The Digital Aviator has been running since 2006: after a few technical problems I have decided to relaunch within an new environment. Much of my older material has gone to that great electron graveyard in the sky.
As previously any aviation related subject may be discussed but my focus will be on today's Digital Aviator, a description that must at least to some extent include us all. I will try to create a pleasing mix that reflects a passion for flight whilst bringing forth innovations that enhance the flyer's experience.
Today as never before, learning and information management are crucial skills. Schools and airlines are very adept at meeting regulator's demands to disseminate information and introduce learning requirements: few tell us how best to integrate these into our lives. Fewer still have a tight grasp of the technologies available to assist with these tasks. We will progressively address these issues whilst discussing our mutual passion - flight.
Our planet has been here for around 5 Billion years: our sun has another 4-5 to go before things get a little fraught for us Earthlings. That leaves us plenty time to explore our options unless a dino-killer comes tumbling our way from the depths of space.
We seem intent on reaching out into our Solar System and beyond having landed a spacecraft on a speeding (34,000 mph) comet 300 million miles away and over decades sent probes to the furthest reaches of our system. Whilst autonomous vehicles may dominate exploration and research in deep space, one day we will be sending man out there.
This clip and space art generally inspire in me a sense of wonder, I hope it does for you too. Try full screen with some volume, Carl Sagan's voice is worth the listening.
All the scenes are compelling but don't you find yourself craving to try high-level flight with your own wings, or better, the Lo-Grav Jump? For these and other experiences, who needs a return ticket after what will become an emigration with a difference?
Living in the hull of a tired airliner must have its limitations and restrictions and the desitre for a wide-body upgrade is wholly understandable. I admire Bruce's determination not to compromise but wonder what his nearest and dearest thinks about the family home. I can think of a few who might baulk at the thought let alone the reality. Mind you, I could be sold on the bigger version, Perhaps a panaoramic wide format and shaped window in the side of the feuselage to provide the vista to go with the G&T?
"We would want them to be recovered and be re-used in an environmentally sustainable fashion.'
Campbell was in his early 20s when he paid around $23,000 for the 10 acres on which his plane rests. His original plan was to make a home from freight vans, but then he decided a plane would be better. A van still sits nearby, covered in growth.
He purchased the 727 after hearing about a Mississippi hairdresser who had done it.
Now, about $220,000, many years of work and several hard-learned lessons later, Campbell is ready to do it all over again, this time with a Boeing 747 he hopes to buy and move to Japan, where he also spends half of the year.
Campbell is working to restore some of the plane's original features, from the cockpit to flight stairs, a working lavatory, LED lighting and some of the seats.
A post devoted to the Sopwith Strutter, the first combat mount of Major Arthur Keen, O.C. 40 Squadron (SE5a), died 2 Sept 1918. The post is a mirror of that found on our 'Aviator in the Attic' website that chronicles the writing of an account of this distinguished aviator's service within the RFC/RAF, 1915-1918. Arthur's personal archive was discovered in a relative's attic, it contained over 200 letters, photographs, awards and decorations. He died aged 23 after a flying accident.
This is another fascinating high-tech project that's a little off the wall. I love it for its far-sighted participants and backers. The devotion and focus that turns these ideas into reality is really inspiring.
Proposal: Today’s Science Fiction is tomorrows reality - imagination drives innovation and eventually, design and production.
Our Science Fiction
We reduce the crew compliment on the airliner flight decks to one, turn the pilot into more of a systems manager than he/she is today by upgrading autopilot and aircraft systems beyond their current capabilities. The widespread introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within advanced systems should enable this to be done safely. The goal being to reduce the cost of the second/third/fourth pilots currently required for long/ultra long-haul operations. Start with military aircraft and use the proven route of technology transfer from military to civil applications.
For a decade now something approaching the concept above has been debated within the airline world, the difference being that moves to make the changes would be taken before systems like those being suggested below are introduced in the coming decades. The idea that a single pilot might occupy the modern flight deck during the low workload portions of a flight is alive - now. And why not?
At first sight the concept sounds plausible enough; ensure that the only pilot at the controls managing the flight remains awake, give him/her a pee-tube to answer the call of nature. We might need to make the seats a little more, or even less comfortable, provide a G-Suit- like system to flex the lower blood vessels to prevent inadvertent heart problems of course. Then there is psychological welfare, how would it be for our pilot sitting there for 5–6 hours with just the company of a ‘pilot arousal monitor’? This isn’t what DARPA is working on, they are thinking in terms of shorter duration flights with a really heavy workload. But a transferrable unit dropped into multiple aircraft types? Interesting, so the aircraft itself isn’t adapted… **it remains the type we know and love like say, a C17 or an A330? **
Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System envisions a tailorable, drop‐in, removable kit that would enable the addition of high levels of automation into existing aircraft to enable operation with reduced onboard crew. The program intends to leverage the considerable advances that have been made in aircraft automation systems over the past 50 years, as well as the advances made in remotely piloted aircraft automation, to help reduce pilot workload, augment mission performance and improve aircraft safety.
“Our goal is to design and develop a full-time automated assistant that could be rapidly adapted to help operate diverse aircraft through an easy-to-use operator interface,” said Daniel Patt, DARPA program manager. “These capabilities could help transform the role of pilot from a systems operator to a mission supervisor directing intermeshed, trusted, reliable systems at a high level.”
