Aviation News, Headlines & Alerts
Category: <span>Editorial</span>

Happy 4th of July

Whatever our individual politics, we are one nation, one people, one flag knit of many histories. That may be our greatest weakness, but it is also our greatest strength. Thanks to those who have walked before us. May we all continue to hold our flag high.

Wishing you the happiest 4th of July.
George Hatcher

Remembering September 11, 2011, Long May We Wave

This day we are threatened by nature. Yesterday, the winds of Hurricane Harvey hammered Texas, and tomorrow Irma will be slamming Florida. It is a storm we will weather. We know we will, because we have lived through worse. We must remember this, because today is September tenth. And September 11, 2011 is a date no American can forget, marked as it is by four scars that will never heal. Four hijacked airliners carved the names of nearly three thousand victims into our memories, names written in blood. Three thousand names with more than three thousand families—and that is not even adding the number of injured, the number of rescuers, all losses that destroyed the innocence of our country. We were initiated on that day into a sad new world, scarred by tragedy that turned the sky from blue to red. How could we understand what was going on? The mass murder of our people, the senseless destruction, the planes crashing, buildings burning before our eyes. I’m just an ordinary guy. When it happened, I was bewildered by it all.

On Sept 11, this day, in 2011, Flight 11 and Flight 175 hit the twin towers.

The tragedy was filmed as it happened. We were glued to our screens, helpless, terrorized, mesmerized along with the international audience, the terrible scenes of desperate people making impossible choices: die in the burning towers, or jump to the unforgiving pavement. We cried, but we did not cry alone. The world cried with us.

American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon, 64 aboard the plane and 125 in the impact, all fatalities.

On Flight 93, we saw our people become heroes. We learned of Burnett, Beamer, and Bradshaw, of passengers fighting the hijackers. “Are you guys ready? Let’s roll.” They rolled into history as heroes. How many lives they saved by their actions—an incalculable number—and these were passengers who acted against the hijackers knowing they would lose their own.

Children of today who ride airplanes are accustomed to today’s security protocols. It must be impossible for them to believe that there was a time when we simply walked aboard. There was no threat. But these days are different. We live in a world that irrevocably changed that day. It is a day we can never forget.

We tightened our belts.
We sharpened our defenses.
And we are not alone in this. The whole world is a more vigilant place.

The twin towers were a symbol of our prosperity, a couple of the world’s greatest buildings in one of the world’s greatest cities; and though the towers stand no more, our cities and our country goes on. The Pentagon was rebuilt. A Pennsylvania park commemorates the heroes of Flight 93.

I certainly mourn those who were lost on September 11; and I feel for the families of the injured, as I believe we all do. I may mourn our loss of innocence, but I can also take pride that we stand now, scarred perhaps, but stronger because of what we have survived. We have taken measures to make our world safer, but we can never relax our vigilance. We can never such a thing to happen to us again. On the ashes of the towers, we rebuilt. Some of us are still rebuilding. On the ashes of history, we rise.

Tam, a Letter of Remembrance

Dear Tam Families,
On this day, 7/17/17, I just reread the transcript of TAM flight JJ-3054. I never knew those people aboard that plane, but I knew their families. I remember the families of these lost passengers. I remember your heartbreak and your loss. Ten years have passed. I hope you have had ten years of healing.

On this day, 7/17/2007, TAM flight JJ-3054 flew into history, taking with it all 187 passengers and crew, and twelve people on the ground. Tonight, I wanted to be that good friend who remembers the date, but not the pain. I was there with you, and I remember you were towers of strength, getting through the hardest time of all. What I hope is that time has healed your wounds, and that you can remember the music and joy that filled your loved ones lives. Remember the good things. The love. The laughter. The connection. May you continue to carry with you all the good memories. I share my heartfelt condolences to all the families. I was there with you, then. I am with you now in spirit. I will never forget.

Germanwings Flight 9525. Remember.


Everyone aboard Germanwings Flight 9525 passed away on March 24, 2015.

One hundred fifty fatalities, from infant to senior. Passed away is a soft euphemism, not adequately reflecting the chasm left in those who were left behind. But the memory of those who were lost remains. If nothing else, the memory is an inheritance, even maybe a lesson to families to live in the moment. The families persist, still fighting on behalf of those they lost, for justice and compensation for something that can never truly be replaced. How sad that these lost souls had to travel to that point in place and time to lose their lives on a lonely mountain.

I believe these lost passengers and crew have left a legacy to their families, to be strong and proud and kind.

Strong in the backbone and endurance to brave the next day, knowing that gradually, each day carries a little less pain than the one before.

Proud in that strength of yesterday, today, and the time to come.

Kind in sharing compassion and empathy with the suffering of everyone aboard, everyone left behind, regardless.

I have met so many of these families. Their cause gives my life meaning. I will never forget them, and consider it an honor to fight alongside them for truth, for justice, and for equity.

Coming together to Counter Airport Insecurity

airport baggage scanner

The current state of things requires us to be vigilant anywhere we go these days. I have been thinking of a starting an ongoing conversation regarding safety. I am troubled by Esteban Santiago’s Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport attack on Friday afternoon. Any traveler who puts as many miles as I do on a plane is bound to be as troubled. We should try to find suggestions, and solutions, and speak out.  

Here’s what I’m thinking: Federal laws allow you to check-in handguns, rifles and ammunition.  I’ve been thinking there’s a literal bandaid that would help—a red banner or flag or something that sticks on the luggage that states LEGAL FIREARM INSIDE. As a consequence, if we see this banner on the carousel, we are informed. We know to be vigilant, without having to be vigilante.  

If baggage claim areas have armed guards, that would be another step. They can’t do it all and it will take time to implement.  My banner idea can be implemented immediately.  If individuals are uncomfortable having such a banner, then they should rethink shipping their weapons out ahead of their travel as cargo or something.  

What possible, realistic solutions do you have?

Happy New Year

Dear Friends and Family and 2016,

Best wishes to all.
2016, I must tell you that you were a hectic year, crazy in many ways, with wins and losses, some that cut us deeply, and some that inspired us. You were in all ways unexpected. I must introduce myself. I am no one special, just one among the billions of your survivors. I am not an elected spokesperson. I am just a man with something to say to you. Thanks for the good and the bad; thanks for the memories. You gave us Trump, not my first choice but he is our president now, and we have to support him.
2016, I am sad to confess that in the past three hundred and sixty five days, I did not finish all my work. Not your fault. The wheels of justice roll at their own pace. Three airline cases this year and some older cases too, are unfinished, so they must be part of my baggage moving on, along with everything I learned and loved in 2016. Of course I will look back and try to make sense of you, but I am not writing today to look back. I’m not going to be caught on January 1st facing backward. I am saying goodbye to you, and opening the door to an amazing future. Onward and upward.

