Episode 14

Greg and John do a moment by moment analysis of the events leading up to the crash of Lion Air Flight 610.
 
They share their takeaways following months of dissecting the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) final report regarding the crash. They put the facts in context – facts listed in the report as well as details that are missing.
 
The MCAS system that is widely blamed for the crash was activated for only 10 seconds of the first 6 minutes of the 11:37 flight. The report shows that the pilot was controlling the plane.
 
The Flight Safety Detectives find:

  • The airplane was not airworthy for days prior to the crash
  • Maintenance was not done properly
  • Flight crew stresses: the captain was sick and the first officer was called in ahead of his regular schedule
  • At takeoff, aircraft control warnings were triggered that are not analyzed for impact on the sequence of events
  • Flight crew did not follow procedures
  • Quality of the pilot training program is not examined
 
John and Greg bring in insights from other crashes to provide an unmatched analysis of this tragedy.

Episode 13

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) final report regarding the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 continues to get a lot of media attention. Moving away from soundbites, John and Greg examine the actual words and facts found in the report and call out numerous false narratives.
 
Chaos in the cockpit? The report mentions that the sound of pages being turned in the operations manual could be heard on the cockpit voice recorder.
 
Aircraft failure? The report does not support that conclusion. The report documents known maintenance issues that were not fixed more than 20 days before the crash. It also fails to dig into the pilot training program.
 
These and other facts in the report lead to conclusions other than the current focus on the aircraft as being the root cause of the crash, according to the Flight Safety Detectives.
 
They also discuss recent developments at Boeing and the impacts for airlines, employees, investors and the flying public.
 
Photo: Greg in the simulator at Boeing Headquarters in Seattle.

Episode 12

John and Greg share observations from their recent visit to Boeing headquarters. During executive briefings they asked the same tough questions they pose in their podcasts, sometimes stumping the experts.
 
They share how the visit validated the observations they have shared about the LionAir and Ethiopian Airline crashes. They also found more details that are important to finding the answers that will lead to increased air safety.
 
This episode also digs into two Thanksgiving weekend general aviation crashes. John and Greg walk you through their initial observations and provide a detailed walk-through of how investigators will determine the causes of both accidents.
 
Image: A Pilatus PC-12 single-engine aircraft, the type of plane that recently crashed in South Dakota.

Episode 11

The holiday season is a busy time for air travel. John and Greg advise that patience and planning can minimize the stress of holiday travel and help you arrive safely.
  • Give yourself plenty of extra time
  • Be sure your bags don’t have any prohibited items and meet size and weight limits
  • Review current TSA rules so you can get through security smoothly
  • Once on the plane, review the safety information and have a mental plan in case of emergency
 
Keep in mind that all the people who work in airports and on airplanes are trained professionals who want to keep you safe. Treat them with respect.
 
John and Greg note that air travel is safe and chances of an accident are minimal. A little preparation can make your holiday travels go smoothly.
 
In addition to offering these and other tips for a safe and stress-free flight, John and Greg call on the FAA to reconsider flight evacuation procedures. Reduced seating areas, passenger mobility issues, and other factors of modern air travel impact flight crews’ ability to meet the 90-second standard for evacuations. 
 
Happy holidays from the Flight Safety Detectives!

Episode 10

John and Greg explore what was said and what wasn’t said when Boeing executives recently spent two days on Capitol Hill testifying before congress. Their take: the hearings were an emotional platform for congressmen to point fingers, not an opportunity for fact finding.
 
As always, John and Greg use the podcast format to go deeper than 30 second soundbites. They talk in detail about the questions that need to be asked. They refocus the discussion on the facts of the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) final report.
 
The narrative that the crash was caused solely by the 737 Max Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) isn’t the whole story. Join John and Greg as they dive into the complex issues that deserve attention.
 
Photo credit: By User:Acefitt - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69781313

Episode 9

The Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) has released its final report regarding the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 and John and Greg are far from satisfied. One thing is clear to these aviation experts: the focus was on returning the plane over and over again to revenue service, rather than fixing known issues. 
 
