PICTURES: British Airways rolls out first painted A380

British Airways’ first Airbus A380 has been rolled out of the airframer’s paint facility at Hamburg, following the application of its full livery.

The aircraft, MSN95, and the first long-haul Airbus for the UK carrier, is due to be delivered to BA in July.

BA says the Rolls-Royce Trent 900-powered aircraft has had its 469-seat cabin installed and will be flown to Toulouse for final checks before handover.

Its livery includes some 10,000 individual dots on the tailfin to produce the effect of the Union flag.

















“This was a difficult task. You can imagine someone had to peel off the thousands of little dots from a stencil,” says A380 paint-shop senior manager Christoph Hettwer. “But now it’s finished it looks great.”

BA will use the aircraft on short-haul routes for training before putting it into service on the Los Angeles and Hong Kong routes in October-November.

By:   David Kaminski-Morrow London





Thailand – Nok Air unveils Myanmar routes

Nok Air plans to operate two new routes from Tak’s Mae Sot district to Myanmar in preparation for the establishment of the Mae Sot special economic zone and the Asean Economic Community (AEC).




Nok Air’s fourth B737-800, named Nok Naanfah, joins the fleet in July 2012. (File photo)


Nok Air board director Somchainuek Engtrakul and chief executive Patee Sarasin on Sunday led 20 airline executives to board a Nok Air survey flight from Mae Sot to Myanmar’s Mawlamyine (formerly Moulmein) ahead of the airline’s plan to operate services on that route.

The budget airline also plans to introduce flights between Mae Sot and Yangon.

The move follows a recent agreement between Thailand and Myanmar to permanently open the Mae Sot border checkpoint to boost cross-border trade and tourism. It also aims to capitalise on the 2015 launch of the AEC.

Source:  Bangkok Post


Storm ice suspected in Etihad A340 cruise incident

Pilots of an Etihad Airways Airbus A340-600 diverted to Singapore after a sudden encounter with turbulent weather during cruise generated unreliable airspeed data and left the jet unable to maintain altitude separation requirements.

While en route to Melbourne at 35,000ft, and approaching the PIPOV waypoint over the Indian Ocean, the returns from the aircraft’s weather radar – which had no auto-tilt function – suddenly intensified to indicate surrounding convective weather.

Airspeed on the captain’s primary flight display rapidly dropped from 283kt to 77kt before fluctuating, and the standby instrument recorded a fall from 280kt to 142kt. The first officer’s reading stayed stable.

United Arab Emirates investigators from the General Civil Aviation Authority determined that the autopilot and autothrottle, as well as the flight directors, disengaged and the A340 switched to alternate flight-control law – a mode in which angle-of-attack protection is lost.

The preliminary inquiry says that the aircraft had started to depart from its altitude after the autopilot disengaged, performing an “inadvertent climb” which took it 832ft above its assigned 35,000ft cruise level.

Within about 20s the airspeed indications recovered and the jet reverted to normal law. But about a minute after the initial disturbance began, the airspeed began fluctuating again. This second disturbance, lasting about 44s, again caused the A340 to drop into alternate law and disconnected the autothrust.

Since the first officer’s instruments appeared to be functioning correctly, the captain designated him as the flying pilot. The first officer returned the aircraft to its assigned altitude.

Although the airspeed indications stabilised, and the autothrust was re-engaged, the crew could not bring the autopilot back online, and the first officer continued to fly the jet manually. The A340 remained in alternate law for the rest of the flight.

The crew transmitted that the aircraft (A6-EHF) could not maintain altitude owing to the jet’s performance and the turbulence, and that it had lost the capability to operate in reduced vertical separation minima airspace.

It subsequently descended to conventional airspace at 29,000ft and diverted to Singapore. None of the 295 occupants was injured.

While the inquiry into the Etihad A340-600 incident highlights that icing is notably a cause of unreliable airspeed indications at high altitude, it has yet to establish conclusions about the event.

But the circumstances bear a similarity to those preceding the Air France flight AF447 accident in June 2009, when an A330 cruising at 35,000ft flew into a storm cell, suffering icing of its pitot system.

The General Civil Aviation Authority says that dispatch documentation provided to the Etihad crew included charts indicating an isolated embedded cumulonimbus cloud up to 45,000ft in the area of the incident.

Analysis showed that the A340’s weather radar, set on manual tilt, showed “almost no” reflectivity before the turbulence started to increase. The radar returns then sharply intensified.

“An incorrect tilt may lead to only scan the upper, less reflective, part of a cell,” the inquiry notes. “As a consequence, a cell may not be detected or may be underestimated.”

