Good Moral Character
Nothing can derail a professional flying career quicker than a revocation of an FAA airman certificate. Despite the FAA’s new compliance philosophy, which makes a very good attempt at establishing a “positive safety culture”—and recognizes that inadvertent rule violations can be best addressed and remedied through education, counseling, or remedial training—there are some transgressions that command the ultimate penalty: certificate revocation.
FAA Order 2150.3B. the FAA Compliance and Enforcement Program, is the guidance document that stipulates the processes FAA personnel follow when pursuing an enforcement action. Perhaps the most grievous of all “sins” committed by anyone who seeks or has a certificate or operating privilege is falsification. The order states, “In general, the FAA considers the making of intentionally false or fraudulent statements so serious an offense that it results in revocation of all certificates held by the certificate holder. Falsification has a serious effect on the integrity of the records on which the FAA’s safety oversight depends. If the reliability of these records is undermined, the FAA’s ability to promote aviation safety is compromised.”
Here are other highly probably revocation actions: student pilots flying for hire or compensation; CFIs falsifying any endorsements; flight operations by anyone whose pilot certificate is suspended; virtually any flight operation involving the use of drugs or alcohol contrary to the limits specified by the regulations; transport of controlled substances; three convictions for DUI/DWI moving violations within three years; reproduction or alteration of a medical certificate; and conviction for possession of illegal drugs other than “simple possession.” Other illicit activities that could result in a certificate suspension, civil penalty, or even revocation are listed in the FAA’s order.
If you have stepped way over the legal line and the FAA has taken all your certificates in a revocation action, are you forever grounded? Not necessarily. In general, revocation actions last one year. But, recognize that you will need to reapply for every certificate and rating that you once possessed.
The first suggestion: Re-familiarize yourself with the information on the knowledge tests. Study up for the private, instrument, commercial, and ATP during your yearlong hiatus. If you previously held an ATP certificate prior to revocation, then you must complete an Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP CTP) as required by FAR 61.156.
If there is any saving grace to this predicament, it is that all previous flight time remains valid. There is no need to acquire another 40 hours of flight time, for example, to retake the private pilot checkride. But, before taking the practical test for each of the certificates and ratings that have been lost, you are required to receive three hours of instruction from a CFI.
So even if the worst should happen and you lose all of those pilot privileges because of a serious misdeed, all is not lost. In a year’s time you can be back in the sky, hopefully much the wiser. But, who will hire you? Well, the news there is not that good.
An unofficial survey of recruiters for a few “big name” regional and major airlines revealed that those carriers have a “zero tolerance” policy. The problem for these companies is the potential risk and the fallout in the event of an accident or incident involving a pilot who has been suspended or revoked. The press would, no doubt, zero in on the fact that the airman has a “history of noncompliance” with the regulations. This kind of PR is unwelcome.
However, there could be smaller operators that would be willing to give you another chance. This may depend greatly upon when the violation took place. Perhaps the “drug bust” or DWIs took place at age 20 but now, at age 35, you have led a decade of stellar living. After all, shouldn’t “rehabilitation” play a role in hiring decisions?
One option for returning to the industry is starting an aviation-related company yourself. Whether it is a single-pilot Part 135 operation, aircraft management, banner towing, a flight school, scenic tours, or aircraft sales, there are other avenues to the sky.
For a superb example of forgiveness and redemption read Flying Drunk by Joseph Balzer. It is an inspirational story by one of three Northwest Airlines pilots who, in March 1990, flew a Boeing 727 from Fargo to Minneapolis after swigging beer at a local bar the night before. All three were arrested for intoxication, convicted, sent to federal prison, and stripped of their pilot certificates.
As Balzer says, “It was horrible. I didn’t want to live anymore. I was so humiliated, embarrassed, ashamed.” Of course, he feared that he would never fly again. However, American Airlines—in an exceptional and laudable extension of second chances—restored his career where he returned to the cockpit.
As an aside, the industry has a tremendous resource for commercial pilots who suffer from alcohol or substance abuse: the Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) program. As stated on its website, “HIMS is an occupational substance abuse treatment program, specific to commercial pilots, that coordinates the identification, treatment, and return to work process for affected aviators.” Good to know, just in case.
We humans make mistakes, sometime serious. In the case of FAA certificate revocation, second chances are possible.
In terms of a state offense, DA Flynn says someone with a fake vaccine card could be charged with Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree. That's a Class "D" felony, so someone convicted could face up to 7 years in prison.
New York State's attorney general Letitia James has weighed in on this as well. She's asked anyone who thinks they might be a victim of a COVID vaccination card scam to call her office at 1-800-771-7755.
On the federal side of things, the FBI shared a PSA this year that explains how Title 18 of the U-S Code, Section 10-17 stipulates you cannot fraudulently use the seal of any US government agency - and if you do, you could face up to 5 years in prison.
Have you ever really thought about what you might do if a super-storm, earthquake, fire, pandemic, or flood were to force you to leave your home suddenly?
What would you do that first day away, the third, or even two weeks later?
What would you able to grab and take with you??
What important things would you be forced to leave behind?
The Basic Bug Out Bag aka Go-Bag
Lets start with the primary items needed for survival. Shelter, Clothing, Food and Water. Below is a list of the essentials you need to have ready should you have to leave your house in an emergency, and can only grab a Bug Out Bag before you go.
It provides you with the most basic of provisions to get you through 72-hours away from home. You probably already have most of these things already:
Keep it handy, and easy to find should you need it. If you have a family, have a pack for each person. We will get more in detail with the articles which follow and we will introduce you to The Bug Out Bag Builder Four Part Emergency System.
NOTE: If you only own one of something, and you put it into your emergency kit you will ultimately wind up taking it out of your bag to use elsewhere. This means you should have a second item dedicated for your kit itself. You won't remember to grab it on the way out (or have time to).
If you want to get something TODAY RIGHT NOW that at least gets you some coverage, head over to The Red Cross store and grab their basic Go-Bag. Its $55 and gives you a platform to build on.
This isn't our first choice because think its better to build your own from the ground up, but its better than nothing. You will still need to add to it though.
The next most important step - and the one that will really save your life:
You MUST to know what is going on in the world around you. You may only have a few days notice that a hurricane is going to hit your home, can you get you and your family ready in less than 48 hours?
How much time will you have if you receive a tornado or earthquake warning?
If cell phone service is down do you have other equipment which will help you communicate with the outside world?
You have to have some way to get information delivered to you quickly about local events - especially when a catastrophic one is heading your way. Local TV, AM radio, Emergency officials, are the most obvious, but we've added some below which will also help you get timely and accurate information:
Wireless Emergency Alert System
For those of us in the US with a smart phone made after 2012 the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system automatically sends severe weather, AMBER, and Presidential alerts to your mobile device.
There's nothing you need to do to enable it, its part of all phones made in the last few years. You will hear an alert sound from the phone and see a message on the screen. You can disable the weather and Amber alerts it if you'd like but not the Presidential alerts.
What You Need to Know
Delay travel until you are fully vaccinated. Getting vaccinated is still the best way to protect yourself from severe disease, slow the spread of COVID-19, and reduce the number of new variants. CDC recommends you get a COVID-19 vaccine booster dose if you are eligible. People who are not fully vaccinated should follow additional recommendations before, during, and after travel.
Before You Travel
Make sure to plan ahead:
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If you are NOT fully vaccinated, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
Do NOT travel if…
Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and while indoors at U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and train stations. Travelers are not required to wear a mask in outdoor areas of a conveyance (like on open deck areas of a ferry or the uncovered top deck of a bus).hands wash light icon
Protect Yourself and Others
You might have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You might feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still be infected and spread the virus to others. People who are not fully vaccinated are more likely to get COVID-19 and spread it to others. For this reason, CDC recommends taking the following precautions after returning from travel.vial light icon
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If you are NOT fully vaccinated
Self-quarantine and get tested after travel:
If Your Test is Positive
If You Recently Recovered from COVID-19
You do NOT need to get tested or self-quarantine if you recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. You should still follow all other travel recommendations. If you develop COVID-19 symptoms after travel, isolate and consult with a healthcare provider for testing recommendations.
1 December 1993; Northwest Airlink (Express Airlines) BAe Jetstream 31; Hibbing, MN: The aircraft had a controlled flight into terrain about three miles (five km) from the runway threshold during an an excessively steep approach in conditions of snow and freezing fog. Both crew members and all 16 passengers were killed.
3 December 1990; Northwest DC9-14; Detroit, MI: The DC9 was taxiing in fog and strayed onto an active runway where it was hit by a departing Northwest 727. One of the four crew members and seven of the 40 passengers were killed. There were no fatalities on the second aircraft.
13 December 1994; American Eagle (Flagship Airlines) BAe Jetstream Super 31; Morrisville, NC: The aircraft crashed about four miles (seven km) from the runway threshold during an approach at night and in icing conditions. The flight crew incorrectly thought that an engine had failed and subsequently followed improper procedures for single engine approach and landing. Both crew members and 13 of the 18 passengers were killed.
20 December 1995; American Airlines 757-200; near Buga, Colombia: The aircraft crashed into Mt. San Jose at night at about the 9,000 foot level while descending into Cali, Colombia after its flight from Miami. All eight crew and 155 of the 159 passengers were killed in the crash. Colombian civil aviation authorities report that at the time of the accident, all navigational beacons were fully serviceable and that the aircraft voice and data recorders did not indicate any aircraft problems.
