So, there he was – landing the plane – when his arm came loose!

A pilot lost control of a passenger plane after his artificial arm became detached as he was coming in to land, an accident report has said.

The Flybe flight from Birmingham, with 47 passengers on board, was approaching Belfast City Airport in gusty conditions on 12 February…It landed heavily but no-one was hurt and the plane was not damaged.

The pilot said he would be more cautious in future about checking his attachment, according to the report.

In a statement, Flybe said the senior captain was one of its “most experienced and trusted pilots”, and the safety of passengers and crew had not been compromised in any way…

While he had thought about getting his co-pilot to take control, the time available and the challenging conditions meant his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers on to the yoke to regain control.

“He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily,” the report found.

The AAIB reported that the captain had said that in future he would be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis as he may have dislodged the latching mechanism.

He also said he would brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event and that they should be ready to take control at any time.

Could’ve been worse. Might have been a lumberjack operating a chainsaw.


Thanks, Mike

Tammy Duckworth applauds end of ban on women in combat

A congresswoman who lost both of her legs while serving in the Illinois Army National Guard in Iraq applauded the Pentagon’s decision to to lift combat restrictions on women.

“The decision to allow women to serve in combat will allow the best man or woman on the frontline to keep America safe,” U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, said in a statement Wednesday. “As a combat veteran, I know the inclusion of women in combat roles will make America safer and provide inspiration to women throughout our country.”

Duckworth was the first woman injured in combat ever elected to national office, when she ousted former Republican Rep. Joe Walsh – a well known fool – this past November.

Duckworth operated a black hawk helicopter in the war in Iraq, one of the few combat roles open to women at the time, serving as a lieutenant in the Illinois Army National Guard. In 2004, during a mission north of Baghdad, the helicopter she was co-piloting was ambushed, struck by a rocket-propelled grenade. She lost both of her legs and partial use of one arm in the attack. Duckworth was awarded decorations for her military service, including the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Combat Action Badge.

There has always been some level of opposition to increasing the diversity in our military whether it has been minorities or women. It is clear that the inclusion of groups like African Americans and Asians has made our military stronger,” Duckworth added.

And why not women? By the time this is fully implemented in 2015 folks will be busy electing our military’s next commander-in-chief. Quite probably a woman. 🙂

Who does public relations training for AirBerlin pilots? Godzilla?

A pilot refused to let several wheelchair-bound Russians board a flight to Germany to attend an accessibility seminar, a delegation member said.

State Duma deputy and delegation member Vladimir Krupennikov said the 34-member delegation was to depart from Moscow on an AirBerlin flight to Dusseldorf, Germany, Monday, but the pilot refused to fly with more than two wheelchair users on board, citing AirBerlin’s safety regulations, RIA Novosti reported.

Eleven group members, including six wheelchair users, weren’t able to board that flight and had to find another to Dusseldorf, said Krupennikov, who uses a wheelchair.

The passengers left behind are considering suing AirBerlin for damages, Krupennikov said. He said the airline knew for a month that a large group of people with special needs would be flying Monday and gave written authorization.

How to win friends and impress passengers with your service. And he picked on a group going to a seminar on accessibility no less. Including a member of Russian parliament.

Cheapskate pilot couldn’t get mom a free ticket – so he brought her along in the cockpit

An Air India pilot was under investigation on Sunday night amid claims that he seated his mother in the cockpit after failing to get a free ticket for her…He allegedly insisted his colleagues issued her a “dummy boarding pass” and refused to take off unless they agreed. The flight and its 122 passengers were delayed for 20 minutes as the row flared.

In this latest controversy, airline officials complained the pilot had placed his mother in a jump seat reserved for crew on Air India’s flight from Pune in Western India to the capital New Delhi, the Indian Express reported.

“When the pilot insisted on taking his mother on board, the operations and commercial departments were informed. The pilot threatened that he would not fly without his mother,” an official told the paper. The airline’s chairman Rohit Nandan said disciplinary action was being taken against the pilot.

The allegations highlight a culture of impunity among pilots, said Dr Sanat Kaul, a former aviation official and council member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“I hope they will immediately suspend his license and take appropriate action. The pilots have been the most ill-disciplined lot of people…They believe they’re beyond the rules and usually they get away with it.”

