Expanding Slow Flight Limits

Slower landing approaches by aircraft lead to less noise. How slow, steep and hence quiet a modern commercial aircraft can arrive at a destination airport is determined by the performance of the high-lift system with its retractable slats and flaps on the wings. Another advantage of reduced landing speeds is that shorter runways can be used. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has joined with Airbus, and the European Transonic Wind Tunnel (ETW) in the three-part project HINVA (High lift INflight VAlidation), consisting of wind tunnel experiments, flight tests and computer simulations. The aim is to combine computer models and wind tunnel tests to substantially improve predictions of high-lift performance and hence pave the way for slower and quieter approach flights. In early February, the project performed unique wind tunnel experiments at cryogenic temperatures in the ETW in Cologne. Equipped with laser measurement technology and other advanced measurement systems, the researchers achieved hitherto unknown precision in detecting the flowfield around an Airbus A320 with extended landing flaps and slats under flight-representative conditions. The researchers had constructed a high precision wind tunnel model specifically for the tests, based on flow measurements performed during in-flight tests with the DLR A320 ATRA research aircraft.

A global first in research

“The HINVA research project is globally unique when it comes to advancing the development of modern high-lift technologies,” explains Rolf Henke, a member of the DLR Executive Board and responsible for aeronautics research. “With the A320 ATRA research aircraft, the European Transonic Wind Tunnel and the high-performance TAU computer program, DLR is making use of its unique research infrastructure and deploying its world-leading measurement techniques,” continues Henke. Indeed, this is the first time that DLR, in its high-lift research, has combined computer simulations with in-flight and wind tunnel experiments for such a complex configuration.

Wing of research aircraft, Airbus 320

Wing of research aircraft, Airbus 320

This unique approach is supported by Airbus as part of its research activities because the desired accurate prediction of the flow features during takeoff and landing are an essential contribution to the optimisation of future aircraft developments. The results of these experiments will be important for the entire aviation industry. ” When it comes to new products, the sector will be in a position to plan in greater detail, assessing the deviations between predicted high-lift performance and the actual values,” emphasises Henke. “Aeronautics research will acquire valuable insights into how combining the three methods – simulation, cryogenic wind tunnel testing and in-flight testing – can deliver an unprecedented level of precision in aerodynamic analysis and development for commercial aircraft.”

An interaction between flaps and gaps

Besides the landing flaps themselves, the gaps that open up between the leading-edge slats, fixed wing and trailing edge flaps play an important role in defining the performance of a high-lift system. All elements must be precisely positioned. Simulating highly complex maximum lift behavior at the limits of the flight envelope remains a daunting challenge for modern computer models. “At DLR, we could make substantial progress with respect to with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations, making use of Europe’s largest data centre for aeronautics research, the Center for Computer Applications in Aerospace Science and Engineering (C²A²S²E),” says Cord-Christian Rossow, head of the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology in Braunschweig. “But to further improve the models we urgently need real flow data from in-flight and wind tunnel tests.”

Turbulent flow in laser light

The world’s leading wind tunnel, unique in Europe, offers the capability for testing aircraft under realistic in-flight conditions. The researchers used their measurement equipment to put a dedicated newly manufactured, cryogenic half model of an A320 through its paces. Using a laser measurement technology called Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) allowed detailed analyses of areas where vortex formation and flow separation occurs. The airflow is not ideal in these zones, prompting complex aerodynamic interference effects that limit the high-lift performance. “The laser measurement technology PIV was developed by our colleagues in Göttingen. We are now able to conduct simultaneous measurements of the flow velocity in many critical areas of the wing,” says HINVA Project Coordinator Ralf Rudnik from the DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology. “Therein lies one of the keys to acquire a better understanding of where and why lift breaks down.” PIV yielded the first experimental flow field data in a the low speed regime suitable for a direct comparison with in-flight test data and numerical calculations. Classic methods such as force and pressure measurements, alongside modern Stereo Pattern Tracking (SPT) for deformation measurement, Temperature Sensitive Paint for transition detection, and a microphone array for acoustic source location were used to complement these systems.

