Laos – ATR72-600 Accident

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Bangkok: Rescue teams remain hopeful of finding two black boxes or flight data recorders on the Lao Airlines plane that crashed into the Mekong River in southern Laos last week, killing 49 people including six Australians.

The two boxes were not among the main wreckage of the plane that was winched to the surface late on Tuesday, six days after the worst air crash in Laos’ history.

Divers are using their feet and hands to feel for the box on the bottom of the fast flowing river near the city of Pakse, the main city in southern Laos.

At least one of the boxes attached to the turbo-prop’s tailsection is giving off a signal but efforts to locate it have so far failed.

‘‘If the black box recorders were still attached to the tail then they will be easier to find but if they broke off then the task will be more difficult,’’ said Yakua Lopangkao, director-general of Laos’ Department of Civil Aviation.

Investigators say the boxes will be crucial to establishing why the ATR-72 twin engine plane hit tree tops, skidded on ground and plunged into the river as it approached Pakse airport in extreme weather.

The boxes have batteries that can last up to a month. ‘We will keep searching,’’ said Mr Yakua.

Forty-three bodies have been recovered and 26 of them have been identified and returned to their families.

The victims include western Sydney family of Gavin Rhodes, his wife Phoumalaysy (Lea),their daughter Jadesuda, 3, and 17-month-old Manfred, whose body was found with four other victims 30 kilometers downstream last Friday.

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Also killed were northern New South Wales father and son Michael and Gordon Creighton.

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Source:  AP

When we will ever learn?

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Hi everyone.  I have been away for some days from here, honestly is not easy to maintain a fluid content blog flying 100+ hrs. per month, but in gratitude and consideration to my readers and visitors, I will try to do my best.

Today, in my hotel room, on a layover out of my home base, I was thinking on the crash of a Lao Airlines ATR 72 that happened in Laos 6 days ago.  The accident happened in poor weather conditions during a missed approach, still causes are unknown and rescue tasks are very difficult due to the nature of the Mekong River. 

I have seen these guys with the ATR many times in Chiang Mai, Lao Airlines has a scheduled service between Laos and Thailand.

I was flying on the area that day too and weather was very bad, with intense rain, turbulence, icing conditions and Cb’s.  There was a big storm affecting an extensive   area of Southeast Asia.

Every year the monsoon season takes its quote of aviation accidents in this area, flying conditions are extremely difficult.  I must admit that I feel respect for Asian pilots because for me was it not easy to adapt to fly with this kind of weather.

For those that don’t know this area of Asia.  Why do we fly with this kind of weather?  – We fly with adverse weather conditions because if we sit waiting for improved conditions, maybe we can sit all day doing so, even weeks.  Airlines and operators have learnt that if you choose to delay your flight, your passengers will go to the next counter and if that airline departs, they will never return to you.  Pilots know that too and have assumed the “measured risks” of flying under these conditions, but the edge is sharp and any mistake can result in an accident.

Capt. Ivan

Boeing Delivers First 737-900 to El Al

Last Oct.9, Boeing Co. delivered to EL AL Israel Airlines’ their first Next-Generation 737-900ER (Extended Range) airplane. This delivery is the first of six 737-900ERs the Israeli flag-carrier has on order and is the latest addition to EL AL’s all-Boeing fleet.  

“The purchase of the Boeing 737-900ER aircraft marks the high point of EL AL’s re-equipping and fleet renewal impetus. This positions EL AL at the forefront of international aviation technology, further elevating EL AL’s in-flight experience,” said Elyezer Shkedy, president and chief executive officer, EL AL. “Our investment in the new modern Economy Class seats and in a sophisticated entertainment system, that will be launched in the coming months, is in line with the target we set for ourselves – to provide the best product and most advanced service for passengers and thus retain EL AL’s status as the most preferred airline for flights to and from Israel. We would like to thank Boeing and all the other partners for their outstanding work on EL AL’s six new aircraft.”

The Boeing 737-900ER is the newest member of the Next-Generation 737 airplane family. It has the highest capacity and lowest seat-mile cost of Boeing’s single-aisle family and will fit perfectly into EL AL’s existing short and medium-haul fleet of Next-Generation 737-700s and 737-800s.

EL AL’s 737-900ER will be its first airplane to feature the new Boeing Sky Interior. This interior is the latest in a series of enhancements for both airlines and passengers. It introduces new LED lighting and curved architecture that welcomes passengers onboard and creates a greater sense of spaciousness and comfort in the cabin. The interior also features modern, sculpted sidewalls and overhead bins that disappear into the ceiling, yet carry more bags.

“We share a proud history with EL AL, and are honored to once again play a significant role in this all-Boeing carrier’s fleet renewal,” said Todd Nelp, vice president of Sales for Europe, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “EL AL has already experienced the excellent reliability and operating economics of the Next-Generation 737 family with its fleet of 737-700s and 737-800s. The 737-900ER will enable EL AL to greatly expand its operations across Europe, while offering its passengers the superior passenger comfort of the Boeing Sky Interior.”

