Look for a moment at the A400 fiasco. The RAF wants and needs the C17, more now than ever before with a seriously compromised airlift capability. The early C130 series aircraft are on their last legs, we don’t have enough ‘Js’ to replace them. Talking to those who have operated and administered the C130 and the C17 provides a measure of both aircraft against the in theatre requirements. Apparently the C17 in greater numbers and the ‘Js’ would do the lot! A matter of opinion perhaps but my source was well qualified to comment. Despite Boeing offering very significant inducements to help them keep the C17 line open the A400 was chosen and for the usual reason – politics. The threat of job losses in the UK Airbus wing manufacturing (in the news) being one of them and the political implications for the government in power.
Telegraph Thomas Enders, Airbus president, said the Chinese are “very eager and very ambitious” and likely to catch up with Western levels of productivity at Airbus sites in China within two to three years.
“Right now the UK is the supplier of wings for the Airbus family but that doesn’t mean the Chinese can’t build a good wing,” he told the Telegraph. “If we underestimate our Chinese friends, there will be a problem. Europe is not the only play in town.
Who’s interest would it be in to have large portions of its aircraft manufactured in China? Who would be forced to follow? Where would the job losses be reflected? In the end, who would have the money to fly aboard the products?
One enormous circle of politics and prosperity that needs balance and no breaks to keep it functional. Who do we trust with the circle, politicians of course. I will be voting for change then praying for competence just like I always do. Another forlorn hope?
It is being alleged that a couple of Indian carriers are being refueled by the state owned oil company but not paying for the fuel. Sounds like a ‘Mediterranean’ subsidy – but on the Indian subcontinent. How very… creative.
Airtime: Mon. Jun. 15 2009 | :15:0 09 ET
British Airways CEO Willie Walsh decided to give up his annual bonus again this year as the airline seeks to cut another 2,000 staff. Walsh spoke to CNBC’s Simon Hobbs about BA’s proposed 3-way alliance with American Airlines and Iberia.
This may have been published a while ago but the conversation has enormous relevance to what is happening within the company at the moment.
Getting the truth out of Boeing is a real struggle. This issue that the company is trying to represent as something minor that can be patched internally was the wing starting to delaminate at something less than 120% of the maximum design load….. More
Interestingly, EADS during their weight reduction program for the A380 asked Broughton UK to reduce the weight of the A380′s wing.
They responded by saying that, “You produced a specification and we deigned a wing. It is as strong as it needs to be with no extra weight included within it. No, we will not take weight out as this would compromise strength.”
Not verbatim and a simplification of course, but very much in the spirit…. and you get the drift?
I have just watched the the program via iPlayer. A tip – if you live anywhere other than the UK you cannot watch BBC iPlayer, access is blocked. Unless that is, you have access to a VPN (a Virtual Private Network) then you can log in to iPlayer and watch the content.
What an excellent presenter May is, he manages to engage his audience without insulting their intelligence or engaging in technical banter at a level that loses them. Quite a feat when describing the Apollo program which clearly absolutely absorbs him. I am with him there, the more I see and read the more the scope of those missions fire the imagination. They were bold, very bold and allegedly run with far less computer power than the average mobile phone today. I still keep shaking my head…
Houston Space Centre is well worth the visit and so must Kennedy be. When standing next to the Saturn 5 the sheer scale of the rocketry and audacity of the missions is mind blowing. Like James and a billion others I watched the Apollo missions on black and white TV. Like him I clearly didn’t absorb fully the gravity of what they were about. This is a tremendous piece of television and to cap it all, my favorite band Elbow provide some of the background music.
Further reading, perhaps one of the best stories from with the Apollo missions from a man uniquly positioned to give you the inside track – the Mission Controller of Apollo 13 and many more. If you get the chance, when wandering around the exhibits at the Houston centre, look up at the Gemini capsule suspended above the walkways and imagine what would have happened if they had been unable to stow and relock the egress hatches after their walk in space as they orbited the planet. Then take a close look at the construction of the capsules of the era. Balls of steel!
