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Archive for the ‘Planes’ Category

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has “toughened a requirement that Boeing 737 pilots be reminded not to
ignore a cabin pressure warning horn, ordering pre-flight briefings as
well as changes in manuals.
” The reasoning for this new “airworthiness directive” is due to the Helios Airways Boeing 737-300 crash on August 14th 2005 that resulted in 121 deaths.

The directive affects all Boeing 737 models!

Read the Directive here at FAA.gov wesbsite.

Summary

We are adopting a new airworthiness directive (AD) for all Boeing Model
737 airplanes. This AD requires revising the airplane flight manual to
include a new flightcrew briefing that must be done before the first
flight of the day and following any change in flightcrew members, and
to advise the flightcrew of this additional briefing. This AD results
from continuing reports that flightcrews have failed to recognize and
react properly to the cabin altitude warning horn. We are issuing this
AD to prevent failure of the flightcrew to recognize and react properly
to a valid cabin altitude warning horn, which could result in
incapacitation of the flightcrew due to hypoxia (lack of oxygen in
body) and consequent loss of airplane control.

Justification

We are issuing this AD to prevent failure of the flightcrew to
recognize and react to a valid cabin altitude warning horn, which could
result in incapacitation of the flightcrew due to hypoxia (lack of
oxygen in body) and consequent loss of airplane control. This action
follows related rulemaking action we took in response to a report
resulting from the investigation by the Air Accident Investigation and
Aviation Safety Board of Greece into the August 14, 2005, Helios
Airways accident near Athens, Greece. This action affects the entire
fleet of Boeing Model 737 airplanes (nearly 5,000 airplanes worldwide);
these airplanes have a very high utilization rate. Because of our
requirement to promote safe flight of civil aircraft and thus the
critical need to assure that the flightcrew recognizes and reacts
properly to a valid cabin altitude warning horn and the compliance time
involved with this action, this AD must be issued immediately.

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Barack Obama, the President-elect for USA, traded his “Air Obama” or “O-Force One” (Boeing 757) that was used during the campaign for a chartered American Airlines Boeing Super-80 or MD-80. The aircraft was recently used to fly him from Chicago to Washington DC for his White House meetings.

Great advertisement for American Airlines 🙂

From ABC

American won the round-trip charter contract in a competitive bidding
process done through a broker, according to airline spokesperson Mary
Frances Fagan. “We presented price package based on host of factors including type of
aircraft, length of time the airplane was needed, where the plane was
based, number of crew members involved, catering, fuel costs,” said
Fagan.American Airlines flight personnel staffed the cockpit and the cabin
for the trip to Washington and back to Chicago. Michelle Obama, who
accompanied the president-elect to the White House on Monday, flew
separately, according to staff members.

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A 22 year man who works (worked?) as an Airport cleaner at Detroit Metropolitan Airport came up with a novel idea to impress his 18-year old girlfriend. Right after midnight, he brought his girlfriend with him to work (using his own security badge to pass through the security doors) and took her on a Northwest Airlines airplane (I wonder why? 😉 ). One small problem, at an airport there are cameras everywhere and soon Detroit Metro Police searched the plane and since the woman was unable to produce valid clearance and ID, the couple was arrested.

From Detroit News

According to airport spokesman Michael Conway, it turned out that a
starry-eyed airplane cleaner decided to impress his girlfriend by
bringing her onto the airplane.
“It happened on the midnight shift,” Conway said.
“He decided to bring her to work with him. He swept her through using his security badge, but she didn’t have clearance. It all happened in the middle of the night, but guess what: Cameras are everywhere!”
Airport police arrived and arrested both after the woman was unable to produce a proper security badge.
“Both have been charged with violation of an airport ordinance,” Conway said.
“It’s a misdemeanor. Security personnel also thoroughly searched the plane, which wasn’t delayed for its flight.”

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The story came out a week back and is still developing. Recently Britain’s National Archives revealed a document that enumerates unexplained UFO sightings from 1986 to 1992.