Flow measurements at 160 degrees below zero

The researchers increased the pressure inside the ETW to 3.3 times atmospheric pressure and cooled the nitrogen flow gas to minus 160 degrees Celsius to deliver the greatest possible precision in replicating real flow conditions for a commercial aircraft. “We evaporated 1281 tons of liquid nitrogen and fed it into the ETW for the HINVA test cycles,” reports Guido Dietz, the head of ETW. The wind tunnel has the capability to test models with an onflow speeds up to 1.35 times the speed of sound, but for HINVA, flow speeds just below 0.2 times the speed of sound were used. “Around 30 percent of our tests are now concentrated on investigating high-lift at speeds representative for take-off and landing,” Dietz continues. “ETW can produce flight-relevant data under these conditions, while standard wind tunnels most commonly cannot.” ETW was developed and constructed by four nations: France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands. DLR acts as Germany’s stakeholder.

Research aircraft as wind tunnel models

The researchers used extensive measurement data collected with the DLR A320 ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) over a three-weeks flight test campaign at Airbus in Toulouse in July 2012 to manufacture the A320 wind tunnel model with extraordinarily precise design features. At that time, the scientists, in cooperation with Technische Universität Berlin, equipped the research aircraft with several hundred sensors spread across the entire outer skin. A pressure measurement system using lightweight metal belts attached to the port wing and horizontal stabiliser delivered reliable flow data. The total of 10 test flights pushed the boundaries of the pilots’ skills as they repeatedly approached the aerodynamic limits of the aircraft, initiating stall manoeuvres at low speed.

Further flight campaigns planned

The joint project HINVA receives funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie; BMWi) within the framework of its Aviation Research Programme IV. The project is designed to pool national capabilities in the performance evaluation of aircraft for Germany to maintain an international leadership in the field of high-lift research. A second flight campaign with the DLR–ATRA is planned for autumn 2014, within which flight tests are scheduled to measure flow velocity around the wings and flaps during flight. An important step will be the first direct application of PIV laser measurement technology on commercial aircraft. This combination of CFD simulation, wind tunnel experiments and in-flight testing has the potential to yield substantially more accurate predictions of drag values during high speed cruise.


Source:  DLR Press Portal

The Pilot Shortage from an Insider Perspective – By Michael Schneider

CHICAGO— The regional (or Fee for Departure) segment of the airline industry is comprised of over 25 airlines, operating over 50% of all departures in the USA, and flying into the world’s most complex airspace, and largest (and sometimes smallest) airports, in some of the most challenging weather conditions on the globe.

This means that, at any given time, you are more likely to be flying on a regional airline than the mainline airline through which you’ve purchased your ticket. In fact, it was not until just recently that the airlines were required to tell you the name of the regional airline on which you are actually flying. Most people think that if they buy their ticket through United.com, for example, they will be flying on a United airplane, with United pilots, and United service. Many times, however, this is simply not the case.

You may recall the fatal crash in Buffalo, NY in February of 2009. Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of this crash. It was Continental Connection flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air. Many friends and family members of those who died in that crash had never heard of Colgan. They were wondering why their loved ones were flying on Colgan when they thought they were flying on Continental. Much attention was focused on fatigue, and flying proficiency (rightly so), but there wasn’t much talk about pilot compensation. At the time of the crash, the First Officer earned about $20k/year. For her flight from Newark to Buffalo, she would have been paid about $30-$40. Total. For the entire flight.

Little has changed up to now unfortunately. Regional airplanes are painted in mainline colors, your flight is coded as a mainline flight, ticket agents, gate agents, and ground workers might all be employees of the mainline. But once you cross the threshold and board that regional jet, or turboprop, you can often hear passengers’ exclamations of how much smaller the airplane is than they’d expected. The trend now, however, is to replace these smaller regional jets with larger, more sophisticated aircraft, carrying many more passengers. Instead of receiving raises, pilots are offered only concessions. Take it or leave it. Leave it, and we’ll place the aircraft at a cheaper airline and shut you down. This is the reality of regional airlines and its dangerous downward spiraling of pilot compensation at a time of record profits, as well as a scarcity of qualified pilots. We believe this is a recipe for disaster waiting to happen.

We are: highly technically skilled, highly trained, highly competent, professional airline pilots operating some of the most complex equipment in and out of the busiest airports and airspace in the world, during all types of meteorological conditions.

But compared to our mainline peers, we are grossly undercompensated.

And chances are, we will be piloting your next flight.
The starting salary at a regional airline for First Officers (Co-Pilots) at one of the largest regional airlines is $23,256/yr. Broken down hourly, that’s a mere $12/hr, based on a 40-hour workweek.