Sometimes the passage of time is a little unbelievable. I’ve been writing books set a couple of years back in time, little fictional landscapes in history, mostly in Los Angeles. I began Mario 4, and expect to finish in 2017. It’s a great thing to be able to do, to revisit a familiar time, and play around with it, then to come out of the writing coma, to find myself quite unbelievably on the cusp of 2017, coming up for air with a piece of the mid-sixties like this one to take into next year: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” I have decided that this will be the watchword of my 2017.

2016, as years go, you were exceptional, but it is time to lay you to rest. I will not mourn you, but fill my arms and heart with you to carry on all of your good into the rollercoaster of next year. If my wishes for the future come true, 2017 will be filled to bursting with life and love for everyone, dreams and goals to work toward, and all shadows banished. Every year finds its way.

Good night 2016. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

To my family and friends, colleagues and cohorts, strangers and future friends, may the dream of a better day become reality, and 2017 be the best year we have ever had.

Good morning 2017.

George Hatcher

Thanksgiving Wishes

Thanksgiving table served with turkey, decorated with bright autumn leaves
It is time again for Thanksgiving. In my heart, I feel Thanksgiving every day, perhaps because in my business I am constant touch with families of victims. I work closely with people in all stages of loss. I have to admit, it takes a toll. Even the news of the day takes a toll-the deaths of children abroad in bombings, this bus crash in Tennessee, the latest crash: they all take a piece of me. There are so many times that I can bring hope or help; I can’t help but wish I could always do so. There are so many who have so much. I feel deeply for those who are struggling to get their lives on track, and those who have to scratch for meals wherever they may be.

As this day of Thanksgiving approaches, I extend my condolences to all those who have suffered loss or deprivation. I pray that this season, everyone has everything they need, peace of heart, peace of mind, and tables full of blessings. At the same time, I give thanks for every moment, for my friends, family and health, and all the blessings of those close to me. Have a happy Thanksgiving.

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Remembering AirBlue Flight 202

On July 28, Air Blue Flight 202 crashed in the Margalla Hills north of Islamabad. It was the last flight ever for 146 passengers and six crew. The accident happened during a July rainstorm six years ago, I believe the people aboard should be remembered.

The only survivors were the family members. No one aboard lived.

That means that the families of 152 people have had to learn to live with the memories of their loved ones. Most of them have probably traveled to the memorial to see their loved ones names written in stone. Stone will remember what people may forget.

The accident has been labeled pilot error, but those are just words. Some called the fatal flaw CRM, which is an acronym referring to how well the crew inter-managed resources, i.e. themselves. The final report has been completed and filed and put away.

And the victims are still dead. I could wish for a world of magic reality where the investigation would solve some thing, and somehow put the passengers back in their lives. Or even better, change the events of the past so that the flight never happened.

But magic reality does not exist. All that exists is the truth of what happened, the lessons of the past, and the hope that the aviation industry learned whatever it could to prevent such accidents in the future.

The tragedy is a stain on 2010, and forever a wound in the hearts of the families of those whose lives were pointlessly lost. Families, please know that even if the accident is no longer in the global eye, we are so sorry for your loss. No one can say it better than John Donne:

Any man’s death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Aviation Industry: Time for a Black Box Upgrade

Woodland Hills, CA — (ReleaseWire) — 07/07/2016 –No one is saying that aircraft tracking doesn’t need an overhaul. It does. Examination of plane crash events demands it.

Aviation experts have been asking for pinger battery improvements since a month after the crash of Air France 447 on 1 June 2009, when the pinger battery ran down in July. Air France 447 was not recovered from the ocean floor until May 2011, nearly two years after it was lost. Debris from the accident was recovered in the interim, but if the pinger had been louder, or the battery designed to last longer, then there’s a good chance that the plane would have been discovered sooner. One of the outcomes of this terrible event was a determination to design a pinger system with longer lasting batteries. EASA amended requirements for flight recorders and underwater locating devices in its 2013-26 amendment(RMT.0400 & RMT.0401 (OPS.090(A) & OPS.090(B)) — 20.12.2013) but implementing these requirements takes a prohibitively long time.

Aviation experts have been asking for better tracking technology since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on 8 March 2014 while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, to Beijing Capital International Airport in China. Because this plane departed from its planned route, finding where it came down has been a unique challenge. Inmarsat’s satellite communications network concluded that the flight continued until at least 08:19 and flew south into the southern Indian Ocean. Triangulation of Inmarsat’s satellite communications has been the only credible source searchers depend on to develop the search area.

Aviation experts have been suggesting the blackbox be water-activated (or have water-activated duplicates) with flotation of some kind so the blackbox can be found faster. More recently, aviation experts have wondered about EgyptAir Flight 804 which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea on 19 May 2016. It was known fairly precisely where it came down, and yet salvage and rescue units were unable to be on the scene in time to help any survivors—if survivors there had been. We will never know because no one was there. And while tracking the location of the blackbox fell within the thirty day battery limit, if the technology had more power, it could have been located sooner. Finding the wreckage sooner means less money spent on the search, and a shorter time for the families agonizing over their losses.

So here is what is new: Inmarsat provides SwiftBroadband service for plane’s inflight Wi-Fi on many aircraft. Immarsat is developing a streaming system described as a “blackbox in the cloud.” This streaming system they are working on will allow crucial data to be streamed off a plane on the occasion of specified trigger events like a course deviation or disappearance from radar.

One only need consider a few factors to realize that a cloud-based system is a crucial development that current technology can easily handle. We need only to look at the cost of the search for a missing plane. According to France and Brazil, those two countries spent more than $40 million over two years to recover the black boxes from Air France Flight 447. Bloomberg reported the recovery cost of Air France 447 was $100 million. According to the South China Post, the cost of the (as yet unfound) MH370 will be as much as ten times more than AF447. Like the expense of MH370’s search, the cost of finding EgyptAir Flight 804 is still ongoing.

Even when Inmarsat’s streaming system will be available, the aviation industry is going to be resistant, mostly because it is going to be costly. Is this a cost that we must afford? I think it is.

Let me know your thoughts on this crucial topic at https://twitter.com/GeorgeHatcher

The Ides of Germanwings: One Year Later

There is a time to go about our daily business. There is a time to set everything else aside, and just remember. Now it is time to remember.

