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Dirty Dozen: 12 ways your drone can land you in trouble

Drones are becoming increasingly popular throughout society—being flown by kids with no aviation knowledge at the local park or by experienced pilots conducting complex commercial operations. With this popularity comes an increasing awareness of...

Properly clear of the prop?

by Phillip Zamagias How many times have we been told ‘treat every propeller as if it is live’? Like many things in aviation, years of doing repetitive tasks with no apparent danger can breed a familiarity...

Do not go gentle: the harsh facts of hypoxia

Five months after the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370, authorities believe that a hypoxia event best fits the available evidence for the jetliner with 239 people on board to go missing. In the aftermath of one of...

178 seconds to live—VFR into IMC

Flights operating under visual flight rules (VFR) flying into instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) remains a prominent safety issue, with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau recording 111 occurrences over the last 10 years, investigating 18 serious incidents...

The brace position: what passengers need to know

It seems absurd that something as simple as changing your sitting posture in a vehicle travelling at up to 1200 km/h groundspeed could make a difference to your odds of surviving a crash, but...

No second chances

Why gliding experience makes us safer pilots. Kreisha Ballantyne experiences the seven valuable skills advanced by gliding. Clunk! That’s both the sound of the tug rope leaving the glider and the sound of your brain realising...

Video shows bags delaying evacuation

Passenger video from yesterday’s accident to an Emirates Boeing 777 at Dubai shows something anyone with interest and commitment to aviation safety would rather not see: some passengers reaching for their luggage in an...

Point it, call it, get it right

How Japanese railway theatre could make aviation safer There’s free entertainment on trains in Japan. Ride near the driver’s or conductor’s positions and you can watch them making bold gestures, accompanied by confident and abrupt...

Your one and only: mitigating the risk of engine failure in singles

by Nicholas Stobie Every pilot flying twins remembers the mantra driven into them during their initial training: Maintain Control, Mixture Up, Pitch Up, Power Up, Gear Up, Flap Up, Dead Leg—Dead Engine, Confirm, Identify and...

Safety in mind: Normalisation of deviance

Diane Vaughan is an American sociologist who has spent her career studying organisations where deviations from rules and practices become the norm—often with devastating consequences. Your phone bleeps while you’re driving and you can’t resist...

Travelling safely with batteries

Batteries are used to charge most of our portable electronic devices and pose a unique hazard when flying as they are capable of causing a fire if not transported correctly. This happened in 2014 in...

The Seaview disaster: conscience, culture and complicity

Adrian Park reflects on the grim but important lessons from a watershed crash that happened 20 years ago A little after midday, on Sunday 2 October 1994, an Aero Commander 690 operated by Seaview Air...
Female pilot Tracy Lamb

Women’s work

Evidence suggests women have the right stuff to be safe pilots and engineers. So why aren’t more of them doing it?  ‘… when I think of women on planes, I don’t think of women as...

One thing at a time: a brief history of the checklist

The pilot was known as extremely capable and meticulous, and ‘an officer and gentleman of truly great distinction’. At age 41, he was chief test pilot of the US Army Air Corps and had...

It was almost all over: the destruction of China Airlines flight 120

There is a tangible sense of relief when a large passenger aircraft touches down. The sound of the landing gear reacquainting itself with the earth is indeed a cheery sound—especially when it’s accompanied by...

Safety in mind: Hudson’s culture ladder

When Patrick Hudson emphasises the importance of culture he means more than occasional visits to the opera house or art gallery. Organisational culture and accidents are inextricably linked, Hudson says, and ultimately, the severity...

Without warning: the startle factor

‘#$@! we’re going to crash! This can’t be true! But what’s happening?’ were the last words from pilot David Robert on board Air France flight 447 as it crashed into the Atlantic ocean, in...

Phoney maintenance

by Roger Alder ‘Never, in the history of aviation maintenance, have so many been distracted by so little.’ With apologies to Sir Winston Churchill, who was paying respect to WWII Battle of Britain air aces. The...

New drone has built-in ADS-B

Drone manufacturer DJI has announced its latest model will have a built-in automatic dependant surveillance broadcast (ADS-B) receiver. Due to be released over the coming months, the Matrice 200 (M200) series is marketed on adaptability...

Surprise greeting turned into soggy mess

An embarrassing and potentially dangerous incident (its official classification) in Dubai is a reminder that aviation safety extends to when the aircraft is on the ground. On 20 September 2018 at 10:38 local time, a...