A look beyond the NTSB documentation of a Cessna 421C crash in Florida. Greg and John review the many important “whys’ not answered in the report.
Why did the pilot not properly follow procedures to handle engine failure despite completing a training program just 90 days earlier?
Why was a pilot who had recently completed a certified training program so ill prepared for handle an engine failure scenario?
Why was there loss of torque in several bolts and other internal engine damage?
“A lot of valuable safety information could have been uncovered and shared for the benefit of the industry, especially general aviation,” Greg says. John adds that the hesitation to dig into anything that happens inside the maintenance hangar prevents maintenance personnel from learning all they can from accidents.
Armed with the proper information and training, the pilot in this accident could have dealt with the engine failure, kept airspeed, and made a controlled landing. Greg and John want other pilots to benefit from these safety findings.
You never know what you will learn at the Avemco Insurance booth! John, Greg and Todd are at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. A conversation with a pilot and listener revealed a story of an air disaster averted that the Flight Safety Detectives had to share. Hear about Heather’s flight that resulted in a damaged prop and landing gear.
“I caption this story, ‘Am I really ready,’” says Greg. “It’s an important lesson every pilot and aspiring pilot needs to hear.”
Heather shares what happened during a solo flight to a new airport. It was her first straight in approach and a bounce on landing caused damage that she was initially unaware of. She’s examined what happened and shares what she did well as well as mistakes she doesn’t want other pilots to make.
This story could have been another air disaster, but instead offers important insights for anyone who wants to succeed in the cockpit.
flight safety detectives episode 124 - air disasters in the making? accidents up, investigation quality shoddy
John and Greg have get-real conversation about alarming trends in aviation safety. Accidents are increasing, even among experienced pilots. At the same time, the NTSB has scaled back on investigations and is issuing reports with superficial findings. Are more air disasters in the making?
Pilot shortages are leading to a push for training volume over quality. The college requirement has been removed and there is a push to reduce the flight hours for qualification.
“NTSB findings often talk about the importance of experience and pilot training but they have been silent now that there is a push to lessen the requirements,” Greg notes.
Listen as the Flight Safety Detectives outline many indicators that aviation safety is in jeopardy.
John and Greg will be at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. See them at the Avemco Insurance booth on Thursday, July 28 at 2 p.m.
Covering the “sister” accident to the flight crash discussed in Episode 122, John, Greg and Todd focus on the role played by manufacturers in aviation safety and maintenance. The NTSB findings place the blame for the 1995 crash squarely with the propeller manufacturer and FAA oversight.
Nine of 29 people aboard the Embraer EMB-120RT were killed in the crash of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 529. In-flight loss of the propeller blade led to the collision.
“This crash is the result of the failure of the process, training and management of the manufacturer’s maintenance and repair facility,” John summarizes.
The accident was the first investigation John was onsite for as a NTSB board member. One of the first items he noticed at the crash scene was the propeller crack that was ultimately determined to be the cause.
Greg adds details on findings that are also important to improving aviation safety: better communication between cockpit and cabin, and improvements in the design of the cockpit crash ax.
The episode concludes with an updated report from Todd’s return to flight. Hear what he found in a routine preflight inspection of a rental aircraft that led him to file a Freedom of Information Act request with the FAA.
Some air crashes are not really accidents. Todd and John characterize the focus of this week’s episode an event where a perfectly good airplane was destroyed.
“Some pilots have more money than brains, and this seems to be a case of that,” John says.
The 2021 air crash event involved a Cessna Citation flown by a single pilot. Although the pilot had experience in aviation, he had been denied a type rating for the plane and single pilot authorization by an Arizona flight school.
This fateful flight started in the Portland area. Before takeoff, the pilot was not fully responsive to air traffic control. That issue continued as the flight progressed to the Mount Hood area.
“Something was amiss and it wasn’t the aircraft,” Todd notes.
The flight ended with an extended spiral into the ground.
Also in this episode is advice related to restricted air space riles and risks and the need for student pilots to secure renter’s insurance.
The efforts of the Flight Safety Foundation take center stage. Special guest is Jim Burin, former technical director at the Foundation and chairman of the award committee for the Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award.
Greg and John highlight the many accomplishments of the foundation as an independent, international, and impartial non-profit that exists to champion the cause of aviation safety.
The Foundation works to identify global safety issues, set priorities and serve as a catalyst to address these concerns through data collection and information sharing. Foundation studies and publications serve as a key resource for the industry at all levels.
