Delta Crash: Investigators Suspect Possible Brake Problems

Author: admin  |  Category: Crashes, Other Events, Safety


By ANDY PASZTOR, Via The Wall Street Journal

Further testing of aircraft needed before definitive cause determined

A Delta plane rests on a berm near the waters of Flushing Bay at La Guardia Airport in New York on Thursday.

A Delta plane rests on a berm near the waters of Flushing Bay at La Guardia Airport in New York on Thursday. PHOTO: FRANK FRANKLIN II/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Original story, via The Wall Street Journal.

A Press Release from the National Transportation Safety Board can be found, here.

For more information on Brodkowitz Law and our work representing injured passengers on commercial airlines, visit our website or contact us.

Air Canada plane crash lands at Halifax airport, 23 injured

Author: admin  |  Category: Crashes, Other Events, Safety


By Marc Braibant via Yahoo News

Montreal (AFP) – Twenty-three people were injured when an Air Canada jet struck an antenna and crash landed as it attempted to touch down in heavy snow at Halifax airport early Sunday.

All but one of the injured were later released from hospital following the incident, which came just five days after a pilot killed himself and 149 others when he slammed his Germanwings plane into the French Alps.

Like the doomed Germanwings flight, the Air Canada plane involved in Sunday’s incident was an Airbus A320.

Flight AC624 from Toronto “exited runway upon landing at Halifax,” the airline said on Twitter, and pictures showed the nose of the plane sliced off, its landing gear collapsed and at least one engine badly mangled.

Passengers said the plane had circled over the airport before coming in to land and had “bounced” upon impact, shortly after midnight.

Investigators were probing what caused the incident, but heavy snow was falling in the eastern Canadian city and Environment Canada had issued a snowfall alert, warning of low visibility.

Transportation Safety Board investigator Mike Cunningham told a press conference the plane had struck an antenna array approximately 350 meters (1,150 feet) before the start of the runway.

The collision caused “significant damages to the aircraft,” he said, ripping off the landing gear.

Five crew and 133 passengers were on board the plane, according to Air Canada.

TSB investigators have recovered the black box flight recorders for analysis of cockpit exchanges with air traffic control and flight data.

– Passenger panic –

Passengers described scenes of panic.

“There was a couple people, all bloodied. Everybody was able to get out, but what was worse was that they left us for an hour outside in the blowing snow,” Lianne Clark told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Some ran from the plane “because the fuel was coming out and we were scared,” she said.

Halifax airport spokesman Peter Spurway said passengers had appeared shaken as they left the plane, describing the incident as “scary.”

Power was out at the airport at the time of the incident, but it was unclear whether there was an impact on the situation.

“We did lose power, we’re not sure if the two incidents are connected. They may be but we’re not sure,” Spurway told AFP.

Back-up generators were running when the flight landed and the runways were lit, he added.

Both runways were closed overnight but the airport was slowly returning to normal early Sunday.

Images showed the aircraft sitting on the airfield with its badly damaged nose as thick snow covered the ground.

Spurway reported the damage as “extensive” and said at least one emergency chute had opened.

Several counties in the eastern coastal province of Nova Scotia were affected by Saturday’s winter weather alert.

“We at Air Canada are greatly relieved that no one was critically injured,” said Klaus Goersch, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Air Canada.

“Yet we fully appreciate this has been a very unsettling experience for our customers and their families, as well as our employees, and we are focused on caring for all those affected.”

Full story via Yahoo News, here.

After an airplane crash there are a lot of questions. We can help answer the questions that arise after a plane crash by acting quickly to gather important evidence that would otherwise be lost. We then assemble skilled aviation experts to examine the data so that the appropriate party can be held responsible.

For more information about Brodkowitz Law and our work representing plane crash victims, commercial airline passengers, pilots, flight attendants and helicopter crash victims, visit our website or contact us.

Safety board wrapping up investigation into Seattle helicopter crash

Author: admin  |  Category: Crashes, Safety


Via, story by Glenn Farley

It’s been almost one year since a news helicopter crashed in the shadow of the Space Needle, killing a photographer and the pilot. KING 5 has learned NTSB’s report is now complete and is in its final review.

Video report: Safety board wrapping up investigation into Seattle helicopter crash

KOMO helicopter crash

SEATTLE- The National Transportation Safety Board has told KING 5 News the investigation into the crash of an media helicopter one year ago on March 18 is now complete and in final review.

Dennis Hogenson, with the NTSB’s Western Pacific Region headquarters in Federal Way, said the final review is being handled in cooperation with European safety authorities, as the helicopter is of a French design.

It was on March 18, 2014, when the Airbus Helicopters model AS 350 B2 lifted off the roof of KOMO’s building, spun counterclockwise, and nosed toward the ground into morning traffic. Killed were the part time pilot Gary Pfitzner, who was also a long term Boeing employee, and longtime KOMO photographer Bill Strothman, who was back working at the station on a contract basis.

