Monday, January 08, 2007

Hi, Jack

More plane stuff. Here's some amazing plane crash and incident stories from Wikipedia:

Iran Air Flight 655 (1988): A reminder that it isn't just now that the US armed forces are carrying out catastrophic, if not criminal, actions. An Iranian airliner leaves on a scheduled flight on a recognised flightpath. On a US ship, inside Iranian waters, an agressive Captain mis-identified the plane as a fighter and warned it (on military radio channels) that it was going to be shot down. Being civilian, it did not hear this and was shot down, killing 290. The US then attempted a cover-up.

Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (1983): Another tale of cold war madness. A flight between New York and Seoul drifted 50 miles into Soviet airspace. The plane was shot down with little attempt to warn the crew of the (again) obviously civilian airliner. 269 were killed, and as a response Reagan opened up GPS to civilian use to try and avoid a similar incident.

Miss Macao (1948): The first ever hijacking. The pilot was shot dead, causing the plane to crash. The only survivor of 27 was the lead hijacker.

KLM Constellation air disaster (1948): the first major British air disaster. KLM's chief pilot was in charge of the flight to Prestwick, and due to errors in the weather reporting (awful conditions) and fatal flaws in the KLM maps, the flight crashed into high ground near the airport. All 30 on board were killed, and weren't helped by emergency services arguing for over an hour about who was supposed to rescue them.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 (1972): The flight is hijacked, the pilots killed, the autopilot disengaged, and the plane crashes vertically into a swamp at massive speed. A hijacking with style.

Air New Zealand Flight 901 (1979): another interesting one. A sightseeing flight over Antarctica crashes into the side of a massive mountain, possibly due to a dangerously low flight and white-out conditions. This kind of old-skool madness just does not happen anymore.

British Airways Flight 5390 (1990): a more light-hearted one to finish with. A flight from Birmingham and Malaga was interrupted by an explosive decompression of one of the cockpit windows. In true action-film style, the captain was sucked out of the window, and grabbed by the co-pilot on his way out. The cabin crew managed to hold him by the legs (with the top half of his body outside) while an emergency landing was carried out. They landed safely at Southampton after the pilot had hung outside for almost 20 minutes.

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