Aviation vs Microsoft

May 26th, 2007

A helicopter was circling above Seattle in poor visibility providing traffic information when an electrical malfunction disabled all of the aircraft’s electronic navigation and communications equipment. Due to the haze, the pilot could not determine the helicopter’s position and course to steer to return to the airport.

The pilot saw a tall building, flew toward it, circled, drew a handwritten sign, and held it in the helicopter’s window. The pilot’s sign said ‘WHERE AM I?’ in large letters.

People in the tall building quickly responded to the aircraft, drew a large sign, and held it in a building window. Their sign said ‘YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER.’

The pilot smiled, waved, looked at his map, determined the course to steer to SEATAC airport, and landed safely.

After they were on the ground, the passenger who was sitting in the front seat asked the pilot how the ‘YOU ARE IN A HELICOPTER’ sign helped determine their position.

The pilot responded ‘I knew that had to be the MICROSOFT building because they gave me a technically correct, but completely useless answer.’

Cessna Training Manuals

Accident Key Causes – Duh?

May 22nd, 2007

Aircraft Accident Division – Key Issues

The following are problem areas and contributing factors to most of our accidents :

* Pilot attitude (over confidence), this is a major killer and involves :

· Weather

· Low flying

· Inadequate or no preflight

* Aircraft overloading.
* Disregard of Standard/Safe Operating Procedures.

Courtesy of SACAA, weblink: http://www.caa.co.za/ – accidents, key issues

CRM-Can it Be Taught?

May 13th, 2007

There is a difference between thinking “okay-yeah, I am going to try to be nice to my fellow shift members”, and the emotional conflict of having to resist the urge to beat them over the head with a large blunt object.
One is a nice touchy freely concept bought up in CRM workshops – the other is a very real exercise and a recipe for an accident waiting to happen, only we don’t really know why.

One line of thinking says that CRM or changes in attitude cannot be taught. The other says if you are willing to learn anything can be taught, attitude included. I agree with the latter, people can change their emotional response, all that is needed is a willingness to learn, normally the only problem is teaching or instilling that that willingness.

Surely we have all had those minor incidents when external factors, including other crew members have caused us to see red – right or wrongly, there was a problem, and this problem had an effect on our decision making abilities, and hence heightened our accident risk factor. If this is correct, why does it happen, and how can we prevent it happening?

I don’t have the answer, perhaps there isn’t one right now, but it would be nice to at least get some feedback from someone else on the matter.

Thought for the Day – Skydiving…

May 13th, 2007

If at first you don’t succeed, then skydiving is probably not the sport for you!

Urban Legand: The Inadvertant Barrel Roll

May 12th, 2007

Ever since I started flying there was a mysterious urban legend that was told on numerous occasions at numerous aeroclub bars. No – Not the one about the hostee joining the mile high, it was about an inadvertent barrel roll.

It came to pass that three crew members in a cockpit were fiddling with something and well perhaps you know the rest. Every time I heard the story it was always a flight training captain in the jumpseat.

I am sure it happened more than once and I am sure this is not the one I heard of , however, this is-in black and white with a date, if nothing else, concrete proof of the urban legend:

10 August 1947, American Airlines DC4,
As a prank, a captain riding in the jump seat engaged the gust lock in flight. The command pilot, not knowing the gust lock had been engaged, rolled the elevator trim tab with no response. When the jump seat captain disengaged the gust lock, the aircraft went into into a steep dive, executed part of an outside roll and become inverted. Neither the command nor jump seat captain had seat belts on and they accidentally feathered No. 1, 2 and 4 engines when they hit the controls with their heads. No one realized it at the time but the feathering reduced power and allowed the co-pilot, who was strapped in, to pull out of the dive 350 feet from the ground.


Avitiona has come a long way over the years – or not?

Safety Culture: Accident-Prone Flight Organizations

May 11th, 2007

Accident-Prone Flight Organizations

By Patrick R. Veillette, Ph.D.

In his submission to NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, the pilot complained that his employer “has become increasingly confrontational, condescending and oppressive toward the pilot group. . . . This kind of atmosphere is fatiguing, numbing, unhealthy and downright dangerous to work in.”

Welcome to aviation. If you’ve been flying long enough, you’ve probably worked for such an operator. And you’ve probably been told, “If you don’t make this flight I’ll find someone who will.” And of course let’s not forget the management practice of paying the pilot only after the successful completion of the flight; no undue pressure there, especially when the rent is due.


Instruction: Short Funnies

May 8th, 2007

Why is instruction like prostitution?

You start out doing it for love, then for money, and you end up doing it for a few close friends.

How not to get Priority Landing

May 7th, 2007

I was flying into Capetown one day when I heard the controller comment:

Comair 123 (numbers changed for identification purposes), would you like the visual approach?

They replied “Affirm”

Then the controller replied “Visual available, provided you can tell me you support the Sharks”.

Super 12 rugby reaching the semi’s and the weekend games had determined the playoffs.

Such playoffs had resulted in (an almost unheard of) home semi’s for South Africa, however their opponents were the intrepid Kiwi’s, and top favourite was the Crusaders.

It appeared we were number two to Comair 123, and hearing the traffic in the circuit we were keen for the visual approach for a quicker routing as well, however we had a few obstacles to avoid.

In a ‘Mouth before Mike’ incident the following
I chirped – “I’ll support the Sharks for the visual.”
The controller replied “In that case I’ll see what I can do, at this stage number two to the Comair”
Then the fatal last words:
“Okay, number two to the Comair, but I must tell you, at heart I am a Crusaders fan”
“Sorry Somairline 456 – extend downwind maintain altitude, standby for the inbound, and we promise it will be before Christmas”

We did get the visual approach in the end – but a point to remember when you are on the short end of the bargaining stick – don’t mention you are supporting the wrong team!

Cabin crew Blog-3: Short Funnies

May 3rd, 2007

Being a flight attendant for several years, I have seen things in the cabin that still make me laugh.

I was doing a flight from Germany back home to Africa a couple of weeks ago. A young lady boarded and stared shaking her body and waved her arms, loudly saying: ” I am a vegatable, I am a vegatable!” I knew what she meant, but could not help thinking what kind of vegatable she could represent, broccoli or pumkin. It turned out that what she wanted to say was that she is a Vegeterian and she wanted to make sure that her meal was loaded.

Another time on a domestic (Southern African) flight a well dressed man jumped up from his seat while we were still on our way to the bridge, shouting “Can somebody please tell me where the HIV Lounge is?!” We smiled and directed him to the VIP Lounge.

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