09 November 2009

The Evolution of Social Media's Role at AirSafe.com - Video

An earlier AirSafeNews.com article featured an audio podcast that discussed the role social media played in how the public found out about the January 2009 ditching of a US Airways A320 on the Hudson River. This article features a video based on a presentation that AirSafe.com's Dr. Todd Curtis gave at the 2009 Bird Strike North America conference. This show provides a general definition of social media and then provides specific examples of how it was used by AirSafe.com to expand the site's audience and to enhance the usefulness of its information.

Video and Audio Podcast Links (7:01)
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

Related AirSafeNews.com Articles
How AirSafe.com Uses Social Media
Social Media Insights from AirSafe.com
Social Media's Role in Airline Safety

Additional Social Media Resources
AirSafe.com Creates Online Radio Station
Social Media's Role in Airline Safety
How AirSafe.com Uses Twitter with a Mailing List
Ten Free Social Media Things You Can Do
AirSafe Media's Social Media Blog.

New AirSafe.com Blog

AirSafe.com recently launched the blog FlightsGoneBad.com, which features complaints from the AirSafe.com Complaint System and other news and information about passenger service and airport security issues.

24 October 2009

Two Recent Scary Incidents: Northwest Airlines A320 Overflies Airport and Delta 767 Lands on Taxiway by Mistake

This episode reviews two events from the week of October 19, 2009 that could have become major airline disasters. In Atlanta, a 767 landed on the taxiway instead of the runway, and in Minneapolis an airline crew stopped communicating with the outside world for over an hour while flying past its destination by well over 100 miles.

More detailed descriptions of these two incidents are in the AirSafeNews.com article from 23 October 2009. The podcast of this article, which you will find below, is a bit unusual. Until now, the Conversation at AirSafe.com has always been hosted by Dr. Todd Curtis. This show features a computer-generated voice. We ask you to listen to the show and evaluate it for us.

Northwest Airlines A320 Overflies Airport and Delta 767 Lands on Taxiway by Mistake (4:37)

Please include your feedback below:

16 October 2009

The Evolution of AirSafe.com's Use of Social Media - Why You or Your Organization Should Follow That Example

The January 2009 ditching on the Hudson River showed how important social media was as a source of news and information, and it also showed how freely available social media resources can sometimes allow an individual to be as influential as the largest news media organization. This show provides a general definition of social media and then provides specific examples of how it was used by AirSafe.com to expand the site's audience and to enhance the usefulness of the site's information.

This episode of the Conversation at AirSafe.com is based on a presentation Dr. Todd Curtis gave at the 2009 Bird Strike North America Conference in Victoria, Canada. The original audience was full of aviation safety professionals and wildlife biologists, but the subject of the presentation was relevant to any organization trying to figure out how to use social media more effectively.

Listen to the Podcast

The Evolution of Social Media's Role at AirSafe.com (7:02)

The role of social media in aviation safety community was previously covered in this site, as well as at the AirSafe.com site BirdStrikeNews.com

Previous AirSafeNews.com Articles
How to Include Free AirSafe.com Content in Your Site
AirSafe.com Creates Online Radio Station

Previous BirdStrikeNews.com Articles
Social Media's Role in Airline Safety
How AirSafe.com Uses Twitter with a Mailing List
Ten Free Social Media Things You Can Do

Another site with related information is AirSafe-Media.com.

Show Transcript

Welcome to the Conversation at AirSafe.com, I'm your host Dr. Todd Curtis

This is show #99 - The Evolution of Social Media's Role at AirSafe.com

This show is based on a presentation I gave at the 2009 Bird Strike North America Conference in Victoria, Canada. The original audience was full of aviation safety professionals and wildlife biologists, but what I talked about is relevant to any organization trying to figure out how to use social media more effectively.

In the aviation safety world, the January 2009 ditching of a US Airways flight in the Hudson River was a rare combination of a spectacular plane crash that generated massive worldwide attention without killing anyone. It was also big wake up call to the aviation safety community about the growing importance of social media to their work.