I know this is an abuse of position. But, how adult is a pilot who has to bring his mama with him on the flight, anyway? Or was he just delivering her for a few days of shopping?

What if the guy who freaks out on a flight — is the pilot?

A JetBlue captain who ranted about Iraq and Afghanistan and claimed that a bomb was on a Las Vegas-bound flight was locked out of the cockpit, tackled and restrained by passengers Tuesday, passengers said.

The captain of Flight 191 from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport had a “medical situation,” and the co-pilot, who subsequently took command of the aircraft, diverted the plane to land in Amarillo, Texas, around 10 a.m., JetBlue Airways said in a statement…

Tony Antolino, a 40-year-old executive for a security firm, said the captain walked to the back of the plane, that he seemed disoriented and agitated, then began yelling about an unspecified threat linked to Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They’re going to take us down, they’re taking us down, they’re going to take us down. Say the Lord’s prayer, say the Lord’s prayer,” the captain screamed, according to Antolino…

Gabriel Schonzeit, who was sitting in the third row, said the captain said there could be a bomb on board the flight.

“He started screaming about al-Qaida and possibly a bomb on the plane and Iraq and Iran and about how we were all going down,” Schonzeit told the Amarillo Globe-News…

Antolino, who said he sat in the 10th row, said he and three others tackled the captain as he ran for the cockpit door, pinned him and held him down while the plane landed at Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport.

That’s how we landed,” he said. “There were four of us on top of him… Everybody else kind of took a seat and that’s how we landed…”

JetBlue said the ill captain was taken to a medical facility in Amarillo. As a result of the incident, the FAA will review the captain’s medical certificate — essentially a good housekeeping seal of approval that the pilot is healthy. All pilots working for scheduled airlines must have a first class medical certificate. The certificates are required to be renewed every year if the pilot is under 40, every six months if 40 or over.

Woo-hoo! How’s that for an exciting flight?

I won’t even make any jokes about spending the day in Amarillo.

Passengers panic after “mom” confused with “bomb”

A pilot who used his plane’s intercom to send birthday greetings to a colleague’s mother triggered panic on board after passengers thought he said “bomb” rather than “mom”.

The unnamed Southwest Airlines pilot was asked by an air traffic controller to wish his mother a happy birthday as he flew from Baltimore, Maryland, to New York’s MacArthur airport in Islip, Long Island, on Friday.

Taking to the plane’s intercom, the pilot told passengers that they had a “mom on board,” however, many thought he said a “bomb on board”.

Panicking passengers asked other members of the crew to clarify what the pilot had said, and were assured that there was no bomb. The pilot also went back on the intercom to explain his remarks.

But several passengers have now complained to the authorities about the announcement…

In a statement, the Federal Aviation Administration said: “Pilots and controllers will sometimes engage in brief greetings…

The FAA has launched a review into the air traffic controller’s request. The pilot, who reported the incident to the authorities at Southwest, is not under investigation.

The passengers who filed complaints should change their diapers – and grow up!

The humorous UPS aircraft mechanic

After every flight, United Parcel Service pilots fill out a form, called a ‘gripe sheet,’ which tells mechanics about problems they experienced with the aircraft. The mechanics correct the problems, document their repairs on the form, and then pilots review the gripe sheets before the next flight.

Never let it be said that the UPS ground crews lack a sense of humor. Here are some actual maintenance complaints submitted by UPS pilots (marked with a P) and the solutions recorded (marked with an S) by maintenance engineers…
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That’s what friction locks are for. (my personal favorite)
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you’re right.
P:Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from the midget.

Can’t wait to pass this one along. I am the only member of my New Mexico extended family [including my wife] who’s never piloted an aircraft. I get to hear everyone’s war stories. They’ll love this.

A partial list btw. Click over to here for the complete list.

Thanks to adollyciousirony

Suspected arsonists sought as wildfires rage in Texas

Dropping water one bucket at a time

One of the dozens of massive blazes that have torched rain-starved Texas was set by arsonists, police say.

