Siberian Flight Corridor

 

I still remember flying the very long southern route from London to Japan and then the quicker route via Anchorage taking eighteen hours or so.

Now there is the non-stop route via Siberia taking about twelve hours–11.40 Eastwards; 12.30 Westwards.

However, until seeing the fascinating little video below there were things about the route I did not realise.

The Russians, aware of the valuable card they hold, charge as much as $100 per passenger per return trip, though details are confidential. 

Apart from the UK, where Virgin and BA were given permission, only one carrier per European country was allowed.

This means legacy carriers such as BA, Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, and SAS monopolize the route.

Though the high charge coupled with high air passenger duty, say from London, would make life difficult for low cost carriers, Norwegian has applied but been refused.

See video:

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USS VINCENNES Accidently Shoots Down Iranian Airliner

The account is typical of so many air crashes in that it resulted from a whole series of misjudgements, errors and unfortunate circumstances.

The inquiries faced the dilemma that if they faulted the crew, captains might in future hesitate to defend their ships.  

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Many readers are using Kindle Unlimited which may not allow them to post reviews–though we do cleverly get paid according to the number of pages read!

For your information an (unfair?) US 2-star review was as follows:

29 April 2018 – Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Interesting compilation of famous airline accidents, spoiled by the middle of the book by a shrill polemic attacking the U.S. Navy and the crew of the USS Vincennes, and deteriorating to claims of governmental coverups and the incompetence of police and investigators. There are also startling neologisms and amazing vacuoles of ignorance. One example of an unintentionally funny confabulated “fact” is about a pilot named Gibson with a nickname of “Hoot”, attributed by the author to a role as an owl in a school play. I should have stopped reading while it was still credible.

1. Things complained about are at the end of the book not the middle.

2. Vincennes material as stated largely based on research by Newsweek.

3. “Hoot” not a funny confabulated fact, but taken from a great book on the affair, though tired of being asked about his nickname, Gibson suggested in the occasional interview it was derived from that of a famous actor.

Any well-considered review on Amazon.com to compensate would be greatly appreciated.

On the other hand, the 5-star review in the UK was:

Andy–5.0 out of 5 stars

“The new MacArthur Job has arrived.”
Mr Bartlett has taken over the mantle of the late, great MacArthur Job, as an aviation writer of undoubted excellence.
His book covers many, many accidents, both well known and obscure, in just the right amount of detail to remain fascinating.

The only negative thing I can say is that he seems to have a great disrespect for Captain Sullenburger. Often deriding Sully’s piloting skills whenever the opportunity arises.

And TWA 841 was a 727, not a 737, an accidental typo no doubt, as was a quote on the same page dated 1971 instead of 1979.

[We corrected the typos, removed some gratuitous references and rewrote the end of the account of Sully’s ditching to better explain we meant the MIRACLE  lay both in the ditching and in the rescue from the water.]

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Sixty Minutes MH370 Misrepresented MH370?

Articles have appeared in papers such as the Daily Mail quoting experts criticizing the Australian Sixty Minutes MH370 experts.

One criticism was that Sixty Minutes had (ridiculously) alledged the aircraft had “dipped” its wing to Penang in some kind of symbolic gesture. In fact, the expert had simply said he thought about it for several hours, until it dawned on him that the pilot turned left and then right so that he could dip his wing to SEE Penang (where he had been when young).

Another of the criticisms, was was that at the end the pilot would not have had any oxygen left and could not have been controlling the aircraft. What would have stopped him re-pressurising the aircraft once everyone else on board was dead?

Victor Lannello (mentioned in a previous post) provides interesting detail on his blog with regard to the civilian radar data for MH370’s track across land to Penang and onwards. Then, when one looks at the numerous comments on that blog, one relializes everything (even the precise tracks followed before MH370 was out of radar range) is problematic with various possible interpretations. Obfuscation on the Malaysian side has added to the mystery.

ANOTHER SEARCH?

It seems the new Malaysian administration is going to insist the search by Ocean Infinity terminate on May 29.

It was from the outset a rather awkward arrangement in that the Malaysian government would only pay if the debris field/recorders were found and the longer it took the more they would pay.

However, drawing a line under the present search might open the way for, say Ocean Infinity with a new contract (and a chance to recover part of their investment), to have later quick look if more certain of the precise location of the wreckage on the ocean floor, as happened in the case of AF447 lost in the South Atlantic.

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“60 Minutes” and MH370 No Female Experts!

In a piece called “Why no Woman’s Voice in MH370 Discussion?”, Christine Negroni, author of  The Crash Detectives, objected to the absence of women (notably herself or another who had written on MH370) from the panel of experts appearing on the Australian TV program called 60 Minutes

The UK’s BBC is trying to have more female experts appearing on it news programs, but this does raise the question whether they are the most “informed”. In the case of Australia–a long way from anywhere–the cost of flying in experts would be considerable, and the idea of having just one for each area of expertise seems reasonable. Also, with less than 5% of commercial pilots being women the odds of having one would be slight.

FEMALES IN AVIATION SAFETY ROLES

However, this would be a good opportunity to point out that in the US at least, women have featured prominently in the area of aviation safety, though not necessarily at the nuts and bolts level.

The following immediately come to mind:

Carol Carmody, an NTSB Board Member at the time of the American Airlines Flight 587, November 12, 2001 crash (the copilot swished the rudder violently back and forth when caught up in wake turbulence on taking off from New York’s JFK causing it to break off );

Mary Schiavo, a former U.S. DOT Inspector General, who rustled a lot of feathers in the aviation industry, criticizing the FAA, and writing a book called Flying Blind, Flying Safe.

and Deborah Hersman, NTSB chair, at the time of  the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco, in 2013.

It is said that women are often better than men in intelligence work (e.g. UK’s MI5) involving the picking out leads from massive amounts of data. It would be interesting to know if the NTSB, for example has found this to be the case.

In a follow-up piece, “Bombshell  TV Program on Malaysia 370 Fueled by Alternative Facts”, Negroni not only lambastes the program but takes to task the Washington Post and CBS News for repeating  its claims.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

In our book, Air Crashes and Miracle Landingswe describe the disappearance of MH370 and conclude (as did 60 Minutes) that the coincidences are so many that the diversion to the South Indian Ocean must have been intentional with the captain the most likely perpetrator.

We mentioned Victor Iannello as the best source of information on MH370 and true to form he has produced a must-read critique of the 60-Minutes arguments. He even says why some investigators believe the flaps and flaperons were not deployed when the aircraft hit the water. The pair found washed up off Africa had marks showing they were touching at the time of impact which would only be the case if they were stowed.

Ianello’s critique is called “Sixty Minutes Australia Story on MH370 is a Sensation“.

DANGERS OF ASSUMING THE “MOST LIKELY” TO BE WHAT HAPPENED

In 1989 the Cargo Hold Door of a Boeing 747 opened midflight ejecting some business class passengers near Honolulu.

Believing the door opening mechanism could not operate inflight because there was no electric current, the NTSB concluded the locking mechanism must have been damaged by poor ground handling. Later through a great feat the US Navy recovered the door from the bottom of the ocean. It showed the door had been opened electrically due to a short-circuit with other wiring.

Without definitive proof, speculation can never be definitive. To the present author there seem to be far too many coincidences consistent with an intentional act, but that does not mean Christine Negroni’s theory as to the cause is certainly wrong.

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