Thousands of people flew Allegiant last year thinking their planes wouldn’t fail in the air. They were wrong. All major airlines break down once in awhile. But none of them break down in midair more often than Allegiant. A Tampa Bay Times investigation — which included a first-of-its kind analysis of federal aviation records — has found that the budget carrier’s planes are four times as likely to fail during flight as those operated by other major U.S. airlines. [more inside]
The Science of Survivability (PDF) is a presentation by Anthony T. Brickhouse about maximizing survivability in airplane crashes. It is presented as part of the NOAA Aviation Safety Program, and contains many interesting facts about surviving a plane crash.
The FBI presents: Laser Pointer Leads to Arrest. Laser events logged by the FAA in 2010 nearly doubled from 2009, with 2,836 reports. [more inside]
Check out NASA's "CALLBACK" publication online. Drawing from the "Aviation Safety Reporting System", a way for pilots to voluntarily report aviation safety incidents while providing some protection from the FAA, CALLBACK recounts some of the most common, and some of the most esoteric, incidents that pilots run in to. It's geared more toward pilots, but others may find it interesting (or terrifying) to read about what can go wrong. [more inside]
Eject! Eject! Eject! Whether used in the air, on land, at sea (and under it), or on the way to the Moon, ejection seats and capsules have saved thousands of aviators worldwide. The basic concept was first tested in 1912, developed by the Germans in WWII, and became standard safety equipment in high-speed, high-altitude jet and rocket aircraft. (Although ejection seats were in Gemini spacecraft, they were only in early Space Shuttle flights.) Much happens very quickly during ejection, and harrowing accidents and pilot deaths still occur. The decision not to eject right away may be heroic, but even pilots who wait may live while innocent bystanders^ die. However, the efforts of dedicated researchers and rocket sled testing by seat manufacturers keep adding new members to the unique club of men and women who survive to fly again.
A Confessional for Pilots - To improve aviation safety in America, NASA runs the ASRS, a service that collects voluntary, anonymous reports on aviation-related goofs in exchange for certain immunities and suggestions of clemency. Every month selected reports are published in the Callback newsletter, showcasing the full spectrum of factors that lead flyers to bad decisions: distraction, bad habits, overconfidence, poor planning, "get-home-itis", and on and on...