Dusseldorf airport set aside a room for German family members of the 72 Germans who lost their lives on Flight 9525.

Today in Barcelona, flags were at half-mast and 149 candles lit as people gathered at Barcelona Airport to recall the victims of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525. On 24 March 2015, one year ago as of tomorrow, Flight 9525 was en route from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it crashed in the French Alps, killing 144 passengers, two pilots, and four cabin crew. The tragedy was engineered by suicidal co-pilot Andreas Lubitz. Family members gathered here, as well as emergency workers and officials.

There were fifty-one Spanish lost in the crash. Four countries (including the US) lost three victims; seven countries lost two victims, and five countries lost one. I hope that all the families, where ever they live, found comfort somewhere.

On Thursday, the victims’ names will be read and remembered; flowers will be left at the Le Vernet cemetery which houses the accident’s unidentified remains. Six hundred Flight 9525 victim’s friends and family will have a commemoration ceremony in Le Vernet village in the French Alps not far from the crash site. Weather prevents a visit to the crash site.

I was in Le Vernet last July when 149 balloons were released. I can’t help but feel that I should be there again to support the families. I have just returned from Barcelona, and barely unpacked my bags. I can only hope that the year of mourning and grieving has been cathartic, and that the families are finding a way to embrace life again.

MH370: Two Years after

Time passes. Shakespeare said “Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

As of today, the mystery of MH370 has gone unsolved for two years.

Better that the tower in Malaysia had been proactive and caught that there was something going on before it flew off course;

Better if maintenance had found the issue, if issue there was;

Better if safety checks had caught an issue, if issue there was;

We don’t have a clue what issue there was.

Hundreds of theories have been developed and discarded. Millions in funds have been spent on the search. Every penny could have been saved if something had been caught in a timely fashion; but whatever it was that we missed, we don’t even know, and won’t know, until the wreckage is found and studied.

The terrible irony with an accident like this one is that more money has been spent on looking for the wreckage than the families will ever receive. And no matter how much compensation there would be, it could never be enough.

Good things may happen as a result of a search, but it is difficult to define them. For example, look at the search for Air France 447 which sparked a rethinking of the black box. After that crash, battery parameters (for pinging) were a result. If only the battery could last as long as the boxes that protect the data from the weight of the ocean.

MH370 went so far afield, following the pinging of the battery never even came into play.

In the search for a lost plane, improvements are small and out of proportion to the loss. At times, it feels the tools we are working with are like spoons where a forklift is needed. The steps we have taken feel like inches in a journey of infinite miles. And that is what we face here. Until the wreckage is found, the journey is infinite. And I believe one day the wreckage will be found. I hope it will be in time to do some good; and that something will be learned from it to prevent similar accidents from happening again.

Check the date on today’s calendar—it is 2 years ago today.

Two years is a random number. It has been two years, and still the plane is just as lost. The people are just as missing. The families are still reeling. We cry out for justice and compassion for the families of who lost loved ones aboard MH370. For the sake of the families, we hope the calendar will not kill the search.

Airblue 202: July 28, 2015

Love letter and rose on wooden background,close up
Love letter and rose on wooden background,close up

Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.

Those are words by another George—the Victorian novelist Mary Anne Evans whose pen name was George Elliot.

“Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.” No truer words were ever spoken. But there are so many dead to remember in the world of plane crashes. In the world of plane crashes, some disasters manage to make it into the spotlight

Like MH370, where more money has been spent on looking for the wreckage than the families will ever receive;
Like MH17 the casualty of a civil war that looks like it might split the world;
Like Germanwings 9525 whose memorial this weekend in the French Alps leaves so fresh a wound, I wonder how the families will ever heal.

Some disasters, big or small, just as tragic, manage to bypass the attention of the world stage. Or people just forget. It is the calendar that calls me to remember this flight, these families, that the world seems to have forgotten. Because it is July 28. The calendar forces me to remember another July 28 back in 2010 when I first heard that Airblue Flight 202, an Airbus 321 with 152 souls aboard, had crashed into the Margalla Hills of Pakistan.

I have heard news that is troubling. That there are families who lost loved ones on Airblue Flight 202 that have still not received compensation. This does not seem just to me, but I am only one man. One man looking at the names of 152 dead, 152 souls whose families, whose lives were abruptly and violently changed. 152 souls multiplied by their families and loved ones. That is a wide reach, a lot of injured hearts and lives.

This is one of those corners of the world I have mentioned before, where life seems to be held cheaply. I grieve for the families‘ loss, the loved ones whose candles were snuffed out, whose birthday songs will never again be sung. Six crew; 119 men. 29 women; 5 children; 2 babies. I say to the victims, the world may have forgotten you. Pakistan, and Airblue may be sweeping you under the rug as if your lives never happened. But you are remembered. Your families have not, and will not forget you. Nor have I.

It is the duty of the living to cry out for justice. So I say this here and now, and hope that someone is listening. Let there be justice and compassion for the families of Airblue202. I never knew you, but I knew some of your families; and on this day of remembrance, this July 28, I will remember you. I will never forget you.


George Hatcher

Final PDF

The Ironic Tragedy of Germanwings Flight 9525


Cockpit door designed to lock trouble out locks in Suicidal Pilot

Pasadena, CA — (ReleaseWire) — 04/02/2015 — As an advocate (not a lawyer) of fair compensation for the victims of plane crashes, I have been closely following the story behind the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 and the now notorious 27-year-old co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz. As is always the case, a team of expert investigators will dig out the facts to determine the most likely scenario behind the crash. That careful investigation will take a year at the very least. In this Germanwings accident, the one factor that stands out already is the role played by the pilot’s state of mind in what appears now to be his deliberate collision course with the French Alps. It is now common knowledge that the plane disintegrated on impact with the Massif des Trois-Évêchés. Imagine how horrified the families were when the transcript of the CVR (Cockpit Voice Recorder) was quickly leaked by tabloids. Journalists have been shouldering each other out of the way to get to the front of the line, “scooping” each with another “leaked” nugget. A girlfriend’s interview. A medical report here. A video there. TV commentators and newspapers from CNN and the venerable New York Times to the most scurrilous tabloids are spouting “the facts” faster than investigators can have gotten to the information. Tweeting the news as I do results in loads of source-checking, and plenty of on-going head-scratching moments while weeding out wild supposition masquerading as news in sources one would normally consider impeccable. When one source says “the plane is blue,” another says “the plane is red.” Sometimes I can determine which is the truth, but sometimes I have to leave it to readers to puzzle out.

