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Pre-flight Airline Safety Announcements (Should the Truth be included?)

Pre-flight Airline Safety Announcements (Should the Truth be included?)

Everyone knows the pre-flight airline safety announcements… What you should and should not do on the flight, as well as what to do in an emergency. But would it not be better if the truth was thrown in also for a more realistic airline safety announcements.

As a little bit of fun, it just might go a little like this…

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are very welcome abroad your flight today, on board this (insert aircraft type here) series aircraft.

To fasten your seatbelt… In fact, if anybody by now does not know how to fasten their seatbelt please leave the plane now, as you don’t deserve to be on a plane.

This aircraft has 8 emergency exits – 2 at the front, one left, one right, 2 at the rear, one left, one right and 4 overwing exits 2 left, 2 right. It should be fun watching all 300 of ye scrambling for a gap barely able to fit one person, especially if the wings are on fire and you have to find an alternate exit.

In the sudden loss of cabin pressure, at about 39,000 feet, your lungs may puncture and blood vessels on your skin will burst almost immediately being exposed to a huge pressure difference no to mention temperatures as cold as -50 C. Oxygen masks will drop from the panel above your heads.  If you are still conscious, pull on the mask to start the flow of oxygen.  Stop screaming, place the mask over your nose and mouth and breathe normally.  Oxygen will continue to flow even if the bag is not fully inflated. Oh, by the way, there’s only about 12 minutes of oxygen in those passenger tanks, sorry!

In the unlikely event of us landing on water (very unlikely as our journey today is 90% over land today and in all probability, we will be landing sideways in a field going at 670kph) … your life jacket is under your seat.  Plunging at speed towards the ground, the G Forces of 8 G mean the in all reality you will not even be able to reach for your lifejackets as your body will weigh 8 times its normal weight.  If you do manage to get them to place it over your head, tie the straps at the front.  Do not inflate the lifejacket inside the aircraft as this will jam you into your seat and you will just have to watch all the sensible people leave the aircraft from your seat.

The lifejackets have a light and a whistle to attract attention …. as if 3 miles of burning wreckage won’t get you enough attention.

Please read the safety card in your seat pocket for further reassurance.

We hope you enjoy your flight.”

I don’t think this new style airline safety announcement will take-off (excuse the pun).

In truth, the airline safety record these days is very good and millions of people travel on aircraft without incident. I love flying and I never fear to go on a flight, quite the opposite. The above actually came to me on a flight so it is actually dark humour on my part.

 

Jakarta Effect halts flights over Europe – April 2010

Jakarta Effect halts flights over Europe – April 2010

Airports, including Heathrow, Belfast, and the main airports in Scotland and Norway are facing massive disruption due to the Jakarta Effect for the next 24-48 hours as ash from Iceland’s volcanic eruption moves towards UK airspace. Transatlantic flights through UK airspace are also badly affected. Following advice from the UK Met Office, the National Air Traffic Service introduced these restrictions to UK airspace as a result of volcanic ash drifting across the United Kingdom from Icelands recent volcanic activity. The European air safety body, Eurocontrol, said the cloud of ash had reached 55,000ft and was expected to move through northern UK & Scotland by 1300BST today.

The Jakarta Effect

The restrictions were necessary because volcanic ash can damage aircraft engines and other instruments. On June 24th, 1982 a British Airways 747, Speedbird 9, was on its way over Jakarta in Indonesia when Capt. Eric Moody made the following address to the 247 passengers on board; “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. This is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are all doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.” After unknowingly flying through a plume of volcanic ash, all four engines shut down one by one. Another side effect of flying through the ash for BA Speedbird 9 was that the windscreen of the aircraft was effectively sandblasted and they could only see through a small unaffected strip at the bottom of the window. It also blocked the pitot tubes which resulted in a 50 knot difference on the left and right airspeed indicators. As they decended below FL29 (29,000 feet), they started trying to restart the engines, as per their training and their understanding of the 4 Rolls Royce engines standard operating procedures; Not expecting that the engines would restart. They continued to decend through 14,000 feet and ast they did they were able to get engine #4 restarted. followed by engine #3. About 2 minutes into the sequence, engines #1 and #2 came back on-ilne. Jakarta ATC cleared them for a visual landing, as there was no way the flight could continue to its destination. They landed safely only using instruments and the 2-inch strip of clear glass to land the jumbo. There was a nearly identical incident on 15th December 1989 when KLM Flight 867, a B747-400 travelling between Amsterdam to Anchorage, Alaska, flew throught a plume of volcanic ash from the erupting Mount Redoubt, again. causing all four engines to fail. The effect of volcanic ash contaminating an engine is called “The Jakarta Effect” after the problems BA Flight 9 / Speedbird 9 had over Jakarta back in 1982. Below is a video from Air Crash Investigation which shows the problems of BA Flight 9 in 1982. So if you can’t travel today then there is an actual reason and its down to “The Jakarta Effect”.
Captain Sullenberger Retires – Hero on the Hudson pilot retires