As many of you know, the plane went down as a result of a midair collision with a flock of geese shortly after takeoff from New York's La Guardia Airport. While most people were impressed by the skill of the pilots and the response of the rescuers, the event served as an excellent example of how popular social media applications like Twitter have changed how the public finds out about newsworthy events.

While the accident took place in New York City, on the doorsteps of the biggest and most important mass media organizations in the United States, many of the early images from the crash didn't come from the traditional news media, but from witnesses. One of the most well known photos was from the cell phone camera of Janis Krums, a passenger on one of the ferry boats that helped to rescue passengers and crew. The picture was quickly uploaded from Janis's iPhone and became one of the most famous images from the accident.

Twitter wasn't the only social media application working overtime that day. Video sharing sites like YouTube were flooded with user-generated content that collectively had hundreds of thousands of views within a day.

The "Miracle on the Hudson" showed how an average eyewitness of a dramatic news event like a plane crash can easily distribute images and other newsworthy information that could reach hundreds of thousands in a matter of minutes, something that only a large media company could do only a few years ago.

This crash also showed that organizations that use the Internet to communicate with the public needed more than just a web site or a blog to keep their online audience informed. They need more than web sites and blogs because that audience is using emerging social media tools to develop different kinds of ongoing relationships with other users, and to find news and other information.

You might be asking yourself, what the heck is social media? The quick answer is that social media is any online resource or personal computer software that lets you easily create, share, or consume online content with others. Many of the tools are based online, don't charge for the service, and don't force you to have any kind of specialized knowledge to make them work.

Some examples you might know are blogging tools like Blogger and WordPress, microblogging tools like Twitter, video sharing sites like YouTube, and document sharing services like Google Docs.

Now that you know what it is, you might ask yourself why should I care? The biggest reason is that social media is changing online behavior by giving individuals and small groups the ability to connect with other people that was either not possible or very difficult even a few years ago. The last reason is that it adds a whole lot of online capabilities that you can use to your advantage.

Let me explain with an example from AirSafe.com. When the site was first launched in 1996, communication was mostly in one direction, from the web site to the world. Online publishing was very resource intensive, and the best tools were controlled by large organizations.

The best option I had for contacting individuals was email. The only way I could communicate with groups was with the web site. The site was like a Swiss army knife because it had to do several different things for the audience. The only major function that was outside of the site was the mailing list, which was managed by a third-party service provider.

In the early years, search engines played a huge role because that was how most people found the site. Like many sites, AirSafe.com suffered from mission creep, with more and more functions and content being added to the site until things got out of hand.

What social media does is take some of the functions, especially marketing and communications-related functions, and puts them outside of the web site.

For AirSafe.com's transition to using social media, I still kept the basic web site plus the mailing list, and search engines were still a key partner, but I set out to figure out which of the many social media tools would do something useful for the site.

I chose some to play a support role, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Flickr, and others to play a more central role like Blogger, Feedburner, and Twitter.

Here's how social media changed how I used my mailing list. Before, I'd use the mailing list to tell subscribers about news items or to tell them about new content on the site. Now I use a blog site that has all those news items and update notices. I also use Feedburner, a service that can do many things, including creating code that I could put into any web site and use to automatically generate updated links to the news blog.

When a new article is posted in the blog, Feedburner sees it and tells the mailing list system and Twitter to inform all of the subscribers, while adding links in the web site that point back to the blog article.

Adding resources like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook expanded the reach of the site by providing additional opportunities for potential audience members to begin their relationship with AirSafe.com.

I went from a system where I had to manually update most of the site to one where a single action, like adding to the news blog, automatically updates several web sites and social media accounts, including Facebook, and sends messages to mailing list and Twitter subscribers.

Growing the audience was also easier, because every additional social media tool gave me new ways of attracting and serving a larger audience.

Another question you may have about social media is what's in it for me? In the AirSafe.com example, using social media cut down on the workload and extended the site's reach. Social media tools also gave AirSafe.com additional ways to share content, and to address different audience needs. In AirSafe.com's case, that meant having the ability to reach out to those who didn't want to rely on search engines or email announcements to stay in touch.

Yet another question you may have is why should I do anything new in social media? There are two simple reasons. First, the trends in online behavior are clearly moving toward the use of social media. Facebook and Twitter are two of the biggest household names, but there are dozens of other services that are out there that give businesses and individuals many more options for communicating and getting work done. Second, you have to stay ahead of the competition. Ignoring social media today could be as least as dangerous as ignoring search engines a few years ago, or ignoring the web a few years before that.

If you don't include social media as part of your online plan, you will just make it harder for your online efforts to work for you, and easier for your competitors to take away your audience or your customers.

For additional information about how AirSafe.com has used social media, and suggestions for social media tools you should consider using, visit socialmedia.airsafe.org.

Thanks for listening, and we'll see you next time.

26 September 2009

Jet Airliners with Lowest Fatal Crash Rates

The previous entry on the AirSafe.com News described the September 2009 update AirSafe.com's listing of fatal plane crash rates by model. The video and audio podcast below discusses the aircraft models with the lowest rates. There are links to the video on YouTube and to downloadable versions of the podcast in MP3, MP4, and WMV formats.

Video and Audio Podcast Links (2:57)

Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

Additional Resources
Plane Crash Rates by Model
Recent Fatal Plane Crashes

25 September 2009

Five Lowest Jet Airliner Crash Rates

Listen to the audio podcast of this article

In its latest update of fatal plane crash rates by aircraft model, AirSafe.com has identified the top five models with the lowest fatal crash rates. The analysis uses flight data through the end of 2008, and crash data through August 2009.

Computing these crash rates was based on more than just the number of fatal crashes. The formula that was used also looked at the proportion of passengers killed in each crash. For example, if an airliner model had two fatal crashes in two million flights, and all the passengers were killed in one crash and half in the second, then the rate would be 1.5 planeloads killed divided by two million flights, or 0.75 per million flights.

Candidates for the AirSafe.com top five ranking were limited to jet airliner models with at least two million flights through the end of 2008. Only events that killed passengers were counted.

At number five is the Canadair Regional Jet, number four is the previous generation of the Boeing 737, which includes the 737-300, 737-400, and 737-500. Number three was the Airbus A320 series, number two is the current generation of the Boeing 737, which includes the 737-600, 737-700, 737-800, and 737-900 aircraft.

Topping the list at number one is the Boeing 777. In service since 1995, this model has had just over two million flights and no fatal crashes.

Four other jet aircraft models all have less than two million flights, and like the 777 have not been involved in a crash that has killed passengers. Two are from Airbus, the A340 and A380, and the other two are the Embraer 170 and 190. These last two aircraft types are smaller jets frequently used by regional carriers in North America and Europe.

For more information on fatal plane crash rates, including details on how the rates are calculated, please visit rates.airsafe.org.

05 September 2009

Social Media's Role in Airline Safety

In this show, Dr. Todd Curtis discusses the role that social media applications like Twitter, YouTube, and podcasts have had in shaping the public's relationship to aviation safety issues. Using the example of the January 2009 ditching of a US Airways aircraft in the Hudson River, the show discusses why any organization that intends to influence aviation safety policy or the aviation safety community should embrace these emerging technologies in order to better serve their members and the general public.

Listen to the podcast
Full transcript and additional resources

15 July 2009

Air France Flight 447 - the BBC Interviews

After more than a month, most of the wreckage and many of the victims of Air France Flight 447 remain lost at sea. The public's and the media's attention remain focused on the the causes of the crash and on the recovery of the black boxes.

This podcast features two interviews with Vincent Dowd from the BBC World Service. In the first interview on June 12th, 2009, we discussed several issues, including differences in flight control philosophy between Airbus and Boeing, and how aircraft manufacturers respond when one of their airplanes crash.

In the second interview, recorded on June 23rd 2009, we discussed the progress of the accident investigation. We also talked about how the circumstances of this accident showed how it may be possible to use advanced technologies to supplement or even replace the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

Please listen to the interviews, and feel free to send your comments or questions to AirSafe.com.

