Boeing are asking themselves what to do next according to the Seattle Times.
Why not build a 777-300 that incorporates the technological advances that have been made since the aircraft was designed, a sort of 777-ADV? To be fair they do suggest that option but it would seem to be almost a no-brainer. The existing 787′s air conditioning and pressurization system could be used to reap environmental and fuel efficiency benefits and the composite structure of the 78′ must have something to hand on to the triple. By upping the fuel efficiency and reducing the structural weight, payload/range/efficiency must be significantly improved. Now must also be the time to look again at the side-stick and the new flight deck technologies that are waiting in the wings.
Question is, will it justify the development costs and produce a product that will sell? Boeing are kicking new aircraft out of the door at a significant rate and chewing through what must be a finite order book. Exactly how big that order book is, no-one really knows though estimates consider it to be potentially huge.
Has the time come for Boeing to look more closely at the blended body concept? Is now the time to take a new direction and really go for a 747/A380 replacement and make a leap to the real ‘next generation’?
The Seattle Times
By Dominic Gates
After reporting solid earnings, especially in the commercial-jet sector, McNerney said one strategic question for Boeing is what airplane to build next, after the 787 Dreamliner and the revamped 747-8 jumbo jet.
Everyone has assumed it will be a new single-aisle jet to replace the 737. But maybe not.
McNerney said Boeing may have to introduce an updated derivative of its Everett-built 777 twin-aisle jet to fend off the approaching challenge from Airbus’ planned A350.
Much more available via the link.
From The Digital Aviator
Gliding is different, very different, and if you start your flying career by climbing in and out of gliders, then you may well spend the rest of your life looking at the sky in a different way than the rest of them out there.
The average winch launch, circuit and landing on a flat, non ‘soarable’ day might scratch eight minutes into your log book. Which is why gliding involves a lot of climbing in and out of the cockpit. On a good day as the sun climbs, the ground heats and the sky starts to pop with cumulus clouds at around ten in the morning – you had better take a pee before you fly.
The glider pilot’s raison d’être is remaining aloft; after expending small amounts of fossil fuel to achieve launch, gliding becomes the purest of aeronautical endeavors. The elements alone are used to climb to great altitudes, cross enormous distances and stay airborne for many hours. Reading and using the sky becomes an obsession for the fledgling glider pilot, if it doesn’t, then he doesn’t soar – he drifts back to earth, gets out of his bird and allows someone else to climb in and try their hand. I miss it badly.
The British Gliding Association and the Soaring Society of America – (and others) might be collectively described as a ‘cloud appreciation collective,’ but of course they are not. It took a British journalist, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, who, after writing his book The Cloud Spotters Guide, decided to form The Cloud Appreciation Society. You can join today for the paltry sum of £3 and become part of something that is cranky and very beautiful at the same time. They have had 6,524,415 visitors to the website so far….
If gliding rings your bell, you need a challenge, or you are just intrigued by the sky, weather and everything – try this.
Look, no fuel burnt.
British Airways Ponders Iberia Offer
Yahoo – UK & Ireland Finance
British Airways is considering getting together with a group of private investors to make a takeover bid for Spanish airline.
However, BA says it has ruled out making an independent bid for the airline. "Any consortium bid would not involve further capital investment by British Airways," Europe’s third-biggest airline said.
"As well as a private equity partner, this consortium is likely to include one or more Spanish partners," BA added.
Private equity firm Texas Pacific Group has already offered an indicative price of 2.4€ a share for Iberia, valuing the Spanish carrier at around £2.3bn.
Germany’s Lufthansa and BA – which owns 10% of Iberia and has first refusal to buy another 32% – have been named as possible rivals or partners for TPG. BA says it has not made any final decision about its stake in Iberia and continued to examine numerous options, including a full disposal.
The UK airline is valued at around £5.9bn.
It looks as though BA and Iberia are lighting the candles and preparing for something mutually beneficial.
Further reports (10:15 GMT / 23 Apr ’07) are stating that an independent bid has not been ruled out.
A three-day US-India "aviation partnership summit" that kicks off today in New Delhi will focus on how FAA can help India cope with explosive air transport growth, as well as relations between the countries and future infrastructure development, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said.
