The FAA NextGen

What is NextGen? A new era of flight.

NextGen is the transformation of how airplanes traverse the sky.  The thousands of planes overhead right now are flying indirect routes over radar towers. For close to six decades we have used this World War II era technology to transit the skies. NextGen is an upgrade to satellite-based technology.

Satellite navigation will let pilots know the precise locations of other airplanes around them. That allows more planes in the sky while enhancing the safety of travel. Satellite landing procedures will let pilots arrive at airports more predictably and more efficiently. And once on the ground, satellite monitoring of airplanes leads to getting you to the gate faster.

But most importantly, NextGen enhances the safety of what is already the safest airspace in the world. And it ensures our stellar safety history will continue in the same tradition.

Climb, Climb!

Yesterday, meanwhile we were on approach to Don Mueang Intl. airport in Thailand we have to act in response to a RA – Resolution Advisory – from our TCAS – Traffic Collision Avoidance System. It was a sunny morning with good visibility and that allowed us to make visual contact with the other aircraft well in advance. The ATC controller told us to maintain an altitude of 11000 ft because another aircraft – an Airbus 340 – will cross our flight path from right to left at lower altitude. For some reason the other aircraft continued climbing and crossed our flight path at 2 NM.  We received the RA to “Climb, Climb” to avoid the collision.

We have read a lot about TCAS and seen very sad histories like the one between a Tupolev 154 and a Boeing 757 over Germany on 2002, but important is to react in a timely manner to any RA from our TCAS disregarding any previous instruction from ATC. Once the conflict has been resolved, return as soon as possible to our previous assigned altitude notifying ATC of our deviation. Remember, never argue with a traffic controller on the frequency, is not professional and you are not alone in the air, many other aircraft are sharing a common frequency. Once you have landed, there are forms at ATC offices especially designed to report this situations.
If you wish to read more about TCAS, I recommend these sources:

By Ivan Paredes

NTSB Prelim On South Bend Premier Crash

The preliminary report of the NTSB into the crash of a Beech Premier bizjet into three houses in South Bend, Ind., last month raises at least as many questions as it answers. According to the report (PDF), witnesses told investigators they saw the airplane “bounce several times on the runway before it ultimately entered a climbing right turn” after apparently landing with only the nose gear extended. The unusual climb-out also occurred minutes after the crew told ATC, “We’ve lost all power, and we have no hydraulics.”

The airplane went radio silent a few minutes before reaching the airport but the crew could apparently read incoming transmissions and had regained power, because they complied with an ATC recommendation to go around when controllers saw the main gear was not deployed. The aircraft climbed and entered the pattern for Runway 9R. It was on the second landing attempt that the witnesses reported the aircraft, minus the main gear, bouncing along the runway before getting airborne again. It crashed into a residential area soon after. The two pilots, Wesley Caves, 58, of Tulsa, Okla., and his friend Steve Davis, 60, were killed. Two passengers and one person on the ground were injured but are expected to survive.

By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief


Women Of Aviation Week Flies 5,000 Girls

St. Andrews Airport in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada is the World’s Most Female Pilot-Friendly Airport after the results from Women of Aviation Worldwide Week in early March were tabulated. More than 150 volunteers, including dozens of pilots, gave introductory flights to 680 girls and women on March 9. Second place went to Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, which did 634 flights and Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario was third at 517. The top U.S. effort was in Frederick, Md., which managed 342 flights. “Engaged individuals at all levels is what has made the Women Of Aviation Worldwide Week initiative the largest female outreach aviation program ever created,” said Mireille Goyer, founder of the initiative and president of the Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide.

There were 74 events on four continents and many of them included offering introductory rides. In total, 333 pilots flying 109 different aircraft types flew 5,316 girls and put 1,500 hours on their planes. This year’s theme celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first space flight by a woman, Valentina Tereshkova. Next year marks the 100th anniversary of the first aerobatic maneuver by a female pilot and will be a tribute to female aerobatic pilots.

By Russ Niles, Editor-in-Chief



Boeing Completes 787 Battery Certification Tests

Boeing today completed the final certification test for the modified 787 battery system during a demonstration flight for the FAA, using LN86, a production aircraft destined for LOT Polish Airlines.

Credit: Boeing

Credit: Boeing

The aircraft builder reveals that it also completed the crucial ground test of a deliberately failed battery on ZA005 earlier this week. Assuming Boeing gets good results from today’s flight test, which was to demonstrate that the new system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions, all data will be submitted to the FAA and Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) for approval.