Listen to the Interviews (18:38)
Additional Accident Information
Other Air France Plane Crashes
Other Airbus A330 Plane Crashes
Earlier AirSafe.com Audio and Video Podcasts About the Accident

19 May 2009

NTSB Hearings on the Buffalo Plane Crash

On May 12th, 2009, the NTSB began a three-day public hearing about its ongoing investigation into the fatal February 2009 crash of a Continental Connection airliner in Buffalo, NY. Among the issues that came up were the possible roles of crew fatigue and crew training in the accident. During the last day of the hearing, noted aviation consultant Mike Boyd and I sat down with host Dave Berns of the "State of Nevada" program on KNPR radio in Las Vegas.

KNPR Interview on 14 May 2009

Additional Information
NTSB Public Docket on the Investigation
Accident Details from AirSafe.com
Todd Curtis book Understanding Aviation Safety Data

Emirates A340 Accident Report Released

On 20 March 2009, an Emirates A340 aircraft, with 275 passengers and crew on board, was involved in a tail strike accident during takeoff from Melbourne, Australia. The aircraft suffered some damage, but there were no injuries to anyone on board. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently released preliminary findings that indicated that an incorrect weight had been used when making performance calculations prior to departure. The calculations were based on a takeoff weight that was 100 tons below the actual takeoff weight of the aircraft.

This is the first accident involving an Emirates A340. Previously, in 2004, there was an Emirates A340 incident involving a runway overrun in Johannesburg, South Africa.

What sets this preliminary report apart from most is that the ATSB releases substantially more information at this stage than most accident investigation authorities. While the NTSB sometimes releases this level of preliminary information for major accidents that have tremendous media attention, it has not provided that kind of detail for other kinds of accidents.

Below are links to an audio of the ATSB press conference about the release of this report, a summary of the accident, and other accident details.

Abstract of Preliminary Report

Media Release from 30 April 2009
Preliminary Accident Report
Audio of ATSB Briefing from 30 April 2009 (21:10)
Other A340 Plane Crashes
Other Emirates Safety Events

28 April 2009

Swine Flu Risks for Airline Passengers

After a rapid spread of the swine flu virus, the World Health Organization announced an increase in its global alert level on April 27, 2009. So far, about 150 people have died from the disease, all in Mexico. In this report, AirSafe.com summarizes the current situation and offers passengers suggestions on how to deal with flu threats on their flight.

Podcast: First Broadcast 29 April 2009 (2:35)

08 April 2009

Carrying Musical Insruments on Aircraft

AirSafe.com covered many issues related to checked and carry-on baggage at tsa.airsafe.org, but didn't address musical instruments. In short, if it can fit in the overhead compartment or under the seat, you should be able to carry it on board the aircraft.

TSA recommends that you check with your airline prior to your flight to ensure your instrument meets the size requirements for their aircraft. Some aircraft may have particularly small overhead compartments. Also, larger instruments in checked baggage may have size or weight limitations.

While they recommend that you travel with brass instruments in your checked baggage, there is nothing in any of the TSA's other recommendations that ban smaller brass instruments from carry-on.

They do recommend that you travel with you stringed instruments as a carry-on item if it is small enough. By the way, your airline may allow you to purchase a separate ticket for a larger instrument.

If you have an instrument in your checked baggage, include instructions, where a security officer will notice them, for handling and repacking your instrument. Make sure these instructions are very clear and understandable to someone who knows nothing about the instrument, especially the easily damaged areas of the instrument.

If you have electronic instruments that are small enough to take as carry-ons, be prepared to take it out for inspection.

Speaking of inspections, the TSA allows you to carry one musical instrument in addition to a carry-on and one personal item through the screening checkpoint. Airlines may or may not allow the additional carry-on item on their aircraft. Please check with your airline before you arrive at the airport.

Security officers must x-ray or physically screen your instrument before it can be transported on an aircraft. If the instrument has to be inspected, try to stay with the instrument and be prepared to offer the security screener advice on how to handle the instrument.

Allow extra time for screening. If security officers cannot clear the instrument through the security checkpoint as a carry-on item, you may have to go back to the check in counter and send the instrument as checked baggage. How much extra time? At least 30 minutes.