I have been working Wrongful Death cases for some forty-seven years now. I am a consultant to attorneys across the globe who represent the families of Wrongful Death victims. Each investigation is exactly the same in terms of the emotional impact of the accident. Devastating. Whether the case may or may not end up in court, whether or not the accident catches the media’s attention, every aspect is always impossibly difficult for the families. Some accidents seem similar because they share a factor, whether it be similar weather conditions, mechanical difficulties, or a particular flaw in a particular model of plane.

Some aviation accidents personify extremes. Consider that while there is always some degree of speculation as to an accident’s cause, MH370 brought as many conspiracy theorists out of the woodwork in this past twelve months as Amelia Earhart’s disappearance has in the past 87 years. Everything seems plausible when people are desperate for an explanation. Because in this age of cell phones and satellites, there is simply no explanation for a plane to vanish, MH370 has become the “poster child” for speculation. I expect MH370 will continue to spawn new theories and will endure as a mystery until, at some point, the wreckage will be found and examined.

If I were comparing MH370 and Germanwings 9525, I could write a whole piece examining the conflict of government transparency vs. individual confidentiality, but that was not my intent today. I was just thinking of aviation safety, and how 9/11 became the catalyst for upgraded multifaceted flight deck security. One outcome of 9/11 is the impregnable, indestructible cockpit door, the brain child of countless engineering hours, security and scientific research. Passengers since 9/11 have flown safe in the knowledge that no intruder could again gain entry to the cockpit and overpower the pilot thanks to redundant enhanced security precautions and a door designed to keep the dangerous people out. Now there’s a cockpit voice recording that appears to show that same safe cockpit door is the barrier that kept the PIC from being able to save everyone aboard. Captain Patrick Sondenheimer died trying to get that door open.

The impregnable cockpit door, the terrible irony of Germanwings Flight 9525.

About Air Crash Consultants

A division of Wrongful Death Consultants, Air Crash Consultants was established to network between lawyers and their clients, bridging the gaps, especially in regard to International clients, freeing and enabling the lawyer to concentrate on higher priority commitments. Air Crash Consultant services might also be designated as an umbrella, because the company’s functions encompass a variety of problem-solving areas in support of the lawyer-client relationship as needed. Services are not limited to finding experts, developing translation teams, client support, document handling, drafting demand letters, client interviews, etc. Visit the company websites at”

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Investigation On for Air Asia Indonesia Airbus A320-200, PK-AXC, flight QZ-8501

It is good to hear the journalists being corrected here, because this incident does not yet seem to resemble the Air France or Malaysia Airlines events. Perhaps the journalists did not closely follow the excruciating Air France 447 search–YEARS spent scouring the Atlantic for the wreckage–long after initial debris and was found. So early in this investigation, journalists should be warning the world that EVERYTHING is speculation at this point.

What is not speculation?

  • The pilots requested to deviate around bad weather, right before contact ceased.
  • The last radio contact was at 06:16 local time.
  • Transponder contact was lost at 06:18 local time.
  • The captain had a total of 20,537 flying hours, 6100 hours of which were for Indonesia Air Asia.
  • The first officer had 2,275 hours with Indonesia Air Asia.
  • The crew was mostly French, so the BEA will be investigating. (Countries which have nationals aboard normally participate in the investigation.) The passengers’ list of nationalities has changed several times but currently the passengers aboard were allocated as follows: 155 Indonesian, 3 S. Korean, 1 Malaysian, 1 French, 1 British and 1 Singaporean. Some may hold multiple citizenships.
  • A number of countries are contributing to the investigation, including Indonesia, Singapore, and the BEA. The USA and Australia have also offered to assist. 12 Indonesian navy ships, five planes, three helicopters and a number of warships were talking part, along with ships and planes from Singapore and Malaysia.
  • Indonesia’s Ministry of Transport published the load sheet. (See below.)

The search is being hindered by weather, visibility and the fact that it is currently night-time. Unlike Air France 447, the plane was being tracked by a local navy base so it was not completely off radar; unlike MH370, the area it seems to have disappeared seems to be known in real time and not hours after the fact. We have not yet heard if the beacon is audible, but IT IS STILL TOO EARLY To MAKE ASSUMPTIONS. Let’s let the investigation tell the story, rather than rampant theorizing. The Java sea where the plane lost contact is shallower than where Malaysia Airlines flight 370 appears to have gone down. Unlike MH370, nothing by INMARSAT is being tracked aboard the missing Airbus.

Let’s wait and see what the investigation finds, and in the meantime, pray for the families of those aboard.

Read More about Air Asia 8501

Compensation after Fifteen Years

I know I’ve said before how cases take a long time. Sometimes they drag on in unexpected ways. Take for example the LAPA case. On August 31 1999 Líneas Aéreas Privadas Argentinas scheduled Flight 3142 (LV-WRZ) to fly Buenos Aires–Córdoba with a hundred and one persons aboard. The twenty-nine year old Boeing 737-204C failed to get in the air because the flight crew forgot to put the flaps in the appropriate position for flight. Instead of shooting into the air, the plane sped through the perimeter fence, across a street, struck a car and collided with a median and machinery on the road.

The accident took sixty-five lives, two of them not even on the plane. Forty aboard were injured, seventeen of them seriously. NTSB records say there were 80 fatalities and 21 minor injuries.

That’s what is widely known. What many do not know is that after the accident, nine families were given the wrong bodies. Those bodies were exhumed, checked, delivered to the correct families, and reburied at the cost of Argentina’s First Chamber of the House. The financial cost associated with all of this was covered. Not the emotional cost.

Three of those families affected will be compensated 100 thousand dollars plus interest.

In my heart of hearts, I do believe no amount of money can ever compensate for the wear and tear on the families due to the mix-up, even if at the time, the hasty mistake was well-meaning (or expedited due to politics.) Can you imagine what the families went through, seeing the resting places disturbed, then having to endure new funerals? It must have been like losing them more than once—refreshing the whole misery of loss a multiple of times. I cannot help but wonder about the families who were not compensated. I wonder if it has been so long that there is no one left to pay.

This can be of no assurance to the families of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. It is further proof that aviation crash cases do take a long time. Tragedy is tragedy. There is no best case scenario in a tragedy.

