Learning From Our Mistakes

Popular Mechanics published an article by David Noland in their September issue of the magazine entitled "10 Plane Crashes That Changed Aviation" and it has taken until now for it to sink in. With all of the recent coverage surrounding the NASA safety report, it's become abundantly clear that there is a general misconception about how we learn from our mistakes in the aviation industry. Understandably NASA's hesitation to release the report results caused some significant backlash, due mostly to how they handled the situation. However, NASA's defense of the names and tail numbers involved is commendable.

Hope You didn't Need that Engine

The AP is reporting that a Boeing 737 operated by South African airline Nationwide, ingested something into the number 2 engine (right-side) on takeoff causing the engine to separate from the aircraft. According to passenger accounts the mood on the airplane was calm and professional. The pilot was able to return to the field for an emergency landing.

Solar Impulse, Around the World

With the intention of being the first aircraft to circumnavigate the world on solar power, the folks at Solar Impulse have unveiled their designs for the Solar Impulse Alpha. The 4 engine aircraft is being built to demonstrate the ability to fly a full 36 hours, proving it capable of staying aloft through a full day/night cycle. While not the first solar aircraft around, it's probably the most ambitious project to date.

Laying Odds, the Columbia Saga Continues

ANN is reporting that there may in fact be a horse race for purchasing of the Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corp., implying that Cessna doesn't have the lock on the bidding as was previously thought. We've pointed out the progress in this increasingly turbulent bidding process with great interest. Cessna has already signed a purchase and sale agreement, however, this doesn't give them the lock opening the door for late comer Cirrus.

An Australian Regional Wants You!

When is the last time you heard of an airline canceling flights because it couldn't find enough pilots? That's exactly what Rex, Australia's largest independent regional has had to do. The route between Brisbane and Maryborough will not be flown again until March 08.

Now this is a Prank

Brian Morris a high-school student in North Carolina may have very well lost his certificate after "buzzing" a football game with a rival school over the weekend. The Charlotte Observer reports that he was flying below stadium lights, well below the FAA minimums for a crowded area. While not the first buzz job in aviation, this one definitely raises some issues we're bound to see again. The first is the association with terrorism, the newspaper article was quick to invoke the "t-word" after the flyover, and to me this represents a troubling trend in the news.

F-15 Fleet Grounded

The big breaking news in the USAF today was the grounding of F-15 Eagle aircraft after an Missouri ANG F-15C crashed on November 2nd. The 131st Fighter Wing has a few very generic press releases about the incident. Thankfully, the pilot ejected without major injury.

No Wingtip... No Worries...

Well, maybe not exactly. When a SriLankan Airlines Airbus A340 collided with a British Airways 747 two weeks ago it lost part of its right wingtip. The passengers from the flight were taken off the plane, and put up in hotels for the evening, only to return to the airport the next day to find themselves scheduled to fly on the same aircraft. Needless to say a few of the passengers had a problem with this and asked to be rescheduled.

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