Why would a ship sail into a hurricane?

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?

It’s no accident — it’s a crash

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

Airmanship at a distance

This is a sad story. But important to think about. For we are all our brother’s keeper. The news headline this weekend was ‘Flight school sued over death of student‘. Fox5 reported: A 21-year-old’s dream of becoming a pilot was cut short when during flight school his plane came crashing down, killing him, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Cobb County. The father of the young man filed that suit alleging the school was negligent by forgetting to refuel the plane. “I don’t want another family to experience that kind of loss,” said Michael Hughes. This was the reason … Continue reading Airmanship at a distance

Procedural drift and the sandbar

On 3 January 2015, the large ship MV Hoegh Osaka left the British port of Southhampton. An hour later she made a turn to port, then began listing markedly to one side. Soon enough the rudder and propellor were out the water. In flying terms, ‘departure from controlled float’ we could say. Fifteen minutes after the turn she was grounded on the Bramble Bank sandbar off the Isle of Wight. Settling down with a list that would eventually reach 52°. The ship was about half full, loaded with 1,200 Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles worth over $45 million. Now, this accident isn’t as serious as … Continue reading Procedural drift and the sandbar