AOB – March 2019

31 March 2019

It has been an interesting last few days

I quit my as yet unpaid job as acting CFO with a company in Chiang Mai. It is not appropriate to get into the details.

When asked I have only ever said for personal reasons.

Though one of the more astute of our advisors simply looked at me and said – inter-personal reasons.

Actually it is a shame on a number of levels. There are some really interesting people there either working in or connected to the company.

It is a start – up that may go far.

I was about to start being paid – and the extra cash would have been nice to have.

The job kept me busy and challenged. And there are few such jobs in Chiang Mai.

But what had started as 2 or 3 days a week had quickly become full time and more.

The trouble is at my age the work is good; the challenge is good; I just dont need any nonsense that comes with it.

So we move on. Disappointed.

21 March 2019

Two crashes of the Boeing 737Max jets have now led to the worldwide grounding of the airplane and to investigations into the certification process and into Boeing and the FAA’s response to the original crash at Lion Air.

There were 300 737Max in service and some 5,000 on order. The impact on Boeing will be long term and significant.

LionAir 601 crashed on take off from Jakarta in October last year. Last week Ethiopian 302 crashed on take off from Addis Ababa.

While this was not a 737Max incident 19th March was the third anniversary of the crash of FlyDubai FZ981 at Rostov on Don.

FZ981, operated with a Boeing 737-800 aircraft, had originated from Dubai International Airport, in the United Arab Emirates. The weather at Rostov was poor at the time. Flight 981 aborted its first landing attempt and went into a holding pattern for nearly two hours before making a second landing attempt. After aborting the second attempt, the aircraft climbed sharply then descended rapidly and crashed onto the runway. No final report has yet been issued.

Here is a thoughtful post from pprune after the Ethiopian crash:

What is described is actually classic ‘Automation Surprise’ (What’s it doing now?) that is followed by attentional (cognitive) tunneling as the human’s mind grasps at straws to try to understand what is going on.
The suggestion that the machine tells the pilot what is happening is good- except that if there is not sufficient thought a small subsystem like AoA used by a LOT of systems can result in alert messages scrolling on displays all sorts of sounds and alerts and haptics like stick shakers and pushers — all for just an AoA disagree. I think that there is a major human factors failure in modern aircraft where not sufficient thought has been given to the multiplicity of warnings that can come from a small event – and the warnings themselves create problems rather than assistance. There needs to be something like an Failure Modes Effects Analysis that flags up that at this point there are multiple separate warnings being displayed in various ways that will consume the entire cognitive resource of the pilot and not allow his primary AVIATE task any resource. This effect is often seen where something VERY obvious is disregarded as the pilot’s cognitive resources are completely saturated.
Another aspect of the automation surprise is that the workload can literally explode from routine to overload in a second. This takes a lot of training to cope with and an MPL with less than 100 hours live flying is not going to be of any use in one of these incidents and indeed may panic and make extra work for the experienced pilot – effectively the aircraft is being flown by one pilot,

There will be a raft of lessons to be learned from these incidents. Let’s hope that the beancounters learn them too.”

Makes a lot of sense.

20 March 2019

Apparently today is the International Day of Happiness, as proclaimed by the UN in 2012.

Tell that to the victims of Cyclone Idai, Ethiopian 302, the Christchurch killings.

Even anyone about to endure two more years of Brexit.

How about we are happy when we can be rather than when we are told to be.

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I am sorry that I have been ignoring this page. Work seems to have taken over. i get home and I am too tired to type anything.

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But I will try a quick recap of the month:

A dinner on 3 March for eleven of the folks from and connected to Nordic Lights. We took over the roof – and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Some of these people are just so smart – nice to see everyone relax and be very casual.

We did another dinner on Friday 15th – but had to stay inside as the quality was so bad at the end of last week.

Tai was back from BKK for the weekend and cooked for eight people – chicken from her Cordon Bleu recipe book. Very successful. Had not seen James and Su for a while so it was good to catch up.