You might hear the media and airline managements proclaim that we make a great hourly wage, but that’s entirely misleading. While away from home more often than at most full-time careers, airline pilots don’t get paid anywhere near 40 hours of pay a week.

Preflighting, flight planning, weather data gathering and interpreting, boarding, deplaning, configuring the cockpit before departure, maintenance delays, weather delays, inbound aircraft arrival delays, “sit” time between flights, and any other time that the door is not closed with the parking brake released is ALL UNPAID.

Imagine only being paid at your job for performing specific tasks, while some of the most important parts of your work go unpaid. That is how airline pilot pay structure is set up.

Let’s do some quick math. Consider this: You’re flying from Chicago to (insert any smaller city within about a 1-2 hour range) let’s say Cleveland, Ohio. You purchased your ticket on AA.com and paid $150 for your one-way flight. You arrive at the airport and head to the American Airlines terminal. You get to your gate, and see AA flight 3575 to CLE will be an hour-long full flight. You board the airplane, and find your seat on the 50-seat Embraer painted in American Eagle colors. You hit some turbulence en route as the pilots navigate around some winter storms. You are confident in your pilots’ ability to get you safely to your destination. As a professional airline pilot, your first officer is more than capable of completing the flight safely. But for his troubles, for this example flight, he will earn exactly $25.84, about $0.50 – yes that is fifty cents – per ticket. From your $150 ticket, a mere half a dollar will have gone to pay your First Officer. Chances are, you tipped your shuttle van driver more than your pilot made from your ticket.

In most industries, one can take their skill-set with them to another company or employer. Skills and experience do not lose value over time. If anything, their value increases.

But not at the airlines. A mainline Captain with 30 years of experience and tens of thousands of flight hours, who leaves for another airline, will make the exact same pay as a new-hire First Officer with the minimum qualifications. If Sully Sullenberger decided to come out of retirement tomorrow and fly for American Airlines, he would earn roughly $39,000 his first year, regardless of his very famous experience.

The regional airline industry has experienced tremendous growth, as mainline airlines have essentially outsourced shorter flights to smaller cities to these traditionally entry-level regionals. While this may have worked early on, 9/11 changed everything. Whereas before pilots expected to spend only a few years at the regional level, able to move on quickly to mainline airlines, the post-9/11 industry experienced a period of extreme pilot career stagnation, resulting in an extended era of low wages, and inability to move on to the mainlines.

In short, the regional model is broken. The regionals are unsustainable, and everyone in the industry knows it. But instead of effectively managing their industry by offering competitive wages to attract new-hire pilots to staff the regionals, airline managements have decided to lower labor costs to the point of near-poverty level wages. This has only exacerbated the glooming pilot shortage.

To answer the question though, they pay so little because they can. As was previously mentioned, pilots cannot simply switch airlines if a competitor offers a better future. On the regional level, there are over 25 regional airlines providing passenger feed for the mainlines.

Mainline executives demand regional pilots agree to concessions, or the feed they provide will be awarded to the next lowest bidder, and your airline will be shut down.

This, in combination with the Railway Labor Act’s extreme restrictions on the ability for pilots to strike, has culminated into what we are seeing today: the erosion of the pilot profession, as airline executives realize record profits. We feel that near-poverty level wages has an adverse effect on safety, and that corporate greed will unfortunately be to blame for the next great air disaster.

We want our pilots focused on operating their aircraft, not wondering how they’re going to pay their bills.

PIA Pilot Lands Aircraft at London Heathrow Despite Being Refused by the Control Tower

London (Online): Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot Tariq Ranjha put the lives of 70 passengers at stake on Sunday as he landed the aircraft at LondonHeathrowAirport in London despite being refused by the control tower.

According to sources, the control tower denied the request of landing the aircraft in the city due to the weather conditions. However, Ranjha kept insisting on landing the aircraft in London as the medical condition of a passenger, named Qasim Abu Bakar, was deteriorating.

He kept flying the aircraft in the skies of London despite the bad weather and also wasted fuel worth of millions. The control tower kept sending the message to the PIA pilot to divert the aircraft towards Manchester and Leeds.

However, the pilot’s request was finally accepted after an hour and was allowed to land the plane in the rough conditions.