20 December 2008; Continental Airlines 737-500; Denver, CO: The aircraft, which was on a scheduled flight to Houston's Intercontinental Airport, departed the runway during takeoff and skidded across a taxiway and a service road before coming to rest in a ravine several hundred yards from the runway. The aircraft sustained significant damage, including a post crash fire, separation of one engine and separated and collapsed landing gear. There were about 38 injuries among the 110 passengers and five crew members, including two passengers who were seriously injured.
26 December 1989; United Express (NPA) BAe Jetstream 31; Pasco, WA: A combination of an excessively steep and unstabilzied ILS approach, improper air traffic control commands, and aircraft icing caused the aircraft to stall and crash short of the runway during a night approach. Both crew members and all four passengers were killed.
28 December 1978; United Airlines DC8; Portland, OR: The aircraft ran out of fuel while holding for landing and crashed landed. Of the 184 occupants, two crew members and eight passengers were killed.
All December proceeds from the sale of Hamfist novels and the proceeds from the audiobook Hamfist Over The Trail will be donated to charity to help the victims of the tragic midwest tornadoes.
December has a bad reputation for airline landing gear accidents. As an airline Captain, during every December flight I would brief my crew that, in the event of a landing gear indication problem, we would not delay the landing to trouble-shoot our issue. There is no record of airline fatalities due to LANDING the airplane with a gear problem, but 114 passengers and crew lost their lives from accidents in which airline crews attempted to deal with unsafe landing gear indications. All three of these accidents occurred in the month of December.
The first was Eastern Airlines Flight 401, which occurred on December 29, 1972.
The next accident was United Airlines Flight 2860, on December 28, 1977.
The most recent was United Airlines flight 173, on December 28, 1978.
Frozen Chosen: With the path to Hungnam blocked at Funchilin Pass due to the blown bridge, the US Air Force stood tall to deliver the means for the Marines to continue their fighting withdrawal.
At 9 am on 7 December, eight C-119 Flying Boxcars flown by the US 314th Troop Carrier Wing appeared over Koto-Rl and were used to drop portable bridge sections by parachute. The bridge, consisting of eight separate 18 ft long sections, were dropped one section at a time, using two 48 ft parachutes on each section. Each plane carried one bridge section, weighing close to 2,500 pounds. The Marines needed only four sections, but had requested eight in case several did not survive the drop.
The planes lowered to eight hundred feet, drawing fire from the Chinese on the surrounding hills, and the cargo masters began dumping their precious cargo. Each bridge section had giant G-5 parachutes attached to both ends for security if a single chute failed. A practice drop with smaller chutes at Yonpo airfield near Hungnam had failed, but there was no time for more experimentation. It was now or never for the 1st Marine Division.
By 1530 on 9 December, four of these sections, together with additional wooden extensions, were successfully reassembled into a replacement bridge by Marine Corps combat engineers, led by First Lieutenant David Peppin of Company D, 1st Engineer Battalion, and the US Army 58th Engineer Treadway Bridge Company enabling UN forces to proceed.
Outmaneuvered, the PVA 58th and 60th Divisions still tried to slow the UN advance with ambushes and raids, but after weeks of non-stop fighting, the two Chinese divisions combined had only 200 soldiers left. The last UN forces left Funchilin Pass by 11 December.
My team and I are passionate about connecting people to their passion, for a purpose and creating fulfillment in their lives. I, personally am so passionate about this because I walked through a stage in my life where I stopped dreaming. Though that season was scary and unknown, it was the start of The Winning Network. Check out the story below!
I remember the moment very clearly. I was 1.5 years away from being done with my 12 year Pilot commitment with the United States Air Force. It was at this point in my career that my peers, Commanders, and friends began to ask you the same question: are you staying in for 20, or are you getting out? I remember it so vividly because the question hit me like a brick to the chest. If it is possible for 1000 epiphanies to hit you in a single millisecond, that would have been my moment.
I realized in that instant, I didn’t know what was next in my life. I was a man with no plan, no goal, no aspiration, no dream. I remember standing there dumbfounded with these life-altering thoughts storming my mind. Somewhere along the way, I had become so focused on accomplishing the “here and now” and the Air Forces approved “next steps to success” that I had stopped listening to the dreams that dwelt in my own heart. I had allowed those visions for the future to be silenced by the well-intended advice of what I “should be doing” to “stay the course for Command.” It was at this moment I realized, I had stopped dreaming years ago. I was a man who had accomplished all I had set out to do and had nowhere else to go. I lacked vision, expectation, and even a single goal. In my own rush to accomplish the day-to-day, I forgot where I was going in my life.
As terrifying as this moment was for me, I have grown to realize, I am not the only one to have experienced such a life-changing moment. As I have shared my experience with friends, family members, and co-workers, I have grown to see that this significant emotional event or one like it has impacted almost everyone I have come across. All of us who have been speechless in its wake have unfortunately suffered these mind-melting realizations seemingly alone with few places to turn for help, but not anymore!
That is where The Winning Network was created. What started as a need I longed for in a season that I was so lost, turned into a business to help others facing similar struggles plus so much more. At The Winning Network, our focus is not to help our family reach a peak of accomplishment, raise a victory flag and walk off the field of life, but instead to redefine what it means to “Win” altogether. At The Winning Network, “Winning” is not about reaching a desired state of being or result, but instead establishing a continued process of personal improvement and growth in which there is never an end state of success, however a continued state of fulfillment throughout the iterative process of constant growth. Those who merely desire to wage the war of goal setting, defeat the objective and raise their personal banner of “Mission Accomplished” will find no satisfaction, nor fulfillment in the grassroots of The Winning Network. Victory is not found in a result, but instead, in the process.
Just then, the apartment door opened.
I heard a soft-spoken female voice, “Tadaima!”
“Miyako is here, and she brought our lawyer from the airport,” Tom remarked.
A very attractive Japanese lady entered the room, walked right up to me, held out her hand, and bowed slightly. I had expected her to be wearing a kimono, but she was wearing a conservative, grey dress.
She had a slight accent, “I'm Miyako. Thank you for saving my husband's life!” She gripped my hand with both of hers.
“It's a real pleasure to meet you, Miyako. I'm not so sure I saved his life, but I'm glad I was there to help.”
Tom interjected, “Here comes my lawyer.”
A gorgeous Eurasian woman, about my age, entered the room, rushed over to Tom, and hugged him. “Daddy!”
Tom hugged her back, then introduced me, “Samantha, this is the Hamilton I've been telling you about.”
She held out her hand. “Call me Sam.”
I shook her hand, and said, “Sam, it's a real pleasure to meet you. I'm Ham.”
“Sam I'm Ham,” she responded, “sounds like we're reading a Doctor Seuss book.”
Tom beamed. “That's my girl. Sharp as a whip. She finished at the top of her class at Harvard Law School last month. We're so proud of her.”
Sam appeared to blush.
“Now,” Tom said, “let's go have a great dinner. Do you like steak?”
He didn't have to ask me a second time.
While I put on my suit and tied my tie, Tom changed to an equally outstanding outfit. We all got into the car, and Tom said something in Japanese to the driver.
“The absolute best steak in Tokyo is at the Misono Steak House, in Akasaka,” Tom announced.
We drove through narrow streets for about a half hour, and pulled up outside a small restaurant front.
We went into a dimly-lit, elegant restaurant, and sat at a table with a large skillet built into the surface. Tom and Miyako sat on one side of the table, and Sam sat next to me, on my right. I think she purposely positioned herself there to help me with my chopsticks if I had trouble. A chef appeared with four thick steaks, some shrimp, and an assortment of vegetables, and he proceeded to cook them in front of us. He put on an incredible performance, slicing and dicing the steaks and then tossing the pieces of meat over his head and catching them in the rice bowls in front of each of us.
“This is Kobe beef,” Tom explained. “Every minute of their lives these animals are massaged, and they're fed beer all day long. The meat is tender enough to cut between your chopsticks. You'll see.”
“And, by the way,” he continued, “from now on, we're not calling them chopsticks. They're hashi.”
“Got it. Hashi,” I answered.
“Ham went to the Air Force Academy,” Tom explained, looking at Sam.
“Where’d you go for undergraduate?” I asked Sam.
“I graduated from Northwestern in 1966.”
We ate in silence for a few minutes, with me trying my best to impress my hosts, and especially Sam, my facility withhashi. I was getting pretty good, getting almost every bite to my mouth without dropping anything.
Then Sam ventured, “You know, I almost dated a cadet once.”
“Sounds like you dodged a bullet,” I replied.
“No, I was actually really looking forward to it. In the fall of 1963, when I was a sophomore, the Army and Air Force were playing their first-ever football game, at Soldier Field in Chicago.”
I remembered it well. I was a doolie at the time, and the entire cadet wing was going to travel to Chicago by train to watch the game and then have a post-game formal ball. We were going to have a joint ball with the “Woops” – the West Pointers – who had also come to Chicago en masse. As a doolie, I had never gotten the opportunity to leave the base since entering the Academy in the summer, and this was going to be a real treat. After the game, we would have about four hours to be out on our own to explore Chicago before the ball. I was really looking forward to it.
Then, the day before our departure, my appendix burst and I had peritonitis. I had emergency surgery, and couldn’t go on the trip. I was stuck in the Academy hospital, to watch the game – Air Force beat Army – on television. The only cadet in the hospital. In fact, I was the only patient in the entire hospital, other than a Math instructor’s wife, who was only there for about three days to deliver her baby.