23 March 2009

Crash of a FedEx Express MD-11 near Tokyo on 23 March 2009

The aircraft was on a cargo flight from Guangzhou, China to Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan. The aircraft bounced on landing, and contacted the runway a second time nose wheel first. The plane then rolled to the left, hit the runway with its left horizontal stabilizer and wing, caught fire and rolled over onto its back, coming to rest off the left side of the runway. Both crew members were killed. This was the first fatal accident at Narita Airport since it opened in 1978.

This was the fourth crash landing of an MD-11 that led to either fatalities or to the destruction of the aircraft. Two previous crashes involved FedEx Express, a July 1997 crash in Newark, New Jersey, and an October 1999 landing overrun at Subic Bay Airport in the Philippines. No one was killed in these two events. An August 1999 China Airlines crash landing in Hong Kong during a rain storm led to the death of three of the passengers on board. There have been three fatal crashes involving passengers, the most recent being the Hong Kong crash.

About two hundred MD-11s were built, and about 182 are currently in service. FedEx Express operates the world's largest MD-11 fleet with about 57 active aircraft. Well over half of all active MD-11s are flying as dedicated cargo aircraft, with many of them being converted passenger airliners (including about 19 aircraft operated by Lufthansa Cargo). In addition to the two MD-11 crashes, NTSB records indicate that FedEx MD-11 aircraft have been in at least five other landing incidents or accidents involving either a bounced landing or a tail strike.

Watch or listen to the AirSafe.com report on this accident below:

Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | YouTube

23 March 2009 Crash of a FedEx MD-11 near Tokyo

Other FedEx Express Plane Crashes
Other MD-11 Plane Crashes

Coincidentally, just a few hours after the FedEx Express crash, a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft crashed on approach to Butte, Montana. The aircraft had been on a flight from Orovile, California to Bozeman, Montana. The pilot changed the flight plane to Butte, MT, and the aircraft crashed about 500 feet (150 meters) from the airport. All 14 on board were killed, including several children.

18 March 2009

New AAIB and NTSB 777 Safety Recommendations

In early March 2009, the AAIB released findings from the investigation of the January 2008 British Airways 777 accident that point to ice buildup in the fuel system as the key factor in the crash in London. On March 11th, 2009, the NTSB called for a redesign of the fuel system, and for the affected aircraft to have those changes installed within six months after the redesign is complete. Watch or listen to the AirSafe.com report on these updates below, or read the transcript.

Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

Report on March 2009 AAIB and NTSB Updates

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

13 March 2009

Fixing the Problem That May Have Caused the British Airways 777 Crash

Recent findings from the AAIB accident investigation point to ice buildup in the fuel system as the key factor in the January 2008 crash of a British Airways 777 in London. On March 11th, 2009, the NTSB called for a redesign of the fuel system, and for the affected aircraft to have those changes installed within six months after the redesign is complete.

You can hear this information in the podcast here or at at podcast.AirSafe.org

In the January 2008 crash, the flight from Beijing to London was routine until the the aircraft was on final approach, when both engines had an uncommanded power reduction, or engine rollback, which caused the plane to land short of the runway. Although the aircraft was seriously damaged, only one of the 136 passengers was seriously injured, and there were no serious injuries among the 16 crew members.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch in the UK headed the investigation, with the help of several other organizations, including the aircraft manufacturer Boeing, the engine manufacturer Rolls Royce, and British Airways.

The series of updates and interim reports from the AAIB, the most recent of which was released in early March 2009, revealed that the likely cause of the dual engine rollback was ice blockage in a critical fuel system component that led to a reduction of fuel flow to the engine.

These findings didn't come easily. The AAIB focused its efforts on the fuel system because of the unusual conditions of the accident flight. That flight was exposed to rather cold atmospheric conditions, so cold that the crew changed altitudes at one point to fly through warmer air.

The AAIB reviewed the minimum fuel temperature data from over 141,000 777 flights. About 13,000 of these flights were on aircraft operating with the Rolls Royce Trent 800 series engine, the same kind as on the accident aircraft. Of those 13,000 flights, only 118 had fuel temperatures at takeoff that were at or below the takeoff fuel temperature of the accident flight, and during the approach phase, only 70 had fuel temperatures that were as low or lower than the fuel temperature on the accident flight.

