David Crowder Concert, NWA188 and Photo Review

I got up from laying down after the all-night shift Thursday morning and figured I'd better get a ride in while I could because the forecast wasn't looking so good. The temp was just above 40 with a northeast wind steady at 15 mph under overcast skies. 40 degrees is very reasonable cycling weather but the key is to be somewhat chilled when you start out. Being warm and toasty at the beginning leads to being sweaty, cold and clammy before the ride is over. While putting air in my tires before leaving I could tell that I needed a lighter top layer. I'm glad I made the switch.

I loved the ride (Strava link) and would like to have gone further but David Crowder was playing at our church and I didn't want to be late getting in line for some good seats as it was general admission. I considered a quick detour by Hosanna on the way home to get a pic of their tour bus but I figured I should really act my age.

The concert was worth every penny and better than any of the other times we'd seen them. I don't know that Hosanna has ever been rocked quite like that. Tammy and I got seats maybe ten rows back from center-stage while Rachel and some friends camped out in front of the stage.

It's not uncommon for people at our church and churches similar to ours to lift their hands in praise while worshiping. I just wish they wouldn't do it during concerts; especially if they're really tall to begin with because it makes it especially difficult to see anything other than them and that's not what we were there for. I was intent on getting some decent video so I jumped into the same row as the tall guy with long arms where there were a couple empty seats and found a clear view. We'd all be standing until the concert was over and I was fine with that. I expected it.

My cellphone vibrated to life mid-way through the show. It was Rachel texting me to say, "I go to church here :)". I love that she has such a connection with Hosanna. It's an important part of her life and we're thankful for that.

I got some good video as I'd hoped for (although a little shaky at times) and uploaded it to our YouTube account. Here's a link to a playlist of it.

I can't remember a rainier stretch of weather than the one we've been in for the last few weeks. The sun was out for most of the day yesterday and it was really nice to be out under it. I got up and went about my usual routine; feed the pups; let 'em out; make breakfast (something substantial for what was going to be a busy day); check my email then load the pups into the back of Tammy's Forrester and head to the dog park. They haven't been to the park for a few days with all the rain we've had so I knew I had to take advantage of the clear skies for their sake.

They were so happy to be there. It's funny...Toby has this thing he does with me whenever we're on a walk. He'll pause and look back at me and wait while I catch up to him, then I lean over so he can jump up and lick my face. As soon as he does it he runs forward to continue his walk. It's the sweetest thing. I get at least one kiss each walk and oftentimes, two. I love that little guy.

I spent most of yesterday raking leaves. The job only gets bigger each year as trees grow and drop even more leaves. It was nice that most of my neighbors were out doing the same thing which will reduce the number of leaves that migrate with the wind into our yard. In splendid geek fashion: before and after.

While I was out raking I noticed a couple neighbors up the street talking: Dave and Tom. They're both pilots for Northwest/Delta and I wondered what their thoughts were on the recent news story about NWA188 and its loss of radio contact with controllers and subsequent overflying its destination of Minneapolis. As Dave said, "stranger things have happened". I'm sure he's right but I'm hard-pressed to think of one. Tom mentioned that the NTSB most certainly jumped the gun when they went after the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR). The only time that data from the CVR is reviewed is in the case of an accident and not for punitive reasons. There's a reason it works that way and that is to ensure that the CVR remains operational at all times in case there ever is a need to review it. Pilots have the ability to disable the device and once you begin to use its data for anything other than accident reconstruction you risk not having the data when you need it most. Besides, details recorded on the CVR are written over every 30 minutes so whatever the NTSB finds will be of little value with respect to what led up to the pilots' distraction.

The pilots are pretty emphatic that they weren't sleeping but I'm having a difficult time imagining any other scenario to explain what happened. We lose aircraft on frequency all the time but seldom is it ever an issue where we can't find a way to get them a message about what frequency to contact us on with a phone call to their dispatch.

At least we're getting a break from Balloon Boy and his nutty professor father.

Rachel got her senior photo proofs back. Laurie did a great job photoing Rachel; she/we couldn't be happier. There are nearly 200 photos to select from so Tammy had an idea that we'd each pick our ten favorites and go from there; a process of elimination. So far so good. Here's my favorite. I had no idea that so much effort (or money) went into senior photos but then I never had mine taken...or went to Homecoming or Prom or...I wonder how it was that I ever graduated now that I think of it?


