AF447 Documentary on More4 TV

 The More4 TV documentary was good as far as it went but did not include contributory factors such as the captain only having had an hour’s sleep the night before, the poor relationship between the two copilots, and the fact that the captain was probably not in his bunk.

These and others are detailed in our account.

Click HERE for Table of Contents

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Why hardly any hosepipe bans in UK?

Why hardly any hosepipe bans?

A ban would reduce the UK water companies income. They seem to prefer to hold off imposing a ban at the risk of having to impose a much stricter one later, or even having to ration supplies.

It was a good call in 2018 for just when an increasing number looked inevitable, the rain came.

Apart from the risk of having impose stricter bans, or even ration supplies, later, this seems fair in that really poor people would not use much more water while the very rich with big gardens and lawns (and water meters?) would pay more, and be able to do so.

Of course this depends on people having meters.

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XL Airways-Air New Zealand Acceptance Flight

In updating Air Crashes and Miracle Landings we added this disastrous test flight because it had so many lessons for pilots and programmers of fly-by-wire systems. The lessons learned most likely saved lives on revenue flights. Extract:

Not All Pilots Can Conduct Air Tests (Off French Med. Coast, 2008)

What was expected to be a mere formality turned to disaster


This highlights the danger of pilots who are not test pilots carrying out tests without defining what constitutes a pass or fail, and the problems a pilot can face on taking over manual control from the computer.

XL Airways Flight 888T, November 27, 2008


Faced with a refusal by the air traffic controller at Bordeaux on the French Atlantic coast to allow them to  engage in test flights in general air traffic, the pilots of the Airbus A320 had cut short their “acceptance flight” and turned back to Perpignan Airport on the Mediterranean. In just under an hour—half the time intended—they had surreptitiously managed to fit all but one of the tests into their flight plan without air traffic control objecting.


Extract continued:

The elevators (operated via the sidestick) could not overcome the combined effect of the pitch trim set at its maximum nose-up and the go‑around thrust of engines set low down under the wings also levering the nose up.

At 15:45:42, after rising enough for the stall warning to stop momentarily, the airspeed had fallen to 40 knots. Two seconds later the maximum values recorded were a pitch of +57 degrees (i.e. exceedingly nose up), and an altitude of 3,788 feet, at which point the aircraft lurched over and careered down into the sea. All on board, including three Air New Zealand engineers and a New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority official in the passenger cabin, were killed.

Only sixty-two seconds had elapsed between the time the stall warning first triggered and the moment the recordings stopped!

The Investigation

This crash was very troubling because a month earlier another Airbus, a Qantas A330, had behaved very bizarrely (see Chapter 17) off the coast of Australia, albeit with the pilot managing to recover. After first suspecting the Air Data Inertial Reference Units as the Qantas A330 investigators had done, the French investigators were able to show the cause was the freezing of the water in the mechanisms of the two angle of attack sensors on the left of the fuselage. A third sensor still working was ignored by the system on the “odd man out” principle.


Click link to —> Table of Contents

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Heathrow Airport Expansion Security Risk?


Even with the best security checks at airports with flights to London’s Heathrow, it would be impossible for not one in hundreds of thousands to miss an explosive device.

Again, aircraft could crash on the city for other reasons.

We are talking about flights continuing for years and years, so the risk though small would be greatly multiplied and significant.

An airport in the Thames Estuary area as suggested by Boris Johnson may one day seem to be a chance regrettably missed. 

The inquiry dismissed the idea out of hand. Admittedly it was not popular with the airlines.

There were other options.

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Seeing MH17 in Perspective

The outpouring of criticism of Russia almost invariably includes mention of the mention of the “dastardly” shooting down over the Ukraine of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in 2014.

Russia was presumably ultimately responsible, whether or not it was their own people who were handling the BUK missile launcher, since they supplied the equipment. Nevertheless, it was obviously a mistake.

The late, and much missed Australian aviation journalist, Ben Sandilands, made the point that though the Ukrainians–keen to get revenue from overflights–said airliners could fly there so long as they kept above 32,000 feet, they should not have been doing so as failure of an engine would mean they would not be able to maintain that height.

To be fair, we should not forget that when the USS Vincennes, a multi-billion-dollar US warship chasing rag-tag gunboats, mistakenly shot down an Iranian Airliner in the Persian Gulf in 1992, the US government obfuscated and muddied the waters to deny responsibility (just like the Russians are doing).

They finally paid out $61.8 million in compensation to discontinue a case brought by Iran against the US in the International Court of Justice in 1989, all the while not admitting responsibility.



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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.  


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
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 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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Kindle Unlimited Preventing Reviews of “Air Crashes and Miracle Landings”

To fight the scourge of fake reviews whereby review factories for a fee submit hundreds of glowing reviews Amazon has made it a rule that reviewers must have purchased the book and have spent $50 at one time or another on the credit card.

This means that we have not been getting the expected reviews in the US since many of our readers use Kindle Unlimited to read our book. This is not a problem for us financially as we get paid according to the number of pages read and it is a long book.

Since our 3-month enrolment period for Kindle Unlimited ends on April 28, and we will wait before renewing it to hopefully get some reviews in the US.

By the way, we were delighted to receive the following review for Air Crashes and Miracle Landings on Amazon UK:

UK Five Star Review
5 out of 5 stars

“The new MacArthur Job has arrived.
4 March 2018
Format: Kindle Edition
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 reviewer added that the only fault he could find apart from a couple of typos was our seeming to question Sullenberger’s flying skills.
As a result we corrected the typos and rewrote the ending of the piece on the “Miracle on The Hudson” (see this blog) as the title with its play on words was liable to be misunderstood.
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Kindle Drop Capitals now possible

I bought a program called KU TOOLs that at a keystroke could remove (but not replace) drop capitals from the printed version of Air Crashes and Miracle Landings before putting it on the Kindle. as they did not work there. There was an expensive program that could do it, but judging from a professionally produced book I read on the Kindle the result was hardly pleasing.

When I recently made  a Kindle file submission test run on getting my book ready for pre-orders I left the drop capitals in and they came out really beautiful. (BTW,  I had set them to drop two lines on the printed version, and the Kindle dropped them three which in view of the smaller size was perfect.)

This is wonderful as I can have the basic book the same for both printed and Kindle versions and not have to update two and risk getting them out of sync.

Note: The interior file I submitted to Amazon Kindle was a “Web Page (filtered) htm, html using Word (Office 365)

Christopher Bartlett (Author/Publisher)


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