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Clear and Present Danger

I don’t know if we should blame George Jetson and his hover car commute to work, or Bruce Willis’s talkative flying taxi in The Fifth Element, but the fiction world (or at least the world according to movie directors) predicts a day when flying cars will endure a traffic filled commute identical to gridlock traffic that occurs on rush hour highways. It’s a completely irrational view, given the state of contemporary air traffic control. I don’t see it happening. At least, not until planes or flying cars can defy gravity and manage to hover motionless on demand, the flying car commute to work can’t happen. Not with our current protections. And that’s a good thing. The extra safety measures we have today are essential, because because gravity works. We can only hope our safety measures are adequate, or better than adequate. Just to keep from falling, physics requires that planes have to hurtle through the air at high speed to stay aloft, and require a multitude of safety measures to keep from colliding at all angles. Planes rely on pilots, of course, but also air traffic control, which is supposed to monitor plane trajectory and make certain that planes are miles apart. Commercial planes also have the TCAS (traffic collision avoidance) system which relies on on board transponders that monitor airspace around a plane, in order to avoid airborne collisions.

I have ranted before about the misnomer of the near miss. If two planes nearly collide, they nearly hit. If they almost miss (i.e. near miss), then it must have actually hit. So I dislike the term, because it doesn’t mean what it sounds like it means. I’d be happy to play around with the semantics, though, if it meant we could avoid the actual situation of planes colliding or nearly colliding. It’s a crucial thing to consider, especially since there were two near air collisions plus a collision a couple of weeks ago.

One (nearly) happened when a United Airlines San Francisco-Newark flight (155 passengers and six crew), and a Newark-Memphis ExpressJet (47 passengers and three crew) flew within 200 feet laterally and 400 feet vertically. The Expressjet was taking off; and the United pilot was ordered to abort their landing, and circle the airport but instead chose to land the plane.

The preliminary report for the United flight says that “on Thursday, April 24, 2014, about 1503 eastern daylight time, a near midair collision occurred at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Newark, New Jersey, when an Embraer ERJ145, departing EWR runway 4R for Memphis, Tennessee, passed in close proximity to a Boeing 737-800 arriving from San Francisco, California, intending to land on runway 29. Both aircraft were on regularly scheduled 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 passenger flights and under control of EWR airport traffic control tower (ATCT) at the time of the incident. There was no damage reported to either aircraft, or any injuries to passengers or crew.

The B737 contacted the EWR tower on the Bridge Visual approach to runway 29. The local controller instructed the pilot to follow a B717 ahead, and cleared the pilot to land on runway 29. When the B717 was on short final, the local controller instructed the ERJ145 pilot to line up and wait on runway 4R. After the B717 crossed runway 4R, the local controller cleared the ERJ145 for takeoff. At that time, the B737 was about three miles from the runway 29 threshold. The ERJ145 did not actually begin its takeoff roll until the B737 was about 1 mile from the runway 29 threshold. The local controller recognized that the spacing was insufficient and instructed the B737 to go around. He provided traffic advisories to both the B737 and the ERJ145 pilots and instructed the ERJ145 pilot to maintain visual separation from the B737. The ERJ145 pilot responded that he was going to keep the aircraft’s nose down. The B737 overflew the ERJ145 at the intersection of runways 29/4R.

According to recorded Federal Aviation Administration radar data, the closest lateral and vertical proximity was approximately 0.03 miles and 400 feet.

The preliminary report for the ExpressJet flight says that “On Thursday, April 24, 2014, about 1503 eastern daylight time, a near midair collision occurred at Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Newark, New Jersey, when an Embraer ERJ145, departing EWR runway 4R for Memphis, Tennessee, passed in close proximity to a Boeing 737-800 arriving from San Francisco, California, intending to land on runway 29. Both aircraft were on regularly scheduled 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 passenger flights and under control of EWR airport traffic control tower (ATCT) at the time of the incident. There was no damage reported to either aircraft, or any injuries to passengers or crew.

The B737 contacted the EWR tower on the Bridge Visual approach to runway 29. The local controller instructed the pilot to follow a B717 ahead, and cleared the pilot to land on runway 29. When the B717 was on short final, the local controller instructed the ERJ145 pilot to line up and wait on runway 4R. After the B717 crossed runway 4R, the local controller cleared the ERJ145 for takeoff. At that time, the B737 was about three miles from the runway 29 threshold. The ERJ145 did not actually begin its takeoff roll until the B737 was about 1 mile from the runway 29 threshold. The local controller recognized that the spacing was insufficient and instructed the B737 to go around. He provided traffic advisories to both the B737 and the ERJ145 pilots and instructed the ERJ145 pilot to maintain visual separation from the B737. The ERJ145 pilot responded that he was going to keep the aircraft’s nose down. The B737 overflew the ERJ145 at the intersection of runways 29/4R.

According to recorded Federal Aviation Administration radar data, the closest lateral and vertical proximity was approximately 0.03 miles and 400 feet.

A second close call occurred outside of Hawaii; but the preliminary reports have not been posted yet. Proximity between United Airlines Kona-Los Angeles Flight 1205 and a westbound US Airways Jet initiated a TCAS alert on the United flight. The Los Angeles-bound United pilot took evasive action and made a steep dive to avoid a collision. TCAS (and the alert pilot) saved the day, after what appears to have been an air traffic control error on the ground in Honolulu.

All four of the planes were better off than the two planes that collided on April 27, in Port Richmond, resulting in one fatality and two injuries. A Cessna and a Hawker collided in midair over San Pablo Bay north of Brother Island off Richmond, California. The Sea Fury landed at Ione, California, and the Cessna impacted the waters of San Pablo Bay. Two occupants aboard the Sea Fury were uninjured.

The preliminary report for the Cessna indicates that a couple of days after that near accident, a collision occurred. On April 27, 2014, about 1606 Pacific daylight time, a Cessna 210E, N4962U, and a Hawker Sea Fury, N20SF, collided in flight near Port Richmond, California. Sanders Aircraft, Inc., was operating both airplanes under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 91. The private pilot in the Cessna sustained fatal injuries; the commercial pilot and one passenger in the Sea Fury were not injured. The Cessna was destroyed during the accident sequence, and the Sea Fury sustained substantial damage to the empennage. Both cross-country personal flights departed Half Moon Bay, California; the Sea Fury departed about 1530 and the Cessna departed at an unknown time. Both airplanes were en route to Eagle’s Nest Airport, Ione, California. Visual meteorological conditions (VMC) prevailed, and no flight plans had been filed.

The National Transportation Safety Board investigator-in-charge (IIC) interviewed the Sea Fury pilot. The Sea Fury pilot stated the he and the Cessna pilot had flown their airplanes to Half Moon Bay to display them at an open house for the airport.

The pilot reported that after departure, he flew over the airport, and rendezvoused with a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza for a photo shoot over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. They flew several 360-degree patterns over the bridge, completed their photo work, and he set his course for the return to Ione.

While en route the Sea Fury pilot broadcast on a common frequency, and the Cessna pilot responded with his position. The Sea Fury pilot made visual contact with the Cessna, which was ahead and to his left. He broadcast to the Cessna pilot that he would pass low and to the left. The Cessna pilot responded that it would be a good picture. The Sea Fury pilot replied that probably not due to the speed differential; the Sea Fury airspeed was about 200 miles per hour. The Sea Fury pilot proceeded on a path that he thought would allow adequate separation; however, as he was passing the Cessna, he felt and heard a thump and he realized that the two airplanes had collided. He pulled up and looked over his shoulder and he observed the Cessna inverted and going down.

The Sea Fury pilot stated that he concentrated on flying his airplane, and initiated a climb, and conducted a controllability check to determine that he could control the airplane in the current configuration. He wanted to avoid populated areas, so he continued toward his home airport. While en route he contacted company personnel, who decided to fly another company airplane to meet and examine the Sea Fury’s condition. The Sea Fury pilot lowered the landing gear, and did a controllability check to include turns. He lowered the flaps, and repeated the testing. He reduced airspeed to a landing compatible speed of 130 mph, and checked controllability again. Determining that he had adequate control to land, he made a full stop landing at his home airport.

The Sea Fury is silver in color and the Cessna has blue wingtips with blue paint on the leading edge of both wings, on top of the cowling, and along the sides of the fuselage.

During the postaccident examination of the Sea Fury it was noted that the top remaining portion of the vertical stabilizer was crushed aft and down with blue paint transfer marks on the aft portion of the remaining metal. The operator reported that the missing vertical stabilizer section was about 12 inches long. The rudder had crush damage. The right elevator separated outboard of the middle hinge and about 3 feet of the elevator was missing. About 3 feet of the outboard section of the right horizontal stabilizer was missing. The outboard fracture surface was jagged and angular, and the upper surface had crushed inboard in an accordion fashion. Blue paint transfer marks and scratches were observed on the upper surface and within the folds of the metal.

The Cessna descended into San Pablo Bay, and the wreckage was retrieved on April 30. The recovered wreckage consisted of the fuselage and the engine. The left wing was not located. The propeller separated from the crankshaft, and was not located.

A similar report for the Hawker has also been published.

Flight has become commonplace, but we can not take it for granted.

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Sara Bajc on MH370, plus some thoughts on conspiracy theories

Sara Bajc, partner of Philip Wood, a passenger who is presumed lost on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, does not believe believe that #MH370 crashed and is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean. She believes the plane is intact because there have been no bodies, no wreckage, no black boxes found and published in the media.

This isn’t news. It is one woman’s opinion. Probably the opinion of many family members of those aboard the plane. And why not? If I had someone lost aboard a missing plane, I too would probably support any kind of theory that kept hope of their survival alive. Can’t put a price on hope.


What if there were a cockpit fire that emitted toxic smoke and destroyed electronics?

What if someone shot down the plane?

What if someone used some new Sci-Fi-like weapon?

What if Malaysia did track the plane on March 8 as this tabloid says?

What if the UK firm Inmarsat tracking is wrong? What if it is right?

I’ve written enough fiction (and lived in spitting distance of Hollywood’s crazy cereal of fruits, nuts and flakes) to know that the marriage of “what if” and a couple of rational-sounding factoids can birth everything from a practically real-life scenario to wildly impossible science-fiction-fantasy voodoo whacko-crazy delights. So there you have it.

You know what I believe? No one has the answers. Until someone is standing in front of me with proof, in my not-so-secret heart of hearts published in full naked glory out here on the internet, I will believe that anyone who says they think they know…is paranoid.

Now…how can I fit all of this into a tweet?

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How to Freeze, Suffocate, or Brain Damage Yourself; Or Terror at 38,000 Feet

Everyone following Aviation News by now has already heard of the sixteen-year-old boy who rode stowaway in the wheel well of a 767 from California to Kahului Airport in Maui Hawaii, surviving impossible conditions of 38,000 feet. Surviving outside of a plane is nothing short of a miracle. Conditions outside of a plane in flight are sub-human, making suffocation a certainty; and if one somehow were to manage the lack of air, then the trick would be surviving freezing conditions and decompression sickness. Hypoxia is almost a certainty at -80 degrees Fahrenheit, with no air.

Most people who attempt such a feat end up frozen solid, or fall off. Plus, should I not mention that an emotional sixteen year old who ran away from home should not be able to breach airport security;

Should not be able to survive the trip;and after he did, the story

… should not be publicized in such a way that future idiots be inspired to follow in his idiocy. Newscasters may as well have posted an invitation to every idiot, prankster, and t-word in town.

So all you stupids inspired to save yourself the cost of a plane ticket, if you are inspired to sneak on to a wheel well because you have a winter coat, and think you’re invincible, the truth is that this is how idiots die.

In George’s Point of View

Of course, the story is the breach of security not that the kid survived. Obviously in a real-life kind of way, it’s good the boy survived. Obviously in a real-life kind of way it is horrible and stupid that his survival is now going to be an idiot’s guide. But now let’s talk about what happened here.

Security failed so many times and so many ways that it boggles the mind. The perimeter of the airport should not have been breached; the security of the plane should not have been breached; and on arrival, the boy should immediately have been discovered. At least the ground crew did eventually find the boy “wandering the tarmac, dazed and confused.” But then the news got ahold of the story and made it global. Good job, news people.

In an interview at San Jose airport the spokesperson there said that no security is 100 percent fool proof.

I disagree. Airport security, access to planes, especially those planes ready to board passengers and take off must be fool-proof.

There are just too many fools out there.

TSA security checks at airport are tedious and essential. Security cannot afford to have one single gun or nut job to get through their security wall, not a single one.

Someone in California PLUS someone in Hawaii failed to do their job. Multiple someones. Aren’t security checks deliberately redundant? Surely someone at Hawaiian Airlines failed in a last-minute maintenance and/or security walk-around.

I do find it ludicrous that all of these security experts and specialists interviewed for news programs about this security breach, industry professionals like the grounds operations coordinator at O’Hare, essentially post detailed “how to” instructions to climbing inside a wheel well.

