Video: A Crash Landing From The Pilot’s Point Of View

Talk about a crash landing. While flying over Cleveland National Forest, Larry E. Hockensmith, a student glider pilot and licensed power pilot of almost 40 years, thought he was going in for a smooth landing. Unfortunately, he didn’t notice the nearby mailbox, which caught the right wing of the sailplane about 8 inches from the tip.

While many would be embarrassed about the guffaw, Hockensmith instead is choosing to own up to his mistake of lingering on the “lee-side of a ridge over rough terrain,” and to make the crash into a learning experience. Not only did his soaring club host a safety meeting where they watched the full 16-minute video and participated in discussions, but Hockensmith also posted the video to the YouTube community, asking them how they thought the differences between the training of a power pilot and glider pilot could have affected the outcome.

“Going into that turn I wanted to make sure I did not stall and added a bit too much airspeed,” Hockensmith explains. “Next time, hitting the spoilers, dropping airspeed and putting the skid down fast might produce a better outcome.”

If you found this interesting, the pilot will be posting more videos on this in the near future. You can click here to follow his YouTube account.

What its like to survive a plane crash – 3 things one passenger learned about life

Have you ever wondered what its like to be in a crashing airplane? The thoughts that would go through your head? While many of us have no doubt experienced troubling turbulence, sitting in your seat as the engines fail and the aircraft careens towards the earth is probably every traveler’s worst nightmare.

In 2009, Us Airways flight 1549 experienced loss of both engines due to a collision with a flock of Canada geese. The crew had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson river. The story was covered extensively, and the heroics and decision making of the crew saved every life on board. Captain Sullenberger and the crew even received the keys to New York City.

This video from TED shows one passenger’s account of the horrifying ordeal that took place in 2009. Narrator Ric Elias was seated in the first row of the flight. In this video, he candidly shares his thought process during the crash and how this moment of terror actually transformed into a gift. He talks about the three things he learned and what it is like to confront death in a plummeting airplane.Link to TED

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]

Indonesian 737 skids off runway, breaks in half

An Indonesian 737 operated by Merpati Nusantara Airlines skidded off of a runway in the eastern Paupa province early yesterday, coming to rest over a canal and subsequently breaking in two right through the fuselage.

Initial reports indicate that the incident was weather related and had nothing to do with the aircraft or its operator.

Miraculously, nobody was killed during the incident although scores were injured. The crash does, however, bring the safety records for many Indonesian carriers back into the limelight, many of which have been recently scrutinized for being below international standard. MSNBC has footage from the crash site below:



Another plane mishap in Africa. This time lava is the problem

If you’ve ever seen a lava flow, you know that once the stuff cools and hardens, it’s hard to move. In the Congo, this has created a big problem at the airport in Goma. Back in 2002, when the Nyiragongo Volcano erupted, lava flowed onto the runway, thus shortening it. A shorter runway does not sound good. It’s not.

Today, this was proved true once more when an airplane flying from Kinshasa to Goma overshot the runway and landed on the lava instead. Ouch! According to the report, 20 people out of the 117 on board were injured.

This is not the first time that lava has created issues at the Goma airport. The last time was in 2007 when a cargo plane caught on fire after it hit the lava. This incidence caused 7 deaths.

As unusual as it is to hit lava on a runway, it’s probably more unusual for a plane to hit a bush pig. The plane hits a bush pig incident happened a week ago on in Zimbabwe. When this pig made it’s last oink, high drama ensued which included a couple of injuries that were caused when passengers fell into a ditch at the side of the runway.

As for the lava on the runway woes, hopefully this latest incident in Goma will help provide incentive to remove the rest of it.

When it comes to bush pigs on runways, pilots in Zimbabwe–and I guess elsewhere where bush pigs roam–are probably keeping their eyes on the lookout.

The photo taken by Julien Harneis from a helicopter shows the lava flow around Goma.