EL AL’s latest addition to its fleet will seat 172 passengers, with all passengers able to enjoy the option of power sockets for their laptops and USB connections. The Israeli-flag carrier operates an all-Boeing fleet of nearly 40 airplanes including Next-Generation 737s, 747-400s, 767s and 777s and serves 30 destinations worldwide.       

Source: Boeing Media Room

Airbus is Dissapointed with Airbus 380 Sales

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Airbus has fallen short of expectations with sales of its flagship A380 aircraft, but is expecting a recovery as the Superjumbo becomes more popular with airlines flying long-haul routes.

Tom Enders, the chief executive of the European plane-maker’s parent EADS, said in Sydney today that the company was not content with the level of sales of the A380, which had been impacted by the global economic slowdown and the discovery of tiny cracks in the wings of the planes early last year.

Airbus was forced to carry out fixes to the worldwide fleet of Superjumbos, which are flown by airlines including Qantas, Emirates and Singapore Airlines. 

The repair bill amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The European plane-maker has now delivered 111 of the double-decker aircraft to 10 airlines, and has an order backlog totaling about 150 aircraft.

‘‘While we cannot be happy with the sales level that we have today … [Airbus expects it to] recover and it will be a great instrument, particularly for airlines on long-distance and hub-to-hub routes,

Mr. Enders said the trend was for airlines to favor larger aircraft such as the A380, particularly as more air routes and airports became congested. 

He also emphasized that Airbus was committed to growing its business in Australia, although he called on the government to create more incentives for research and development.

‘‘One thing is clear, we are here to stay. We want to build on this,’’ he told the National Aviation Press Club in Sydney today.

Source:  Sydney Morning Herald

Photo:  Airbus



British Airways -Take a tour of our A380 – Video

British Airways Senior First Officer Peter Nye takes you on an exclusive tour of one of our new A380 aircraft.

Discover the four travel cabins available as well as taking a look at the flight deck and learning about the technical wonders of the largest aircraft in our fleet.

MASWings – De Havilland Twin Otter Crash – Kudat, Malaysia

A MASWings de Havilland Twin Otter, suffered an accident when intending to land at Kudat Airport – Malaysia.

The De Havilland Dash 6-300 Twin Otter registration 9M-MDM, was performing flight MH-3002 from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat (Malaysia) with 16 passengers and 2 crew, on board. 

The aircraft was about to land on Kudat’s runway 22 in strong gusting winds at about 14:50L (06:50Z) but impacted a private property’s house, contacted ground outside the airport perimeter and went through the property’s wall. The first officer and a passenger died in the accident, 4 passengers received injuries.

MASwings is a regional airline operating the Rural Air Services (RAS) in East Malaysia. It took over the RAS previously operated by FlyAsianXpress. Its headquarters are in Jalan Airport in Miri, Sarawak.  This accident marks the first fatal incident for MASwings,

MASWings - DHC Twin Otter - 1MASWings - DHC Twin Otter - 2MASWings - DHC Twin Otter - 3MASWings - DHC Twin Otter - 4Capt. Ivan

Photo Credits:  Budak Innocent; Zuanbikinpanas; Muhammad MT

 

Again, the Dreamliner

Two Japan Airline’s Boeing 787’s returned to their departure airports due to technical issues

Both incidents occurred on October 9, the first event happened when the flight crew discovered a failure on the electrical system right after takeoff, the problem affected power to the galleys and lavatories, the aircraft had to return to Moscow’s Domodedovo Int’l.

The other Dreamliner returned to San Diego when the on board computer detected a failure on the right engine anti-ice system. The other jet, registration JA825J, turned back to San Diego when an alert indicating a failure.

Although both aircraft returned to service after the necessary maintenance actions, both flight were considerably delayed, according to a JAL spokesperson.

JAL is one of the largest 787 operators in the world with 11 787-8s in its fleet. The Japanese carrier also has an additional 13 -8s and 20 of the larger -9 variants on order.

The carrier made the news this week when it signed a landmark deal with Airbus for 31 A350s, its first ever Airbus order. Analysts say reliability issues related to the 787 played a part in turning the loyal Boeing customer towards Airbus.

Capt. Ivan

 

Air New Zealand “New” Old School Style Passenger Safety Video – Watch and Win!

Because of their repetitive nature, Passenger Safety Briefing Videos have been always boring, especially for frequent travelers, proof of that is the little attention that passengers pay to it.

Airlines have tried different ways to capture passenger’s attention during Safety Briefing, among them, Air New Zealand is a whole pioneer.  This time American actress Betty White proves age is just a number as she gives us the Old School version of Air New Zealand’s in-flight safety video.

Watch and win a trip for 2 to either sunny Palm Springs USA or spectacular Hanmer Springs in New Zealand.

Click here:  http://www.airnewzealand.com/safetyoldschool#.UlZkfRB5eME

Now, Japanesse are worried about Boeing retreat

For five decades Boeing has awarded bigger and bigger shares of its supply contracts to Japanese firms, but that could change after Japan Airlines defection to Airbus and as the plane maker seeks to win orders in China.

