Is AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ 8501 a repeat of Northwest Airlines flight NW 705?

Northwest Orient 720B N737US (60)(Grd) JFK (BD)(46)-M

I found this interesting little article comparing the loss of AirAsia QZ8501 to the crash of Northwest Airlines flight NW705 from the 1960’s as they both tried to avoid thunderstorms.

Written by Bruce Drum:

AirAsia Indonesia (Indonesia AirAsia) (Jakarta) vanished from radar screens over the Java Sea on December 28 on a flight from Surabaya to Singapore with 162 passengers and crew members on board. Tragically there were no survivors.

Investigators have ruled out any act of terrorism. The same group has stated it was unlikely an explosion brought down the airliner. According to the preliminary reports, there were no sounds of gunfire or explosions on cockpit voice recorder. Analysis of the flight data recorder of Airbus A320-216 PK-AXC (msn 3648) operating flight QZ 8501 showed the A320 climbing at an abnormally high rate, then plunging and suddenly disappearing from radar. The A320 was climbing at a steep ascent of 6,000 feet a minute (a normal climb rate is 1,000 to 2,000 feet a minute) before it suddenly dived and crashed in the Java Sea. This is not a normal climb rate. The crew had asked air traffic control for a higher altitude due to severe thunderstorms in the area. The request was denied due to other air traffic in the area.

Read the full report from CNN: CLICK HERE

Was flight QZ 8501 trapped in the updraft of a severe thunderstorm and then it stalled and fell to the sea?

It has happened before with devastating results. Dial the clock back to February 12, 1963 over Florida’s Everglades. While the crashes of ValuJet Airlines flight 592 and Eastern Airlines flight 401 are more well known, there was a third crash in the Everglades that is very similar to the tragedy of AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ 8501. Both involved flying into severe thunderstorms.

Northwest Airlines (Northwest Orient Airlines) flight NW 705 was a regularly scheduled flight from Miami International Airport to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. After takeoff from MIA the flight crew operating Boeing 720-051B N724US (msn 18354) encountered an approaching cold front with large thunderstorms. The crew tried their best to avoid the approaching line of thunderstorms.

The accident (from Wikipedia quoting the official accident report):

Prior to departing from Miami, the flight crew questioned the ground controller at the airport about the departure routes being used, and he replied that most flights were departing “either through a southwest climb or a southeast climb and then back over the top of it.”

After the jet lifted off from runway 27L, it made a left turn based on radar vectors from Miami Departure Control, to avoid areas of anticipated turbulence associated with thunderstorm activity. Another flight had followed the same guidance shortly before the jet took off.

While maintaining 5,000 feet and a heading of 300 degrees, Flight 705 contacted controllers and requested clearance to climb to a higher altitude. After a discussion between the flight and the radar departure controller about the storm activity, and while clearance to climb was being coordinated with the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center, the flight advised “Ah-h we’re in the clear now. We can see it out ahead … looks pretty bad.”

At 13:43, Flight 705 was cleared to climb to flight level 250. They responded, “OK ahhh, we’ll make a left turn about thirty degrees here and climb…” The controller asked if 270 degrees was their selected climbout heading, and they replied that this would take them “… out in the open again…” Controllers accordingly granted the jet clearance. Following some discussion about the severity of the turbulence, which was described as moderate to heavy, the flight advised, “OK, you better run the rest of them off the other way then.”

At 13:45, control of Flight 705 was transferred to Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center. There were communication difficulties, although after the jet was provided with a different frequency to tune to, the flight crew established contact with Miami ARTCC. Several minutes after contact was established, the jet’s altitude began increasing with a rate of climb gradually increasing to approximately 9,000 feet per minute. Following this rapid ascent the rate of climb decreased through zero when the altitude peaked momentarily at just above 19,000 feet. During this time the jet’s airspeed decreased from 270 to 215 knots and as the peak altitude was approached, the vertical accelerations changed rapidly from 1G to about -2G.

