Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Survivors Speak at a Eastern Airlines Gathering in Fort Lauderdale

Shown from left to right: Patirica McGigg (Flight 401 Surviving Flight Attendant), Mercedes V. Ruiz (Flight 401 Surviving Flight Attendant), Beverly Raposa (Flight 401 Surviving Flight Attendant) and Ronald Infantino (Flight 401 Surviving Passenger)
Surviving Flight 401 Passenger Ron Infantino speaks to the Eastern Flight Attendant Reunion group about the efforts of the Tribute group and his experience as a survivor on that night 29th Deceber 1972
Surviving Flight 401 Flight Attendant Beverly Raposa shares her experience with the audience concerning those first dark, cold and wet post crash hours of Flight 401 until rescue arrived
Sharing her experience Surviving Flight 401 Flight Attendant Mercedes V. Ruiz speaks about the effort of the Tribute to remember those who perished and those who survived

Fort Laudersdale, Florida 11th April 2009: Casting off from Port Everglade in Fort Lauderdale, Florida onboard the Dinner Ship the "Musette" members of the Eastern Airline Flight 401 Tribute Group were onboard as special quest speakers in attending the Eastern Airline Flight Attendant Reunion luncheon. Gathered were a host of former Eastern Airlines Flight Attendants, their families, friends and follow Eastern Airline colleagues.
The 401 Tribute took advantage of their "captive audience" while at sea to speak about their goals and accomplishment of the group, as they press forth to establish both an awareness of the crash and a proper tribute site, hopefully on the grounds within Miami International Airport.
The Group was welcomed and their experience were shared with all onboard. This marks the Group first public appearance as they look forward toward their second event which is scheduled for July 23rd to 25th 2009 at the "Airliners International" event in Orlando, Florida Wyndham Orlando Resort Hotel were they will hold a lecture to the airline enthusiast audience.

The Eastern Airline Flight Stewardess Creed by Alice Farley

Click image to enlarge for proper viewing

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Digital Aircraft Factory a Subsidiary of the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consulting Group Creates an L-1011

N310EA shown in green primer prior to paint
Side view of N310EA showing its fluid structural fuselage lines

Purely created from digital pixels and polygons
Miami, Florida 10th April 2009: In their never ending support toward the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, the Digital Aircraft Factory a subsidiary of the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consulting Group of Miami, under the creative leadership of its Chief Aviation Artist, Ms. Catherine Smallwood is currently working toward rendering a full digital model of Eastern Airlines, L-1011 aircraft, N310EA.
Currently, the digital rendering of N310EA shown above is pending the application of its Eastern Airlines 1970's era fleet paint scheme.
Once completed, the digital rendering of N310EA being fully created from pixels and polygons and NOT a photo-shop creation, will be able to be fully animated for the sake of the creation of a digital video. All flight controls, landing gears and all actual movable details and surfaces of the aircraft could be fully manipulated and utilizing the NTSB report, DFDR written data inputs, and other post crash data harvested from the Eastern Airlines archives, the Digital Aircraft Factory shall create what could very well be the most up to date and accurate portrayal of the crash with the creation of a full motion digital video.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group U.K. Chapter Meets with The RAF 216th L-1011 Squadron at Brize Norton

RAF 216th Squadron L-1011 ship nuber ZD951 on the ramp at RAF Brize Norton with Nick Bavington with Flight Leader Gaz Stevens standing below
Eastern Airlines Flight Tribute, U.K. Group Chapter Representative, Mr. Nick Bavington stands in front of RAF 216th Squadron hangar located on the grounds of RAF Base Brize Norton

The men and women of the RAF 216th Squadron were most generous in providing the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group with a full access tour of their facility and aircraft. Seen above left to right is Nick Bavington and 216th memeber Flight Leader Gaz Stevens

Nick Bavington sits left seat within the cockpit of 216th L-1011 (ZD951) proudly representing the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group

RAF Base Brize Norton, U.K. 9th April 2009: Today, the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group was truly an international operation thus achieving a milestone, as the group undertook two scheduled supporting meetings in two different parts of the World! The main group met in Miami with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, whistle across the "Pond" the Atlantic Ocean at a Royal Air Force base known as Brize Norton, the group United Kingdom Official Representative, Mr. Nick Bavington was hosted by the RAF 216th Squadron one of the last operator's of the venerable Lockheed L-1011 TriStar.
On behave of the Eastern Flight 401 Group, Nick Bavington shown above, liaised with elements of the RAF 216th and was able to have secured and audience with the Officers, Men and Women of the Squadron.
Originally planned and orchestrated by Honorary Tribute Committee member Benny F. Benitez, Nick's visit was established as a "Diplomatic Mission" on behave of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group. In the end Nick's endless supply of energy, wiliness and shear enthusiasm made it all come together.
As one of the last operators of the Lockheed L-1011, the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group wish to recognize the 216th, as the common bond between the two organizations is the aircraft. In a telephone debrief session with the group, Nick advised that RAF 216th L-1011 ship number ZD951 (shown above) has within its recorded historical maintenance life (i.e. Technical Records) being the recipient of various parts salvaged and harvested from Eastern Flight 401, N310EA!
Thirty-Seven (37) years later after the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401, the crews of the 216th operate and fully embrace Cockpit Resource Management (CRM) which came forth as result from the post crash investigation and conclusion of Eastern Flight 401. The Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group sends a special thank you to RAF Wing Commander / Officer in Charge Steve J. Chadwick and all of his Squadron Mates within the 216th for their time and effort to have hosted the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group, as well as a special thanks to Flight Leader Gaz Stevens for the escorted tour.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group Meets with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Fire Chief Lorenzo

Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group member / Survivor Ron Infantino displays to Chief Herminio Lorenzo and Division Chief Patricia Frosch news articles from the December 29th 1972 crash
Honorary Eastern Flight 401 Tribute Group member Catherine Smallwood briefs Chief Lorenzo and Division Chief Frosch on the crash site and the overall tribute project ideas being planned and created
Ron Infantino explains to Chief Lorenzo and Division Chief Frosch the seating positions within the passenger cabin area were himself and the surviving flight attendants were located just before impact
Miami-Dade Rescue Fire Chief Herminio Lorenzo, Beverly Rasposa (EAL Flt 401 Flight Attendant), Ron Infantino (EAL Flt 401 Passenger) and Division Chief Patricia Frosch pictured at Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Headquarters in Doral
Doral, Florida 9th April 2009: The Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group Committee, consisting of Ron Infantino (Surviving Passenger), Beverly Raposa (Surviving Flight Attendant) and Honorary Committee members Benny F. Benitez and Catherine Smallwood had the pleasure of meeting Miami-Dade Rescue Fire Chief Herminio Lorenzo and his colleague, Division Chief / Employee & Community Affairs Division, Patricia A. Frosch at their Headquarters located within the Doral area of Miami.
The purpose of the meeting was to formally establish a link between the Tribute Group and the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department. The Tribute Group wishes to render the proper reorganization and appreciation toward the Department for the roll in which they played during the post crash rescue of the survivors. On that night Friday December 29th 1972, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department was instrumental in the saving of lives soon after the crash site was located.
Dealing with an isolated crash site within the Everglades, miles away from the City with no established illumination and operating in the shear confusion that often follows a disaster, the established training and professionalism of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department prevailed as they were able to quickly commence the task of rescuing the survivors.
Thirty-seven (37) years later the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department has learned from the experience of Eastern 401, the Arrow Air DC-8 crash in the early 90's and Value Jet and today they stand poised, ready, experienced and confident to act at a monuments notice to perform what 37 years might have appeared to have been a nightmare within the darkness of the Everglades.
Today, both the citizen of Miami-Dade County and the endless stream of the flying public which transverse the approach and departure paths of Miami International Airport could be assured that an experienced, well equipped, highly trained group of rescue professional under the guidance and leadership of Fire Chief Herminio Lorenzo stand a vigil ready to perform their duties, the job of saving lives. We at that the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group salute Fire Chief Lorenzo and his troops!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Group Visits Miami Palmetto General Hospital And Views The Hospital Flt 401 Historical Photo Collection

The 1st floor hall area at Miami Palmetto General Hospital displays a vintage collection of Flt 401 crash photographs as seen behind tribute members who from left to right are: Jan (Minguzzi) Coviello, Benny F. Benitez, Ron Infantino, Mercedes V. Ruiz, Beverly Raposa and Catherine Smallwood
Surviving Flt 401 Flight Attendants Beverly Raposa and Mercedes Ruiz explain to Benny Benitez the details of the crash site from the vintage black & white photograph displayed at Palmetto General Hospital

Accompanying the series of vintage black and white crash photographs from Eastern Flight 401 displayed at Palmetto General Hospital is a write up titled "Crash" commemorating the hospital involvement which was instrumental in the saving and caring of many lives on that fateful night 29th December 1972
(Courtesy of Palmetto General Hospital)

Among the collection of photographs displayed at Palmetto General Hospital commemorating the importance in which the hospital played that night is a never before seen photograph of a male survivor, sitting on a stool, draped in a blanket, being illuminated by a field Lateran holding what appears to be a cup of coffee while surrounded by rescuers. Note the Aircrew flight helmet poised on the truck of a car. This one photograph conveyed a strong and captivating sense of "I survived"

Hialeah, Florida 4th April 2009: Palmetto General Hospital was the vision of 26 physicians practicing in Hialeah who recognized the opportunity for a quality medical facility to meet the increasing health care needs of the growing population. Charged with the responsibility of turning that vision into reality, a nine-member steering committee set the course for what would become one of the area's leading hospitals.
Palmetto General Hospital opened its doors on January 17, 1971 with 50 beds, 70 doctors and 100 employees. Twenty-three months after opening its doors on December 29th 1972, Palmetto General Hospital found itself tending to the survivors of worlds largest aviation disaster to date concerning the crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 401.

Eastern Airlines Flight 401 and the care of its survivors is an established part of the Palmetto General Hospital operational history, so much so that publicly displayed on the first floor hall way walls, after passing the reception area there is a series of never before seen large black and white, framed photographs of the crash site taken both during the rescue operation and what appears to be the morning after during the ongoing operation.

Today, the surviving members of the Eastern Airlines Flight 401 Tribute Committee paid a visit to Palmetto General Hospital to view what is also part of their history.
Today, the comprehensive health care facility, which serves more than 319,000 patients annually, has 360 beds, approximately 800 affiliated physicians and more than 1,500 employees standing ready to be called into action should another aviation disaster ever occur in South Florida.
Also today at the offices of surviving passenger Mr. Ron Infantino, both Catherine Smallwood and Benny F. Benitez were presented with the titles of "Honorary Committee Members" in appreciation for their time and dedication toward assisting the group and being a welcome driving force.