Tim said…
Your Northwest pilot friends are wrong when they said the NTSB "jumped the gun" by taking the CVR from the aircraft.

In fact the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 121 Sections 343 and 359 for commercial airlines even require that the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder data be archived under certain circumstances for investigatory reasons.

And NTSB Part 830 specifies when reports need to be filed with the NTSB which includes crewmember statements and data recording systems.

This event qualifies as an "incident" which means an investigation is necessary.

The NTSB gathers all evidence they can in the event of an accident or incident (which often includes the cockpit voice recorder/CVR and flight data recorder/FDR) and then publishes its findings. They usually also publish probable causes of the accident/incident if they have enough information to make that determination.

Assuming that punitive or disciplinary action is going to be taken is purely speculation. Regardless, that won't come from the NTSB.

The NTSB will do an investigation and publish its findings.

I would assume that the FAA or the airline could take disciplinary action based on those findings, but discipline is totally outside the NTSB's jurisdiction.

Regardless giving the NTSB CVR data isn't "jumping the gun."

It appears to be standard procedure as dictated by Federal law.

It's also a violation of FARs to disable any either the flight data or cockpit voice recorders too. You might want to mention this to pilots Dave and Tom since they seem ignorant of the Part 121 FARs.

In the case of the CVR:

(2) Is operated continuously from the use of the checklist before the flight to completion of the final checklist at the end of the flight.
Kevin Gilmore said…
I too thought it was an 'incident' but Tom said it was actually a gross navigational error or words to that affect.

They seem to be under different assumptions than what you've posted here. Interesting.

Maybe it's possible that their union has an agreement that any evidence obtained through the CVR in this sort of incident is inadmissible for purposes of punitive measures.
Tiim said…
This particular "gross navigational error" is an incident by the NTSB standards regardless.

Although I don't doubt the pilots probably have some protection against FDR and CVR data being used for punitive action, in the past we've seen how the FAA circumvents similar protections for controllers having operational errors and I have no doubt they or the airlines could do the same in an incident like this one.

I don't see how the pilots in this situation are going to extricate themselves from the mess they got themselves into.

And simply trying to call it all a "gross navigational error" ain't going to do it.
Kevin Gilmore said…
I'm not one to 2nd guess my pilot friends but you no doubt make a more persuasive argument than they did.

I'm waiting to see the SNL spoof on this one.
Tim said…
Since it's now known that the pilots admitted to using their laptop computers on the flight deck (in violation of company policy) I don't think they have any protection whatsoever so it's all a moot point.

Considering what happened their actions are indefensible.

From CNN:

"Using laptops or engaging in activity unrelated to the pilots' command of the aircraft during flight is strictly against the airline's flight deck policies and violations of that policy will result in termination," Delta said Monday in a statement.

It will be interesting to see if the FAA's own internal investigation results in any disciplinary action or retraining for the manager(s) involved who failed to notify the military in a timely manner (according to procedure) that air traffic wasn't talking to that aircraft.

But then I'm sure since the screw-up was by FAA managers nothing will happen...

From the same CNN article:

Meanwhile, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, which scrambled fighter jets for the wayward plane but did not launch them, said it was reviewing procedures for launching the fighters to track potentially hijacked or suspicious aircraft.

At issue is the Federal Aviation Administration's apparent delay in notifying NORAD the Northwest jet was not in contact with controllers, according to a senior U.S. official directly familiar with the timeline of the incident.
Kevin Gilmore said…
It sounds like maybe the Northwest pilots weren't the only ones too busy surfing the web to do the job they were supposed to be doing.

While it's entirely possible that the people at our watch desk did everything as they should have, are we to believe that protocols set up for this sort of situation were followed? I'd be curious to know what sort of efforts were made and how decisions were arrived at on our end.

Hey...do you suppose Ted could diagram FAA's attempts for us in his next QA briefing and maybe use actual voice tapes of people who apparently didn't do their jobs so well whether they be people at our facility or wherever? This is something we can all learn from.

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