One reviewer whose reading experience matched mine.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars An accessible account of a great period of exploration, 30 Jan 2002
By A Customer
This book is a joy for anyone remotely interested in the US space program. Kranz, a key member of mission control throughout the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs talks frankly about the people and technology directly involved in man’s journey to the moon. Never getting loaded with technical jargon, Kranz has blended his personality into this hi-tech story to create an accessible and heart-warming read. His account of the fire of Apollo 1 is searingly painful for it’s simplicity, the excitement of being Flight Director for the Apollo 11 moon landing like a beautiful scent wafting up from the pages of this book.
How wonderful also for him to acknowledge the invaluable role played by his wife, when so many other marriages in this stressful time were failing.
I agree wholeheartedly with the reviews on the back of this book – it is a very welcome addition the lore of manned spaceflight. A must for all those interested in this topic.
There is something amazing about high altitude flight, particularly when it takes you to the edge of space. James May of BBC’s Top Gear programme seems to be similarly interested and has managed to blag a ride aboard a U2. A really interesting insight but for the full picture watch BBC 2 this evening at 9pm.
The next few weeks at British Airways will not be pleasant, the leadership team and departmental managers have been negotiating hard with unions to meet the challenges of the downturn. The truth of the predicament has not been lost on those in Flight Operations where a clear understanding seems to exist of the problem. Our hope is that the same clarity is evident elsewhere.
Trust is always a tough thing to establish after it has been lost in any industry and these are times that test it to breaking point. I still cannot get over the response that one US carrier’s pilots had to a particularly gloom laden meeting. The carriers leadership team confronted the pilots union just after 9/11 with a demand to chop salaries and benefits by significant percentage points. The guys took the news to their members and they responded positively. If this was going to save the airline from certain death then a sacrifice had to be made.
They took the deal as bad as it was on the chin. Shortly afterwards the airline’s leadership team awarded themselves a $340M bonus for the productivity they had negotiated – the pilots were predictably furious but the deal had been done.
Trust is pivotal and by telling the story above I do not suggest for one minute that our Leadership Team have such moves in mind, but I wonder if that particular US carrier is ever in the brown stuff again, will its pilots respond to the clarion call to help out? What will they do when times improve and the bottom line swells?
Either way the chances are that the LT in place at the time will be long gone with their money and the smiling faces across the table will point towards their predecessors and say, “Hey guys, that was history, you have a new team now” as the sun glints off an immaculate set of pearly white teeth.
Let us all hope that with our new reality in the world we can see a day coming where we are told the truth and dealt with fairly. Who wants to return to the ’70s industrial scene – not me!
Lufthansa have developed a novel way of dealing with the problem of cyclic demand and soft trading environments.
The analyst may have ‘grave doubts’ as to the power of thunderstorms in the ITCZ to bring down an A330. I doubt that my colleagues do – I certainly don’t. What technical factors complicated a recovery may take some time to divine but it does sound as though were are some. Airbus can be tight lipped as can Boeing but that shouldn’t surprise us, answers will be tough to get and speculation (like this) isn’t helpful. Still, we are creatures who cannot help but wonder and search for the truth.
I had a short encounter in that very region some ten years ago on the 747-400. We left our track to avoid a line (across our track) deviating over 100 nms before penetrating the line between two cells. It was a suckers gap, on the ‘other side’ of the cells was a valley with no immediate opening – nowhere to go. During our ‘exit’ we clipped the top of a very large cell. We didn’t do that again in a hurry, funnily enough I haven’t done it since.
CPDLC/ADS – data linking between pilot/aircraft and the air traffic control system tracks suitably equipped aircraft very closely. This may well already have identified the likely point of loss as data would cease to have been transmitted and therefore received. The major problem with search and rescue operations will almost certainly be the potentially remote location. Probably beyond the range of shore based helicopter operations so in the hands of surface vessels and their assets.
What a great sadness this is for so many people, I fear that a lightning strike might be a little implausible, thunderstorm penetration would be more likely.