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Other Plane Crashes

June 1, 2014

During all the news coverage of that missing Malaysian plane, people missed new information that came out about several earlier plane crashes.  The news focused on the search for the Malaysian plane, with all its drama and excitement.  It went on for weeks.  There’s still no trace of the plane.  Some media organizations increased their audience greatly.  It was a goldmine for them.  Here’s what people may have missed in all the excitement:

The oldest incident was the plane crash in Africa that killed the Secretary General of the United Nations, in the early 1960s.  Dag Hammarskjold was flying in a DC-6, on route to negotiate a cease-fire between UN and Katangese forces.  The plane crashed near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia.  The official word has always been that it was an accident.  Now there’s evidence that the plane was shot down by a fighter aircraft flown by a Katangese mercenary, enough evidence to re-open the UN enquiry into the crash.

The incident generally called the Lockerbie bombing happened in the late 1980s.  A Pan Am Boeing 747 on a flight from Frankfurt to Detroit exploded over Lockerbie Scotland, killing everyone on board and some on the ground.  The official reports always blamed Libya.  In fact, a Libyan intelligence officer was tried and convicted for playing a part in the bombing.  He always insisted that he was innocent.  New information suggests that Iran was to blame, instead.  To a large extent, it does make sense.

The most recent crash was in the late 2000s.  An Air France Airbus A330 on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris stalled at crusing altitude over the Atlantic Ocean, and crashed into the sea about four minutes later.  The initial reports attributed the crash to pilot error.  The Airbus had three pilots on board.  At the time of the incident, the most experienced pilot was away sleeping.  The least experienced pilot was in control of the plane, with the other pilot as co-pilot.  Icing at high altitude disabled the air speed sensor, causing the auto-pilot to kick out.  The pilot had to take manual control of the plane.  When the plane stalled, the pilot attempted to recover from the stall incorrectly.  New information suggests that the other two pilots could not tell that he was doing this incorrectly and did not intervene.  By the time the most experienced pilot took over the controls, it was too late to save the plane.

I realize that some of the new information may be wild speculation, and that some of it may be simply be a repeat of a conspiricy theory.  Then again, some of it may be correct.  Maybe in the coming days we will find out which is which.


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