Archive | April, 2006

Are you watching, Ryanair? Southwest Airlines launches blog

It was only a matter of time I suppose before the folks at Southwest Airlines got blogging.  They’re off to a slightly uncertain start – same as all of us – but they’ve picked up on the idea of using multiple authors which will make it a lot easier for busy execs to make the time […]

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Fighter canopy design needs – what’s changed?

Reading about the poor Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor pilot trapped in his cockpit for 5h when his canopy jammed, I couldn’t help wondering how aviation designers don’t learn from history. Sixty-five years ago, the Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires had simple canopy designs enabling Battle of Britain pilots to roll them back just before engaging the […]

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Tagging Air Force One: How the stunt worked

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. At twenty-five frames per second, Mark Ecko’s recent two-minute clip of him spray painting a graffiti tag onto the side of a US Air Force presidential transport Boeing 747-200B is worth over 3,000 words every time it’s viewed. And the maxim stands true if you count […]

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Fuel tank inerting and the LXX Squadron 90th birthday party

Last weekend I went to a good party at RAF Lyneham and came back even more convinced – if that’s possible – that RAF transport aircraft should have fuel tank inerting systems. More of that later.   The party was the 90th Anniversary of No 70 Squadron RAF – traditionally designated LXX Squadron, as members […]

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Airborne with the RAF in Afghanistan – don’t forget your body armour!

“Please make sure that your seat back is in the upright position, your tray table is stowed away, and that you are wearing your combat body armour and helmet.” Maybe this rather eerie advice could be something for the low-cost airlines to trial during the World Cup in Germany this June, but for now, it […]

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Ghost Town: The end of the Douglas assembly line at Long Beach

It’s dark at 4.45am as I drive  through the side gate of the former Douglas Aircraft final assembly complex at Long Beach, California. This would be the graveyard shift had I been working here, but now – in late April 2006 – that phrase carries with it all the hackneyed double meaning of a cheap […]

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Scott Crossfield Tribute: Goodbye To A Test Pilot’s Test Pilot

I’m climbing up through 33,000ft (10,000m) over the bleached dry Mojave Desert as I write this. From my window on the port side of my United 757 I can see several kilometres to the north, the white expanse of Edwards AFB and its dry lakebed. It doesn’t take too much imagination to think that, 50 […]

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Look out for more Gulf investment in aerospace

I bet the move by the Abu Dhabi-owned Mubadala Development to buy a 35% stake in Piaggio won’t be the last such move by the oil-rich Gulf states into the investment-hungry aerospace sector. Business and general aviation aircraft manufacturers provide the perfect vehicle for Arab investors, looking to channel the profits from soaring oil and gas revenues into potentially long-term and […]

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Sukhoi’s Russian Regional Jet is looking much more interesting

Like most people, for a long time I was fairly sceptical about the Russian Regional Jet (RRJ) programme that Sukhoi has been working on – but I think a lot of us are going to be changing our minds. Today a series of inter-governmental meetings between Italy and Russia ended with a signed deal for […]

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TBM850 takes off

  EADS Socata couldn’t have asked for a better PR representative than John Hinshaw, the American customer who placed the first order for its new TBM850 six-seater turboprop aircraft. Hinshaw strode into a room full of (mainly French) journalists who’d spent the last couple of hours being bombarded with maximum cruise speeds and market forecasts, […]

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