Use of weather radar to avoid storm-cell penetration emerged as an issue in the AF447 investigation. Icing led to airspeed fluctuations and switching to alternate control law, and the crew’s response resulted in an advertent climb and high-altitude stall.

Like the case of AF447, three pilots – one of whom had returned to the cockpit after a rest period – worked to resolve the Etihad situation. Despite resetting all the flight-control and flight-guidance computers, as well as other systems, by using quick-reference handbook procedures, the pilots could not re-engage either of the two autopilots.

By:   David Kaminski-Morrow London


Another Turboprop Stalls on Short Final

Beechcraft_King_Air_100_CrashApril 01, 2013

Kenn Borek Air Flight KBA 103 — a Beechcraft King Air 100 with 10 souls on board — crashed on Oct. 25, 2010, during an RNAV (GNSS) approach to Runway 08 at Kirby Lake Airport (CRL4), Alberta, Canada. The airplane struck the ground some 174 ft. short of the threshold, then bounced and came to rest off the edge of the runway. The captain was fatally injured. The first officer and three passengers suffered serious injures, and the five additional passengers suffered minor injuries.

Canada’s Transportation Safety Board (TSB) investigated this accident. While the TBS does not issue a “probable cause,” it does issue “findings” as to causes and risks and it reports on safety actions taken. In this incident, the TSB concluded that the crew stalled the airplane after descending below MDA and that the pilots’ “conduct . . . during the instrument approach prevented them from effectively monitoring the performance of the aircraft.” The investigators also determined that the stall warning horn did not activate, thus depriving the crew of at least one opportunity to avoid the stall.

By Richard N. Aarons

Source:  Business & Commercial Aviation (Continue Reading Full Story)

Morgan Freeman

MorganFreeman-620x250Morgan Freeman: The Great Pretender

The man who may be best known for the sound of his voice speaks out on his experience as a general aviation pilot. In this exclusive spotlight on Morgan Freeman, we get up close and personal with his no-frills Mississippi way of life. From exploring his distinctive blues music club, to understanding his passion and utility for aviation, we bring you Morgan Freeman like you have never seen him before.morgan-620x250

If anyone in this world has earned the right to be a pretentious ass it’s Morgan Freeman. After crossing paths with the Academy Award winning actor off and on for the better part of seven years, including, for me, an ill-fated poker game in 2006, I can comfortably vouch for the man who needs no one to vouch for him – he’s no ass. Morgan Freeman, to steal a phrase, is easy like Sunday morning. 

Nobody’s shedding a tear for Hollywood A-list actors. After all, they pretty much have and get whatever they want out of life, but there is no question that fame and fortune comes with a price. Some handle it better than others, and Freeman seems to be one of the actors on top of the pile who’ve figured out how to be available to the insanity known as Hollywood, and yet lead a simple life. Simple, not boring. . .

Story and photos by Jeff Mattoon

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FLEET UPDATE BULLETIN: Vulkan Air (South Africa), Air Namibia (SW), Fly540 Angola, Atlas Aviation Kenya.

The following is a fleet update bulletin for aircraft that are in use, have been in use or will be in use for these listed airlines: Vulkan Air (South Africa), Air Namibia (SW), Fly540 Angola, Atlas Aviation Kenya.

Atlas Aviation Kenya’s Fokker 28 (Vangelis Antonakis)
  • Cargo specialists, Vulkan Air (South Africa),  has wet-leased a second An-26 freighter (EW-278TG) from Belorussian outfit, Genex.
  • Fly540 Angola has taken redelivery of its ATR 72-212A (MSN 826 | D2-FLY)
  • Air Namibia has withdrawn its B737-500 (MSN 25229 – V5-TNP) for parting out and scrap following the arrival of its second Airbus A319 (MSN 5366 | V5-ANM)
  • Atlas Aviation Kenya has taken delivery of a Fokker 28 (MSN 10370 | 5Y-CCE) from 19th Hole Corp.

SOUTH AFRICA: SAA officially hands over Turnaround Plan #9 to Government for approval.

South African Airways (SA) has submitted its Long-term Turnaround Strategy, its 9th in 13 years, to the Public Enterprises Minister, Malusi Gigaba. The handover was made yesterday to the Minister by Ms. Dudu Myeni, the acting Chairperson of the SAA Board of Directors on behalf of the airline and comes as one of the preset conditions the airline had to ascent to when it received its USD600million bail out from Pretoria.