Today’s flight of LN86, also known as ZA272, included FAA observers and began from Paine Field, Everett, Wash., at 10:39 am. For the test flight, the aircraft operated over the Washington and Oregon coasts and climbed to a maximum altitude of 43,000 ft. before returning to Everett.

Following regulatory approval of the updated battery installation, likely within the next two weeks, Boeing will issue a service bulletin to 787 operators detailing the modification package. Following approval of the service bulletin, which indicates that the modification complies with the terms stipulated by regulatory agencies for a return to flight, the FAA and JCAB will revise their respective airworthiness directives (AD). The FAA AD and the associated JCAB Technical Circular Directive prompted the grounding of the fleet in mid-January, following two battery failures on All Nippon Airways- and Japan Airlines-operated 787s earlier that month.

Boeing, working with airline teams in Japan, Qatar, Chile and the U.S., will then install the modified battery system in the aircraft. First to receive the installation will be an ANA aircraft in Japan, where a team of Boeing engineers has already begun preparatory work in anticipation of FAA/JCAB approval. Each modification is expected to take about five days to perform and, pending completion of the modification and pilot refresher training, airlines are now anticipating a return to 787 services in June.

By Guy Norris
Source: AWIN First

ANA to train pilots for resumption of 787 operations

All Nippon Airways (ANA) is planning to put its Boeing 787 pilots through simulator training in April, to prepare them for the resumption of 787 operations.

“We’re preparing for after Boeing’s service bulletin is approved. Once it’s approved by the US FAA [Federal Aviation Administration], it means the Boeing modification plan is also approved,” says an ANA spokesman.

The operator, which has 17 787-8s in its fleet, would only say it expects the resumption of simulator training to happen sometime in April.

ANA has about 200 787 pilots and two 787 simulators. The training is necessary to prepare the pilots to fly the jets again.

ANA also recently said that it will start selling tickets for domestic routes operated using 787s from 1 June. Tickets, however, will not be offered for key trans-Pacific routes such as Tokyo Narita to Seattle and San Jose.

The carrier has given no indication as to when it feels the 787 grounding could be lifted.

Boeing is meanwhile working to certify a new battery containment system for the 787 that aims to reduce the risk of the batteries overheating, and to eliminate the risk of the batteries starting a fire. The US FAA’s certification is necessary to allow the aircraft type to return to flight.

Besides the 17 -8s in its fleet, ANA also has orders for 19 more of the type, and for 30 787-9s.

  Mavis Toh Singapore


Boeing dispatches 787 battery fix teams to Japan

Boeing has dispatched maintenance teams to Japan, where they are standing by to retrofit a new battery containment system on the grounded 787 aircraft of All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL).

When the new containment system is certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration and the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, the teams can commence retrofitting the aircraft, says a Boeing spokesman.

He did not provide details about the number of Boeing personnel involved, or how many aircraft will receive the battery containment retrofit simultaneously. Each retrofit is likely to take four to five days, he adds.

An ANA spokeswoman says the carrier is aware of the Boeing teams’ presence in the country, but that the teams have “not touched the aircraft yet”.

The new battery containment system for the 787 aims to reduce the risk of the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries overheating, and to eliminate the risk of the batteries starting a fire.

The global 787 fleet has been grounded since mid-January, when an ANA 787 made an emergency landing because of a battery-related problem. This came just days after a 787 operated by JAL suffered a fire in its rear battery compartment while on the ground at Boston Logan International Airport.

ANA is offering domestic 787 tickets from 1 June, and plans to conduct simulator training for 787 pilots in April to prepare for the type’s eventual return to service.

The carrier has given no indication as to when it believes the 787 grounding could be lifted.

Boeing officials have expressed confidence that the airframer’s proposed 787 battery fix will receive regulatory approval, allowing the aircraft to recommence operations.

ANA and JAL are the world’s largest operators of the 787. According to Flightglobal Pro data, ANA has received 17 787-8s. It has an additional 19 787-8s on order, as well as 30 787-9s.

JAL has received seven 787-8s, with 18 yet to be delivered. It has also ordered 20 787-9s.

  Greg Waldron Singapore


Lion Air takes Airbus first-quarter orders beyond 400

Lion Air’s huge deal for Airbus A320-family jets has lifted the airframer’s first-quarter net order total to 410 aircraft
The Indonesian carrier’s acquisition – comprising 169 A320s and A320neos, plus 65 A321neos – has been formally recorded in Airbus’s backlog.

