Tag Archives: aviation



—Is aviation Armageddon upon us? Recent news reports of bizarre occurrences relating to airline travel indicate that we may be at the tipping point. Here are just a few of these recent aviation anomalies:

—A San Francisco man removed from a U.S. Airways flight and arrested after he allegedly refused to pull up his sagging pants was released from custody after posting bail, and prosecutors are still considering whether to file charges in the case.

Deshon Marman, 20, was arrested  on suspicion of a felony count of battery of a police officer and misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest and trespassing.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office has not charged Marman, who posted $11,000 bail  and was released from jail.
Marman, was instructed by airline crew members several times to pull up his pants to cover his underwear, both before he boarded and on the plane, according to San Francisco police Sgt. Michael Rodriguez.

Marman allegedly refused to pull up his pants and when he sat in his seat, he pulled them all the way down, Rodriguez said. Marman was escorted off the plane by police and then allegedly resisted officers when they tried to handcuff him.

Eventually the plane’s captain told other passengers on the aircraft to deplane, ordered Marman to leave the plane and then placed him under citizen’s arrest for trespassing after he refused the order, according to Rodriguez. Is it true that the captain of an aircraft can issue a citizen’s arrest for a wardrobe anomaly? Apparently the answer is yes!

Hopefully they won’t mess with the young women with their crevice-hugging attire or halter tops with mammary glands begging for escape. What about the old codgers in an aisle seat with their Bermuda shorts and loosely fitting boxer shorts revealing views of grotesque genitalia? Don’t just arrest these guys. Take them to the gallows.

According to an airline spokesman, “While U.S. Airways does not have a specific dress code, we ask our customers to dress in an appropriate manner to ensure the safety and comfort of all of our passengers.”

—A United Boeing 767-300, en route from Newark, New Jersey to Geneva (Switzerland) was about 45 miles east of Halifax, NS (Canada) when crew discovered a suspicious item, a camera, on an empty seat. Since no one on the flight claimed the camera the flight crew decided to turn around and divert to Boston, MA for a safe landing about 70 minutes later. The passengers disembarked.

A search of the aircraft found no trace of explosives, an examination of the camera found it safe.

This is a reenactment of another commercial airline diversion that involved the cabin crew discovering unidentifiable wires in the lavatory. With the increased use of electronic gadgets that passengers take with them it is not too unusual to find “wires” that someone either forgot or misplaced. A brief over-reaction resulted in extreme disruption to the passenger’s travel plans and an exorbitant cost to the airline. The premise that “we can’t be too cautious,” needs to be tempered with some application of good judgment.

—A United Boeing 757-200,  from Newark, NJ to Shannon (Ireland), was en route over the Atlantic Ocean about one hour prior to estimated arrival in Shannon when the crew notified air traffic control to have police stand by on landing for a male passenger in early 40’s, who had become abusive and threatening and had been restrained by cabin crew. The aircraft continued to Shannon for a safe landing on runway 24 about an hour later. The unruly was arrested by Irish police

The man was travelling within a travel group, but was intoxicated. After he became threatening and abusive, he was finally restrained by cabin crew. The man was taken into arrest, released on bail and has to appear in court. Newark alone is enough to drive one to drink, but seven hours packed into a coach seat is good cause to get really toasted. Every Irishman headed back to the old country should be given a little leeway with booze-induced anti-social behavior as long as he relates a few limericks or at least makes a request like, “Erin, take off your bra.”

—A Jet Blue Airbus en route from JFK, NY to Los Angeles was about 140 miles from Denver, when the crew initiated a descent towards Denver requesting law enforcement meet the aircraft at the gate due to an unruly passenger on board. The aircraft landed safely and Denver police escorted a male passenger off the aircraft.
A passenger reported that the youngish looking male initially appeared quite normal but became more and more restless during the flight until he left his seat and walked the aisle, then returned to his seat and after about 5 minutes appeared as if he wanted to fight. An air marshal swapped seats to sit aside of the unruly, another passenger kept talking to the unruly and seemed to calm him down.

After landing a woman filed a complaint with police stating the unruly had groped her. Why did she not issue the groping complaint earlier? With an armed air marshall sitting next to this unruly passenger, why was a diversion necessary?  The airline confirmed the aircraft diverted because of an unruly passenger.

—A Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700, from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Las Vegas , was en route about 120 miles southeast of New Orleans when the crew initiated a diversion to New Orleans due to a pair of passengers who engaged in a fist fight on board. The aircraft landed safely on New Orleans about 25 minutes later, police arrested one of the fist fighters.
The airline confirmed the aircraft diverted to New Orleans after two passengers engaged in a fist fight, it was unclear however how the fight erupted. One of the passengers, a male was arrested and charged with interference with flight crew and assault on a passenger.

—A United Airbus A320, en route from San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare, when the crew decided to divert due to an unruly male passenger  on board who turned into a medical emergency after it was determined he had taken substantially more than his normal dose of his medicine. The aircraft landed safely in Denver about 50 minutes after turning around. Police officers escorted the man off the aircraft.

Charges of interference with flight crew and abusive sexual contacts were filed against the unruly passenger who was alleged to have groped a woman and making abuse statements towards other passengers as well as spitting and threatening police officers escorting him off the aircraft.

