May 2010 - Page 2 Aviation Articles

11 hours to Texarkana (via PlaneConversations.com)

Our friends at Corporate Flight Management, Inc., run a great bizav blog, PlaneConversations.com. Yesterday, Jon Anne Doty weighed in on comparing the cost and time of flying from Jackson, Miss., to Texarkana, Ark.

From the article:

He discovered that to maximize his time on-site, he had to leave Jackson at 6 AM, connect in Dallas to arrive in Texarkana at 10:35 - spending four hours and thirty-five minutes in transit.  The latest he could leave Texarkana was at 4:55 PM, connect again in Dallas to arrive Jackson at 10:05 – spending five hours and ten minutes in transit. 

That adds up to nine hours and forty-five minutes spent in travel time alone. Add a minimum of a one hour spent in the airports both in the morning and in the afternoon and you have a hefty eleven hours forty-five minutes spent in airports and on airplanes, with only about 4.5 hours of useful time on-site.  The ticket price for this hideous proposition weighs in at $ 1316.80. 

Instead, the attorney traveled directly via a Cirrus plane, and the savings of several hundred dollars was just the start. Read the full article here.

Aviation News Rundown: NTSB investigates fire, FAA reviewing ATC at Houston's Hobby Airport

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The video above is from Dude Perfect, the same group of guys at Texas A&M that threw a basketball into a goal from the top of a football stadium. This time they took to the air for what probably was an equally challenging shot.

 

Links to news stories are at the bottom of the post, but first we relay this release from the NTSB, which is investigating a fire on a Boeing 757 that caused the plane to divert 30 minutes into its flight.

 

In its continuing investigation of a fire aboard a Boeing 757 that diverted to Dulles Airport (IAD) enroute to the Los Angeles International airport (LAX) from New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport (JFK), the National Transportation Safety Board has developed the following factual information:

 

On Sunday, May 16, 2010, about 9:17 pm (EDT) the pilots on United Airlines flight 27, a Boeing 757, N510UA, noted a strong acrid smell and observed smoke from the Captain's lower front windshield.  The incident occurred about 30 minutes into the flight while the aircraft was level at 36,000 feet MSL. On board the aircraft were 7 crewmembers and 105 passengers.

 

The Captain and First Officer reported that they donned their oxygen masks and smoke goggles immediately after observing the smoke and fire. The Captain then gave control of the airplane to the First Officer and discharged a halon fire extinguisher.

 

The smoke and fire dissipated but then re-ignited. The Captain obtained a second bottle from the Purser.  The fire remained extinguished after this second

bottle was discharged. At approximately 500 feet MSL on final approach to Runway19L at IAD, the Captain’s windshield cracked. The landing was uneventful. The airplane cleared the runway, after which ARFF (Aircraft Rescue Firefighting) entered the aircraft to check for residual heat and fire. None was found and the airplane was towed to the gate for deplaning. There were no evacuation and no injuries to the flight crew or passengers.

 

Preliminary examination of the cockpit area revealed that the inner pane of the Captain’s windshield had cracked. One of the five terminal blocks attached to the inside of the lower left windshield was consumed by fire and the portion of the wire harness associated with this terminal block was significantly damaged by fire. There was significant sooting and paint peeling to the left hand side of the windshield airframe support.

 

The Captain’s windshield was moved and will be examined by Board investigators at the manufacturer.

 

Two previous windshield fire events on B757-200 aircraft prompted the NTSB to issue Safety Recommendation A-07-50 https://www.ntsb.gov/recs/letters/2007/A07_49_50.pdf.  The Safety Board investigators will look closely at the recovered hardware to determine if this latest event is related.

 

Other news worth noting:

A second near miss at Houston’s Hobby Airport (HOU) has led to the FAA launching an investigation into how ATC is handled there.

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShip Two has flown to its launch altitude of 51,000 feet, pressurizing and powering up for the first time. How much longer until there is a single-engine Piper than can reach the moon?

Finally, be sure to check out the Google homepage today, which honors Pac-Man’s 30th birthday by altering its logo into a level of ghosts and power pellets that you can play. (Press the button to the right of the search button to get extra credits or to challenge a friend in two-player mode.)

The people at Google are the second-smartest group on the Web, right behind your friends here at GlobalAir.com.

TGI Fly-Day!

 

WSJ: Two commuter jets did not start second engine prior to takeoff

As we mentioned earlier today, the NTSB is in the process of hearing advice from experts on how to ensure pilots receive proper training and to ensure safety.

On the heels of this comes a report in the Wall Street Journal that two commuter airlines did not start a second engine prior to takeoff.

The pilots avoided emergencies in each case by turning off the runway before accelerating to takeoff speed.

In the wake of the Colgan and Comair crashes, these incidents further prove at the very least that such discussions are crucial to ensure competent pilots are behind the yokes.

At the most, combined with the warning in the earlier release from the panel that experience and integrity could decline, it sends an alarm that more must be done sooner than later to enforce proper training, whether by airline company mandate, FAA mandate or any guideline in between.

Sound off on what you think about the situation in the comments section below.    

Aviation News Rundown: Beware of future airline pilots? and Learn to Fly Day (maybe one can fix the other)

A panel of experts at an aviation safety forum this week issued a scary scenario for the sky in future commercial aviation. They told the NTSB that future pilots at airlines could be, in general, less experienced and ethical amidst an industry in which the workers will be in high demand as airlines begin hiring again.

The Associated Press reports in its coverage of the forum that the hardest hit will be regional airlines, which employ pilots with less experience at lower salaries. Fewer college students and military pilots are looking for work at airlines, as 42,000 pilots will need to be hired over the next 10 years. Flights will still need to be made, and some fear that this could compromise qualifications.

In other news, the FAA says widespread NexGen upgrades will come a little more quickly than initially anticipated. Quoted in the Dallas Morning News, Federal Aviation Administrator Randy Babbitt told the American Association of Airport Executives that the bulk of improvements will have occurred by 2016 rather than the forecasted 2018, as airlines rush to be competitive with advanced gear as the transition snowballs.

The first-ever International Learn to Fly Day (website) appears to have been a smashing success, as 40,000 people attended 450 events nationwide, according to the EAA. Check out coverage of events in Gainesville, Fla., Austin, Minn., and Fitchburg, Mass., where a flying car drew a crowd. 

Perhaps programs like this will help ensure the next generation of pilots are, in fact, experienced and ethical.  

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