In the next seven seconds the negative acceleration continued to increase at a slower rate, with several fluctuations, to a mean value of about -2.8G, the jet began diving towards the ground with increasing rapidity. As the descent continued with rapidly increasing airspeed, the acceleration trace went from the high negative peak to 1.5G, where it reversed again.

Below 10,000 feet the forward fuselage broke up due to the forces of the dive. The main failures in both wings and horizontal stabilizers were in a downward direction, and virtually symmetrical. The forward fuselage broke upward and the vertical stabilizer failed to the left. All four engines generally separated before the debris of the aircraft fell in unpopulated area of the Everglades National Park, 37 miles west-southwest of Miami International Airport.

The accident was investigated by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) which later became the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB):

Synopsis of the CAB Aircraft Accident Report:

Northwest Airlines, Inc., Boeing 720B, N724US, operating as Flight 705, crashed in an unpopulated area of the Everglades National Park, 37 miles west—southwest of Miami International Airport at approximately 1350 e. s. t., on February 12, 1963. All 35 passengers and the crew of eight were fatally injured.

Flight 705 departed Miami at 1335 e.s.t. Circuitous routing was utilized during the climbout in an effort to avoid areas of anticipated turbulence associated with thunderstorm activity. At 1347 e.s.t., in response to a request for their position and altitude, the flight advised, “We’re just out of seventeen five (17,500 feet) and stand by on the DME one.” This was the last known transmission from the flight. Shortly thereafter the aircraft entered a steep dive, during which the design limits were exceeded and the aircraft disintegrated in flight.

The Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the unfavorable interaction of severe vertical drafts and large longitudinal control displacements resulting in a longitudinal upset from which a successful recovery was not made.

The FAA later added in its Lessons Learned section this summation:

As the investigation of Northwest Flight 705 proceeded, other jet transports became involved in similar upsets. These pitch upset events were collectively referred to as “Jet Upsets.” This terminology was used because the phenomena appeared to be unique to the new generation of swept wing jet transports which began to enter service a few years earlier. The investigation of Northwest Flight 705, and associated similar pitch upset incidents, led to changes in operating procedures and design requirements for jet transports, as well as improved forecasting and dissemination of hazardous weather information to Air Traffic Control and Flight Crews. These actions proved effective in substantially reducing the occurrence of this type of pitch upset events.

Is AirAsia Indonesia flight QZ 8501 a repeat of Northwest Airlines flight NW 705?.


Edina Boys Soccer 2014

Today culminates my 2014 season with the Edina High School boys soccer team. For the past two and a half years I have spent the fall months filming and creating the end of the season highlight video for the teams banquet. Like past years I have throughly enjoyed my time with the team. I do not know the boys away from the team however if they are anything like athletes who show up every day to practice, giving it their best, I can say with out a doubt, parents smile, you have some classy young men on your hands.

Filming this years video went much smoother than last years video. As always, being an amateur filmmaker poses more than a few challenges. I use two cameras, a Canon XF100 and a Canon XF300. The XF100 I set up in the stands for the overview shot (Many thanks to the parents who volunteered to run the camera) and I use the XF300 for the on the field shots. Lighting gave me my biggest problems. Early evening games when the fall sun was low on the horizon was havoc on the camera sensors. Next year I will have to invest in two matte boxes to control the intense September light. The biggest challenge I faced was the night games. Few if any of the fields were lit well. This pushed both cameras to their limits. The XF300 I believe lived up to the challenge while the XF100 struggled due to its placement and auto settings.

This year I used Final Cut Pro X. I love this editing program, Ok I learned on FCP 6. The downer side of things is my Mac Pro is about ten years old and not up to the challenge of FCPX. I did all my editing on my Macbook Pro. Not a big problem but dam i’m getting old and a laptop screen is not the best for viewing or editing. Time to pony up some cash and upgrade to the new Mac Pro.

Overall a very enjoyable season. I am looking forward to next year and pushing my amateur video skills to the next level.

Comments are always welcome
Enjoy the Video.

