Is 2014 the year of the plane crashes?

What’s going on?

I can’t answer that question. I’m not part of the Air Crash Investigation team. But I can tell you that this will not be an article detailing what happened to the MH370, MH17, GE222 or AH5017 flights. There are enough articles, ongoing stories, speculations and conspiracy theories about those four incidents all over the internet which you can easily find should you be interested. With this article I will attempt to shed some light on why 2014 seems to be such a bad year when it comes to commercial airline incidents.

This article handles commercial airline incidents. In 2013 a total of 138 plane crashes happened, but just 12 of those were commercial flights.

So, is 2014 the year of the plane crashes?

It certainly seems to feel that way. First Malaysian Airlines MH370 disappears, then Malaysian Airlines MH17 gets shot down, shortly after TransAsia flight GE222 crashed due to bad weather and the very next day AH5017 crashes, also believed due to bad weather though this is still being investigated.

However, the short answer to the question is: no. Continue reading

Russia moves to permanent winter time

We all think of cold and winter when we think of Russia anyway, right? So why not just have winter time all year round?

Spasskaya Tower clock tower at the Kremlin

Actually, the entire country has been on summer time since 2011. Back then, former President Dmitry Medvedev decided to stick to summer time to reduce the number of time zones in Russia. By eliminating winter time the number of zones went from 11 to 9. Eleven time zones is a lot for one country. But then again Russia isn’t just any slab of land, it’s the world’s largest country that stretches across 10,000 km (6,200 miles) with northernmost reaches which see less than an hour of sunlight a day during the winter months.

But the move to constant summer time proved to be an unpopular one. According to law makers, Medvedev’s permanent summer time policy caused stress and health issues for many Russians, especially those who lived in northern Russia. Medical studies showed an increase in morning road accidents in 2012 compared to previous years.

So a bill was introduced to revert the changes and move to permanent winter time. The votes were cast and the bill was approved. The actual change will happen in October. On the 26th to be precise, that’s when most European countries will end Daylight Saving Time. The country will move the clock back for 1 hour and go back to 11 time zones.

By doing this Moscow time will go from UTC+4 to UTC+3, moving it 1 hour closer to many western European countries. And that’s good for business.

For travellers this means that they should keep one eye at the clock on October the 26th 2014. If you have a bus, train, airline, or any other kind of ticket you best mind the time. Better be an hour early than an hour late, as the clocks will be moved back, not forward!

Have a nice trip, don’t be late!