The Blog with the Search Engine for Statistics

Monday, February 16, 2009

Planes Flying a Little too Low in Buffalo

Planes flying over our house are suddenly becoming eerie. Two months ago I did a post on plane crash statistics because my eight year old had a fear of a plane falling on our house. (We get a lot of small town planes flying overhead.) I felt lucky because a month went by without a single night of her praying that a plane didn't crash on our house.

Then we had a wind storm. Electric went out. Kids didn't have school because there was no electricity. She prayed that night for a plane not to crash on our house. It gave me the chills too because it was horribly windy outside. The next night, I'm writing away and get a CNN alert that a plane crashed in Buffalo - a mile from my dad's house. The Buffalo plane crash of Continental Flight 3407 was little too close for comfort. I was shocked as I followed the story on CNN and couldn't pull myself away.

Turns out one of the girls on the Buffalo Plane that crashed, 19 year old Beth Kushner on Flight 3407, went to school with my son in Eden, New York, and Joe and Beth both used to live in Angola, NY. He has a beautiful picture of her on his blog. Just looking at this smiling picture of this promising young happy girl and imagining what she went through, and what her relatives must be going through makes me want to cry. My son nor I knew Beth. I can only imagine the sorrow her family must feel. What if it was my daughter flying home from college? What if that was my 19 year old son? What if the plane had gone a mile further and landed on my father's house? And then there's always the question - how could God let this happen?

I reason that he doesn't. It's man's plane. Man's mechanics. We are not puppets. So where are the angels and where are the miracles? I just hope that the crash had such a great impact that none of them experienced any pain. I've been unconscious before, and I know when you're out - you're out. You feel nothing. I hope that's what they felt. People burning in Australian wildfires and burning planes are too much to bear thinking about.

Does anyone else find it ironic that Continental's airline magazine has this quote on the airline magazine's front page (advertising Manhattan):

"All free, all moments that stick in the memory, and all in New York"

Do you think they're referencing the Hudson River landing and Buffalo NY plane crash?

Also in the Buffalo plane crash was Ellyce Kausner was a 24 year old law student on her way to her nephew's Valentine's Day party. And Madaline Loftus was another 24 year old victim of the Buffalo plane crash. She was headed to Buffalo State College, where my son attends. Rebecca Lynne Shaw was the First Flight Officer, and at the young age of 24, she too lost her life in the Buffalo plane crash. I'm picking out the 24 year olds because my oldest son is 24.

Two members of Chuck Mangione's band were in the plane. My father was a band teacher (Mr. Sadlo - Lockport Senior High School if anyone remembers!) and a trumpet player (and every other instrument in the world) and met Chuck Mangione in person. I can still picture the photograph in my mind. (I used to sort of kinda' play trumpet in high school..not sure if it was considered playing or making noise...). The Chuck Mangione band was on their way to play with the Buffalo Philarmonic Orchestra. How sad for Mr. Mangione.

With all the musicians that have died in plane crashes, I imagine many of them must think about having a similar fate. List Universe has a list of their pick of the Top Ten Musicians who have died in a plane crash. Buddy Holly is of course, first. A few of my favorites are on the list (don't laugh), John Denver (I used think he was sooo cute), Jim Croce (had the 8-track), and (a little more with the times) Stevie Ray Vaughan. My boyfriend still pines over Patsy Cline and insists Ricky Nelson is what a good lookin' guy should look like. Otis Redding (in my book) is right up there with Buddy Holly. (I just learned that Otis Redding wrote the words to the song RESPECT sung by Aretha Franklin.)

The "Elvis Pelvis" website has short biographies of musicians who have died in plane crashes.

Wikipedia (of course) has a list of "well-known" people who have died in plane crashes (or, "aviation crashes" - probably some helicopters thrown in there...)

Nationmaster always has great statistics, and they too have a list of people who have died in plane crashes.

NBC Sports has a list of athletes, sports professionals, coaches and officals who have died in plane crashes, and ESPN has a similiar lists of athletes and sport teams who have died in plane crashes.

Buffalo's TV station, WGRZ has a touching slideshow and list of everyone who died in the Buffalo plane crash.

Here is Continental Airlines Link to News on the Continental Airlines Buffalo Plane Crash 3407.

Seems like the 1 in 34 million chance of dying from a plane crash needs to be updated.

CNN has a list of articles on the Federal Aviation Administration. I bet they've got a lot of explaining to do lately. I think the words "outsourcing" came up a couple times.

CNN also has over 70 stories which reference the National Transportation Safety Board, which of course includes articles on the Buffalo plane crash.

Why do some live and some die?

On January 27, 2009 a Fedex Cargo plane crash in Texas left only minor injuries.

All but but four people died in a plane crash in Brazil the same week as the Buffalo plane crash. One of the survivor's was a nine year old.

