Monthly Archives: January 2015

Je Suis Charlie


Credit – Unofficial: Banksy

Crashin’ Planes with Mason Baveux

Our esteemed pinch-hitter Mason Baveux has managed to sober up long enough to have some coherent thoughts regarding the spate of aircraft crashes.  Believe it or not he used to hold an A&P (airframe and powerplant) ticket, so he might even speak with a modicum of authority, which scares the crap out of us.

Thanks for the bloggery keys again Davey as I got something to say.  First off, a happy new year’s to you and the rest of the readers what read your blog on a semi regular basis of readin. 

And a Merry Christmas too.  Not Happy Friggin Holidays, but Merry Friggin Christmas, goddammit.  If’n you don’t celebrate Christmas, then a Happy Chanuka, or Eid, or Diwalli or Saturnalia, or Solstice, or what ever effin holiday you call yours.  We’ll all get along fine, as we all take our turns.  Right now, it’s our turn, so Merry Christmas.

Airplanes crashin is what I need to talk about for a piece.  A lot of airlines out of Malaysia and Singapore has been havin a shit run of luck of late, either bein shot down like in the Ukerainia or disappearing off the scopes, like last year, or just a couple of days ago over the Java Sea. 

What’s got my arse in a knot is those moron commentators on the cable news who are talkin nonsense about aircraft, about hows the pilot gone off his meds and crashed her on purpose to piss off his ex wife, or how come they ain’t got a way to find a downed aircraft in fourteen minutes flat.  We’re gonna set that to right, right about now. 

First off to keep in mind is that the pilot is always the first one on the scene of the accident, as he’s up at the pointy end, so’s its in his interest to land the airplane proper and make sure it’s all workin fine.  He (or these days, it could be a she, but I’ll use he as that’s what I’m used to sayin) is the lad what makes sure you get to where you’re goin, as he’s been told to get you there. 

Pax who die on the trip tend not to buy another ticket, so it’s in the interests of the airline to get you there and bring you back.  There’s a whole whack of other folks that have your interests too.  Co-pilot, stews (I mean flight attendants) gas jockeys, caterin’, bag monkeys, ramp rats, de-icers, wrenches, ATC, tower pukes and all them has your best interests at heart.  They all got the right and the obligation to speak up if they see something wrong.  They want you to get there safe and come home safe.  Might not be the best trip and your luggage might wind up at DME but at least you got there and back in one piece. 

Where it can get complicated is with all the movin parts.  Airplanes are simple things don’t you know.  If you got enough airspeed you can glide one damn near anywheres, as long as you got room to dive enough to keep up airspeed.  Where it goes to hell, is if you ain’t got room between your airplane and the ground to dive enough to have enough airspeed to fly.  Yes, a 747-100 will glide and if you’re at FL32 you got room to dive and keep flyin long enough to find somewheres reasonably flat to land it, as long as you got wings, ailerons, elevators and a rudder.  Keep up 240 IAS and the ratio is more or less 15 feet forward for every foot down. 

That Gimli Glider (Charlie Golf Alpha Uniform November) was nothin but a 767-200 out of gas in the hands of a good pilot who had enough room betwixt himself and the ground to keep it flyin.  Same with Captain Sully Sullenberger with that USScare flight on the Hudson River.  He didn’t have but a dozen seconds after a double bird strike to figure it out and glide it in for a river ditchin.  Gliding ain’t the problem as long as you got all the parts on the aircraft.  

This becomes a problem when you’re out over the ocean 120 minutes from frig all to land on.  Used to be the lads called ETOPS, Engines Turning Or Passengers Swimming but that was a while ago, after my time.  Water ditchin means you’re hittin something at 170 or so knots.  Even if you hit the inside of Ivor Wynne Stadium and she’s full of Kraft marshmallows, you’ll bust up the airframe. with a bit o simple math: 

170 knots (got flaps, got gear, got the centerline) is 195 miles per hour give or take.  Now think about some puke what’s lost it on the 401 at 85 mph?  Is there much left of the car, or him?  Nope.  He gets buried in a #10 window envelope so’s they can have a viewing before the burial, so’s going more than twice that in a Scarebus with 150 souls, then you got a mess of aluminum scrap.

What also galls my galluses is the tv turds what are beefin about not having a GPS on modern airplanes.  The problem ain’t havin a GPS, as all the new ones got’em, but havin someone listening to the report coming back from the aircraft and keepin tabs on the flight the whole way.  That takes a human keepin an eye on’er all the time that costs the airlines money for monitoring 100,000 flights where frig all happens except the plane gets there and comes back and maybe they’re out of Crown Royal, so’s you got to have a gin and tonic instead of a rye and ginger.  I’m not sayin you cain’t do it, but she’ll cost a ton to monitor something that happens one time in a million. 

What I see from my Barcalounger is cable news tryin to fill time with bullshit like they got all confused on metric versus imperial or the pilot lost his marbles and was screamin in arabic as he threw it all away and the airline did their maintenance with sheet metal screws and 200 mph tape on a route they weren’t licensed to fly.  I call bullshit.  Aircraft don’t work like that as long as the crew has their head screwed on right and all the parts of the airframe are there, she’ll fly.  

I’ll be bettin a picture of Sir Wilfrid Laurier that he ran into a a microburst that he couldn’t get around or over, and lost something important like the rudder or a half a wing and then it became a brick.  Bricks don’t fly too well and those inside the brick are in real trouble.

Now I’m sorry all them people died and it makes for great tv to see wailin relatives, but wailin relatives is got nothin to do with air safety.  Them tears are the result of sometimes just some bad luck.  Was there other contributing factors, of course there was and we’ll find that out soon enough. 

Just we don’t need some uninformed hairsprayed jagoff who couldn’t parallel park a Smart car, tell us how everything is all buggered up when they don’t know much more than left from right or can’t tell a JT9D from a CF6.  Bunch of arseholes.


Thanks Mason for your insight.