This is a wake-up call to security teams to plug the holes in their process, just as it is a wake—up call for idiots looking to die at 38,000 feet. Let’s hope the next one who tries this blunders into a security hole that has been filled with a smart security operative with some inescapable handcuffs in his pocket. Then let’s see how the news covers it.


In the middle of winter, in the midst of trouble, at the height of darkness, sometimes it is so hard to believe that Spring will come again.

And look. It’s here.

Spring in the U.S. It’s magic together. It’s magic alone. Nature dressed in her prettiest clothes. From melting snow to new leaves, every blade of grass, buds blooming, life renewing.

All that hope, and renewal, and new life, bubbling under the hard crust of winter, reaching for the sun. Gotta love it.

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When Lady Luck Turns Away

Incidents and Accidents.

Behind every accident, there are many incidents. Accidents may be defined as involving fatalities and incidents as those many smaller events seemingly unconnected from any others. The importance of incidents has gotten little respect but for two obscure references. The industry recognized Heinrich Pyramid says “…. for every accident that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 accidents that cause no injuries.”

A 2005 Rand Report drawing attention to NTSB databases said “…(there is) poor control of information, part of resolving more complex accidents depends upon a thorough knowledge of prior incidents, the number of major airline incidents the FAA reported in 1997 was ten times the number of major accidents, (there is) neither oversight nor an emphasis on accuracy in the collection and maintenance of NTSB records, as a result, the accuracy of most of the NTSB data sources was rated as “poor” and although the NTSB does examine a significant number of major incidents, only a small portion of the NTSB’s aviation resources are focused on incident events.”

Rand report Link >

See page 38 –40.

Key Public Databases – NTSB and FAA. Gaps Compromising Safety Assessments.

The NTSB’s most public source of records is the accident/incident database.

It is cited in the FAA Accident/Incident Data System (AIDS), Airworthiness Directives (ADs), risk/analysis studies, and in DOT/GAO Reports to congress.

In my various surveys along major safety issues (uncontained engine explosions, un-commanded rudder movements, shutdowns due to engine main bearing failures, or smoke/fire incidents, the NTSB data contains about 20 % of what is found in SDR data or other counterpart investigative agencies.

Gaps in NTSB data are further compounded by similar gaps in SDR data. From
1992 to 2002 four NTSB Safety Reccommendation Letters and the GAO had complained of such gaps. In 2010 and regarding data on windshield fires, an article said the “FAA said it was aware of 11 cases of fires in the planes over the past 20 years. However, Boeing has said it is aware of 29 incidents involving fire or smoke over the past eight years.’ Source link >
http://www.news24.com/World/News/FAA-orders-Boeing-inspection-20100710 – bottom of article.

1994. In 1994, The Department of Transportation Inspector General reported that between “46 and 98 percent of the data fields of inflight ‘service difficulty’ records are missing data.” From GAO/AIMD-95-27. 02/08/95. Data
Problems Threaten FAA Strides on Safety Analysis
Source Link >

From the House Hearing Electrical Safety. (Ref report 106-112, Thursday, October 5, 2000, Testimony of Alexis M. Stefani, assistant IG for auditing), said; “Third, of most concern to us is the health of this SDR system, itself. While the new rule (coding for wire issues) was intended to improve the data in the system, FAA must also insure that the reports that are provided to it are timely, and follow the guidance. We found, however, that the SDR system is not robust, and over the years, it has suffered from budget cuts with staffing going from twelve full-time to three full-time people. Weakness in this system reduces the reliability and usefulness of the data, and can impact FAA’s ability to do trend analysis.”
Source Link >
Page 47

From a June 8, 2006 U.S./Europe International Aviation Safety Conference, FAA’s Flight Standards Service, Jim Ballough.spoke of “FAA’s growing concern over numerous reports of smoke/fumes in cockpit/cabin and that FAA data analysis indicates numerous events not being reported.” Source Link >
http://www.faa.gov/news/conferences/2006_us_europe_conference/ See ‘Presentation
’ by Jim Ballough.
650 Records Of “Smoke In The Cockpit” A Lack of Concern.

Gary Stoller at USA Today did a good piece on “smoke in the cockpit”
reports. Of some 650 records, the FAA/NTSB has but a fraction. The story highlights included; (that the) “issue happens roughly four times a month.

Some experts say the problem is under-reported. FAA says there is “no safety benefit” to requiring systems to remove cockpit smoke. Smoke in a plane’s cockpit from electrical or other failures is reported an average of four times each month, a USA TODAY analysis finds.” Further that “In-flight fires left unattended “may lead to catastrophic failure and have resulted in the complete loss of airplanes,” the FAA warned. A flight crew “may have as few as 15-20 minutes to get an aircraft on the ground if the crew allows a hidden fire to progress without intervention.” USA Today

Source http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/30/cockpit-smoke-airline-faa/3316429/

33 records Of Insulation Blankets Fires. – How They Start.

From my catalog of 78 Records of fire from 1983 to 2012 sourced from the NTSB, AAIB (Danish & UK), French BEA, FAA’s SDR databases, and a few media reports of records of accidents and incidents of fire. There is no central repository. There are 33 records where acoustic insulation (blankets) were specifically mentioned are listed. The issues of self-igniting and flammable wire insulations and of flammable blankets were now are co-mingled.

Three modes of ignition are seen here: wire shorting/arcing, molten metal sprayed from faulting electrical relays and heating tapes. Most reports lack necessary detail, but seven incidents were seen from wires shorting/arcing.
Some involved only a few wires; one powering coal closet lights. Molten Metal (spatter) comprised another 8. More importantly, within those reports were references to another 19 (but without details) and that the NTSB said; the relays involved were not “substantially different from the receptacles used on other transport-category airplanes.”

Ignition from faulting heating tapes/ribbons was seen in another 4 reports – but there were more. In a November 14, 2002 Letter to the FAA, the Canadian Transport Safety Board (TSB) advised that; “heater ribbons are used extensively in transport category aircraft, including Boeing 707, 727, 737, 747, 757 and 767 series and Boeing (Douglas) DC-9, DC-10, and MD-11 aircraft. ” From a TSB report of such fires on 747s and a 767, four other reports were disclosed. The TSB added; “The standard Boeing 767 incorporates 26 heater ribbons. Between June 1985 and June 2002, operators of Boeing aircraft made a total of 67 reports to Boeing of heater ribbon failures where thermal degradation was evident.” From one Delta MD-88 fire in 1999, the NTSB said; “DAL conducted a fleet wide examination of their MD-88/MD-90 fleet to ascertain the condition of their static port heaters. Eight heaters were found with evidence of thermal damage on their wires and or connectors.” There are 8 ADs, and 24 additional SDRs describing burn marks or fire damage. (ref King Survey ‘History Heater Blanket/Tape Fires’.)

