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AIN's Tales from the Flight Deck

Furthering aviation safety awareness by exploring first-person experiences.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Airmanship Saves Southwest Flight

A Southwest Airlines flight crew finds themselves in a situation they'd never experienced before when their Boeing 737 suffers an uncontained engine failure on a flight from New York to Dallas, leaving them mere moments to make the right decisions to save their compromised aircraft and their passengers. Although the crew is able to maintain control of their stricken aircraft and later guiding it to a successful emergency landing in Philadelphia, the event was not without casualties - something that continues to weigh on the mind of the flight’s captain, who was heralded as a hero. Today, Tammie Jo Shults shares her aviation story, her thoughts on training proficiency and cockpit automation... and the lessons she took away from Flight 1380. Participant: Southwest Airlines Captain Tammie Jo Shults


25 Oct 2019

Rank #1

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Avoiding King Air Rollover Tragedies

Over the past five years, one of the world’s most popular, dependable aircraft has been involved in a series of accidents—all of them fatal, all of them on takeoff. In each case, the Beechcraft King Airs appeared to roll or yaw to the left during a possible engine malfunction and within seconds, crashed. What might be happening here? And what can pilots do to save their planes, their passengers and their lives? Participants: Edward Hench (pseudonym), King Air 350 crewmember Kipp Lau, pilot, aviation journalist Marc Fruchter, aviation safety consultant Lee Coffman, aviation safety consultant, King Air maintenance expert


18 Sep 2019

Rank #2

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Takeoff And Landing Assessments, Part 1

On Dec. 8, 2005, Southwest Airlines 1248 was completing its trip from Baltimore when it plowed through a runway barrier and skidded onto the streets of Chicago. The Boeing 737 collided with two cars, killing 6-year-old Joshua Woods. The aircraft had been operating in near blizzard conditions and dealt with a stiff tailwind, a short runway, and some technical issues. Ultimately, the pilot did not have the appropriate landing data for Midway International Airport. In the summer of 2006, the FAA convened a two-day meeting with industry safety experts to attempt to implement more safety measures for pilots. How did aviation organizations and individuals in the industry work together to improve takeoff and landing assessments for pilots?


26 Feb 2018

Rank #3

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When it all Goes Sideways

Having reached their 43,000-foot cruise altitude, the crew of a corporate Citation XLS had their world almost literally turned upside down. Like a rogue wave far out at sea, clear air turbulence can come from nowhere, and a routine flight can instantly become a heart-stopping roller coaster ride. Like many before them, this crew battled not only a gut-wrenching upset and aerodynamic stall, but even more significantly, they experienced the paralyzing effects of shock. In this episode, we’ll hear from one of the pilots, as well as experts in the field of upset recovery training. We’ll also learn how proper conditioning can enable pilots to react quickly and calmly when confronted with a “one in a million” event. Topics this episode will cover: Upset recovery training Wake turbulence Gravity waves Clear air turbulence


15 Jan 2019

Rank #4

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Fuel Emergency—Flying on Empty

How could an instrument-rating student and a flight instructor run out of fuel on a training flight? High-time flight instructor Brian Lloyd recalls his instrument training and an incident that taught him some of his most important aviation lessons. In this episode, AIN's The Human Factor delves into how assumptions and a lack of communication become links in the chain of events that could cause an accident. Whether you are a high-time professional pilot or student pilot, this episode is a reminder of how the wrong decisions can turn into potentially fatal errors.


1 Sep 2017

Rank #5

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DEF Contamination

Mistaking diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) additive for fuel system icing inhibitor PRIST on the flight line is a growing problem on ramps all over the world. This can be disastrous since DEF causes jet-A to crystalize and clog aircraft fuel filters and lines. In fact, DEF contamination of jet-A has already forced several business aircraft crews to perform engine-out landings in the U.S. and elsewhere. Participants: Alex Beringer, Chief Operations Officer, Fair Wind Charters Ryan Smith, Captain, Falcon 900EX, Fair Wind Charters Michael Rossi, First Officer, Falcon 900EX, Fair Wind Charters


12 Jul 2019

Rank #6

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Familiar Departure, Busted Altitude

After an unanticipated en route stop-over throws a curve to an experienced crew, they fall victim to an error of omission that could have been disastrous. Leaving Denver International Airport for their homeward leg, they trip up on what has become an alarmingly common problem: pilots not briefing for altitude restrictions on standard instrument departures, or SIDs. Fortunately, an alert controller catches the error in time to avoid an imminent traffic conflict. The Gulfstream pilot in this episode owned up to his mistake. This is a larger systemic problem than you might think, a team of aviation experts concurs. Topics the episode will cover: RNAV approach and departure procedures/SIDs & STARs Altitude restrictions "Climb/Descend Via" terminology


18 Dec 2018

Rank #7

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Fly - By - Wire Failure, Part 2

While flying an Airbus A330 at FL370 over the Indian Ocean from Singapore to Perth in 2008, pilot Kevin Sullivan found himself dealing with malfunctioning primary flight control computers. The aircraft began to pitch down over the water, which injured some of the 303 passengers on board. Fortunately, Sullivan’s past experience as a Navy pilot helped him navigate to safety. In this second part of this AIN's The Human Factor episode, Sullivan continues his tale of Qantas Flight 72 and how he was able to land the aircraft at the military field at Learmonth Airport. He also speaks about how the experience affects him today.