The helicopter was owned by Helicopters Incorporated of Cahokia, Illinois, the nation’s largest provider of news helicopters. KING-TV currently uses a helicopter and crew provided by Helicopters Incorporated.

The crash killed both on board and seriously burned Richard Newman, who was driving on Broad Street between KOMO and the Seattle Center. The accident was captured on multiple security cameras in the area.

Full story, here.

For more information about Brodkowitz Law and our work representing plane crash victims, commercial airline passengers, pilots, flight attendants and helicopter crash victims and their families, visit our website or contact us.

Delta flight skids off LaGuardia runway

Author: admin  |  Category: Other Events, Safety


Original story posted by Greg Botelho on on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

NEW YORK — A Delta airplane slid off a runway late Thursday morning at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, its nose busting through a fence before skidding to a halt mere feet from frigid waters.

Delta Flight 1086 briefly circled New York City due to issues with snow and ice before touching down shortly after 11 a.m., passenger Jared Faellaci told CNN. Almost as soon as it did, those aboard realized something was wrong — the aircraft’s wheels seemed to have little to no traction, sliding for about 20 seconds.

“You didn’t feel the wheels take,” Faellaci said. Then it was a matter of “where we are going to end up,” he said.

About 4,500 to 5,000 feet down Runway 13, the MD-88 veered to the left and mercifully stopped on a small embankment.

A little farther, and the plane — with 127 passengers and five crew members — would have been in the icy waters of Flushing Bay rather than on the airport’s snow-covered ground.

Contrary to what Delta said in a statement, the aircraft’s slides did not deploy, according to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Executive Director Patrick Foye. Still, with help from first responders, everyone was able to get off and onto buses that took them to LaGuardia’s Delta terminal.

Video shows passengers exiting the plane into the sub-freezing temperatures, as emergency vehicles converged on the area.

Twenty-four people suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Three of those were transported to nearby hospitals, New York’s fire department tweeted.

Faellaci, for one, was thankful for the plane’s crew, first responders and God that it wasn’t much worse.

“It was cause for a moment of prayer and a moment of reflection, as people were scared,” he said. “The pilot did a phenomenal job.”

The plane left a relatively balmy Atlanta shortly after 9 a.m..

About two hours later as the flight approached its destination, LaGuardia was dealing with snow and freezing fog.

Prior to touching down, the plane’s pilot said weather problems could cause a delay. Still, little prepared passengers for what happened. Faellaci said he was reminded of the U.S. Airways plane that landed in the Hudson River in 2009. All 155 people aboard that flight — heading from LaGuardia to Charlotte, North Carolina — famously survived thanks to the skills of pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger.

The landing of 1086 was terrifying for many.

“There were people that were calm, there were people that were praying, there were people that obviously were frantic, there were people that were crying,” Faellaci said.

Jihad Lateef, another passenger, was traveling with his brother.

“When the plane landed it was like me falling off of the top bunk — didn’t really know what was going on — I just felt a hit, boom,” he told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.” “I just prayed.”

The Port Authority chief said plows had cleared the runway minutes before Flight 1086 touched down and that two other landing pilots had reported “good braking” action on Runway 13. Still, that doesn’t mean the pilot did anything wrong.

“I think the pilot did everything he could to slow the aircraft down,” Foye said. “Obviously, the pilot and the co-pilot’s efforts were reflected in the fact there were only minor injuries.”

LaGuardia Airport shuts down

After the plane stopped, emotions ratcheted down some but not entirely. Faellaci said there was some “panic and shoving your way to the front” to get off, though “for the most part it was very orderly.”

Passengers spent a few minutes standing in the snow — carrying little more than their wallets and phones — before buses took them into the warmth and comfort of the terminal.

Those catching connecting flights at LaGuardia may not be flying anywhere anytime soon.

Four minutes after the plane landed, all of LaGuardia airport shut down to air traffic. One runway reopened at 2 p.m. ET. The other remained closed.

The incident also caused a fuel leak, with fuel spilling out at a rate of about 1 gallon a minute at one point, Foye said. But that was contained by 12:25 p.m., at which point firefighters had put foam on the spill.

Air travel nightmare

The incident makes an already nightmarish air travel situation on much of the East Coast even worse. LaGuardia is not the only airport experiencing headaches because of the wintry weather. Both New York’s Kennedy Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport, in northern New Jersey, were experiencing midday delays of more than three hours because of snow and ice, the FAA reported.

The worst off late Wednesday morning was Dallas-Fort Worth, where more than 400 departing (and another 400 arriving) flights were canceled, according to the flight tracking website, FlightAware. LaGuardia, though, outpaced that number later Wednesday afternoon.

In all, FlightAware reported the cancellation of more than 4,300 flights within, into and out of the United States as of 2:45 p.m.

For the original story, click here.

For information about Brodkowitz Law and the and our work representing injured passengers and flight crew worldwide, visit our website or contact us.

