Episode 33


Flight Safety Detectives listeners ask for insider details and John and Greg deliver! A theme in this wide-ranging discussion of questions received is the importance of discipline.


A listener asked for the backstory in the NTSB investigation of Eastern Airlines Flight 980. Greg shares the details of the Jan. 1, 1985 crash and the 10 months of effort that led to him climbing a mountain in search of the cockpit and flight data recorders. That crash, in part, was caused by the air check pilot not following procedures.


Another question related to 2011 crash of a Cessna 421. That accident illustrated the insidiously damaging effects of lightning strikes. John and Greg discuss errors in the NTSB accident report. A lack of a disciplined look into the engine damage missed the true cause.


The discussion discipline in all areas of aviation then turns to a series of accidents involving Mooney aircraft. Greg has again and again found fuel tank drain holes mistakenly plugged by sealant during repairs of other issues. This lack of care in maintenance leads to water in the fuel and disastrous results.


John and Greg conclude that it is the little things that matter, and a high level of discipline is needed to catch them.

Episode 32

Instructions on how to use the oxygen mask is a mainstay of the airline safety briefing. With passengers now required to wear masks, does the mask go over the mask?


The tried and true safety briefing needs to be revamped in light of COVID-19 prevention measures.


Greg Feith and John Goglia look at standard safety protocols that are disrupted by COVID-19 precautions. They talk about what it will mean for airlines to keep passengers safe.


What about airflow in cabins? United has announced changes that increase air intake during boarding and deplaning. The importance of onboard hepafilters has also taken on new priority.


They also talk about the 25th anniversary of the Air France Concorde crash. That tragic event resulted in safety lessons and forever changed supersonic flight.

Episode 31

Greg and John are torqued! Too many accidents, too much pilot error and too little attention to safety lessons learned.

Greg and John are not happy with the state of the industry and propose that manufacturers step in to make sure aircraft don’t wind up in the hands of airlines and pilots not equipped to operate safely. It is time to put safety over profits.

This episode covers recent accidents, including a plane piloted by a former baseball player, a mid-air crash over Lake Croeur, and a Pakistan International Airlines crash. All, they argue, can be directly attributed to pilot error.

General and commercial aviation will not be the same after COVID-19. Greg and John say this is a perfect time to change up approaches to safety.

They’d like to see more incentives for pilots to actively maintain their training and safety skills. They call on manufacturers to collaborate to create standards that customers must meet in order to qualify to purchase aircraft.

Listen as they explore ideas to reinvent the industry to incentivize safety.

Photo: Shadman Samee from Dhaka, Bangladesh / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Episode 30

Greg Feith takes us inside his experience as the NTSB investigator in charge (IIC) of the ValuJet Flight 592 investigation. John Goglia was also involved. Together they talk through the launch of that investigation and share many behind-the-scenes experiences.

  • Creative procurement of resources needed
  • A rental car that rolled into the water
  • 3 am recovery of a wreckage “souvenir” at the home of a worker
  • The special smell in the hangar where the wreckage was reconstructed

These memories are overlaid with recollections of the high stress, emotion and expectations of the seven plus months of investigation. The teamwork onsite created many lasting connections and relationships.

Episode 29

Flight Safety Detectives Greg Feith and John Goglia look at the many costs associated with flight safety. Costs include dollars and lives.

July is proving to be a deadly month in the skies. In the first 7 days there were 7 fatal accidents, several with multiple fatalities. As investigations begin, John and Greg look at common potential factors like weather, mechanical issues, fuel supply and more.

They shed light on a new factor – COVID-19. Many pilots have been grounded during the pandemic. Pilots need to “get back in the books” to maintain flight skills. They need to recommit to the checklists that are designed to ensure safe operations.

John and Greg discuss how airlines and pilots often avoid acting on airworthiness directives (ADs) and service bulletins because of the time and cost involved. They share many illustrations of the larger costs of crashes and loss of lives.

Episode 28

Flight Safety Detectives Greg Feith and John Goglia answer listener questions in this lively episode that shares details of air crash investigations. Get a rare look inside the NTSB command center and on-scene investigations.


  • The NTSB bell rings signaling an air crash. What’s next?
  • How does a systemic investigation happen amid the chaos of an accident scene?
  • What are the qualifications of investigation teams?
  • Who decides on the content of accident reports?


Hear about Greg’s bumpy ride to Guam, how John got in trouble while working at USAir, and more!

Episode 27

Air crash investigators Greg Feith and John Goglia have seen too often that the safety of general aviation aircraft can be compromised by lack of maintenance. Their special guest this week has an hourly cost maintenance program to address that.


PistonPower™ is a comprehensive protection program for piston aircraft. Guest Remi Szymanski, Vice President for Business Development, discusses how the program works. With a fixed monthly cost, PistonPower creates a predictable maintenance budget for business and personal flying. 


Turbine aircraft have had programs that cover maintenance costs for a long time. Now piston aircraft can have the same type program. 


Listen to the episode to explore the details from John’s perspective as a wrench turner, Greg’s as a pilot, and both of their experiences as accident investigators.


Viewers can also learn more at the PistonPower website, https://pistonpower.com/

Episode 26

Flight Safety Detectives Greg Feith and John Goglia tap their network of aviation experts in this episode that focuses on pilots. Brian Schiff, a pilot with more than 40 years of experience in the cockpit, is the special guest.


Schiff is a commercial pilot and flight instructor who is recognized for his enthusiasm and ability to teach in way that simplifies complex procedures and concepts.  He is the creator of a webinar on the impossible turn (returning to the departure runway following an engine failure soon after takeoff) to the possible turn.


John, Greg and Brian talk about the state of the airlines, general aviation, and pilot training. They offer predictions on how aviation will rebound post COVID-19.


As always, the focus is on safety and avoiding accidents. They look at the deliberate steps that pilots and airlines should take as flights resume.

Episode 25

COVID-19 requires airports and airlines to rethink procedures. Air travel involves crowds and shared spaces. Cleaning and other processes from curb to curb need to be adapted to ensure the safety of the flying public.


Lisa Kay, COO Environmental Health Services Group, NV5, leads a team that works with organizations to ensure cleaning procedures are done properly based on CDC, EPA and other guidance. She talks with Greg and John about current and emerging options that can help make airports and airplanes safe.


From air filtration, to approved cleaning products, to anti-viral coatings to emerging technologies, the discussion covers the issues faced. Even the right solutions need to be applied properly by trained staff equipped with the right PPE.


John and Greg raise important considerations and use their experiences as passengers to look for the best solutions.  

Episode 24

Most aircraft are not getting used as often due to coronavirus-related restrictions. The Flight Safety Detectives explore the safety issues created by parking and storing airplanes of all sizes.
Airplanes are machines that like to be used. Counter-intuitively, there is actually greater potential for things to break with lack of use.
Greg and John bring two experts into the conversation: Jason Lukasik, president of JL2 Aviation Consultants, and Ken MacTiernan, PAMA board member and a 32-year aviation maintenance technician for American Airlines.
These veterans of daily use and maintenance as well as safety investigations highlight how to prepare aircraft for short term parking as well as longer term storage or “pickling.” The biggest enemy is moisture and corrosion.
Listen and learn what needs to be done to ensure airplanes can be operated safety after storage. For large airliners doing it right means 60-100 man hours of effort!
Once again, Greg and John talk about the issues impacting commercial, business and general aviation that are otherwise overlooked.

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