The two most likely accident scenarios that were investigated by the AAIB both involved ice formation within the fuel system, leading to a reduction of fuel flow. This ice formation was possible because the aircraft fuel did contain some water. This kind of contamination is normal, and in fact the fuel from the accident aircraft was tested, and found to be in compliance with the appropriate fuel specifications.

After an extensive analysis of the fuel system, the AAIB concluded that the most likely scenario for the engine rollback was that ice formed in the fuel pipes within the main fuel tank, and that during the latter part of the approach phase of the flight, factors such as turbulence, aircraft pitch changes, and increasing temperatures could have contributed to the sudden release of accumulated ice into the fuel feed system of both engines. This ice would have restricted the fuel flow through a component called the fuel oil heat exchanger and would have led to the engine rollbacks.

The AAIB recommended that Boeing and Rolls Royce review the aircraft and engine fuel system design, and make changes that would prevent ice from restricting fuel flow through the fuel oil heat exchanger.

In the US, the National Transportation Safety Board went further, recommending that within six months of completing the redesign, that it be incorporated in all 777 aircraft using the Trent 800 engines. Some of the airlines that fly Trent 800 equipped triple sevens include Air New Zealand, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Kenya Airways, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and Thai Airways. There are about 220 such aircraft currently in service.

The NTSB's recommendations were influenced by a second 777 rollback event. On November 26, 2008, a Delta 777, powered by two Trent 800 series engines, experienced a single-engine rollback while in cruise on a flight from Shanghai to Atlanta. The crew was able to address the issue and continued the flight without incident. Later analysis indicated that there was a blockage of the fuel oil heat exchanger on that engine that was likely due to ice accumulation. Although the engine rollbacks on the British Airways accident aircraft and the Delta Airlines incident aircraft occurred during different phases of flight, the fuel temperatures at the time of the rollbacks were about equal.

Taken together, these developments are good news for the aviation community, especially passengers and crews flying on 777s equipped with Trent 800 engines. The investigative authorities have determined the likely cause of the event, the changes to the fuel system that are needed are well understood, and the engine and aircraft manufacturers are well on their way to developing solutions that will prevent similar occurrences in the future.

For more on this investigation, or for information about aviation safety or aviation security issues, please visit 777.AirSafe.org.

25 February 2009

Turkish Airlines Plane Crash in Amsterdam

25 February 2009; Turkish Airlines 737-800; Amsterdam, Netherlands: The aircraft, on a scheduled international flight from Istanbul, Turkey, to Amsterdam, Netherlands crashed in a field about a mile (1.6 km) short of the runway. The fuselage was broken into three major sections, and both engines were torn off. There was apparently no post crash fire. Three crew members, including both pilots, were killed, as were at least six others among the 135 passengers and crew members.

AirSafe.com's Initial Report on this Accident
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

Additional information about this event.

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

24 February 2009

Managing a Podcast Using the AirSafe.com System

As many of you know, AirSafe.com has created podcasts for over two years. One of the major milestones was going from audio only to a mix of audio and video episodes. Over time, there have been modest improvements in the technical quality of the podcast, but there have been great improvements in expanding the audience and streamlining the production process.

To give you an example of the changes, views and downloads of the video version of the podcast went from zero two years ago to an average of about 20,000 per month in early January 2009 (before the Miracle on the Hudson). This increase in views was almost certainly not due to the high production values. Most AirSafe.com video podcast episodes are little more than a narrated slide show with lots of bullet points, a few pictures, and even fewer video clips.

There were two keys to expanding the audience for the podcast. The first was having a systematic process for producing episodes. The second was the consistent application of a common sense marketing strategy, the foundation of which was using free online resources such as video sharing sites such as YouTube, podcast distribution through iTunes, and the strategic use of blogs and free online press releases to build interest in the podcast.