MADFURTHER Not just a Car Show

It has been a few weeks since I returned home from Southern Worthersee – SOWO14 .  I was going through the video I shot while in Georgia and I quickly realized that I do not possess the skills to be both a chronicler  and a participant at the same time. Most of the video I shot was very ordinary and nothing like what I had hoped it would be. I was far more interested in being part of the moment than capturing the moment. Plus I like to drive my cars. Driving and shooting video of the events as they happen is impossible. I think I will let SOWO14 . sink in just a little more before I begin my edit.

I might be putting off the SOWO14  edit for  bit, but I am still excited for the car show scene for this summer. I was looking through some old unfinished projects, and I stumbled across an edit of last years MadFurther show. This is the show where I unveiled my rebuilt 1997 Golf GTI VR6. (Thank You Aaron Witchger ) Since the edit was almost complete when I lost interest, I thought I would put the finishing touches on the project and post it to my Vimeo page (MadFurther 2014 on Vimeo). I also called my friend Tristan Henderson who is putting on the MadFurther show and asked him if I could do a quick interview with him about the upcoming show.  Now this is my first time interviewing someone and despite a bad tendency on my part to talk over the interviewee I did manage to pull out some OK footage. I hope you enjoy the video.

Witch One Day Six SOWO 2014

Day six of Southern Worthersee  is coming to an end, however if the show before the show is anything like the past few years shenanigans will soon ensue. No better place to show off ones hard work than cursing up and down the main roads of Helen GA. The streets are lined with thousands of car enthusiast cheering on each passer by to chanting ” burn out” A good many try and a few are handed tickets from the local police. In all it is a spectacle to be seen. I would encourage everyone to make this show tops on their must see shows.

I myself took both cars on a few laps through town. It is sad to say the Golf R has become common place and in this crowed she no longer turns heads. However Witch One is altogether a different story. While she is not the best MK3 GTI down here, she certainly is in the top five; and the car does pull more than a passing glance as she rolls by on her shinny BBS’s

Tomorrow Witch One will represent all the hard work Tristan and everyone one at Further Performance. had put into her. Ever time I drive the GTI my love affair with the car deepens. I smile ear to ear listing to the VR6 engine rumble I run through the gears. The car is solid in every way and an absolute joy to drive.

Below are a few to the pictures I took as I walked through Helen.

WitchOne Day Four SoWo 2014

Day Four of our 2014 Southern Worthersee  adventure continues. Except for a few minor mechanical problems with one of the  crew’s GTI’s the trip has been both trouble and drama free. Tire Change WitchOne Deals Gap2

I finally had the chance to take Witch One the 1997 Golf GTI VR6 turbo out for a drive. Nothing but props and a huge thanks for the guys at Further Performance. for this build. The car both handles and performs way above anyones expectations. Both Tristan, Matt and my self have pushed the GTI and the limits have yet to be found.

Of course like any build there is always things to be improved on; like upgraded brakes and a good set of sway bars will be a must. The Golf R has been rock solid other than a weak clutch, (planed winter project) she has answered every question asked and performed above all expectations.

Before the Dragon

Tomorrow the little town of Helen, Georgia will fill up with thousands of VW’s, Audi’s and veracious other Euro cars and the real shenanigans will begin. My hope is everyone has loads of fun but keeps things respectful and safe because I have this show on my must attend list for the foreseeable future.

I can’t close out this blog post without once again thanking the guys at Further Performance. Tristan Henderson, Matthew Henderson, Frank Buntz, Mike Olson and Aaron Witchger for their inspiration and hard work in making a dream come true.


Witch One The Rebirth of a Golf GTI



Today we set off on the long trek to SOWO Southern Worthersee A Volkswagen Audi show in northern Georgia . While this will not be my first time attending SOWO it will be the first time my 1997 Golf GTI will make an appearance. My GTI and I go back to the beginning; 17 years ago is when I bought this little 150HP pocket rocket. Today, after a total rebuild we are hoping, reborn, the little monster can pull 400HP and maybe more. Every day I drive Witch One I smile knowing in my hands I have a special machine that has not only kept me dreaming but also launched the dreams of at least 7 other people, maybe more, who were lucky enough to race her through the streets of Minneapolis.

