“60 Minutes” and MH370 No Female Experts! @RadiantPhysics #aviation #airline #MH370 @maryschiavo

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.


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.


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“.


In 1989 the Cargo Hold Door of a Boeing 747 opened midflight ejecting some business class passengers near Honolulu. Believing it could not operate inflight 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. Without definitive proof, speculation can never be definitive.

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

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.

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)


French Air Traffic Controllers

In Air Crashes and Miracle Landings we only just touched on the case of the French air traffic controllers after mentioning an extract on the Internet dated Thursday, January 31, 1980 saying:

“FAA Acts to Remove a Controller”
The Federal Aviation Administration moved yesterday to dismiss an air traffic controller for allegedly tampering with radar data and contributing to the “potential endangerment” of a Soviet airliner being guided to a landing at Kennedy International Airport last January.
The announcement of the FAA action said that “important flight data” on the Soviet plane, a four-jet Ilyushin 62 operated by the airline Aeroflot, had been “deliberately erased” as the aircraft approached Kennedy. Among those on board the plane was the Soviet ambassador to the United States, Anatoly F. Dobrynin.

In pointing out how pivotal to aviation the controllers are and the power they wield, we cited  the 1981 industrial action by US air traffic controllers and the book Collision Course by Prof. Joseph McCartin on the origins of the strike and the aftermath, which led to President Reagan firing eleven thousand controllers.
There were no major accidents while new controllers were engaged and trained following the sacking, though some pro-union people say the crash of Air Florida Flight 90 into the icy Potomac River in January 1982 can be partly attributed to the use of a less qualified controller.

Standing up to air traffic controllers is difficult. The French ones were and are notorious, with the country’s location meaning they can cause wide and costly disruption.

As far back as 1973 an exasperated French government had military personnel take over, but the attempt to defeat the controllers was short-lived, for that very day there was a midair collision at Nantes, near the Atlantic coast, between aircraft of two Spanish airlines.
The controllers’ union mocked the government, saying it proved that they, as they had always claimed, were indispensable.

An article on AirlineGeeks dated March 23, 2018 entitled French Air Traffic Control Goes on Strike…Again  highlights iteresting poing points such as:

Since 2010, air traffic control (ATC) strikes have cost the Eurozone economy nearly 12 billion euros and passengers have faced nearly an entire year’s work of ATC strikes since 2005. Of the 357 ATC strikes since then, 249 were French ATC strikes.

There have been suggestions that other countries’ controllers be allowed to handle overflights during strikes, but moves to introduce that would lead to further strikes–as was the case when attempts were made to rationalise the handling of Eurozone air traffic. 

One problem is that with the French controllers being civil servants the government has some measure of control over them in that that must provide a minimum service. A different regime, say forcing them to declare beforehand how many will be striking–at present flights can be cancelled in anticipation of a strike with them finally turning up–might mean less control than with them being civil servants. The problem seems insoluble and for the time-being President Macron has to deal with the striking railwaymen in support of whom the air traffic controllers came out on strike!


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Restarting our blog with https

In trying move this website to the more secure and increasingly favoured by Google https we lost most of our earlier posts, and notably the one saying how we are going to miss the input of Australian aviation journalist Ben Sandilands who died last October and gave advice for the second edition of Air Crashes and Miracle Landings.

However, as the links on Google are no longer valid it is good to be starting again, and making the change to https now rather than later when there would be much more to lose.

Happened to be in countries when….

I started work on the first edition of Air Crashes and Miracle Landings when  a 747 of the “safest airline” overran the runway at 100 m.p.h at Bangkok in torrential rain. Luckily the rain had made the ground next to the golf  course beyond so soggy that the wheels sank into it slowing the massive aircraft.

By pure chance I happened to be in countries when headline accidents occurred such as the Turkish Airlines DC-10 in Paris that happened on this very day (#OTD) in 1974.

There were others: Two in Japan, namely the “sightseeing” BOAC 707  near Mount Fuji in 1966, and the worst-ever single aircraft accident, JL123, in 1985.

Being in the country at the time, enabled me to pick up on facts mentioned in the local media, making them more real in my book.