Tag Archives: jetwhine

5 Aviation Journalists You Need On Speed Dial For Plane Crashes


An Asiana Airlines Boeing 767 parked at Incheon International Airport.  Photo by Benet J. Wilson.

After yesterday’s crash of an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777, I felt the need to do a rare Sunday post.  As an aviation journalist and communicator for 20 years, I’ve seen more than my fair share of general media coverage when it comes to airline accidents.  The crash at San Francisco International Airport showed the sad state of affairs when it comes to covering an accident.

Gone are the days when most major newspapers, television stations and cable news networks had reporters on staff with aviation expertise.  And it showed yesterday. Most of the accurate news came not from my usual news sources — CNN and NPR — but my 10,000 Twitter followers and my network of aviation geeks on private listserves and Facebook.  And the information that was out there was either wrong, or highly inaccurate.

For example, an NPR reporter said yesterday that the aircraft involved was a “Boeing 777, seats around 150 people.”  What?? Does this mean NO ONE at NPR had the 30 seconds it would have taken to go to the 777 section of the Boeing or Asiana websites or even SeatGuru.com to see the actual number on the Asiana aircraft? (it’s 246 to 300 seats).

So now here is my public service — a list of five top aviation journalists who can speak intelligently on the Asiana crash and a whole host of other aviation issues.  And bonus — I know that they are all camera-ready. So take advantage of these folks and their years of knowledge.

1.  Rob Mark, Jetwhine.com and Aviation International News:  besides being a licensed commercial pilot and the writer of the safety section of AIN, Mark has flown every current commercial aircraft from the Airbus A380 on down. He speaks regularly on aviation issues for FOX News and can do the same for you.
2 and 3. Graham Warwick and Guy Norris, Aviation Week and Space Technology: my former colleagues have been in the business for decades. Warwick, AvWeek’s managing editor for technology, has a strong background in aircraft engineering and design. Senior Editor Norris is a long-time, respected aerospace journalist who has written books on aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing.
4. Stephen Trimble, FlightGlobal: Trimble, FlightGlobal’s Americas Editor,  is one of the pre-eminent aerospace annd aviation editors in the field. Want proof? Check out what he’s done in the 24 hours since the crash.
5.  Jon Ostrower, Wall Street Journal: Before Ostrower, a Chicago-based aerospace reporter, came to the Journal, he was the air transport editor for FlightGlobal. Before that, he wrote the independent Flightblogger blog, considered the source of information on all things Boeing aircraft. He’s forgotten more than most of us know about the Seattle aircraft manufacturer.

GUEST POST: Blogging for Benet: A Few Ideas From FL290

Editor’s note: kids, as my month of fun continues, my old friend Rob Mark is up next with a great guest post telling me why I need to continue my flight lessons.  Enjoy!

With so much talk about ladies in aviation, with the recent Women In Aviation convention and my pal Scott Spangler just penned something at Jetwhine about how women might well represent the future in aviation — it seems a fitting time to accept this offer to guest blog. The fact that I’m siting in row 21 in the back of an American MD-80 at FL 290 as I type just makes the whole idea even more fun.

Since Benet has a couple of flying lessons under her belt, I thought it might be valuable to offer up a few opinions about why she should finish her training and earn that private pilot’s license I keep hearing her talk about every time we meet.

And for you cynics out there, my suggestion has nothing to do with the fact that she’s now part of that hard-working AOPA media staff that manages to squeeze so much out of my measly $45 membership every year.

So in this time of women in aviation, I know full well that learning to fly might just offer Benet a few extra points with management and also give her a bit clearer perspective on some of the day-to-day issues that pilots face in the U.S. She could even take her daughter — the Princess of Planes — up for a little aerial adventure from time to time for sure.

Of course I also know from listening to heaven knows how many AOPA folks that almost three-quarters of the people who start flight training never finish. I took a step back and decided nope, that’s not the real reason I suggest she finish up her flight training. Benet Wilson needs to complete her flight training for a more esoteric reason not that those others drivers won’t be useful or fun.

Flying isn’t just about learning how to smoothly move the airplane’s controls or navigate from point A to point B, or successfully manage ATC on the radio. Those are aeronautical tactics.

Flying is about much more. Learning to command an airplane will make my friend think differently … much differently. Benet, you’ll become sure of yourself … OK, in your case perhaps more sure of yourself. Learning to fly teaches pilots stress management skills as they come to terms with the awesome responsibility you hold in your hands as you roll down the runway. It teaches excellent resource management skills as you balance weather with fuel with useful load all wrapped up in a new appreciation for where a budget fits into every pilot’s life.

Best of all, these tactical flying skills always spill over into a pilot’s life on the ground. You’ll become a better strategist, a better communicator. I’ve even heard learning to fly improves your love life … OK, I might have made up that last one.

So Benet, you need to complete your flight training not for the industry … although we’re always happy to welcome another pilot aboard. You need to finish your flight training because the difference the license in your purse will make to the way you view the world is something you just gotta experience.