Washington Post: Airlines and “circumstances beyond their control”

Author: admin  |  Category: Other Events


Today on the InjuredOnFlight blog, we’ll consider how passengers can protect themselves against airlines placing blame on circumstances beyond their control. The following piece by Christopher Elliott, a travel columnist for the Washington Post, was originally published here on February 12, 2015.

The excuse had a familiar ring to it. Craig Zimmett’s daughter, Alissa, was supposed to fly from Miami to Gainesville, Fla., but she didn’t. Instead, her commuter flight took an unexpected detour to Jacksonville, Fla., after pilots were erroneously notified that some airport communication systems in Gainesville had stopped working. The airline said these circumstances were beyond its control.

In travel, those three words — “beyond our control” — are being thrown around with greater frequency than ever. The reason they’re so popular? They let a travel company off the hook, often without any meaningful obligation to the customer. And they usually work, too, although there are ways to make sure they don’t with you.

Zimmett, a lawyer from Miami, says American used the excuse to terminate Alissa’s flight in Jacksonville at midnight, leaving her with no way to get to the University of Florida, where she’s a student, in time for classes the next day. He asked the airline to refund her return fare; after all, it didn’t transport her to Gainesville, as promised.

“I sent two e-mails to American but received no response,” he says. “Customer service is apparently not in their company’s handbook.”

Or maybe it is. American, which is not exactly known for its speedy refunds, eventually paid back his daughter’s $144, but only after after I contacted the airline asking about the case, and after Zimmett threatened to take the company to small-claims court.

Here’s the fascinating thing: American’s ‘conditions of carriage’ — the legal agreement between Zimmett’s daughter and the airline — says it may cancel, terminate, divert, postpone or delay any flight “without liability,” except issuing a refund. All it has to do is claim what’s called a “force majeure” event, which is airline-speak for something beyond its control, and American can land anywhere it wants to. It doesn’t even have to prove there was an event. It just has to say one occurred.

But “beyond our control” is a travel favorite, and the “force majeure” clause is an industry standard. Hotels and car rental companies use it for everything from bad weather to late vendor deliveries. Tour operators invoke the “circumstances” excuse to deny refunds. Airlines play the “circumstances” card to cover delayed staff and strikes and, of course, everyone loves to blame the TSA.

It’s one of the most glaring double standards in the industry, because travelers aren’t allowed to use it in kind. Can’t make a flight because Mom is sick? Too bad, you still have to pay a change fee. Need to reschedule your hotel visit because your daughter is playing in a soccer tournament? Sorry, you’re still on the hook for the night.

More often than not, “beyond our control” is a cop-out for companies who don’t want to take responsibility for their products or services, says security expert Thomas Boyce, who runs the Center for Behavioral Safety, a safety consulting firm in San Carlos, Calif.

“For example, in the recent [Indonesia AirAsia] airline crash, it could be argued that weather contributed to the disaster,” he says. “One could argue infinite regression, but if you chase back far enough, you can usually find a point at which a decision could have been made that would have prevented an incident.”

He wonders, “Are there really any circumstances beyond our control?”

In other industries, the “circumstances” excuse is used sparingly, if at all. Why? It’s bad for business.

“It’s only appropriate when all of the circumstances are outside of the entire organization,” says Matthew Storm, a director at NICE Systems, which develops customer-service software. “If the issue is between departments, sites or employees, then this statement is just an ill-fated step toward empathy.”

At least one court agrees that the excuse is a cop-out, and it’s an influential one. A British court of appeal recently ruled against discount carrier Jet2, which tried to invoke an exception to a European consumer protection law for airline passengers. Under the law, called EU 261, an airline isn’t liable for compensating passengers when “extraordinary circumstances” prevent it from operating a flight.

Ronald Huzar, a passenger flying from Malaga, Spain, to Manchester, England, was on a flight delayed by 27 hours. He had filed for 400 euro in compensation. Jet2 refused, citing “extraordinary circumstances” because of mechanical problems. The high court sided with Huzar last year.

The court’s actions have opened a floodgate of claims from consumers. “Thousands of cases from up to six years ago and worth hundreds of millions of euros are validated thanks to this ruling,” says Eve Buechner, the chief executive of, which helps process EU 261 claims. (Disclosure: is also a sponsor of my consumer advocacy Web site.)

Travelers don’t have to take their complaints to court for a company to drop its “circumstances” excuse, say people who work behind the counter. Often, all you have to do is ask for a more detailed explanation. Why is the flight canceled? Why is the hotel closed? Why are there no rental cars available?

Employees are often powerless against the simple strategy of asking “Why?,” a trick you probably discovered when you were 3. For the toughest cases, you may need to study the contract, such as your rental agreement or the terms of your reservation, for a remedy.

The bottom line: The “circumstances” excuse is overused — and you don’t have to settle for it.

For information about Brodkowitz Law and the and our work representing injured passengers and flight crew worldwide, visit our website or contact us.