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State of the union

This first appeared as a Comment in the 5 November issue of Flight International Europe’s favourite bad-boy airline chief executive Michael O’Leary is back in the news again. The recently formed Ryanair Pilots Group (RPA) has thrown down a gauntlet to the Ryanair chief executive, who picked it up and tossed it over his shoulder […]

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Rotary risks remain

This first appeared as a Comment in the 29 October issue of Flight International The probe into August’s helicopter crash off Sumburgh, Scotland, is far from complete, but investigators are confident that, when the aircraft hit the water on short final approach, it had entered a vortex ring state. With less than 200ft (60m) height […]

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Variations enigma

This first appeared as a Flight International Comment in our 29 October issue Double-stretching an airframe might be something of a mug’s game, according to Airbus’s John Leahy, but that hasn’t stopped the whispering campaign centred on an imaginary aircraft unofficially labelled, at least by outsiders, as the A350-1100. Airbus already exudes confidence that its […]

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Divided loyalties

Flight International Comment 15 October Brand loyalty means precious little to a modern airline. Just ask Boeing, which this week saw longtime customer Japan Airlines defect to arch-rival Airbus.With its first Airbus order – one for 31 A350s at that – JAL has helped the European airframer break into one of the last remaining markets […]

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All that glitters

Flight International Comment from 15 October. Look around the business jet industry today and, on the surface, the view is impressive. The marketplace abounds with a flashy array of major product upgrades and clean-sheet designs, while whispers hint at more aircraft launches still to come. Not since the ludicrous heyday of the very light jet […]

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When the balloon goes up

Flight International Comment, 8 October Brazil’s legendary passion for celebration might not ordinarily be considered an air transport safety matter, but filings to the country’s accident investigation commission suggest otherwise. Every three days, on average, pilots are submitting airprox reports concerning encounters with balloons to a dedicated site. Avianca A320 pilots took evasive action in […]

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Shutdown shock

Flight International Comment, 8 October Like the outbreak of a deadly virus in Southeast Asia or the eruption of a volcano in Iceland, the global aviation industry faces another sudden and apparently uncontrollable financial shock. Only this time the economic calamity comes not from the natural world, but from a political system. A domestic squabble […]

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From Stone Age to CAD age

Flight International Comment 1 October Of the distinctions between human and other animals, none is so profound as our ability to make and use tools. From the first shovel to multi-ton earthmovers and from chisels to 3D printers, our tools have long been an extension of our hands and minds. Better tools have enabled better, […]

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Upsetting convention

Flight International Comment from 1 October Loss of control in flight (LOC-I) is the biggest killer in an industry that is getting safer, and it has been growing as a problem in its own right. Its rise as an issue has accompanied the gradual automation of flightdecks, and the decline of direct pilot mental and […]

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Groping blindly

Flight International Comment from 24 September For the second year running, the Pentagon is being forced to contend with the effects of the Congressional sequestration law, which cuts US defence outlays by 10% each year over a decade. A reduction of this magnitude might be manageable under normal circumstances. However, the problem is compounded, firstly […]

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