Tag Archives: Boeing 737

Former U.S. Navy F/A-18 Pilot Hailed as Hero in Southwest 737 Accident As Investigation Into the Cause Continues

Accident Investigation Focuses on CFM56-7B Engine. Navy P-8A Uses Same Engine.

Media around the world is acknowledging Southwest Airlines Captain Tammie Jo Shults for her role in landing a Boeing 737-700 airliner after the port (left) jet engine disintegrated and damaged the aircraft’s wing and fuselage during a routine flight from New York’s La Guardia airport to Dallas, Texas on Tuesday, April 17, 2018.

There were 143 passengers and five crew on board. The accident resulted in one fatality and seven injuries. The aircraft was at 32,000 feet when the accident occurred according to several reports. Capt. Shults declared an in-flight emergency and diverted to Philadelphia International Airport where she made a successful emergency landing with the damaged aircraft.

The Captain of the flight, Tammie Jo Shults, was among the first female pilots in the U.S. Navy to fly the Boeing F/A-18 Hornet multi-role attack aircraft. Stories from around the internet are quoting a 1993 Navy magazine article as saying Shults was an A-7 Corsair (possibly the EA-7L electronic warfare variant) and F/A-18 pilot. She is reported to have flown with VAQ-34, the “Flashbacks”, a Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron of the U.S. Navy that provided threat simulation for air combat training. Many reports are citing that, at the time Shults was a naval aviator, that female pilots were not included as pilots in combat units, effectively preventing her from flying fighter aircraft operationally.

Southwest Airlines Capt Tammie Jo Shults was a former U.S. Naval aviator. (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Shults was quoted on several blogs including Heavy.com and FoxtrotAlpha.com as telling Navy magazine, “In AOCS (Aviation Officer Candidate School), if you’re a woman (or different in any way), you’re high profile; you’re under more scrutiny.” Shults told the magazine that chances for women to advance in the aviation community were limited. “It would be nice if they would take away the ceilings (women) have over our heads,” she told the magazine. She praised her former U.S. Navy squadron by saying, “In VAQ-34, gender doesn’t matter, there’s no advantage or disadvantage. Which proves my point – if there’s a good mix of gender, it ceases to be an issue.”

As of Wednesday morning, the day after the accident, media outlets as far away as the South China Morning Post were writing that Shults is, “Being praised for her ‘nerves of steel’ in helping to prevent a far worse tragedy.” The Associated Press ran a quote from her brother-in-law who told them, “She’s a formidable woman, as sharp as a tack.”

A report on NBC News said that Capt. Shults, 56, is a 1983 graduate of MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. She earned a degree in biology and agribusiness at the school before going on to become a naval aviator. Her husband is also a pilot for Southwest Airlines.

NBC News reporters Elizabeth Chuck and Shamar Walters went on to report that, “The passengers described horror in the moments after the plane’s window was shattered. Passenger Eric Zilbert told NBC News that a woman was “partially sucked out” of the plane by explosive decompression of the cabin. Zilbert told NBC News that a group of passengers leapt over seats inside the Boeing 737 to pull the woman back in. A group of passengers then performed CPR on the woman following the window failure.

As with all aviation accidents, an investigation into the cause of accident is already underway in the U.S.

The damaged engine and missing window aft of the wing can be seen in this widely shared media photo of the Boeing 737 aircraft after the emergency landing. (Photos: via YahooNews)

Southwest Airlines’ Capt. Shults calm demeanor and professional airmanship recall the January 2009 incident referred to as the “Miracle on the Hudson” when U.S. Airways flight 1549, an Airbus A320-214 with 155 people on board, made an emergency water landing in the Hudson River in New York after losing both engines during take-off to a bird strike incident. The pilots in that celebrated incident, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and First Officer Jeffrey Skiles, were lauded as heroes and went on to be portrayed in a Hollywood movie about the incident. Capt. Sully Sullenberger was also a former military pilot prior to his career at U.S. Airways, having flown the F-4D Phantom II and acting as Blue Force commander at Red Flag air combat simulation exercises at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

As with all aviation accidents, an investigation into the cause of accident is already underway in the U.S.

On Thursday, the BBC World News reported that, “Investigators say there was a fault with the engine’s fan blades – the cause of [an] incident two years ago.” The previous engine failure occurred on a Boeing 737 in 2016. The aircraft made an emergency landing in Florida.

The Boeing 737-700 in this accident used two CFM56-7B engines. Because of the incidents with the CFM56-7B powerplants on 737s the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB), the civilian authority for commercial aviation in the U.S., there will be an “Airworthiness Directive” bulletin issued within the next two weeks directing the detailed inspection of many of the CFM engines. CFM told the BBC World News that more than 8,000 Boeing 737s in service around the world use the CFM56-7B engine.

An inspector examines the engine of Southwest Flight 1380 after its emergency landing. One engine fan blade can clearly be seen missing. (Photo: NTSB)

The military version of the Boeing 737 airliner, the long-range maritime and anti-submarine warfare P-8A Poseidon as well as the other combat variant (such as the E7 AEW&C) also use the CFM-56-7B engines. The P-8A is in service with the U.S., Australia, Norway, India and the U.K. forces. As of this week there have been no public directives about engine inspections on the military version of the aircraft.

Top image: The Boeing 737 aircraft showed substantial damage after the engine failure. (Photos: via Twitter)

America’s Secret Airline To Area 51 Is Now Hiring Flight Attendants

JANET airlines, flying non-stop to Area 51, Tonopah Test Range and other “sensitive locations” is hiring.

Janet (that unofficially stands for “Just Another Non Existent Terminal”), is the name of a small fleet of passenger aircraft operated by AECOM, a private defense contractor, from Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport.

Actually, the name and callsign Janet com from the wife of the Area 51 base commander circa 1969-1971.

Every day, Boeing 737-600 jets, sporting the peculiar overall white with red cheatline livery, fly non-stop to several key military airbases used for R&D (Research And Development), including the famous Area 51, in the Nevada desert, the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale CA and Tonopah Test Range, Nevada.

The secretive airline, allowed to fly where most of the military and civilian aircraft are not allowed to, has recently posted a job for a Flight Attendand to be based at Las Vegas.

The job does not require any previous experience requirement and the  most interesting part of the job is the one we highlight in the following chunk of the original summary:

High School graduate or equivalent. Must pass Company operated jet aircraft Emergency Training and Initial Flight Attendant Training and maintain currency as a Flight Attendant. Must be able to effectively perform all assigned physical duties without difficulty and without assistance. Must be able to push and pull heavy hinged aircraft doors weighing up to 80 lbs. Must comply with Company specified dress code and uniform guidelines. Must possess effective oral communication skills, including good public speaking abilities. Possess basic math knowledge and basic computer skills. Must qualify for and maintain a top secret government security clearance and associated work location access. Possess a current State issued driver’s license.

So, if you are thrilled to work for America’s most secret airline on extremely rare routes and destinations, here’s your chance.

By the way, as often highlighted in the past, in spite of the “clandestine” nature of its operation JANET flights (that, use “Janet” as radio callsign) can be tracked online on Flightradar24.com. Here’s just an example:

Image credit: Wiki/Alan Wilson

Ryanair denies claims that two Israeli F-16s almost collided with one of its Boeing 737s

Ryanair denies any near miss between one of its Boeing 737 passenger airplanes and two Israeli Air Force F-16 fighter jets.

On Mar. 1, 2016 two Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16 Fighting Falcons involved in a training exercise over the Negev desert converged on the flight path of a Ryanair Boeing 737 on landing approach at Ovda airport in Israel.

Several media outlets claimed that the two IAF fighter jets came “dangerously close” to the Ryanair aircraft, which had 162 passengers on board, and that a mid-air collision was prevented only thanks to the airliner pilot who changed the course of his aircraft at the very last moment.

But as reported by TimesofIsrael.com, Ryanair denied any claim of a near-miss.

According to the airline, the flight from Krakow to Ovda was cruising at 27,000 ft in Israeli airspace when the aircrew noticed two IAF F-16s climbing towards their flight path.  As pointed out by a Ryanair statement, the two fighters remained at “3 miles away from the aircraft, so the reports of a ‘nearly crash’ or ‘evasive manoeuvres’ are all false and invented.”

The airline also added that the Ryanair aircrew alerted the Air Traffic Control which vectored the F-16s away from their Boeing 737.

“All passengers on board the Ryanair aircraft noticed nothing, since our aircraft never diverted from its cleared flight path to Ovda.”

Although no injures or damages were reported, Israel’s Transportation Ministry and the Israeli Air Force will investigate the matter.

Image credit: Israeli Air Force

 

JANET, America’s Most Secret Airline, Is Hiring

Area 51 airline is hiring.

Janet airline is the name of a small fleet of passenger aircraft that serve the famous Area 51, the U.S. Air Force top-secret base in the Nevada desert, along with some key military airbases used for research and development, including the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, Air Force Plant 42 in Palmdale CA and Tonopah Test Range, Nevada.

JANET, that unofficially stands for “Just Another Non Existent Terminal”, is a shuttle service operated by AECOM, a private defense contractor, from a terminal at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, with a small fleet of Boeing 737-600 jets, sporting the peculiar overall white with red cheatline livery, along with  two Beechcraft 1900s and three Beechcraft 200Cs painted white with less noticeable blue trim stripes.

Well, our friend and journalist Ian D’Costa has just discovered that the secret airline is hiring.

Here’s what he posted in an article he published on TACAIRNET website:

“Aside from military aircraft with proper clearance, Janet flights are the only aircraft in the United States, let alone the rest of the world, allowed to access Restricted Area 4808 North, the airspace above and around Groom Lake. As you can imagine, flying for Janet, while probably not terribly exciting, is a hell of a cool job, and recruiting tends to be very selective and exclusive.

AECOM listed the job posting for a First Officer based out of Las Vegas very recently on their official careers website, adding in the listing that there is a requirement for a background check and the ability to hold a Top Secret clearance from the US government. Aside from that, prospective pilots have to be deemed medically fit and have to have logged time in the Boeing 737, preferably the 737 Next Generation (737NG) family of jet airliners. A candidate applying for the First Officer’s position with Janet should also apparently have a minimum of 2000 hours generated in fixed wing aircraft, of which at least 1000 hours have to be in turbine-powered (jet) aircraft. It’s also preferable for the candidate to possess high-performance aircraft experience, though apparently not a strict requirement. This potentially gives former military pilots a competitive edge over civilian counterparts. Previous experience as pilot-in-command (PIC) of an alien spaceship or the Millennium Falcon not required either.

So if you qualify, and you can find them… maybe you can join, the Janet team.”

As a side note, in spite of their secretive nature of its operation JANET flights (that, by the way, use “Janet” as callsign) can be tracked online on Flightradar24.com as the following tweets (courtesy of @CivMilAir) prove.

 



Top image credit: Wiki

 

Crazy video shows Delta Boeing 737 hit by lightning strike

A passenger has caught on video a direct lightning strike on a Delta Boeing 737 at Atlanta airport.

The video below is extremely interesting. Shot at Atlanta airport during a thunderstorm by Jack Perkins, a passenger of another plane, it shows a lightning strike hit a Delta Boeing 737 on the taxiway.

No one was hurt as a consequence of the lightning as the plane is shielded by Faraday Cage, that blocks out external static electrical fields: charges redistribute on the conducting material and don’t affect the cage’s interior.

In simple words: if hit by a lightning aircraft let the current pass through the fuselage until ground, preserving the systems’ integrity. Furthermore, all commercial and military aircraft have been designed to meet several safety lightning-related requirements needed to get the airworthiness certifications required.

Generally speaking, lightning strikes are rare and do not represent a real threat to military and civil planes, even though, in the 1980s, some F-16 Fighting Falcon jets were lost after being hit. In one case, the lightning ignited the vapors in the empty centerline tank, which exploded causing extended damage to the aircraft’s hydraulic system.