Browsing Tag: Safety

A nice Turkish Airlines Airbus A340 up front, lots of other Turkish planes in the background.

A nice Turkish Airlines Airbus A340 up front, lots of other Turkish planes in the background.

The argument for “passengers of size” has been going on for quite some time now. Now Turkish Airlines is looking to add “flight attendants of size” into the mix. 28 flight attendants have been put on unpaid leave to shape up or be reassigned.

Izzet Levi, head of a cabin attendants’ association, and one of those trying to lose weight, told the Haber Turk newspaper he must drop 22 pounds or he will get re-assigned.

This is a tricky situation. With larger passengers, it is easy just to have them purchase a second seat, but flight attendants need to be able to safely get up and down the aisle and help passengers get off the aircraft in case of an emergency.

It is easier with passengers to tell when they have to buy a second seat. If you can’t put your seatbelt on or put down the armrests, there is a good chance you will have to buy the seat next to you, but with flight attendants, it is not as easy.

Source: AOL Travel Image: Baris Karakaya
The rear of the slate is de-laminating on this American Airlines Boeing 757 on flight 1990.

The rear of the slate is de-laminating on this American Airlines Boeing 757 on flight 1990.

Last Saturday American Airlines flight 1990 was about to take off from Miami to Orlando, when a passenger noticed a bit of damage to the wing’s right slat. As the flight of the Boeing 757 progressed the passenger, who wishes to remain anonymous, noticed the small damage had spread to the width of several feet and he notified one of the flight attendants.

WESH of Orlando spoke with American spokesperson, Tim Smith, and he confirmed that the Boeing 757 did have some de-lamination on the plane’s right wing. He stated the plane was taken out of service and ferried back to Miami to have repairs completed. Smith stated the de-lamination occurred on the rear of one of the wing’s slats, and even if the problem had affected the operation of the slat, the slats simply make the plane more aerodynamic but do not affect the plane’s ability to fly safely.

“I really do want to assure folks that safety wasn’t compromised and no one was in any danger because of this,” he said.

Some others aren’t so sure. Eric Norber of Orlando FAA Safety Team feels that the pilots should have made an emergency landing. At first glance this might look like a serious incident, but I am not so sure.

First off the flight from Miami to Orlando is extremely short and it might have taken longer for the pilot to make an emergency landing back in Miami versus continuing to Orlando. Obviously American felt it was not a safety risk, since the plane was flown back to Miami with no passengers aboard.

Ice or debris on the leading edge of slats can cause a loss of lift and serious issues, however the damage was on the rear of the slats and appears to be mostly cosmetic. While the rear of the slat is make of laminated composite material, the front part is made of alloy and the damage would not been able to spread.

That being said, I will continue to find out more information about this incident, but on the most part, this might just be a non-incident (except for a few interesting photos).

Someone on also posted a very cool image showing how the rear of the slat (this photo is of a Boeing 747, but still similar construction) is to the front.

Thanks Chris S for pointing this story out!

Image: WESH
A passenger gets scanned in a body scanner.

A passenger gets scanned in a body scanner.

Ah body scanners. One of my favorite topics to write about (or hate on). If you have missed out on previous posts let me re-cap why I don’t like them:

* They violate our privacy. Not just people seeing your almost-naked bodies, but those that might have a disability and really don’t want some TSA agent to see it.
* They can be avoided. All you have to do is say, “no,” and you can get a pat-down. Not even trying, I avoided the body scanner and a pat-down.
* I hate the, “what about the children,” argument, but do you want your child’s scans looked at by some stranger?
* They already have been, and I assure you will continue to be, abused.
* There is now talk that these scanners give you more radiation than once thought.
* They cost a lot and do nothing more than provide a false sense of security for passengers.

Now Senators Bob Bennett (R-UT) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced a bill to require all commercial airports to have and use body scanners by 2013. The bill is called the Securing Aircraft From Explosives Responsibly: Advanced Imaging Recognition Act. If that is too long for you, there is a fun acronym: S.A.F.E.R. A.I.R. Act. I wonder how much time they spent on the acronym versus seeing how this bill would really make passengers safer.

The Senators feel the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been spending too much time testing out the body scanners and need to get them installed ASAP nationwide. Currently the scanners are installed in only 48 airports across the US.

The bill requires that body images “cannot be stored, transferred, copied or printed,” and it forbids security personnel from having cameras near the machinery. Of course we all know that every TSA agent has followed all the rules already associated with the body scanners (that is sarcasm). I understand that most TSA employees take their job very seriously and do not abuse the system, but it only takes a few to make the whole agency look bad.

I have written a lot about these scanners and seem to have people just argue that they are better than nothing or if you don’t like them, don’t fly. I haven’t seen how the system is currently planned to be set up, how it makes us any safer. I would love to be proved wrong on this.

Thank you Chris Salman for point this out!

Source: Image: CRozeman
Trans States Airlines ERJ-145

Trans States Airlines ERJ-145

Last month I told you about two flight crews who forgot to start the second engine on their regional jet before take off. Yes, people can make mistakes, but this is a pretty big mistake.

Since then I have found more information on one of the incidents. It turns out that the Trans States pilot who forgot to turn on his second engine, was not a new pilot, but a very experienced one. Michael White, the airline’s former chief pilot and currently its director of flight operations is the one who made this mistake.

White is stating that his second engine shut down on its own and Tran States is supporting his statement. Two pilots who were flying in the passenger cabin at the time said they felt the second engine was never started, which contradicts White’s story. The FAA isn’t buying White’s version of events and has opened an enforcement case to see if White is trying to cover up his mistake. The Wall Street Journal is stating that pilots have told investigators they have felt intimidated to back up White’s version of this story.

“We don’t believe that any member of management has tried to dissuade pilots from telling anything,” an airline spokesperson told the FAA. He added that the FAA has “never told us there was any kind of investigation involving intimidation or coercion,” of pilots.

After the incident White was barred from flying passengers, but has since passed a proficiency test and is once again able to fly.

I was able to speak to a Trans State’s pilot about this situation, via email. Due to their obvious fear of repercussions, I will not be using their real name. For ease, I shall call them “Pilot Smith.”

Smith confirmed that White is not your average pilot, “The Captain [White], who was on a line check (which is a type of test we are required to do, once a year for currency in the aircraft) and is our director of operations (aka management). He is someone who hardly EVER flies and yet dictates our rules and regulations on a daily basis, with emphasis based on punishment if WE (pilots) do not follow them.”

Smith talked to me about how much they love their job, but it has only been getting more difficult. Most pilots have to put their time into regional jets before moving on to larger aircraft to make more money and have better hours. However, due to the poor economy, pilots are having to spend more time and are becoming more experience. Even though they have the hours and the experience, they still are “stuck” in the regional airlines realm. Smith feels, “It is of the utmost importance to keep safe, fly smart, and offer the best customer service I can to our passengers.” However Smith stated it is difficult to do all of that, while having to work so many hours and being in a hostile work environment.

No matter what, Smith loves flying and will continue to keep doing what they love, “I love flying an airplane and will never miss the feeling of taking off into the great blue yonder.”

I have a feeling the truth about this will come out. The date logs should be able to show if the engine was started or not. If it turns out that the engine did stop on its own, I will be the first to apologize to White and Trans States Airlines. However, if it turns out that White didn’t start his engines and the airline was part of a cover up…well let’s just say I won’t be happy and you will know about it!

Image: AV8NLVR