The Laura Taber Barbour Air Safety Award recognizes notable achievement in the field of aviation safety. John is a past recipient. The process of selecting the latest winners is underway. Learn more at https://flightsafety.org/foundation/aviation-awards/the-laura-taber-barbour-air-safety-award.
The Flight Safety Detectives take on two recent events where pilot stunts led to FAA to revoke their pilot certificates. Pilots are counted on for solid decision making and judgement. The FAA found that pilots failed in their duty to fly safely.
The FAA took the action when pilots Andy Farrington and Luke Aikins conducted a stunt for Red Bull that had been denied. In the other incident, Trevor Jacobs was penalized for staging a crash.
Greg, John and Todd share insight into where these pilots went astray. They talk about ways that they could have gotten online attention without jeopardizing safety.
“In the aviation industry we work to make every flight safe” Greg says. “These guys threatened aviation safety for no good reason.”
The detectives support the strong message sent by the FAA actions.
James “Jim” Rahn Saffley passed away on May 25, 2022 at the age of 81.
James served as Third President of PAMA from 1978-1982 when the PAMA National office was in St. Louis, MO.
Known to everyone as Jim he was a great leader of the association, he was also an outstanding leader in the aviation maintenance profession. Jim also was instrumental in giving guidance to new inspiring A&P Technicians.
Jim had a humble personality that never expected anything of others he was not willing to do himself. He was a confident man who was known by all as a trustworthy and loyal friend. Those close to him knew of his tough exterior with a big heart who was always willing to lend a helping hand. You always knew where you stood with Jim whether you liked it or not. He had an uncanny knack for seeing the potential in others they could not see in themselves.
Jim had a passion for aviation that encompassed over 60 years of his life. He started his career in aviation washing airplanes at the age of 19 and rose to the pinnacle of the industry eventually owning his own business--an FBO which provided commercial and private aviation services. Ironic how a man who was afraid of heights spent his whole life in and around airplanes.
Jim was the beloved husband of Barbara Saffley of Wentzville, Missouri. He is survived by his wife, his three daughters, Sandra (Hernandez), Donna (Eilerman) and Suzanne (Beckerman) and nine grandchildren--Mark, Jeffrey, Amy, Kristen, Ben, Alex, Jordan, Brianna and Brett. He is preceded in death by his father, Robert Adolf Saffley and mother, Freida Loretta Saffley nee Spangenberg.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Jim’s honor to: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (www.stjude.org), in care of Pitman Funeral Home, P. O. Box 248, Wentzville, MO 63385
Charlie Taylor (1868 – 1956) was an American inventor, mechanic and machinist. John, Greg and Todd talk about the impacts of Taylor’s work in the earliest days of aviation.
Taylor built the first aircraft engine used by the Wright brothers in the Wright Flyer. He was a vital contributor of mechanical skills in the building and maintaining of early Wright engines and airplanes.
An unsung hero in his day, his contributions are now recognized and applauded. Aviation Maintenance Technician Day is observed on May 24, Taylor’s birthday.
In 1902 Taylor was running the Wright brothers bike shop in Ohio and also the Wright Flyer. He would regularly make and ship parts to keep the brothers flying at their testing grounds on North Carolina.
Maintenance technicians today continue Taylor’s legacy. Hear about his trail blazing inventions and approaches that created the foundation of the aviation maintenance profession.
This episode also covers education and professional opportunities in aviation maintenance today.
This episode kicks off with a recap of the 2022 Aerospace Maintenance Competition. John applauds the aircraft maintenance talents of the more than 350 participants. More than 800 people attended the event!
Team and individuals earned awards and scholarships. More than 25 people also earned final interviews with companies in attendance to staff their maintenance crews.
Keeping with the aircraft maintenance theme, Greg and John cover the crash of Emery Worldwide Airlines Flight 17. Greg served at the NTSB investigator in charge. John also visited the crash site.
Originally thought to be caused by a cargo shift, the accident investigation revealed a maintenance error was the root cause. John explains the mistakes made during maintenance of the plane’s tail. It all comes down to simple bolts that were installed incorrectly.
Greg highlights the challenges of recovering the plane wreckage. The crash was into an auto salvage yard and caused a large fire. Investigators had to sift through everything to find the DC8 parts.
Following procedures can lead to maintenance successes and failures. This episode showcases those highs and lows.
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