After the landing, the aircraft was searched for 40 minutes by London Metropolitan Police and the passengers were finally allowed to leave the plane after being cleared.

Britain’s Civil Aviation has warned PIA to hold a proper investigation against the pilot of the fact that why he landed the aircraft despite the rough conditions. They added that the medical care could have been provided in Manchester and Leeds if the pilot landed the plane there.

Source:  Pakistan Today

Small is the Next Big Thing in Asia Aviation

After flying under the radar for many years, manufacturers of smaller jet and propeller-driven passenger aircraft are finding a bigger market in the Asia-Pacific with a slew of orders at the Singapore Airshow.

Canada’s Bombardier, Brazil’s Embraer, European joint venture ATR, Russia’s Sukhoi and Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft do not roll off the tongue as easily as Airbus or Boeing, but in the lucrative Asia market there is room for everyone.

Importantly, for the likes of Embraer, the world’s two largest aircraft manufacturers do not make aircraft that compete in the below-130 seat segment.

Low-cost airlines like AirAsia, Lion Air, and Cebu Pacific, with orders for hundreds of Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s, have driven much of the growth in the Asia Pacific airline market.

Increasingly, however, the major hub airports are getting crowded and there is growing demand for services to and between smaller second and third tier cities.

“The great opportunity in Southeast Asia is to get more people to fly, and that is about tier two and tier three cities,” said Torbjorn Karlsson, who leads aircraft sales for Bombardier in Southeast Asia.

He identified countries such as India, where only about 1 percent of country’s one-billion-plus population flies, and Indonesia and Thailand as inviting markets.

While there may still not be enough passengers to use the A320 or a 737, there is enough for smaller aircraft. And that is where the likes of Embraer and Bombardier come in. Thousands of this type of aircraft have been sold across Europe and the Americas, but relatively few have found their way to Asia. That’s now changing.

Embraer announced its first major Indian deal in Singapore, with start-up Air Costa ordering 50 jets valued at $2.94 billion on Thursday.

In a country like India, where Airbus and Boeing aircraft have saturated the market with airlines like IndiGo, SpiceJet (SPJT.BO) and GoAir, Costa is trying to find a niche for itself by connecting the smaller cities with Embraer jets.

“”You don’t need larger aircraft. This is enough for us,” said Ramesh Lingamaneni, chairman of Air Costa, which began operations in October and now has four Embraer jets. “Regional air services have enormous potential in India.”

Bombardier did not get any orders for its CSeries or CRJ jet aircraft, but Thai low-cost carrier Nok Air NOK.BK said that it would order up to eight of the Canadian company’s Q400 turboprop aircraft.

ATR, which dominates the turboprop market, inked a deal to sell up to eight of its 72-600 aircraft to Thai carrier Bangkok Airways. It also agreed to sell 20 aircraft to leasing firm Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, with options for 20 more, in a deal valued at $1 billion.

Sukhoi displayed a Superjet in the livery of its customer, Indonesia’s Sky Aviation, on the static display at the show. Japan’s Mitsubishi Aircraft and China’s AVIC are also developing aircraft that are expected to compete in the segment, and their executives were busy trying to impress potential customers in Singapore.

“There is lots of room to penetrate more into this market,” Paulo Cesar Silva, president and CEO of Embraer Commercial Aviation, told Reuters.

“You have to have the right aircraft. In the U.S., until two years ago, Delta was flying four times a day on the Boston-La Guardia route using A320s. Now, they place the E-175 11 times a day. You keep the frequency, the load factor is high, and the passenger is happy as every time you head to the airport, there is an aircraft leaving.”

There is intense rivalry within the segment too, with turboprop operators like ATR pointing out that their aircraft are more efficient over these short-haul routes.

“I think it’s partly the economics. On this short distance route the turboprop is the most efficient aircraft. Jets burn twice as much fuel, so costs are much higher. And a lot of these airports are not accessible for jets,” said ATR’s head of Global Sales, John Moore.


