The sheer number of helicopter accidents in the last six months is raising safety alarms. Todd Curtis and John Goglia focus on the conditions that helicopter pilots, and specifically medical helicopter operations, experience.
John and Todd examine the relatively frequent accidents around the U.S. involving medical helicopters. The show starts with a deep analysis of events around the August 28 crash of a medical helicopter in Pompano Beach, Florida. A video of the crash was shared online shortly after the crash.
They compare the ongoing investigation of the Pompano Beach crash with another medical helicopter crash from 2017. Maintenance issues, flight conditions, and operating in areas with obstacles all play a role. In the case of ambulance operations, a sense or urgency also comes into play.
NTSB investigations and resulting reports often leave questions unanswered. Todd and John make the case that more thorough reports can help improve safety of helicopter operations.
Here’s a true aviation stinker ripped from the headlines! Todd and John discuss a recent event where a Delta A350 traveling from Atlanta to Barcelona had to return to Atlanta due to an uncontained diarrhea event involving a passenger.
On to more serious aviation safety topics, they discuss in detail the March 1991 crash that killed the backup band for country and western music legend Reba McEntire. The pilots were flying out of an unfamiliar airport at night over mountainous terrain when the aircraft hit a mountain. All on board were killed.
This accident is a great illustration of the importance of preflight planning and preparation. Todd shares the sequence of a recent flight where he altered course based on information he had about mountainous terrain ahead. John stresses the need for pilots to take time to make themselves aware of the flight path from begging to end so they can make smart decisions in flight.
A recent gender reveal party turned tragic when the Piper ag plane used crashed and killed the pilot. John, Greg and Todd observe that the plane appeared to be poorly maintained. They share insight into the reasons why these types of commercial planes need special maintenance attention.
The flight safety detectives focus on a recent report from the European aviation authority about bogus airplane parts. The report highlights efforts to track down suspected unapproved parts that could have been installed on CFM56 engines on popular airline models including the 737 and A320.
Greg shares the details of a 1985 helicopter crash that killed five people and was caused by the use of unapproved parts. John shares stories from his experience, including work on a FAA suspected unapproved parts working group.
They conclude that the issue of fraudulent and bogus parts will continue to crop up periodically, requiring ongoing training on proper documentation and paperwork related to parts. They note that the risk is particularly high in places where governmental authorities don’t have strong oversight programs.
This episode also includes appreciation for Jimmy Buffet, an avid general aviation pilot. Buffet survived two plane crashes and was an advocate for aviation issues.
The discussion of unidentified anomalous phenomena – UAP – continues as Todd and John look at the record of JAL Flight 1628. The 1986 UAP event was investigated in detail by the FAA. The investigation could serve as a model for how the U.S. government could systematically examine current UAP events.
The event involved a large unknown craft that was seen by the flight crew and tracked by radar. It was larger than anything that was known to be able to fly at the height and speed that was documented.
The FAA documented and shared findings with government officials. No public information was shared on any further analysis or conclusions.
Todd and John also answer a viewer’s question about how to become an NTSB investigator. They share a range of opportunities, including building a career in air accident investigation within the FAA, other U.S. government agencies, the military, private industry, and academia.
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