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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."

Type rated on A330, B747-400, B747, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fridays Fabulous Flyers

Honoring the Heroes of NWA Flight 85. 

This is what training, CRM, and the ability to fly your plane beyond automation can do when your plane breaks. And it will break... despite the non-breakable parts.

When you have 45 minutes to spare, this video is well worth the view. I'm proud to have known and worked with all these pilots. Way to go guys! Make sure you watch to the very end. 

The last comment is priceless. 


  1. Oh, I am going to watch this. Thankyou, Karlene.

  2. Well ... here is to CRM and communication at its finest!
    I also believe this is a great example that hand flying MUST NOT BECOME a lost art ... and most importantly FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION.
    Congratulations to the whole crew on that NWA flight number 85

    1. This was a spectacular show of CRM. These guys were all great pilots.

      You're right, failure should not be an option. Unfortunately it is... because equipment fails.

      As far as failure of the human performance...there is no option there. We can't fail.

      And we need to fly the plane!

  3. This was one time that a B747 didn't fly "like a big Cessna". That crew did a great job.

    I've often wondered about that split tail. Is it like the ailerons, and split to normally only use the lower half at high speed?

    I also wonder why they didn't use asymmetric thrust earlier, bringing #1 up while idling #4 would have helped a lot, I think (but I've only ever flown a B747 in a simulator, so what the heck do I know?)

    1. Yes the crew did great. And you're right... less aileron movement at high speed.

      That's a good question about the asymmetric thrust. Maybe they thought if an engine failed, then the plane would have been uncontrollable. They mentioned something about that on approach.

      I'll do a little research and find out for you. I actually heard them talk about it after, but I can't remember why they didn't.

      Thanks for your comment!

    2. I spent some time with during Recurrent Training ages ago when we covered industry and company events. I also talked a few times with the late Denny Fitch who had a hanger at the same field I do on the use of thrust(Denny was the UAL TK instructor on UAL DC10 into SUX) The NWA crew believed adding something new into a somewhat stabilized situation was not the best thing to do until that option was needed. Think Apollo 13 -"Don't make a bad situation worse by guessing" Fly the airplane-work the problem. Don't recall NWA85 discussing the possibility of an engine failure.

      Tim (TDY MT)

    3. Tim, Thank you so much for this comment! This helps a lot. And it makes sense. Take what you got and don't mess with it if it's working. This is one of those times when we don't have to second guess... they were successful!

  4. Yes, the lost art is not only knowing how to manually fly a plane but also getting the feel of the airplane. Especially getting cramps responding to a hard rudder. The flight attendant answered the family beautifully, "Yes I am afraid, but we have the best pilots." I am proud to say, that this was the Northwest Airlines that I used to know and fly.

    1. Wasn't that spectacular. Honesty with hope, instilling confidence. We can all learn from that. I'm proud to have worked for such a fantastic legacy.

  5. Replies
    1. It was spectacular! By the way... did you know WOW upside down in MOM?

    2. OMG!!! O.O
      It is! And it is fair though, mothers are magical! Never did that observation ha! need to publish that.

    3. Yes... and I know you told your Mom, too. :)


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