Source:  Reuters

Photo:  Reuters

COO Garry Filmer warns Australian aviation is on the brink of collapse

FOLLOWING from Qantas’ very public troubles and the news of Virgin’s impending $49 million loss, regional airline Rex has warned Australia’s entire aviation industry is on the brink of collapse.
Rex, or Regional Express Group, is the largest regional airline operating locally. It released a statement to the ASX which said its first half year financial results had plummeted. Rex expects its profit before tax would only be 40% of the same period last financial year.
Rex chief operating officer Garry Filmer said: “The entire aviation industry is financially haemorrhaging right now and approaching collapse.”
Mr Filmer said regional aviation was particularly hard-hit and has seen an average of one airline collapse every year for a decade. Aeropelican and Brindabella both folded in the past year.
Mr. Filmer called on the Abbott Government to do more to ensure the future of the industry, including fulfilling his pre-election promises. The Coalition promised to abolish the carbon tax which it said was punishing the aviation industry but has not been able to pass the legislation through parliament.

The Abbott Government had also committed to the reinstatement of the En Route Rebate Scheme, a targeted program to support low volume and new routes to small and remote communities.
For consumers, a less robust and competitive aviation industry could lead to higher prices. Ironically, cheap fares is partly responsible for the industry’s current predicament with prices staying relatively stable over the past 10 years while costs have gone up, leading to smaller margins for the airlines.
According to Mr Filmer, while leisure and discretionary travel had slightly declined, the bottom is falling out from business-related travel to regional areas.

“Many regional carriers have little time left before they face the same fate as Brindabella,” Mr Filmer added. “For many parts of regional Australia, this would spell the end of regular air services forever and it would be ironic if it were the Nationals that presided over this outcome.”
It’s another blow for Australia’s beleaguered aviation industry whose most recent struggles include a further 1,000 job losses at Qantas and an expected loss of $300 million for the July to December half year.

The national airline has been pleading for financial help from the federal government, arguing it does not play in a free-market environment against chief rival Virgin, who has foreign backing and renewed investment from Air New Zealand, Etihad and Singapore Airlines.

However, Virgin is also in a volatile position, announcing earlier this month it was expecting a $49 million loss in the six months to December. The announcement followed an earlier $98.1 million loss in the 2013 financial year, which led to a $90 million cash injection from its owners.

Source:  News.com.au

Photo:  News Limited

Report Shows that Pilots Often Head to Wrong Airports

WASHINGTON (AP) — Do you know the way to San Jose? Quite a few airline pilots apparently don’t.

On at least 150 flights, including one involving a Southwest Airlines jet last month in Missouri and a jumbo cargo plane last fall in Kansas, U.S. commercial air carriers have either landed at the wrong airport or started to land and realized their mistake in time, according to a search by The Associated Press of government safety databases and media reports since the early 1990s.

A particular trouble spot is San Jose, Calif. The list of landing mistakes includes six reports of pilots preparing to land at Moffett Field, a joint civilian-military airport, when they meant to go to Mineta San Jose International Airport, about 10 miles to the southeast. The airports are south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley.

“This event occurs several times every winter in bad weather when we work on Runway 12,” a San Jose airport tower controller said in a November 2012 report describing how an airliner headed for Moffett after being cleared to land at San Jose. A controller at a different facility who noticed the impending landing on radar warned his colleagues with a telephone hotline that piped his voice directly into the San Jose tower’s loudspeakers. The plane was waved off in time.

In nearly all the incidents, the pilots were cleared by controllers to guide the plane based on what they could see rather than relying on automation. Many incidents occur at night, with pilots reporting they were attracted by the runway lights of the first airport they saw during descent. Some pilots said they disregarded navigation equipment that showed their planes slightly off course because the information didn’t match what they were seeing out their windows – a runway straight ahead.

“You’ve got these runway lights, and you are looking at them, and they’re saying: `Come to me, come to me. I will let you land.’ They’re like the sirens of the ocean,” said Michael Barr, a former Air Force pilot who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California.

Using NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, along with news accounts and reports sent to other federal agencies, the AP tallied 35 landings and 115 approaches or aborted landing attempts at wrong airports by commercial passenger and cargo planes over more than two decades.

The tally doesn’t include every event. Many aren’t disclosed to the media, and reports to the NASA database are voluntary. The Federal Aviation Administration investigates wrong airport landings and many near-landings, but those reports aren’t publicly available. FAA officials turned down a request by The Associated Press for access to those records, saying some may include information on possible violations of safety regulations by pilots and might be used in an enforcement action.

NASA, on the other hand, scrubs its reports of identifying information to protect confidentiality, including names of pilots, controllers and airlines. While the database is operated by the space agency, it is paid for by the FAA and its budget has been frozen since 1997, said database director Linda Connell. As a result, fewer incident reports are being entered even though the volume of reports has soared, she said.

The accounts that are available paint a picture of repeated close calls, especially in parts of the country where airports are situated close together with runways similarly angled, including Nashville and Smyrna in Tennessee, Tucson and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, and several airports in South Florida.

In a report filed last July, for example, an airline captain described how his MD-80 was lined up to land at what he thought was San Antonio International Airport when a rider in the cockpit’s jump seat “shouted out that we were headed for Lackland Air Force Base.” The first officer, who was flying the plane, quickly aborted the landing and circled around to line up for the correct airport. The captain later thanked the cockpit passenger and phoned the San Antonio tower. “They did not seem too concerned,” he reported, “and said this happens rather frequently there.”

Continental Airlines’ regional carriers flying from Houston to Lake Charles Regional Airport on the Louisiana Gulf Coast have at least three times mistakenly landed at the smaller, nearby Southland Executive field. Both airports have runways painted with the numbers 15 and 33 to reflect their compass headings. Runways are angled based on prevailing winds.

The recent wrong airport landings by a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 in Missouri and an Atlas Air Boeing 747 freighter in Kansas have heightened safety concerns. The Southwest pilots stopped just short of a ravine at the end of the short runway in Hollister, Mo., when they meant to land on a runway twice as long at the nearby Branson airport. Of the 35 documented wrong landings, 23 occurred at airports with shorter runways. The runways were longer in three cases, they were the same length in two and the wrong airport wasn’t identified or its runway length was unavailable in seven.

FAA officials emphasized that cases of wrong airport landings are rare. There are nearly 29,000 commercial aircraft flights daily in the U.S., but only eight wrong airport landings by U.S. carriers in the last decade, according to AP’s tally. None has resulted in death or injury.

“The FAA reviews reported wrong-airport incidents to determine whether steps such as airfield lighting adjustments may reduce pilot confusion,” the agency said in a statement.

But John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and aviation safety expert, says the FAA and the NTSB should be concerned. Air crashes are nearly always the result of a string of safety lapses rather than a single mistake, he noted. Attempts to land at wrong airports represent “another step up the ladder toward a riskier operation,” he said.

Runway condition is also a worry when a plane makes a mistaken approach. When an air traffic controller clears a plane to land on a specific runway, “you know you pretty much have a clear shot at a couple of miles of smooth concrete,” said Rory Kay, a training captain at a major airline. “If you choose to land somewhere else, then all bets are off. There could be a bloody big hole in the middle of the runway. There could be a barrier across it. There could be vehicles working on it.”

In some reports, pilots said they were saved from making a wrong airport landing by an alert controller. That was the case for an MD-80 captain who nearly landed his mid-sized airliner at Page Field, a small airport in Fort Myers, Fla., used mainly by private pilots, instead of the much larger Southwest Florida International Airport nearby. A controller caught the mistake in time and suggested the captain explain the detour by telling passengers the flight was “touring downtown” Fort Myers.

“I was pretty shaken as to what could have happened and was very glad to have an understanding, helpful (controller),” the captain said. “They (controllers) said there would be no problem with (the FAA) and that this was a common occurrence.”


Source:  Associated Press

Happy Birthday Jumbo! – 45 Today!

She changed air travel forever. Such a massive jump in size from the 707 or DC-8

It was a very different world then in many many ways. Airbus was still being formed and was 3 years from flying it’s first aircraft. Mc Donnell/Douglas was still getting over it’s merger and working on the DC10. Lockheed were re entering the commercial aviation market with their beautiful but sadly commercially unsuccessful L1011 Tristar. Also Concorde with it’s speed which many had high hopes for at the time.

The 747 reigned supreme for more or less 40 years. In my opinion she is still one of the very best rides in the sky, especially in First up in the nose or in business on the upper deck.
What will the next 45 years hold? Hopefully an A380-900 and a new large twin from Airbus and Boeing plus new narrow bodied twins. But these will not be anything like the massive change is size which the 747 brought.

The "City of Everett", the prototype of the Boeing 747, currently located at the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. The prototype had its first test flight on 9 February, 1969.

The “City of Everett”, the prototype of the Boeing 747, currently located at the Museum of Flight on Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. The prototype had its first test flight on 9 February, 1969.

The Airliners Community.

Myanma Airways will Lease up to a Dozen of Boeing 737 Aircraft

Myanma Airways is set to order up to a dozen Boeing 737 jets on lease in what appears to be the largest single fleet expansion in Myanmar as the country opens up to business and tourism, aviation industry sources said.

The aircraft will be provided by the world’s largest leasing company, General Electric’s aviation leasing arm GECAS, the sources said, asking not to be identified.

The decision is expected to be announced at the Singapore Airshow, which runs from Feb 11 to 16.

The airline could not be reached for comment. Boeing declined to comment.

State-run Myanma Airways, which owns 20 percent of flag carrier Myanmar Airways International, currently flies only domestic routes. Experts say the 160-seat Boeing 737 would give the airline flexibility and range to operate internationally.

Leasing companies rent aircraft to airlines in exchange for a monthly fee. Each 737 aircraft is worth around $90 million at list prices when ordered directly from planemaker Boeing.

After years of isolation, Myanmar is seen as one of the last frontiers for aviation in Asia.

Passenger numbers are surging as new airlines spring up and foreign carriers rush in.

However there are concerns about the lack of infrstracture and the country suffers a poor safety record.

Myanma Airways grounded its three Chinese-made Xian MA60s in 2012 after two of the turboprop aircraft suffered accidents on landing within a month.

Source: Reuters

Photo:  Reuters

Will FAA Safety Downgrade Send Indian Aviation into a Tailspin?

Not long ago, Indian aviation seemed to have the wind at its back. The panic sown by the downfall of Kingfisher Airlines had all but disappeared. The government’s decision to allow foreign carriers to invest in Indian airlines had rescued an ailing private carrier and set the stage for the launch of two airlines. Air India was making a steady return to health.

More airports were on track to be run by private operators. What a difference a few months make. Last week, US authorities cut India’s air safety rating for the first time, aviation’s equivalent of a public flogging, highlighting the erratic nature of growth in the sector.

The decision of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to revise India’s air safety oversight ranking from ‘1’ to ‘2’ triggered a deluge of reactions like “humiliation”, “a black day in India’s aviation history” and “doomed”.

These were not only by pundits: aviation is much like cricket — everyone is an expert or at least believes so and the sector attracts a large following of bored former airline executives, retired bureaucrats, aspirants and plain enthusiasts. The reactions were hardly surprising — to conclude Indian aviation is as safe as that of Swaziland, Uruguay and Zimbabwe cannot be music to ears. India’s ambitions to emerge as a leading aviation market had come crashing down.

Read more at:

Photo:  CNN


FAA Approved the Installation of Angle of Attack Indicator (AOA) in Small Airplanes

The Federal Aviation Administration – FAA approved the design requirements for installation of angle of attack indicator (AOA) on small aircraft by simplifying design approval requirements.  AOA devices, common on military and large civil aircraft, can be added to small planes to supplement airspeed indicators and stall warning systems, alerting pilots of a low airspeed condition before a dangerous aerodynamic stall occurs, especially during takeoff and landing.

ICON AIRCRAFT GAUGEAn “angle of attack” is the angle between a plane’s wing and the oncoming air.  If the angle of attack becomes too great, the wing can stall and lose lift. If a pilot fails to recognize and correct the situation, a stall could lead to loss of control of the aircraft and an abrupt loss of altitude. Stalls can happen during any phase of flight, but they are critical when planes are near the ground and have less room to recover, such as during landing and takeoff.

AOA indicators may help prevent loss of control in small aircraft because they provide a more reliable indication of airflow over the wing. Although they have been available for some time, the effort and cost associated with gaining installation approval has limited their use in general aviation. The streamlined requirements are expected to lead to greater use of the devices and increased safety in general aviation.

AOA“We have eliminated major barriers so pilots can add another valuable cockpit aid for safety,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “These indicators provide precise information to the pilot, and could help many avoid needless accidents.”

Under the new policy, manufacturers must build the AOA indicator system according to standards from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM) and apply for FAA approval for the design via a letter certifying that the equipment meets ATSM standards and was produced under required quality systems. The FAA’s Chicago Aircraft Certification Office will process all applications to ensure consistent interpretation of the policy.

The FAA believes this streamlined policy may serve as a prototype for production approval and installation of other add-on aircraft systems in the future.

Source:  FAA News


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