All posts tagged 'Airports' - Page 4

Can communities and small airports use Social Media to bring air transportation solutions to their people?

 

Over the years of growing our business, I have had the opportunity to meet many airport directors in communities looking for ways to improve air service to their airports. My brother runs an airline in the western US providing air service to many communities through the Essential Air Service (EAS) program funded by the DOT. He has probably been through 100’s of presentations from airports and their support organizations – chambers of commerce, economic development boards and city governments.

All of these airports and the communities they serve want good air service. Why?

They consider air service as a necessary ingredient for business and economic development. When you can connect to the rest of the world by air you can bring business in to your community and create jobs and prosperity. When you are disconnected from the rest of the world you lose out and no one wants to lose out. 

Over the past two years the situation has not gotten better for small airports.

In fact it has gotten worse because airlines have pulled out of many small markets either entirely or they have reduced service to the point that it no longer offers any convenience to the business traveler. Because of the geographic and demographic rules of EAS subsidies, many small airports don’t qualify for the subsidy. They are just a little too close to another airport with airline service but too far away to be convenient. Or they are not quite large enough as a market.  

So far no one has come up with a real solution that fixes the problem of the demand for convenient air travel at a reasonable price in small markets.

Small airlines like Cape Air are doing a good job of filling some of the holes but there are still a lot of airports looking for solutions. Charter companies like my company are glad to pick you up at a small airport and take you anywhere. Our problem is price. We are still to expensive for the average traveler.

As I have sat in on meetings over the years I usually hear the field of dreams story. “Build it and they will come” or in this case “show up and fly and we will fill up your aircraft with happy paying passengers”. If that was the case then why aren’t the airlines showing up and fighting for those passengers?

One of the major issues I see is that no one can really tell you or me today where people really want to go. At best, over the years, consultants to the airline and airports put together a marketing study based on DOT statistics showing Origin and Destination (O&D) traffic flow between cities based on airlines published data. With some statistical tweaking the consultant shows that a quantity of people in a community are flying to or from some close by hub airport and they would all rather leave from the home field if they just could. Those stats rarely translate into a reality for the airline or the home airport because the stats don’t correctly indentify the traveler’s true intentions.

So the question to ask is how we identify the true intentions of travelers, to really know when and where they want to go, and what it is worth to them for someone to meet their intentions.

If, in a perfect world with perfect knowledge at our fingertips, we could reach that point of knowledge could we then meet those intentions with the fleet of aircraft available in this country?

Change gears with me now and think about what is happening in the world of social media: 400 million and counting on Facebook, people tweeting every minute of the day, geo-location technology that knows where I tweet or text from, linked in profiles, and applications like TripIt that tell everyone where I am going and how I am getting there. In the past few weeks Facebook has gotten slapped for their use of the information they have been collecting on all of us but at the end of the day I predict that we will not slow down telling everyone else everything about us. Privacy or no privacy we seem more than willing to let the world know just about anything.  

How could communities and small airports use the power of this information from Social Media to match traveler’s intentions to the supply of travel services? Could they build their very on communities online with the purposes of sharing travel intentions between travelers?  If so they could have the real knowledge of who, where, when and how much as opposed to the statistics that don’t seem to mesh with reality?

Something to think about isn’t it!

You can contact me at [email protected]

FAA / DOT lays out NextGen plan details

 

The Transportation Department today issued its guidelines to manufacturers for NextGen implementation.

“Today's regulations set clear performance requirements for the electronics that will allow aircraft to be tracked with greater precision and accuracy. And by 2020, all aircraft flying over the United States will be broadcasting an ADS-B signal,” states an announcement on Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s departmental blog.  “ADS-B will allow pilots to get the same information as air traffic controllers and see the same things on their screens. Pilots will know where aircraft are located and how close one plane is to another. They'll have a clearer picture of what’s happening in the air or on the ground--even in low visibility.”

Read the blog entry here.

Or check out the entire implementation plan in PDF form here.

Aviation News Rundown: India crash update, near-miss incidents scrutinized further

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The Associated Press reports this morning that Saturday’s Air India crash at an airport in Mangalore may have been caused by pilot error. A Boeing 737 overran a runway and slid into a ravine, killing 158 of 166 crewmembers and passengers.

The NTSB sent a team of investigators to cooperate in determining the cause of the India crash, deadliest in that country in more than a decade. A report from an Indian news agency says ‘nothing was wrong’ with the airport, which has a tabletop runway. Airport officials said pilots certified to fly into Mangalore are well aware of its conditions. Weather reportedly was clear and calm.

The Wall Street Journal reports that federal regulators are stepping up investigation efforts following a recent spike of near misses. The FAA has looked into more than a half-dozen incidents in the past half year, according to the WSJ article.

Could this become the Hyundai or Kia of the sky?  Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) expects to complete its first KC-100 light piston aircraft by the end of the year with deliveries beginning in 2013. The company hopes to receive certification in the U.S. and Europe for the four-seater.

Finally, it was a rough weekend for two pilots in two parts of the country in separate incidents.

Police arrested an Arkansas pilot after landing on a beach near Savanna, Ga. What began as a pleasure trip for Mark Jensen and his mother ended with his arrest. He now faces charges of reckless conduct and operating a motorized craft on the beach.

In Centennial, Colo., pilot Richard Steinmeir could not get the engine on his Cessna 182 started, so he attempted to start the prop manually. It fired up sure enough. The Skylane became a runaway plane on the airfield. Steinmeir suffered minor injuries attempting to stop it. The Cessna flipped over after traveling about 1,000 feet. The aircraft was a total loss.    

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.    

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