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I'm a pilot obsessed with flying and all things aviation. This podcast series covers more than a century of commercial aviation and how its shaped the world. Aviation is now safer than its ever been, but it took one hundred years of learning and often through accidents and incidents to reduce the risk of flying.
 
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This is episode 24 and comes courtesy of a suggestion by one of my listeners called Russell – surname withheld as he’s an operating commercial pilot. Don’t want to upset the corporation you know. First of all, a big thank you to Russell for the research documents and information provided. This has helped a great deal preparing for this episode.We’r…
 
This is episode 23 and we’re dealing with flying boat accidents. You may be surprised to hear but one accident in particular involving an Imperial Airways flying boat in 1939 set in motion the use of specialised carb heaters for all aircraft. The safety inspector also recommended that all passengers should be instructed in the fastening of lifebelt…
 
This is episode 22 and we’re going to hear more about an accident in the skies over India that was the final push in the drive to deploy traffic collision avoidance systems known as TCAS. Initially we need to go back to the days days of commercial aviation in 1922. Unfortunately the first collision between aircraft took place almost immediately as …
 
This is episode 21 and we’re taking a close look at the Mount Erebus disaster where an Air New Zealand McDonald Douglas DC-10 crashed on 28th November 1979, killing all 257 passengers and crew. At first it looked like straight pilot error - a CFIT or controlled Flight Into Terrain accident. But that would change as inquiries led to court cases.Of a…
 
This is episode 20 and it’s all about helicopters. Thanks first of all to Martin Darlington who hosts History by Hollywood podcast and is a highly experienced helicopter pilot and instructor. He has agreed to help with the more technical aspects of helicopters as we probe two specific accidents and the improved safety that they helped bring about. …
 
It was Australia that initiated the mandatory installation of cockpit voice recorders after an accident in 1960, while we’ll also probe a mid-air collision involving United Airlines and Trans World Airlines aircraft over New York in the same year. That led investigators to call for more information when accidents were being analysed.So let’s find o…
 
This episode we’ll probe the Tenerife disaster on 27 March 1977 which remains the most deadly aviation accident in history. 583 people died when two Boeing 747s collided on the Canary Island of Tenerife - one operated by KLM and the other by Pan Am.This led to a major aviation safety initiative the known as Cockpit Resource Management or CRM which …
 
This episode explores an accident at a time of Covid-19 – which may be too recent to have a direct effect on civil aviation safety and yet the causes appear to be directly linked to poor Cockpit Resource Management otherwise known as crew resource management. It has caused many an incident and accident, unfortunately. The Pakistan crash which took …
 
This episode is fraught because we just don’t know what happened to Malaysian Flight MH370 and many pilots would say any sort of scientific conclusion is going to be a jump to a conclusion. However, I am going to take you through this event again and describe what the likely scenario was on that terrible morning back in 2014. Part of what we do as …
 
This is episode 15 and its all about unusual accidents including one that most likely involved a crocodile. But let’s start with what was called the first ever jetliner crash in 1953.That was an incident involving a de Havilland DH-106 Comet 1A registration CF-CUN operated by Canadian Pacific Airlines at Karachi-Mauripur RAF Station (OPMR) in Pakis…
 
This is episode 14 and I was expecting to continue with the planned series but I’m afraid the world has changed in the last few weeks. Needless to say, if anything has to be done right now, it’s to understand what may happen to commercial aviation in the future. Some airlines are close to bankruptcy, others are being bailed out. Most have cut back …
 
Unfortunately this week we have an example of where safety was improved over the decades – but the growing tension in the world appears to have reversed some of the gains made. This is largely because of trigger-happy military personnel. Most passengers are blissfully unaware of just how close many commercial airliners have come to being shot down …
 
We are deviating from our flight plan – last episode I said we would be covering Ukraine Air flight 752 shot out of the air by Iranian missiles killing all 176 on board.However, there is now a major crisis that has thrown most aviation companies into chaos and its called the Coronavirus. The logic behind this series is to reflect on how crashes imp…
 
This episode covers the terrifying examples of fire on board commercial airliners. One of the first was the Imperial Airways Armstrong Argosy II incident in Dixmude Belgium in 1933 where a fire thought to have been started by a passenger attempting to commit suicide caused the plane to crash killing all 15 on board. It was the deadliest accident at…
 
In this episode we’ll look at in-air breakups of aeroplanes – caused by poor flying, poor design, or poor maintenance and bad weather. In some cases all four of these together. However as with all things aviation, every accident leads to an equal and opposite reaction .. to misquote the great Sir Isaac Newton. That reaction luckily for us, is calle…
 
This week it’s the terrible crashes involving the Boeing 737 MAX 8 – one in October 2018 and the other in March 2019.In both cases an automated trim called the Movement Characteristics Augmentation System is believed to have been behind the accidents.The story is also a shocking failure by the Federal Aviation Authority in managing a crisis, as wel…
 
This episode features an air crash in 1985 is the deadliest single-aircraft plane crash in history where 520 of the 524 passengers and crew died. Remarkably, 4 survived - all women.But this is also a story where the number of survivors could have been higher had the Japanese rescuers hit the ground earlier. As you’ll hear, authorities were alerted …
 
Strap in this week, because its all about lightning.We’re looking at one crash in particular, the Lovettsville Air Disaster which took place on August 31 1940 near the town of Lovettsville in Virginia, the United States.There were 21 passengers and 4 crew on board and all 25 died in the accident, including U.S. Senator Ernest Lundeen from Minnesota…
 
It’s time for that terrible acronym – CFIT – which means Controlled Flight into Terrain. That’s where the pilot is unable to see the terrain for whatever reason, and believes that he or she is higher than they are, or somewhere else, or the equipment on board has failed and altitude readings are wrong. This often happens unfortunately when a let do…
 
I’m your host and pilot, Desmond Latham. Every week we tackle a different area of aviation and this week it’s the history of hijackings. The first ever hijacking of a commercial plane took place on the 16th July 1948. It involved a Catalina Seaplane owned by Cathay Pacific and operated by subsidiary Macau Air Transport Company registered in Hong Ko…
 
This week we’ll feature two accidents from the early 1920s that changed rules. The first is a mid-air collision that took place in April 1922 over Picardie in France, and the second was the response to an investigation into a crash of a passenger plane flying between London and Manchester in England. As we’ll hear, both led to new air regulations a…
 
Every week we delve into the causes and repercussions of plane crashes across the world and how these have led to improved aviation safety over time. This week its the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines MH17 which was hit by a Russian Buk missile (SA-11) while flying at 33 000 feet over the eastern Ukraine in July 2014. While Moscow has denied its…
 
This is the series that tracks air disasters through history and how each has led directly to the safety we almost take for granted every time we climb aboard an airliner.Last week it was the story of the first recognized commercial air crash involving a dirigible over Chicago in July 1919 that killed 13 people, three on board and 10 on the ground.…
 
This series called Plane Crash Diaries is really about how safe aviation has become. This sounds like a contradiction, but its through the experience of more than a century of commercial aviation that experts have been able to build an extremely safe sector in the 21st Century. Decades of improving safety and regulations as well as operating proced…
 
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