Friday, September 12, 2014

Australian Adventurer Illustrates Flying's Glorious Contradictions

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I spend so much time writing about the safety and economics of aviation every now and then its good to go back and remember that flying was pioneered by risk takers who were motivated by many things, convention and common sense not among them.

The role of adventurers in aviation was very much on my mind while reading Dick Smith's thrill-a-page book, The Earth Beneath Me, the story of his solo helicopter flight from Fort Worth, Texas to Sydney, Australia in 1982.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ryanair Bad Boy Michael O'Leary Gets Christmas Gift from Boeing

An Irish friend of mine told me many years ago to think twice before dismissing Michael O’Leary, the face and chief executive of Europe's largest low-cost carrier, Ryanair.  At the time, O'Leary was relatively unknown outside of Ireland. And while I took that advice, I have over the years, poked him for his headline-grabbing antics and the ridiculous, combative and sometimes even vulgar comments he is wont to make.

Flight attendants should learn how to land airplanes so Ryanair could eliminate the second pilot was one outrageous idea he championed. Standing seats should be installed on airplanes in order to make room for more fare-paying passengers was another. His proposal to eliminate  the potty on board or charge for its use made O'Leary air travel's bad-boy as the idea ricocheted around the globe.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Aviation's Effort Combating Laser Attacks Hashtag #Ineffective #Insane

FBI video of laser illumination of an airliner cockpit
No less a brainiac than Albert Einstein could have weighed in on the phenomenally ineffective efforts of American aviation and law enforcement to combat laser attacks on airplanes. The German American physicist defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

State Concludes Menzies' Lax Safety Led to Airport Worker Death

Menzies Aviation, the Scotland-based, mega airport services company and hazardous workplace recidivist has been slapped with a $77 thousand dollar fine in California after the state's labor safety authority found it discouraged the use of safety belts on the ramp of Los Angeles International Airport. But in the case of Cesar Valenzuela, the restraint on his tow tractor wasn't even working on the night he was thrown from the truck to his death. 

The 51-year old Valenzuela, was working with cargo at the airport in February when he was found dead, his head beneath a wheel of the truck. A portion of the driver's seat belt was missing according the Cal/OSHA, which issued its report on the worker's death today.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MH 370 Lawyer Behavior Criticized Yet Again

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A disciplinary commission in Chicago has upheld a censure decision against a lawyer who just last week came under its scrutiny for her behavior  related to Malaysia Flight 370.

Monica Ribbeck Kelly, who made worldwide headlines when she filed the first case against Boeing and Malaysia Airlines following the mysterious disappearance of the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, has been battling the ethics board of the Illinois Supreme Court since 2011 when she mishandled her representation of the victim of another crash.