“There was a formal ball after the game,” Sam continued, “and they wanted local college girls to be blind dates for the cadets. It sounded like it would be fun, and I volunteered. I bought a beautiful gown and gorgeous long, white leather formal gloves. And shoes. Remember?” She looked over at Tom and Miyako. They nodded.
“I showed up at the ball, and I was as dolled-up as I could be. I’d gone to the hairdresser and had my hair done in the morning, and had my nails done also. And the cadets were so handsome in their mess uniforms. Is that what it’s called?”
“Mess dress,” I answered.
“That’s right, mess dress. And I’m not just saying this, Ham, I thought the Air Force cadets looked a lot sharper than the West Pointers.”
“It goes without saying,” I answered.
“So, I went to the reception hall where all the girls were assembling, and one by one the social director called out the names of the girls and they would go through the door to the ballroom and meet their blind dates.” She paused, took a deep breath, and swallowed hard. “And then I was left all alone. I didn’t have a date.”
“What!” I exclaimed. “Were they crazy?”
“No, it was just, the blind dates had already been pre-arranged, and the cadet I was supposed to be paired up with was in the hospital. I went back to my dorm room and cried myself to sleep.”
Tom and Miyako were staring at me.
“Ham! Are you all right? You’re white as a sheet.”
I found myself frozen, with my chopsticks, okay, myhashi, half-way to my mouth, and I couldn’t move. Finally, I regained my composure.
“That was me! I was the cadet in the hospital!”
Now it was Sam’s turn to be speechless.
Tom looked at Miyako and said, “Sore wa narimasu”. She nodded. Then he looked at me.
“I’m sorry for speaking Japanese, Ham. What I said to Miyako was that when something is meant to be, it will be.”
My eyes locked onto Sam’s and I remembered: that was exactly what Colonel Ryan had said.
The aircraft involved in the accident was a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-10, registered N68045, which had made its first flight in 1972.
The captain was 59-year-old Charles E. Hersche, who was operating his last flight before retirement. He had been with Continental Airlines since 1946 and had logged 29,000 flight hours, including 2,911 hours on the DC-10. Hersche served with the U.S. Air Force from 1942 through 1953 during World War II and Korean War.
The first officer was 40-year-old Michael J. Provan, who had been with Continental Airlines since 1966 and had 10,000 flight hours, with 1,149 of them on the DC-10.
The flight engineer was 39-year-old John K. Olsen, who had been with the airline since 1968. He was the least experienced member of the crew with 8,000 flight hours, 1,520 of them on the DC-10.
The aircraft began its take-off from Los Angeles International Airport at around 9:25 am. During the takeoff roll, the recapping tread of the number-two tire on the left main landing gear separated from the tire and the resulting overload caused that tire to blow out. That, in turn, imposed an overload on the number-one tire on the same axle, resulting in a second blowout almost immediately after the first blowout. Pieces of metal from the rims of the failed tires then damaged the number-five tire on the left main gear, causing it to also blow out.
Although Captain Hershe initiated the abort procedure at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph) below V1 speed, it became apparent the aircraft could not stop within the confines of the runway. This was the direct result of the partial loss of braking power following the failure of the three tires on the left main gear, and also because the runway was wet. The captain steered the aircraft to go off the end of the right half of the runway in an effort "to go beside the stanchions holding the runway lights", thus avoiding a collision with the approach light stanchions, which were positioned immediately beyond the end of the runway. About 100 feet (30 m) beyond the end of the runway, the left main gear broke through the nonload-bearing pavement, which caused it to collapse rearward. Portions of the failed gear punctured fuel tanks in the left wing, immediately starting a fuel fire on the left side.
The aircraft slid to a stop about 664 feet (202 m) beyond the departure end of the runway. Because of the fire on the left side of the aircraft, all passengers evacuated on the right side. All four emergency evacuation slides on the right side of the aircraft were affected by the heat and failed at some point during the evacuation. Flight 603's flight crew and an off-duty pilot worked quickly to guide passengers to alternate exits as the slides failed, actions later commended by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for saving lives and reducing the number of injuries.: 38 Passengers who were still on board after the last slide failed were forced to either jump to the ground, or use a slide rope deployed from the first officer's cockpit window.
Of the 186 passengers and 14 crew on board, two passengers died due to burning and smoke inhalation. Moreover, 28 passengers and three crew members were seriously injured during the evacuation. Two of the seriously injured passengers died as a result of their injuries about three months later.
A large portion of the aircraft's left section was destroyed. The aircraft subsequently was written off as a hull loss. The accident represents the second fatal accident and fifth hull loss of a McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
During its investigation, the NTSB found the number-two tire failed because it threw off its (recapped) tread. The number-one tire then failed because it was overloaded and had fatigue in its ply structure. The number-five tire then failed, because it was hit with a piece or pieces of metal from either the number-two or -one wheel. The failure of that third tire on the left main gear probably contributed to the gear breaking through the nonload-bearing pavement beyond the end of the runway, which in turn caused the gear to collapse and puncture the fuel tanks. Additionally, the NTSB stated: "The tires on the aircraft may have been operated in the overdeflected condition, since the average inflation pressure was less than the optimum pressure for maximum gross weight."
The NTSB made recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including that the FAA prohibit mounting on the same axle different models of tires, which had different load-bearing characteristics and also that greater load-bearing characteristics be required in tires manufactured in the future. The NTSB also issued a series of recommendations regarding improvements to aircraft evacuation safety, including development of more durable and fire-resistant slides, and the placement of evacuation ropes at emergency exits for use in the event of slide failure.
After the investigation of this accident was completed, the FAA made a number of rule changes improving runway performance, including updated tire rating criteria, performance standards, and testing requirements. In addition, the FAA mandated changes to the design of evacuation slides to increase their capacity, improve fire resistance, and inflate at a quicker speed.
A number of accidents, some of them fatal, and incidents have been attributed at least in part to communication issues related to the language proficiency of air traffic controllers and pilots.
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) mandated that pilots and air traffic controllers demonstrate language proficiency sufficient to deal with the linguistic challenges presented by quickly changing and dynamic abnormal situations and emergencies that require extended use of language outside that of standard radiotelephony (RT).
The language proficiency requirements are applicable to non-native English speakers but, according to a statement in ICAO Doc 9835, “Native speakers of English, too, have a fundamentally important role to play in the international efforts to increase communication safety.”
Still, it seems that the onus for safeguarding successful communication is on the non‑native English speaker. In many cases, non-native speakers are tested and taught how to approximate to native speaker norms when, in reality, many of them will have less opportunity to interact with native speakers.
English, the language of aviation, is a first language or widely used national language in approximately 60 ICAO member states, ICAO said several years ago in Doc 9835. But the document also says that “there are more speakers worldwide of English as a second or foreign language than as a first language, and most of the contexts in which English is used occur among speakers of English as a second or foreign language. Non-native users of English outnumbered native users at the start of the 21st century by approximately 3 to 1.”
So, it stands to reason that the majority of aeronautical radiotelephonic interactions are between speakers for whom English is not the first language; in other words, it is a lingua franca — a language used for communication among groups of people who speak different languages. I won’t go into too much, but these interactions are qualitatively different from the interactions that take place between native speakers.
When non-native speakers engage with other non-native speakers in English, either in an aeronautical or a non-aeronautical context, they come to the speech event with their own language ability, their own cultural expectations, their own first language interference and a host of other unique dimensions. These interactions are “de-territorialized speech events”1 not tied to any one specific culture and so are very “hybrid in nature.”2
Native speakers tend to take so much for granted: connected speech, complex localized language structures, lexis (vocabulary) and much more. This puts the native speaker at a disadvantage as these features of native English speech are particularly problematic to non-native speakers at lower levels of proficiency.
Native speakers are in the minority3 and so, it has been argued, it is as incumbent on the native speaker as on the non-native speaker to meet part way by bridging the gap in safeguarding successful communication.4 It would appear, from the evidence and the literature, that there is a need for native-speaking pilots and air traffic controllers to undergo training to learn how to accommodate their non-native English-speaking interlocutors in order to safeguard communication and mitigate against possible incidents.
Montréal – 4 July 2013 – The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has announced the launch of a new and improved Aviation English Language Test Service (AELTS) website (www.icao.int/aelts).
First launched in 2011, the website for this voluntary service has been made significantly more intuitive and user-friendly, responding to ongoing feedback from the aviation English language testing community.
“Aviation English language tests are designed to measure the speaking and listening ability of pilots and controllers, a key factor in the day-to-day safety of air transport operations,” noted the UN body’s Secretary General, Raymond Benjamin.
“As aviation continues to grow, with almost 100,000 flights a day today and 200,000 daily expected by 2030, it’s imperative that ICAO continues to evolve and refine its safety support tools,” continued Benjamin. “This helps to ensure that passengers around the world can continue to look to air travel as their safest means of rapid global connectivity.”
ICAO’s AELTS directly supports the UN standard-setting body’s Doc 9835, the Manual on the Implementation of ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements. By measuring test performance against its Language Proficiency Requirements (LPR) criteria, ICAO is able to provide important information on test quality so that States, pilots and controllers can make the most informed selection possible when choosing a test provider.
An international AELTS Steering Committee, comprised of highly qualified experts from States, associations and non-profit organizations, advises ICAO on best practices and provides guidance on how to develop, implement, manage and improve the test assessment service.