Captain Sullenberger Retires – Hero on the Hudson pilot retires

Captain Sullenberger Retires

The hero pilot, Captain Sullenberger, who landed his Airbus 320 safely on the Hudson River, in New York, on Jan 15 2009 has retired after 30 years. Captain Sullenberger, 59, officially retired at a private ceremony in Charlotte after flying his last commercial gig, Flight 1167 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida – landing 17 minutes ahead of schedule. Captain Sullenberger also flew with the same co-pilot as during the Hudson landing of US Airways Flight 1549, First Officer Jeff Skiles. Also on board were some of the same passengers that were on Flight 1549 to celebrate his final flight. If you don’t know the history of Flight 1549 and the amazing landing on the Hudson, check out the video below.

About US Airways Flight 1549

US Airways Flight 1549 was a scheduled flight from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina on January 15, 2009. Having struck a flock of geese minutes after takeoff the captain took control and successfully ditched the Airbus 320 in the Hudson River. The words “We’ll be in the Hudson” were communicated to Air Traffic Control and then the flight disappeared from radar screens. The crew knew that they could not make it and referencing the QRH took some much time, that they literally ran out of time to make it to nearby airports. The full series of events is documented in many Air Crash Investigations and also in the film Sully. All 155 passengers survived this event which is amazing as a feat of aviation. Normally when you land in water, the engines that are housed under the wings act as large buckets and can tear off or flip the aircraft, such as the Air Ethiopia flight which highjacked and landed off a beach years previous (also caught on film). Anyway, well done to Sully for this wonderful flying.

The crew of US Airways Flight 1549 was awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. It has been described as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”. As Captain Sullenberger Retires, we salute this amazing achievement.

Pre-flight Airline Safety Announcements (Should the Truth be included?)

Northwest Airline Pilots Suspended after Laptop Use

The incident with 2 Northwest Airline Pilots which took place on October 21, 2009, has escalated. The Federal Aviation Administration has now announced the indefinite suspension of the licenses of the pilots of Northwest Flight 188. Northwest Airline Pilots, Captain Timothy Cheney, and First Officer Richard Cole have now been suspended. These were the Northwest Airlines Pilots using Laptops on the flight and missing the runway by 150 miles. (And people complain about Ryan Air flying miles outside the destination!)

Northwest Flight 188 from San Diego to Minneapolis on October 21, 2009, failed to land at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport as scheduled and overshot the Minneapolis airport by 150 miles. Once the problem was noticed the pilots had to circle back to land. (See below)

Northwest Airlines Flight 188 Route

The pilots have denied that they were asleep, drunk, or arguing at the controls. They claim that they were in a heated debate about a new pilot scheduling system that was in use following the merger of Delta and Northwest Airlines back in 2008.

The FAA will be using the results from the inflight data recorder – however since this only records 30 to 60 minutes of data this might be a problem. There is a concept in aviation called the sterile cockpit, this is normally in force for landings and takeoffs, but one other thing that most airlines implement is a policy of no discussion of politics or religion during the flight. In a way this was a discussion of politics, even if it was company politics. 

Northwest Airlines has offered the 144 passengers of Flight 188 travel vouchers of $500 as compensation.

Northwest Airlines Pilots using Laptops while flying get lost

Northwest Airlines Pilots using Laptops while flying get lost

It turns out that the Northwest Airlines pilots who overshot their destination by 150 miles were using laptops.

The incident involving a Northwest Airlines Airbus A320, raised fears of a possible hijacking and there were 2 fighters ready to take off as all ATC (Air Traffic Control) attempts failed.

The 2 pilots, both of which have now been suspended, whose Northwest Airlines plane went 150 miles further than it should have on Wednesday, said they were using their laptop computers. The federal agency (FAA) investigating the incident quoted the pilots as saying they had “accessed their personal computers during the flight” and “had lost track of time” as they discussed staff rostering. The was no ATC contact with the Northwest Airlines for more than an hour before it landed in Minneapolis.

The initial speculation was that they had fallen asleep, but the initial rumour was that they got into a heated discussion and lost track of where they were.

They admitted that during their discussion, they did not monitor or respond to calls from air traffic control via voice and to messages relayed to the in-flight systems via text.

My Thoughts…
What I can’t understand is how 2 trained pilots could disregard ATC. If you start ignoring this, then you might ignore or be slow to respond to onboard alerts from other systems such as TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System).

Could they have been asleep but covered it up with this – a less alarming story?

What do you think of these Northwest Airlines Pilots using Laptops? Real or fake news? Leave a comment!