Episode 16

The fatal Jan. 26, 2020, Sikorsky Helicopter Crash near Calabasas, California is the latest high-profile NTSB investigation. John and Greg use the unfortunate tragedy to look at the facts known so far and also to explain the NTSB investigative process.
They give listeners behind the scenes insight into what happens from the first moments after an accident. John and Greg share examples from the many investigations they have been part of to review what is known and what remains to be learned in this case.
The NTSB has already shared an update and some video footage from the investigation.

Episode 15

They have dissected the more than 300 pages of the Indonesian National Transportation Safety Committee (NTSC) final report on Lion Air Flight 610 and John and Greg reach a very different conclusion. The Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) was not the root cause, flight crew deficiencies are more likely the root cause.
Once again, John and Greg stick to the facts presented in the report. They find that those facts are twisted in the report analysis as well as media coverage. This leads to misplaced blame on the MCAS system and, worse, missed opportunities to improve aviation safety.
Calling the conclusion that MCAS was the cause a “leap of logic,” John and Greg instead look at documented issues with crew training and the direct parallels those issues have to what happened in the cockpit that fateful day.

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?

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