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Risk Management principles have been applied in business and industry for years, becoming the subject of ISO/IEC Standard 31000:2009. They have also found their way into aviation, and particularly general aviation, where the layers of infrastructure and backup in airline operations are absent, and pilots must largely operate on their own. John and Martha King, the respected operators of the King Schools, have preached the gospel of applying risk management principles to GA. They offer…
On March 8, 2014 Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777, departed Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. As it left Malaysian airspace the pilot, 53-year old Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, said, “Good night, Malaysian 370” to controllers. One minute later its transponder signal disappeared from radar screens. No further communications with the aircraft occurred. Malaysian radar showed that that the plane reversed course and flew southwest across Malaysia for…
On October 27, 2016 a chartered Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 carrying Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence and 36 others skidded off a wet runway at LaGuardia Airport on a rainy fall night. The incident gained some notoriety, not only because the candidate was aboard, but also because the cockpit voice recorder transcript revealed that, after the incident,  the captain said, “My career just ended,” and the co-pilot said, “We should have went around.”…
“Cessna 1234A cleared for takeoff, caution wake turbulence from the departing Citation jet.” It’s a common warning at controlled airports where light planes mingle with jets and airliners.  Encountering wake turbulence at low altitude immediately after takeoff is a well-known danger that can have fatal results.  But wake turbulence is increasingly recognized as a danger to all aircraft, at all levels.…
Sixty-five years ago, on May 2, 1952, aviation history was made when a de Havilland Comet departed London for Johannesburg, South Africa—the world’s first passenger jet air service. It was a proud moment for Britain and its aircraft industry. Post-war air travel was dominated by the American-made Lockheed Constellation and Douglas DC-6, and airlines—including British Overseas Airways Corporation, the UK’s flagship international carrier–lined up to buy them. British manufacturers made a bold decision to leapfrog…
The recent US ban on laptops and tablets electronic devices from carry-on luggage from flights from 10 Middle Eastern Airports, and a more limited UK ban, have been widely condemned by the aviation press and the airline industry as arbitrary, ineffective and counterproductive. There is no factual basis for the airports selected, the UK list differs from the US, and the bans can be evaded by taking a connecting flight from elsewhere.[1] These issues…
On the second anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Air flight MH370, this blog explored the known facts and concluded, “Unless and until the wreckage is located on the ocean floor and the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder data recovered, the most plausible scenario is deliberate human action, most likely by one of the cockpit crew.” Thereafter, the search area was refined, but in January, 2017 further search efforts were ended. As a…
In the early morning of February 3, 1959, a Beech Bonanza carrying Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) crashed shortly after takeoff from the Mason City, Iowa airport, killing all on board. The accident entered aviation history and American popular culture. In early 1959 Buddy Holly’s band was playing a “Winter Dance Tour” across the wintry upper Midwest. The travel logistics were less than ideal, involving long drives in an-ill equipped…