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Articles by Ben Sandilands

Malaysian conspiracy to cover up the truth of MH370

Crikey asked Plane Talker Ben Sandilands to explain the loss of MH370 in as few words as possible in a year end review

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Does Qantas have a safety problem?

Qantas had three incidents in a 24-hour period yesterday. Is the flying kangaroo lax on safety, or was it just a string of bad luck?

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Pel-Air crash investigation was a debacle from go to whoa

A Pel-Air jet crashed into the sea near Norfolk island with six people aboard. The subsequent investigation revealed rank incompetence on the part of the aviation authorities.

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Tony Abbott’s big MH370 problem: is the Malaysian government lying?

The question that has been increasingly heard as the months pass is: who or what is the Malaysia government protecting?

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Life on Mars? What Philae’s discovery really means

The comet lander Philae has discovered a great deal that was previously unknown about comets. But it hasn’t brought home news of alien life.

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Balanced precariously on the face of a comet, Philae’s work is just beginning

This morning, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander touched down on the surface of a comet. Now comes the hard part.

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Cold as ice? Comet landing comes with a long tail of fibs

Think comets are pristine, snowy wonderlands? Think again — and comet lander Philae will prove it.

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Dreams of space tourism crash and burn as Virgin Galactic breaks under pressure

Richard Branson flew too close to the sun by ignoring concerns over a dangerously unstable fuel source.

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Virgin’s $1 acquisition of Tiger changes the game

Virgin is doubling down on its low-cost carrier, just as Singapore Airlines devotes all its attention to killing Jetstar in Asia.

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‘Once every million years’: comet hurtling towards Mars at 56km per second

The roll of the cosmic dice will (probably) spare Earth from a head-on collision with a comet as it flies past Mars on October 20 this year.

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New search underway for MH370: what we know so far

The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will resume this week in the high-pressure vast darkness that is the ocean floor.

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Think your arse is 100% safe in a Dreamliner? You’re dreaming

The good news is that Dreamliners aren’t totally unsafe — at least not more so than any other jet. But they aren’t exactly a neurotic’s dream either.

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A dangerous intruder just misses Earth — but will we be so lucky next time?

Say hello to 2014RC, an object that will pass over New Zealand on Monday. It won’t hit Earth this time — but watch out, as it will come back.

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Qantas v Virgin: the kick-and-gouge, cut-throat brawl

Qantas isn’t the only airline in financial strife, as Virgin Australia releases its latest financial results.

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Shareholders or passengers? Steep losses pose tough questions for the future of Qantas

Qantas international has suffered serious financial setbacks, despite earlier assurances to the contrary. The domestic arm isn’t looking too flash either.

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In-flight mobiles will be annoying — but not dangerous

Plane Talker Ben Sandilands confesses all about the new rules allowing gate-to-gate use of small electronic devices on Qantas and Virgin flights.

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Is air travel becoming less safe?

We have witnessed three fairly big plane crashes in the last two weeks, and already nervous flyers are even more on edge. But is this an anomaly, or is air travel less safe than we think? Crikey’s aviation reporter explains.

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Crikey Clarifier: what happens now with MH17?

What is happening with MH17’s data flight recorders? What country has jurisdiction over the site? And is there a cover-up going on? Crikey’s aviation reporter takes us through the story so far …

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MH17: decency and respect needed for victims — but it may be too late

There are procedures in place to honour those who have died in and ensure a fair and proper investigation. But so far, the Russian-backed separatists have not shown much willingness to abide by them.

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MH17: why a commercial jet was flying over a war zone

The Russian separatists who shot down MH17 allegedly thought it was a military target — though it was easily distinguishable as a commercial plane.

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MH17: Malaysia Airlines’ hideous failure of duty of care cost hundreds their lives

Malaysia Airlines – and Singapore Airlines and a few other carriers — have prioritised fuel economy over passenger safety — and almost 300 people have paid with their lives.

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Think plane seats are uncomfortable now? Just you wait …

If Airbus and Boeing have their way, the merely uncomfortable and irritating act of air travel is about to become downright torturous, with stand-up or “crotch crusher” “seats” mooted for planes.

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What you need to know about the PM’s ‘clapped out’ VIP jet

The failure of the prime ministerial jet yesterday — it broke down on the tarmac — is a timely reminder that it might be time to upgrade.

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Capacity crunch: will cutting flights pull Qantas out of its spiral?

Qantas’ decision to abandon its domestic capacity goal is a landmark in the recovery of the airline. CEO Alan Joyce is trying to stem losses in an unsustainable industry war.

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The cost of finding MH370 is reasonable — and justified

It’s been six weeks since MH370 went missing, but a lack of survivors doesn’t mean the search mission is a waste of time.

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