This information is published as a public service in the interest of airline safety

Report To The National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB)



xxx This internet "Landing Page" is a brief synopsis of a 14 page, and, much more detailed, Safety Report I have submitted to the National Transportation & Safety Board, (NTSB) in which I express my opinions of the dangerous switch from
4-engine to 2-engine airliners on extended over-ocean passenger flights.
xxx For those interested in reviewing the critical, and much more detailed, safety information contained in the actual NTSB Report - click here - (14 page report to NTSB)


xxx My name is Al Rioni.

xxx I am a retired ATP (airline/corporate-jet) pilot with 50+ years experience.

xxx I am also the author of aviation books available thru Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

xxx For over 1 year, I have been on, what has become, a "Mission" to eliminate, what any sane and knowledgeable aviation executive, government official, and, any competent and conscientious pilot, is fully aware of, is a critical airline safety issue which endangers the lives of many unsuspecting passengers.

xxx This critical airline safety issue concerns the relatively recent irresponsible and dangerous airline cost-cutting policy switch from the previous FAA requirement that airliners, crossing vast expanses of open ocean, be required to have at least 3 or 4 engines, which provide the necessary multiple engine and system redundancy needed for maximum safety on these long over-water flights, to the new money-saving policy which now allows the airlines to use airliners having only 2-engines on these long over-ocean flights.

xxx Considering the many recent airliner engine-failures, and, "Close-call" airliner ocean ditchings, which have occurred on 2-engine airliners, and, because of their very uncertain single-engine flight capabilities after the failure of 1 engine (Explained, in detail, in the attached NTSB Report), it is obvious that this recent money-saving airline policy switch to using airliners having only 2 engines, and, which can carry 300 - 400 passengers, does not provide the adequate safety margins previously required by federal regulations for these extended over-water routes.

xxx Because there have been previous airliner ocean-ditchings on Hawaiian flights, this dangerous 2-engine airliner over-ocean policy is particularly apparent on these very long 2500 mile over-ocean flights to the Hawaiian Islands, which, being located near the middle of the enormous Pacific Ocean, are the most remotely located and isolated land masses on Earth.

xxx These extended over-ocean flights, take these 2-engine passenger-filled airliners, isolated and all alone, across the vastness of the oceans, and many hundreds of miles, and many hours away, from the nearest land.

xxx Additional engines, as were required in the past, would substantially increase the chances of a disabled airliner making it safely, across many miles of open ocean, to a safe landing at the closest land, after engine failure(s).

xxx This recent policy change, from 4 to 2-engine airliners, on extended over-water flights, was prohibited by more knowledgable and responsible former government regulators of the past.

xxx See: Below - - -

---- From Wikipedia

xxxxx - "Dick Taylor, then Boeing's director of engineering, approached FAA director J. Lynn Helms in 1980 about the possibility of an exemption to the 3 or 4 engine FAA over-ocean flight requirement.
** Mr. Helm's famous response was "It'll be a cold day in Hell before I let twins fly long haul, overwater routes".

**Therefore, according to Mr. Helms, who was also a very experienced pilot, the opinions expressed in these reports (See: - Linked documents below) are not conspiracy theories, but, were shared by the highest level FAA officials of the past, who may have been more responsible, more safety minded, and, less concerned with accomodating powerful business interests.

--- Important Note - - -The safety concerns expressed in this document are timeless, as the world's oceans are just as vast, cold, and deep, today, as they were during the FAA Administration of Mr. Helms, and, engine failures continue to occur on a regular basis today, just as they did in the past.

***Soon after Mr. Helms retired, and, contrary to Mr. Helm's safety policies, the powerful airline lobby was successful at "Persuading" the FAA to allow this dangerous/cost-saving policy of using airliners having only 2 engines on these extended over-ocean flights.


***NOTE: Averaged over the last eight months, American Airlines has had planes experience three engine failures per month - far more than any other domestic airline.
***During that eight-month period, FAA records showed American had 23 failures, Delta had 17, United 15, US Airways 10, Continental 10,
Southwest 7, and Northwest 7.
***Fortunately, these large passenger-filled airliners were not mid-ocean, and were not many hours, and many hundreds of miles from land, when these engine failures occurred. .


xxx Apparently, and, unfortunately, and, as an accomodation to the airlines, and, in spite of the many recent airliner engine failures, this dangerous 2-engine airliner over-water safety issue is still being intentionally ignored by the current batch of "Eager to please the powerful" federal regulators, and, by "Eager-to-save-money-on-fuel" airline executives, who, in order to increase profits, and, please their stockholders, appear to be willing to compromise passenger safety in order to reduce their operating expenses.

xxx The obvious danger of these 2-engine over-ocean flights, is, I believe, also being hidden from the flying public by a compliant and corrupt media. ( See: Page 11 - Attached NTSB Report)

xxx Please consider - - - Should an engine failure occur, near the mid-point of these long 2500 mile over-ocean flights to Hawaii, and, other places, and, forced to descend to a much lower altitude, and, slow to less than half of their normal cruising speed, (Caused by the failure of 1 of its 2 engines), it would take an airliner, carrying 300 - 400 passengers, at least 5 to 6, or more, long hours of flight, through unknown and possible severe weather conditions, such as, thunderstorms (and their frequently occurring engine-damaging hail), turbulence, icing conditions, and other weather conditions common at these lower altitudes, (possibly in the darkness of night), for this disabled airliner, operating with only 1 engine, to reach the nearest land.

xxx An obviously terrifying experience for passengers and crews, alike.

xxx As stated above, and, considering the many recent airliner engine failures, I submit that this cost-cutting 2-engine airliner over-ocean policy is an unacceptable and very serious life-threatening risk perpetrated on unknowing and trusting airline passengers.

xxx In order to draw the attention of the National Transportation & Safety Board (NTSB), and, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to this serious airline safety issue, and, after the recent catastrophic engine failures on 2 separate United Airlines 2-engine Boeing 777's, enroute to Hawaii, and, after the many other recently reported airliner engine failures, I submitted, in March of 2021, the following 14 page report to the NTSB. (14 page Report to NTSB).

xxx A few weeks later, I received a letter from the NTSB, acknowledging the receipt of this Report, which stated that this information would be forwarded to the FAA for possible Rule Change.

xxx That was my last contact with either the NTSB, nor, the FAA, concerning this serious airline safety issue.

xxx That is the reason for this airline safety "Blog".

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx UPDATE

xxx I have recently received a letter/e-mail, dated November 30-2022, signed by the Chief Executive Secretary of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Ms. Shavonne L. Austin, stating, in effect, that the Chairperson of the NTSB, Ms. Jennifer Homendy, (Believe it or not) does not feel it is the responsibility of the NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD to investigate this well documented, throughly researched, and indisputable airline safety issue, (see: attached 14 page report to the NTSB) which is endangering the lives of the innocent and trusting flying public, including children and infants, in which the Chairperson of the NTSB, in an obvious act of "Dereliction of duty", "Passes the buck" by requesting that I submit my concerns to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

xxx This introductory page only briefly describes the airline safety issues involved in these 2-engine extended over-ocean flights.

xxx For much more detailed information concerning this critical airline safety issue – click the links below.

14 page report to NTSB
ETOPS -- (2-engine over-water rules)
Letters to airline executives