In 2002, the FAA concluded that “in-flight Fires In Hidden Areas are a risk to aviation safety – most hidden fires are caused by electrical problems – non-compliance with Safety Regulations have been uncovered. Fire safety problems and improvements are in various stages of correction and study” and that “it is impossible to predict the relative risk of serious fires occurring in Hidden Areas or Locations”. Source Link >

Dense, Continuous Smoke in the Cockpit.

In June 2013 a GAO Report to Congress cited but one record of ‘Dense, Continuous Smoke in the Cockpit’ (in 1973). The input came from the NTSB and the FAA. Contrary to that, a Specialist Paper by the Royal Aeronautical Society detailed seven. Only two were in the NTSB databases – but with no mention of ‘continuous smoke.’

Links > GAO-13-551R, Jun 4, 2013. FAA Oversight of Procedures and Technologies to Prevent and Mitigate the Effects of Dense, Continuous Smoke in the Cockpit.

Link > Royal Aeronautical Society – Smoke, Fire and Fumes in Transport Aircraft. Second Edition 2013, Part 1, Past History, Current Risk, And Recommended Mitigations. A Specialist Paper prepared by the Flight
Operations Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society. March 2013


In Lady Luck We Trust ? – Those ‘Lucky’ Ground Incidents.
Often heard whenever the safety of our air transportation system is questioned is that we have an enviable safety record due to the industry, the FAA and the NTSB’s efforts. That is true if only actual deaths are counted.

This boiler-plate response comes whenever issues of safety are raised, but something else is left unspoken: its conditional nature. It includes just the U.S. carriers, and is based on the records kept. However, there have been no less than 6 events where fires occurred on the ground and caused significant damage, or loss of the airframes. Fire departments intervened in five.

What if, instead, over 900 lives had been lost over the past 12 years ?
For example:

(1) Aug 8, 2000, AirTran DC-9-32 – fire and blistering of aircraft skin, 63 on board.

(2) Nov 29, 2000, a DC-9-32 by AirTran (97 on board).

(3) Same Day, Nov 29, 2000, a DC-9-82, American Airlines (66 on board) ,
blankets burned, emergency evacuation on taxiways – 97 on board”.

(4) June 28, 2008, ABX 767 freighter burned through the fuselage and was destroyed at the gate, (“The risk of an in-flight fire and the propagation of a fire in those areas is essentially the same whether the airplane is equipped to fly passengers or cargo” says the FAA). Approximate 767 capacity is 190 people.

(5) July 29 2011, Egypt Air 777, fire erupted and burned a cockpit-widow
sized hole through the fuselage. Emergency services put the fire out – 291 passengers were evacuated.

(6) On October 14, 2012, a Corendon Airlines 737-800 had “substantial damage” from fire in the cockpit on the gate. 196 on board were evacuated. Had these fires broken at altitude or during the trans-oceanic crossing, all on board may have been lost.

For the sum each of these fires found in the NTSB’s accident/incident database, over 900 lives were not lost. A more honest assessment and the credit for this remarkable safety record of no fatalities was not the FAA and industry abilities to manage and ‘mitigate risks’ – but rather the kindness of Lady Luck. But what can happen when lady Luck turns away ?

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A word to #MH370 Families on the limitation of words

In George’s Point of View

A word to the families on the limitation of words.

Pain has an end, but love interrupted has no end.

If I could hold your hand, I would. Physics won’t let me reach through the page to hold your hand. I can not reach though the screen. I cannot whisper in the ear of all the families that I am here for you, even though here means a world away.

If there is a time for all things, then now is the time to cry. Cry till all the tears are gone; then tomorrow there will be one less tear to cry, and the following day, one less. Until nothing is left but the rainbow of memory.

The outpouring of empathy crosses nations. All the others who have known loss are sharing your grief. Grief is not one of those weights reduced by the number of shoulders bearing it. There is no way out from under grief—the only cure is living through it into the time of healing. So whatever it takes to choose life, let the healing begin. I know these words are less consolation than a kind touch, less than someone sitting beside you, holding your hand, providing a shoulder, an ear, a heart. You need not be desolate, alone, circling in on yourself. Mend what can be mended. When you need to speak, offer an ear. When you need help, offer a hand. Remember, this too shall pass. Remember what was good and celebrate it. Remember what was real, and let all else fall away. Let your heart be lifted. Let it be lighter from this moment on.

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Jamaica Vows to Adopt International Standards for Aviation Safety and Security

The Jamaican Government plans to spend US$ 22 Million to upgrade its aviation safety and security infrastructure to bring it up to par with the international standards.

In an interview, Director General Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority Leroy Lindsay said that Jamaica is fully complying with the best practices and standards set by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

He further said that Jamaica has improved by 10 percent from its ranking which was 30 percent in 2007, in terms of compliance requirements. Jamaican authorities are taking serious steps to comply with the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation. He hoped that Jamaica will top in the Caribbean countries in maintaining high standards of performance in aviation.

He disclosed that Jamaica will replace all outdated technology in two to three years in the air navigation services and they are planning to have Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) equipment to monitor satellite surveillance of aircraft by 2017.

He hoped to have Controller Pilot Data Link Communications in place by 2017. This technology is used for automatic communication between the aircraft and the air traffic control systems.

Lindsay further mentioned that they have already called bids for replacement of outdated radar at 26 sites.

Jamaican authorities are adopting environment-friendly measures for airspace in line with the Priority Based Navigation in the ICAO Global Navigation Plan, including Continuous Descent Approach (CDA), and Continuous Climb Operations (CCO).

In George’s Point of View

This announcement of Jamaica’s update is, in my opinion, a timely gesture, especially considered in terms of the recent events concerning Malaysia Airlines flight 370, the instant recognition code for which across the internet has been #MH370. The tragic and mysterious disappearance of Flight 370 is one many people believe would not have happened if there had been streaming data technology in place that would have relayed the plane’s details even when the transponder was shut off. Jamaica’s move toward “Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast” equipment in 2017 is one that that should be in development universally and internationally. We believe that one day the ICAO will have revised standards of online data streaming, perhaps even by 2017; and that this upgrade of Jamaica, while in compliance with current not future standards, is a step in the right direction.

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