Thursday, February 3, 2011


Space Shuttle Challenger, STS-51

January 28, 1986


  1. That's right, just cheer us all up!

  2. At the time I posted this, I had no further motive than to note the anniversaries of these two unfortunate incidents. The comments received, although not published, have been rather lacking in enthusiasm.

    Which is a shame. Between them, over three dozen people died in these two accidents. Both of which are attributed to combinations of system failures and human error. As a species, we tend to learn from Experience, but she can be a harsh instructor.

    There were big changes in the aftermath of each of these calamities. At NASA, the loss of the Challenger was the beginning of the end of the shuttle program; the subsequent loss of the Columbia hastened the process. At the FAA, the USAir-SkyWest crash brought about significant changes in the way controllers can use runways, and intersections in particular. As a direct result of this crash, many control towers can not put an aircraft in position to await takeoff clearance, and none can do so at an intersection at night.

    There are still some controllers at LAX who personally witnessed the USAir-SkyWest crash, and none of them would ever care to relive those moments again. It was discussion started by one of them that was a reminder to the rest of us, and the impetus for this post.

  3. I remember exactly where I was when Challenger exploded and also Columbia which was a Saturday morning..both so horrifying!!!!!! and any plane crash, yes lessons learned and lives lost!!! I also remember where I was when when the Pan American jet crash after take off, July, 1982..New Orleans..I was on the night shift.. human error is inevitable...whether its a car crash, bus, or any accident, especially where people lives are literally in another's hands. Even our own many times do we take our lives in our own hands, but we live through it...even just crossing the street's the scale of these accidents, makes them harder to digest, I's a wonder we don't run into each other more often...literally!!! Interesting your mention of ATC changes from the US Air and SkyWest crash...I am glad you talked about it, Tidbits learned with each of your post!!! It's very much appreciated!!!!