The submission of the strategy is in line with Minister Gigaba’s directive issued on 15 October 2012 during the airline’s Annual General Meeting. Minister Gigaba indicated that SAA must develop and submit a long term turnaround strategy aimed at improving the airline’s financial sustainability and operational efficiency.

South African AirwaysThis is the first, all-encompassing strategy for the airline and a defining moment in SAA’s 79 years of existence. The strategy will be followed by a comprehensive implementation plan aimed at ensuring successful delivery of its objectives, once reviewed by the Department of Public Enterprises,” said Ms. Myeni.

There will be a three-phase implementation approach of the strategy with continuous and cyclical monitoring and review over a twenty year period. There will be specific and measurable outcomes in each of the three implementation phases (short, medium and long term). Consequently, the impact will be felt from year one of the implementation whilst other interventions will take place in the medium and long term phases of the strategy.


“One of the key elements of the strategy is increased focus and emphasis on governance and accountability. These will go a long way in restoring SAA’s reputation in the global markets and among its stakeholders,” Myeni added.


Details of the strategy will be shared with the media and the public at large once the Department of Public Enterprises has had the opportunity to digest its contents and endorsement received from the National Treasury.

Given the airline’s heavy loss incurring divisions, in particular SAA Technical which posted a ZAR522million loss last year, it is understood that any likely restructuring of the struggling airline will, therefore, not be confined to airline operations alone. The airline’s route network too will likely fall under the spot light, with the airline’s problematic European routes in particular, coming under scrutiny. However, as a government-backed airline, SAA will likely have to tow the line regarding the operation of certain routes, which although not profitable, are crucial both diplomatically and strategically.

Meanwhile, the African aviation community waits with baited breath for the announcement of SAA’s new CEO. Deliberations were due to have ended in late March with a decision due to have been made public by the first week of April.

Source:  African Aviation Tribune



Is a simple maneuver, we all did it at the beginning of our flight training. Basically there were two types, power on and power off stalls. Remember? Just keep the nose above the horizon with wings level, the stall horn will sound, lower the nose and…here we go again, we have speed and can continue flying, we can play this game all day.
What is not a game is the rising concern about the amount of accidents that happened because simply the pilots did not recognize or could not recover the airplane from a stall. There are many disturbing and recent examples, like the Air France 447, an Airbus 330, which had a high altitude stall and three pilots on the flight deck could not detect / recover the aircraft from the stall until it hits the water. Other example is Colgan Air 3407, a Bombardier DHC-8 Q400, which stalled on an ILS approach, the pilots did all the actions to try to recover the airplane from the stall, except…lower the nose, the captain keep pulling of the control yoke until hitting the ground. And the list continues…
What is happening to our aviation community?. Too much automation and we are forgetting how to recover an airplane from a non-normal condition?
Experts are concerned about this situation and some aspects are beginning to change. I remember couple of years ago when I was doing the initial to fly new equipment and when practicing stalls on the simulator the instructor told me: – at stick shaker, keep the attitude and add max power, don’t lower the nose. Also someone said: – not more than 100 ft altitude loss. At first this seemed unnatural and confusing to me, used until then to lower the nose and add max power. But at this point is exactly where we are failing, you can tell after read in deep on the above examples.
Seems like this is beginning to change now and after trying something that turned to be a serious problem we are reverting to the old school, a few days ago when participating of a training seminar, the instructors in class made a presentation, discussion about stall recovery and the suggestion was simple: “lower the nose, level the wings and add maximum power”.
What happens during a stall in a fixed wing aircraft is extremely simple, as the pilots increases the angle of attack the airfoil experiences a reduction on the coefficient of lift, the stall occurs when the critical angle of attack is exceeded. Most airplanes are equipped with devices that alert the pilot of the imminent stall, a simple horn in small general aviation airplanes and stick shakers in advanced airliners, these devices actuate before the onset of the actual stall, from there the reason we were told by instructors to keep the attitude at first sign of alert and add maximum power. But for some reason in some cases something went wrong with the remaining actions during the recovery and the airplane fully stalled.
There are dozens of articles and videos, some of them very good and explanatory about stall and stall recovery, so it is not my intention to go in a deep explanation about what happens on the onset and recovery of this maneuver, simply review another fact that attracts concern about recent incidents and accidents.
By Ivan Paredes


– BEA Accident Report AF447 – Airbus A330-203  Registered F-GZCP

NTSB Accident Report Colgan Air 3407 Bombardier DHC-8-400 Registered N200WQ

There’s also a good dramatization by Air Crash Investigation on both accidents:

– Air France 447

– Colgan 3407


  •   GDL 39