Flight Safety Detectives

Flight Safety Detectives

World-renowned aviation-industry consultants and former NTSB investigators John Goglia and Greg Feith have 100 years of worldwide aviation safety experience between them. In this hard-hitting podcast series they talk about everything aviation -- from the behind-the-scenes facts on deadly air crashes to topics of interest such as tips and tricks for navigating through airports and security, traveling with infants and children, unruly passengers, and packing your bags to ease through security.


September 27, 2023 24 mins

The sheer number of helicopter accidents in the last six months is raising safety alarms. Todd Curtis and John Goglia focus on the conditions that helicopter pilots, and specifically medical helicopter operations, experience.

John and Todd examine the relatively frequent accidents around the U.S. involving medical helicopters. The show starts with a deep analysis of events around the August 28 crash of a medical helicopter in Pompa...

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Here’s a true aviation stinker ripped from the headlines! Todd and John discuss a recent event where a Delta A350 traveling from Atlanta to Barcelona had to return to Atlanta due to an uncontained diarrhea event involving a passenger.

On to more serious aviation safety topics, they discuss in detail the March 1991 crash that killed the backup band for country and western music legend Reba McEntire. The pilots were flying out of an ...

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A recent gender reveal party turned tragic when the Piper ag plane used crashed and killed the pilot. John, Greg and Todd observe that the plane appeared to be poorly maintained. They share insight into the reasons why these types of commercial planes need special maintenance attention.

The flight safety detectives focus on a recent report from the European aviation authority about bogus airplane parts. The report highlights effort...

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The discussion of unidentified anomalous phenomena – UAP – continues as Todd and John look at the record of JAL Flight 1628. The 1986 UAP event was investigated in detail by the FAA.  The investigation could serve as a model for how the U.S. government could systematically examine current UAP events.

The event involved a large unknown craft that was seen by the flight crew and tracked by radar. It was larger than anything that was ...

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Aerobatic fun led to tragedy in the fatal plane crash that killed composer James Horner. His aerobatic maneuvers in a high performance Tucano aircraft ended with a high speed crash in the canyons of California.

Horner wrote music for dozens of movies, including Titanic, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and Avatar. Horner was the sole occupant of a high-performance Tucano turboprop aircraft. He crashed while performing a number of l...

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Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia discuss the risks of aviation thrill-seeking. They look at aviation disasters from the NTSB database that involve experiences outside of standard FAA regulations.

The FAA allows certain commercial operators to offer voluntary high-risk experiences to the general public. “Top Gun” aerobatic rides, balloon flights, and sight-seeing flights are some examples. Existing rules allow for a wide ran...

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Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia interview historian and author S.C. "Sam" Gwynne, about his latest book, "His Majesty's Airship." The book tells the story of the crash of the British R101 in France in 1930.

The book discusses how the airship R101 was a key part of the British government's plan to cut by more than half the time it took to travel to distant parts of its empire such as Australia and India. The R101 crashed du...

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Todd Curtis and John Goglia discuss the use of carbon fiber in the Boeing 787 airplane and the Titan submersible. Prompted by listener questions, they explain why the carbon fiber is subjected to completely different – and riskier - conditions in the case of the sub that got international attention when it imploded on June 18, 2023.

The Titan accident is under investigation by American and Canadian authorities. The submersible used...

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A F28 airliner crashed shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport due to icing that degraded the lift on the wings. Just 3% leading edge wing contamination would have been enough to cause this aviation disaster.

Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia highlight the safety findings related to the 1992 plane crash of USAir Flight 405. The aircraft had no devices to keep the leading edge of the wing clear in the cold and snowy weat...

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Dollars over lives? Greg Feith and John Goglia discuss Part 135 and “Part 134 ½” charter operations. They offer numerous aviation safety benefits of being (and using) a properly certificated charter company. It costs more but leads to safer operations.

John and Greg cover the plane crash of Lear 25A in Teterboro, New Jersey to illustrate the value of proper charter operations.  They review key findings of the NTSB report, including...

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A flight instructor chose to have a pilot take his first flight in an airplane into a special use airport and the result was a different learning experience than planned. The aircraft experienced a hard landing that led to a fracture of the right wing spar.

Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia discuss this accident in Puerto Rico that involved a Britten-Norman Islander aircraft. The instructor pilot chose to take a new pilot on...

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This episode dives into the design and maintenance of aircraft cargo doors. Many aviation safety incidents with cargo doors are documented as maintenance issues, but some have caused notable air crashes.

Todd Curtis and John Goglia focus on the 1989 plane crash of an Evergreen International Airlines DC9. The first officer did not properly close the main deck cargo door. The door came open shortly after takeoff, which led to a loss ...

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Some flight plans have aviation safety risks baked in. Todd Curtis and John Goglia discuss a runway excursion accident involving a student pilot who in the same flight was attempting to satisfy both a night currency requirement and a 250 nautical mile training flight requirement for an instrument certification.

The plan literally went off track during the attempted takeoff at the fourth stage of the flight plan.

“They bent some met...

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You had to be there to know the full story of the plane crash of USAir Flight 5050. John Goglia was, and he shares the experience.

Todd Curtis and John discuss the fatal 1989 crash of USAir Flight 5050 at La Guardia Airport in New York. John directly participated in the accident investigation as a mechanic with USAir. He shares accident investigation details well beyond the official report.

The extraordinary amount of media attenti...

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The fiery plane crash that killed Christian music star Keith Green and 11 others resulted in safety lessons for every pilot. The NTSB accident report also has safety takeaways for anyone who rents or uses aircraft and pilots that are not their own.

Greg Feith, Todd Curtis, and John Goglia talk about the circumstances of the fatal 1982 air crash. The thorough NTSB accident investigation (NTSB_FTW82AA299_Keith_Green.pdf) documents th...

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The NTSB has a message for mechanics – pay attention to B-nuts! Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia dig into NTSB Safety Alert 086, which highlights four accidents that were caused in part by improperly tightened b-nuts.

Small parts led to big problems. Two of the accidents were fatal.

They focus on one accident that involves a very experienced pilot who also performed maintenance on the accident aircraft. The Bell 206 helicop...

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Aviation maintenance professionals are critical to safety. John Goglia helped put the spotlight on aviation maintenance and safety programs at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University recently. John did a presentation on Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Day and witnessed first-hand some safety operations in place at the university.

Greg Feith also reviews lessons learned from the fatal June 1999 crash of American Airlines Flight 1...

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A pilot’s report of 40% engine power is just one of many unexplained facts in the NTSB report of a crash involving a modified Cessna 150. The banner-towing flight crashed while attempting to land in Riverside, California.

Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia discuss a Cessna 150 banner tow plane accident where the pilot had engine issues shortly before landing and made an emergency landing near the airport. They discuss unusual...

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Todd Curtis, Greg Feith, and John Goglia discuss the role of pilot decision making in a crash of a Cessna 152 in Florida. The pilot decided to do some practice flying at night and under low visibility conditions with deadly results.

The NTSB investigation of the 2015 fatal crash did not seriously investigate several apparent issues, including the quality of the accident pilot's training and English language proficiency. Hear the re...

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Commercial space operations pose significant aviation safety challenges. Safety systems and processes need to evolve to meet the demands of new technologies and approaches. John Goglia and Todd Curtis discuss human factors issues with experimental aircraft.

They examine the single commercial space accident in the NTSB database. The investigation looked at the 2014 inflight breaking of Scaled Composite's SpaceShip Tow spacecraft ove...

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