Also within the first two weeks of February, six Americans are missing from a plane crash in Puerto Rico.

A similar Continental plane on the same New Jersey to Buffalo, NY route didn't crash in Buffalo.

Thankfully, the Pilot in the NY Hudson River plane crash played with gliders. I have to buy my daughter a few.

Here's a list to some online airline, aviation and plane crash magazines. I'm sure there's many stories of plane crashes hidden deep within these pages.

Thirty Thousand Feet refers to themselves as an "aviation directory" and that's exactly what they are. This resourceful website has links to aviation history, airport and cargo information, airline and airport topics, aviation maintenance magazines, and even aircraft and control magazines. Many of these may be paid only, but I'm sure there's some very useful links to free online information on plane crashes, plane maintenance and all the ins and outs of flying.

If you're into fixing planes, there's Aircraft Maintenance Technology magazine and website. of the articles is on the need for aircraft technicians and engineers...I wonder why...

Historic Wings has some vintage plane photos and looks like they even have a free desktop or screensaver with historical planes.

In Flight USA magazine has a few aviation articles - looks like primarily California flight information. I don't know exactly, but their links to more aviation and flight information has a nice sampling of probably useful links if you're doing airline, airplane or aviation research.

Aviation Week is full of news in the aviation industry, Pilot's Web isn't as official looking, but has links to articles and other useful information.

Aviation Safety Magazine

Federal Aviation Industry News has a list of paid aerospace magazines - but I'm sure many of these have online content as well.

Aviation Week looks like a reputable source for news and aviation industry information.

AV Web Independent Aviation News looks like a good source, but had to close the window quickly since my darling daughter has walked in. But they have a new article on the Buffalo plane crash so if you're looking for mechanical technicalities check it out. I've kept my daughter shielded from the Buffalo Plane Crash because - well- I'll never get any sleep. Had she bought into the logic of only 1 in 34 million people die in a plane crash then saw a plane crash near her Grandpa's house....geezsh - can't even imagine. Logic doesn't work. Statistics don't work. Faith is really the only thing that works. But even Faith is questionable at times.

Okay, she's occupied making a mess with flour and water...don't ask..Here's what AV Web reported:

The crew of the Bombardier Q400 that crashed in Buffalo on Thursday got a stall warning and the stick pusher engaged but still the aircraft pitched upward 31 degrees before turning almost 180 degrees and dropping onto a house in the Buffalo suburb of Clarence Center, near the outer marker for Buffalo Niagara International Airport. The sequence of events, which included a 45-degree dive with a 106-degree right bank ended 26 seconds later in the fireball on the ground, killing 49 people on the plane and one on the ground, the owner of the house. Although icing continues as a theme in the investigation, reporters were told at an NTSB press briefing on Sunday that the aircraft's anti-icing system had been on for most of the flight and, while both pilots discussed the "significant" icing their aircraft was experiencing, at no time did they use the "severe icing" descriptor that is the official notification of flight-threatening buildup. "We don't know that it was severe icing," NTSB member Steve Chealander told reporters. "They [the crew] didn't say that it was severe icing....The weatherman didn't say that it was severe icing."

Something to do with angles...or was that angels...but definitely a site to visit for more info on the Buffalo plane crash.

I have to wrap things up for the night. I was really hoping to do a blog post on birds and planes a month ago...I'd rather talk about dying birds than dying people...

Gotta get to bed. I will cherish that I can kiss my daughter tonight. My heart goes out to all those who lost a loved one in the Buffalo plane crash - or any plane crash, and everyone who ever lost someone they love.


The Erstwhile Medic February 17, 2009 at 12:21 AM  

As someone who researches aviation safety, I have to state that this is one of the most well thought out and informative but still touching comments on the effects of a crash on people I have seen.

So far as the "why some people live and others die" question you asked, I can provide some more insight into that aspect of crashes as that is what I research- how to make the crashes that are not avoided more survivable. Sickeningly it comes down to basically a grotesque form of math (or more appropriately physics) with some engineering problems thrown in- the wrong angle, a little too much force, the wrong types of restraints and even the wrong aircraft are the things that make an aircraft crash one that we hear about in the news versus one that we don't. If I can answer any specific questions for you or anyone else, please feel free to contact me via my blog:

Photogrammetry services February 17, 2009 at 1:04 AM  

Cool. Well written post. Thanks for sharing the ideas.
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Johnny Hughes, author of Texas Poker Wisdom, a novel February 17, 2009 at 7:55 AM  

Thanks for honoring Elvis, Buddy Holly, and John Denver. I knew them all. Here is a rock history of Elvis and Buddy together, a bunch.

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Mom of six kids (30, 27, 25, 22, 21, 13) in a far-from-average-statistics family. Freelance SEO Content Writer on the side. If I can help you in any way, shoot me a virtual letter at writerightforyou at gmail dot com.

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