Readers are accustomed to hearing, from time to time, about small plane and large airline accidents in the news, particularly those involving large crowds of people. Such accidents, particularly small plane accidents, occur with relative frequency. Hot air balloon accidents, on the other hand, do not occur as often.
One of the growing trends right now in manufacturing is the so-called Zero Defect movement. In addition to automotive manufacturing, another area where the trend is growing is aircraft manufacturing. The idea, boiled down, is that high quality control needs to be provided on the front end of manufacturing rather than left for post-manufacturing repair and maintenance.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, in response to a court decision which allowed states to set their own standards of care regarding product liability for the aviation industry, is requesting that authority to regulate such matters be given solely to the Federal Aviation Administration, the agency responsible for regulating civil aviation and managing the development of air traffic control.
It may be a little early to start thinking about Christmas, but the movie "A Christmas Story" came to mind recently as we read about a Congressional hearing. Americans of a certain age have a particular fondness for the movie. We either were a Ralphie or knew a kid like Ralphie, the boy who had his heart set on finding a special gift under the tree come Christmas morning: an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifle. No, the adults said, you'll shoot your eye out.
If the in-seat entertainment system acts a little funny the next time you fly, look around for a guy with a laptop. According to the FBI, a passenger on a United Airlines flight claims that he was able to hack the aircraft's entertainment system. The passenger also happens to be a cyber security expert.
There really are people and companies out there that are trying to make air travel more comfortable. Airfares may be unpredictable, on-time arrivals may be rare and free baggage checks may be gone forever, but the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo still manages to find cabin features to celebrate.
Two years ago, while parked at a gate at Logan International Airport in Boston, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire when its lithium-ion battery short circuited. Two weeks later, another battery fire aboard another Dreamliner grabbed national headlines, forcing Boeing to ground its entire fleet for four months and compelling the National Transportation Safety Board to look into the possible design defect.
Because multiple parties may be liable for a single airplane accident, attorneys who handle these cases for crash victims' families must thoroughly investigate the crash and prove to what extent each of the defendants was negligent.
For nearly a week the world has been riveted by day-to-day developments in the Malaysia Airlines crash in the Ukraine. Both the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board are helping with the investigation, alongside investigators from a number of other countries. According to USA Today, the NTSB is contributing its expertise to understanding the information on both black boxes.
By and large, commercial air travel is a safe endeavor. Because of this, it's a big story when something happens that causes the pilots of a jet to initiate an emergency landing. That's exactly what happened on a recent Delta Air Lines flight between Atlanta and Los Angeles: the outside part of the plane's windshield cracked.