TIME Accident

4 People Have Died in a Florida Plane Crash

The small Piper PA-31 aircraft was attempting to make an emergency landing for unknown reasons

Four people aboard a small Fort Lauderdale–bound plane died Sunday when the aircraft crashed and incinerated in a nature preserve near Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport.

The Piper PA-31 aircraft, which had departed from Orlando, was attempting to make an emergency landing for unknown reasons, and plunged into the ground from an altitude of 8,000 ft., killing the four people on the plane, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

“It nosedived right into the floor. It sounded like a semitruck hit a wall, it was so loud,” eyewitness Bobby Bemis told NBC Miami.

The plane was soon engulfed in flames in a wooded area north of the airport, prompting Florida fire teams to rush to the scene.

“Our crews made an aggressive attack on the fire, extinguished the fire within minutes,” Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue’s Chantal Botting told the Sun-Sentinel.

Names of the victims have not been released yet. No ground injuries were reported and the airport remains open.

TIME Aviation

Germanwings Crash Site Yields a Damaged Black Box

Investigators still have no idea why the plane went down

One of the flight recorders, or black boxes, belonging to Germanwings Flight 4U 9525 has been recovered, but French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve says it has been damaged.

Investigators are hoping that at least some data from the recorder can be retrieved to shed light on the crash, the cause of which is still not known.

Search and recovery operations resumed in the French Alps on Wednesday morning, a day after the jet crashed and most likely killed all 150 people aboard.

The 24-year-old Airbus A320 was en route from the Spanish city of Barcelona to Dusseldorf in Germany when it went down just before 11 a.m. local time on Tuesday, scattering wreckage across more than four acres of craggy terrain near the village of Digne-Les-Bains in southeastern France.

French officials estimated that it would take “at least a week” to scour the remote site. More than 300 policemen and 380 firefighters have been mobilized in the effort, according to Agence France-Presse.

At least 67 Germans were believed to have been aboard Flight 4U 9525, along with around 45 Spanish passengers. Two Australians and two Japanese are also believed to have perished, as well as Belgian and Turkish travelers.

An unconfirmed report in Germany’s Spiegel magazine, cited in the Telegraph, said that some Germanwings staff felt the crash was related to repairs made on Monday to the nose-wheel landing doors of the ill-fated aircraft. Lufthansa, which owns Germanwings, denied that there was any connection.

Nevertheless, scattered reports have emerged that some Germanwings employees are refusing to board the company’s planes in the wake of the disaster. “We understand their decision,” said Thomas Winkelmann, a Germanwings spokesperson, in a statement.

On Wednesday, aviation experts continued to wrestle with several puzzling aspects connected to the crash. Why was no distress made by the pilots? And why did it take Flight 4U 9525 an unusually long time to descend from its cruising altitude of approximately 38,000 feet?

“Eight minutes is a long time for a descent in an uncontrolled fashion,” Mike Daniel, an international aviation-safety consultant based in Singapore, tells TIME. “It could be more of a controlled fashion but we won’t know until they read the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.”

Meanwhile, reports have also began to surface of lucky escapes.

Players from the Swedish first division soccer team Dalkurd FF had been originally booked to travel on Flight 4U 9525, but later switched their plans to avoid a layover in Dusseldorf.

“At first, our time was spent calming down our relatives on the phone because they had been worried sick about us,” Frank Pettersson, the team’s goalkeeper, told Yahoo News. “Later came shock as the thoughts of the victims onboard on that plane became more tangible.”

Read next: These Charts Show Why the Germanwings Crash Is Especially Unusual

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME

Real TIME: Plane Skids Off Runway At LaGuardia

A Delta airplane skidded off the runway and crashed into a fence at LaGuardia Airport in New York City on Thursday.

Watch #RealTIME, and read more here.

TIME Taiwan

TransAsia Crash Death Toll Reaches 32 With 11 Passengers Still Missing

TransAsia Airways Plane Crashes In Taipei
Ashley Pon—Getty Images Rescuers check the wreckage of the TransAsia ATR 72-600 on the Keelung river at New Taipei City on Feb. 4, 2015

Experts suspect a "flameout" in one of the engines may have been to blame

Taiwanese search-and-rescue teams continued to search for 11 missing passengers from a TransAsia flight that crashed in Taipei on Wednesday morning, as the confirmed death toll from the disaster reached 32.

Flight 235 went down soon after takeoff after banking hard to the left, clipping a taxi driving on an overpass and slamming into Taipei’s Keelung River. Local broadcasters have released a recording of an unidentified crew member uttering “Mayday” three times before losing contact with the control tower.

Speculation as to why the plane ditched has revolved around the possible failure of the aircraft’s left engine that appeared to be malfunctioning in footage posted online.