English has long been the common language of aviation. Pilots and air traffic controllers of varying nationalities have been required to communicate using english. Previously it was up to each country to create their own standard of aviation english. However, these standards often vary and as a result miscommunication in the english language has contributed to many aviation accidents. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) created an international standard for language proficiency requirements including a rating scale to measure the level of english proficiency. Of this scale, ICAO level of 4 or higher was officially recognized as being english proficient in aviation.
ICAO set an initial deadline for 2008 for pilots and air traffic controllers to achieve the minimum english proficiency of ICAO level 4. Many countries were not able to meet the deadline so an extension was given until 2011.
The purpose of an international standard of english is to enhance global aviation safety
These english standards are generally accepted by ICAO member countries around the world. However, each country may set their own english standards beyond what was set by ICAO.
Anyone can take the ICAO english test but pilots and air traffic controllers involved in international flight operations must achieve at east level 4 of english proficiency. Even pilots who fly between two non english speaking countries must first pass the ICAO english test.
The ICAO english test measures the ability to speak and understand english in an aviation environment (reading english is not required). This includes how well one can efficiently communicate routine and non routine situations both face to face and over the radio. In particular the test measures the following:
During the test the examiner evaluates the applicant based on the following areas:
Each category is graded on a scale between 1-6 (1 is the lowest, high is the proficient). The lowest score determines the final ICAO english rating. For example, an applicant may be scored 4 for every category except comprehension where the score was 3. As a result, the applicant will receive a final rating of 3.The international standard to be english proficient is level 4 or higher.
Those who have ICAO english level 4 must retake the exam every three years while those with ICAO english level have up to 5 years to be reassessed. Achieving ICAO english level 6 is considered an expert level and therefore does not require a reassessment.
From AOPA Pilot:
We have received many questions about the English-proficient endorsement for pilot certificates. Pilots want us to clarify who’s affected, how to get the certificate, and clear up the confusion about the compliance date. The initial deadline was March 5, 2008, but the FAA was flooded with applications and has extended the compliance date a year—until March 5, 2009.
Pilots who fly from the United States to any destination outside of the United States, will be required to have a new certificate with “English Proficient” on it when acting as a required crewmember after March 5, 2009. This is a result of the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) language proficiency standards for operating internationally.
The requirement applies to all holders of private, commercial, and airline transport pilot certificates with powered ratings, as well as flight engineers and flight navigators. If you hold an instructor certificate, it will not have an English-proficient endorsement and you do not need to order a replacement for it.
Pilots with a U.S.-issued certificate will not need to pass a language test, just obtain a replacement certificate by requesting one from the FAA. The plastic replacement certificate costs $2 and takes about two weeks for online processing, and four to six weeks for paper processing through the mail.
Here’s something to consider if you’ve been meaning to order a new certificate with a number different from your Social Security number, but haven’t gotten around to doing it. Since all new pilot certificates will automatically be issued with the endorsement, you could accomplish both things with one request—and you aren’t charged the $2 fee for a new certificate, only for a replacement.
Pilots can download the paper application for SSN removal from the FAA’s Web site for a replacement certificate ($2).
If you already have an account, just log in. If you are not yet registered, you’ll have to create an account and enter your personal information.
Place a checkmark in front of the $2 box and select “English Proficiency” as the reason. Follow the steps to receive your new certificate in about two weeks.
In the battle for Iwo Jima, 7000 marines were killed and 20,000 wounded.
From az central:
It's an image seared into the American consciousness.
After four days of fierce fighting on the tiny Pacific island of Iwo Jima during World War II, part of the United States' “island hopping” strategy to defeat the Japanese after retaking the Philippines, six U.S. Marines climb the highest peak of the 8-square-mile outpost and plant an American flag.
One helmet-clad Marine holds the post in place amid the rubble, while the others thrust the stars and stripes toward the smoke- and cloud-pocked sky; a triumphant moment captured by Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal.
The photo would publish nationwide to great fanfare two days later on Sunday, Feb. 25, 1945, and prove that, yes, we can win the war.
Rosenthal would later win a Pulitzer Prize for Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, and the U.S. Postal Service would affix the image on a 3-cent stamp.
From my author website:
November 10, 1969
I was sitting in the Doom Club with a couple of the other Covey FACs. The weather had been especially lousy, with squall line thunderstorms over the mountains between DaNang and Laos. Because of the weather either over the target area or over our route to the AO, we hadn’t flown any missions in several days. We were getting antsy, and spent most of our time bitching. And drinking.
We were about to order another round of drinks, when in walked a Marine Lieutenant. It was Lieutenant Royce!
“Who wants to help celebrate the Marine Corps birthday?” he bellowed. I got the impression he’d already started celebrating a bit earlier.
When he saw me, his eyes lit up.
“Lieutenant! Great to see you. I have a jeep outside, and I can take five of you.”
“I’m ready!” I answered, “Let’s go.”
Three other guys joined me in piling into the jeep for a quick, albeit dangerous, drive to Camp DaNang, the Marine outpost. When we arrived we spilled out and went into the Marine Officer’s Club.
The Marines didn’t know how to live in luxury, but they sure knew how to throw a party. All the booze we could drink. All the food, great food, we could eat. Steak, lobster, shrimp. We had a ball.
Like every other time I got shit-faced drunk, I blacked out. I think I had a good time. Next thing I knew, someone was shaking me.
“Lieutenant. Wake up.” It was Royce.
I felt like crap. I lifted my head and looked around. I was on a canvas cot.
“It’s 0500 hours,” Royce proclaimed, “Let’s go for a run.”
“I, I think I’ll pass,” I responded.
“Okay. If you want to wash up, here’s a basin.” He handed me an empty helmet.
All I could think was, “You gotta be shitting me.”
I thanked Royce and hitched a ride back to DaNang. Damn, those Marines knew how to throw a party!
A sacred part of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier usually only visited by presidents and foreign dignitaries is open to the public this week in honor of the 100th anniversary of the memorial dedicated to America's unidentified war casualties.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Plaza on the hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia is usually reserved for the sentinels who stand guard and presidents and other dignitaries presenting a wreath or flowers.
Ahead of Veterans Day on Thursday, the American public is being given the chance to step forward on the plaza and pay their respects by placing flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The special opportunity is available on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST by registering online in advance.
TODAY's Craig Melvin traveled to the site of the sacred white marble sarcophagus to speak with a gold star mother who regularly visits Arlington as well as a senior member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, known as “The Old Guard,” who keep watch day and night at the tomb.
The memorial was dedicated on Nov. 11, 1921, after the remains of an unidentified soldier from World War I were exhumed from a military cemetery in France, flown to the United States, and buried in a ceremony officiated by President Warren G. Harding.
Remains of unidentified soldiers from World War II and the Korean War were later interred at the tomb in the 1950s. The remains of a Vietnam War veteran were buried there in 1984, but they were exhumed in 1998 and buried at a Missouri military cemetery at the request of the soldier's family after he was positively identified as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie, according to the Arlington National Cemetery website.
Cindy Chip, whose son Sgt. Michael Hardegree died while serving in Iraq in 2007, is among the more than 12,000 people who have signed up so far to lay flowers at the tomb on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"We don’t know that soldier’s name," she told Craig on TODAY Tuesday. "We don’t know anything about him except that he was an American soldier and he gave his life for his country. And we will never forget him.
"And every mother in her heart, that is what we want to say. Just don’t forget them. Just don’t forget that he lived. And that’s what that tomb says to me. This country will never forget it."
From my author website:
Saying Goodbye To A Friend
Posted on April 15, 2015
I buried a friend yesterday. At this age, that’s not terribly unusual. What made this different is that Rick Chorlins was killed 45 years ago, and his remains have finally been brought home.
Rick and I were close when we were cadets at the Air Force Academy. Then, in 1967, graduation sent us in different directions, and we didn’t meet up again until late 1969. I was stationed at DaNang Air Base, South Vietnam, and had wangled a good-deal trip to Thailand for a few days. I was going to go for an orientation ride on a C-130 Airborne Command and Control Center (ABCCC), call-sign Moonbeam. It was a chance to get away from the unrelenting nightly rocket attacks, and see locals who were not burdened by war and who knew how to smile.
I arrived at Nakon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, called NKP, and headed to the Officers Club. And there, standing at the bar, was Rick, along with another classmate I hadn’t seen in over two years, Bob Moore. Meeting up with old friends after a long time is always fun. Running into them unexpectedly on the other side of the world is really special. We hung around together the entire night. After a few drinks, we had dinner, then went back to their hootch and caught up with what had been happening in our lives. We had all gotten married since we last saw each other. Rick had gotten a Master’s Degree. Bob had become a father. We swapped war stories. I told them what it was like to be a Forward Air Controller, and they told me what it was like to fly the A-1 in combat.
Truth be told, I felt like I was the kid and they were the grown-ups. I was flying a dinky little O-2A Skymaster, while they were flying the Skyraider, a gigantic, fire-breathing tail-dragger with a round engine that carried thousands of pounds of bombs under its wings and dueled with enemy gunners for a living. They were real fighter pilots. After hours of shooting down our watches with our hands, we said our good-byes and vowed to get together again, at some unknown time in the future. Great guys.
If you’ve read Hamfist Over The Trail, this story might sound familiar. Chapter 28 is the fictionalized account of my meeting up with Bob and Rick. Dave and Dick in the book are the fictional characters representing the real-life Rick and Bob.
