Southwest 1248

I was on the way to work last night when I heard about the Southwest Airlines accident in Chicago, which has resulted in the death of a 6 y/o child in a vehicle, and several other injured folks in other cars. There were no serious injuries on the airplane.

Walking past patient rooms last night I caught a few more details, that the airplane went off the end of a runway that doesn’t have a lot of runoff room. How little runoff room?

Courtesy of Google Maps, here’s an overhead of the airport (click for larger):

Now, that's a tight airport

The accident aircraft came to rest in the intersection on the upper left of the airport.

My personal reference for an in-tight airport is Dallas Love Field (Southwest Airlines HQ), and by comparison it’s out in the Texas plains (click for larger):

Dallas Love

It’ll be interesting to see what the ultimate outcome of the NTSB investigation is, and those usually take a year to be concluded.

Prayers to those injured and their families.

More about the CAF Airsho 2005 – a wild ride

Sleepless in Midland had fun at the CAF Airshow: More about the CAF Airsho 2005 – a wild ride:

“…The plane is a WWII antique, and with the modifications it’s classified as ‘experimental.’  Because of that it’s tempting to say the plane has two strikes against it.  A person would have to be crazy to ride in it.  Insane.  Demented.  Stark raving mad.

So there we were at about a thousand feet above the ground, and the city of Midland was a blurry haze…”

Read the rest, it’s quite well written. And now I want to ride in a P-51.

Hank

My flight instructor died a few days ago.

One of the things I found out in reading his obituary (in the extended entry) was that his name wasn’t Hank. That’s what everyone always called him, and it tells much of his personality and temperament that Hank is a name that fit him comfortably.

Hank had existed at the airport my dad worked at (MAF), and indeed he was my dad’s instructor when he finished his private pilot’s license in the late 60’s. Dad had a friend with a Cherokee 6, so on weekends I’d go with him when it needed a tweak, and Hank’s FBO was at the end of the t-hanger row. He had a coke machine, so we went in there now and again. Hank was a Fixture.

Fast forward 30+ years, and I had returned to Midland, and wanted to take up flying. I didn’t even look anywhere else, I called Hank, and we were off into the bright and open skies of West Texas. He taught me through solo, and a few more local hours, then it was time for me to move to Fort Worth. I owe him the gift of flight, and thank him for it.

My logbook, with a pittance of hours in it, will always be cherished by me, because of the interesting doodles Hank would put in the entries:

My logbook, by WB 'Hank' Henry

I don’t know if that is a standard feature in logbooks, but I like it.

An aortic valve replacement put a serious crimp in his instructing career, so he was limited to VFR instruction, but took the every six month certifications with good spirit and good humor.

I failed him by not giving him a Polaroid after I’d soloed (he’d forgotten until after I’d moved), and I never sent it. I’ll always regret that.

Rest in Peace, Hank. You were a Fixture, in the best way. You’ll be missed.
[Read more…]

Jet Blue Nosegear Landing Pictures

JetBlue flight 292 landed on September 22, 2005 with its nosegear turned 90 degrees to the direction of travel, and proceeded to have an entirely safe and spectacularly uneventful landing. Here are some photos from the nosegear after removal from the aircraft:

JetBlue nosegear photosJetBlue nosegear photosJetBlue nosegear photos

If you’re looking for other interesting aviation photos, here are some others from this site:
Iraq C-130 Crash Photos
Thunderbirds Accident Report Released: With Photo
Bird Strike

Iraq C-130 Crash Photos

Forwarded to me are these photos of a C-130 crash in Iraq, with a narrative:

“A lack of communication”
Last week one C-23 Sherpas flew into a US operated airfield in Iraq during the day and saw there was construction equipment on the runway. Yet there was no NOTAM (notice to airmen). A trench was being dug in the runway, and it was not marked. It’s a long runway and they just landed beyond the construction. They filed a safety hazard report that was immediately forwarded to our higher headquarters and to the Air Force wing based here.

Well, it seems the construction continued and still was not marked or NOTAMed or anything. A C-130 landed on the runway the night of the 29th and didn’t see the construction. It wound up going through what is now a large pit on the runway. A few pictures are attached. The C-130 was totalled.

There were several injuries to the crew and the few passengers that were on board but luckily nobody was killed. Quite the set of failures somewhere in the system regarding this improper construction and no notifications about it.

the Big Picturethe left viewthe right view

rear viewtire tracks and aluminum
I have used photoshop to lighten all but the overview images, as a lot of detail was lost in the dark. No other alterations were made.

Thunderbirds Accident Report Released: with Photo

Press Releases and Media Advisories, from the US Air Force

(Photo by SSgt Bennie J. Davis III - Still Photographer, USAF)

LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. – Pilot error caused a U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds F-16 aircraft to crash shortly after takeoff at an air show Sept. 14 at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho.

The pilot ejected just before the aircraft impacted the ground.

According to the accident investigation board report released today, the pilot misinterpreted the altitude required to complete the “Split S” maneuver. He made his calculation based on an incorrect mean-sea-level altitude of the airfield. The pilot incorrectly climbed to 1,670 feet above ground level instead of 2,500 feet before initiating the pull down to the Split S maneuver.

When he realized something was wrong, the pilot put maximum back stick pressure and rolled slightly left to ensure the aircraft would impact away from the crowd should he have to eject. He ejected when the aircraft was 140 feet above ground — just eight –tenths of a second prior to impact. He sustained only minor injuries from the ejection. There was no other damage to military or civilian property.

The aircraft, valued at about $20.4 million, was destroyed.

Also, the board determined other factors substantially contributed to creating the opportunity for the error including the requirement for demonstration pilots to convert mean sea level and above ground level altitudes and performing a maneuver with a limited margin of error.

I love to see airshows, and the Thunderbirds put on one heck of a show. I’m partial to the Blue Angels, but it’s subjective, I know. The act of getting out, 8/10ths of a second prior to impact, took some real guts, and I’m always amazed at our pilots’ abilities.

It’s a cool photo, but I don’t know the source (“the Internet is your daddy”); if it’s yours, please let me know. I’m not trying to rip anyone off.
[Read more…]

Bird Strike

I don’t know how these pictures got out, but they’re a terrific demonstration of what a bird strike can do to an aircraft. They’re from NAS Kingsville, where young Naval Aviators learn to fly props and rotors. The aircraft struck is a T-44A, know to the rest of the world as a King Air, a nice big twin turboprop. I do not know the bird type. Most folks cannot believe birds can do a lot of damage to aircraft, but these pictures tell a different tale. In fact, a B1 ‘Lancer’ bomber was brought down by striking a large bird going very fast; the bird went into the wing, ruptured a fuel line, and the plane went down.

There are 5 pictures, one demonstrating the type of aircraft, and four showing the results of the strike:

USN T44feet and feathersfeet and tail featherstail catches birdneed a lot of Bondo