These lessons learned, production procedures, and marketing insights have been included in the AirSafe.com Podcasting Manual, a draft of which is available as a free download from AirSafe.com. This step-by-step guide was designed to give any group or individual the foundation to create an audio or video podcast, put that podcast on iTunes, YouTube and elsewhere, and to do so without spending much money.

Feel free to download a free copy of this manual at http://www.airsafe.com/classes/airsafe-podcasting-manual-draft.pdf. It is a working draft, so any advice you can provide to improve the document would be greatly appreciated.

But Wait, There's More!
The podcasting manual isn't the only thing offered at AirSafe.com. You can find a number of other free AirSafe.com resources, including advice on dealing with airport security, insights on fear of flying, and a free copy of the book Parenting and the Internet, at http://www.airsafe.com/airsafe-resources.pdf

14 February 2009

Updates to Two Most Recent Continental Crashes

AirSafe.com just finished updating the status of the 20 December 2008 crash of a Continental Airlines 737-500 at Denver. The aircraft, which was on a scheduled flight to Houston's Intercontinental Airport, departed the runway during takeoff and skidded across a taxiway and a service road before coming to rest in a ravine several hundred yards from the runway. The aircraft sustained significant damage, including a post crash fire, separation of one engine and separated and collapsed landing gear. There were about 38 injuries among the 110 passengers and five crew members, including two passengers who were seriously injured. Because this did not involve the death of an airline passenger, this is a significant event as defined by AirSafe.com

Below are the audio and video versions of the podcast.

Continental Airlines Accident in Denver
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel at video.airsafe.org.

Additional Information on the Buffalo Accident
The site added a page with fatal and significant events involving the Dash 8 model airliner, the same model involved in the fatal 12 February 2009 crash in Buffalo, NY.

Additional information about both the Buffalo and Denver events is available at http://www.airsafe.com/events/airlines/cal.htm

13 February 2009

Continental Connection Crash in Buffalo

The aircraft, a scheduled flight from Newark, NJ and operated by Colgan Air, crashed in a residential area about five miles from the airport. At least one house on the ground was destroyed. All 44 passengers and four crew members were killed, along with one person on the ground.

AirSafe.com's Initial Report on this Accident
Audio: MP3 | VideoiPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

Additional information about this event.

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

11 February 2009

Interview with Bird Strike Expert Dr. Ron Merritt

On January 18th, 2009, three days after the bird strike related ditching of US Airways Flight 1549 in New York, Dr. Todd Curtis of AirSafe.com interviewed bird strike expert Dr. Ron Merritt. He's currently the president of Detect, Inc., which manufactures bird strike avoidance radars. Dr. Merritt was also at one time the military commander of US Air Force unit responsible for understanding and reducing bird strike hazards to Air Force aircraft. During this wide ranging conversation, they discus a variety of bird strike and wildlife hazard topics, including the need for wildlife experts in the US Airways accident investigation team, wildlife control policy issues, and the history of the key bird strike organizations in the US and Canada.

Listen to the interview with Dr. Merritt

For more information on the accident, including videos and background information on bird strike hazards and airliner ditchings, visit:

10 February 2009

Interview on the Escapes Radio Talk Show

On February 9th, 2009, Dr. Todd Curtis of AirSafe.com was interviewed on the "Escapes" radio show hosted by Ann Lombardi of the the Trip Chicks, who along Wendy Swartzell run the Atlanta area travel company Passport to Adventure. During the show, we discussed several of the issues around the previous month's ditching accident involving a US Airways A320 in New York, including what can be done about bird strike hazards, and how passengers should deal with fear of flying.

Listen to the interview

For more information on the accident, including videos and background information on bird strike hazards and airliner ditchings, visit:

24 January 2009

Interview on WGN Radio after the US Airways Ditching (audio - MP3)

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways A320 encountered a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. Both engines lost power, apparently as the result of experiencing multiple bird strikes, and the crew was able to successfully ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River. All five crew members and 150 passengers survived the accident. The following day, Dr. Todd Curtis was a guest of Dean Richards on Chicago's WGN radio. They discussed the US Airways event, how the public's fear of flying is affected by extensive media coverage of airline accidents, and what kind of measures could be taken to deal with the threat of bird strikes.