“Flying alone! Nothing gives such a sense of mastery over time, over mechanism, mastery, indeed over space, time, and life itself, as this.” — Cecil Day Lewis

Love, Rob

Rob Mark publishes Jetwhine.com, the blog of aviation buzz and bold opinion. He also
co-host the weekly Airplane Geeks radio show. A commercial pilot for “a really long
time,” he’s also CEO of CommAvia, where he and his folks deliver up leading edge media
to the aviation industry.

Can You Hear? Voices From The DC-3

My love affair with the Douglas DC-3 began the day after I started by communications job at Delta Air Lines back in September 2004.  Regular readers know I’m a big aviation geek, and I was thrilled to discover that our offices were a stone’s throw away from the Delta Heritage Museum (a place you MUST visit if you have some spare time in Atlanta).

The Delta Heritage Museum features Ship 41, a lovingly restored DC-3 (right down to the period Life magazines in the seat back pocket).  The airplane actually flew until 2004 (unfortunately, right before I arrived).

Jump to July 2011, when I went to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh.  One of the highlights of the show for me was to meet Julie Filucci, the author of a new book, Voices From The DC-3.  Julie and I “met” on Facebook, but had never met in person (ah, the joys of social media).

She appeared on Episode 162 of the Airplane Geeks podcast, where she talked about her book and the exhaustive research she did for it.   You can find Julie at her blog, the book’s Facebook Fan Page and on Twitter at @JulieInTheSky.

I plan on buying the book for my collection.  Be sure and read this great review from our friends over at the Jetwhine blog — and if you’ve read the book, let me know what you think!

Top Five Most Interesting Aviation Stories Of The Week

It’s the week before the Paris Air Show, and every aviation journalist worth their salt — including me — has been in full frenzy mode, whether we’re going or not (I’m not).  But I have to take care of you, my loyal readers, so let’s go!

I would be remiss if i didn’t lead you to the link — here — for Aviation Week’s full coverage of the show, including news, blog posts, photos and Twitter.  And if you want to keep up with the show via your iPhone, there’s an (AvWeek) app for that, here.  Commercials over!

  1. One of my journalist friends sent me a tweet with a link to this Middle Seat Terminal blog post on Airbus’ vision of what planes will look like in 2050.  While I love all this stuff, I also know the likelihood of us seeing it on an actual plane is slim and none. But I love engineers who dream!
  2. In a topic near and dear to my heart, my airport soul sister Harriet Baskas uses her At The Airport column for USA Today to ask a good question: Should you pay for Wi-Fi? She writes about how airports are considering offered tiered service–free for a limited time, then paid. On the one hand, I know airports are trying to boost their non-airline revenue as carriers continue to cut costs, and Wi-Fi helps with that. But on the other hand, travelers are spoiled by airports including Phoenix, San Francisco and Boston that offer free Wi-Fi, compared to those who don’t, like my hometown Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
  3. I just love listening to the Airplane Geeks podcast, and Episode 150 (congrats guys!) was one of the best ever, with aviation legends John & Martha King as the guests. Did you know they can fly blimps? Cool, huh?
  4. Speaking of fees, the general media were abuzz after the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported that U.S. airlines collected almost $5.7 billion from baggage fees and reservation change fees in 2010, reports ABC News.  Having worked for two airlines, I know why they charge these fees — because you, dear traveler, refuse to pay the higher fares they want to charge you.  But I enjoyed this article in the Atlantic on the top 12 most annoying fees.
  5. I’m a business traveler. I’m also a mother who started flying my daughter around the country when she was only 10 days old.  Which is why I enjoyed this article from BBC that asked the question: who’s more annoying: business travelers or babies?  I vote for business travelers, because babies do eventually tire.  I was lucky, because my daughter always slept, uh, like a baby on flights.  And as she got older, she was so used to flying, I still get compliments about her behavior, even now at 5 years old.

It would not be Friday without this week’s episode of “Strange But True Aviation News,” complete with a different sexting scandal, an unusual airline fee and what happens when you have a potty mouth on the plane.

And finally, for those of you living in the Washington, D.C., area, I hope you can come out to the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum’s Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles Airport for the annual Become a Pilot Day and aviation display on Saturday, June 18.  My favorites — the Airplane Geeks — will be reocrding their podcast, and I’ll be out there with my daughter (the self-dubbed Princess of Planes) to support them.  One of the geeks, Rob Mark of Jetwhine, has more details here.  Please come by and say hello if you’re out there!

Showing The Friday Link Love

It’s Friday, so it MUST be time for my weekly column, “Strange But True Aviation News.” This week we had a bumper crop of badly behaving celebrities,  Transportation Security Administration follies and even a plug for “The Rocky Horror Picture Show!”

I had a ball as a substitute host for this week’s Airplane Geeks podcast episode, sitting in for Jetwhine’s Rob Mark, who was off on one of his many boondoggles. And the bonus for me? The guest was Richard Aboulafia, the aerospace analyst extraordinaire for Virgina-based The Teal Group.  His monthly newsletter is required reading for those serious about aviation.  It’s informative and funny!

On the journalism side, I’ve published my Friday Fast Five + Five on the NABJDigital blog, which offers the latest tips and tricks in digital/social/multimedia.  You can also listen to the replay of my BlogTalkRadio show, “Making The Transition From Journalism To PR.” Enjoy the weekend!