Until now. After 45 years, Rick came home. His remains had been discovered in Laos in 2003 and sent to Hawaii, where DNA testing finally confirmed it was Rick.
Rick was buried at the Air Force Academy cemetery with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, a missing-man fly-by, and the solemn playing of Taps. Generals presented flags to his two surviving relatives, his sisters, Cheryl and Toby.
Then we all gathered together at a restaurant to tell Rick stories. And we all had a really great time, reminiscing about Rick’s great sense of humor, his intelligence, and his dedication to duty. It was a great Celebration of Life.
And it was also a solemn reminder of the sacrifices the families of servicemen faced, and continue to face, when they send their loved ones off to war. They wait at home, never knowing if the sound of the closing car door in the street is a neighbor coming home or a military staff car with a Colonel and a Chaplain coming to bring news that will change their lives forever. That happened 58,286 times during the Vietnam War.
Eighteen on my classmates were lost in Southeast Asia. Five have still not been found.
J.A. Moad II is a writer, performer, speaker, veteran and pilot. Advocate for the stories that cut deep—writing that makes us bleed. Crafting words to remind us that we are all human, struggling to find meaning and acceptance, strength and resilience as we break ourselves against the world, each of us with a hungered yearning for expression and a shared desire for those elusive, indefinable truths conveyed through the art of story. A former Air Force C-130 pilot with over a hundred combat sorties. He wrote and performed his award-winning play, Outside Paducah - the Wars at Home in which he was nominated for Outstanding Solo Performance by the New York Innovative Theater Awards (NYIT). He was a finalist for the McKnight Fellowship in playwriting and is the recipient of the Consequence Magazine Fiction Award. He has performed at The Library of Congress and The Guthrie Theater in The Telling Project - Giving Voice to the Veteran Experience. He served as an English Professor at the United States Air Force Academy and continues to serve as an editor for their international journal, War, Literature & the Arts (WLA). His short stories, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies. He currently resides in Northfield, MN where he writes, lectures, and performs throughout the country while continuing to fly for a major airline.
Colgan Air Flight 3407 (9L/CJC 3407) was marketed as Continental Connection Flight 3407. It was delayed two hours, departing at 9:18 pm Eastern Standard Time (02:18 UTC), en route from Newark Liberty International Airport to Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
The twin-engine turboprop Bombardier Q400, FAA registry N200WQ, was manufactured in 2008 for delivery to Colgan. It was delivered to Colgan on April 16, 2008.
This was the first fatal accident for a Colgan Air passenger flight since the company was founded in 1991. One previous repositioning flight, with no passengers, crashed offshore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in August 2003, killing both of the crew on board. The only prior accident involving a Colgan Air passenger flight occurred at LaGuardia Airport, when another plane collided with the Colgan aircraft while taxiing, resulting in minor injuries to a flight attendant.
Captain Marvin Renslow, 47, of Lutz, Florida, was the pilot in command, and Rebecca Lynne Shaw, 24, of Maple Valley, Washington, served as the first officer. The cabin crew consisted of two flight attendants. Captain Renslow was hired in September 2005 and had accumulated 3,379 total flight hours, with 111 hours as captain on the Q400. First Officer Shaw was hired in January 2008, and had 2,244 hours, 774 of them in turbine aircraft, including the Q400.
Two Canadian passengers, one Chinese passenger, and one Israeli passenger were on board. The remaining 41 passengers, as well as the crew members, were American.
Shortly after the flight was cleared for an instrument landing system approach to runway 23 at Buffalo Niagara International Airport, it disappeared from radar. The weather consisted of light snow and fog with wind of 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph). The deicing system had been turned on 11 minutes after takeoff. Shortly before the crash, the pilots discussed significant ice buildup on the aircraft's wings and windshield. Two other aircraft reported icing conditions around the time of the crash.
The last radio transmission from the flight occurred when the first officer acknowledged a routine instruction to change to tower radio frequency. The plane was 3.0 mi (4.8 km) northeast of the radio beacon KLUMP (see diagram) at that time. The crash occurred 41 seconds after that last transmission. Since ATC approach control was unable to get any further response from the flight, the assistance of Delta Air Lines Flight 1998 and US Airways Flight 1452 was requested. Neither was able to spot the missing plane.
Following the clearance for final approach, landing gear and flaps (5°) were extended. The flight data recorder (FDR) indicated the airspeed had slowed to 145 knots (269 km/h; 167 mph). The captain then called for the flaps to be increased to 15°. The airspeed continued to slow to 135 knots (250 km/h; 155 mph). Six seconds later, the aircraft's stick shaker activated, warning of an impending stall, as the speed continued to slow to 131 knots (243 km/h; 151 mph). The captain responded by abruptly pulling back on the control column, followed by increasing thrust to 75% power, instead of lowering the nose and applying full power, which was the proper stall-recovery technique. That improper action pitched the nose up even further, increasing both the g-load and the stall speed. The stick pusher activated (The Q400 stick pusher applies an airplane-nose-down control column input to decrease the wing's angle of attack (AOA) after an aerodynamic stall), but the captain overrode the stick pusher and continued pulling back on the control column. The first officer retracted the flaps without consulting the captain, making recovery even more difficult.
In its final moments, the aircraft pitched up 31°, then pitched down 25°, then rolled left 46° and snapped back to the right at 105°. Occupants aboard experienced g-forces estimated at nearly 2 G. The crew made no emergency declaration, as they rapidly lost altitude and crashed into a private home at 6038 Long Street, about 5 mi (8.0 km) from the end of the runway, with the nose pointed away from the airport. The aircraft burst into flames, as the fuel tanks ruptured on impact, destroying the house of Douglas and Karen Wielinski, and most of the plane. Douglas was killed; his wife Karen and their daughter Jill managed to escape with minor injuries. Very little damage occurred to surrounding homes, though the lots in that area are only 60 ft (18.3 m) wide. The home was close to the Clarence Center Fire Company, so emergency personnel were able to respond quickly. Two firefighters were injured; 12 nearby houses were evacuated.
The autopilot was in control until it automatically disconnected when the stall-warning stick shaker activated. The NTSB found no evidence of severe icing conditions, which would have required the pilots to fly manually. Colgan recommended its pilots to fly manually in icing conditions, and required them to do so in severe icing conditions. In December 2008, the NTSB issued a safety bulletin about the danger of keeping the autopilot engaged during icing conditions. Flying the plane manually was essential to ensure pilots would be able to detect changes in the handling characteristics of the airplane, which are warning signs of ice accumulation.
After the captain reacted inappropriately to the stick shaker, the stick pusher activated. As designed, it pushed the nose down when it sensed a stall was imminent, but the captain again reacted improperly and overrode that additional safety device by pulling back again on the control column, causing the plane to stall and crash. Bill Voss, president of Flight Safety Foundation, told USA Today that it sounded like the plane was in "a deep stall situation".
On May 11, 2009, information was released about Captain Renslow's training record. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, before joining Colgan, he had failed three "check rides", including some at Gulfstream International's training program, and "people close to the investigation" suggested that he might not have been adequately trained to respond to the emergency that led to the airplane's fatal descent. Investigators examined possible crew fatigue. The captain appeared to have been at Newark airport overnight, prior to the day of the 9:18 pm departure of the accident flight. The first officer commuted from Seattle to Newark on an overnight flight. These findings during the investigation led the FAA to issue a "Call to Action" for improvements in the practices of regional carriers.
Another press report said that the pilot had failed five prior tests, and also alleged "flirtatious" conversation in the cockpit between the pilot and the much younger first officer.
On February 2, 2010, the NTSB issued its final report, describing the details of its investigation that led to 46 specific conclusions.
One conclusion determined that both the captain and the first officer were fatigued at the time of the accident, but the NTSB could not determine how much it degraded their performance.
The pilots' performance was likely impaired because of fatigue, but the extent of their impairment and the degree to which it contributed to the performance deficiencies that occurred during the flight cannot be conclusively determined.
Among those conclusions were the fact that both the captain and the first officer responded to the stall warning in a manner contrary to their training. The NTSB could not explain why the first officer retracted the flaps and suggested that the landing gear should also be retracted, though it did find that the current approach-stall training was not adequate:
The current air carrier approach-to-stall training did not fully prepare the flight crew for an unexpected stall in the Q400 and did not address the actions that are needed to recover from a fully developed stall.
Those findings were immediately followed by the board's "Probable Cause" statement:
The captain's inappropriate response to the activation of the stick shaker, which led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover. Contributing to the accident were (1) the flight crew's failure to monitor airspeed in relation to the rising position of the low-speed cue, (2) the flight crew's failure to adhere to sterile cockpit procedures, (3) the captain's failure to effectively manage the flight, and (4) Colgan Air's inadequate procedures for airspeed selection and management during approaches in icing conditions.
NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman, while concurring, made it clear that she considered fatigue to be a contributing factor. She compared the 20 years that fatigue had remained on the NTSB's Most Wanted List of transportation safety improvements, during which no meaningful action was taken by regulators in response, to the changes in tolerance for alcohol over the same period, noting that the impact on performance from fatigue and alcohol were similar.
However, Vice Chairman Christopher A. Hart and Board Member Robert L. Sumwalt III dissented on the inclusion of fatigue as a contributing factor, on the grounds that evidence was insufficient to support such a conclusion. Notably, the same kind of pilot errors and standard operating procedure violations had been found in other accidents where fatigue was not a factor.
