When a FedEx airplane taxied out to takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare airport, a preflight check determined that the plane was too heavy to use the runway to which it was originally assigned because that runway was only 8,000 feet long. Air traffic controllers gave the flight the option of a new runway and the plane prepared for takeoff. They began accelerating down the new runway unaware that a blast fence had been erected for the runway construction, shortening the runway to only 6,000 feet. The pilots were surprised as the moved down the runway and saw the fence quickly approaching. The plane was already moving too fast to stop in time to avoid the fence so the pilots took the plane into the air as quickly as possible narrowly missing the blast fence. They were close enough though that the exhaust from the engines blew away the blast fence.
You likely heard about a situation last week in which two airline flights, including one from Chicago, landed at Reagan National airport without the assistance of the air traffic controller who had dozed off. Fortunately both plans landed safely, but now there are rumblings within the airline industry about what should happen when a situation like this arises.
During a flight last may, about 30 minutes after takeoff, flames shot into the cockpit from the window of a United Airlines airplane with 112 passengers on board, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune. The flames extended 14 to 16 inches into the cockpit from the window near the captain. The captain quickly grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher to douse the flames, but after he initially had them under control, they reignited. A flight attendant brought him another fire extinguisher which he also emptied in an attempt to put out the fire. As the plane headed to Dulles Airport for an emergency landing, the inner pane of the window in front of the captain shattered. The first officer then took control of the plane and landed it safely.
The Chicago Tribune reports that two people were killed in a fatal airplane accident yesterday at about 6:30 in the evening. The crash occurred in south central Wisconsin about 15 miles from Baraboo. The plane had taken off from an airport in Lake in the Hills, Illinois.
As you may know, the south end of the main runway at the Chicago Executive Airport ends very near to Palatine Road. The owners of the airport, Prospect Heights and Wheeling, have now approved the installation of a runway safety system to be installed at both ends of the runways to help stop airplanes that overshoot the runways.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the National Transportation Safety Board is leading an investigation into a fatal plane crash that occurred Wednesday night in Indiana. The crash of the twin engine Cessna occurred at approximately 8:15 according to Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Cory.
The Chicago Tribune reports that a flight originating from Fort Lauderdale airport was forced to make an emergency landing after the aircraft suffered a mid-air mechanical failure. The airplane had left the Florida airport at approximately 7:45 on Sunday morning. The engine failed shortly into the flight and the plane was forced to return to Fort Lauderdale airport to make an emergency landing.
In January of 2009, a US Airways flight taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York struck a flock of Canadian Geese and was disabled. You likely remember the amazing water landing and rescue in the Hudson River. This dramatic event brought to light the dangers posed by wildlife collisions to aircraft during take-off and landing. Different parts of the country have unique wildlife hazards. Pilots in Texas worry about bats, while airports in Florida report aircraft striking dozens of turtles and alligators. In Wisconsin the biggest problem is deer.
The pilot of a small airplane was rescued by snowmobilers after crash-landing on a frozen lake in southern Wisconsin. Rescue and dive teams from the Rock County sheriff's department also responded at the scene after the crash was reported last evening. Fortunately the plane did not break through the ice of Lake Koshkonong during the landing and the pilot was safely transported to the shore.
The National Transportation Safety Board has adopted a study confirming the safety benefits of shoulder harnesses in general aviation accidents and concluding that airbags can provide additional protection for occupants of such aircraft.