Interesting facts about airplane crash sites.

Having plotted the crash sites of hundreds of commercial aircraft covering a 90-year period I discovered some interesting, if not horrifying, facts such as the following:

Duck the missiles:

Watch out for the loose crocodile in the passenger section:
According to Wikipedia, the only survivor of the Bandundu Filair Let L-410 crash on August 25, 2010 claimed that a crocodile hidden in a duffel bag had escaped as the plane approached its destination. The frightened passengers moved towards the front of the aircraft away from the crocodile. This affected the aircraft weight and balance leading to a loss of control. The crocodile reportedly survived the crash but was killed by a blow from a machete.

Mysterious plane in the desert:
One of the interesting things about Google Map is it's Panoramio photo option, because there is where you find things that Google Map's search engine can't. These photos show places and things that the photographer identified by name and approximate coordinate. Some times they hit it exactly where the place is and sometimes not. Here is just one such situation. If you search the east Libyan desert with the photo option on you can find two variations of this plane with coordinates that are approximately 40 miles apart.

Panoramio/Google Map by ali mohmad
at coordinates: 
29° 11’ 25.92” N, 23° 17’ 27.66” E.
Panoramio/Google Map by NO TRACKS
at coordinates:
 29° 11’ 3’ 0.17” N, 22° 35’ 1.58” E
and identified as a Vickers plane.

With the help help of my friends on the forum Historium, a pilot in Africa, who identifies himself as Ancientgeezer, determined this is the Douglas C-47A OO-SBH, of the Belgian International Air Service, that made a belly, wheels up, landing in the Libyan desert in 1969, all 17 passengers survived. However, we could not determine the exact coordinates, yet as you can see in the photos it is a popular tourist attraction, so some tour operator knows exactly where it is.

Mysterious planes at abandoned base station in Antarctica:
Another source for planes is Google Earth Hacks, where SpiderX22 and his friends found several planes sitting at an abandoned Soviet Molodyozhnaya Antarctica base station at coordinates -67.665943,45.846548. If you look around and follow the power and communication lines you will see how big the base really is.

SpiderX22 believes this to be an Aeroflot Il-14 that
crashed on January 2, 1979 at coordinates: 
To the southwest of the above plane are several planes buried in snow
at coordinates: -67.675518, 45.82244.


Avoid the volcanoes:
According to Wikipedia, on 6/24/82 British Airways Flight 9 flew into a cloud of volcanic ash thrown up by the eruption of Mount Galunggung (approximately 180 kilometers (110 mi) south-east of Jakarta, Indonesia), resulting in the failure of all four engines.

Kids in the pilot's seat during flight:
According to Wikipedia, on 3/23/1994, Aeroflot Flight 593's relief pilot allowed his two children to take turns sitting in the pilot's seat while in flight. His son managed to deactivate the autopilot which initiated unnoticed warning signals and a series of pilot errors which caused the crash.

Right of Way:
This flight was a matter of who buffs first, you or the flock of birds in your flight path. Each had a right to fly their own route and each paid a price for doing so. In the end a bunch of persistent Canadian Geese took out a powerful Airbus A320-214 and endangered the 150 passengers on US Airways Flight 1549 on 1/15/2009 that crash landed in the Hudson River.

Globalization of commerce:
When you compare the commercial aircraft crash sites of 1961-1970 against that of 2001-2011 you get a pretty good picture of how the globalization of the world economy has changed. Notice in the images below how some areas of the world became safer for air travel, while other areas became more dangerous, and other areas remain essentially the same.

Commercial aircraft crashes 1961-1970
©Google / MyReadingMapped
Commercial aircraft crashes 2001-2011
©Google / MyReadingMapped

Airports in Darkest Africa:
Today, some of the remotest areas of the world have a commercial airport. Including areas explored in 1866 by Henry Morton Stanley in his book Darkest Africa.

Stanley's 1866 expedition into Darkest Africa.
©Google / MyReadingMapped

Crashes (2001-2011) near airports along
Stanley's 1866 route in Darkest Africa.

©Google / MyReadingMapped

Airport built in the most dangerous place on Earth:
At the Tenzing-Hillary Airport, also known as the Lukla Airport, you cannot make a touchdown landing. Instead you will have to make a touchup landing. Literally. Some of which, like the Yeti Airlines Flight 103 on 10/8/2008, didn't quite survive the experience.

That is because this airport has a short 1,510 ft. UPHILL running runway that sits on a mountain side at 9,186 ft. (2800 meters) and, as the image below shows, has a tilt at the leading edge on the edge of a cliff. Add to all this some serious mountain winds and other extreme weather and you are sure to have a thrilling experience if you survive.

Download this Google Earth KLM flyover movie landing to see how difficult it is.

The approach at Lukla Airport in Google Earth.

The statistics of my pragmatic thinking:
Of the 124 flights I was able to plot between 1990 and 2000, ranged between 10 and 16 commercial aircraft crashes per year. However, when comparing seasons of the year, January-June (43) was about half the number of crashes as July-December (83). April -June was the safest time to travel (18). 

©Google / MyReadingMapped
When I analyzed the next 10 years (2000-2010), the volume of crashes increases by 17% largely due to the increase in traffic in developing countries. Of the 146 crashes in this period, they ranged between 9 and 26 commercial aircraft crashes per year. And, again the January-June (53) period was about half of the July-December (93) period. 

©Google / MyReadingMapped

Sites of multiple crashes in a short period of time:

Three crashes within four years:
  • Iran Air Tours Flight 945 - 9/1/2006
  • Aria Air Flight 1525 - 7/24/2009
  • Taban Air Flight 6437 - 1/24/2010

Two crashes within 14 days:
  • TWA Flight on 159 on 11/6/67
  • TWA Flight 128 on 11/20/67

Two crashes within 30 days: 
  • All Nippon Airways Flight 60 on 2/4/66
  • Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 402 on 3/4/66

Two crashes within 5 days:
  • Scandinavian Airlines Flight 933 on 1/13/69 
  • United Airlines Flight 266 on 1/18/69

Two crashes within 13 days:
  • Allegheny Airlines Flight 737 on 1/6/69
  • Allegheny Airlines Flight 736 on 12/24/68

Two crashes in 4 months: 
  • BOAC Flight 712 on 4/8/68
  • BKS Air Transport on 7/3/68

Two air crashes in 9 months: 
  • American Airlines Flight 1 on 3/1/62
  • Eastern Air Lines Flight 512  on 11/30/62

Crashes that happened on the same day:
  • Thai Airways International Flight 311
  • China General Aviation Flight 7552

No comments: