April 2008 Archives
If you think American Airlines customer services honcho Don Langford’s much-publicised and rather uncharitable comment about London Heathrow’s being the “worst airport in Europe” sounds familiar, then you’re right.
BBC radio broadcast his opinion in this programme today. But he pretty much said the same thing to Parliament’s transport select committee in November last year, when he complained about the shabby state of Terminal 3 and the delays caused by security queues, and accused operator BAA of failing to pay attention to the impression being given to passengers.
“I have to say Heathrow is so bad we have shifted some capacity to [London] Stansted,” he said.
“We have seen…that Heathrow is becoming a less popular transit hub. We are finding that customers are making their transfers at other airports within Europe, and we believe this to be a trend which is continuing.”
Twenty years ago, long before ‘biofuel’ became a marketing hook, the Soviet Union quietly flew for the first time a modified version of the Tupolev Tu-154B to demonstrate how aircraft could be powered with an alternative energy source.
Designated the Tu-155 the aircraft took to the air on 15 April 1988, its thrust partly generated using liquid hydrogen.
The Roman Catholic priest who took flight by tying himself to a chair with hundreds of helium balloons has gone missing off the coast of Brazil.
This week has seen some astonishing videos from Flightglobal.com. Firstly, came the Georgian UAV that was spectacularly caught on camera being decimated by a MiG-29:
Next comes the harrowing images from Da Nang in 1975, where there scenes of rampant panic to board the World Airways 727 as it came in on a mercy mission:
Finally we have an interview with the inventor of the F-35B's innovative shaft-driven lift fan, Paul Bevilaqua:
Out goes the familiar blue on the under-fuselage and Rolls-Royce RB211 engines, replaced with white and shades of pale grey. Note the newly-fitted winglets, and twinned European Union and US flags on the rear fuselage, alongside the clarifying strapline ‘From British Airways’.
All BA needs now, of course, is to find a few pilots willing to fly it.
The Morphing Micro Air and Land Vehicle (MMALV) is based on "passive mechanics" of cockroach and bat locomotion.
Three prototypes were built based on studies of the mechanics of thin, undercambered, bat-like wings and abstracted cockroach ground locomotion mechanisms.
One MLV is capable of flying and walking, and successfully transitions between locomotion modalities. An insect-like wing retraction mechanism has also been designed.
Read more here
The 70cm (27.5in)-wingspan, 80cm-long Multiplex Funjet UAV flew for one week from the Norwegian coastguard icebreaker "KV Svalbard" helicopter landing deck in February.
The Funjet was modified with electronics for open-source Paparazzi autopilot software by the Geophysical Institute of the University of Bergen, in partnership with Hildesheim, Germany based-Martin Mueller Engineering, a small UAV company. It is being used to collect enviromental data on temperature, humidity, pressure and wind.
The scientists used a pilot to launch and land the UAV using remote-control, but above 1,600ft and out of visual contact the Funjet had to operate autonomusly.
White boy rapping and aviation has traditionally gone together like toothpaste and orange juice, but the recent Terminal 5 chaos has prompted a guy to get all satirical, and release the “Terminal 5” song:
Similar to a Flight of the Conchords ditty, this satirical view (also produced by a Kiwi man) is quite humorous, and shows how the at least some people can laugh about the travel chaos. If they haven’t got there bags auctioned off that is!
Unfortunately aviation safety in DR Congo hasn't the greatest track record.
I spied this video of the flamboyant Richard Quest explaining to CNN viewers at the time of the Boeing 787 update call this week.
Welcome to Flightglobal's video review of the week. This new weekly feature will showcase the best videos from the world of aviation.
This week began with the tragic Cessna crash in Kent, UK. Flight's Safety and Operations Editor David Learmount gave us his perspective of the incident:
Is it a bird, is it a plane….is it there at all….? Or could it be just another April’s Fool…?