20 Nov 2017

Rank #8

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Engine Fire Forces Water Landing, Part 1

After dropping five charter passengers in Havana, Cuba, on February 20, 2003, one of the engines on Dennis Murphy's Cessna 402B developed a catastrophic engine fire over the Straights of Florida, forcing him to make an emergency water landing. In the first part of AIN's The Human Factor, Murphy recounts how the emergency developed and then delves into the issue of the extreme fear that he faced and how best to prepare for when the unexpected occurs.


19 Sep 2017

Rank #9

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The Perils Of Hypoxia

Pilot George Braly recalls a flight in which his portable oxygen line becomes kinked and he ultimately loses conciousness. George is awakened by ATC and is able to increase the oxygen flow and safely descend from the high-altitude flight. In this episode AIN delves into the issue of hypoxia by examining both portable and built-in oxygen systems. Additionally we discuss the FAA regulations that require one pilot when flying in a pressurized aircraft above 41,000 to use an oxygen mask at all times. Studies have shown that 82 percent of business aircraft pilots openly disregard this rule, and this episode discusses the human factors involved in oxygen mask use on long flights and possible solutions to this problem.


23 Oct 2017

Rank #10

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Episode 19: Flight Deck Automation after Indonesia and Ethiopia

After the Boeing 737 MAX 8 crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopia, the question is whether cockpit automation is working for pilots or pilots are working for the automation. We talk with the pilot of Qantas Flight 72, An Airbus A330 that pitched down without control input and without warning a decade ago. The pilot of that aircraft says of the MAX 8 accidents, “the road is different, but the destination is the same.” Our roundtable of pilots and aviation journalists looks at the growing complexity of flight deck automation, our increasing dependence on it and the lack of training available to pilots for cases in which the automation fails. Participants: Capt. Kevin Sullivan, Qantas Flight 72, October 8, 2008 Capt. Gary Rower, Airbus A330 international captain and cockpit resource management trainer Capt. Bill Palmer, Airbus A330 international captain and author Capt. Bert Botta, former international captain and flight crew trainer, now flying business aircraft Mark Phelps, executive editor, AIN Publications Matt Thurber, editor-in-chief, AIN Publications Rob Finfrock, aviation writer


26 Mar 2019

Rank #11

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Flying Under The Influence, Part 1

Passengers put their lives in the hands of their flight crews when they step onto an airplane. But what if pilots violate the trust passengers bestow? In 1990, Lyle Prouse was the first pilot arrested for being drunk in the cockpit when he attempted to fly Northwest Airlines Flight 650 from Fargo, North Dakota, to Minneapolis. Today, a pilot is pulled from a flight for being too intoxicated to fly about once a month, according to experts. In this episode of AIN’s The Human Factor, multiple pilots tell their stories of dealing with addiction while in the cockpit and explain how their actions affected their careers. This episode also explores how the FAA, pilot unions, and companies have worked together to create the Human Intervention Motivation Study (HIMS) Program to help addicted pilots return to the cockpit.


15 Dec 2017

Rank #12

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Emergency Response

When an aircraft emergency situation strikes, as a pilot, how prepared will you be to deal with it? For both an experienced aviator with thousands of hours of stick time and a novice on the first solo flight, proper training, a level head, and the ability to focus on the task can carry the day. Topics the episode will cover: The importance of emergency training The ability to focus on the task at hand Understanding when to declare an emergency


19 Feb 2019

Rank #13

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Engine Fire Forces Water Landing, Part 2

After Dennis Murphy delivered five charter passengers to Havana, Cuba, on February 20, 2003, during the return trip one of the engines on his Cessna 402B burst into flames while he was flying over the ocean, far from land over the Straits of Florida, forcing him to make an emergency water landing. In this second part of his recounting of the harrowing flight in AIN's The Human Factor podcast, we return to the tale as Dennis Murphy ditches his airplane in the ocean and follow along with what happens next.


4 Oct 2017

Rank #14

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Into the Storm

What makes an otherwise safe pilot believe he or she can pick through the cells of a thunderstorm? In this episode, Wilson Khors and his copilot become so transfixed on making it through a tiny hole in a line of convective weather over San Juan, Puerto Rico, they simply disregard the option of turning around. They’re not alone. Even some of the most experienced pilots have done it. In part, they’re using weather depiction strategically. But is that really wise? Topics the episode will cover: The hazards of trying to fly through rather than around convective weather. How weather depiction varies tremendously based on who and where you are. The advantages of using weather depiction strategically to avoid storms rather than tactically to pick a path through them. In this episode you will hear from: Wilson Khors—Part 135 pilot who encountered a thunderstorm in a Pilatus PC-12 over San Juan, Puerto Rico in May, 2014 Dan Boedigheimer—Business aviation pilot and CEO of Advanced Aircrew Academy Dan McCabe—FAA Air Traffic Controller based at Atlanta Center John Kosak—NBAA Manager of Weather Programs, based at the FAA Air Traffic Control Command Center in Warrenton, VA


15 Mar 2019

Rank #15