were on a sightseeing flight.

    30 June 2015; Indonesia Air Force C130B; A-1310; Medan, Indonesia, AK: The aircraft was on a nonscheduled domestic flight from Medan to Tanjung Pinang and crashed into a residential neighborhood shortly after takeoff. The aircraft had a crew of 12 and 101 civilian passengers. The crew had reportedly requested a return to the departure airport. The passengers were military family members and the aircraft who were headed to Tanjung Pinang for Ramadan related activities.

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    Most recent crashes

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