Air Crash Investigation

During my entire schooling I grew up watching Discovery & NGC. Air Crash Investigation was one of the programmes that me & my brother used to watch & talk about the most. The gravity in the narrator’s voice, the choice of words, the characters & actors, the melancholy, the sadness, the rage, the mystery & the investigation full of technical details – it had all the required ingredients in perfect proportions to make a great to program. that such that there was a point in time, when NTSB almost became a household name at my home for sure. This is my forever WIP work, and I dedicate this post to my brother, as this reminds me of my childhood days. I’ll post the latest story on the top.

Alaska Airlines Flight 261

We were discussing current affairs & economic impact that today’s news of Capgemini/Nasscom’s prediction, TCS shares buyback & Infosys ceasefire episodes can have. Donald Trump is now officially POTUS and it’s imminent that his policies can jeopardise Indian IT sector. And, TIL that NASSCOM was indeed a lobby and not some IT company as I had previously assumed it to be.

During this discussion, we began talking about various clauses associated with Severance pay (while discussing Rajiv Bansal, Infosys CFO’s exit), suddenly the topic of ‘garden leave’ popped up which also prevents employees from sharing trade secrets. Such was a case with Punit Soni, Ex Chief Product Officer, Flipkart.

And so did another case, of the whistle blower, the employee from Alaska Airlines, who went loud & exposed the company’s nefarious maintenance practices. He wasn’t fired, but his access to office was prevented by putting him on garden leave, where he’d get the salary sans the incentives & allowances.

Aeroflot Flight 593

The most unfortunate of the stories, where challenges related to autopilot, language & demography surfaced as the major reason. One’s conscience will never allow accusing the innocent 12 year old boy Eldar, the pilot’s son, who was playing with the Air Craft’s control column unknowingly disengaged the plane’s autopilot, which did not warn or alert the pilots who were familiar with Russian versions of flights.

Überlingen mid-air collision

Perhaps because of its dramatisation, I felt it to be the second most saddening & melancholic accident, where the Air Traffic Controller crew, who was present on that fateful day, was later murdered, possibly by a victim’s family member. Such sadness.

A slow radar and over trusting human voice over computer generated voice  led to in-air head-on collision between  a Tupolev Tu-154 passenger jet from Bashkirian Airlines Flight 2937, and a DHL Cargo jet, DHL Flight 611, a Boeing 757 cargo jet, on 1 July 2002.

I remember it most for the saddening narration about the broken pearl necklace memorial built in the memory of the passengers who lost their lives that day.

American Airlines Flight 191

American Airlines Flight 191 was a regularly scheduled passenger flight operated by American Airlines from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to Los Angeles International Airport. A McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10 used for this flight on May 25, 1979, crashed moments after takeoff from Chicago. All 258 passengers and 13 crew on board were killed, along with 2 people on the ground. It is the deadliest aviation accident to have occurred in the United States.

Engine number one, on the left wing, separated and flipped over the top of the wing. As the engine separated from the aircraft, it severed hydraulic fluid lines that locked the wing leading edge slats in place.

About three minutes into the flight, at local time 3:27 p.m. EST, the plane struck a flock of Canada geese during its initial standard instrument departure climb out from LaGuardia, just northeast of the George Washington Bridge. The bird strike caused both jet engines to quickly lose power.

As the aircraft lost altitude, the flight deck crew considered attempting to return to LaGuardia or to land at nearby Teterboro Airport, but decided that the plane could not reach either. They turned southbound and glided over the Hudson, finally ditching the airliner off midtown Manhattan near the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, about three minutes after losing power.

US Airways Flight 1549

The entire crew of Flight 1549 was awarded the Master’s Medal of the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators. The award citations read, “This emergency ditching and evacuation, with the loss of no lives, is a heroic and unique aviation achievement.” National Transportation Safety Board member Kitty Higgins described the feat as “the most successful ditching in aviation history.”

This is the story behind the noteworthy movie Sully, starred by Tom Hanks & directed by Clint Eastwood.


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