Video: Plane Hits Car In Texas

In perhaps the biggest “oops” of the year, the driver of an SUV failed to see a stop sign, and collided with a small aircraft at the Northwest Regional Airport, near Dallas. WFAA news reports that only minor injuries were sustained by the passenger of the vehicle, as the plane’s landing gear clipped its roof. Pilot William Davis was completing his first solo flight, and his wife happened to be filming his landing when she captured the collision. For his part, Davis says he’ll never fly a plane again, after this near miss.

Apparently, a private road crosses the north end of the landing strip. The only indication to drivers that there’s potential risk of decapitation by landing gear is a faded “STOP” painted on the asphalt. Frank Laudo, driver of the SUV, says he didn’t see it. You’ll be inclined to believe him after you watch this video.


Search for Air France 447 to resume

air france 447 searchFrench air accident investigators announced yesterday that search teams will return to a remote region of the Atlantic to resume the search for Air France Flight 447 in early 2011. Officials from the airline and the investigative agency recently met with families of the passengers on board that flight, who urged them to continue the search for the missing plane. Those families have lingering questions about what happened to their loved ones and why the plane went down under mysterious circumstances.

On June 1st, 2009, Flight 447 took off from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on a trip to Paris, France. While crossing the Atlantic Ocean, the Airbus A330-200 encountered stormy weather and was never heard from again. There were 228 passengers on board at the time of the crash. The planes two flight recorders have never been recovered and little wreckage was ever found either.

This will be the fourth search team sent to the region where the plane is believed to have gone down. Previous searches have garnered few results in part because of the remote nature of the crash site. It will take two to four days by ship just to get to the location where the plane is believed to have gone down. Past searches have been hampered by underwater mountains, deep trenches, and thousands of miles of ocean.

The search is scheduled to resume in February of next year with investigators hoping to not only discover the wreckage, but also solve the mystery of why the plane crashed in the first place.

[Photo credit: Pawel Kierzkowski via WikiMedia]

Plane crash caused by crocodile?

Any time I fly an African carrier my friends get worried. While some have good safety records like the ten safest airlines in Africa, others show an abysmal lack of basic care. Such was the case of the ill-fated Filair flight on August 25 that crashed into a house as it approached Bandundu city airport in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Twenty people were killed. Authorities claimed the airplane ran out of fuel, but the company said it was a technical problem.

The lone survivor of the crash tells a different tale, Juene Afrique reports. The unnamed survivor says a crocodile slipped out of a sports bag someone had brought as a carry on. The passengers panicked and rushed to the front of the plane, causing a weight imbalance that put the aircraft into a nosedive. The crocodile reportedly survived the crash only to be killed by a machete-wielding local when it emerged from the wreckage.

Whether this is true are not is hard to say. Juene Afrique is a respected news source, but eyewitness testimony can be unreliable, especially when it’s anonymous. The plane was a Soviet-era Let-410 like the one shown here. It only seats 19 passengers so it’s small enough that if everyone ran to one end it would have weight balance issues. Plus the pilot reportedly complained it was in bad condition. Congolese company Filair is one of many airlines banned from flying into the European Union thanks to its poor track record.

Yet if the crocodile tale is true it wouldn’t be one of a kind. An eerily similar incident of a crocodile in a plane happened on an EgyptAir flight last year. Luckily nobody was hurt that time.

[Image courtesy Mottld via Wikimedia Commons. Note that this is not a Filair plane but a Russian carrier]

Turbulence hurts: leading cause of in-flight injury

If you aren’t splattered in a fatal crash, you’re most likely to be injured by severe turbulence. Don’t get shaken up by this, though, odds are the biggest risk you’ll face is a middle seat sandwiched by garlic-eater and a heavy talker (choose which way you want to read that one). While you can’t be saved from the people around you, you can protect our body from a bouncing plane: put on your seatbelt.

The discussion of people getting smacked around in flight on a plane has arisen (again) because of the 21 people injured on United Flight 967 because of severe turbulence. According to USA Today:

Some passengers were tossed around the plane like dolls, passenger Kaoma Bechaz, 19, told The Denver Post. One woman’s head struck the side of the cabin, leaving a crack above the window, and a girl was flung against the ceiling, Bechaz said.

Last year, according to data from the NTSB, 15 of the 22 people seriously injured on flights in 2009 (e.g., broken bones) had turbulence to blame.

Flight attendants, of course, are at greater risk, given that they are more mobile in flight than passengers. Sixty-two percent of serious injuries were experienced by flight attendants, according to an FAA study.

Are you feeling sufficiently alarmed? Yeah, it’s not worth getting upset about. But if you’re wearing a helmet on your next flight, we’ll know why.

[photo by mockstar via Flickr]

Survival guide app

No one likes to think of the bad things that could happen on a trip. But what would you do if you survived a plane crash, were caught in a terrorist attack, or encountered a tsunami while on vacation? Well wonder no more iphone users. The SAS Survival Guide has been around in book form for over twenty years but now there’s an app.

John “Lofty” Wiseman spent years as a soldier and instructor for the SAS, an elite British fighting unit. In the app, Lofty guides the reader through a myriad of nightmare scenarios. Stranded atop an icy mountain? Covered. Need to know what local plants are edible? Check. Stuck in a forest fire with no obvious escape? No worries. The guide provides detailed information on all these would-be disasters. The app will cost $6.99 at itunes and is compatible with the ipad and ipod touch as well.

Although the guide is a great read, and the bulit-in survival quiz is fun for parties and around the campfire, the practicality of using it on-demand in some of these situations is questionable. For instance, if your plane were to crash land in the ocean your cell phone would be wet and useless. Then what? You are stranded on a mountaintop in the Himalaya and your phone runs out of battery. Tough luck. To get the most out of the guide read it before the disaster strikes.

The app holds interest by utilizing several interactive features including the survival quiz, an instructional video, and even a morse code feature that will turn your iphone into a beeping/flashing communicator. These make it fun for the user to learn a bit more about surviving if and when disaster strikes. That can’t be a bad thing when the shit hits the fan.