As an automation system, ALIAS would execute a planned mission from takeoff to landing, even in the face of contingency events such as aircraft system failures. ALIAS system attributes, such as persistent state monitoring and rapid procedure recall, would provide a potential means to further enhance flight safety. Easy-to-use touch and voice interfaces could enable supervisor-ALIAS interaction. ALIAS would also serve as a platform for enabling additional automation or autonomy capabilities tailored for specific missions.
3) Human-machine interfaces: A vision for ALIAS is that the human operator provides high‐level input consistent with replanning and mission‐level supervision and is not engaged in lower‐level flight maintenance tasks that demand constant vigilance.
Sooo, he/she isn’t flying the aircraft, maintaining situational awareness, monitoring the conduct of the flight or in fact - being a pilot at all? He is, with the aid of automation, doing everyone else’s job?
I can see that the military may have a lot to gain here, but building this in one hop may be a skip too far. Aviation has taught us that man is an appalling monitor, easily bored and just as easily distracted. He gets mission fixated and often finds it difficult, when under pressure, to assign correct priorities. Much of the training within the airline environment focuses on these areas to invest in the right outcomes when we face adversity. This should be an interesting project to watch and learn from.
And, ‘they gonna be saving money here’?
Anything ‘more biological’ would involve waking the other pilot who is resting before he relieves his colleague. ↩
Isn’t Phantom Eye exactly what you would love to see as a advanced technology testbed for light aircraft development? Hydrogen powered motors, ultra-light airframe component technologies, advanced data-linking etc.
Excuse the dramatised title, but how many times have you run across useful content only to lose the link in your overladen bookmark archive? Give it a month or two and links can be broken, information lost in what feels like an unlimited expanse - an infinite landscape. Getting back to it costs time you might spend more usefully. Ok, we all have work-arounds, we get by, but we need order, dependability and a solid workflow to study effectively.
If you’ve tried active collaboration and benefited, you don’t need me to build a case for it. But every successful collaboration relies on communication, either face to face or through other tools.
Observing colleagues working from the flight deck jump-seat can be an excellent experience. You learn vicariously picking up tips from the smart operators: spotting holes you mark for avoidance. A little humility goes a long way during occupation of that privileged seat, you get to look through the eyes of others, see what they value and gain insight into how they think and work.
So how about a tool that enables you to see what your fellow collaborators believe is worthy of interest, ’get an insight into their thinking? Connections like these form great focus points for conversation later or perhaps lead thought in a particular direction. Misconceptions or misunderstanding are identified, argued through and corrected. The very stuff of the collaborative approach to learning — online or off. To reap these and other rewards while learning online we need a tool.
Enter DIIGO. Like Textexpander, Diigo needs careful inspection before you see its value. It helps you organise your research into contextual groupings, marks what you consider important and enables you to annotate/highlight material on websites that remain visible only to members of your DIIGO Group* - your fellow students. The wonderful thing about each annotation being that they are stored online for later access and can be individually tagged and even better, searched. Periodically (you chose the interval) an email generated by Diigo is circulated to every member of the Group with detail of all members notes and annotations. Each is linked - you can immediately return to it. If tags are allocated searching for related content becomes a very simple matter.
e.g. If you and I are working on a project and are on opposite sides of the world but within the same DIIGO group, we can follow each other’s activity, even get a daily email that summarises that activity and provides links that will take us to each others bookmarks and notations. And again, if you cross a website where I have highlighted a paragraph, provided you are logged into our DIIGO group you will see the highlight on your browser. Remember, our annotations and highlights work on any webpage - anywhere, forum, intranet or within other secure areas.
The power and utility of DIIGO must be experienced for its possibilities to be realised. Again, a measure of discipline and application within collaborative groups is required for individuals to see that participation is really worth the effort. We can all be a bit conservative in our habits - a little reluctant to change our workflows and tools? This one is worth the effort invested. Collaboration is DIIGO’s forte but even if used as a purely personal tool, I have found it to be exceptionally useful. Try it?. Get creative, use it within your study group and find ways to leverage this amazing, FREE tool.
Browsers across the range have ‘Diigolets’ available to sit on your toolbar to smooth the process working with Diigo’s server technology.
Inmarsat’s First Fully Assembled Global Xpress Satellite Achieves Significant Testing Milestone. July 2, 2013
Satellite technology fascinates aviators, particularly those of us who voyage across Scheduled Navigation Areas . These include the happy hunting grounds of the Albatross, the great whales, nuclear submarines and ocean going sea and air traffic. It’s here that SATCOM and HF come into their own, just as they do in the isolated areas of the dark continent and siberian wastes. MH370 vanished into one sparking one of the great, if not the greatest of all aviation mysteries. All the more riveting because it happened in our time, and presumably might even happen again. Or will it?
Immarsat, one of the world’s major providers of satellite services has made a remarkable offer. They are proposing a Cloud-based Black Box. Aircraft will stream data-packets containing multiple parameters to satellite where it will be held in the cloud rather than encapsulated within an orange ‘Black Box’. This data will have multiple regular uses but perhaps its prime value is that in future, vital information will be available for virtually instant analysis rather than waiting for hundreds of millions of dollars to be spent sending down submarines to search/retrieve the same from the worlds most inaccessible places - the remote, deep oceans.
Doesn’t it make you wonder why innovations (the Cloud) now taken for granted almost everywhere don’t make their way more rapidly to where they can do some seriously good work? Well done Immarsat!
Scheduled Navigation Areas are large tracts of the planet’s surface where navigation, search and rescue and access present unique challenges to authorities. Flight within these regions for public transport purposes are subject to special rules and procedures. ↩