Boeing’s carbon composite 787 is 35 percent made in Japan – as big a share as it builds in-house – but Japanese aviation insiders fear the Dreamliner could be the high water mark of the industry’s partnership with the U.S. company.

The close co-operation has not only benefitted Japan’s industrial giants Mitsubishi Heavy Industries , Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries – it has also enabled Boeing to dominate one of the world’s biggest aviation markets with a share of more than 80 percent.

That status quo crumbled on Monday, when JAL signed a deal to buy 31 Airbus A350s, its first purchase of European jets.

In rejecting the rival Boeing 777X, JAL can only have increased the likelihood that the U.S. company’s next project will be less Japanese.

“Negotiations for the 777X work share are ongoing, and that may be influenced by the JAL decision,” a government official who helps oversee Japan’s aerospace industry told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

Tokyo, he added, was looking to win a work share for Japanese suppliers greater than the 21 percent that Mitsubishi Heavy, Kawasaki Heavy and others build of the current 777.

The fear in Japan is that Boeing, which says the business it gives Japan adds up to 22,000 jobs accounting for around 40 percent of nation’s aerospace workforce, may be tempted to shift more production to China, South Korea or elsewhere.

“If I was Boeing, I would hold their feet to the fire,” said Lance Gatling, founder of aerospace and defense consultancy Nexial Research in Tokyo. “International competition for what they build can only increase.”

Spokesmen for the Japanese suppliers involved and for Boeing in Japan declined to comment on the share out of work for the 777X, which Boeing has said it plans to officially launch later this year.

LURE OF CHINA

JAL’s defection to Airbus stacks on top of other reasons why the Japanese may find it harder to win bigger chunks of business from their American partner.

Boeing, having faced criticism it overextended itself on the delayed 787 with an ambitious global supply chain, has said it will take a more conventional approach to the 777X, a re-engine more fuel efficient upgrade of its long-range, wide-body 777.

That, industry watchers say, could mean it builds the aircraft wings at home, after allowing the Dreamliner wings to be made overseas – in Japan – for the first time.

A longer-term worry for the Japanese is that their country, once Asia’s biggest aircraft market, is no longer the goldmine that first drew Boeing to seek panel suppliers for its 747 there.

Both Boeing and European rival Airbus are now more focused on vying for business in burgeoning China. The entry price often imposed by the Chinese government is a share of the build.

Boeing, in its most recent 20-year market forecast that runs through 2032, predicts China will buy 6,000 new planes while the market in Northeast Asia, which includes Japan, North and South Korea and Taiwan, will be 1,360 aircraft.

“If the Japanese could put the arm on Boeing the Chinese have got the ability to put the arm on Boeing,” said Nexial Research’s Gatling. “The Chinese have cheap labor and a huge market.”

He added that the Japanese were also looking over their shoulders at upcoming South Korean firms such as Korean Aerospace Industries, which Boeing in 2011 named supplier of the year.

Part of Japan’s response to that challenge is the 70-90 seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), its first commercial aircraft since it lashed itself to Boeing.

Apart from being a bid to claim a share of the expanding market for smaller passenger jets, it is an both opportunity to showcase its skills to Boeing and provide a hedge against a fall in orders from Western manufacturers.

One lure that could keep Boeing heavily involved in Japan is government financial support for R&D that could end up in its jets.

According to the European Union, which is locked in an aircraft subsidy dispute with the United States, Boeing benefits from support from the Japanese government for development of the 787, including financing of up to 70 percent of development costs incurred by Japanese suppliers.

NEW BATTLE LOOMS

Attention in Japan has now turned to Boeing’s battle with Airbus to supply JAL’s rival ANA Holdings.

Boeing is widely seen as the favorite in that tussle, although some analysts think ANA will buy Airbus wide-body planes to hedge against delay and avoid getting left with older fleets while competitors fly new jets that consume less fuel.

Like JAL, ANA is looking to buy around 30 jets to retire its aging long-haul 777s and is considering the carbon composite A350 and the 777X as replacements.

A win for Boeing would offer a keen incentive for the U.S. company to stay deeply rooted in Japan, and industry sources expect a lobbying backlash as pressure from the aerospace industry’s political backers comes to bear.

And at ANA, political pressure may bear more fruit. In a reversal of roles, ANA now enjoys a closer relationship with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a position once enjoyed by flag carrier JAL before its bankruptcy and bailout in 2010.

ANA this month won double the number of new landing slots at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, prompting a rare public complaint by JAL that it had been unfairly treated.

The question remains whether ANA is willing to do something for Team Japan in return.

“Obviously it (JAL’s decision) is a setback, but Boeing has been investing in Japan for decades and is not going to suddenly say from now on we don’t like you,” said Adam Pilarski, senior vice-president at Virginia-based aviation consultancy Avitas, on the sidelines of an aviation finance conference in Barcelona.

Source:  Reuters

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