In this episode, John and Greg focus on critical maintenance issues, some of which are presented as little more than footnotes in the NTSC final report. They find that the report presents selectively filtered information and lacks analysis, falling far short of providing much-needed answers. They apply their expertise to analyze critical failures.
 
Lion Air Flight 610 was a scheduled domestic flight operated by the Indonesian airline Lion Air from Soekarno–Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to Depati Amir Airport in Pangkal Pinang. On October 29, 2018, the Boeing 737 MAX 8 operating the route crashed into the Java Sea 13 minutes after takeoff, killing all 189 passengers and crew.
 
Photo credit: PK-LQP, the Lion Air Flight 610 aircraft. Photo credit: PK-REN from Jakarta, Indonesia - Lion Air Boeing 737-MAX8; @CGK 2018, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=73958203

Episode 8

John and Greg take listeners inside NTSB aircraft accident investigations. They use the case of Valujet Flight 592 to illustrate how the process works and the types of issues encountered.
 
The parties and technical experts involved can be forthcoming and not so helpful, with serious consequences. They also highlight how these investigations uncover the facts that can lead to everything from criminal proceedings to new safety procedures.
 
Valujet Flight 592 was a regularly scheduled flight from Miami International Airport to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. On May 11, 1996, the ValuJet Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-9 operating the route crashed into the Everglades about 10 minutes after taking off from Miami as a result of a fire in the cargo compartment.

Episode 7

Accidents and other issues created by distracted driving make headlines across the country. Prompted by listener questions, John and Greg talk about the issue of distractions and flight safety.
 
They share recent incidents and observations involving pilots, mechanics and line crews where distractions of cell phones, iPads and cockpit technology are creating room for mistakes.
 
Is “distracted flying” leading to more things being missed?

Episode 6

Pilot training and confidence is everything when it comes to safety in the air according to this week’s guest, Captain Chinar Shah. She’s a professional pilot, flying for more than 19 years,13 as a pilot in the airline ranks including a number of months in the Boeing 737 Max.  
 
Shah used to fly for Jet Airways in India. She converted her license in the U.S. with the FAA and she has seen all sides of training in the United States and worldwide. 
 
In this week’s episode, Shah and the Flight Safety Detectives talk about the training, confidence, knowledge, steel nerves and experience it takes to be the best of the best. According to Shah, pilots need to know what “The Normal” is in the air so when there is an extraordinary dangerous situation, the pilot knows immediately what is wrong and how to correct it.
 
She says, “The concern here is the reaction to the malfunction, rather than the malfunction itself....You can’t have a complete power outage, for example, with only three minutes to land and not know what to do.”   
 
The culture of a country, the training and the airline may play a part in the way pilots react. Will a relatively new first officer with only 1,500 hours in the air comment on and help correct a mistake made in the cockpit by an experienced captain with more than 20,000 hours? She says, “There are times when I’ve seen people be completely submissive.”  
 
Shah has a deep respect for all of the professionals who inspect, repair and approve an aircraft before it takes to the air. She says, “I’ve always had great rapport with engineers and mechanics and they always teach you a thing or two about the airplane. Sure, it’s always the PIC (Pilot in Charge) who says whether the plane goes but it’s a collective decision.”
 
Shah started her flying in general aviation in India. She says that introduced her to a system she says might inhibit the growth of decision making skills because it is so restrictive. “[Overseas] they are very reluctant to let you go solo…In my opinion, that does hamper your growth as a pilot - your decision making.  In many parts of the world, you have someone telling you ‘do this, do that.’”

Episode 5

Flight safety Detectives Greg Feith and John Goglia welcome Kathy Yodice, Managing Partner, Law Offices of Yodice Associates, for a lively discussion of aviation regulations and legalities.
 
An important theme is the role that maintenance and maintenance technicians play in airplane safety for both air carriers and general aviation.

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