Shows like Overhauling, Gas Monkey, Wheeler Dealers or Top Gear at their core depicts the emotional connection we humans have with our cars. I too have this emotional connection with my GTI and Golf R for that matter, and like the people from the aforementioned shows I can tell you exactly who inspired this connection and when the connection with my GTI occurred.

WitchOne and 2Dubs

WitchOne and 2Dubs

I bought the GTI new and after several years the fun had left the car. I was a home owner with yard work and remodeling projects on the to do list. The little hot hatch became a defacto SUV, hauling everything from lawn mowers and yard mulch to soccer goals and snowblowers. Time was taking its toll on the little GTI. It was time to sell the her and buy something more practical, a real SUV.

At the time my friend Aaron Witchger would badger me to let him drive the GTI and since I had already bought the Tahoe I freely tossed him the keys. Every time he would bring the car back he would say “dude you can’t sell this car.” He would present me with ideas he had found on the internet on how to modify the GTI to improve her performance or alter her stance. Wheels, exhaust and a chip to give the VR6 engine a little more growl.  The times I would ride along as a passenger with Aaron as he was driving I would marvel at his driving skills. The guy was so tuned into that car man and machine truly became one. Aaron not only was one of the best athletes I had ever met but he was also one of the best drivers I had ever met. Riding along with Aaron as he dipped through Minneapolis traffic was the point in time where the fun of driving the GTI was replaced by the magic of driving the GTI and the future build took root my soul. It was here I decided I would never sell this little car.



Aaron and I have long gone our separate ways, however when I look back at the story of the GTI I can point to Aaron Witchger as the person who influenced me the most in not only keeping the GTI but someday building her into something special.

Fast forward now 7 plus years. The GTI build remained a dream but I was not really committed to making that dream come true. The GTI was little more than a third vehicle taking up space in my garage. About four yeas ago now is when the GTI threw a rod bearing and life for the hot hatch changed. I had her towed to Further Performance. and while she sat pathetically up on the hoist it was clear; we could rebuild her bring her back to life bigger, stronger and more powerful  than the day she left the plant in Wolfsburg Germany.

Ready for SOWO14 WitchOne

Ready for SOWO14 WitchOne

While building the car my friends would always ask me: “So you have three cars, Which one do you drive?” It was through countless conversations like this that the tag “Which One” took hold. It was also during the build that countless numbers of people, people I had never met started to tell me the stories of Aaron Witchger giving them their first ride in my GTI. They would tell me stories how they had so much fun riding or driving in my car with Aaron that they knew right there they had to buy a GTI of their own. One mutual friend told me a story of how Aaron scared the crap our of him as he dipped through Hennepin Ave traffic. The car and the drive was such a rush that with in a month he bought his very own 337 GTI.  Another person whom I had never met saw the GTI up on the hoist at Further Performance. and said “I own my GTI today because of the ride Aaron Witchger gave me in this car.”

People, it seemed, had not just one story but may stories about the time Aaron gave them a ride in my GTI. Each story was told with a sparkle in the eye and a smile on their face. The craziest thing to me was I had no idea any of these people had ever ridden in my car. I had no idea when I tossed Aaron the keys to the GTI he was making his friends smile and dream. There were so many stories that it was obvious that “Which One” had to be changed to “Witch One” a tribute to a guy who had such a positive yet unknown influence on so many.



It is funny how life can bring people together and create friendships, even if they are for a short amount of time; friendships that become frozen in one moment in time before they go their separate ways. I have not spoken to Aaron in over ten years but his influence on me and my GTI will live on until the day I die. When that day comes and I head off to the big Volkswagen club in the sky and some lawyer hands Aaron the keys to my GTI I hope rather than sending her to the crusher he brings new smiles and creates new dreams for the next generation of Volkswagen enthusiasts.