The standard advice to avoid a wake turbulence encounter is to wait a bit, to give some room when taking off or landing right behind a large aircraft. And that is good, practical, physics-based advice. But what about when you hit wake turbulence and have to recover? What’s being rediscovered is when actually encountering serious wake turbulence, the best thing to do is: Nothing. Well, not just nothing, but initially just wait. That’s right, wait. You may be rapidly going inverted but don’t do anything yet. Breathe for a second. Resist the strong urge from our primal flying nature to quickly move the … Continue reading Wake? Wait!
A new episode of the National Geographic Air Crash Investigation TV show, titled Killer Attitude is hard for me to watch. It describes the crash of a perfectly good Northwest Airlink Jetstream 31 from MSP to Hibbing, MN, on 1 December 1993. I was flying out of MSP that night, same airplane type, same airline. I knew the captain, Marvin. I remember the grief counselors in the MSP crew room for two weeks after the crash. And one of the presenters, Craig Railsback, is a friend. We met 25 years ago, as young first officers in Jetstream 31 training at this … Continue reading This hits close
This time last year the American ship SS El Faro went down in a hurricane with the loss of all thirty-three crew (Wikipedia page). It seems impossible ‘in this day and age’ that such a thing could happen. It wasn’t a mechanical issue, or a rogue crew, or pirates, or a freak storm. The Washington Post reported one of the deck officers voiced concern prior to sailing, emailing friends and family, “there is a hurricane out here and we are heading straight into it.” Yankee magazine has published a deep read that is worth the time for any pilot to … Continue reading Why would a ship sail into a hurricane?
I’ve talked about the MV Hoegh Osaka incident before. A huge ship that left port out of balance and soon was grounded on the Bramble Bank sandbar off the Isle of Wight. The official British Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) report determined that a “fundamental principle of seamanship appears to have been allowed to drift, giving rise to potential unsafe practices.” Today I read an excellent analysis of the accident report and what it means for Safety Management Systems and safety/production balance in the real world. It’s titled Light bulbs, red lines, and rotten onions, by Nippin Anand. It was originally published in The Seaways of the … Continue reading Light bulbs, red lines, and rotten onions
Interesting article yesterday in the New York Times, titled ‘It’s no accident: Advocates want to speak of car ‘crashes’ instead’. It’s about safety advocates changing language use from a car accident to a car crash. The AP recently revised their style guide. Dr Rosekind of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is on board, saying, “When you use the word accident, it’s like, ‘God made it happen.’” The thinking is that ‘accident’ may make us shrug our shoulders and think, oh well, what can you do, accidents happen. ‘Accident’ may trivialize that most common cause of traffic incidents: human … Continue reading It’s no accident — it’s a crash