Boeing will Deliver Today its 1500th 747

Lufthansa will fly away today with the 1,500th 747 ever produced.

The Boeing 747-800 first flew on 2011; the -800 introduced a series of improvements on the 747 like redesign of its wings, new cabin features and new engines. The fuselage was stretched from 232 to 251 feet (70.8 to 76.4 m). The cockpit of the -8 is equipped with same technology as the 787.

This is a major milestone for an aircraft which has been in production since 1968 that contributed to the creation of ultra-long routes and reshaped the global air travel.

“It’s the most recognizable aircraft produced today,” says Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of Boeing’s 747 program. “Fifteen-hundred 747s is a huge number, especially for an airplane this size. To partner with Lufthansa, to send them this airplane, is really something special.”

But the number of 747s coming off Boeing’s production line north of Seattle has slowed down to just 1.5 per month, from about 6 per month in 1990. Airlines show today an increasing preference for two-engine widebody jets, like the Airbus A330 and Boeing 777, these aircraft can seat less people, but burn less fuel on comparable flying distances.

Capt. Ivan

A350 XWB Test Fleet Completed with Milestone First Flight


The fifth and final A350 XWB flight test aircraft – which is designated MSN005 – took to the skies for the first time on 20 June 2014. This milestone maiden flight confirmed that the A350 XWB development programme is operating at full speed and on track for certification during the third quarter of 2014. As the second passenger cabin-equipped A350 XWB, MSN005 will be tasked with route proving and ETOPS validation.

Airbus Media Room

Asiana Flight 214 Crash – NTSB Animation

The National Transportation Safety Board determines that the probable cause of this accident was the flight crew’s mismanagement of the airplane’s descent during the visual approach, the pilot flying’s unintended deactivation of automatic airspeed control, the flight crew’s inadequate monitoring of airspeed, and the flight crew’s delayed execution of a go-around after they became aware that the airplane was below acceptable glidepath and airspeed tolerances. Contributing to the accident were; (1) the complexities of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems that were inadequately described in Boeing’s documentation and Asiana’s pilot training, which increased the likelihood of mode error; (2) the flight crew’s nonstandard communication and coordination regarding the use of the autothrottle and autopilot flight director systems; (3) the pilot flying’s inadequate training on the planning and executing of visual approaches; (4) the pilot monitoring/instructor pilot’s inadequate supervision of the pilot flying; and (5) flight crew fatigue which likely degraded their performance.

On July 6, 2013, about 1128 Pacific daylight time, a Boeing 777-200ER, Korean registration HL7742, operating as Asiana Airlines flight 214, was on approach to runway 28L when it struck a seawall at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California. Three of the 291 passengers were fatally injured; 40 passengers, 8 of the 12 flight attendants, and 1 of the 4 flight crewmembers received serious injuries. The other 248 passengers, 4 flight attendants, and 3 flight crewmembers received minor injuries or were not injured. The airplane was destroyed by impact forces and a postcrash fire. Flight 214 was a regularly scheduled international passenger flight from Incheon International Airport, Seoul, Korea, operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 129. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed.

The flight was vectored for a visual approach to runway 28L and intercepted the final approach course about 14 nautical miles (nm) from the threshold at an altitude slightly above the desired 3° glidepath. This set the flight crew up for a straight-in visual approach; however, after the flight crew accepted an air traffic control instruction to maintain 180 knots to 5 nm from the runway, the flight crew mismanaged the airplane’s descent, which resulted in the airplane being well above the desired 3° glidepath when it reached the 5 nm point. The flight crew’s difficulty in managing the airplane’s descent continued as the approach continued. In an attempt to increase the airplane’s descent rate and capture the desired glidepath, the pilot flying (PF) selected an autopilot (A/P) mode (flight level change speed [FLCH SPD]) that instead resulted in the autoflight system initiating a climb because the airplane was below the selected altitude. The PF disconnected the A/P and moved the thrust levers to idle, which caused the autothrottle (A/T) to change to the HOLD mode, a mode in which the A/T does not control airspeed. The PF then pitched the airplane down and increased the descent rate. Neither the PF, the pilot monitoring (PM), nor the observer noted the change in A/T mode to HOLD.