Details of the Document (from CTV)

The more than 4,500-page online document is the second batch of
testimonies chock-full of shimmering objects, mysterious crop circles
and creatures from another dimension collected by British military and
released this month. It includes first-hand accounts such as:

  • Statements from police officers in West Yorkshire describing sightings of “bright lights in the night sky”
  • Testimony collected from a U.S. Airforce Sabre jet pilot ordered to
    “shoot down a UFO” flying over eastern England during the height of the
    Cold War
  • A letter from a person dubbed “alien-spotter extraordinaire” who reported regular alien visits since 1982

Another of the 19 files released by the British Ministry of Defence
to the National Archives details a near-miss with a possible UFO and
passenger jet carrying 57 people en route from Milan to London’s
Heathrow Airport on April 21, 1991.

Alitalia Pilot’s Story

On Alitalia flight in 1991 from Milan to Heathrow, Captain Achille Zaghetti and his co-pilot saw “a mysterious khaki-coloured, missile-shaped object streaking across the sky above the Kent countryside.” The object was a 10 feet long UFO.

(more…)

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Today Qantas became the first airline to fly a commercial flight to USA (Los Angeles) on the world’s largest commercial aircraft, Airbus A380. The current flight numbers for the the Airbus A380 are QF 11 and QF 12. The flight will allow passengers to fly Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) or Brisbane (BNE). The airplane will also fly a weekly flight from Melbourne to Los Angeles.  Currently the airlines is running a limited seat pricing for a round trip on the Airbus A380 for less than $1000.

The flight landed at LAX on runway 25L in the South Airfield at 7:26 am. After landing the plan head over to Tom Bradley International Terminal for arrival procedures.

The A380 Welcome Party

The A380 Welcome Party

The flight was welcomed by “Qantas Ambassador-at-Large John Travolta, Australian
entertainment legend Olivia Newton-John and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R.
Villaraigosa.

Features of the Qantas Airbus A380 (from Market Watch Article)

  • 14 single private suites in First Class featuring a 17 inch LCD wide screen video monitor, a unique touch screen control unit, and a seat (manufactured by B/E Aerospaces’s VIP jet group) that swivels into a comfortable armchair and a fully flat, extra long and wide bed;
  • the next generation of Qantas’ award-winning sleeper seat Skybed in Business Class, which now offers an extra long and fully flat bed with ergonomically enhanced cushioning, a larger in-arm entertainment screen, additional storage options and more privacy;
  • a private lounge area in the upper deck Business Class cabin featuring leather sofas, a self-service bar, large video monitor with laptop connectivity and a feature display cabinet;
  • Premium Economy seats by Recaro, with fully adjustable, in-arm, digital wide screen television monitors, and a self service bar dedicated to the upper deck Premium Economy cabin;
  • Recaro seats in Economy Class featuring a sliding base that moves with the seat back to create a more comfortable, ergonomically tested position to aid sleep and eliminate pressure points and a foot net to stop sliding during sleep;
  • four self-service bars in Economy Class; and
  • state-of-the-art Panasonic inflight entertainment system with more than 100 on demand movies, 500 television selections, up to 1,000 audio CDs, 30 PC style games, and a selection of audio books, language tutorials, destination information, business education and radio channels.

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There has been a lot of news recently with regard to big losses realized by airlines in India due to high price of oil, weakening demand, fierce competition causing inability to raise fares to requirements and rapid growth over the past years.

Jet Airways
On Tuesday October 14th 2008, the airlines laid off 850 cabin crew members (total employees – 13,000) and a day later announced plans for laying off another 1,050 across different departments and functions (including pilots and management personnel). The the salary and benefits saving is reported to be around 50 million rupees (around US $1 million). The layoffs caused protests and have caused some political interest in the country. The airline has already announced capacity cuts along with discontinuation of some routes.

From Times of India

“The
number of flights that Jet Airways will offer as part of its winter schedule
will be approximately 15% lower than originally planned. This is inevitable in
view of declining traffic volumes,” Jet Airways’ chief executive officer
Wolfgang Prock Schauer said.