“Before it hit the taxi, it made a hard left bank that’s indicative usually of the pilot trying to either avoid something or an uncontrolled event,” Mike Daniel, an international aviation-safety consultant based in Singapore, tells TIME.

However, authorities have refrained from commenting on possible causes until the official investigation concludes. On Wednesday, rescue teams successfully recovered the plane’s flight recorders and pulled its fuselage from the Keelung River after nightfall.

At least 32 people were killed during the crash. Fifteen passengers survived with injuries.

“I’m simply amazed that there were survivors,” says Daniel. “It actually speaks well to the construction of the aircraft to have survivors after that type of impact — not only after hitting the bridge but also cartwheeling into the water.”

TransAsia representatives said the ATR-72 turboprop had been in service for less than a year; however, after being delivered, one of the engines was immediately replaced after functioning improperly, reports the Wall Street Journal.

“Actually, this aircraft in the accident was the newest model. It hadn’t been used for even a year,” Peter Chen, TransAsia’s director, told reporters at a press conference, according to the Associated Press.

Wednesday’s accident marks the airline’s second deadly crash in less than 10 months. In July a TransAsia flight went down near the airport at Magong on Taiwan’s Penghu Island during a rainstorm, killing 48 people and injuring 10.

TIME Aviation

Plane That Crashed Into Chicago Home Missed Couple by 8 Inches

Twin-engine small cargo plane had just taken off from Midway Airport

A small cargo plane that crashed into a Chicago home Tuesday morning missed hitting an elderly couple residing in the house by eight inches, according to the city’s fire chief.

The twin-engine plane had just taken off from Midway Airport when it began experiencing engine problems, the Chicago Tribune reports. The pilot, who was the only person on board, was attempting to return to the airport but crashed into the home. He was dead at the scene.

The plane collided with the right side of the house, but the couple, an 84-year-old man and an 82-year-old woman, were on the left side of the residence asleep in their bedroom. Neighbors said the couple was “bewildered,” but did not sustain any injuries.

“They were in a bedroom next to the living room and the living room is gone,” Chicago Fire Chief Michael Fox said. “Eight inches. They were very lucky.”

[Chicago Tribune]

TIME Accident

Kansas Airport Plane Crash Kills 4

Wichita Airport-Crash
Brian Corn—AP Firefighters try to put out a fire at Mid-Continent Airport in Wichita, Kan. on Oct. 30, 2014 shortly after a small plane crashed into the building killing several people including the pilot.

Approximately 100 people were in flight safety center when airplane plowed into it

A small airplane plowed into the top of a flight safety center at an airport in Kansas after losing engine power on takeoff Thursday, killing at least four people, injuring five and leaving four others missing, officials said.

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air reported trouble after taking off from Mid-Content Airport in Wichita around 10 a.m. ET. It hit a two-story FlightSafety International building while trying to return to the runway, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The crash sent up thick plumes of black smoke that could be seen for miles.

“There wasn’t a loud bang, there wasn’t a loud…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME

Iowa Senate Candidate Killed in Plane Crash

Dr. Doug Butzier, a Libertarian candidate running for Senate in Iowa, died in a plane crash in Dubuque on Monday night.

He died around 11 p.m. about one mile north of Dubuque Regional Airport, according to the local ABC affiliate. He was the pilot and only one aboard the aircraft. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash of the Piper PA 46-310P, a six-seater, single-engine aircraft.

Dr. Butzier grew up in Cedar Falls and lived in Dubuque working as the medical staff president at Mercy Medical Center, according to his campaign website. He had two sons, and was running against Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst.

Several high-profile U.S. politicians have died in plane crashes while running for Senate, including Senator Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), Gov. Mel Carnahan (D-Mo.), Rep. Jerry Litton (D-Mo.) and Virginia GOP chairman Richard Obenshain.

TIME Aviation

More Pilots in Crashes Are on Drugs, Report Says

Toxicology reports over the last two decades show sharp increase drug use among pilots and in drug mixing as well

More pilots involved in airplane crashes are testing positive for drugs, according to an analysis of toxicology reports going back 20 years by the National Transportation Safety Board.

According to the draft report released Tuesday, in 1990 just 9.6% of pilots involved in crashes tested positive for one drug, compared to 39% in 2012. Drug mixing—which can be an especially dangerous and unpredictable way to consume drugs—has been on the rise as well.

The study crunched the numbers on toxicology reports from nearly 6,700 pilots who were killed in airplane crashes between 1990 and 2012. The study looked at the use of both legal and illegal drugs and found increases in the use of all drugs.

Alcohol was not considered in the study.

The most commonly used drug that can cause impairment was diphenhydramine, a sedative antihistamine used in cold medicine and other related applications. Few pilots tested positive for illegal drugs, the report says, but the percentage of pilots who tested positive for marijuana increased over the study period, mostly in the last 10 years.

Because the vast majority of airplane crashes involve non-commercial flights, more than 90% of the pilots tested were private pilots rather than commercial air carrier pilots.

TIME Military

Pilot Still Missing After Fighter Jet Crashes in Virginia

Preparations Ahead Of The Farnborough International Airshow 2014
Bloomberg — Getty Images Military personnel talk as they stand beside an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet, left, prior to the opening of the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, U.K., on Sunday, July 13, 2014.

Authorities have not yet confirmed if the pilot had ejected from the plane before it crashed Wednesday morning

The pilot of a fighter jet that crashed into the mountains of western Virginia Wednesday morning is still missing hours later, officials say.

Col. James Keefe, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Air National Guard, said that rescue crews were still searching for the pilot Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press reports. It’s unclear whether the pilot ejected from the single-seat F-15C. The pilot reported an inflight emergency while flying the plane to New Orleans for routine maintenance and lost radio contact shortly thereafter.

Residents near the crash site reported hearing a loud explosion and feeling the ground shake from the force of the impact.

[AP]

MONEY Business Travel

How to Keep Fear of Flying From Grounding Your Career

Jupiter Images—Getty Images An anxiety filled flight can make it tough to give your best at work.

If your job requires you to get on a plane, this anxiety could hold you back at work. Here's how to cope with your worries.

It’s understandable if the recent spate of high-profile airplane crashes around the world has made you nervous about flying.

Three airline disasters in eight days last month have pushed the number of dead or missing this year to more than 700, putting 2014 on track to be the worst year for airline fatalities since at least 2010. With 464 fatalities, July was the fifth worst month in aviation history, according to the Air Safety Network.

In the aftermath of these tragedies, aviation experts and many news outlets issued the standard post-crash reassurance that flying is still much safer than most forms of travel, including driving a car.

But even if flying isn’t more dangerous, the fear of it can have a big impact on your life and your career. If you’re anxious about air travel, you may turn down opportunities to attend important business conferences. And even if you can get on the plane, you may be too anxious to sleep and emerge from the trip exhausted. If you need to work during the flight, anxiety can sap your productivity.

The medications you might take to cope can leave you fuzzy just when you need to be sharp for a client meeting or a speech. At its worst, a fear of flying may keep you from rising the corporate ladder.

“The impact on careers is pretty clear and often striking,” says Dr. James Abelson, director of the Anxiety Disorders Treatment program at the University of Michigan. “We regularly see people who shy away from jobs that would require them to fly and even turn down promotions.”

Who Suffers the Most

Exactly how many people suffer from a fear of flying is unknown. Some surveys find that about 25% of people are nervous about air travel. In a July poll, 36% of Americans said that recent political turmoil has made them afraid to fly internationally. But true aviaphobics make up just 6% of the population, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Whatever the stats, there’s no doubt that millions are anxious about getting airborne.

The phobia is more common among those who are successful, says Dr. Martin Seif, a psychologist who specializes in anxiety disorders and operates a fear of flying program called Freedom To Fly. That may be because people with hard-driving, Type-A personalities get uncomfortable when they aren’t in control. Plus, workers in management and executive positions are more likely to have to get on a plane for the job, says Seif.

Indeed, a number of successful celebrities, from sports stars like Wayne Gretzky to entertainers like Aretha Franklin, suffer from a fear of flying that has affected their careers.

What You Can Do

Whether you’re a celeb or a worker bee, you can take advantage of online resources, in-person programs, and even apps to get your fears under control and limit the damage to your career.

Several airports and airlines offer workshops to help nervous flyers, according to USA Today. At Phoenix Sky Harbor International, a fear-of-flying class convenes monthly, with an advanced session that allows students to test their coping strategies on an actual flight. Captain Ron Nielson, a commercial airline pilot for 40 years, runs the Fearless Flight program. Milwaukee’s General Mitchell airport’s Overcome Your Fear of Flying program is headed by Dr. Michael P. Tomaro, an aviation psychologist and certified flight instructor. San Francisco’s International airport hosts a fear-of-flying clinic that will run five workshops this year. A few international airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, also offer programs.

Seif’s Freedom to Fly program is airport based. Students go through the airport security, board the plane, and take short flights to learn how to deal with anxiety management. He also offers individual counseling sessions.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America offers a number of articles and lists resources for overcoming fear of flying.

SOAR, an organization started in 1982 by Captain Tom Bunn, a licensed therapist and airline captain, sells DVDs and one-on-one counseling sessions. It has also developed an app to manage anxiety on the go, with videos, relaxation exercises, and turbulence forecasts for your flight. The VALK Foundation, a Dutch institute that studies and treats the fear of flying, also has an app to help anxious passengers.

Simple techniques, such as doing slow controlled rhythmic breathing, can also help. The best cure for fear of flying: flying.

“The active ingredient in overcoming any fear is exposure,” says Seif. “The more you fly, the easier it is.”

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