Airbus has listed Hawaiian Airlines’ order for 16 A321neos, but the figures for the three months to 31 March also reveal the cancellation of a single A350-900 destined for a private customer.

The airframer’s gross orders for the quarter reached 431, reduced to 410 net.

Airbus delivered 144 aircraft over the period, up from the 131 it had achieved at the same point in 2012. The deliveries included four A380s: two for Malaysia Airlines, one for Thai Airways and one for China Southern Airlines.

  David Kaminski-Morrow London


A Flying Legend, The Douglas DC-3, 78 years later…

Days ago I was sharing the cockpit with a pilot that flew it; I can’t deny that I felt a bit of envy for him. I guess we all feel admiration for this airplane, so many years and still flying, no matter which place in the world, airport, air show or what other birds are parked beside her, she always captures the attention. 

I’m talking about a flying legend of all times:  The Douglas DC-3, the most successful aircraft’s design in story.

Douglas Dakota DC-3 (G-ANAF) of the Air Atlantique Historic Flight at Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire, England, taking off. - Wikipedia

Douglas Dakota DC-3 (G-ANAF) of the Air Atlantique Historic Flight at Hullavington Airfield, Wiltshire, England, taking off. – Source:  Wikipedia

It made its first flight on the 32th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright brothers’ first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  It appeared on the world of aviation almost unnoticed, not even a photographer was there to document the event.  It was December 17th, 1935; she was born under the name of Douglas Sleeping Transport or DST; later known as DC-3.  The first DST / DC-3 were first used for American Airlines in replacement of its Curtiss Condor and had a configuration of fourteen passengers in a luxury cabin with folding berths.

More than 16.000 DC-3 in both, civil and military versions were built between 1935 and 1946 in the USA and under licensing agreements in Holland, Japan and Russia.  The first military version of the DC-3 was the C-41, used by the Army Corps as VIP transport.  The famous C-47 known also as the Skytrain, Skytrooper, Dakota, Doug, etc., was a DC-3 in cargo configuration, modified with a large double cargo door, floor with tie down fittings, folding bench type seating along the sides, a navigational astrodome aft of the flight compartment and a stronger landing gear.  During WW II, the C-47 operated in all battle zones performing numerous roles, transport of personnel, cargo, logistics, medical evacuations, etc.

Cathay Pacific inaugurated operations in 1946 with a DC-3 named Betsy, now an exhibit in the Hong Kong Science Museum - Source:  Wikipedia

Cathay Pacific inaugurated operations in 1946 with a DC-3 named Betsy, now an exhibit in the Hong Kong Science Museum – Source: Wikipedia

There are still today small operators with DC-3s in revenue service and as cargo aircraft, also some armed forces.  The common saying among aviation buffs and pilots is that “the only replacement for a DC-3 is another DC-3”.   Its ability to take off and land on grass or dirt runways makes it popular in developing countries, where runways are not always paved.   Some of the uses of the DC-3 have included aerial spraying, freight transport, passenger service, military transport, missionary flying, and sport skydiving shuttling and sightseeing.

Specifications (DC-3A)

Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 21–32 passengers
  • Length: 64 ft 8 in (19.7 m)
  • Wingspan: 95 ft 2 in (29.0 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
  • Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m2)
  • Empty weight: 16,865 lb (7,650 kg)
  • Gross weight: 25,199 lb (11,430 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 822 gal. (3736 l)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Wright R-1820 Cyclone 9-cyl. air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,100 hp (820 kW) each
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S1C3G Twin Wasp 14-cyl. air-cooled two row radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
  • Propellers: 3-bladed Hamilton Standard 23E50 series, 11.5 ft (3.5 m) diameter


  • Maximum speed: 200 kn; 370 km/h (230 mph) at 8,500 ft (2,590 m)
  • Cruise speed: 180 kn; 333 km/h (207 mph)
  • Stall speed: 58.2 kn (67 mph; 108 km/h)
  • Service ceiling: 23,200 ft (7,100 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,130 ft/min (5.7 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 25.5 lb/sq ft (125 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 0.0952 hp/lb (156.5 W/kg)

From the early 1950’s some DC-3 were modified with several types of turboprop engines, some improvements included and stretched fuselage.


The oldest DC-3 still flying is the original American Airlines Flagship Detroit s/n 1920, #43.

78 years later, the DC-3 gets even better, like the wine….


DC-3 History – Australia

– Douglas DC-3 – Wikipedia


  •   GDL 39