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Aviation Safety - Pick Your Seat Carefully

by John M. White |

Earlier this month a Trislander aircraft flying from Great Barrier Island to Auckland, New Zealand had a propeller depart the aircraft shortly after takeoff. One blade of the wayward propeller struck the right side of the aircraft tearing a door off of the aircraft and damaging a window. Trislander Missing Propeller It turns out there were 10 passengers on the flight; however, no one was sitting in the seat where the propeller blade struck although two passengers go debris in their eyes which was removed by medical personnel. The pilot returned the aircraft safely to the departure airport on Great Barrier Island. The short 6 minute flight certainly exposed the passengers to some interesting sights as the large hole in the aircraft provided a clear view of the propeller-less engine. Apparently several passengers reported upon the return landing that they had noticed the engine "wobbling" during the takeoff roll. The pilot reported that the aircraft was normally quite noisy on takeoff and that he had not noticed anything untoward until the large bang as the propeller blade struck the side of the aircraft. I recall several articles over the years in which speculation arose regarding the safest place to sit on aircraft, including the rearmost seats and just behind the cockpit. These observations were made shortly after an accident in Dallas and another with the United DC-10 in Iowa in which a small number of passengers survived the crash. Nontheless air travel remains one of the safest forms of transportation when compared to automobile statistics whether measured in accidents per miles or hours of exposure. The moral of the story - choose your seat carefully! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

There are two critical points in every aerial flight—its beginning and its end.

— Alexander Graham Bell, 1906.

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