The FAA has proposed or implemented several rule changes as a result of the Flight 3407 accident, in areas ranging from pilot fatigue to Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate qualifications of up to 1,500 hours of flight experience for both pilot and copilot. One of the most significant changes has already taken effect, changing the way examiners grade checkrides in flight simulators during stalls.
A new rule from the Federal Aviation Administration will make it easy for airlines to share information regarding their pilots with each other.
It's the latest step to improve air safety as a result of the crash of Colgan Air Flight 3407 in Clarence Center 12 years ago.
The Pilot Records Database will be maintained by the F.A.A., and will require the airlines to report their pilots' employment history, training and qualifications.
The information can now be shared between air carriers, which will also be required to review records in the database before hiring pilots.
The database will include the following information:
This measure was part of the push made by the families of the 49 passengers and crew who died, along with another person on the ground, when the crash occurred in February of 2009.
"I've said this before that in New York State, if you want to drive a school bus, they check their records all the way to when you got your driver's license," said John Kausner, who along with his wife Marilyn, lost their 24 year old daughter in the crash later blamed on pilot error.
"He was not qualified to fly that plane... he had failed five check rides prior to that and the airline didn't know it," John Kausner said. "And they testified at the NTSB hearing that had they known it, they wouldn't have hired him."
But while it's taken 12 years to get to this point airlines will have more than three years more to fully comply with the new rules.
"Welcome to the federal government," John Kausner said. "Yes, they have to come into compliance in 36 months. I think they have all the data collected, so why it can't be next month is beyond me but that's where we're at."
Flight 3407 families are heralding the news, however, as an important and final piece of a puzzle toward safer skies, which follows their previously successful efforts to lobby for increased and more rigorous pilot training and for mandatory rest periods between flights for air crews.
"It's a proud moment for us and we believe that the greatest legacy to our loved ones are all the lives that have been saved because they inspired us and we feel like we finished the race," Marilyn Kausner said.
Added her husband, "A lot of people don't realize that we haven't had an airline crash in the United States in 12 years. In the 20 years preceding that there was more than one crash per year on average in the United States. That was the record before the 3407 crash, and in the 12 years since there have been zero. And that's not just due to our efforts, but also due to the efforts of our congressional delegation and media which has kept these issues in the public eye."
The accident airplane, registration N93119 (a Boeing 747-131), was manufactured by Boeing in July 1971; it had been ordered by Eastern Air Lines, but after Eastern cancelled its 747 orders, the plane was purchased new by Trans World Airlines. The aircraft had completed 16,869 flights with 93,303 hours of operation and was powered by four Pratt & Whitney JT9D-7AH turbofan engines. On the day of the accident, the airplane departed from Ellinikon International Airport in Athens, Greece, as TWA Flight 881 and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) about 4:38 pm. The aircraft was refueled, and a crew change was made; the new flight crew consisted of 58-year-old Captain Ralph G. Kevorkian (who had flown for TWA for 31 years and the U.S. Air Force for 9 years), 57-year-old Captain/Check Airman Steven E. Snyder (who had flown for TWA for 32 years), and 63-year-old Flight Engineer/Check Airman Richard G. Campbell Jr. (who had flown for TWA for 30 years and the U.S. Air Force for 12 years), as well as 25-year-old flight engineer trainee Oliver Krick, who had flown for TWA for 26 days and was starting the sixth leg of his initial operating experience training.
The ground-maintenance crew locked out the thrust reverser for engine #3 (treated as a minimum equipment list item) because of technical problems with the thrust reverser sensors during the landing of TWA 881 at JFK, prior to Flight 800's departure. Additionally, severed cables for the engine #3 thrust reverser were replaced. During refueling of the aircraft, the volumetric shutoff (VSO) control was believed to have been triggered before the tanks were full. To continue the pressure fueling, a TWA mechanic overrode the automatic VSO by pulling the volumetric fuse and an overflow circuit breaker. Maintenance records indicate that the aircraft had numerous VSO-related maintenance writeups in the weeks before the accident.
TWA 800 was scheduled to depart JFK for Charles de Gaulle Airport around 7:00 pm, but the flight was delayed until 8:02 pm by a disabled piece of ground equipment and a passenger/baggage mismatch. After the owner of the baggage in question was confirmed to be on board, the flight crew prepared for departure, and the aircraft pushed back from Gate 27 at the TWA Flight Center. The flight crew started the engines at 8:04 pm. However, because of the previous maintenance undertaken on engine #3, the flight crew only started engines #1, #2, and #4. Engine #3 was started 10 minutes later at 8:14 pm. Taxi and takeoff proceeded uneventfully.Flight path of TWA 800: The colored rectangles are areas from which wreckage was recovered.
TWA 800 then received a series of heading changes and generally increasing altitude assignments as it climbed to its intended cruising altitude. Weather in the area was light winds with scattered clouds, with dusk lighting conditions. The last radio transmission from the airplane occurred at 8:30 pm, when the flight crew received and then acknowledged instructions from Boston Center to climb to 15,000 feet (4,600 m). The last recorded radar transponder return from the airplane was recorded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) radar site at Trevose, Pennsylvania, at 8:31:12 pm.
Thirty-eight seconds later, the captain of an Eastwind Airlines Boeing 737 reported to Boston ARTCC that he "just saw an explosion out here", adding, "we just saw an explosion up ahead of us here ... about 16,000 feet [4,900 m] or something like that, it just went down into the water." Subsequently, many air traffic control facilities in the New York/Long Island area received reports of an explosion from other pilots operating in the area. Many witnesses in the vicinity of the crash stated that they saw or heard explosions, accompanied by a large fireball or fireballs over the ocean, and observed debris, some of which was burning while falling into the water.
Various civilian, military, and police vessels reached the crash site and searched for survivors within minutes of the initial water impact, but found none, making TWA 800 the second-deadliest aircraft accident in United States history at that time.
The aircraft, a DC-9-32, registered N904VJ, was the 496th DC-9 assembled at the Long Beach plant, was 27 years old at the time and had been previously flown by Delta Air Lines. Its first flight was April 18, 1969. Delivered to Delta on May 27, 1969, as N1281L, the airframe flew for Delta until the end of 1992, when it was retired and sold back to McDonnell Douglas. McDonnell Douglas then sold the plane to ValuJet in 1993. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT8D-9A turbofan engines.
The aircraft had suffered a series of incidents in the two years before the crash, including two aborted takeoffs and eight emergency landings. Engine and pressurization errors were the primary issues in several of the incidents. In May 1995, the FAA issued a re-wiring directive for all DC-9 cockpits because the wire bundles in the switch panel could cause "fire and uncontrolled smoke throughout the cockpit as a result of chafing and shorting."
In the flight deck were two experienced pilots: Captain Candi Kubeck (35) and First Officer Richard Hazen (52). Captain Kubeck had accumulated 8,928 total flight hours throughout her career (including 2,116 hours on the DC-9) and First Officer Hazen had more than 11,800 total flight hours throughout his career, with 2,148 of them on the DC-9.
On the afternoon of May 11, 1996, Flight 592 pushed back from gate G2 in Miami after a delay of 1 hour and 4 minutes due to mechanical problems. There were 105 passengers, mainly from Florida and Georgia, as well as a crew of two pilots and three flight attendants, bringing the total number of people on board to 110. At 2:04 PM EDT, 10 minutes before the disaster, the DC-9 took off from runway 9L (now runway 8R) and began a normal climb.
The NTSB quickly determined that just before takeoff, 144 expired chemical oxygen generators, each slightly larger than the size of a tennis ball can, had been placed in the cargo compartment in five boxes marked COMAT (company material) by ValuJet's maintenance contractor, SabreTech, in violation of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations forbidding the transport of hazardous materials in passenger aircraft cargo holds. Failure to cover the generators' firing pins with the prescribed plastic caps made an accidental activation much more likely. The investigation revealed that rather than covering them, the cords attached to the firing pins were simply cut or duct-taped around the cans, and Scotch tape was also used to stick the ends down. SabreTech employees indicated on the cargo manifest that the "oxy canisters", which were loosely packed in the boxes that were each sealed with tape and bubble wrap, were "empty". ValuJet workers then loaded the boxes in the cargo hold in the mistaken belief that the devices that they contained were just empty canisters, thus being certified as supposedly "safe" to transport on a passenger aircraft, when in fact they were neither simple oxygen canisters, nor empty.
Chemical oxygen generators, when activated, produce oxygen for passengers if the plane suffers a decompression. However, they also produce a great quantity of heat due to the exothermic nature of the chemical reaction involved. Therefore, not only could the heat and generated oxygen start a fire, but the oxygen could also keep the fire burning. The fire was worsened by the presence of two main aircraft tires (one of them mounted on a main wheel) and a nose tire and wheel that were also included in the list of materials shipped as COMAT. Investigators determined that one of the oxygen generators was likely triggered when the plane experienced a slight jolt while taxiing. As the aircraft taxied and took off, the activated generator got hotter and hotter. Soon, the boxes and surrounding packaging ignited, starting a fire.