"This is certainly one of the most significant trips I’ve taken as FAA administrator," Blakey told reporters Friday in a conference call before leaving Washington. "India is certainly where the action is right now. This is an opportunity for us to lend our expertise as India comes to grips with this tremendous growth."
She said the summit primarily will involve "information sharing" and discussions of "best practices," but she hopes to establish the framework for the countries’ future relations on air transport issues. Air traffic management, airspace utilization and bilateral collaboration in airborne systems are key topics likely to be on the table.
"Do they [India] have challenges? Yes, they do," said Blakey, pointing to an "upcoming pilot shortage," aging infrastructure and congested airspace around New Delhi and Mumbai. She believes the congestion issue is "a huge area where they can make advances" by adopting better air traffic routing practices.
She added that Indian officials have demonstrated the "political will and expertise" necessary for modernization. "If there were not that kind of commitment, FAA wouldn’t be so engaged," she said.
Following the summit, Blakey will travel to Dubai, becoming the first FAA administrator to visit the Middle East. "I am excited about lending the full weight of FAA to our interests there," she said, noting that developing "global standards" for aviation is critical.
by Aaron Karp
It’s a start I suppose…
I have lost count of the flight deck conversations that I have had over the years that rotate around books and reading. Virtually each and every one of them has included this book by Ernest K Gann.
Those (that I have spoken to) that have read the book rate it very highly whilst at the same time blowing a quick raspberry at the notion that every incident he records in his flowing, lyrical style could have happened to him alone.
Artistic licence may well have been used liberally but the book loses nothing because of it. It is an aviation masterpiece that has similarities to ‘Stick and Rudder’ in that everything within the pages is as applicable to today’s aviation scene as it was when it was written many years ago.
Whether Ernie is telling you about narrowly missing the Taj-Mahal in an overloaded DC3 or describing the captains that he flew with as a junior co-pilot, his quill applies a masters touch that never ceases to entertain.
Subnote: For years I looked for a hardback copy of this book without success. Whilst in Los Angeles some years ago I walked into one of those antiquarian bookshops in Santa Monica. I browsed around until the shop was almost empty and sidled up to the counter. The owner was peering at me across reading glasses trying to work out if I was going to rob the shop or make a query. Every time I had previously enquired about the book I had needed to recite the name, author etc to establish that they had never heard of it and that they had no idea how to find it.
“Ever heard of Fate is the Hunter by….” He cut me off mid sentence – “Ernest Gann” he said. Without breaking eye contact he reached beneath his counter and produced a hard backed copy. I must have looked a picture because he smiled and said, “Don’t get many of these but there is always a market for ‘em. Pilots mostly – you a pilot then?” He popped the book into a brown paper bag and handed it to me. I passed across twenty six bucks. “Yes” I said grinning like I had won the lottery, “..and that is the biggest surprise and the best buy I have had this side of Christmas.”
It was June.
Every fledgling airline pilot could read this book as a primer on the delights and pitfalls of the seniority system within which we all rise, and sometimes fall.
You can always tell when a man has lost his soul to flying. The poor bastard is hopelessly committed to stopping whatever he is doing long enough to look up and make sure the aircraft purring overhead continues on course and does not suddenly fall out of the sky. It is also his bound duty to watch every aircraft within view take off and land.
— Ernest K Gann, ‘Fate is the Hunter.’
If you enjoy FITH, ‘The High and the Mighty’ might appeal also. Same subject, same quality writing.
Are you a student pilot, a flying instructor or just fascinated at how aeroplanes really fly?
If so, read on…..
Wolfgang Langewiesche calls his book Stick and Rudder, “An Explanation of the art of flying,” he chose his description well and anyone requiring that explanation would benefit considerably from this wonderful book.
I used to find as a flying instructor that I really needed around four different ways of explaining any particular concept or maneuver. Wolfgang’s book might well have saved me generating those explanations and given me a ‘one hit wonder’ for each lesson plan.
First published in 1944 this book has remained a standard work and a real ‘find’ for aviators of all persuasions. His explanations, supported by what some might regard as quaint ’40s graphics hit the spot when it comes to the space between understanding and complete comprehension.
There is not a formula to be found in this work nor a piece of arcane aerodynamic theory. Not a scrap of condescension is contained within to intimidate the reader, just the delight that comes from the acquisition of useful knowledge and the pleasure at the writers clear joy at providing what was not available at the time (and largely still isn’t). Enjoy it, it’s a classic!
From the Back Cover
WHAT’S IN STICK AND RUDDER:
* The invisible secret of all heavier-than-air flight–the Angle of Attack. What it is, and why it can’t be seen. How lift is made, and what the pilot has to do with it.
* Why airplanes stall
* How do you know you’re about to stall?
* The landing approach. How the pilot’s eye functions in judging the approach. The visual clues by which an experienced pilot unconsciously judges: how you can quickly learn to use them.
* “The Spot that does not move.” This is the first statement of this phenomenon. A foolproof method of making a landing approach across pole lines and trees.
* The elevator and the throttle. One controls the speed, the other controls climb and descent. Which is which?
* The paradox of the glide. By pointing the nose down less steeply, you descend more steeply. By pointing the nose down more steeply, you can glide further.
* What’s the rudder for? The rudder does NOT turn the airplane the way a boat’s rudder turns the boat. Then what does it do?
* How a turn is flown. The role of ailerons, rudder, and elevator in making a turn.
* The landing–how it’s made. The visual clues that tell you where the ground is.
* The “tail-dragger” landing gear and what’s tricky about it. This is probably the only analysis of tail-draggers now available to those who want to fly one.
* The tricycle landing gear and what’s so good about it. A strong advocacy of the tricycle gear written at a time when almost all civil airplanes were taildraggers.
* Why the airplane doesn’t feel the wind. Why the airplane usually flies a little sidewise.
* Plus: a chapter on Air Accidents by Leighton Collins, founder and editor of AIR FACTS. His analyses of aviation’s safety problems have deeply influenced pilots and aeronautical engineers and have contributed to the benign characteristics of today’s airplane.
BA have been in the news again, this time in Delhi. Speculation as to why the captain decided to delay the BA142 Delhi – London service on the 15th April has been rife with commentators arbitrarily deciding that either the pilots had been drinking prior to duty or that they were playing fast and loose with their customers travel arrangements by being feckless and stupid.
Few seem to be really interested in the true explanation, why spoil a good story when the alternatives seem far juicier and news worthy?
“This is another example of BA chaos for passengers,” Mr Thapar told
from the hotel. “There’s a lot of anger and outrage here. One can only wonder what the real reason for this is.”
So here is the real story for Mr Thapar, one of our valued customers amongst many.
Cricket fans were gathering (and partying hard) at the Intercontinental Hotel in Delhi where the crew were resting before their return to the UK. Celebrations were taking place and they were rowdy. This caused the entire resting crew’s sleep to be disrupted.
From one crewmember -
“Construction work began at 0800 to 0900L and continued throughout the day and evening. (even during dinner at the hotel they were drilling!). There was a cricket match with loud PA across the road from 1200 until the evening. Then at 1930L a live band started up outside the hotel (I understand this was part of a wedding). They were so loud that I might as well have been in the front row.”
“Many of the crew changed rooms on more than 1 occasion, but by the evening I had the feeling that it didn’t really matter what room you were in the band might as well be in there with you. They finished about 2200L and call was at 2325L.”
Pre-flight rest is not a luxury, it is essential for obvious safety reasons. Reporting for duty to fly devoid of rest is, to put it bluntly, potentially dangerous. If one pilot has had a bad nights sleep on a trip where a long range sector was being flown and an extra relief pilot was being carried, then in-flight rest could be scheduled to ease his fatigue to the point where it was acceptable. If the whole flight crew had lost their sleep (as in the flight concerned), the captain had little choice but to delay the service. This is never done on a whim.
As obvious as it may be to the general public, it is worth restating that pilots need to be free from fatigue before flight. This is a requirement defined within the regulations that govern the way we operate, they are formed by the Civil Aviation Authority and promulgated through a document called The Air Navigation Order and company regulations that are designed to ensure compliance with such laws and rules.
Here is the ANO extract:-
Fatigue of crew – responsibilities of crew
83 (1) A person shall not act as a member of the crew of an aircraft to which this article applies if he knows or suspects that he is suffering from, or, having regard to the circumstances of the flight to be undertaken, is likely to suffer from, such fatigue as may endanger the safety of the aircraft or of its occupants.
Flying involves balancing risks and making judgments all the time. Some are simple, others less so. I think the captain made the correct decision – the safe one. Apparently, so does British Airways.
A good test of the call might be ‘How much will the delay really matter twenty four hours after the event?’
Had the crew concerned flown regardless of their fatigued sate and something had gone badly wrong on the day, how much would it then have mattered to all concerned… 24 hours later?
So it’s safety first I’m afraid, however irritating or inconveniencing that may be.
As previously reported here and elsewhere, India in common with other rapidly expanding economies has a problem with pilot supply for it’s burgeoning airlines. All sources of supply of this increasingly scarce ‘commodity’ are being tapped and the Indian Air Force has now stepped into the fray offering its underutilized aviators to Air India.
Good deal both for the airline that is reporting that it is 118 pilots short (some estimates put the figure far higher) and the military pilots. Looked at a little more closely though, the deal looks fraught with potential, not all of it good.
The Air Force is looking to release “Officers of the rank of Group Captain and Air Commodore with experience of 3000-4000 flying hours.” As excellent as this news might be for the individuals concerned, it does look like a fairly typical Eastern solution to a problem. Ask the airline training system who it would like and it will tell you that it wants those young military pilots with sufficient experience to enable them to be cycled quickly through the training system and onto the line as first officers – the most junior pilots in the company.
What the new airline is actually going to get is a very different proposition entirely. Senior officers from the air force in these ranks are likely to be in their forties if not their fifties and may have expectations far beyond the right hand seat despite the fact that their flying experience will be anything but ‘fresh’ and their whole career pitch may make them specifically unsuitable for the role they ‘should’ be taking.
It will be very interesting to see how well these gentlemen will be integrated into the airline. On the face of it (and I do stress that this is speculation here) it would seem that these senior military officers will find it difficult to occupy a role that has little internal status or responsibility within a very large (new) organization. As this exciting new conglomerate establishes itself there will be many internal opportunities created for managers and pilots alike. It would be extremely naive of us not to expect (retired) senior military men not to retain their ‘old skins’ and look upward.
What will be their objective, what will they see as their ‘right’ and how well will they integrate into a modern flight deck? Very pertinent questions in an environment where CRM principles need establishing and strengthening, not eroding.
I sense interesting times for the new Air India on the horizon, I sincerely hope that politics and ‘interests’ will take second place to safety, honoring of seniority systems and the development of a healthy, strong airline. I bet the current aviators with the company are watching with considerable ‘interest’.
The Telegraph has reported the passing of yet another legend of the British aviation scene. I will leave it to the professionals at the paper who do it so well to present you his obituary.
Strange isn’t it that wrinkled singers of popular songs, showbiz personalities and other ‘faces’ receive acknowledgement, fanfare and honors by the dozen?
Read of Neville Duke’s contribution to our nation and ponder on the level of his reward for services rendered. I think a Knighthood might have been appropriate at some stage, don’t you? In the absence of that, perhaps a little assistance with this problem below would have been more appreciated. A grateful nation and a land fit for heroes?
The Telegraph, 2005
One of the most decorated British fighter pilots of the Second World War has sold his medals, diaries and other memorabilia partly to pay for a hip replacement operation for his wife who faced at least a six-month wait on the National Health Service.
Sqn Ldr Neville Duke, 83, the Royal Air Force’s top-scoring ace in the Mediterranean theatre who set a world air speed record of 728 mph in 1953, put the collection up for auction rather than subject his wife Gwen to months of pain and discomfort while she waited for an operation.
The standard waiting time for hip replacements in the orthopaedic department at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, one of the nearest facilities to the Dukes’ home, is six months.
Mrs Duke, who has been in pain with her hip for eight months, was told by her chiropractor that the wait might be 15 months.
Before the sale Mrs Duke, 85, explained: “It is very likely I will need a new hip and that is something we just cannot afford. If I went on a NHS waiting list I would have to wait forever, and at my age that’s no good.
‘By selling Neville’s things we will be able to pay for the hip. We pulled out of BUPA because they practically doubled the rate when we reached 60.
Buy his book
Thank you Sir, rest well.