As the airplane reached 500 ft above airport elevation, the point at which Asiana’s procedures dictated that the approach must be stabilized, the precision approach path indicator (PAPI) would have shown the flight crew that the airplane was slightly above the desired glidepath. Also, the airspeed, which had been decreasing rapidly, had just reached the proper approach speed of 137 knots. However, the thrust levers were still at idle, and the descent rate was about 1,200 ft per minute, well above the descent rate of about 700 fpm needed to maintain the desired glidepath; these were two indications that the approach was not stabilized. Based on these two indications, the flight crew should have determined that the approach was unstabilized and initiated a go-around, but they did not do so. As the approach continued, it became increasingly unstabilized as the airplane descended below the desired glidepath; the PAPI displayed three and then four red lights, indicating the continuing descent below the glidepath. The decreasing trend in airspeed continued, and about 200 ft, the flight crew became aware of the low airspeed and low path conditions but did not initiate a go-around until the airplane was below 100 ft, at which point the airplane did not have the performance capability to accomplish a go-around. The flight crew’s insufficient monitoring of airspeed indications during the approach resulted from expectancy, increased workload, fatigue, and automation reliance.

Public information from NTSB Docket DCA13MA120

History of Aviation in Australia

Australia is rich in aviation history, known for being the leading pioneers before World War 2, learning and creating history changing aircraft for many years. Below are some of the milestones of Australia’s aviation history.

Lawrence Hargrave, 1850 – 1915

Lawrence Hargrave was a pioneering inventor, engineer, explorer and astronomer. He lived in Stanwell Park due to the perfect conditions provided by the location for his flying machines. The park is still being used today as a paragliding and hang gliding locale.

Among Hargrave’s inventions, the rotary engine was one of his three significant works. He was the first to incorporate it in aircrafts, which helped power early models. Another one of his inventions was aerofoil. Its unique shape helped provide lift in aircrafts. Hargrave’s box kite was his third important invention. This was able to increase the lift to drag ration for the glider’s designs during this era.

Australian Flying Corps and its evolution

In 1912, the Australian Flying Corps (AFP) was established as a branch of the Australian Army and were responsible for aircraft operations during the First World War. When the AFP was first established, they started with four aircrafts, seven warrant officers, seven sergeants and 32 mechanics. There was no training conducted during its first two years until War erupted in 1914.
The Australian Flying Corps held their training at the Central Flying School in Point Cook. However, a majority of the training needed to be done overseas in England. Training in the UK took about three hours of dual instruction. This was followed by 20 hours of solo flying. The first Australian aircrew were taught by Henry Petre and Eric Harrison within the batch’s home country.
The corps became part of the British Royal Flying Corps and took part in the France and Middle East aerial combat during the war. They disbanded in 1919 when they came home to Australia in order to create the Australian Air Corps. They re-established themselves as the “Royal Australian Air Force” in 1921.

Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia

The Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia (RFDS) is responsible for answering health emergencies in remote parts of Australia. They are an organisation providing health care to people without access to common medical facilities. The RFDS was initially based on the Aerial Medical Service by Reverend John Flynn as a one year experiment. He believed a medical facility built in bush communities was insufficient to help people who live in more rural communities.
The Flying Doctors was a success in its first year and was known as the first air ambulance in the world. Today, the RFDS is still providing medical services to people in remote areas of Australia. In addition to aircrafts, they also use 4WD cars and other land vehicles.

The above are just a few of the more significant impacts of Australians on the aircraft industry, with aviation research and innovations still continuing today.

Author By-line:
Joseph Kahlil was named after Kahlil Gibran – a world-renowned poet and author of “The Prophet.” Following his footsteps, he harnesses his creative juices through poetry, prose, and occasional musings about the “human condition.” As an observer, Kahlil loves to write about technology, the arts and aviation. He occasionally writes for Aviation Australia.




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