At 2:10 PM, the passengers started to smell smoke. At the same time, the pilots heard a loud bang in their headphones and noticed the plane was losing electrical power. The sag in electrical power and the bang were eventually determined to be the result of a tire in the cargo hold exploding. Seconds later, a flight attendant entered the cockpit and informed the flight crew of a fire in the passenger cabin. Passengers' shouts of "fire, fire, fire" were recorded on the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) when the cockpit door was opened. Though ValuJet's flight attendant training manual stated that the cockpit door should not be opened when smoke or other harmful gases might be present in the cabin, the intercom was not functional and informing the pilots of what was happening was difficult. The flight data recorder (FDR) indicated a progressive failure of the DC-9's electrical and flight control systems due to the spreading fire.
Kubeck and Hazen immediately asked air traffic control for a return to Miami due to the increasing smoke in the cockpit and cabin, and were given instructions for a return to the airport. One minute later, Hazen requested the nearest available airport. Kubeck began to turn the plane left in preparation for the return to Miami.
Flight 592 disappeared from radar at 2:13:42 PM, the exact time that it crashed. Eyewitnesses nearby watched as the plane banked sharply, rolled onto its side and nosedived into the Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area in the Everglades, a few miles west of Miami, at a speed in excess of 507 miles per hour (816 km/h). Kubeck lost control of the plane less than 10 seconds before impact. Examination of debris suggested that the fire had burned through the floorboards in the cabin, resulting in structural failure and damage to cables underneath the instrument panels. The NTSB report on the accident stated, "the Safety Board cannot rule out the possibility that the flightcrew was incapacitated by smoke or heat in the cockpit during the last 7 seconds of the flight." Interruptions in the cockpit voice recorder occurred on two occasions, one as long as 1 minute 12 seconds. The aircraft hit the water at 2:13:42 PM EDT, about 10 minutes after takeoff. The impact site was on the western edge of Florida Water Conservation Area 3B, between two levees, in an area known as the L-67 Pocket.
None of the 110 passengers or crew on board survived the accident. Additionally, recovery of the aircraft and victims was made extremely difficult by the location of the crash. The nearest road of any kind was more than a quarter mile (400 m) away from the crash scene, and the location of the crash itself was a deep-water swamp with a floor of solid limestone. The aircraft was destroyed on impact, with no large pieces of the fuselage remaining. Sawgrass, alligators, and risk of bacterial infection from cuts plagued searchers involved in the recovery effort.
According to the NTSB's report, two witnesses fishing nearby testified that "they saw a low-flying airplane in a steep right bank. According to these witnesses, as the right bank angle increased, the nose of the airplane dropped and continued downward. The airplane struck the ground in a nearly vertical attitude."
They reported seeing no external damage or any sign of fire or smoke other than the engine exhaust. A group of sightseers in a small private plane also witnessed the crash and provided a nearly identical account, stating that Flight 592 seemed to "disappear" after hitting the swamp and they could see nothing but scattered small debris, part of an engine, and a large pool of jet fuel near the crash site.
At some point in your flying career, either in an FAA Practical Test or in real life, you will be required to perform a visual approach to a landing. In a simulator checkride, typically the electronic glideslope and VASI (visual approach slope indicator) will be rendered inoperative.
For planning purposes, we will use 3 degrees as the desired approach path. That is a typical ILS glideslope and typical VASI glideslope. For a 3-degree descent, your descent rate (vertical speed) will need to be 1/2 your groundspeed times 10. For example, if your groundspeed is 100 knots, you will need to descend at 500 feet per minute to remain on a 3-degree glideslope.
You can read your groundspeed directly from your glass-cockpit instruments. What if you're flying an aircraft with antique gauges? That's where some mental math comes in. Your groundspeed is your true airspeed minus the headwind. You can estimate the headwind by using ATIS winds and adding a few knots for the increased winds (assumed) at approach altitude. How about your true airspeed? Calculate your true airspeed by increasing your indicated airspeed by 2 percent for every 1000 feet above sea level. For example, if you are flying the approach at 90 knots at an average altitude of 5000 feet in Colorado, your true airspeed will be 10 percent higher than your indicated airspeed. So your true airspeed will be 100 knots (actually, 99 knots, but we're doing PILOT math!). If your headwind is 10 knots, your groundspeed is 90 knots, so you will descend at 450 feet per minute.
Here's an even easier way to maintain a 3-degree glideslope: simply fly towards the runway at the glideslope intercept altitude, maintaining final approach airspeed. When you fly over the outer marker (the blue marker beacon light, or the DME for the final approach fix), simply lower the nose 3 degrees and hold that pitch. Wherever the touchdown zone appears in your windscreen, hold that sight picture all the way down. Piece of cake!
I was hired by United Airlines as a Flight Officer on October 16, 1978. In those days they used the term "Flight Officer" instead of "Pilot" because most new-hires were assigned as Flight Engineers. Now, of course, new-hires are all hired as pilots.
My road to the airlines:
1977: Flight Engineer written exam
1977: Airline Transport Pilot written exam - FAILED on the first attempt!
1977: Self-study for ATP written exam - PASSED with 99%
1977: Airline Transport Pilot practical test - Beech 18
1978 (March): Flight Engineer training at Arnautical, Inc.
1978 (April): Instructed Flight Engineer trainees at Arnautical
1978 (May): Updated United application
1978 (July): Interviewed with United Airlines
1978 (October): New-hire at United
1981 (June): Furloughed!
Brett had an early love for aviation, inspired by his uncle, a United Airlines B-747 Captain. He started flying at age 16 and attained all of his certificates while in college. He was anxious to get into professional aviation, and graduated a year early so he could get his start.
His first flying job after graduation was in the cold northeast, where the airplane engine had to be artificially warmed for two hours before flight, but the cockpit stayed frigid! He was then hired by Mesa Airlines, based in Orlando, to fly his first jet. He upgraded to Captain at JFK Airport, where he sometimes had to taxi for two hours fo a 30-minute flight.
After about five years and being downgraded, Brett was starting to feel burned out with regional flying. He heard about a corporate flying job and went to a bar to learn more. He wanted to separate himself from the pool of pilot applicants, he had his resume produced on a cake! He didn't get the job, but got on the company's radar, and was ultimately hired.
Brett eventually worked his way up to Chief Pilot at Kroger, and is now firmly committed to the company.
Since Minturn transitioned from the airlines to business aviation, the NBAA Safety Committee member and chair of the Midwest Safety Roundtable has pursued his passion – aviation safety. He is a staunch advocate for adoption of the Aviation Safety Action Program in Part 91 operations, and last year he worked with the University of Amsterdam to develop aviation safety metrics. Minturn also has helped develop in-house technology solutions for data collection. “What I love about business aviation is I really feel like I’m making the company and the industry better.”
The Runway Awareness and Advisory System (RAAS) is one of a number of related software enhancements available on later-model Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning Systems. RAAS is designed to improve flight crew situational awareness, thereby reducing the risks of runway incursion, runway confusion and runway excursions.
Runway Awareness and Advisory System uses airport data stored in the EGPWS database, coupled with GPS and other onboard sensors, to monitor the movement of an aircraft around the airport. It provides visual/aural annunciations at critical points, such as "Approaching Runway 09 Left and confirmation when an aircraft is lined up on the runway prior to takeoff: for example, "On Runway 09 Right, 2,450 metres remaining." In a scenario where a crew inadvertently lines up on a parallel taxiway and commences a take off, an aural alert “On Taxiway, On Taxiway” is provided if the aircraft speed exceeds 40 kts. On approach and after touchdown, the system continues to announce the distance to go until the end of the runway is reached.
Advisories/cautions are generated based upon the current aircraft position as compared to the location of the airport runways, which are stored within the EGPWS Runway Database.
The aurals can be grouped into two categories:
RAAS provides the flight crew with five ‘routine advisories'. Three of these annunciations will be heard by the crew in normal operations, providing increased position awareness relative to the runway during taxi and flight operations. They are intended to reduce the risk of a runway incursion. The two remaining ‘routine’ advisories provide information about the aircraft location along the runway, and are intended to reduce the risk of overruns. The five advisories are:
In addition, RAAS provides the flight crew with several ‘non-routine’ advisories/cautions. These annunciations are designed to enhance safety and situational awareness in specific situations not routinely encountered during normal aircraft operations. Some of the RAAS advisories include distance information. The unit of measure used for distance can be configured to be either metres or feet.
Each RAAS function is independently enabled based on a customer specification and, when enabled, the RAAS functions operate automatically without any action required from the flight crew.
In addition to the aural annunciations provided, visual caution indications may be activated if the appropriate criteria are met. Visual text annunciations can also be configured so they are overlaid on the terrain display for a period of time after the warning is generated.
With over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry as an educator, researcher, FAA Part 141 chief instructor, airline pilot, corporate pilot, and flight instructor, Chad is versed in the kinetic and dynamic challenges and changes in the aviation industry. His passion for aviation, education, background, research, and experiences are beneficial to industry start-ups, consulting firms, and aviation companies.
Chad was instrumental in obtaining the Part 141 certificate for Metropolitan State University of Denver's Aviation Department. As a result, Program graduates are eligible to obtain their Airline Transport Pilot certificate with 1,000 flight hours, compared to the 1,500 hours normally required.
Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day falls on September 26 this year and is traditionally observed on the last Sunday in September. The day is for honoring families of those who have received The Gold Star – the military award no one wants. The award commemorates the tragic death of a military member who has perished while in the line of duty and hopes to provide a level of comfort to the parents and families that are left behind. Since World War 1, a “Gold Star Family” has signified a family that has lost one of its members in combat. The family can display a Gold Star Service Flag for any military family members who have died from any honorable cause – each gold star on the flag signifies a death. Though today only around 1% of the country is involved in military service, as compared to the 12% during other times of war, like World War 2, there are still a significant number of surviving Gold Star families – not to mention, a Gold Star lives on in a family’s legacy.
HISTORY OF GOLD STAR MOTHER’S AND FAMILY DAY
Though the exact roots of the tradition aren’t totally known, it was during World War 1 that the gold star came to symbolize that a family member had fallen in battle. Around that time, the term “Gold Star Family” came to mean that you were a surviving family of a person who died in service and families hung banners with a gold star outside their homes. The tradition has since been authorized and seeks to ease the grief of mothers and families while reminding that no one truly serves alone.
Gradually, there came to be many ways for grieving family members to honor their loved ones with symbols worn or places outside the home. In 1918, President Wilson allowed grieving military mothers to wear a traditional black armband featuring a gold star. Soon after, it was approved for families to cover the blue star on the service flag outside of their home with a gold one. As of 1947, Gold Star family members can also display the Gold Star Lapel.
The American Gold Star Mothers Inc. first got its start in 1917, when Grace Siebold’s son was killed during World War 1. Wanting to create a support system for grieving mothers in similar circumstances, Grace gathered what would become the American Gold Star Mothers to grieve together and tend to hospitalized veterans in local hospitals. The organization was formalized as a non-profit in 1928, with a mission of remembrance, education, and patriotism. Still today, they support Gold Star mothers in their grief, hold an annual conference, and organize events with supporting groups.
Though Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day isn’t observed as a National, federal holiday like Memorial Day, it was declared by Congress in 1936 to be the last Sunday in September – though, at the time, it was only known as “Gold Star Mother’s Day.” It was in 2011 that President Obama amended the declaration, declaring the day to include families as well as mothers. Today, the holiday includes any immediate family member and authorizes that person to display the Gold Star Service Flag.
Today, America is not embroiled in any kind of conflict like World War 1 or 2, and far fewer individuals consider Gold Star heroes and their families – oftentimes, people may think that they don’t know anyone in a Gold Star Family. However, there are many more Gold Star families from previous wars than you may think, and since over 1.3 million people are involved in the military today, it’s possible you know a family that still grieves a recent fallen soldier. Understanding the sacrifice and acknowledging the holiday are the best ways to support the families and honor the soldiers.
GOLD STAR MOTHER’S AND FAMILY DAY TIMELINE
1918 Armbands Authorized
President Wilson authorized mothers who had lost a child in the war to wear a traditional black mourning armband featuring a gold star.
1929 American Gold Star Mothers
Started in Washington, DC, The American Gold Star Mothers Inc. quickly spread across the country. In 1929, the organization obtained a federal charter to support mothers who were often separated from their ailing or dead children.
June 23, 1936 Gold Star Mother’s Day Recognized
Since this date, Gold Star Mother’s Day has always fallen on the last Sunday of September.
1947 Gold Star Lapel
The Gold Star Service Lapel, in addition to the Gold Star Service Flag, is authorized to be displayed by surviving family members.September 23, 2011.
President Obama amended “Gold Star Mother’s Day” to include families as “Gold Star Mother’s and Family Day” on September 23, 2011.
Pondering this past year and our new normal, I realized lessons learned from ancient and modern battlefields can be used in so many areas of our lives. Sitting down one night, hundreds of stories and lessons learned flowed onto the notebook pages. Three close friends told me “Share these with the rest of us!” The Lessons from the Cockpit podcast was born.
Flying is described as long periods of boredom interrupted by short intermittent periods of extreme terror.
On the Lessons from the Cockpit show, we debrief the most intriguing pilots, aircrew members, maintainers, and aviation enthusiasts, investigating their tactics, techniques, and procedures cultivated during extraordinary military, commercial, and private flight operations.
Our exploration gives practical advice on how the aviation world works and expands critical thinking skills in the air and on the ground.
Many of our guests were involved in front-page headline news, others in events taking great pains to ensure they didn’t end up in the news.
From Code 7700:
[AC 120-100, ¶7.]
Figure: Window of circadian low, from Duty/Rest Guidelines for Business Aviation, §1.0.
1.2 Recovery Periods
Time-of-Day and Circadian Physiology
1.4 Continuous Waking Hours
1.5 Individual Differences
Sources of Pilot Fatigue
[Caldwell, pg. 6] Both long-haul and short-haul pilots commonly associate fatigue with scheduling issues
Symptoms of Pilot Fatigue
[Caldwell, pg. 9]
Effects of Pilot Fatigue
Figure: In-cockpit nodding off episodes, from Caldwell, pg. 16.
[Caldwell, pg. 16.]
[Caldwell, pg. 18.]
Robert DeLaurentis, “Zen Pilot,” is a successful author, speaker, pilot, real estate entrepreneur, philanthropist and Navy Gulf War Veteran. His books include the best-selling Zen Pilot: Flight of the Passion and the Journey Within; Flying Thru Life: How to Grow Your Business and Relationships Through Applied Spirituality; and the forthcoming, Citizen of the World: To the Ends of the Earth and Beyond.
In 2019, Robert will undertake his second circumnavigation, this time from the North Pole to the South Pole in the “Citizen of the World,” a 1983 Turbine Commander 900 aircraft with the powerful global mission of “One Planet, One People, One Plane: Oneness for Humanity.” This trip is a real-time example of going after the seemingly impossible, not giving up while “Flying Thru Life” and making the dream of connecting our humanity through flight a reality.
Founder and president of the inspirational publishing company Flying Thru Life and the charitable organization, DeLaurentis Foundation, Robert’s mission is to inspire people and organizations to live their impossibly big dreams through the wonder of aviation and the power of courageous action.
A notable pilot listed in Wikipedia, Robert has flown his single engine Piper Malibu Mirage to 53 countries and territories in three years, including Europe, Central America, Southern Africa, Asia, Siberia, Mexico and the Caribbean. Flying solo, Robert has crossed the Polar Ice Cap, the North Atlantic Ocean, Bering Sea and Gulf of Mexico.
In 2015, Robert successfully completed an equatorial circumnavigation, single plane, single engine, single pilot, across the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans to 23 countries in his Piper Malibu Mirage named “Spirit of San Diego.” He survived an engine-out at 14,000 feet over the Strait of Malacca and dead sticked 19.6 nautical miles into Kuala Lumpur International with 600 pounds of fuel in the cabin and oil spraying on the 1500 degree exhaust. He lived to tell the story in his best-selling book, Zen Pilot.
In recognition of his courage, resourcefulness and contribution to the San Diego community, the San Diego Mayor’s Office and City Council awarded Robert the “Spirit of San Diego Day” Proclamation.
An AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association) Opinion Leader Blogger with 400,000 followers and more than 100 media interviews, Robert is a recognized social media influencer. In addition to his media and speaking appearances and books, he has recorded the video, Overcoming the Fear of Flying, Unleashing Potential, to be released to 26,000 high schools across the US and created the Citizen of the World Pole to Pole Flight Coloring and Activity Book for children of all ages.
Robert’s real estate business, Innorev Enterprises, Inc., includes over 300 real estate units, acquired over twenty-eight years. Starting with one condo in 1990, his road to success, much like flying, was not a straight path. The lessons he learned and the success he experienced along the way funded his dream of becoming a pilot and owning a plane, and is the basis of his book, Flying Thru Life.
Robert has an undergraduate degree in Accounting from USC, and an advanced degree in graduate studies in Spiritual Psychology, a three year program with an emphasis in Consciousness, Health, and Healing from the University of Santa Monica.
Robert was in the Navy for 14 years – four years active duty and 10 years reserves, leaving in 2003 as a Lieutenant Commander.
Born in Salamanca, New York, Robert grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area until he was 10 years old, followed by three years in Indonesia. His family returned back to the Bay Area, where Robert lived until attending college at USC. After his initial tour with the Navy, he settled in San Diego where he currently resides. However, watch his Google Map to find out where he is flying to today!
POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed on the third Friday of September, on September 17 this year, to recommit to full accountability to the families of the more than 80,000 veterans captured or still missing from wars that the United States has participated in. According to accounts, during the first ceremony of POW/MIA Day at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., fighter airplanes from the military base in Virginia flew in the ‘missing man formation’ in their honor.
HISTORY OF NATIONAL POW/MIA RECOGNITION DAY
National POW/MIA Recognition Day is observed annually in September around a central theme to show commitment to full accountability to the families of captured service members and missing war heroes.
The term POW and MIA mean prisoner of war and military personnel who went missing in action.
Many service members suffered as prisoners during the several wars that have happened throughout the history of the U.S. National POW/MIA Recognition Day was initiated as the day to commemorate with the family of many of the tens of thousands of service members who never made it home.
The day was first observed in 1979 after Congress and the president passed a resolution to make it official following the demands of the families of 2,500 Vietnam War POW/MIAs who asked for accountability in finding their loved ones.it is also mostly associated with service members who were prisoners of war during the Vietnam War.
Regardless of where they are held in the country, National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies share the common purpose of honoring those who were held captive and returned, as well as the memory of those who remain missing in service to the United States.
Until 1979, there was no formal day set aside for these important men and women and the first observance of POW/MIA day included a remembrance ceremony at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Since then, the Pentagon is where the official observance happens, with other celebrations happening at military bases around the country and elsewhere.
On the Ready For Takeoff Podcast, we've had the honor of speaking to the following POWs: