Monday, March 2, 2015

Ocean Search for MH 370 Lets Malaysia Overlook Clues on the Ground

9M-MRO in Los Angeles photo by Jay Davis
The adage that if you repeat a lie often enough people will start to believe it, can be appropriately applied to the search for answers to the disappearance of Malaysia 370, now approaching its first anniversary. 

Oh no, I'm not talking about the theories that the plane was flown to Diego Garcia. I'm talking about the breast-beating accompanying the reports that the deep sea search for the missing airplane may come to an end and with it dies all possibility of knowing what really happened and why.

That's not true. While having the airplane would be nice, not all investigations are tied with a bow and presented to crash detectives. Public pressure should be put on the Malaysians who have used a lack of progress in finding 9M-MRO to absolve themselves of any responsibility to conduct a probe right there in Malaysia, where many clues inevitably reside. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Airline Shortcomings as an Indicator of Progress

Two U.S. airlines made headlines on Wednesday; Dallas based-Southwest Airlines generated ink when it reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that it failed to do required rudder inspections on 128 of its Boeing 737s. Meantime at the Chicago Headquarters of United, public relations executives were trying to slow heavy media breathing over a letter sent by the airline’s safety and operations honchos to United pilots, warning them to be careful up there.

Should the traveling public be concerned? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Government Helps Airlines Shift Security Costs to Passengers

Airlines got a $373 million dollar gift from the government when it eliminated the Aviation Security Infrastructure Fee last year. What with the slide in fuel prices, these 37 U.S. and 71 foreign airlines have to be feeling pretty flush right now.

The fee, called ASIF was imposed after 9-11 so that airlines would contribute to the government takeover of airport security - which up until the terror attacks was the airlines' responsibility. In exchange for getting out from under the ASIF fee, I am told, airlines agreed to drop their opposition to doubling the security fee that air travelers pay.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Aussie Pilot Writes the Airbus Rap

Writing a book is not all about writing. This weekend, I've added  Boeing Versus Airbus, the 2007 John Newhouse book about, yeah, that's right and Kenny Kemp's Flight of the Titans Airbus A380 vs. Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which I just downloaded on my Kindle, to my reading list. This will fill my Saturday and Sunday and both books may end up in the bibliography of The Crash Detectives.

That's a lot of reading even for a snowy weekend, so in order to get started, I'm leaving the Flying Lessons wordsmithing to my Aussie friend Stephen Tomkins, a former Boeing pilot who now flies the Airbus. His "rap" on his conversion comes from his blog at

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lower Fuel Costs Good/News Bad News for Hawaiian

Hawaiian Airlines at New York
For every up there's a down, and no industry knows that better than the airlines. No, I'm not talking about takeoffs and landings, but the good news/bad news of declining fuel prices. 

As an airline, Hawaiian may have spent an unduly long time on the ground. It formed in 1929 but when commercial aviation reached its mid-century heyday it was the Pan Ams and the Uniteds and not Hawaiian that was lifting travelers by the plane full.