Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries Tagged as 'aviation'

Skyjacker of the Day

March 11th, 2013 · Comments Off on Skyjacker of the Day

Let me assure you that the recent slowdown in Microkhan posting is not due to my having surrendered to indolence. I have instead been busy prepping the launch of a major project in support of The Skies Belong to Us: Skyjacker of the Day. Over the next hundred days, I’ll be profiling a hundred skyjackers […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Under Siege

November 6th, 2012 · Comments Off on Under Siege

As I spend this Election Day tracking down an amazing/disturbing/tragic tale in the sunbaked flatlands of Los Angeles, I hope y’all are considering which of our aspiring rulers are most equipped to deal with our great nation’s worsening wildlife-strike problem (PDF). If you thought geese and pelicans were the main flesh-and-blood threats to America’s aircraft, […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Sandy Be Not Proud

October 30th, 2012 · 2 Comments

Though I didn’t realize it when we moved here, the current Microkhan world headquarters occupies a relatively high-altitude slice of Queens. As a result, we suffered little meaningful damage in Hurricane Sandy—certainly nothing that a little spackle, paint, and elbow grease can’t fix. But our hearts break for fellow residents of this vast metropolis who […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

The Purpose Server

October 3rd, 2012 · Comments Off on The Purpose Server

The tri-winged Barling Bomber was one of the most notorious military boondoggles of the 1920s. The exorbitantly expensive plane, which never made it out of prototype, was knocked for being ludicrously slow despite being equipped with an unprecedented six engines. It was a prime example of what happens when designers feel obligated to respond to […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

For Those About to Crash…

September 13th, 2012 · 4 Comments

I have recently become interested in the trials and tribulations of Truman-era test pilots, the same ballsy crew whose death-defying exploits were chronicled in a book you may have read. Brave men, for sure, but their pursuit was relatively safe compared to that of aviation’s earliest pioneers. As this amazingly exhaustive necrology (PDF) makes clear, […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:

True Heroism

August 14th, 2012 · 3 Comments

Made it back from Helsinki late last night, but too dazed today to be of much use to y’all. That’s largely because I did the noble thing on the flight back home: I yielded my aisle seat to a young Dutch woman who was keen to be next to her boyfriend. My reward was a […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Write Your Name Across the Sky

January 27th, 2012 · Comments Off on Write Your Name Across the Sky

One of the book-related research tangents I’ve become ensnared in is the early history of parachuting. As you might suspect, the development of this important life-saving technology produced more than a few martyrs to the cause, as well as some heroes with complicated backstories. One of my favorite examples from the latter category is Carroll […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Devil in the Details

February 8th, 2011 · 3 Comments

I’m juggling a pair of true-crime yarns at present, and thus taking a keen interest in the contortions of an ambitious robber’s mind. What I’m starting to surmise is that even the sharpest crooks often lack a key mental skill: the ability to plan an endgame. Though their schemes may be brilliant on paper, criminals […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

The Only Way to Fly

November 24th, 2010 · 1 Comment

I’ve long refused to travel during the holidays, a stance that makes even more sense in this era of rampant junk touching. I might change my mind, however, if modern air travel bore any faint resemblance to what’s on offer in the Khrushchev-era Aeroflot commercial above. Dancing flight attendants in futuristic pink mini-skirts and white […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:···

Should You Find Yourself Plummeting

August 30th, 2010 · 5 Comments

Whenever a plane I’m on is close enough to its destination that houses and cars appear, I can’t help thinking to myself: “If I fell from here, could I survive?” There is something about having a visual sense of the ground that makes a parachute-less airplane jump seem survivable. If those motor vehicles can zip […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Desperation in Action

February 8th, 2010 · 4 Comments

One of our treasured Japanese correspondents just have us a heads up about this tragedy, involving an airplane stowaway who apparently froze to death while concealed in a Boeing 777’s landing gear. Such deaths are actually somewhat common, not to mention quite predictable—at 35,00 feet, temperatures are insanely icy, and oxygen scarce. Yet men and […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:······

Why Bookkeepers Don’t Rule the World

October 14th, 2009 · 4 Comments

In reading about the recent discovery of an undated film featuring Babe Ruth, we took notice of one of the clues that could yield the clip’s day or origin: Two college professors separately proposed using the shadows of the flag poles (seen on the field) to determine the position of the sun and, with some […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:······

“Took the Dodge Dart, a ’74”

September 28th, 2009 · Comments Off on “Took the Dodge Dart, a ’74”

