Seventy years of international air travel

  ICAO is the enabler of routine international flights, and its founding treaty was signed 70 years ago on 8 December in the Grand ballroom of the Chicago Hilton. On Monday the world’s aviation and United Nations heads will meet again there to commemorate this history-changing event. Imagine the world without international air travel   […]

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Back to the Battle of Britain Bunker

What kind of time is this to be a military leader? The enemy is no longer a recognisable hostile State fielding battalions of uniformed men, but many ad hoc groups of armed individuals coalescing around an idea or creed, their ranks constantly reinforced by a self-generating flow of perversely idealistic kids from countries around the […]

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Learn to fly an A350

Airbus’ “learning by discovery” concept entails putting pilots into the A350 full flight simulator to experiment with the full range of aircraft manual handling characteristics far earlier in the type rating course than would traditionally have been done. And experimenting is genuinely encouraged. Director of A350 flight operations and training support Capt Christian Norden gave me […]

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The MH370 search

With the arrival of the southern hemisphere summer, the search for the lost Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has resumed and is well under way. Meanwhile Dutch accident investigators have begun the wreckage recovery operation on the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine. It has been seven months since MH370 went missing, and no trace of the […]

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MPL mythbusters

The multi-crew pilot licence (MPL) is still new enough for many industry people to be suspicious of it. These suspicions will gradually erode as knowledge and experience accumulates, and the MPL will – eventually – become the default way of training to become an airline pilot – possibly with the exception of the USA. The […]

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Airline pilot training. Wouldn’t it be a good idea if…

Wouldn’t it be a good idea if the airline and training industries all over the world were to agree on a common set of pilot training, instruction and evaluation standards that reflects the demands on pilots in today’s flying environment? No-one, anywhere, says it’s a great idea to have a system that trains airline pilots […]

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MH17 – the unveiling begins

Flight MH17 was brought down by an external explosion which precipitated the structural break-up of the Boeing 777-200, according to the preliminary report of the accident investigator. The fuselage, particularly near the flightdeck, was extensively punctured by “high energy objects” that entered from outside, says the report. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder […]

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Boris Island is not dead yet, but Heathrow will get a new runway and Gatwick may get one as well

The widely leaked news that the proposed “inner Thames estuary airport” has been dropped from the UK government’s Airport Commission’s shortlist has surprised nobody, because the decision was foreshadowed in the Commission’s interim report in December last year. The only options remaining on the Commission’s shortlist are extra runways at London Heathrow and/or Gatwick. Meanwhile, […]

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How bad is the volcanic ash risk for European aviation?

Detailing the magnitude of Icelandic eruption risk is a tricky issue. Even volcanologists admit their helplessness – although Iceland continuously monitors seismic activity in real time. Given a certain level of activity it can take anything from 10s to several decades before the Earth’s crust fractures and millions of tonnes of magma, ash and gas […]

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Europe trembles as Iceland shudders

In April 2010 an Icelandic volcano – Eyjafjallajokull - famously shut down European aviation for nearly a week. Now Bárðarbunga threatens. This is what the Icelandic Meteorogical Office has to say about it: “Since the onset of the earthquake swarm at Bárðarbunga on Saturday [16 August] morning, around 2,600 earthquakes have been detected with the earthquake monitoring […]

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