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PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, 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. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

When An Accident Happens

Do Airlines and Authorities 
Attempt to cover-up their own failures?

The below information was sent from pilot who is passionate about aviation and interested in the history of accidents and the opportunity of lessons learned. They say history repeats... but it doesn't have to if we learn. To prevent any adverse action by sharing this author's name, we shall call him Paul H. In memory of a good friend and great aviator. (RIP) 

Today... in loving memory of lives lost, there is someone who has never forgotten and will keep searching for justice...

"Whilst on vacation I have taken time out to visit the sites of three very significant aircraft accidents.

Airship R101 just outside Beauvais in France in October 1930. Myself and another Captain were exploring the area and decided to visit the site. We had great difficulty finding it. In our best attempts at French we got no further. Two days later and time to drive back to the Ferry Port, out of the corner of my eye I spotted a big monument. I reversed the car back down the side of Highway and there it was! When I got out of the car I noticed a Wreath of Flowers and a little note attached, from the Beauvais Historical Society. 

Written on it, in English, was... 

'There are some of us who are old enough to remember. 
Rest in Peace'. 
The date was 5 October 2000. 

We had spent the 3rd and 4th October trying to find it without success. Instead we found it on the 5th October...the 70th Anniversary of the accident. That has always left me wondering...

Turkish Airlines 901

The second site is of Turkish Airlines 901 in March 1974 at Ermenonville Forest, just outside Paris. It was particularly poignant given that I visited within a few days of the 40th anniversary of the accident and the difference in the size and shade of the surrounding trees could still be seen. There is a lovely memorial deep in the forest with the Names and Nationalities of all those lost. There are still parts of the aircraft on the forest floor and many pieces have been brought up and placed on the memorial by various visitors. It was a very humbling experience.


The third site I have visited is Los Rodeos in Tenerife. Pan Am 1736 and KLM 4805, March 1977.

That particular day, in March 2016, a few days before the 39th anniversary, I witnessed the clouds coming rolling in from the hills overlooking the Airport. The same hills that saw the demise of a Dan Air 727 (Flight 1008) in April 1980 with the loss of 146 Souls. I've attached a photo with a view of the memorial overlooking the airport and runway with the hills beyond.

Tenerife Stairway to Heaven

The R101 accident was obviously before my time. Ermenonville and Tenerife were long before my involvement in Aviation.

Be it 'the National Pride' and the 'we have to show how good our Country is' with the R101 (the shame of not completing the job... keep going!), to the Ermenonville DC10 and the Corporate Cover up that McDonnell Douglas initiated with FAA complicity, to the advent of CRM following the accident in Tenerife, there are still very many lessons that we can all learn and keep learning from these accidents..." Paul H.

Paul also sent a video that is worth the view if you have time: 1:17. How we think about accident investigations  Pilots Blamed, despite the facts...

Air New Zealand Crash in Antarctica

If we always blame the pilot 
then nothing will get fixed. 

Enjoy the Journey
XO Karlene 


  1. Funny how separate worlds interconnect. While an aeronautical engineering undergraduate in London, I worked on and off for Dan-Air. At Gatwick airport I worked in the Ops room next to the terminal building, and I was the one who answered the phone when the Tenerife Ops manager called to say that Dan Air flight 1008 was late and that the tower had lost them on radar. Being the most junior person in the room, I then got the duty of answering the external phones and saying "no comment" to press inquiries. It took quite a while before we knew what had really happened.

    1. Paul, this is amazing. I think that you two should definitely connect. I am finding more and more interesting life connections as life continues. We all interconnect. Thank you so much for your comment!

  2. Tragic, yet fascinating.
    Thanks for sharing.


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