Virgin Flight VS27 Emergency Evacuation at Gatwick Airport

Virgin Airlines

Virgin flight VS27 turned back to Gatwick this morning approx 10 minutes after takeoff. The Captain announced that an emergency landing would take place. Reports suggest that there was smoke in the cabin, but this has not been confirmed. What is important to talk about is the reports of injuries caused by the emergency evacuation itself. We only evacuate an aircraft if it is thought life may be in danger. Therefore when the captain ordered the evacuation he would have done so knowing full well that injuries may occur, but felt it was necessary in order to protect life. Bruised limbs, or the odd broken bone is a small price to pay when there are passengers life's to protect. Once again the media have decided to interview affected … [Read more...]

Ryanair Decompression Incident: A Response to Media Reports

If you live in the UK you may have seen press reports of the recent incident involving a Ryanair flight from Milan to East Midlands airport (Flight FR1703). Once again media reports have embellished and dramatised what took place and therefore I felt it necessary to write this article explaining. It's important to note that I do not work for or have any relationship with Ryanair whatsoever, but it upsets me when any aviation incident is misreported. What happened on this flight is called a decompression. The aircraft cabin is pressurised during flight. This allows all of us to breath freely without breathing apparatus at such high altitudes. Sometimes a technical problem (such as a damaged door seal) can prevent the aircraft from … [Read more...]

Qantas A380 Diverted After Engine Shutdown

A Qantas Airbus 380 has diverted into Dubai during a flight from Singapore to London after engine number 4 suffered "an engine oil defect". The plane was carrying 258 passengers onboard, along with four pilots and 21 cabin crew. I wanted to write a very quick post in case some of you have seen this news story and feeling a little concerned. Firstly, this incident is not news... Once again, the world's media have chosen to report a story despite there being no story! Jet engines are incredibly reliable, but every now and again one will suffer a technical fault. With today's modern aircraft running extensive computer systems that monitor every single minor detail any technical fault is immediately noticed, analysed, and recorded. One of … [Read more...]

A Tribute to Flight Lt Jon Egging: Red Arrows Pilot Killed in Accident (R.I.P)

On Saturday 20th August 2011 the iconic Red Arrows aerobatic display team suffered their first fatal accident since 1978, and unfortunately Jon Egging the pilot of Red 4 was killed after crashing into the countryside close to Bournemouth Airport after seemingly ensuring his aircraft stayed clear of residential areas. This article does not contain speculation on how the accident happened. That is being investigated, and the Red Arrows fleet has been temporarily grounded whilst that investigation is completed. Instead, I just wanted to pay tribute to a man I have never met, but who earned my admiration and respect through his service to our country, and the great joy and entertainment he provided millions of us through his displays with the … [Read more...]

Bombs Found on Cargo Planes in UK and Dubai

This is going to be a very quick note in relation to the recent foiled terror plot. Bombs have been found on US bound planes. One was found on a cargo aircraft in Britain, and one in Dubai.  As a fearful flyer, it's very easy to see these reports and relate it to a passenger flight. If a bomb can get onboard a cargo flight, surely it can get onto a passenger flight? This is categorically not true. Cargo flights are not subject to the same security standards as a passenger flight. This has been an issue for a while, and it appears the terrorists have picked up on this, and probably led to the decision to specifically use cargo flights.  The bombs were addressed to two synagogues in the US, and these were the likely targets. Does this … [Read more...]

BA117 Emergency Landing at Heathrow

You may or may not have seen the reports of a British Airways emergency landing all over the media yesterday (2nd October 2010). This is yet another example of complete incompetency on behalf of the media. The story goes that a handle on a cabin door was seen to be moving and this caused an emergency landing. Rubbish. What happened was a precautionary landing on British Airways Flight 117. I have mentioned many times how the whole aviation industry works with a 'just in case' attitude, and this is all this is. Due to the fact that it's important an aircraft door remains firmly shut during a flight, the BA pilots made the decision to return to Heathrow when it was seen that the handle was moving. Following this, that door will be … [Read more...]

Why is it Suddenly Safe to Fly Through Volcanic Ash Cloud?

The Icelandic volcano (Eyjafjallajoekull for those that care!) that has caused so much disruption in the UK and European aviation industry is still erupting. So the question on many fearful flyer's lips is; why is it now ok to fly through the ash cloud? Ok, a little background information to start. This country has never experienced an event such as this before, and safety regulations were not amazingly clear when the ash cloud entered UK airspace. Therefore the authorities (CAA, NATS, and the UK Government) decided a blanket ban on ALL flights in UK airspace was necessary. This response has been heavily criticised, but it shouldn't have been. … [Read more...]

Volcanic Ash Cloud in UK Airspace: Why Are Flights Being Cancelled?

It appears many people are arriving at this page after searching for news on the current volcanic ash cloud. Therefore, I have set up a mini-site giving all the latest news on the Grimsvotn eruption and you can find it by going to Volcanic Ash Cloud 2011 or typing into your Internet browser. Why is it suddenly safe to fly through volcanic ash? Click here to read more. UK and European flights have been disrupted today due to a volcanic eruption in Iceland yesterday. This is yet another example of the high level of safety in aviation which should be reassuring to those with a fear of flying. So, why has a volcano erupting in Iceland disrupted flights in the UK and beyond? Volcanic ash jams machinery. This … [Read more...]

The Virgin ‘Flying Without Fear’ iPhone Application

Virgin's Flying Without Fear course has long been considered one of the best UK courses available, with thousands of successful customers. The course was recently featured in the media when actress Whoopi Goldberg's fear of flying was cured after completing it. Some of you may - however - have been put off by the £199 price tag, but now is your chance to get help from the experts for a fraction of the price. Go on, guess how much...... How about £2.99 (UK) or $4.99 (US)?! This is possible due to the new iPhone/iPod Touch application available from the iTunes Store. Anyone with an iPod will know what I'm talking about here. If you haven't, then I'm sorry but this doesn't apply to you until you do! Founder of Virgin Atlantic Richard … [Read more...]