Some international flights — like
on the Mumbai-Shanghai-San Francisco sector — have already been
discontinued. There are plans to withdraw the Amritsar-London service and
postpone the foray into Saudi Arabia.

Kingfisher Airlines
Kingfisher seems to be going the same route with a possibility of a “less painful” (with respect to Jet Airways) layoffs. There are talks about layoffs to come mostly from ex-Air Deccan employees.The airlines is already planning to return 7 aircrafts to the lessors. Also, the airline canceled orders for 3 Airbus A340 aircrafts and deferred deliveries of 32 Airbus A320 aircrafts.

From Times of India

“The last time when they fired 300 employees, they discarded a lot of good talent, which was surprising. However, they did it with much more dignity and grace than what Jet has displayed,” said a former Deccan employee. “This time around, they’re being more careful with who they want to fire.”
Pilots with little or no experience will be the first to go, while more experienced hands will be retained. “It’s the cabin crew that will be axed mercilessly and that will most certainly be from the Deccan side. As it is, Kingfisher has always looked down upon the Deccan staff, particularly the cabin crew. Their cabin crew are projected as models and they will not sack them as easily. There is a lot of panic among the Deccan cabin crew girls and they’ve been sending out their resumes to a lot of international airlines since hiring has seen an overall slowdown in all Indian airlines,” said a source.

Air India
Air India, the country’s national airline, announced that it is considering to offer leave without pay to as many as 15,000 employees for a period of up to 5 years. The airline added that the employees who will take this offer will be allowed to return back to same job with same seniority and pay rate. The airline did mention that the reduction plan was not mandatory and is not a retrenchment. It is hard for me to understand why the employees would take this offer unless there is a lay-off plan to follow.

From BBC

Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel has stressed there were no plans compulsorily to prune staff numbers which currently total about 25,000 people.
“Air India is not going to have any job cuts. Certainly it [the aviation crisis] will affect the growth plans, it will affect the future employment opportunities which would have come the way of Air India in case the aviation industry was in a much better financial health,” Mr Patel told PTI.
“But as of now I do not have the luxury to say [anything] beyond the fact that those who are working for Air India shall continue to do so and we shall not have any issue of people being laid off.”

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V Australia, Virgin Blue’s long-haul offshoot, was supposed to launch its service from Sydney to Los Angeles on December 15th, but due to the strike at Boeing headquarters has forced the launch until February of next year!

The airline has suspended advanced sale of tickets for travel December 15 2008 to February 28th 2009.

The strike is very unfortunate! The way the airlines work is that they use the delivery date for new airplanes to add new flights and sell tickets in advance. Any delay in delivery date means loss of revenue for the airlines. The aircraft manufacturer might have to pay delay costs to the airlines (depends on the contract). This seems to be a big opportunity for Airbus (Airbus had problems with A380 and A350 deliveries which now seem to be on track).  

From Herald Sun –

Virgin Blue
said Boeing had advised it of the delay and said it cannot predict the
duration of the dispute at its Seattle plant and therefore could not
guarantee the delivery date of V Australia’s launch aircraft.
V Australia has three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in the advanced stage production at the plant.
Virgin
Blue said it had a revised the V Australia launch date and expects its
offshoot to commence services on February 28, 2009.

V Australia’s Executive GM Scott Swift said – (from here)

In a letter to passengers with tickets booked, V Australia executive GM Scott Swift said the carrier was “very sorry to have to tell you” of the deferred launch.

“Boeing has advised us that it cannot predict the duration of the strike. It is in these circumstances that we feel we have no choice but to delay our V Australia launch and have nominated a revised V Australia launch date of 28 February 2009 to protect the interests of our Guests,” said Swift.

“We are one of a number of airlines impacted by the strike. V Australia has three Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in advanced production at the factory. The strike has no bearing on services operated by Virgin Blue, Pacific Blue or Polynesian Blue,” he said.

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