Cops in Leander are hunting for two teenage girls and two teenage boys suspected of starting a fire Monday night that gutted around a dozen houses and forced hundreds of people to evacuated their homes…

The teens were spotted running through a wooded area where the fire started, police said. The city was offering up to $2,000 to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the arsonists.

Local reports said the blaze ripped through at least 300 acres, destroyed 11 homes and damaged at least eight homes around Leander, about 22 miles northwest of Austin…

Investigators say one of girl suspects was wearing a pink shirt and blue jeans, and she had black hair that may have been dyed. The other girl was described as having dirty blond hair in a white T-shirt and jeans. Both boys had dark, shaggy hair and were dressed in jeans, police said. All four teens are white, cops said.

More than 150 different wildfires have ravaged hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes in Texas this week.

One fire, in Bastrop, southeast of Austin, was described as the most devastating wildfire in more than a decade. That fire raged for a fourth-consecutive day on Wednesday, consuming 45 square miles and forcing 7,000 to evacuate the area. More than 600 homes were said to have been destroyed, and four people have been killed.

Murder is murder is murder. If they catch these kids and they are proven to have started fires – throw away the key.

In a related story – a DC10 air tanker ain’t flying and dropping water on fires because the state of Texas in their infinite wisdom [which means Rick Perry] was too cheap to hire a backup pilot. The only one they hired has exceeded maximum consecutive hours for a pilot to be allowed to fly.

Yes, there are safety reasons for that – the maximum flying hours, not the cheapskate part.

Mexican military skill – lands chopper in Texas by mistake

A Mexican military helicopter landed Saturday afternoon at Laredo International Airport by mistake, said a spokeswoman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Mucia Dovalina, the uniform public affairs officer for the Laredo Port of Entry, said the helicopter landed about 3 p.m., but she couldn’t share details such as the number of occupants or whether they were armed.

Dovalina said that, following protocol, CBP officers checked out the helicopter’s occupants, then allowed them to return to Mexico in the aircraft.

“The only thing that I can tell you is that they did land here,” she said. “It was by mistake. They were processed and they were returned to Mexico…”

In July, a convoy of soldiers rolled across the international bridge at Donna and were processed by customs and sent back across.

Just in case you wondered about some of the factors affecting the success rate of Mexico’s military operations against drug gangs.

New spy plane from Northrop – pilot optional

Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman Corp. has quietly developed a new spy plane that can listen in on phone conversations, use high-powered radar and shoot live video footage as it flies at 30,000 feet above the Earth.

And the spy plane…would operate with or without a pilot sitting in the cockpit.

Until now, U.S. military aircraft have been designed to either have a pilot on board or be an unmanned drone. But Northrop’s new plane, dubbed the Firebird, can switch from being a traditional aircraft to a drone with just a few modifications.

The Century City company is developing the propeller-powered Firebird at its own expense. It is betting that the hybrid plane will appeal to the Pentagon as defense budget cuts loom and the federal government deals with rising deficits…

If the military has a plane that can do both missions, it may save money on maintenance personnel and spare parts, Captain said. “It’s the same engine. It’s the same airframe. The only difference is how it’s piloted.”

The Firebird would compete for Pentagon contracts with the Predator and Reaper drones that have become ubiquitous in skies over Iraq and Afghanistan. Made by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. of the San Diego area, Predators and Reapers are often armed with Hellfire missiles or laser-guided bombs as they buzz over the war zone.

Although the Firebird is being touted mainly as an unarmed spy plane, Northrop officials said the Firebird would have the capability to be outfitted with missiles.

Northrop has been testing the aircraft, which resembles a massive dragonfly, at the Mojave Air and Space Port for more than a year as engineers fine-tune the technology…

Designed to fly for as long as 40 hours at a time with a top speed of about 230 mph, Northrop foresees the Firebird carrying out a variety of reconnaissance and surveillance missions for the military, said Rick Crooks, the company’s program manager…

Crooks also sees the Firebird appealing to law-enforcement organizations for surveillance and government agencies that need spy planes to assess damage after natural disasters.

RTFA for the range of Wargeek potential. Cripes, I can even think of a TV series that could spin from this critter.