—The passenger that departed Capetown, SouthAfrica on the British Airways 747 wanted nothing to do with that mob of lunatics in the cabin so he elected to ride in the aircraft’s wheel well. After jumping the airport’s perimeter fence he ran to the 747 that was ready for takeoff and climbed in the wheel well. Apparently he missed that seventh grade science class regarding temperature lapse and the reduced level of oxygen as we go higher.

When the big Boeing arrived at Heathrow in London the corpse of the jet-set hitch-hiker tumbled on to the tarmac. If you elect to avoid TSA and/or the crying kids in the crowded cabin, it is suggested that your wheel-well trip be taken on an aircraft that will fly a short distance at a lower altitude. If you go orthodox and ride in the cabin, an ample supply of valium-type drugs should be available to more easily deal with those that may have either too much or too little of their chosen, “escape the present,” mind-altering materials.

This blog is produced by aviation author, Ace Abbott; The Rogue Aviator: in the back alleys of aviation (www.therogueaviator.com) and Dead Tired: Pilot Fatigue-Aviation’s Insidious Killer (www.deadtiredpilots.com)








(Ace had the opportunity, later that summer, to experience the frightening exhilaration of flight into a severe thunderstorm at 37,000 feet. The entire Midwest and Northeast United States was engulfed in an August heat wave that was accompanied by severe embedded thunderstorms. An inoperative radar during night flight resulted in an inadvertent adventure into a very intense mature thunderstorm. The severe turbulence was such that maintaining the aircraft in a controlled flight situation required Ace’s maximum effort. The loud noise of the heavy hail pelting the aircraft on the windshield along with the thunder and lightning was tweaking on the edge of being terrifying. During this nightmarish flight experience Ace had made a silent vow that if he survived this experience he would retire from aviation and sell insurance. This vow was soon broken when he very briefly considered the nature of real work. With today’s very effective and very reliable aircraft airborne radar systems, along with the air traffic control’s improved weather detection radar, it would be very unlikely that one would encounter this situation. A pilot’s healthy fear of entering a mature cell thunderstorm is an attitude that that will greatly enhance pilot and passenger longevity.)

As we get into thunderstorm season it is also time to discuss a few of the many considerations of these phenomena as it relates to both airline passengers and all pilots. The destructive power of the thunderstorms will get most peoples’ adrenalin flowing. The thought of being airborne in a turbulent thunderstorm will induce serious stress and anxiety—particularly for us pilots that have incurred the wrath of a level 5 TRW while penetrating it’s core. It is fear that breeches upon that same level felt by men in combat who are fighting for their lives.

As an airline passenger you want to be sure that your pilot has a healthy fear of thunderstorms. Unfortunately, there is no method available to determine such. If the pilot is a “gray-beard” it is likely that he has been at least severely nicked by a mature thunderstorm. Younger baby-faced pilots might not have outgrown the common affliction that often results in a mistaken self-perception of being immortal. It is also more likely that the less-experienced pilot had not yet had the pulse-racing experience of being in the middle of one of those “Level 5” TRWs. An additional note as a defense against exposure to that terrifying TRW; you can simply plan your trips so as to fly in the morning hours when the likelihood of thunderstorms is minimal.  If there are TRWs in the area, that suggestion to keep your seat belt “loosely fastened,” should be changed to snuggly fastened.

The airline pilot is prohibited to fly in an area of thunderstorms or to a destination with TRW’s forecast anywhere along the route of flight. FAR 121.0 (governs airlines) is very clear and empathic—operational radar is a must. The CONUS ATC is quite helpful in providing  vectors around areas of threatening weather but the functional radar installed in the aircraft provide the best insurance against banging into one of these “hard spots” in an airplane. A venture into a mature thunderstorm by U.S. air carriers is quite remote but if you on a third world airline the chance of getting whacked greatly increase. Avoid third world airlines— the safety quotient plummets.

For the general aviation pilots without onboard radar the pilot can get weather info on his IPAD or Garmin, but keep in mind that this weather can be more than 20 minutes old and the antiquated information could be counterproductive in its false presentation. The NTSB has just issued a warning that some firms that provide “real time” data to cockpit displays can be obsolete. They also mention that accident investigations have revealed that at least 2 fatal accidents were possibly caused by this delayed weather information. The common and best course of action is utilized by most pilots is to wait for the weather to improve, even it means waiting until the next day.


Also, keep in mind that the microburst that often occurs many miles from the actual storm can be devastating with gusts that might exceed 60 knots. The rapid change in wind direction, commonly referred to as wind shear can bring a large jet down as it did in DFW on August 2, 1985. Delta Flight 191, a Lockheed L-1011 was slammed into the terra-firma by a microburst that created a net loss of more than 40 knots airspeed. The often-unseen but unforgiving microburst is responsible for many fatal aircraft crashes. Aviation has become much safer in recent years but eternal vigilance regarding thunderstorms remains critical to maintain that high level of safety.

The severe weather that wreaked havoc across much of the Midwest and Northeast last week was caused by a very unique phenomena called derecho. An AOPA blog, with the following web address,  http://blog.aopa.org/blog/?p=3729, can provide a well-written description of what created this rare weather event.

This blog is prepared by Ace Abbott, author of The Rogue Aviator (www.therogueaviator.com)