What a fabulous electronic world aviation has emerged into. Whereas we used to wander around within a few miles of where we either thought we were or wanted to be, now we fly with centimetric precision. What a blessing: what a curse: did you find yourself looking at the graphic above for just a little too long? They are mesmeric aren’t they?
The gliding world used to be known for developing stick and rudder skills, aviators that scent the air for thermals, spot soaring birds and make for the updrafts they lazily bask within as they ascend with minimal effort. Cranking around in those same summer thermals was a delight with a vario’ wailing gently at you, ducking involuntarily as another glider’s shadow crossed your canopy: what happy days. I dare say these skills are kept alive by devotees, proper aviators who for some reason enjoy the act of breathing and fervently want to continue. What of the rest of us who fly GA aircraft, particularly clear of Controlled Airspace?
No, not joking. I had lunch with my pal Rob Mark of Jetwhine recently in London, he came across to attend a conference so we met up. Previously we had met in Chicago for breakfast, we agreed that dinner and a glass of whine is next. Jets might even precede that.
We talked of many things across a short period of time but one thing that animated us both quite independently was the pilot employment question. Between bites we discovered that our views were in sync -
The Air France accident has had its repercussions as will the spate of over-runs later as airline training departments craft their next Checks. Unreliable Airspeed has emerged as a feature on this seasons ATQP offering.
The blockage, loss or failure of pitot and static systems or air data computers has caused several accidents across the years. Current theories on the loss of AF447 GRU-CDG 1st June 2009 focus on these systems.
A brief description of the issue for anyone not familiar with the nature of the problem, and at systems level it is a complex one and specific to type so I will not comment on the mechanics other than generally.
I hope this gives an insight and overview – it certainly isn’t designed to be a flying lesson “your honour’.
I hope Matthew Stribe of GolfHotelWhiskey.com will forgive me for using his post source material; this is a wonderful clip showing the recovery of Chesley Sullenberger’s A320 from the Hudson. ‘Right place, right time’ for David Martin, his blog has some cracking images of the recovery which reveal the process stage by stage. Dramatic scoring and ingenuity makes for a memorable piece.
Thanks for the ‘eye on the scene’ work David, this is the kind of material that makes the web such an amazing tool and who knows, maybe points the way to the evolving nature of journalism. At the scene of every major event in the future there will be many cameras, both stills and video to catch the fleeting moments that cause us to ponder the nature of our existence.
Low speed rejected takeoffs (with high thrust/hi bypass engines such as the 777 – A300 etc), particularly those with a crosswind from the critical side can be a real challenge. They may even be unrecoverable in the sense that you cannot remain on the paved surface. Performed in the simulator this exercise is sobering – on the line? Well, watch the clip.
Snapping the thrust levers back fast enough to get the thrust decaying (that is the key contributor) and quickly popping in (the correct) lateral inputs is the response. On a contaminated runway where traction is reduced – it just isn’t your day… In case you are wondering, counter reverse doesn’t work, it all happens too quickly. Good job I’d say.
Iran-bound plane slides off runway in Sweden
The Associated Press
Published: January 16th, 2010 04:34 AM
STOCKHOLM – An Iran Air-owned Airbus bound for Tehran slid off a Stockholm runway on Saturday, but no one was hurt, a Swedish airport official said. Some 172 people, including 23 crew members, were on board the Airbus 300-600 when it swerved off the runway and glided some 130 yards (100 meters) into the snow. Everyone was safely evacuated, Arlanda airport spokesman Anders Bredfall said.
The pilot will be off the flight deck in a short while. “The last fighter pilot has been born, the last fighter built.” These are some of statements written or repeated by Scott Spangler of Jetwhine, someone I don’t know but suspect has his tongue firmly rammed into the corner of his cheek. See the post on Jetwhine for the authors and more on the proposition. That must be close to his real objective, stirring up controversy that is.
Anyone who spends their working day up there can plot across time the development of the high tech flight deck and the out of step march of technology on the ground that manages the sky. The pace of advancement on the side of automation is driven by the military through UAV programs but anyone with a ounce of analytical inclination can see that progress and public attitudes just will not cross for many, many years to come.
One inhibitor is ever increasing traffic densities robbing the system of flex and airspace, another sovereignty based issues. Another still and by far the major hurdle is the huge investment that would be required in ground support infrastructure. We can’t yet fund and set up something as simple as a satellite based ATC communications system to manage the Atlantic or Africa, what makes us think we will be able to put in place the agreements and kit required to intermix and manage automated airliners internationally? It may happen, but not for a very long time yet – I would stake my job and even my rocking chair on it!
Nice try Scott but get real, pulling our chain is one thing, a serious proposal is quite another.
Now military aviation, that’s more than subtly different.
This has gone largely unnoticed as it failed to make the news around the world. The hull burnt out completely.
The airport closure delayed our PVG-LHR service by an hour.
A Zimbabwe-registered cargo plane crashed when taking off at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport at 8:12am today, killing three foreign crew and injured four. The MD11 aircraft, heading to Kyrgyzstan, overshot the runway and burned when departing. The fire was put out at 9am.
Four crew aboard were rescued by 10:53am and three others were confirmed dead in the crash.
Two of the three runways at the Pudong Airport were closed after the accident. Some flights were delayed.
At last I have found someone who believes in the value of information design to humanity. For as long as I can remember I have been rattling on about it, sometimes in the face of bafflement from those you would think would know better. It has always seemed to me that many of our technical resources within aviation take a roundabout and wasteful route in their attempts to enlighten us. Perhaps it is just the way I look at the world and everything in it, but don’t you get frustrated when pages and pages of badly constructed text are used to illustrate a concept or sequence of instructions designed to help you understand, work with or operate something? Why use words when carefully considered graphics supported by a little text could do the task in moments? Not only is this single track response to information transfer wasteful of time and mental effort, it has the potential to be dangerous.