Listen to the interview

For more information on the accident, including videos and background information on bird strike hazards and airliner ditchings, visit:

16 January 2009

Ditching of a US Airways A320 on the Hudson River in New York

Crash of US Airways Flight 1549

Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

On 15 January 2009, a US Airways A320 experienced a loss of power to both engines shortly after taking off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The crew was able to successfully ditch the aircraft in the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan. Reportedly, the aircraft encountered a flock of birds shortly after takeoff. The aircraft reached an maximum altitude of about 3200 feet before it began to descend. After ditching, all five crew members and 150 passengers evacuated the aircraft. One passenger sustained serious injuries.

According to early reports, the aircraft took off normally toward the north, but the flight crew reported striking a flock of birds about two minutes after takeoff. Both engines lost power, and unable to either return to LaGuardia or to land in nearby Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, the crew turned the aircraft toward the south. After flying over the George Washington Bridge, the crew executed a controlled ditching on the Hudson River just west of midtown Manhattan. The passengers and crew escaped with the help of numerous ferries, tour boats, fireboats, and other vessels in the area.

This was the first crash of an Airbus A320 operated by a US airline. The A320 has had eight events involving passenger fatalities. The first was a 1988 crash involving Air France, and the most recent was a May 2008 crash of a TACA airliner in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

While many jet airliners have crashed in the water, prior research by AirSafe.com revealed only three previous events where the crew of a large passenger jet intentionally ditched the aircraft in a controlled manner. Prior to the US Airways event, the most recent ditching involved a hijacked Ethiopian Airlines 767 in 1996. The others included a 1963 ditching of an Aeroflot jet in Leningrad (present day St. Petersburg), and a 1970 ditching of a DC-9 in the Caribbean.

Fatal and serious bird strike related crashes of large jet aircraft are also quite rare. The last fatal US bird strike accident involving a large jet was the crash of a US Air Force E-3 AWACS in Alaska in 1995. The last time bird strikes led to passenger deaths in the US was in 1960 in Boston. Since 1990, five other large jet airliners have crashed due to bird strikes, but only one involved fatalities.

The NTSB is currently investigating this US Airways accident. For updates on this investigation, and for the latest news from AirSafe.com, visit hudson.airsafe.org.

For related information, visit:
Previous US Airways Crashes
Other Significant A320 Events
Bird Strike Hazards to Aircraft
Jet Airliner Ditching Events

08 January 2009

New Video for Year in Review 2008 Released

The new video for the podcast "AirSafe.com's Airline Safety Review for 2008" is now available. You can see the video or listen to the audio version, below, or you can find it at one of the podcast links.

Audio: MP3 | Video: iPod/MP4 | WMV | Google Video | YouTube

For details on the events of 2008, visit http://2008.AirSafe.org

For more videos, visit the AirSafe.com YouTube channel.

06 January 2009

Video Trailers for The Conversation at AirSafe.com

On occasion, I tear myself away from the computer and actually read a magazine or two for news about what's happening online. I came across an article about Animoto.com, which allows users to upload photos or graphics from their computer, or from an online photo management site like Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, or Photobucket, and have the Animoto turn it into a dynamic trailer. You can even add music to it (theirs or yours) and create a music video type trailer in minutes. Like many online services, there is a free version and a paid version. With the free version (my kind of price), you can upload the result to YouTube, Facebook, or other social networking sites.

How good is it? Just for fun, I decided to make a trailer for an upcoming podcast reviewing significant aviation safety events of 2008. I uploaded a bunch of pictures, hit the button, and waited for Animoto software to do its thing. You can see the fruits of Animoto's (automated) labor below (or at AirSafe.com's Youtube channel at http://www.youtube.com/airsafe).

Trailer for 2008 Year in Review

By the way, the music in this trailer is from the song "Time and Place" from the Canadian group In-Flight Safety. Yes, that is the name of the group. How could I possibly pass up the chance to use their music?

Future video podcasts will likely feature these kinds of trailers at the beginning of the show. Feel free to send feedback about this kind of addition.