If all goes precisely according to plan, this post will publish at the exact moment our flight departs Zurich for Nairobi. But we scheduled some goodies to keep you tantalized in our absence. And we’ll also try to post an update or two from the road, assuming something noteworthy happens as we journey west from […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Unwinged Pegasus

September 22nd, 2009 · Comments Off on Unwinged Pegasus

Via the invariably spectacular Ptak Science Books blog, a quick peek back at the brief heyday of airborne horses: “Sep 1850 English Aeronaut Gale on horseback suffocated Bordeaux”. Is this the first man-on-horseback-in-flight death? And death by suffocation? (?) I’m not so sure that the ascent records for 1850 would’ve made allowance for running out […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

“What More Do I Need?”

August 20th, 2009 · 10 Comments

The first big magazine feature we ever wrote was about near-death experiences (NDEs). We have vivid memories of taking a prop plane from Washington D.C. to Charlottesville, Virginia, in order to interview a pair of psychologists who specialize in studying the effects of NDEs. What struck us most about their research was how the whole […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:······

Where the Smoke Jumpers Are

August 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments

In the midst of trying to learn everything there is to know about the Air Tractor 802 “Fire Boss” model, we stumbled across one of the coolest data aggregators we’ve seen in eons: Pitney Bowes’ Fire Locator, which provides (almost) real-time updates on the nation’s raging wildfires. When you take it for a spin, we […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

St. Cloud Bound

August 11th, 2009 · Comments Off on St. Cloud Bound

By the time these words go live, we’ll be en route to beautiful St. Cloud, Minnesota for a whirlwind work trip. Odds are we won’t have a chance to blog while on the road, so no fresh posts for the next couple dozen hours or so. Take a break, enjoy some vintage Nas, and we’ll […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

Oken Goes to Oshkosh

July 30th, 2009 · Comments Off on Oken Goes to Oshkosh

Apologies, but gonna be a slightly late start today. We’re in the process of helping our great pal from Arunachal Pradesh catch a plan from LaGuardia to Minneapolis, en route to the big Oshkosh air show. So chew on the above Mood Swingaz track for the next hour or so, and we’ll be back at […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:········

Airplanes Out to Pasture

July 14th, 2009 · 11 Comments

Depression v2.0 may be rough all around, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t more than a few economic winners amidst the widespread misery. You already knew about foreclosure specialists and pawn shops; now cast your jealous gaze toward the folks who operate commercial airplane graveyards, where flailing carriers are stashing the aging jets they can […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:····

Rescue Ops in the UTTR

June 23rd, 2009 · 5 Comments

The Air Force is currently combing the Utah Test & Training Range in search of a pilot whose F-16 crashed late last night. Even if the pilot managed to safely eject from the doomed aircraft, though, he could be tough to locate. As we previously noted, the UTTR is bigger than some states: If you […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

Hop the Next Shark to the Bahamas

May 22nd, 2009 · 6 Comments

The holiday weekend’s just hours away, and we’re mighty spent from a long week of writing and tending to Microkhan Jr. So we’re gonna outsource this week’s Bad Movie Friday to the late Richard Jeni. His target? The egregiously awful Jaws: The Revenge (aka Jaws IV). As Jeni rightfully points out in his routine, there […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·····

Old Believers in Alaska

March 6th, 2009 · Comments Off on Old Believers in Alaska

About a year ago, I started following the tragic case of an Alaskan charter flight that crashed near Kodiak, killing six. What caught my attention was the fact that the starcrossed passengers were said to be members of an “Old Believer” community near the remote hamlet of Homer. The victims were flying back home to […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:··

Bhutan’s Only Airport

February 20th, 2009 · Comments Off on Bhutan’s Only Airport

I’ve been fascinated by Bhutan ever since reading this 1999 New York Times piece, in which Peter de Jonge bears witness to the nation’s first day of television. The article includes one of the most immortal lines in all of magazine-dom: History strongly suggests that few people will choose to spend eight hours a day […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·

Air Koryo

February 10th, 2009 · Comments Off on Air Koryo

No self-respecting country can do without an airline, and North Korea is no exception. The Hermit Kingdom’s lone commercial carrier is Air Koryo, founded in 1954 (as the less melliflously dubbed Choson Minhang CAAK). Alas, the airline’s destinations appear to be fairly limited; you can charter flights to Bangkok, Macao, or Sofia, but the normal […]

Share

[Read more →]

Tags:·