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AIN's Tales from the Flight Deck

Police, Fire, Aviation, Rail Scanners

Furthering aviation safety awareness by exploring first-person experiences.


Midland Park, NJ


Furthering aviation safety awareness by exploring first-person experiences.








Tales from the Flight Deck Podcast: Qantas QF30 and the Mysterious Explosion

Captain John Bartels and crew were flying in a Boeing 747 in perfect conditions when a sudden explosion caught their attention, made the wings rock, and destroyed some essential wiring. In this episode of Tales from the Flight Deck, Bartels describes the event and how he and the crew of QF30 handled the sudden emergency situation.


Tales from the Flight Deck, Episode 29: Landing Fast with Stuck Throttles in an Airbus A330

An Airbus A330 crew experienced something they’d never trained for: too much power to land and no way to pull the throttles back to reduce power. Cathay Pacific Flight 780 was on the final leg of a trip from Surabaya, Indonesia, to Hong Kong International Airport with 309 passengers and 13 crew on board when this dangerous incident occurred. Captain Malcolm Waters takes us step by step through how this happened, how he and his crew handled the situation and its successful outcome, and the lessons he and his crew learned from that hazardous situation. This podcast is produced by AIN Publications, publishers of Aviation International News magazine and AIN’s online and digital products. For more information, go to or email


Week ending May 8, 2020: Bizav Flights Rising, Bombardier Q1, NBAA and Gulfstream Layoffs, JetSuite Bankrupt, Daher Intros 2020 TBM 940

In this week’s episode, AIN London-based editor Charles Alcock gives an overview of the latest WingX data, which indicates that business aviation flight activity is awakening from its Covid-19-induced slumber. Meanwhile, Washington, D.C.-based editor Kerry Lynch highlights the results from Bombardier’s first-quarter results and, unfortunately, layoffs at NBAA. AIN news editor Chad Trautvetter discusses layoffs at Gulfstream Aerospace and a bankruptcy filing at JetSuite, and editor-in-chief Matt Thurber concludes with Daher’s delivery of the first 2020 TBM 940, which comes standard with the HomeSafe autoland system.


The Atlas Air Flight 3591 accident; what went so wrong?

A routine air cargo run from Miami to Houston meets a tragic end, and information released by investigators paints the picture of a confused flight crew fighting desperately to regain control, and may also highlight ongoing concerns about pilot training within our industry. Today, we examine the NTSB docket on the downing of Atlas Air 3591 and what lessons that all pilots may draw from it. Participants:


Re-Post Flight-By-Wire Failure (Full Episode)

On Oct. 7, 2008, Qantas Flight 72 was flying over the Indian Ocean from Singapore to Perth, Australia. Kevin Sullivan, pilot-in-command of the Airbus A330, was flying on autopilot at 37,000 feet when suddenly warnings started sounding throughout the cockpit; the primary flight control computers were malfunctioning. The aircraft began to pitch down, and Sullivan realized he was just another passenger, for a short time unable to control the errant Airbus. After regaining control of the A330, Sullivan then had to decide whether to make an emergency landing at the nearest airport, the military field at Learmonth, or continue another hour and a half to Perth. In this episode, Sullivan recounts how he was able to identify the issues affecting the A330's fly-by-wire flight controls and minimize damage while planning how how to keep his 303 passengers safe. 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. In this episode we will hear from: Understanding Air France 447 Topics in this episode include:


When Pilots Break the Rules

It's an all-too human tendency, borne from our natural desire to find quicker solutions not only on the flight deck - but also in our daily lives. It's also something all pilots are likely guilty of, especially if you have thousands of hours as pilot in command. Today we explore why pilots choose to break the rules, and what can be done to overcome the natural desire to look for shortcuts, even when we fly. Participants:


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:


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:


Grappling with Grief

Pilots are keenly aware about physical issues that might ground them from flying, including vision problems, cancer, and heart trouble. But mental and emotional issues can also cause problems if brought onto the flight deck. One of them is grief—the human response to losing someone or something we cherish. But even though they’re often unwilling to admit they need help coping with grief, pilots don’t have to do it alone. Participants:


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:


Otto's Pilots Part 2

Unable to discern the fate of the small American delegation trying to win the freedom of an injured American college student from North Korea, a Phoenix Air flight crew decides to launch on its own. Says the pilot, “I’m an old Marine and Marines don’t leave our people behind.” Participants:


Otto’s Pilots Part 1

A call for help from Washington, DC to Phoenix Air, based at a tiny airport in Cartersville, Georgia: Can you fly a medivac mission right away? The destination: North Korea. This is the first of a two-part episode on the extraordinary mission to rescue Otto Warmbier from North Korea. Participants:


Connecting Planes in Trouble with Ships at Sea

A World War II era bomber pressed into transoceanic service as a freighter is lost. It’s night. The water below is frigid. Whether the crew survives depends on how close to a ship they can ditch their aircraft. Now, a new initiative would put ships and planes together, greatly reducing the time in water for aircraft crewmembers. Participants:


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:


Flight Deck Extra - Do You See What I See

Listen as these aviation professionals discuss how critical it is to not just understand weather but to understand how to know the limits of weather depiction. As you will hear, that can vary depending on where you are sitting. In this conversation we will hear from multiple points of views:


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: In this episode you will hear from:


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:


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:


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:


One Turn of the Wrench Exposes SMS Flaws

While safety management systems (SMS) are powerful tools that are now seeing widespread adoption throughout the aviation industry, if not fully utilized and embraced from the top to bottom of an organization, and without proper reporting, any “near-misses” can go unchecked until disaster strikes. A U.S. Navy aircraft mechanic, who was seriously injured in a maintenance accident, went on a crusade to find out how the root-cause of such a situation, which previously harmed four others, had slipped through the cracks in the SMS. Topics the episode will cover: